Strawberry Cake ‒ Mansikkatäytekakku

I haven't blogged a total failure for a while so perhaps this was bound to happen. I've been watching how to make basic layered birthday cakes all my life but I've never tried one myself. It turned out much harder than I had thought. Needless to say, I'm no confectioner but perhaps I should just stick to salty dishes altogether.

I took the crust recipe from a forum post. It gave 75 minutes for the oven time but after 50 minutes I started to smell something burning. The cake had got scorched only a little but simple moistening didn't really return the softness I had hoped for. After the first bite I also had to check if I had read right the amount of sugar which it seemed to drown all the other tastes, including pineapple weed (pihasaunio) which I have just come to like on its own right and not just as a poor man's camomile.

As if this wasn't enough I couldn't just frost the cake with the standard oat cream you can by from food stores. I tried this topping recipe but apparently wasn't patient enough since it remained all runny and kept bringing down the strawberries on top. At the end I tried fixing the edges with a store-bought soy cream spray I don't really like but didn't have much better luck with it either.

If possible, the whole thing became even more crooked looking as I carried it across the town for a picnic meeting. Miraculously it was edible although not exactly the best cake I have ever tried. Here are the measurements I used. Be careful with them.

The cake:
- 190 g margarine
- 9 dl wheat flour (I mixed graham and white flour)
- 5.25 teaspoons baking powder
- 3.4 dl sugar
- 4.5 dl oat milk (or mineral water)
- 1 tablespoon flowers and leaves of pineapple weeds
- apple juice for moistening (approximately 1 dl)

The frosting:
- 2 dl soy milk
- 75 g margarine (or 50 g coconut butter)
- 2.5 tablespoons potato flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- piece of a vanilla pod
- salt (just a pinch)

The filling:
- 500 g strawberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flowers and leaves of pineapple weeds

Mince the pineapple weed. Mix the dry ingredients together and shrub together with the margarine. Add the milk, carefully. Pour into a buttered cake mold and put into a 200°C oven for as long as needed (45 minutes?). Let the cake cool down a bit and flip over to a sugared parchment paper.

When the cake has fully cooled down cut it in layers (I only used two layers but if you want three or more you might want to find some other filling to the second layer. Some jam for example.) Moist with apple juice. Mash the filling ingredients together with a fork. Spread between the cake layers and let it rest in the fridge.

For the frosting, heat up most of the milk, the margarine, the sugar and the salt in a saucepan. Let the mixture come to a boil and remove from the stove. Mix the potato flour with the rest of the milk. Blend the two together. Refrigerate. When the frosting has cooled down completely (think this was the part where I lost my patience), continue by whipping it into a fluffy cream. It should be thick enough for spreading on the cake as such and possible to pipe if you cool it down again.

Let the cake juice up in cold before serving. Decorate with strawberries or pineapple weeds.

Nutritional values / 2445 g:
energy 5468 kcal
fat 209 g
protein 92 g
carbohydrates 793 g
fiber 37 g


Salmiakki Milk ‒ Salmiakkimaito

From all my weird heat drink mixtures usually involving either tea or coffee, this one goes perhaps best together with 600-page academic books. It's very simple but unless you're using liquid or powdered salmiakki you'll need some patience.

- 26 g salmiakki sweets (I used Lakrisal)
- 3 dl soy milk
- 1 dl cold coffee
- ice cubes

Crush the salmiakki a bit and with the milk. Leave it in the fridge until the next day. Mix with the coffee. Enjoy with a lemon slice.

For a quicker and alcoholic version use 1 dl of Salmiakkikossu instead of the sweets.

Nutritional values / 4 dl:
energy 192 kcal
fat 6 g
protein 12 g
carbohydrates 25 g
fiber 0 g


Sandwich Cake ‒ Voileipäkakku

Sandwich cakes are a very Scandinavian thing. They're just like normal cakes except salty and usually the dish in formal occasions that disappears the quickest. In Finland they typically contain many layers but especially Swedish-speakers seem to prefer them resembling one large sandwich with a single layer and a pile of toppings.

You can use any soft bread together with bread spreads you like, for example hummus, guacamole or thick mayonnaise. It's not even rare to see several flavour options in the same coffee table if there are a lot of guests (and coffee table culture is a serious business for Finns - something you shouldn't play around with). Here's one model to tweak.

- 1 loaf that fits into a loaf tin (white, dark or slices from both)
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 125 g radish
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- vegetable broth for moistening (or oat milk)

1. filling:
- 2 dl cooked horse beans
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- basil

2. filling (and frosting):
- 1 portion of cold cucumber soup, only with the yogurt drained first and the cider replaced with two tablespoons of white wine to make it thicker.

3. filling:
- 100 g soft tofu
- 1 dl hazelnuts
- 1 artichoke (or a young cabbage head)
- 2 tablespoons of mustard

Cut the bread lengthwise in four pieces (and remove the crust if it feels hard). Moisten the pieces by sprinkling vegetable broth on them.

Chop the bell pepper, the onion and the artichoke. Oil them and roast in a 200C oven for about half an hour. Remember to turn them around every now and then. Prepare the fillings by mashing together the ingredients. It's ok to leave clumps.

Slice the radishes and half the cherry tomatoes. Now you're ready to put the whole beauty together. Place the top bread slice into your loaf. Spread with the first filling and add some radish slices. Place the second and the bottom layer in the same manner. Flip the whole thing over onto your serving plate and remove the loaf. Cover with the middle filling. Decorate with cherry tomatoes and parsley.

Nutritional values / 3574 g:
energy 5516 kcal
fat 126 g
protein 219 g
carbohydrates 806 g
fiber 168 g


Fermented Rowan Tee ‒ Hiostettu pihlajatee

The easiest way to get herb teas is just drying up the leaves and flowers you plan to use. This summer I thought I'd learn a new method of finding some new tastes from familiar plants by fermenting. This is how green tea turns into black tea.

The leaves in the photo are from a rowan tree. I also mixed some bilberry and fireweed (which is by the way an excellent basis for any tee mixture) leaves with it. Other plants more than appropriate here include for example raspberry, black currant and birch.

When the leaves you plan to use are still fresh, crush them (between your hands or using a rolling pin for example) so they juice up evenly. Lay them fluffily in a large glass jar and cover. The process needs some oxygen so see the lid isn't too tight.

Place the jar in a hot place (40-50°C) for as long as the leaves have turned brown. You can for example cover the jar with a black t-shirt and leave it on a window sill on a hot summer day or put it in a polystyrene box with hot water bottles. Depending on the plant this may take only an hour (as in the case of rowan) or several days. Last, make sure the leaves have dried up as well so they won't mildew. (I spread them on a newspaper for a night.)

The aroma lasts longer if you store the leaves intact and crush them only a moment before usage.


Tomato Soup for a Heat Wave ‒ Hellepäivän tomaattikeitto

When mother nature decides to break some heat records you don't feel like eating but you know you ought to grub something in order not to feel even worse. In a situation like that cold liquids are super. This drinkable salad should take almost no effort to prepare. And no, it's neither gazpacho nor bloody Mary. Actually, gazpacho doesn't even have to be cold nor contain tomato.

- 700 g ripe tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 celery rib
- 0.5 roasted garlic (or 3 garlic cloves)
- 1 punch of fresh basil
- 0.5 red chili pepper
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon dark syrup
- black pepper
- salt

Chop the tomatoes and smooth them down in a blender. Chop the other veggies as well and smooth down again. Add the spices and - you guessed it - smooth down. Check the taste. Move into a refrigerator for couple of hours so it has time to juice up and get chilled.

Nutritional values / 1108 g:
energy 336 kcal
fat 2 g
protein 13 g
carbohydrates 62 g
fiber 15 g


A Food Meme

Lately, I've seen many Finnish food bloggers I follow answering the same questionnaire, for example Kamomilla from Kamomillan konditoria. I've found it interesting to read what they have to say so thought I'd go for it as well.

How do you enjoy your coffee/tea?

First thing in the morning: two mugs of filter coffee with a drop of oat milk. If no vegetable milk or unprocessed cow milk is available I'd rather have it black please. I'm not a big fan of espresso-based coffees though I drink them sometimes (unlike those awful quick coffees) but love Japanese-style black ice coffee.

I also prepare a lot of different loose teas and herbal teas. Basic black tea is something I can't drink without a sweetener and I often throw in some spices as well. During summertime I always keep some self-made ice tea in the fridge.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Lately I've been eating porridge with some jam plus a carrot, but more often it's been toasted rye bread with changing toppings. And coffee is always what comes first, something I won't give up even when traveling.

Peanut butter?

Maybe once a year. Don't really know where to use it.

What kind of a dressing do you want with your salad?

Usually just oil and vinegar.

Coke or Pepsi?

Can't say I'd like either one but Pepsi Max passes.

You're feeling lazy, what will you make?

I'll wait for my spouse to come home and cook me something. Or if he's not around I just nibble things without cooking them.

You feel like cooking, what will you make?

Check my idea list (which I've ordered by month). Or just see what I have in the fridge and throw them on the frying pan.

Does some dish give you bad memories?

Those watery, tasteless mashes they serve in canteens. The one especially giving me creeps is the so-called ratatouille.

Does some dish remind you of someone?

Nearly all I've ever eaten. For example macaroni soup reminds me of my dad, cabbage rolls remind me of my mum, soy sausages remind me of spouse, sparkling wine jelly and vatruskas remind me of certain friends.

Is there a dish you would refuse to eat?

I try not to eat meat unless I'm about to die in starvation (Though when I have accidentally bought something that looked vegetarian but contained 'little surprises' in Eastern Europe I've forced myself to eat it anyway since I wouldn't want to throw it away.) but otherwise no, not really, provided it hasn't gone bad or anything.

I've got myself accustomed to nearly all the things I didn't originally like. Eggplant still makes me a bit suspicious though. And once I said no thank you to my spouse's habanero dish that made my whole body hurt after just one spoonful. (He on the other hand ate it crying and kept telling how sorry he was.) Also, it may take a moment before I want to try habanero absinthe the second time.

What was your childhood favourite food?

Potatoes with brown sauce, 'hamburgers' (toast, mustard, ketchup and pickles) with milk. Oh, and mealy sausage, cold, with mustard.

Is there a food you hated as a child but now love?

Just ask how many! But I think spinach soup wins this category easily.

Your favourite fruit and vegetable?

These keep changing all the time. At the moment I'd say strawberries and tomatoes.

Your favourite junk food?

Sadly, cheese. The smellier, the better.

Your favourite snack?

Rye bread with different toppings, fruits in many forms, nuts.

Do you have any weird food habits?

Does it count that I think french fries are at their best frozen? Some may also find it odd that every time we eat dinner we simultaneously watch a Simpsons episode from a computer. At the moment we're in the middle of the 14th season.

You're on a diet. What shall you eat?

I don't believe in diets but many soups make filling yet low-calorie meals. Although every time my weight really has gone down I've been living mainly on sandwiches.

You finished your diet. What would you like to have?

A pint of some chocolaty porter, please.

How hot do you order your Indian/Thai food?


Something to drink?

With food, usually tab water.

Red or white?

In case this means wine and not for example taking sides in Finnish Civil War, red.

Your favourite dessert?

I don't usually eat desserts but ice cream with slightly frozen berries go down anytime.

The perfect nightcap?

A spicy and sweet cup of tea with a generous amount of brandy or whiskey.

What's your first baking or cooking memory?

Can't say what comes first but I was 'helping' all the time when my parents cooked. It probably has something to do with burning my fingers in a sauce or trying to silence the smoke detector.

Who has most affected your cooking?

My spouse. I didn't really cook anything but convenience food before he showed me that even zucchini can be made edible. Before that it was probably my home economics teacher who made me convinced I'm a no good person.

Do you have a photograph as an evidence from your early cooking?

Before I went to school my dad took photos of me nearly every day so I'm sure there is. But right now I can only remember photos where I play with toy cars.

Do you suffer from any sort of a cooking fear, does even a thought of cooking a certain dish make your hands sweat?

Not any specific dish but I'm dead nervous every time we need to feed guests.

What's your most used or valued kitchen utensil and/or your biggest disappointment when it comes to your kitchen utensils?

This is a hard one since I usually just cook with anything I have available. A campfire (or trangia) and a pocketknife at minimum. A freezer is quite nice to have. But my blender is crappy.

Name a funny or weird food combination that you really like.

Wonder what's funny or weird enough. Carcinogen and mustard?

Name three eatables or dishes you just can't live without.

Chili pepper, rye bread and tofu.

What's missing from your cooking?

A garden.


Flower Marmalade ‒ Kukkamarmeladi

Smart people get their inspiration to make dandelion jelly when dandelions are at their full blossom and it takes ten minutes to pick them. Well not me. After seeing this article I got a desperate urge to try it out myself. So instead of the few withering dandelions I saw I picked some mouse-ear hawkweeds (that at least look like dandelions) and red clovers. What ever edible flowers you happen to have in hand, see that instead of a terribly intense flavour (like yarrow) they taste juicy and sweet.

- 4 dl flowers
- 4 dl water
- 2 dl sugar
- 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
- 1.25 teaspoons pectin (or equivalent amount of other gelling agent)

First, the hard part. You don't want the green stuff into your marmalade so you have to pick out the yellow or red parts. This is most easily done by pulling them out with your fingers. (You can also use scissors but that way you'll only get the tips of the petals.) Put on your favourite record and sit down. This will take a while but can be quite meditative.

You should end up with about 2 dl petals. Boil them in the water with a lid on for about half an hour. After that you can either fish them out or leave in the jelly. Add the pectin, then the juice and last, sugar. Let it come to a boil and stir until it turns syrupy. In case a foam should emerge skim it out.

Pour into a glass jar and let it cool down a bit before refrigerating. Use like honey.

P.S. I have a really hard time trying to understand how the algorithm of that "Related" box works. A nice feature but most of the time rather, well, random.

Nutritional values / 570 g:
energy 680 kcal
fat 0 g
protein 0 g
carbohydrates 169 g
fiber 0 g


Cherry Sage Sausage ‒ Kirsikka-salviamakkara

As a kid I used to climb in the two cherry trees of my family's front yard all the time. They have those famous white flowers that only last a moment and later during the summer, sour berries with a wonderful aroma. Cherries don't occur naturally in Finland but in my heart there will always be a certain place for them with rowans and poplars (after one of which I cried bitterly when my parents decided they have to cut it down before the roots take over the house). Finns are often called the people of trees so maybe this explains my fascination for Japanese culture as well.

The cherries sold in stores here are never like those I've come to love. They're sweet instead of sour and taste watery instead of, well, cherries. And yet, once again I bought Creek cherries when I saw them sold on a pedestrian street. After a few disappointing bites I decided to dry them in the oven and use in the recipe I had seen in the lovely cookbook Vegan Brunch (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Da Capo Press 2009). It sounded plain weird but then again, after initial disgust, I've come to love even a sausage brand that uses orange and melon as spices. These too came out pretty great, though next time I'd like to try them with sour cherries.

I followed Isa's instructions more than my usual sausage recipe and ended up doing it like this:

- 1 dl dried cherries
- 2 dl cooked white beans
- 4 dl gluten flour
- 0.5 dl nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons tar liqueur (that is, all I had left)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small punch of fresh sage
- ginger
- allspice
- black pepper
- vegetable broth (approximately 2 dl)

Mash the beans with a fork. Throw all the ingredients together, adding just enough broth to make a dough. Divide the dough into four parts. Mold into phallic symbols (don't worry too much about the shaping part since they'll snap into shape) and wrap inside a tin foil. Steam for 40 minutes.

Enjoy right away or even better, grilled over a campfire.

Nutritional values / 1 sausage / 188 g :
energy 371 kcal
fat 5 g
protein 50 g
carbohydrates 28 g
fiber 10 g


Summer Soup ‒ Kesäkeitto

Kesäkeitto, literally 'summer soup', is a dish that all Finns have strong childhood memories about. For me it reminds me of my mum and careless, sunny days. For others it brings in mind school canteen and sadistic teachers forcing them to eat the stuff with tears in their eyes. But if you've never even heard about this soup before, consider yourself lucky: you'll get to base your opinion purely on it's humble taste. Here's how I prepare it:

- 2 l water
- 500 g new potatoes
- 1/4 cauliflower
- 2 carrots
- 1 dl fresh peas
- 3 beanstalks
- 2 dl soy cream (oat cream is probably fine as well)
- salt
- whole black peppers

Wash the potatoes well and remove the bad parts but don't bother to peel. Let them simmer in salty water until soft. Chop the veggies and add everything into the pot. The soup is ready when the carrots are - in less than ten minutes.

Garnish with fresh herbs.

Nutritional values / 3080 g:
energy 831 kcal
fat 36 g
protein 20 g
carbohydrates 98 g
fiber 16 g


Cold Cucumber Soup ‒ Kylmä kurkkukeitto

A heat wave has been on for several days now and weather forecasts don't promise a relief anytime soon. Although I love summer and being able to sleep outside without massive range of equipments, the situation right now doesn't affect me in too many positive ways. No matter how often I shower I feel sweaty and smell bad. I feel lazy and unable to concentrate on reading or writing.

During a weather like this, cold soups are the perfect replacement for a proper meal. This is one of my favourites. (Sorry about the blurry photo. I took this in a hurry and didn't check how it turned out.)

- 1 cucumber
- 5 dl soy yogurt (or runny nut yogurt)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 dl dry apple cider
- thyme
- chevril
- salt

Wash and grate the cucumber. Crush the garlic (with a press if you have one). Combine everything.

Enjoy as a soup or wrap inside a rieska. If you drain the yogurt first and replace the cider with couple of spoonfuls of white wine this also makes a nice dip sauce.

Nutritional values / 628 g:
energy 342 kcal
fat 3 g
protein 9 g
carbohydrates 13 g
fiber 4 g


Grilled Vegetable Sandwich ‒ Grillikasvisleipä

This time of the year summer veggies are at their best and I keep going nuts in a food store. I just have to buy little bit of everything and then I have to hurry to put everything in use before they go bad. Since they tend to get even tastier when grilled, here's one solution.

- 10 cm piece of a zucchini
- 10 cm piece of an eggplant
- 1 tomato
- 0.5 bell pepper
- 0.5 red onion
- 0.5 dl marinated pea pods
- 4 rye bread slices
- 1 tablespoon rape oil
- 2 tablespoon ketchup (or your favourite chili sauce)
- basil
- black pepper

Dice or slice all the veggies but the pea pods. Put them in folio packages with the oil and the spices or spear with skewers and oil and spice. Grill until soft.

Mix the pea pods with the rest so they'll warm up but stay crunchy. Warm up the bread slices, spread with ketchup and portion the veggies between the slices. Notice they disappeared in a matter of minutes and you just got to have more.

Nutritional values / 1 sandwich:
energy 234 kcal
fat 8 g
protein 7 g
carbohydrates 33 g
fiber 9 g


Rhubarb Sandwiches ‒ Raparperileivät

It's too hot to cook or stay inside. But when I come home I need something easy to prepare. This combination is one of the results of me trying to find new ways to utilize rhubarb. It's a surprisingly new species. It didn't become wide-spread before 19th century in Finland and wasn't even considered edible at first. Most Finns still don't like the overwhelming sourness as such but it's perfectly possible to prepare it in ways that don't ruin the characteristic taste and this doesn't always mean sweet dishes.

- 1 small rhubarb stalk or a piece from a bigger one
- 2 rye bread slices
- 2 slices blue-style soy cheese
- 0.5 tablespoons margarine
- 1 teaspoon dark syrup

Cut the rhubarb in pieces. Toast the bread slices and butter them. Arrange the rhubarb on the slices, pour the syrup on them and top with soy cheese. Heat just enough to warm the toppings.

Nutritional values / 132,5 g:
energy 253 kcal
fat 12 g
protein 7 g
carbohydrates 27 g
fiber 6 g
Osta neljä tuotetta ja maksat vain kolmesta - Luomutallin kampanjatuotteet näet täältä

Teekauppa.fi - laadukasta teetä netistä
Ostoskorin loppusummasta vähennetään viisi euroa ja toimitus tapahtuu ilman postikuluja.
Syötä ostoskoriin kuponkikoodi:


Tilauksen on oltava vähintään 35 eur, mistä jää maksettavaksi 30 eur.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...