Butternut squash soup -Myskikurpitsa keitto

squashMy oven is still broken so I am cooking everything on hobs. Have to say that British Gas is the worst service provider I have ever faced and am not surprised why everything is always broken here. As a tip if you are planning to move to the UK consider all the other service providers before signing a contract with them! Anyway, my life has been a bit of roller coaster lately and I know some of you may think that it is normal when you have a baby and see me being just a complete whinger. I think only a person who has gone through this craziness will understand how stressful it is when you cannot eat anything, you fear to introduce new foods as you are afraid of severe allergic reaction, your baby has woken up every hour for months and months to scratch herself or to comfort herself by eating and during the daytime she has hardly slept. No downtime at all. I guess there will be a turning point but we haven’t reached it yet. My dinners have become quicker and quicker as the only thing I can think about after putting my baby to sleep is to go to bed. Here you are my quick butternut squash soup. Very tasty but ideal for a busy life!

For four people:

1 butternut squash

4 tbs olive oil

hint of blackpepper, salt and sage

2 onions

1 tsp sage (or 1 tbs of finely chopped fresh sage)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

500ml chicken stock

1. Roast the butternut squash cubes and sliced onions in the oven in 200 celsius degrees for 30-35min after mixing them with olive oil and the hint of salt, blackpepper and sage .

2. Bring the chicken stock into boil, add the squash and onions and let it simmer for 5min.

3. Puree with the stick or in a food processor.

Enjoy!

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Päätin kaiken pohdinnan jälkeen kirjoittaa blogiini myös suomeksi. Onhan se rakas äidinkieleni. Puhun tyttärelleni suomea, mutta viime aikoina on tuntunut, että suomenkieleni on ruosteessa, etenkin kirjallinen ilmaisukykyni. Blogini kirjoittaminen ja kirjallisesti suomen tuottaminen toivottavasti parantaa tilanteen. En voi luvata jokaista postausta suomeksi, mutta yritän parhaani!

Uunimme, joka reilu viikko sitten rikkoi sopimuksensa irti on yhä hajalla. British Gas, joka täällä Britanniassa hallinnoi lämmitysjärjestelmien ja kodinkoneiden huoltoa on ollut aivan mahdoton. Insinöörit tekivät sovituista ajankohdista huolimatta kolmesti oharit. Toiminta on ollut niin hidasta ja leväperäistä, että selittää miksi tässä maassa niin usein kaikki hajoilee. Se, ettei kyseinen korjaaja saapunut paikalle, vaikka istuin neljän seinän sisällä odottamassa vauvan kanssa (kaikkea muuta kuin ideaalia!), ei ole parantanut tätä hullunmyllyä. Viimeiset neljä kuukautta ovat olleet todella rankkoja. Täytyy rehellisyyden nimissä myöntää, että vaikka kuinka yritän psyykata itseäni positiiviseen ajatteluun, masentaa tämä äärimmäisyyksiin viety tiukka imetysdieetti, jonka vuoksi en voi syödä lähestulkoon mitäään. Sen lisäksi huolettaa jokaisen uuden ruoka-aineen antaminen vauvalleni pahan allergisen reaktion pelossa. Han ei hyväksy pulloa eikä ole kiinnostunut mistään ruoista (rajoitettu valikoima, ei kiinostaisi minuakaan!), joten olen täysin häneen sidottuna kohta kahdeksannetta kuukautta.. Rakas tyttäreni on myös ollut hyvin itkuinen, vaativa, heräillyt joka tunti öisin jo kuukausia, joten univajeeni on jo huolestuttavissa mittasuhteissa. On suorastaan ihme että muistan laittaa housut jalkaan aamuisin. Lohduttaudun sillä, että jossain vaiheessa käänne tapahtuu. Vielä ei sitä olen näkynyt. Odotan ensi helmikuuta, jolloin toivottavasti saan lopettaa tämän dieetin. Kokkaus, leivonta ja blogin pitäminen piristävät minua tällä hetkellä enemmän kuin koskaan -jotain omaa tuttua vanhaa minua!

Hullumyllyn vuoksi koetan kokkailla illalliset nopeasti, jotta pääsen aikaisin nukkumaan. Tässä varsin mainion, yksinkertaisen, mutta huippuherkullisen myskikurpitsakeiton ohje. Kokeile!

Neljälle:

1 myskikurpitsa

4rkl oliiviöljyä

ripaus mustapippuria, suolaa ja kuivaa salviaa

2 sipulia

500ml kanalientä

1tl salviaa (kuiva käy, jos tuoretta voi laittaa 2rkl silputtuna)

1tl suolaa

1/2 tl mustapippuria

1. Kuutioi myskikurpitsa  ja sekoita olliviöljy sekä ripaus mustapippuria, suolaa ja salviaa. Paista 200 asteessa n. 30-35 minuuttia.

2. Kiehauta kanaliemi, lisää kesäkurpitsa ja sipulit. Keitä miedolla lämmöllä n. 5 minuuttia. Mausta.

3. Soseuta ja nauti!

Sweet potato chocolate cake -Bataattisuklaakakku

WP_20130921_010Something unbelievable happened on Sunday night. Our amazing cooker -oven, grill, dinner plate warmer and gas hobs in one combination-  just stopped working. I was cooking tasty home made chips in the grill with full heat when suddenly the cooker caused a short and the wall switch started melting! Oh no! Many people would first react by thinking of all the safety risks but not me. My first thought was literally ”oh no how am I supposed to bake next week”. Our cooker is still broken, the electrician arrives today to fix the wall switch and then we will see what is cooker’s destiny whether it still works or if we need a new one. My dear Aussie husband comforted me by saying ”darling just think that you either get a perfectly functioning new cooker or the old one is even better than before ”. I wish I could think such an optimistic way. Being so, you may need to wait for some new recipes. I thought in the meanwhile I would post the cake I managed to bake just before the cooker broke down. This cake is my own recipe. I wanted to use sweet potato in a chocolate cake so I thought I would give it a try and in fact it worked pretty well.  It gives the moisture and the sweet flavour compliments the chocolate cake. This is again a fully vegan recipe, so totally egg and dairy free and gluten free too. Of course you can use butter and milk where ever I have used the replacement products.

2 dl (1 cup) sweet potato puree

1/2 dl (1/4 cup) rice milk

1 1/2 dl (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar

1/2 dl (1/4 cup) vegetable oil

1/2tsp vanilla powder

a few drops of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

3/4 dl (almost 1/2 cup) coco powder

1/2dl (1/4 cup) sugar

3 tbs golden syrup

2dl (1 cup) gluten free self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g grated dark dairy free chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 190 celsius degrees.

2. Cook sweet potato cubes and puree them.

3. Mix together sweet potato puree, oil, rice milk, sugars, vanilla powder, coco powder, golden syrup and flour. In the end add the grated chocolate.

4. Bake for 40min. Test with a fork to make sure the cake is fully cooked.

Filling:

1/2 dl (1/4 cup) oat cream

1/2dl (1/4 cup) raspberries

1 tsp vanilla sugar

1-2 tbs caster sugar

1. Mash the raspberries with the fork. Mix the oat cream and raspberries together and add sugars.

Icing:

30-50g  dairy free margarin (butter goes perfectly too, in fact probably better due to the salty nature!)

1/2 dl (1/4 cup) oat cream

1dl (1/2 cup) icing cugar

3-4 tbsp coco powder

1. Whisk together the dairy free margarin and oat cream.

2. Whisk in the icing sugar and finish with adding the coco powder.

Build the cake. After cooking it, let it cool down first, cut it into halves, fill with the raspberry oat cream mix and coat with the delicious chocolaty icing.

ENJOY!

Rum Zucchini Breakfast Loaf – Rommikesäkurpitsainen aamiaisleipä

Image

I am totally in love with using zucchini in baking. I hope you don’t get bored with my zucchini recipes. This one is my own invention based on the various recipes I have tried. I wanted to combine things I love in cake baking which are dark rum, oats, dark sugar, golden syrup and zucchini. I tried to keep this loaf less sweeter than cakes or muffins but sweeter than regular bread. I promise you will enjoy this recipe, I have almost eaten the whole loaf myself that I baked the other day!

One loaf:

150ml rice milk (or regular milk)

2 tbsp cranberries

8 prunes chopped (or 4tbs raisins)

3 dl self-raising gluten free flour (or regular flour+ 1 tsp baking powder)

1 dl dark rice flour (or oat, millet or quinoa flour)

1 dl rolled oats

50g dairy free margarin (or butter)

125 pear puree

2 tbsp dark rum

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

1/2 dl dark soft sugar

1 1/2 dl grated zucchini

1-2 tbsp golden syrup

11/2 tsp cardamom or all spice

(you can add 1 tsp no-egg to get the dough stick together a bit more firmly but this is not necessary)

1.  Soak the cranberries and prunes in rice milk.

2. Combine flour, rolled oats, baking powder and bicarbonate soda and pinch the butter in such as the mix turns to breadcrumb like.

3. Stir in cardamom, sugar, pear puree, rice milk mix and rum.  Mix well. Finalise the mix by adding the golden syrup.

4. Bake in 180 celsius degrees for 40-45 minutes. Check the loaf with a stick to make sure it is fully cooked.

Cauliflower soup – Kukkakaalikeitto

photo (54)Autumn is arriving in the UK. Evenings are getting darker, houses colder and days rainier. It is time to dig out candles and soft woollen jumpers, have some afternoon tea and eat soup for lunch and dinner. Last weekend on Saturday I felt so relaxed after my pampering massage that I could not even think about doing any chores. I don’t consider cooking as a chore but rather a pleasure, I still was not able to invest much time in cooking up a storm for lunch.  Here you are a busy mother’s quick and easy cauliflower soup.  It was so tasty that my dear Aussie husband had to take his words back when claiming he did not like cauliflower!

Bye the way I have lately been reflecting if I should write my posts also in Finnish. If you have any feedback regarding this you can email me your thoughts (finnaussity@gmail.com) or comment on this post.

2 people:

6-7dl chicken stock

1 cauliflower

1/2-1dl Oatly oat cream (regular cream is great too!)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper

pinch of salt

fresh parsley

1. Heat up the water and prepare the chicken stock.

2. Cook the cauliflower in the chicken stock.

3. Puree the cauliflower in the stock. Add the oat cream and spices. Taste the flavour!

Serve with a nice loaf of bread. Enjoy!

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!

French Onion Soup

It has taken ages for me to add any recipes on my blog. This time I cannot blame for myself, but one particular British Internet provider that wasn’t able to connect our internet after my dear Aussie man and I moved from our old place to this lovely new apartment near Oxford street.

Why I originally got an idea to try to cook some onion soup was when I went to this amazing French brasserie in Covent Garden in London. I couldn’t remember when I last time had had some onion soup so I ordered the soup and I remembered how mouthwatering it could be. When I searched for a recipe I ended up on a webpage that had an onion soup recipe from Julia Child’s cook book. I knew this would be the one worth trying, I cooked it one weekend for my dear Aussie man who ate two bowls and was craving for more. The soup is healthy but tasty. I tried the soup with Emmental cheese too, but French do know which cheese goes well with what. Onion soup with Emmental cannot be compared to one with some Gruyère on top. If you can find some very aged Gruyère you will get the best result. I believe the right cheese gives the magical touch for this soup!

Ingredients:

1 tbs olive oil

1tbs butter

750g onions

1 garlic clove

2,5dl (1 cup) dry white wine

7,5 dl (3 cups) beef stock (Knorr jelly one is really good)

1/2-1tsp black pepper

hint of salt

Topping:

Gruyère cheese

small cubes of white bread

1. Cut the onions into nice slices. Cook the onions and a pressed garlic clove in a frying pan until they turn into golden brown.

2. Add wine and let it simmer so that alcohol boils away.

3. Add the beef stock, salt and black pepper.

4. Let it cook without a lid at very low temperature for 90 minutes.

5. Heat up the oven into 180 celsius degrees. Pour the soup into small oven proof bowls, add some white bread  cubes on top and grate some Gruyère on the top of the bread. Let the soup cook in the oven for 10 minutes so that the cheese melts nicely.

Enjoy! This recipe is Julia Child’s and I can guarantee it is one of the best soups I have ever cooked, served or tasted.

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.

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:

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.

Mustard-Honey Chicken

This is the recipe I originally found on BBC food website, but I change it a bit to get it more flavoursome. The sauce tastes heavenly and the best way to use leftover sauce is to cook chicken pies with this sauce as a filling. I bought Le Creuset here in London a few weeks after we moved here and now I have been testing all the different casserole recipes one can do. This recipe is best made in the oven in the casserole. All the flavours get stronger and softer.

4 servings

7-8 chicken thighs (skin removed) or 3 big chicken breasts bones in them

2 onions

500g parsnips

2 carrots

300ml vegetable stock

3/4 dl whole grain mustard

3 tbs honey

fresh thyme

1 ts salt

1. Set the oven in 180 celsius degrees. Cook the chicken thighs in a frying pan to make them golden brown. Then remove them on a plate to wait.

2. Cook the onions so that they become brown and sweet. Whilst onions are getting cooked cut the parsnips and carrots into the long sticks.

3. Mix the vegetable stock, mustard and honey together.

4. Take your casserole. Mix the chicken thighs, onions, carrots and parsnips. Add the vegetable-mustard-honey sauce. Bring it to simmer. Add fresh thyme according to your taste. I like thyme so I add  1/2 dl of fresh cut thyme. Salt the sauce.

5. Set the lid on and put the casserole into the oven of 180 celsius degrees for 20-40 min.

6. Serve the dish with the salad.