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!

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.

ROCKY ROAD –BROWNIES

I have been terribly lazy to add any new recipes. I felt embarrassed to check out my own blog and notice that my last recipe was added in February! Then I looked at my site stats and I realised that you all have been anyway reading my blog all that time probably hoping to get some new delicious recipes!

Well, I have a good excuse (at least I keep on telling that to myself). I have a new job that has taken most of my time lately and second of all I just got married so all the wedding arrangements have taken that other part of my time. Anyway enough of excuses. All I can say is that I guarantee and I promise that I will add more recipes and be more active.

The UK is great, London is great. I feel like I see the whole city with the new eyes as I have a fantastic job that I am excited about. The down side of it is that I have less time to cook, in fact less to do experimental cooking. After a long working day one does not want to try out something new that may not please the taste nerves.

I had the most perfect hen’s night. It was a total surprise. I landed in Helsinki airport, I was supposed to have a quiet BBQ party with a few of my closest friends. At least I thought so until we arrived to her place and we opened the door. There they were, all my best and closest friends together. The table was full of the most tempting looking salads and cakes, and all this was made for me. I was touched. I could tell you all the smallest details about this amazing night, but I guess you would get bored of it in the end. It was a traditional Finnish hen’s night with bridal saunas, spells, beer etc. I feel so thankful that my dearest friends devoted two full days only for me….as  I finally relised if not before that I WAS GETTING MARRIED!

Well, Päivi, one of my dearest friends, my cake master friend was resposible for the sweet side of the dishes for my hen’s night dinner. Here I want to share her Rocky Road Brownie recipe with you. It was mouthwatering! They were the best brownies I have ever eaten and I am saying this as a person who does not even like brownies. They were superb!

BASE:

3 dl            flour

2 tl             baking powder

2 tl            salt

2 dl            coco powder

3,5 dl            caster sugar

2 dl            brown sugar (farin)

2 dl            white chocolate crushed

2 dl            melted butter (200 g)

4            eggs

1 dl            coffee

FILLING:

2 dl           dark chocolate crushed

2 dl            marshmallows (small pieces)

(2 dl            walnuts crushed)

1. Whisk butter, eggs and coffee. Add all the dry ingredients.

2. Pour this base on a baking dish or tray and bake it in 170 degrees for 20-25 minutes or a little bit longer.

3. Mix all the filling ingredients together and pour the filling on the top of the base after taking it out from the oven.

4. Bake the brownies for additional 5-7 minutes so that chocolate melts and the marshmallows turn to brown.

5. Serve either warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with some coffee.

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!

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.

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!

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!