Ice Cream for Troll Winter ‒ Jäätelö taikatalveksi

Forecasts promise -11°C for New Year's Eve and I'm making ice cream! Yeap, I know that sounds idiotic but I just bought a pile of Christmas presents for myself, including a cook book about tofu. It made me realize you can make ice cream from soft tofu so I had to try. Of course I knew puréed tofu gives soups and smoothies a fantastic silky structure but somehow I had previously assumed you'd need cream to make ice cream.

First I thought I'd use glögi spices but then those more ethereal flavours drove over. There's no point in repeating the same things you have in the gingerbread crumbles. Think this is a wonderful dessert option for all those heavy chocolate boxes everyone has lying on the table this time of the year. And actually, a pretty healthy one as well.

The name refers to a book of Tove Jansson where Moomintroll wakes up in the middle of his hibernation, feeling all cold and alone. I can so relate to that. I'm almost certain that I ought to hibernate during wintertime but the society forces be to stay up.

- 200 g lingonberries
- 3 tablespoons lingonberry jam
- 400 g soft tofu (If you're making hemp tofu for this just forget the pressing part.)
- 3 dl gingerbread crumbs (The lovers of the unbaked paste can try rolling small balls out of raw gingerbread.)
- heather flowers
- lavender flowers (Just a hint since their scent unfortunately associates with perfume and you wouldn't want to eat perfume. It's the same problem with spearmint and tooth paste.)

Leave the frozen berries on the table for a moment to soften them up enough so you can crush them. Whip everything but the gingerbread crumbs together and stick the bowl into freezer. (Don't press the tofu even if you normally would.) Stir occasionally to break down any forming ice crystals. When you start to have hard time with the stirring (after about five hours) throw in the gingerbread crumbs and freeze one more hour. Serve with a hot drink.

The freezing of tofu ice cream seemed to be taking longer than normally and then again, it seemed to freeze really thoroughly. (This may be just due to the berries.) So thoroughly that if you don't eat it right away you have to leave it on the table for about an hour before serving in order to scoop anything out of it. The partly frosted, partly melted structure on the other hand is just heavenly.

Nutritional values / 690 g:
energy 512 kcal
fat 16 g
protein 25 g
carbohydrates 66 g
fiber 16 g


Beetroot and Pea Loaf ‒ Punajuuri-hernemureke

We usually spend the Yule eve at my spouse's mum since his siblings gather there as well and then go to see my parents on the Yule day. We don't buy much gifts but think it's nice to bring something special for the dinner table. Knowing his family, my spouse convinced me we should make them a seitan roast, along these lines. After all, the only hardcore carnivore on the table was his big brother, the chair of the local hunting club, but even he hadn't eaten pig for a year. And to my surprise, instead of thinking seitan as a fake ham they seemed to like it, even though I myself thought there was too much spices and the experiment with rye flour had made the structure rather sandy.

My parents on the other hand have a history of being much harder to please. I'd like to think they've stopped mocking my vegetarianism cause they now realize I'm a responsible grown-up and have started enjoying my dishes since I've become a better cook but actually, think the change happened when I dragged home a 34-year old, hairy, oveweight and loud guy who refused to eat meat. The power of example is amazing. Still, for them, I thought the beetroot and pea loaf from the book Härkäpapua sarvista (Irina Somersalo & al., Multikustannus 2007) would be a safer option.

Last time I tried something like this was a fiasco (lacking of taste and crumbling apart) so this time I wanted to follow a recipe rather faithfully. The medley of different herbs is naturally very dominant, and since there are so many of them you can't really put your finger on any specific one. Somehow I thought they made the loaf taste more like summer than Yule but liked the result anyway. It doesn't make a centerpiece for a dinner table but it's a good sidekick on the fancier side.

Pea layer:
- 1 dl crushed peas (or 3 dl cooked peas)
- 3 dl water
- 2 potatoes
- 0.5 dl buckwheat flour
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 0.5 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon herb salt

Beetroot layer:
- 2 large beetroots
- 1 potato
- 0.5 dl buckwheat flour
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 0.5 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 teaspoon parsley
- 0.25 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon herb salt

Cook the peas with the two potatoes in scarce amount of water. Let them cool down. Then mash and mix with the other ingredients of the pea layer. Cook the beetroots with the potato (again, with minimum amount of water so you won't have to waste any taste into the sewer). Cool down as well. Mash them smooth with the rest of the beetroot layer ingredients (you can either smooth down the onion in a blender or such like the rest or just chop crunchy pieces out of it).

Butter a mold. Pour in the pea layer and spread it even. Pour the beetroot layer on the pea layer and spread even as well. Cook 40 minutes in a 200°C oven in a water bath (this can be achieved by placing the mold into a larger casserole where you pour some water).

Serve cold. Enjoy with some perky sauce or slice on crackers.

Nutritional values / 1055 g:
energy 771 kcal
fat 2 g
protein 33 g
carbohydrates 149 g
fiber 24 g


Barley and Raisin Casserole ‒ Ohra-rusinalaatikko

Happy Yule! The Sun has born again! You can clearly see how the day is now longer again... Well, at least if you use a lot of imagination.

One of the four classic casseroles of the Finnish Yule table is liver casserole. That's something bound to divide opinions even amongst meat eaters. Some get repulsed by the sheer idea of eating organs while I remember loving it as a child. One person I know even explained she's a vegetarian most of the time but has this perversion (that's the term she used herself) of eating a whole liver casserole once a year.

Making a vegan version without that dreaded body part isn't complicated at all but it's much harder to make up the name. Yeast is what gives a special flavour into this but using it in the name has the same problem as its predecessor: doesn't sound too appealing, no matter how quickly the stuff tends to vanish at our home. So instead I named this after the other distinctive ingredient, raisin though I think I could try some dried berries next year instead. Feel free to suggest a better title.

The original version of this was posted here.

- 2 dl barley grains
- 2 dl soy crumbles (TSP)
- 0.5 dl soy sauce
- 1 red onion
- 1 dl raisins
- 2 dl oat cream
- 2 tablespoons dark syrup
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 100 g yeast paté (for example Tartex or Marmite)
- 2 tablespoons margarine

Soak the raisins in water. Cook the barley. Chop the onion and sauté together with the soy crumbles and soy sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a buttered casserole. Top with margarine pieces. Bake 45 minutes in a 175°C oven. Enjoy with lingonberry cram.

Nutritional values / 800 g:
energy 1613 kcal
fat 73 g
protein 55 g
carbohydrates 180 g
fiber 37 g



There are four standars casseroles in the standing Finnish Yule table: carrot, rutabaga, liver and potato. The idea is to take just couple of spoonfuls of each so they'll form a colourful medley of tastes. They're designed to get better and better when rewarmed again and again during those magical days of night.

My definite favourite of these is the potato version tuuvinki that is sweetened naturally. Some people just use dark syrup or sweet potato instead of waiting but I call that cheating.

- 1 kg potatoes (floury variety)
- 4 dl oat milk
- 2 tablespoons wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons margarine

Cook and mash the potatoes. Add the wheat flour (as well as some water if the potatoes seem dry) and pour the mashed potatoes into a casserole. Leave to sweeten in a warm place for a night. If you don't have one set your oven to the lowest temperature possible and keep the mash there for a few hours.

Taste. If the potatoes haven't sweetened enough on their own (= the place you chose wasn't warm enough) you can pour in a tablespoon of dark syrup at this point. Stir in the other ingredients as well. Top with margarine pieces. Bake 3 hours in a 150°C oven.

Nutritional values / 1451 g (also see Fineli):
energy 1033 kcal
fat 25 g
protein 22 g
carbohydrates 174 g
fiber 20 g



Happy Winter Solstice!
Well, actually that was yesterday but I was celebrating it in Estonia. That's when the holiday starts for me, lasting all the way to Talvennapa (January 13th), supposedly the coldest day of the year. Meanwhile, the Sun is sleeping so we have to light candles instead and feast.

One of those dishes that really make my Joulu is rosolli. Think I could eat a whole bucket of it. Rosolli or sallatti is a simple beetroot salad known in all of northern side of Europe from Netherlands to Russia. The name rosolli comes from Russian rosol, meaning salty. Of course everybody uses a bit different amounts, some leave apple or onion out altogether and some even put salted herring in it. But here's a recipe to start with.

- 4 beetroots
- 3 potatoes
- 3 carrots
- 1 apple
- 1 onion
- 2 pickles

Cook and peel the root vegetables. Cut all the ingredients into cubes. Mix. Serve cold, possibly together with whipped oat cream coloured and spiced with the vinegary pickling juice of beetroots.

Nutritional values / 1350 g:
energy 475 kcal
fat 1 g
protein 13 g
carbohydrates 96 g
fiber 25 g


Yule Bread ‒ Joululimppu

As I've mentioned earlier, here in western Finland soft bread or limppu used to be eaten only couple of times a year. One such important holiday was ‒ and still is ‒ Joulu or Yule. My idea of a proper joululimppu involves black skin, softness, sweetness and a lot of spices. Such taste needs some time to evolve.

My inspirations for this creation come mainly from mustaleipä ("black bread") of Åland islands and fairer looking but spicier joululimppu recipes. I also thought about throwing in some dried cranberries or nuts but totally forgot. Well, it's not like this would exactly need them. Ideally the bread should be baked couple of days before the actual eating but guess if I could keep my hands off for so long.

- 4 dl oat yogurt (or soy yogurt ‒ anything goes as long as it's sour)
- 3 dl rye malts
- 0.5 dl dark syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 dl rye flour

- 25 g yeast
- 3 dl wheat bran
- 5 dl dark wheat or spelt flour (This is how much I counted I'd need based on other recipes but it seemed to take quite a lot more. Next time I make this I promise to update the amount.)
- 3 tablespoons rowan jelly (just for the flavour, this can be dropped out if you don't have any)
- 1 teaspoon fennel
- 1 teaspoon anise
- powdered bitter orange peel
- some mixture of dark syrup and coffee for buttering

Mix together the yogurt, the malts, the syrup the salt and 2.25 dl rye flour. Sprinkle rest of the rye flour on the composition and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place for a day (or two if it seems to bubble lazily).

Dissolve the yeast in a drop of lukewarm water. Add the yeast and the rest of the ingredients into the fizzy drink you made yesterday. Cover with a towel again and let it rise for 6 ‒ 8 hours.

Knead it into a semicircle or an oval. Let your loaf rise under a towel for ten minutes. Bake it 10 minutes in a 200°C oven. Butter with the syrup and coffee mixture. Bake 10 more minutes and rebutter. Wrap the loaf into folio, turn the oven to 150°C and leave the bread in there for three hours. Turn off the oven and take the bread out when the oven has gone cold.

Nutritional values / 1150 g:
energy 2705 kcal
fat 23 g
protein 77 g
carbohydrates 537 g
fiber 64 g


Red Onion Sauce ‒ Punasipulikastike

This quick sauce seems to be on everybody's Christmas dinner list in this animal rights forum. And no wonder. Oat, syrup and red onion form a pleasant, sweet trinity where the spices bring the final kick.

- 2 large red onions
- 4 dl oat cream
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- 2 teaspoons dark syrup
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons milled black pepper
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 good punch of fresh parsley

Cut the red onions into semicircles. Sauté in oil. Pour on them everything but the parsley. Let the sauce simmer for 5 ‒ 10 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally. If your sauce looks too thick add water, and if too thin add potato flour.

Chop the parsley and sprinkle on the sauce. Enjoy together with casseroles and other Joulu dishes.

Nutritional values / 4 dl:
energy 862 kcal
fat 54 g
protein 14 g
carbohydrates 80 g
fiber 9 g


Plum Seitan ‒ Luumuseitan

Though I actually eat them rarely, plums are among the tastiest fruits I know, be it straight from a tree or dried ones. Chocochili's seitan dish reminded me of a simple meat dish my mum used to prepare although BBC's original pork version of it doesn't look like that at all. But at the same time, there was something so christmassy in this I thought I'd save it for December.

When I finally started cooking, I noticed I was out of vinegar so I replaced the stock part with red wine (and had to finish the rest of the bottle as well so it wouldn't turn into vinegar). Oh poor me. Also, I assumed the plums in the original are fresh ones so I doubled the amount for dried ones and dismissed the sugar. So finally, I ended up with a treat like this:

The seitan:
- 3 dl seitan flour (aka gluten flour)
- 1.5 dl pea flour (or chickpea)
- 0.5 dl soy sauce
- 0.5 dl rape oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- smoked pepper powder
- water (just enough to make it stick together, about 1 dl)

The rest:
- 1 onion (or 10 pickled spring onions)
- 10 dried plums
- 1 carrot (or celeriac)
- 4 dl red wine
- 1 dl tomato sauce
- 1 dried chili
- anise or star anise (I bet salmiakki would work as well)
- cardamom
- juniper berries

Mix the seitan ingredients. Slice into strips and drop into boiling water. Precook about half an hour (I like to season the water with some stock). Slice the onions and the carrots. Halve the plums. Combine everything in a casserole. Let the plum seitan simmer for 45 minutes in a 175ºC oven. Thicken the marinade by boiling it together in a sauce pot and return on the seitan (or if you're lazy like me, just sprinkle some potato flour on top and stir).

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Nutritional values / 1272 g:
energy 1890 kcal
fat 54 g
protein 143 g
carbohydrates 139 g
fiber 21 g


Karelian Pasties ‒ Karjalanpiirakat

Yesterday was Finland's Independence Day. In most countries, that's a lively carnival. In Finland it has evolved into a more dignified, even pious day, largely consisting of remembering World War II and honouring the veterans who ‒ as the only nation ‒ managed to fight back against Stalin's invasion. For my generation which doesn't even remember there ever existed a place called Soviet Union it's more about gathering together some friends, burning candles, eating well, talking about new laws that threaten our freedom of speech or right to privacy and of course, laughing at the dresses of the president's ball that YLE broadcasts every year.

While others played a game where you get a point every time you know a name of a ball guest and another one from knowing the reason they're invited I pinched up some Karelian pasties. From numerous hand-size Karelian pie types these are the ones that have an almost iconic status so I thought they'd make an appropriate snack for Independence Day. They have a thin rye crust and just about anything as a filling. Nowadays rice porridge is the filling number one and potato second but barley, talkkuna, buckwheat, carrot or rutabaga would make them a bit more "authentic" (what a terrible word). They can even have a sweet berry porridge inside. This time I used a simple turnip filling and a crust recipe straight from a flour bag.

The crust:
- 5.5 dl sifted rye flour (if you can only find normal kind you should replace some of it with wheat flour)
- 2 dl water
- 2 teaspoons salt

The rest:
- 1 kg turnip
- white pepper
- 100 g margarine
- 1 dl oat milk

Cook the turnips. Peel and mash them together with the pepper and half the margarine. While the filling cools down, mix the crust ingredients together with your hands. Roll the paste into a thin layer (use extra flour generously so it won't stick). Take circular pieces from the layer with the help of a floured water glass.

Now roll each circle into an oval. Lay a spoonful of turnip mash on it and fold the edges with your index finger and thumb, from both sides simultaneously, pinching "wrinkles" on the filling as you go along. Bake about fifteen minutes in a 275ºC oven.

Melt the rest of the margarine and add the milk into it. Butter the oven-fresh pastries from both sides and lay them into a bowl over each other. Cover with a towel and let them soften up for about an hour.

Serve hot or cold, perhaps together with tar syrup.

Nutritional values / 1785 g:
energy 2084 kcal
fat 82 g
protein 48 g
carbohydrates 284 g
fiber 78 g


The Weirdest Glögis

A punch of friends invited themselves at my place to throw one more pikkujoulu party. We listened to the greatest Christmas songs (like this or this) and tried the weirdest glögi ideas we could find. These are starting to get pretty far from any definition of glögi but what matters most, all turned out surprisingly delicious. Exceptionally, I'll write just one long post about them.

Carrot Glögi ‒ Porkkanaglögi

This one sounded like the most awful one so we started with it. But the drink came out quite yummy and didn't taste healthy at all.

- 1 l carrot juice
- half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 2 dl vodka (the bottle in the photo actually isn't vodka)

Wash and grind the lemon half (don't peel). Put the lemon and the cloves into a kettle together with the juice and let it simmer for a moment. Filter out the bits and pieces. Pour into mugs. Finalize with vodka.

Beer Glögi ‒ Olutglögi

I bought three bottles of Sinebrychoff's excellent porter for this and felt so bad in advance for having to ruin it. But no, this came out good as well though there was a bit too much ginger in relation to cinnamon.

- 1 l porter
- 2 dl water
- 1 piece of fresh ginger
- 5 cinnamon sticks

Peel the ginger piece. Let the ginger and the cinnamon sticks simmer in the water until you've caught their taste. Combine the liquid part with the beer and warm it up. Be careful not to boil the beer since it turns bitter quite easily. Beer glögi is best enjoyed while still hot.

Snowball Glögi ‒ Lumipalloglögi

The last one was the winner. There are quite many flavours in this drink but they all seemed to stand out. Sadly, the snowball itself melted all too fast.

- 1 l soy milk
- 2 dl water
- half vanilla pod
- green tea (I used a variety spiced with fruit pieces)
- spruce syrup
- 2 dl whipped oat cream
- cinnamon
(- brandy to taste)

Let the vanilla and the tea simmer in the water. Add the syrup and the milk and warm up the whole thing. Filter into mugs. Pour in some brandy if you wish. Let your guests crown the drink with a cream snowball and cinnamon.


Gingerbread ‒ Piparit

Warning: Keeping a food blog may cause you to try the weirdest things. Last year my spouse came home from a journey just in time for Yule so I surprised him by decorating gingerbread cookies with obscene symbols and hanging them all around our home. Knowing exactly how good I am with handicrafts I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have even crossed my mind to build a full gingerbread house if I couldn't tell about it here. The artwork in the photo is my third one and it was built together with three friends of mine. If you want to see more traditional examples gather ideas from here.

In different countries, gingerbread can mean all sorts of cakes or biscuits. In Scandinavia it means a dark, thin and crunchy biscuit with a generous amount of spices. They're eaten almost exclusively during Christmas time. Besides houses, they often have a shape of people, pigs, spruces, hearts, stars and bucks. The Finnish name piparkakku comes from Swedish pepparkaka, "pepper cake".

Here's the most basic gingerbread recipe I can think of (combining at least this and this recipe):

- 2 dl dark syrup
- 2 dl sugar
- 1 dl water
- 200 g quality margarine (for example Keiju 70 %)
- 1 l wheat flour (or spelt)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon clove
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 0.5 tablespoon bitter orange peel

Melt together the sugar, the syrup, the water and the spices. Pour the hot mixture over the margarine. Keep stirring until the margarine has melted as well. Let the mixture cool down a bit and then whip it fluffier. Filter in the flour and the soda in small amounts. Leave the paste in the fridge for overnight. Try not to eat it all.

Next day you can roll the paste out into a thin layer (I recommend sprinkling some flour on the table first). Cut it into merry shapes and put them into a 200°C oven until they've gotten some nice brown colour (10-15 minutes).

If you wish, decorate the cookies with an icing made of water and confectioner's sugar. You can get a pink colour by adding a drop of beetroot juice in the icing or a blue one with bilberry juice.

When building a house you should first draw blueprints (if creating your own architectural design it helps to make a model out of cardboard). Cut the paste into flat shapes you can put together after baking. Don't forget to make a soil from the last lump to build your house on. The pieces will swell in the oven so it may be a good idea to cut the edges a little right after they come from the oven and are still soft. Let them cool down and then decorate. Glue the pieces together (and repair the broken ones) with sugar melted on a non-sticky frying pan. You need to be quick, careful and precise with this phase so a calm, grown-up assistant would certainly help. Finally, turn the collapsing side of the house towards a wall and sprinkle some more confectioner's sugar ("snow") over it to cover the ugliest seams.

Nutritional values / 1500 g:
energy 4990 kcal
fat 156 g
protein 87 g
carbohydrates 802 g
fiber 25 g


Food Blog of the Month \o/

Wow. Mämmi was chosen the food blog of the month by Suomalaisen ruokakulttuurin edistämisohjelma ("Program for Promoting Finnish Food Culture"). It's a three-year program started by Finnish government and aims to uplift the respect of good food. Judging by the list of the previous acknowledged blogs I'm in first-class company. Mämmi isn't even the first vegan blog that has been selected but it is the first one in English. Excuse me for repeating myself but wow!

Here are the reasons they mention:
"Mämmi on blogi, joka on selkeästi profiloitunut suomalaisen ruokaperinteen sanansaattajana. Se muistuttaa unohdetuista suomalaisista herkuista ja luo niistä omia, tuoreita versioitaan. Englanninkielisyytensä ansiosta Mämmi kertoo ruokakulttuuristamme myös ulkomaalaisille - tehden sen iloisesti ja nöyristelemättä. Blogin jokainen postaus vakuuttaa lukijansa rikkaasta ruokakulttuurista, jonka antimia voi soveltaa monenlaisen ruokailijan tarpeisiin sopiviksi."
Apparently I've managed to do something right for a change. It's been less than a year but I find food writing abnormally fun and addictive. It encourages me to try new things in the kitchen (which certainly improves at least my own nutrition) and gives the satisfaction of filling a certain empty spot in something I care about. Hope I'll stay this excited in the future as well!
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