Long flaxes, fine hemps and turnips size of a plate to everyone! That's what you're supposed to shout when sliding down a snowy hill on Laskiainen (the name of which refers to either descending or sliding). You see, today is one of those ancient Finnish holidays that are slowly gaining back their popularity. Connections to English Shrove Tuesday are close but in the Finnish version both Sunday and Tuesday are equally important.
During christianization Laskiainen became so intensely affected by the beginning of the Easter lent that we can now only speculate about its original meaning – and what could possibly be more fun! Slavic peoples celebrated the Sun (eating blintzes to symbolize it) and the end of the winter at this time so some believe this is also true about Laskiainen. One hint is all the well-wishing for the next harvest season. It actually looks like this time of the year used to mark the beginning of the spring all around Europe. Flax and hemp, the most important fiber plants, had a position especially significant as well as combing hair, a clear symbol for flax. All weaving and spinning was paused during the holiday. According to one theory (by Kustaa Vilkuna) it was in a way an ancient Labour Day but this sounds like a rather modern idea to me.
Today was foggy which makes the air feel really cold. So after couple of hours of sliding a thick pea soup is a must. It's an essential dish for Laskiainen but also something even a child knows you're supposed to have on Thursdays. This is how I usually make the basic version, tuned with herbs. Sometimes I like to make a double portion for the freezer.
- 500 g dried peas
- 1.5 l water (more if needed)
- 1 punch of sage
- 1 dose of stock (miso fits here as well)
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 4 dl textured soy protein flakes (or smoked tofu)
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- yarrow flowers (just a hint)
Soak the peas at least overnight. (This shortens the cooking time). You can sprout them as well if you have time. Rinse. Add the water, the stock, the salt, the pepper and the yarrow. Cook until the peas are starting to get mushy (the time needed depends a lot on how long you soaked and sprouted, but prepare yourself to at least three hours).
Chop the onion. Sauté on an oiled pan with the soy flakes until they turn golden or even crunchy. Grate the carrot and cut up the sage. Add everything into the soup. The longer you cook or more times you rewarm the soup the better it gets.
Enjoy with mustard and rye bread.
Nutritional values / 2 l:
energy 1922 kcal
fat 29 g
protein 123 g
carbohydrates 277 g
fiber 66 g