Marinated Pea Pods ‒ Marinoidut herneenpalot

Keeping this blog has often made me wonder what really makes a given food Finnish. Sometimes I understand 'Finnish' meaning the ethnicity, sometimes the prevailing food culture in the state of Finland but perhaps most of the time it's really a matter of main ingredients produced near me. While I wouldn't want to make a big issue out of the question with artificial limitations I also try not to post any of my basic ice coffees and ice teas, no matter how much I love them, since there are so many better places for them.

Once again I did wonder whether this little marinade tastes too Asian for Mämmi but heck, all the market squares are teeming with whole pea pod sellers again and I already managed to constrain myself from eating them fresh on the spot. If you want to do something with them this is pretty much the simplest way. After all, only couple of centuries ago eating peas fresh was thought as a terrible waste and elitism that normal people couldn't afford so this is sort of circumventing the problem.

- 5 dl whole pea pods
- 0.5 dl soy sauce
- 0.25 dl rape oil
- 0.5 dl dry apple cider
- 1 teaspoon ginger

Rinse the pods with cold water. Remove the tips and cut them in half lengthwise (be careful not to shake off the peas). Whisk together the marinade and pour it over the peas. Let them juice up for at least half an hour in the refrigerator. Waiting overnight makes the taste stronger and turns the pods dark which looks cool together with the peas staying bright green.

Serve as a sidekick or use in salads or hot dishes.


Rectory's Makeshift ‒ Pappilan hätävara

Pappilan Hätävara (literally Rectory's Makeshift, sometimes Finnish Trifle) is the traditional dessert you can put together in three minutes when surprise guests arrive or the movie you're watching goes for a commercial break. In the most simple form you just crush some dry bun pieces or biscuits on bottom, juice them up with apple juice, place lingonberry jam or fresh strawberry pieces in the middle plus whipped oat cream on top and stir with a spoon.

This time I thought I'd prepare a bit more time consuming version. Chocolate compliments both rhubarb and spruce tips so I decided to combine all three of them. After all, the period when you can get both rhubarb and spruce tips fresh is so short it has a rather luxurious cling to it. I also had an idea about oat and hemp biscuits but was out of rolled oats so I just used some hemp seeds I had in the closet.

- 300 g rhubarb
- 2 dl spruce tips
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons dark sugar
- 100 g white chocolate (I prefer soy based to rice based varieties)
- 2 dl soy yogurt (or nut yogurt)
- 1 dl roasted hemp seeds (or oat bisquits)

In a sauce pan, dissolve the sugar into the water and heat up. Chop the rhubarb and add most of it as well as the spruce tips into the pot. Keep cooking until you have a soft compote. Remove from the stove and throw in the fresh rhubarb pieces.

While the compote cools down, melt the chocolate carefully in bain-marie (I've managed to completely liquefy it several times when using a microwave). It doesn't matter at all if there are some little chocolate pieces left. Combine withe the yogurt and let it cool down as well.

Arrange the hemp seeds, the compote and the sauce into your serving bowls in layers. (I got three from this amount). Refrigerate if not eating on the spot.

Nutritional values / 720 g:
energy 1579 kcal
fat 58 g
protein 37 g
carbohydrates 131 g
fiber 21 g


Oven Omelet with Bilberry Leaves ‒ Mustikanlehtiomeletti uunissa

It's summer time and cooking isn't exactly among my first priorities at the moment. Mostly I've been eating salads with the method "shred and mix everything you happen to find from the fridge" which rarely results in a disappointment. So compared to that this counts as a complicated dinner. The idea of using bilberry leaves (instead of berries) here came from a mention in Sillä sipuli and the basic omelet recipe I snigged from Kasvisruokaa. The amount seemed a bit small for two bottomless stomachs so we also had a sidekick - salad of course. Please notice that like so many other summer treats bilberry leaves contain oxalic acid which is why you shouldn't eat them on a regular basis.

- 3 dl water
- 2.5 dl (chick)pea flour
- salt
- black pepper
- 1 dl fresh bilberry leaves (or a herb of your liking during wintertime)
- oil for buttering

Whip the flour and the water into and even batter. Add the spices and the bilbeery leaves. Let the batter rest for about half an hour.

Pour the batter onto an oiled casserole and cook in a 250°C oven until the omelet has acquired some colour (about 15 minutes). Let it chill down and cut in triangles. Lightly roasted cherry tomatoes accompany them perfectly.

Nutritional values / 461 g:
energy 672 kcal
fat 23 g
protein 32 g
carbohydrates 83 g
fiber 15 g


Dandelion Soup ‒ Voikukkakeitto

In case that supikas recipe yesterday sounded appetizing, here's a suggestion for the remaining broth. But if you want the soup only, dice a small rutabaga to cook with the potatoes.

Dandelion is among one of my favourite wild veggies because it's so multifunctional and grows just about everywhere. The leaves and buds for this soup I picked when returning along my jogging path, trying to find my breath that had got lost somewhere on the way.

- 20 unopened dandelion flower buds
- 2 dl young dandelion leaves
- 2 l rutabaga broth
- 5 dl new potatoes (or noodles)
- 0.5 dl seaweed
- 0.5 dl dried onion (or caramelized)
- 1 chili pepper
- whole black peppers or juniper berries

Wash the potatoes and remove the bad parts but don't bother to peel. Cook them in the rutabaga broth until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and let the soup come to a boil. Eat right away.

In the present form the soup is more like a starter or an evening snack but if you want to turn it into a lunch you might want to add beans or such.

Nutritional values / 2 l:
energy 500 kcal
fat 3 g
protein 27 g
carbohydrates 96 g
fiber 11 g


Rutabaga Supikases ‒ Lanttusupikkaat

Hela is the Finnish equivalent of German Wapurgisnacht or Celtic Beltane, the celebration of spring and rebirth of Lemminkäinen, the boisterous god of fertility and sacred fire. (By the way, here's a nice English introduction to traditional Finnish holidays.) The name comes from Swedish word meaning holy but I believe the original title is either Toukovalkeat ('May Fires') or Suviyöt, roughly translating as 'Summer Nights' and is also very closely connected to Ukonpäivä, celebrated for the honour of the thunder god Ukko. Judging by such relics as Ritvalan Helkajuhla, an occasion where even today young maidens wear white dresses and walk singing around a hill along a path that looks disturbingly like ukonkirves, Hela used to mark hieros gamos, the holy marriage of heaven and earth, where masculine heaven fertilizes the feminine earth with rain.

Since we don't know when exactly our ancestors celebrated Hela (with all likelyhood, there never was a fixed date) we've decided to set it for the weekend closest to the second full moon after Spring Equinox. This year it meant halfway of May. We lighted a bonfire, had a lot of sauna and sang a ton of old poems. I took my friends a double portion of these little pies.

The basic recipe is from here but I also added some fresh coriander into the filling. Even though I tried to make rather chubby pastries with much thinner crust than normally I had to stick so much of the filling into freezer for later purposes I think it would be safe to half the filling amount. This also means that the nutritional values at the end are rather overblown.

The filling:
- 1 kg rutabaga
- 50 g margarine (I used Keiju 70%)
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 0.5 dl dark syrup
- white pepper
- 2 tablespoons wheat flour

The crust:
- 1.5 dl water
- 2 dl rye flour
- 1.5 dl wheat flour
- salt

For buttering:
- 1 dl broth from cooking the rutabagas
- 25 g margarine

Cook the rutabagas in salty water. (Don't throw away the tasty broth but use it in a soup for example.) Mash them like potatoes and add the other ingredients.

Mix the crust ingredients together. Divide the paste in 16 parts. Make little balls out of them between your hands. Roll the balls into thin circles. Place a spoonful or two of the filling onto each of them, then fold them into semicircles. Close them by pressing with your (moistured) thumbs.

Put your supikases into a 275°C oven for about 15 minutes. Brush with rutabaga broth and margarine mixture. Cover with a towel.

Nutritional values / 1 supikas / 107 g:
energy 138 kcal
fat 7 g
protein 2 g
carbohydrates 16 g
fiber 3 g
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