Strawberries in Sparkling Wine Bath ‒ Mansikat kuohuviinikylvyssä

Tomorrow it's May Day. Finns call the day Vappu after German Walpurgisnacht since it's quite a new carnival of labour and students. There are much more traditional holidays during springtime and just as riotous but I'll tell you about them some other time. Right now I have my mind set for tonight.

The previous night, you see, is the one of jolly picnics. Or so it would be if it didn't rain. Me and my friends decided to have a picnic inside instead, at my place, and so I thought I'd repeat the dessert we had last year. Lea's version also had cucumber slices but for my level of experientialism they were a bit too much. Actually, in the tasting of last year each one of us wanted to leave out a different ingredient but since I'm the one who prepared the dish this time I got to decide. In any case, it certainly features things you won't see in my kitchen every day so it's perfect for this type of special occasion. Perhaps even more so for some summer parties when strawberries are in season and taste like strawberries.

- 0.75 l sparkling wine (Real, not champagne. Good quality cider goes fine as well.)
- 2-3 strawberries per portion (about 250 g)
- 0.5 dl dark sugar
- 1 dl water
- 1 punch of fresh lemon balm (or mint)
- 2 teaspoons agar powder (you can also use pectin but that means you'll need more sugar as well)

Slice the strawberries and arrange them into your serving glasses (I used six glasses). Mince most of the lemon balm. Cook it with the water for a few minutes to seize the aroma. Filter out the balm parts.

Add the sugar, the agar and some of the wine. Let the mixture come to a boil, then move it out of the stove. Mix very carefully with the rest of the wine (so you won't loose the bubbles) and pour evenly on the strawberries.

Decorate with lemon balm leaves. Refrigerate for couple of hours.

Nutritional values / 1 portion / 206 g :
energy 139 kcal
fat 0 g
protein 1 g
carbohydrates 12 g
fiber 1 g


Spring Welcoming Drink ‒ Kevääntoivotusjuoma

My spouse is usually the smoothie expert in our family but this time I thought I'd try something as well. With this quick and festal drink I'm taking part in this month's food challenge. It's perfect non-alcoholic but if you wish, the sea buckthorn should cover up the taste of bad spirits quite easily.

- 2 pears (I used canned)
- 1 dl sea buckthorn berries
- 3 dl birch sap (or sparkling water if sap is not available)
- 1 tablespoon spruce syrup

Chill down the ingredients. Blend smooth. Chill down yourself and enjoy while admiring the awakening nature.

Nutritional values / 723 g:
energy 229 kcal
fat 3 g
protein 1 g
carbohydrates 45 g
fiber 12 g


Turnip Porridge ‒ Naurispuuro

I know I just posted a dish combining turnip and barley but they happen to work so well together. Besides, I had to use the rest of the turnips somewhere so one of the numerous Finnish root vegetable porridges felt appropriate. This very same breakfast meal is just as often done with potato but you might also want to try carrot or rutabaga. The relation between turnip and barley varies quite a lot in different recipes; I prefer mine with more turnip and less flour.

- 700 g turnips
- 2 dl barley flour
- 7 dl water
- salt

Peel and chop the turnips. Cook them until soft. Puré with the water. Add more water if the result looks too thick (sometimes beer is used but in that case you should be very careful). Sift in the flour and the salt. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Eat while still hot!

Nutritional values / 1530 g:
energy 575 kcal
fat 5 g
protein 18 g
carbohydrates 113 g
fiber 23 g


Tarry Barlotto ‒ Tervainen ohratto

One-pot meals are quick to prepare which is just perfect this time of the year when you just want to get all the possible extra minutes to take a walk outside. I'm not always so certain whether they really require a recipe but at least different recipes are good for sharing combination ideas. This is a colourful, savoury dish that features some of my favourite ingredients.

- 4 dl whole barley grains
- 150 g tempeh (or smoked tofu)
- 2 turnips
- 1 carrot
- half a leek
- 5 dl water
- 1 dl oat cream
- 0.5 dl tar liqueur
- 1 tablespoon rape oil (I prefer cold pressed type)
- 1 dose of stock
- rosemary
- curry
- salt

Sauté the barley. In the meanwhile, peel and chop the veggies. Cut the tempeh as well. Move the barley aside for a moment and do the same for the turnips, the carrot and if you wish, the tempeh. When they're starting to look tasty, throw in the rest. Let the barlotto simmer until most of the liquid has vaporized (about half an hour).

Nutritional values / 1300 g (not counting the liqueur):
energy 1726 kcal
fat 48 g
protein 72 g
carbohydrates 256 g
fiber 52 g



The most discussed cook book over the last few years has most certainly been Natural Harvest - quite an interesting phenomena to anyone even slightly interested in cultural taboos. Semen and this viili I just made have at least two things in common. The oblivious one is the way they look. The second one is that strictly speaking, neither one is a vegan ingredient. But as I found out, viili could be.

Viili is a fermented milk product popular around Scandinavia and probably my personal favourite. Compared to yogurt it's rather sour and has a structure much more ropy (here's a demonstration). It can be eaten as such or with jam, talkkuna or ryecrisp pieces. I've never seen it sold vegan but it turned out just as easy to prepare with vegetable milks as it is with cow milk. Micro organisms usually aren't too picky.

You need couple of spoonfuls from an older viili batch to get the bacteria. This is most easily done by buying a jar of non-vegan viili, unless you have a chance to come and get some straight from me. Then you just need to fill the cup with milk, mix it a bit and leave uncovered on some warm place overnight. Next day you can refrigerate the cup. It takes a few more days for the taste to evolve right. Check now and then to find your preferred intensity.

The front cup in the photo with the velvety fungus surface is made out of soy milk. I used a sweetened brand but the basic taste was quickly run over by the characteristic taste of viili. The oat version didn't look as adorable but I actually preferred its taste. Oat milk is usually much thinner, forms some watery spots and takes longer to mature so I used a dollop of oat cream in it as well. The result can be seen in the background.
Osta neljä tuotetta ja maksat vain kolmesta - Luomutallin kampanjatuotteet näet täältä

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