Lingonberry Caramel Dessert – Puolukkainen karamelliherkku

photo (52)I thought I would give you the recipe that is one of my guaranteed desserts when guests arrive! I love to introduce Finnish tastiness particularly the flavours from Finnish forests to anyone visiting our household. Usually this means forest blueberries, lingonberries or cloudberries. Lingonberry is a difficult one as it is so bitter that it needs something extremely sweet to go with it! It is also an interesting berry as it can be stored in its own bitterness for a long time and it does not go off. Lingonberries stay well for weeks in the pot in the fridge!

This lingonberry dessert is easy and quick but very delicious. When we had my dear Aussie husband’s friends over they just ate more and more of this heavenly combination. If you cannot get lingonberries to your hands you can prepare the same kind of dessert with fresh cranberries (or even with sea buckthorn) as they have the same kind of bitterness in them.

The picture above has been taken whenI served this lovely dessert with home made Anzac biscuits but my absolutely favourite combination with it is gingerbread biscuits. The christmas biscuits give a nice winter touch so I recommend to use those instead of oat biscuits.

4-5 portions:

1 can of condensed milk

1 pot ( 2dl =1 cup) of double cream (or soy cream)

1dl (1/2 cup) greek yoghurt (or soy yoghurt). You can use more depending how yoghurty you want the result to be.

1 tsp vanilla sugar

3-4 tbsp sugar

gingerbread biscuits

lingonberries

1. Preparation well beforehand (can be done on the previous day): Boil the sealed can of condensed milk for 2h under the water in a big saucepan. Add water if needed. Open the can carefully, pour the sauce to a bowl and let the caramel cool down.

2. Whip the cream and mix it with greek yoghurt, vanilla sugar and sugar.

3.  Build the desserts: Crush the biscuits and add them to the bottom of the bowl, pour caramel sauce on top, add some lingonberries and cream mix on top and sprinkle some extra biscuits on top. You can also crush some dark chocolate for variation.

Yum! Healthy and good!

Mainokset

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!

Päivi’s Brilliant Whisky Cheesecake

I could name my dear friend Päivi as the cheesecake chef of all. Like one of my chocolate cheesecake recipes, I also owe this whisky cheesecake recipe to Päivi. Last August Päivi and her husband invited me and my Aussieman for an amazing three course dinner. As a dessert she served this breathtaking cheesecake. I asked the recipe immediately, but for some reason I forgot to add it on my site.

My Aussieman loved this cake. He adores all the cheesecakes, but what could be better from man’s point of view than a cheesecake combined with some tasty whisky. I baked this cake for our party last autumn and guests ate it all..nothing was left (even though I secretly hoped I could have eaten some for brekkie).

I know that in Finland there have been wondering cheesecake recipes made of Bailey’s liqueur. By chance, a few days later after I tasted this delicous whisky cake for the first time my mum called and said that their family friends served them heavenly Bailey’s cheesecake the other day. I told her to wait a moment and I promised to bake the whisky cheesecake she wouldn’t ever forget. I baked it next time I visited Finland. My mum absolutely loved this cake and so did my dad (who is not that big fan of sweet desserts). The secret and weapon of this whisky cheesecake is that it is not actually very sweet. The taste of the cake is so unbelievably smooth and balanced. This cake suits also for people who do not like whisky as the flavour of whisky is very nicely combined with some cream cheese.

Base:

150 g crushed cookies (Digestive,McVitie’s)

50 g melted butter

Filling:

2 egg yolk
¾ dl whisky
1 tl vanilla sugar
100 g caster sugar
250 g cream cheese
5 leaves gelatine
1 dl hot coffee
2,5 dl whipped cream
2 egg whites
50 g sugar

Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Shape the base for the cake by using the cake tin with the removable edges. Soak the leaves of gelatin in the cold water (according to the packet’s instructions) and dissolve them into the coffee. Mix the egg yolks, cream cheese, whisky and sugars together. Add the gelatin-coffee mixture and whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Whisk the  two egg whites and 50g of sugar together until the mixture is foamy. Add the foam into the cream cheese mixture.  Pour the filling on the top of the base. Leave it to sit in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight. (I found 5 hours enough). If the guests come in the evening the cake is good to make in the morning.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or by itself!

Pea Soup Saint-Germain

I used to cook this green pea soup for myself when I was studying hard, working at the same time and had hardly time to enjoy my time in the kitchen. This is a simple, quick, but tasty soup even if the colour is quite crazy -striking green. Green pea soup is healthy too and fresh, perfect for summer days. It is the full cream that makes it flavoursome! This kind of green pea soup is very French, to be exact very Parisien. It has gotten its name from the suburban area of Saint-Germain where people were farming green peas in olden days. The recipe is my modification of one recipe found in my old cookbook ( that used to be like a bible to me !!!). Try and enjoy! Duplicate the amount of ingredients if needed.

2 portions:

butter

1 onion (sweet one)

200g (1 package) frozen green peas

2,5 dl water

3 tbs cream

salt and backpepper

1. Cut the onion and cook the cubes in the sauce pan with some butter. Add green peas water, salt and pepper and cook the soup under the lid approximately 10-12 minutes.

2. When the peas are soft purée the soup with an electric mixer.

3. Heat up the soup again, add the cream.

4. Serve it with crutons or with crunchy bacon crumbs!

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!

Base:

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.

Vol Au Vent -Feuilletés Aux Fruits De Mer

Vol au vents are one of my specialities. If I know that someone who really appreciates good food is coming for a visit, these vol au vents are what I serve. I experienced these lovely seafood treasures during my time in France. One can modify the recipe by using different fillings and sauces. In Strasbourg where I did my student exchange, these seafood vol au vents were served as starters at the STUDENT RESTAURANT! Believe it or not but these kind of delicious treats were only considered starters in there then came the main course and dessert too…by only 3,5 euros. A little bit different from Finland if I’d say so.

The first time I promised to cook for my dear Aussie man, I made these seafood vol au vents. He said that I tricked him by serving these kinds of delicious small gourmet snacks. I reckon one could say that the pleasant and delectable flavour of vol au vents really does put a spell on its eater. My dear Aussie man keeps on asking me to cook this starter again and again. They are one of his favourite of all (even though he has many many other favourites). The nice texture of puff pastry goes so well with seafood that it surprises me every time. These are best served as starters or nice snacks with drinks. They also look fancier than they actually are, but this is the thing that you never tell your friends and guests!

VOL AU VENTS

Cut puff pastry into squares. Take half of them and cut a round circle in the middle of the squares. You can use for example small espresso cup to make the round hole in the middle of the squares. Set the squares with the holes as hats on the rest of the squares. Seal them by squeezing them well together. Brush them with egg to make them shiny in the oven. Cook them for 20 min in 175-200 degrees.

SEAFOOD SAUCE for vol au vent

2 onions

2 1/2 dl chicken/fish stock

2 dl white wine

200g seafood mixture (mussels, prawns, squids, surimi=crab sticks)

1-2 dl cream (depending on how creamy flavour you want)

1-2 tbs lemon zest

2-4 tbs white flour or Maizena

salt and black pepper

1. Cook the onions at first.

2. Add the chicken stock and white wine and bring it to boil.

3.Add seafood mixture, then cream and lemon.

4. Don’t cook the sauce for too long otherwise seafood comes chewy. Add salt and pepper in the end and if you want the sauce to become thicker add a few spoonfull of flour or Maizena to get it thicker. Pour the sauce in the middle of vol au vents! ENJOY! White wine is the bomb with this dish!

Mousse au Chocolat

This creamy and absolutely mouthwatering recipe is from the time of my exchange student year in France. French people just happen to know what is delicious and delicate. I think it is due to a fact that they don’t think about calories or low fat products. The flavour seems to be everything to them. Occasionally I thought that French people, particularly men, seemed to boast how much they have eaten at Christmas time and how big their belly has become. It meant that their cooking has been a succes and that they are not bungling amateurs in the kitchen!

I also learnt that the delicious sauce made of light cream doesn’t exist..or if it does, it can’t be good. If I try to put their attitude to words it would be: ”Low fat is cheating”. Be that as it may I learnt a lot of French kitchen during my time in there. In Finland how one advertises a good recipe is dependent on how healthy and low fat it is. You have to think that lentils in tomato sauce with wholegrain pasta is good -of course it must be good for god sake, it is healthy. The pleasure of eating is secondary in this northern country or at least it looks like it if you build up your image of Finnish eating habbits according to the recipes in the magazines and our cooking books. Whereas in France a good recipe is a delicious recipe. I have found the same attitude and appreciation of cooking in many other countries – in Australia too. Maybe it is stemming from the European immigrants -Greek, British, Italian- and their appreciation of kitchen that they brought in the middle of Pacific Ocean.

It has been a new experience for me that my dear Aussie man thinks that the bigger his belly is the happier he is. The belly tells that the food served at home is tasty and irresistable. This is exactly the same attitude I found in France. I wish Finns would discover and adopt that attitude one day too and give up their Winter War frame of mind that admires simple and modest eating and living habbits. Maybe this is wishful thinking but I can start to put it into practice by serving this fantastic but simple chocolate mousse recipe for all my guests.

When I tasted this mousse for the first time I was wondering what is in it -I should have guessed that nothing tastes so creamy as full cream beated with chocolate. This is an excellent and handy recipe because it doesn’t include any eggs. This full cream chocolate mousse doesn’t try to get its fluffiness from beated eggs, but cream makes it soft and pleasant. Try it. One can definitely apply the saying: KISS -”keep it simple stupid” – to this recipe.

Preparation: 20min, Cooking 6min, In the fridge 2 hours. In total 2 1/2 hours.

For 4-6 persons

200g chocolate

2 1/2 dl cream

1. Melt the chocolate.

2. Mix the cream (non-whipped) and the melted chocolate together.

3. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

4. Take the mixture out from the fridge and whip it with the electric mixer. It will turn into a beautiful mousse.

5. Serve it and enjoy its smooth and flavoursome taste!

I however have to admit that as much as I admired and enjoyed French kitchen during my exchange year: full cream, butter and amazing treats -yes, lovely -but a paradox of skinny beautiful French women stayed as a mystery for me!