Lempo's Jam ‒ Lemmon hillo

I'm often told I'm a weird Finn for loving chili peppers. But though Finnish food culture is generally rather discreet with spices and my parents' generation rarely uses any other than salt and black pepper, younger folk tends to be more adventurous and a growing part shares the passionate chili relationship with the largest Finno-Ugric people, the Hungarians. There's even an organization for home growers and other enthusiasts and this event was just held here in Tampere with a broken world championship in Naga Morich eating (ah, Finns and extremes).

Well, I wouldn't take part in that but I do find chilis an excellent way to deepen the aroma of many dishes. This time I made some chili jam that is widely served in Finnish restaurants with the name paholaisenhillo, meaning "Devil's jam". I wasn't able to find any source about its origins and the English translation didn't give me any relevant search results either, so if anyone has any further information to offer I'd be happy to hear.

Based on several other recipes and especially their commentaries (typically "too sweet" or "not hot enough") I composed one to my own liking. Notice that I used the kind of sugar that contains pectin (hillosokeri) to make this a bit jellier. Since I added some lingonberries (in the footsteps of Flikka) as well and don't really believe in evil I gave my version a bit more Finnish name. Lempo or Lemminkäinen is the old god of fertility, sacred fire and passion who of course was later turned into the Adversary.

- 500 g red bell peppers
- 500 g crushed tomatoes
- 4-6 chili peppers of different types
- 1 red onion
- 2 dl lingonberries
- 1.5 dl sugar
- 1 dl red wine
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 small bunch of oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black pepper

Chop the peppers and the onion. Press the garlic and crush the lingonberries a bit. Put everything but the sugar into a pot and cook for half an hour. Add the sugar, let the mixture come to a boil again and remove from the stove.

The jam is terrific in unhealthy dishes like pizzas, hamburgers and pastas but also works in many salads.

Nutritional values / 1720 g:
energy 1029 kcal
fat 2 g
protein 16 g
carbohydrates 215 g
fiber 25 g


Pickles ‒ Suolakurkut

Hey who took the summer away? Didn't August used to be the most summery month or is my memory playing tricks on me?

Though I already opened the mushroom season yesterday I thought that before mushroom recipes I ought to post you something I got started two weeks ago: pickles. Finns love them on rye bread, as a sidekick and especially with fast food. There are basically four common variations that can of course be seasoned creatively.

1. Suolakurkku is pickled in salty brine. This is what I prepared after I got to watch some example from a certain lady from Eastern Karelia and realized how simple it really is.
2. Etikkakurkku is preserved in sweet vinegar brine. A common mistake is using way too much vinegar. Think this is the most common variation in the rest of Scandinavia.
3. Maustekurkku or herkkukurkku may contain both salt and vinegar but instead of them the taste should be ruled by spices. These tend to be on the sweet side as well.
4. Hapankurkku aka Russian suolakurkku is also pickled in salty brine but the pickles are turned sour, for example with a sour bread piece or some yogurt as a starter. I've never seen these sold in your average supermarket.

- garden cucumbers (as many as you can cram into your largest glass jar)
- enough water to fill the jar
- 25 g salt for every water litre
- for seasoning black currant leaves, mustard seeds, whole black peppers, garlic cloves, dill flowers and/or horseradish

Wash the cucumbers and let them soak in water overnight. In the morning, arrange the cucumbers into your jar together with the spices ‒ whole or sliced. If you're using black currant leaves wrap them around the cucumbers. Boil up the water and dissolve the salt. Pour the hot water on the cucumbers. Make sure that all the cucumbers are fully covered underneath the water since contact with air makes them rotten. Close the lid and move into a cool place. The pickles should be ready in about two weeks.

If you replace about ten percent of the water with vodka the pickles should better hold on to their beautiful green colour. For less traditional versions ginger and cinnamon also make nice spices. After you've eaten the pickles, the brine itself is an excellent basis for many soups.


The Drink of Louhisaari ‒ Louhisaaren juoma

Louhisaari is a manor in Masku, built by the dreaded noble family of Fleming and best known as the birth home of C.G.E. Mannerheim. It's signature drink is Louhisaaren Juoma aka Marskin Shampanja ('Mannerheim's Champagne'). Unfortunately, I have seen all kinds of beverages made out of those oh-so-aromatic black currant leaves claiming the name and frankly, I have no clue which one is the original. Most of them are different types of simas (an American friend of mine told me to stop calling them mead so I better listen) but I decided to go for the citric acid variety this time since I've never tried one before.

I do have a powerful backup: the drink recipe page I found contains separate instructions for the Sima of Louhisaari and the Drink of Louhisaari, both of them containing black currant leaves. The site is held by Marttaliitto, an organization for advising in home economics. Interesting group, by the way. It was founded in 1899 for house wives and long known as a socks knitting circle of conservative grannies but lately they have managed to modernize quite a bit. Nowadays they accept men as members and even promote some environmental values, even if not perfectly openly.

But back to the business! This is the latter recipe, only cut in half.

- 2.5 l water
- 2 l black currant leaves
- 12.5 g citric acid
- 250 g sugar

Wash the leaves. Boil up the water and pour it over the leaves. Add the citric acid and stir well. Cover with a lid and leave in room temperature for 12 hours. Fish out the leaves. Sweeten with sugar.

The drink can be enjoyed as such, mixed with sparkling water or as a part of different cocktails. If you're not going to slurp it all right away you better freeze it or boil and seal carefully into air-tight, sterilized glass bottles.

Nutritional values / 2.5 l :
energy 1000 kcal
fat 0 g
protein 0 g
carbohydrates 250 g
fiber 0 g


Tomato Morsels ‒ Suupalatomaatit

These are very simple cocktail bites to emphasize the pour goodness known as cherry tomatoes. I was pondering what to use as the filling when I came across this blog post. I guess you could grill them while you're at it but why bother?

- 250 g cherry tomatoes
- 2 dl thick nut yogurt (I used macademias)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or herb of your choice)

Mince the thyme and mix with the nut paste. Hollow out the tomatoes. (Use the insides later in a soup or a sauce.) Refill with the nutty sourness.

Enjoy with black currant jam.

Nutritional values / 310 g:
energy 461 kcal
fat 44 g
protein 6 g
carbohydrates 17 g
fiber 9 g


Gratin for Four Brassicas ‒ Neljän kaalin gratiini

Once again I had some problem with translating the title. Technically, the Brassica genus covers a rather wide sounding range of plants from mustard to turnips. To my understanding you can't just use 'cabbage' as an umbrella term for the varieties of the species Brassica oleracea as with the Finnish equivalent kaali, so I thought it better to label the dish with the whole genus' name. Maybe mustard would work as a nice spice here.

If you ever have the misfortune of attending to a Finnish funeral you'll almost certainly find some form of this gratin in the menu. And yet, these are all veggies that seem to divide opinions among Finns. My theory is that haters have only eaten them poorly prepared and covered with cheese so no one would taste the bland stuff underneath. (Cheese is an almost certain sign that there's something severely wrong with any given gratin. And I'm not alone with this opinion.) Most recipes tell to precook the kraut but I prefer to save some of the crunchiness.

- 1 cauliflower
- 1 broccoli
- half a white cabbage head
- half a red cabbage head
- 1 portion of white sauce
- yarrow
- white pepper
- rape oil for buttering
(- bread crumbles on top)

Prepare the sauce. Chop the veggies and mix them with the spices. Butter an oven casserole and lay the brassicas into it. Pour the sauce evenly on them. Cook in a 225°C for 25 minutes. Turn them a bit in the middle of the cooking.

Brussels sprouts and German turnips would also fit here perfectly. With some fried soy flakes it turns into a main course.

Nutritional values / 2780 g:
energy 1165 kcal
fat 51 g
protein 69 g
carbohydrates 95 g
fiber 50 g


Clover Balls ‒ Apilapyörykät

I could swear I've seen a recipe for red clover balls somewhere but can't find it anymore. Now I just had to guess what would make a fitting base. Instead of just adding the flowers to my classic soy balls I decided to use raw nuts and prepare the balls like raw foodies do. With spices I thought it best to be careful and only use couple of my favourites. Oh well, I'm assuming the original recipe was published in the beginning of the last century so it wouldn't have helped me in deciding the spices anyway.

This small test batch of mine turned out nice (especially with a spicy dip sauce) but not good enough yet for me not feeling the urge to fry them on a pan. Feel free to add all kinds of stuff you need to get rid of. Carrots, leek, champignons or rye bread should fit to suggest a few, and of course your favourite spices.

- 2 dl red clover flowers
- 2 dl hazelnuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- smoked paprika
- salt

Soak the hazelnuts in water overnight if you have time. Wash the clovers. Make a paste out of all the ingredients. Add water if you need to. Check the taste.

Roll into balls and dry them up. In most kitchens this is easiest done by turning your oven to a low temperature (I use 50°C), possibly keeping the door just a little bit ajar and turning them around couple of times. The problem with this method is that it takes some time, about 2 hours depending on the moisture of the paste.

(This time I'm leaving out the nutritional values since I wasn't able to find any source for the flowers and it doesn't make sense to count the nuts only.)
Osta neljä tuotetta ja maksat vain kolmesta - Luomutallin kampanjatuotteet näet täältä

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