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.

Ingredients:

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.

ENJOY!

Mainokset

Catherine Berwick’s Parsnip and maple syrup cake

I am currently living in a land of ale and fish&chips. Everything that is served has to go with the beer. Sometimes I have been wondering what is the common denominator when a Finn marries an Aussie and lives in England. Well, easy, it has to be the beer. In other words, a good beer. Finns like Aussies are proud of their own beers, the labels no-one else has even heard about and still they call them the real beer. In England I think their love of pints is something the same. A pint or two is always welcome.

This is only an introduction to the quote that came up when I served this heavenly parsnip cake. It is evidently very important that a cake goes with the beer.

One of our friends had a birthday last weekend. I wanted to surprise him so I decided to bake a cake, but I had a big dilemma ahead of me. What to serve so that it would go with a beer? I thought through the recipes in my mind..no chocolate based, that wouldn’t go well, neither a cheesecake -too much dairy product…then I remembered this wonderful cake that won the competition in Good Food magazine last year. Fantastic. I tried it as it was said to be ”the new carrot cake”. I ran to the store early in the morning to get the ingredients and voila the cake was ready in two hours. It was time to serve it for the demanding audience..half of them Aussie men requiring something that goes with a beer, half of them women who are very into good food. I was a bit nervous.  When our friends had eaten their first pieces of cake and were running to get another ones, I realised the cake was a success. Boys absolutely loved it. The legendary comment was ”this is not too sweet and it goes so well with the beer”! Great! So, if you fancy a cake recipe that would go even with a beer whilst you’re having your summer picnic in the park this is it! Try it. The parsnip cake is a brilliant invention, it has a carrot cake texture, but it is not that sweet. It is moist and mouthwatering. Bake it and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 175g butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour (or flour mixed with baking powder)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g parsnips , peeled and grated
  • 1 medium apple peeled, cored and grated
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • zest and juice 1 small orange
  • icing sugar , to serve

FOR THE FILLING

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the base of the 20cm cake dish with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Bake for 45-55 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.
  2. Cool the cake. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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!

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:

cheese

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.

Banana Pecan Nut Muffins

We moved to London four months ago. It is a long time, but I have been too busy with all kinds of things and I have neglected my cooking blog which I feel so sorry about. Now the life has settled down a bit and I finally have time to start adding the recipes I have tested here. Nice.

I posted vanilla rasberry muffin recipe a long time ago. Here in England people seem to love all kinds of muffins, sweet and savoury. They also love so called ”breakfast loaf”  for breakfast. It is a small loaf shaped muffin and tastes heavenly. My favourite one over here is Costa Coffee’s Banana Pecan Breakfast Loaf. It is almost like a muffin, but not that buttery and sweet. I wanted to cook that kind of breakfast loaf, but I couldn’t find a recipe that looked good or worked. I tried one recipe, but I wasn’t happy with it at all. As I find the basic ingredients for my rasberry muffins so good I varied that recipe and created my own banana breakfast muffins. Below you can find the ingredients. They were super tasty!

6 large muffins

110 g butter

130 g white sugar (it is 1 1/2 dl= 2/3 cup)

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

210 g flour (it is 3 1/2 dl= 1 /2 cup)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 jar (150-200g) Danone vanilla yoghurt

3 extremely ripe bananas

100g pecan nuts (crushed)

Preheat the oven 180 C degrees. Butter the muffin molds. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in the large bowl. In the other bowl, whisk butter and sugar until white and cream. Add the eggs one in time. Whisk well all the time. Add dry ingredients  into creamy butter-sugar-egg mixture. Mix well, do not whisk. Finish by adding vanilla extract and Danone yoghurt.  Mash the bananas with the fork and add this mash to the dough as well as the pecan nuts. Decorate the muffins with few pecan nuts. Bake them as long as they become beautiful and browny.

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.

Original American Cookies

My sister is in New York at the moment. Yes, in the Big Apple New York. Everything is evidently big in there -skyscrapers, meals, even muffins…I also heard that the freezers bear so many different Ben and Jerry ice creams that one has problems to decide which one to choose every time. On the top of the fact that I am missing my sister I also feel jealous not to be able to enjoy world famous Magnolia Bakery’s cup cakes with her in Manhattan. I can only imagine how woderful it must be to finish your working day with a colourful cup cake in one hand and a huge cup of Starbuck coffee in the other.

My sister is a big fan of American chocolate cookies. The following recipe  is the recipe she once gave to me and ask me to make. I tested these crunchy cookies and they are magical. How could they not be..buttery chocolate cookies are hard to spoil! Make big cookies, it is my tip. The bigger the cookie is the better it is!

5 1/2 dl white flour

1 tsp bicarbonate/baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 dl white flour

1 1/2 sugar

1 1/2 brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla sugar

1. Mix the flour, salt and soda. Cut the chocolate into small cubes.

2. Melt the butter and add the sugar in it. Add the eggs into this mixture and vanilla extract too.

3. Combine the flour mixture sith the butter mixture. In the end add all the chocolate cubes.

4. Make round big cookies. Bake them in the oven of 180-190 degrees for 10 minutes. If the cookies are extremely  big American like, it will take a bit longer to bake them.