Mash Cake ‒ Mäskikakku

It's not that easy to decide what kind of food to make for Kekri. Nearly all of our Kekri traditions and dishes are nowadays known as Christmas traditions and dishes. But somehow malty flavours and food with a lot of grain seem the most appropriate to me.

I'm currently trying to brew some sahti for a 20 person's Kekri feast. (Yikes!) Of course there's always that leftover - a big pot of barley mash - so I've also been trying to make up some uses for it. This cake recipe uses the leftover mash after the wort has been drained from it. I think it'd be pretty safe to replace it with (unknown amount of) non-used malts or mämmi if you just check that the structure seems moist enough.

At first I thought I'd use the mämmi cake recipe The Finnish Mämmi Association gives but that had eggs in it and didn't seem that interesting otherwise either. So instead I kind of combined it with a Christmassy sounding sour milk cake recipe with some additions of my own.

- 3 dl barley mash
- 2 dl soy yogurt (apparently, soy milk thickened and soured with lemon juice should do as well)
- 1 dl potato flour
- 3.5 dl wheat flour
- 100 g margarine (for example Keiju 70%)
- 1.5 dl dark syrup
- 1.5 tsp soda
- 1 dl dried cranberries
- 1 dl dried apple pieces
- 1 dl brandy
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- margarine and breadcrumbs for the mold

Pour the brandy on the dried cranberries and apple pieces. Let them soak for a few hours. Mix the ingredients well together. Butter a cake mold and powder with breadcrumbs. Pour the paste in the mold and cook about an hour in a 175°C oven.

The cake is nicely spicy on its own but I decorated it with a mixture of cocoa butter, oat cream, icing sugar and a drop of lemon juice.

Nutritional values / 1100 g:
energy 3513 kcal
fat 74 g
protein 55 g
carbohydrates 495 g
fiber 32 g


Black Trumpet Rolls ‒ Mustatorvirullat

I'd probably love autumn if it didn't foreshadow winter. Just like Sundays would be so much comfier days if they weren't followed by Mondays. Two weeks ago, I went to collect two litres of frozen Cantharellus tubaeformis (suppilovahvero) with a friend, almost froze myself as well and decided the season is off for this year. Some of the mushrooms are now hanging from the kitchen ceiling but some of them I've used for a soup and a new experiment.

The idea of black trumpet roll was actually in strong-tasting mushrooms which these are not. But since I have to wait another year to get my hands on black trumpets I thought I could just as well check if the recipe idea works otherwise.

Seitan part:
- 3 dl seitan flour
- 2 dl graham flour or rye flour
- 1 dl tar liqueur or 2 dl smoked beer
- 0.5 dl rape oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- salt
- water (about 1-2 dl, more than you'd normally use)

Mushroom part:
- 2 dl dried black trumpets
- 2 tablespoons soy-based cream spread (for example tofutti)
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 1 dl oat cream
- juniper berries
- black pepper
- 1 punch of fresh rosemary

Mix the seitan dough and roll it into a flat rectangle. Mix the cream spread, mayonnaise, cream, rosemary and spices together and then add the dried mushrooms as well.

Now you can spread the mushroom filling on the other long edge of the seitan, as if you were making a Swiss roll. Carefully roll the mushrooms inside the seitan and cut it in six pieces (though I do assume this also makes a nice centre piece for a dinner table if you leave it intact).

Arrange the rolls into a casserole and pour some vegetable broth on the bottom so they won't dry up in the oven. Cover with a folio. Cook about 40 minutes in a 200°C. Serve with some strong tasting sidekick that emphasizes the main dish, for example lingonberry cram or sea buckthorn and carrot sauce.

Nutritional values / 1 roll:
energy 330 kcal
fat 14 g
protein 23 g
carbohydrates 23 g
fiber 3 g


Sea Buckthorn and Carrot Sauce ‒ Tyrni-porkkanakastike

There are some ingredient combinations that are like made to fit together and bring out the best from each other, like turnip and tar, dark chocolate and red wine, strawberries and rhubarb or rye and bilberries. Well, the consort determined for carrots in the beginning of times is apparently sour berries. Sea buckthorn and rowan berries of course have a different taste, but with carrot they work the same way.

An ideal place to take advantage of such unions are often sauces. This one tastes rather sweet-and-sour and needs something with more substance than plain pasta to work, for example this.

- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 4 dl water
- 0.5 dl sea buckthorn (or rowan) berries
- 0.5 tablespoon apple wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 tablespoon potato flour (or other thickener)
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- salt
- aniseed

Mince the onion and sauté it in oil. Slice the carrot and add into the kettle. When the carrot slices have softened, add the rest of the ingredients. Sift the potato flour so it won't clump. The sauce is ready when it thickens up.

Nutritional values / 5 dl :
energy 225 kcal
fat 7 g
protein 2 g
carbohydrates 21 g
fiber 6 g


Pine Nut and Root Vegetable Mash ‒ Männynsiemen-juuressose

Potato mash is one of the standard sidekicks in Finnish cuisine. I often like to tune it with beet or spinach but seeing this I knew I have a sidekick to offer even when Tarja Halonen shows up for a dinner.

The original recipe didn't give any amounts so I tried to document what I used. The oat cream however, wasn't such a good idea since the mash turned a bit too runny. Oh well, the taste is what matters and I already have a long experience of claiming my beet mash is meant to be a puré soup. Next time I'll just replace the cream with some margarine and perhaps roast the pine kernels a bit before marinating them.

EDIT: Yeap, as you can see from the new photo, this turned out just perfect without the cream. Didn't even replace it with anything. Roasting the kernels was also a good idea.

- 2 large carrots
- 4 potatoes
- 1 small rutabaga
- 1 dose of stock
- 1 dl pine nuts
- gin (about 1 dl)
- spruce syrup
- salt
- white pepper
- 0.5 dl oat cream

Put the pine nuts in a mug and pour enough gin on them to cover them. Peel the root vegetables and cook them in water with the stock. Pour the water away and mash them. (If you're really clever you can save the water to make a sauce for example.) Spice with spruce syrup, salt and white pepper. Add the cream, the soaked nuts and as much of the gin as you wish. Let the mash marinate at least for an hour before serving.

Nutritional values / 1080 g:
energy 1197 kcal
fat 61 g
protein 21 g
carbohydrates 99 g
fiber 19 g


Beer Pots with Potato Crust ‒ Olutruukut muusikuorrutteella

To make the best of those awesome colours of the trees right now I tried to imitate them for the perfect autumnal Sunday dinner. I've never really learned how to use pumpkin so I was going to put some into this. However, I only managed to find huge halves that cost about 10 euros a piece. That's a bit more than I'm ready to pay even for domestic veggies. So instead, I bought 3 kilos of rutabaga with one euro. We'll see where I manage to cram them.

Oh, by the way, the colours of these couple of last photos aren't that awesome. That's because I thought I'd just use my camera's inbuilt flash and filter the ugliest direct light with a yellow dishcloth. Getting the white balance even close to natural after that took me longer than preparing this dish. Maybe next time I understand to fetch a real flash even if the Simpsons is about to start.

- 1 small rutabaga
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celeriac
- 10-15 brussels sprouts
- 0.5 l beer, for example Sinebrychoff Porter or Fuller's London Porter
- 2 dl seitan flour
- 0.5 dl rowan berries
- 1 chili
- 1 dl nutritional yeast
- 1 dose of stock
- white pepper
- 4 potatoes
- 1 dl oat cream
- dragon's wort

Squash the rowan berries and the chili. Make a paste of them and the seitan flour. Add some as well water if needed. Cut the seitan and the vegetables into strips and sauté them. Add the stock, the yeast and some white pepper.

Cook the potatoes. Mash them together with the cream and the dragon's wort. Never apply a blender or other sharp blades to potato unless you want to get glue.

Next you'll need four small oven pots. If you're going to use normal mugs, first check that they're meant to last in the oven. Unfortunately, cheapest ones rarely are. Portion the veggie and seitan mixture into the pots. Pour the beer on them. Scoop the mashed potatoes on top. Put the pots into a 175°C oven until the potato mash starts to turn golden from the edges (about half an hour).

Serve with pickles and lingonberries.

Nutritional values / 1 pot:
energy 357 kcal
fat 7 g
protein 24 g
carbohydrates 36 g
fiber 8 g


Kreative Bloggers

Okriina from Kahvila Vegaani gave me a Kreativ Blogger -award. (Kiitos!) I don't usually do chain memes but this was such a great honour I have to make an acception.

The rules are:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you.
4. Make 7 confessions about yourself that others don't know yet.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Link those 7 to your blog.
7. Tell those 7 about the nomination.

My confessions:
1. I have already told I'm not really a vegan. Well, here's the actual confession: if there's a piece of cheese in my fridge I act like an alcoholic who knows there's a bottle of whiskey in the closet.
2. Last summer I didn't post a thing for couple of months because I was traveling around Siberia and Asia, all alone. During which I started calling Russian kitchen "vodka and potato chips -diet". Would love to go there again.
3. My spouse is the one of us who usually cooks. I just experiment.
4. When he's away (and that's about a month at time) I turn into a zombie. I eat convenience food, smell bad, barely go out and only talk to people in IRC unless they ask me for a visit themselves. But don't worry, I can always post recipes I tried three months ago.
5. I don't even want to understand most diets people have. I just don't see how come potato is unhealthier than any other root vegetable, why you shouldn't eat rye bread, why one should favour Tibetian goji berries over Finnish bilberries or why an ingredient suddenly becomes dangerous as soon as it gets an e-number. IMHO, the only sensible way to find how you should eat is listening to your own body (plus occasional rational reasons) and maybe reading some real researches instead of that pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo and anecdotal evidence you find from women's magazines (what kind of people buy that crap anyway?).
6. I once fantasized over publishing a world-famous cook book and then sending bitter regards to my old home economics teacher in some press conference.
7. My professional interests are about as far as you can get from anything traditional or making things with your hands but do have a lot to do with blogs. As a matter of fact, I feel guilty cause I don't have time to play enough computer games.

Next, the hardest part. How to choose just seven from the infinite selection of great blogs? I decided I'd stick with innovative food blogs, avoid those that have already been nominated and concentrate on the ones I feel aren't as well known as they deserve to be. (This mission also reminded me I should update that link section on the right.)

My awards go to (in no special order):
1. Ketutar of Noidan keittokirja for impressive enthusiasm for confectionery. I don't make sweeties that often myself but when I do I know exactly where to look for recipes. (In Finnish)
2. Lelly of Lelly's Vegan Kitchen for the funniest food blog I know. Cosy Scottish food that makes you want to try it yourself. (In English)
3. The team of Posessed (By Seitan) for showing us that vegans don't have to act like sheeps who smoke hemp and metal music lovers don't have to to live with rotten shark to prove they rock. (In English)
4. Rochelle R. of Weird Recipe Finds for a food blog completely different from the rest since it talks about bad food instead of good. Contains must-tries for any kitchen experimentalist. (In English)
5. Pinea of Kirjeitä keittiöstä (and its predecessors) for telling how two different cuisines, Finnish and Japanese, can be combined in a graceful way. (In Finnish)
6. Pille of Nami-nami for getting me acquainted with the familiar but unfamiliar cuisine of my dear kindred nation. Aitäh! (In English)
7. Timo of Humalablogi for setting up an inspiring example of the love for the world's most diverse and nuanced drink, beer. (In Finnish)


Salmiakki Pasta ‒ Salmiakkipasta

As you may have noticed I'm not especially good in sticking with recipes. For once I thought I'd try with this one simply because Okriina's cookings always sound so perfect just as they are. But of course I couldn't help myself. This is the story of how her liquorice pasta ended up as a salmiakki pasta in my hands.

It may not look like the most conventional combination but works surprisingly well. My spouse looked into the kettle with a horror in his eyes but eventually went for the second round. The taste is really round so it needs some full-bodied red wine to go with, just like the original recipe suggests.

- 250 g pasta
- 2 parsnips (or 250 g yellow beet)
- 1 cellery (which I used instead of fennel that I couldn't find)
- 3 large mushrooms (gods created boletes for the accompaniment of pasta but this time I had to go with champions)
- 0.75 dl walnuts
- 1.5 dl oat cream (I might consider leaving this one out)
- rape oil
- half a lemon peel
- 1/2 dl red wine (which I used instead of 1/4 teaspoon of balsamico)
- 100 g fresh salmiakki liquorice (the original recipe actually warned not to use liquorice types featuring salmiakki but think this came out quite nice)
- big punch of fresh parsley
- big punch of fresh thyme
- black pepper

Oil a casserole. Slice the veggies and put them in it with some oil on top. Bake them in a 300°C oven until they start to turn golden from the edges (about 15 minutes). Remember to turn them over every now and so they won't turn black instead. In the end add the walnuts as well in small pieces.

Cook the pasta in salty water. Pour the extra water out and add the veggies as well as the wine, the cream, the pepper and half of the liquorice so it melts nicely. Chop the parsley and the thyme. Slice the rest of the liquorice. Grind the lemon peel. Throw all into the pasta and stir. Shout: "Dinner is ready!"

Nutritional values / 1400 g (with protein rich dark pasta):
energy 2028 kcal
fat 73 g
protein 79 g
carbohydrates 251 g
fiber 40 g


Salmiakki Ice Cream ‒ Salmiakkijäde

Salmiakki basically means ammonium chloride. In Scandinavian countries (and weirdly, Netherlands) it is combined with sugar and liquorice to make tasty confectioneries. Different varieties are sold in every small food store. And because of the classical shape of the sweets, rhombus or diamond shape is known with the name salmiakki in Finland. Most Finns eat these salt-and-sweet goodnesses just as they eat fruit candies whereas foreigners either seem to fall straight in love with them or think they are the most disgusting thing they've ever tasted.

Salmiakki is also one of the most popular ice cream flavours so of course I had to see if I can make it myself. I first thought I'd use raw salmiakki but after asking from two pharmacies and a pharmacist friend of mine I gave up. One day I'll try to make salmiakki all the way myself from ammonia and muriatic acid but before I own a home chemist kit for children I thought it safer just to buy sweets. This time I used soy cream cause I wanted to make it especially creamy. And creamy it certainly was!

- 1 small box of salmiakki sweets (for example Haganol apteekin salmiakki)
- 1 small box of the strongest non-black salmiakki sweets you can find (for example Lakrisal)
- 4 dl soy cream
- 2 dl soy milk
- 2 tablespoons potato flour

Melt the white salmiakki sweets in the milk. Add the cream and heat it on a stove. Whip the potato flour in carefully so you won't get clumps. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the freezer. Whip down the ice crystals it forms every two hours. When the ice cream starts to solidify add the intact candies. The ice cream should be ready in about six hours.

You can also make a simple salmiakki or liquorice sauce for the ice cream by just dissolving candies into small amount of water.

Nutritional values / 662 g :
energy 958 kcal
fat 73 g
protein 16 g
carbohydrates 59 g
fiber 3 g


Salty Mushroom Salad ‒ Suolasienisalaatti

One of the classic ways to pickle mushrooms for the winter is blanching them with salt. And a classic way to use the blanched mushrooms is of course a creamy salad. This recipe starts from fresh mushrooms but is really meant for blanched ones.

- 500 g mushrooms (for example russulas or milk-caps)
- salt
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
- 1 dl soy yogurt
- punch of fresh chives
- black pepper
- sugar (just a pinch to break the sour taste)

Chop the mushrooms and blanch them in salty water. Cut the onion and the chives into lengthy pieces. Put everything into the same bowl and mix up.

Nutritional values / 760 g:
energy 401 kcal
fat 19 g
protein 19 g
carbohydrates 24 g
fiber 9 g


Mushroom Balls ‒ Suppispallerot

My plan this autumn was to fill the fridge and cook a million different mushroom meals only using mushrooms I've picked myself. But of course I've once again managed to load myself with so many responsibilities that the couple of small mushroom preys I've caught have flown straight to the frying pan. So while the season is still on, here's at least one excellent recipe.

- 2 dl minced mushrooms (for some reason, Cantharellus tubaeformis or suppilovahvero seems ideal for this)
- 2 cooked potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 dl crushed finncrisps (took me about 3 large ones)
- 2 tablespoons soy flour
- 1,5 dl soy yogurt
- 4 garlic cloves
- black pepper
- salt
- 2 tablespoons rape oil

Mash the potatoes with a fork, mince the onion and squeeze the garlic cloves. Mix everything into an even past and roll small balls out of it between your hands. Place straight away on a hot and oily frying pan.

Nutritional values / 1027 g:
energy 1046 kcal
fat 33 g
protein 37 g
carbohydrates 74 g
fiber 19 g


Apple Pie ‒ Omenapiirakka

Here's a weird fact about me: I only eat apples during autumn. This is when you get domestic apples. Every imported one I've ever tried has been just plain watery. Granny Smiths have a nice structure and some sourness but even they seem to lack in taste. And I really haven't found a satisfactory explanation for this. You'd imagine apple trees produce the same apples everywhere. Maybe this has something to do with that EU's ridiculous restriction concerning size and shape of fruits and vegetables (yeap, the infamous cucumber directive) that might prevent selling small (and tasty) apples. Or maybe stores just believe that size is the only thing that matters for the customers. Or maybe it's the climate. Please tell me if you have a clue.

Anyway, apples make a nice pie as well. You'll need rather bitter apples for this. This should come up as a nicely thin and crunchy pie with those juicy apples.

The bottom:
- 100 g margarin
- 3 graham flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of water

The top:
- 5 small apples
- 1/2 dl sugar
- cinnamon
- ginger
- cardamom
- (50 g blue-style soy cheese)

Mix the dough ingredients by hand and spread the result evenly on a buttered pie plate. Cut the apples in chunks and lay them on the pie. Mix the spices the sugar and sprinkle it on the pie. If you want to add some extra twist lay pieces of blue-style soy cheese on top of the rest. Bake in a 200°C oven for half an hour.

Nutritional values / 753 g (with the cheese):
energy 1784 kcal
fat 81 g
protein 35 g
carbohydrates 217 g
fiber 27 g
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