Croque Madame muffins-Croque Madame muffinit

ImageI promised to post you Rachel Khoo’s recipes that I find amazing. Well here you go. I tried her Croque Madame muffins this morning and you should have seen my dear Aussie husband’s face when he was eating them. He had two in one go! They were tasty, beautiful and just overall phenomenal. I recommend you to try them.

Six Croque Madame muffins:

6 sandwich bread slices, crust cut off

6 eggs

6 slices of ham

grated cheese

black pepper


1 tbs butter

1tbs plain flour

200ml milk

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp nutmeg

hint of black pepper

30g cheese (hard cheese like Parmesan, Gruyere or mature Cheddar)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius degrees. Prepare the sauce by melting the butter. When butter is melted in the pan add the flour and beat it such as it becomes a thick sauce. Add the milk, mustard and nutmeg and cook the sauce by whisking it and mixing it for 10 minutes until it thickens. In the end add the cheese and a bit of black pepper.

2. Flatten the bread slices by hand or with the rolling pin. Push them to the bottom of the cupcake tin. Add the slices of ham, pour one egg in each one and pour some sauce on top. In the end add some grated cheese on top.

3. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately so that the egg yolks do not get overcooked and stay runny.

Lupasin postata Rachel Khoon reseptejä, jotka ovat herkullisia ja mielestäni hyviä. Tässä siis yksi. Tein tänä aamuna aamupalaksi hänen Croque Madame muffineitaan ja voi kun olisitte nähneet rakkaan aussimieheni naamataulun kun hän maiskutti näitä ranskalaisia kakkusia. Hän ahmi kaksi yhteen menoon. Ne olivat herkullisia, kauniita ja kaiken kaikkiaan vain onnistuineita. Suosittelen siis lämpimästi kokeilemaan, muffinit tulevat nopeasti valmiiksi. Suomessa Croque Madame ei ole kovin tunnettu, kun taas täällä briteissä lähes jokainen pubi ja brasseri tarjoaa niitä listallaan. Kyseessähän on klassinen kinkkujuusto voileipa, mutta salaisuus on voi, voissa paistettu leipa, jonka päälle kasataan kinkkua, juustoa ja kananmuna ja keltuainen jätetään juoksevaksi. Croque Monsieur on puolestaan vastaava leipä ilman kananmunaa. Yksinkertaista, mutta herkullista. Muffinit ovat siis kehitelmä tämän klassisen herkun pohjalta.

Kuusi Croque Madame muffinia:

6 voileipäviipaletta

6 munaa

6 viipaletta kinkkua




1 rkl voita

1rkl vehnäjauhoja

200ml maitoa

1/2 tl Dijon sinappia

1/2 tl jauhettua muskottipähikää

ripaus mustapippuria

30g juustoa (kovaa juustoa kuten Parmesan, Gruyere tai kypsä Cheddar)

1. Lämmitä uuni 180 celsius asteeseen. Valmista kastike sulattamalla voi. Kun voi on sulanut lisää jauho ja vatkaa kunnes seos sakeentuu. Lisää maito, sinappi ja muskottipähkinä . Vatkaa ja sekoita seosta  noin 10 minuuttia kunnes seos sakeentuu kastikkeeksi. Lopuksi lisää juusto ja mustapippuri.

2. Littaa leipäviipaleet käsin tai kaulimella. Aseta ne muffinivuokiin. Lisää kinkkuviipaleet jokaiseen muffiniin, kaada yksi muna jokaiseen muffiniin ja kaada kastiketta päälle. Lopuksi ripottele juustoraastetta muffineiden päälle.

4. Paista muffineita 180 asteessa noin 15 minuuttia. Tarjoile välittömästi, jotta munan keltuainen pysyy juoksevana.


Butternut squash spinach ricotta pie

This recipe is one of my most recent ones. I developed this pie for our Halloween party last weekend as I wanted to do something halloweeny that has pumpkin in it.  I decided to combine all my favourite flavours and it worked indeed. The pie was super tasty.


500g puff pastry

1 big butternut squash

250g spinach

200g ricotta cheese

black pepper and salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1-2tbs Kecap Manis

1 egg

1. Precook the butternut squash. Cut it into small cubes and roll in olive oil, add lots of salt and black pepper. Cook the cubes in the oven in 200 celcius degrees for 15-20min so that they turn to brown and look cooked. You can do this phase on the day before and let the cooked cubes sit in the fridge  and absorb all the flavours.

2. Cook spinach in a casserole.

3. Mix butternut squash cubes, spinach and ricotta cheese together. Add salt, blackpepper, nutmeg and KeCap Manis. Let the filling sit for a while to absorb the flavours.

4. Put half of the puff pastry in a large baking dish and form the base. Precook the base in 200 celsius degrees for 10min. REMEMBER to stick small holes in it with a fork so that it does not turn out to be to puffy.

5. Take the precooked base out of the oven and put the filling on the top of the base. Use another half of the puff pastry to cover the pie,  brush the cover with some egg so that it gets a nice golden colour when it is cooked. Remember again to stick small holes on the puff pastry. Cook in 200 celsius degrees for 20-30min so that the pie looks golden brown and cooked.


Saag Paneer

My dear Aussie man surprised me with this meal one weekend. After that we have had this same dish once in a week for three weeks. It is delighful, I mean absolutely delicious! Try it and you get addicted.

  • 400-750g baby spinach, washed
  • 3 tbs polive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 onions chopped
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chilli paste
  • 2 tsp ground coriander (can add more)
  • 1 tsp Kecap Manis
  • 250g paneer cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1-2tbs yellow curry powder
  • 2dl double cream (in Finnish ”ruokakerma”)
  1. Cook the onions and garlic. Add spinach
  2. Add all the spices and cream.
  3. Add the paneer cheese.
  4. Cook it slowly in a casserole.
  5. Enjoy!

Pia’s Mediterranean Sandwiches

My boss took me to this amazing pub in Islington London called ”The Elk in the Woods”. It was a funny small cosy pub, didn’t look anything special, but when I saw the menu I was happily surprised -it looked fantastic! In fact, everything on the menu looked delicious. I ended up ordering the halloumi-hummus-carrot-beetrot-olive sandwich and to be honest it was probably one of the best sandiwiches I have ever eaten. A few days later I had to test and cook that kind of sandwich at home. It was excellent and my sweet Aussie man loved it too (we had it again for breakfast on the following day!). Here you can find the recipe, it asks a bit of work but is worth every minute spent in the kitchen!

Buns or baguette

1/2 onion

1 can of black olive slices

bunch of basil

2 carrots

1 cooked beetroot

1/2 packet of halloumi

1 packet hummus

salt and black pepper

good quality olive oil

1. Grate the carrot and beetroot and mix them together. Cook them in olive oil in the frying pan. (do not be careful with oil for it gives an amazing flavour, so use heaps), add salt and black pepper. After the mixture has been cooked, put it on a plate to wait.

2. Cut the onion, cook it slowly in the frying pan until golden, then add the olive slices, cook for a while (5min).  Add salt and pepper. Whilst cookin this, finely chop the basil. Take the onion-olive mixture away from the pan and mix it together with the chopped basil in the bowl and leave it wait for the sandwich building.

3. Cut the halloumi into small slices (3x3cm slices) and cook it in olive oil in the frying pan. After they have been cooked put them on a plate to wait.

4. Cut the baguette or buns  into halves (2 per person). Cook them in the olive oil in the frying pan.

5. Build sandwiches: First put hummus on the top of the cooked bread (on both of the halves). Then on the other half put the carrot-beetroot mixture, then halloumi slices on the top of that and then olive-onion-basil mixture on the top of that. On the other half put only hummus and a bit of the olive-onion-basil mixure.

6. Serve with wine or beer -these sandwiches are heavenly!

Shepherd’s Pie eli jauhelihaperunasoselaatikko

Dear readers, England is not only London as I try to tell myself every time when I find the streets full of people and I get anxious of this busy city. Oxford Street at Christmas time is a hell on earth I can tell. You feel like an ant climing the massive anthill that never ends.

London is full of contrasts. I think it is the city you hate and love at the same time. Nothing works, everything is broken all the time, but at the same time the city is vivid, it is always full of life, the exciting events never run out, there are always people keen for going out and party. I think the pubs capture the essence of London. There are multiple pubs, small and big, old fashioned, modern, oldemen pubs, yougsters’ pubs, fancy pubs, cozy pubs… We have been testing as many pubs as we have been able to. One dish you (almost) always find on the pub menus is the Shepherd’s Pie. English people love their pies, but for me this pie was a mystery. I haven’t ever actually ordered it because I wasn’t sure what kind of pie would be brought to my plate.

By googling the name, I finally found that Shepherd’s pie wasn’t actually a pie at all in the sense of an ordinary English pie. Shpeherd’s pie is what we Finnish people know as ”jauhelihaperunasoselaatikko” (a long word I know), which can be translated as ”mince meat potato mash pie”. This is a famous or should I say notorious Finnish school cantine dish. Every Finn has eaten this dish at school cantines. I have to admit that for me these memories are not the most pleasant ones. As much as Finnish school food is appreciated, the picture of this dish in my mind is some gluey potatomash floating with some greasy mince meat whilst having very watery consistency which means that the spoonful falls off from your fork and it never ends up to your mouth..

To face my bad memories of this dish I decided to cook it myself. I thought it must be even a little bit tasty if English people love it so much..or is the love of it simply explained by the bad British kitchen? To play a good and sweet English housewife, I wanted to test the recipe.

As Australians owe their cuisine mainly to British, my dear Aussie man knew immediately Shepherd’s Pie  and he almost smelled it from the corridor when entering home. He loved this dish and I have to say so did I. The home made Shepherd’s Pie was a totally different experience from the ones served in the school cantines back in the 90s. This is a cheap, good and healthy home food.

For the sauce

2 large onions finely chopped

2 tnsp olive oil

500g minced lamb or beef

2 tbsp plain flour

2-3 bay leaves (crushed)

1 tsp thyme

2 small slices of anchovy

1 big tin of chopped tomatoes

3tsp BBQ sauce

300-400ml beef or lamb stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pie:

6-8 potatoes

20-30g butter

1/2 dl milk

1 egg yolk

For the top:


1.Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cut the onions. Cook the onions in the frying pan until they turn to golden.  Add the mince meat. Cook until the meat is brown. Add teh flour and the spices. Add the stock, BBQ sauce and the chopped tomatoes. Cook it in a low heat for 1h so that the sauce gets lovely sweet flavour. The secret is slow cooking!

3. Peel the potatoes and cut them into halves if they are big. Cook them under the water for 15min until tender. Make the mash with the smoother stick or electric whisker. Add the butter and milk, egg yolk and a pinch of salt if needed.

4. Build the pie. Set the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Set the mashed potatoes on the top of the sauce. Grate some cheese (Extra mature Cheddar or Parmesan) on the top. Cook in the oven for 20 min so that the top turns to nicely golden brown.

Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake

Last time when I visited one of my friends (who is also an excellent cook), she served frozen chocolate cheesecake. I couldn’t resist that cake, after every bite I just wanted to take another one and another one. In Finland this cake is also known as Nina Lincoln’s Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake. It is an amazing invention. Chocolate cheesecakes are sometimes too heavy. Whereas this one whilst being frozen is totally the opposite. It almost feels like eating creamy chocolate ice cream on the top of the biscuit base. This recipe is quite an easy one, although the baking takes some time. The cake has to sit in the freezeer at least 4 hours before serving. In fact, if one wants to make sure that the cake has been nicely freezed before melting it again for serving, one should keep it in the freezer over night. This is my summer version of chocolate cheesecake. On a hot day one can hardly imagine anything so delicious as a cold chocolate cheesecake. It replaces ice cream any time. Give it a try! It is yummy!


9 Hobnob or Digestive biscuits

35 g butter

Cheescake filling:

200g dark chocolate

200g cream cheese

150g caster sugar (approximately 1 1/2 dl)

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 dl cream

1. Make the base at first. Crush the biscuits, melt the butter and combine them to make a nice biscuit base.

2. Melt the chocolate. Mix the cream cheese, add 100g of sugar and vanilla sugar.

3. Take the yolks and add then into the cream cheese mixture. Add the melted chocolate into this mixture.

4. Whisk the egg whites so that they turn into a nice fluffy foam. Whisk the rest of the sugar (50g) into this egg white foam. Add the egg white sugar mixture into the cream cheese chocolate mixture.

5. Whip the cream and add that into the mixture.

6. Pour the filling on the top of the biscuit base and place it in the freezer over night.

Serve the cake after it has melted for a while. Half an hour gives enough time so that the cake stays cold but becomes soft.

Heavenly Chocolate Cheesecake

For the following recipe I thank my friend Päivi, who is a master chef particularly regarding to desserts! Just before last Christmas we had girls sauna night and she served this heavenly chocolate cheesecake for dessert. After one bite I was already in love and demanding the secret recipe to surprise my Aussie man -who bye the way LOVES cheesecakes -! I also wanted to make it up to him that I blew up the New York cheesecake by baking an eggy omelette instead of smooth sweet cheesecake only a few months before.. Here I want to share for you all this magical recipe with which you can surprise your darling anytime…if any man is reading my blog I warmly recommed you to bake this cake for your sweet heart tonight..The recipe is so easy that even a clumsiest chef manages to prepare it perfectly. To bake this cheesecake requires  zero pre-knowledge of cooking or baking. That’s why there’s not even a chance to be like me with my New York cheesecake and end up eating an omelette!

For base you need:

150g Domino/Oreo biscuits

50g melted butter

For the cheesecake:

400g cream cheese

1 3/4dl caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 dl cream

200g dark chocolate

1. Heat up the oven for 160 degrees. Melt the butter. Crush the biscuits. Mix them and prepare the base. You can use a round baking dish approximately 20cm in diameter.

2.  Whisk the cream cheese before adding any other ingredients. When it is running add the sugar, then the vanilla sugar, then the eggs once at a time and in the end add the cream (non-whipped).

3. Take half of the cream cheese mixture and put it on the top of the base. Add the melted chocolate into the other half of the cream cheese mixture and put this chocolate cream cheese mixture on the top of the white layer in a baking dish. Then mix the white and brown mixture with a spoon so that the surface  starts to look marbled.

4. Put the cheesecake into the oven in 160 degrees for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes turn the heat off and letthe cake stay there another hour or so.

5. Leave the cake rest in the fringe for at least 2-4 hours. It is actually at its best on the following day!

ENJOY with some amazing red wine!

Quick Ham Lasagne

This recipe was my first entire own one. I thought it might be a success or a disaster…luckily it ended up into my category of successful recipes! I started to think what kind of sauce would be the best one in lasagna…creamy, sweet and tomatofull, but definitely not a traditional minced meaty one! I know that my dear Aussie man loves his so-called ”Single man dinner” which is a creamy sauce spiced with lots of onions, cold cuts, salt and pepper served with tortellinis. So i decided to combine this kind of sauce with the idea of lasagne and I ended up to create a fantastic Ham Lasagne…at least I thought I did..My Aussieman finished his plate quickly and in half way through started to ask a second serving! It was a success! Here are the ingredients…

200-300g ham/beef cold cuts

1 big onion

1tsp garlic paste or one clove of garlic

2dl of finely diced spring onion

1 capsicum

4dl light cream (15%)

1dl milk

1dl water

3-4 tbs ketchup or tomato paste

2-3 tbs KeCap Manis sweet soy sauce  (this is THE secret ingredient! This has been one of the most amazing discoveries that I wouldn’t have done without my dear Aussieman..KeCap Manis is an Indonesian soy sauce…Wouldn’t have even popped into my small Finnish mind to try or buy one without my   commercial speech and praising words -and every word was true! What a  brain exploding taste! Works every time!)

1tbs sugar

1 tsp black pepper

3-5tbs corn flour

lasagne sheets

1 mozzarella ball (150g)

1. Cook the onions, add ham, capsicum, garlic, cream, milk and water.

2. Let it cook for a while. Add tomato paste, KeCap Manis, sugar and black pepper. Let it cook.

3. You can thicken the sauce by adding for example some corn flour (Maizena).

4. Cut the mozarella ball into small cubes. Build a lasagne into the baking dish. First some sauce, then sprinkle some mozzarella cubes then set lasagne sheets. Repeat this a few more time to get 3- or 4-layer lasagne!

5. Bake it in the oven in 200 degrees for 30-40min.

6. Enjoy! It is delicious!

Delish Parsnip Salad

This salad has a unique flavour which makes so difficult to get bored with it. If I want to cook something different, special and something that I doubt my guests have tasted before, I cook this delish parsnip salad.  Fresh thyme in the dressing is the secret, I think.

This is from the magazine in Finland that promotes heart friendly food, so bear in mind it is a guilt free dish.

(4 servings)
2 parsnips (2x 200g)
rocket salad
Parmesan -cheese (small slices)

1/2 dl balsamico
1 tsp mustard
3 tbsp capers
2tsp sugar
1-2 tbsp fresh thyme, crushed (if you don’t have fresh, the dry thyme, spice goes well)1/2 dl oil

(do not use olive oil, its taste is too dominating, prefer some neutral vegetable oil, in Finland we have so called ”rypsiöljy”

Preheat the oven to 225 c degrees. Peel and cut the parsnips, turn them in oil and season with salt and blackpepper. Place them on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes. Wash, dry and place the salad on the plate. Make the dressing by combining the ingredients.

When parsnips are ready, let them cool for a while. Sprinkle them on the rocketsalad and sprinkle some Parmesan -cheese on it as well. Pour the nice dressing on the salad. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish. Yummy.