Bilberry Kukko ‒ Rättänä

The best desserts are simple. The sweet bilberry variant of kukko is so common it even has its own name, rättänä. This seems like an appropriate time for it since we are enjoying a good bilberry year. The first ones appeared already in June.

The amounts of this treat vary but the ingredients themselves stay the same in different versions. Some people like to mix little it of barley flour to rye flour to achieve an easier structure to shape, some leave the potato flour out altogether when using fresh berries but add more of it with frozen berries to absorb extra moisture. I picked some occasional bog bilberries and crowberries along with the bilberries.

The crust:
- 200 g margarine
- 4 dl rye flour (unsifted)
- 1 dl sugar (I used brown sugar)
- 1 tsp baking powder

The filling:
- 1 l bilberries (about 500 g)
- 0.5 dl sugar
- 2 tbsp potato flour

Beat together the crust sugar and margarine. Mix the baking powder into the flour and add it as well. Spread 2/3 of the crust paste into a smallish baking tin.

Mix the filling ingredients and pour over the crust. Roll out the remaining crust material to form a cover for the bilberries.

Bake 40 minutes in a 200°C oven 40-60 minutes, depending on the look of the cover. Serve warm with ice cream or vanilla sauce.

Nutritional values / 1229 g:
energy 2895 kcal
fat 149 g
protein 30 g
carbohydrates 353 g
fiber 62 g 


Whiskey Marinade for Seitan ‒ Viskimarinadi seitanille

Last weekend we were celebrating Karhunpäivä, the traditional summer feast for the honour of what is likely the most sacred animal in Finnish mythology, the bear. The tradition holds July the 13th the warmest day of the year just like Talvennapa, January the 13th, is said to be the coldest. Too early to say if that was true this year, but it did feel warm. And the rugged scenery of Karhunahas, a canyon where bears used to be chased and killed, seemed more than appropriate for the day.

One part of any traditional feast is eating well. Seitan can really be the star of a grill evening if you just cook it right. One good thing to do is to marinade it for at least a day to build a great aroma. If you don't want to waste perfectly great whiskey like I did, you can of course use any marinade designed for meat with it, as making marinades only involves combining different taste-giving condiments you wish. A good thing to add in them though is some oil as meats are usually very greasy on their own and seitan isn't. So unless you're cooking them on a frying pan it's a good idea to make sure they won't end up terribly dry.

This is enough for about six precooked, well-sized seitan steaks.

- 1 dl your favourite whiskey (I used Talisker)
- 0.5 dl rape oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves
- black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients and mix well. Roll seitan steaks in it one by one and place them in a plastic bag. Pour the rest of the marinde on them and close the bag. Move in the fridge for a day or two, but turn around every now and then.

Place the seitan chunks on the grill straight from the bag and cook from both sides so they'll get some crispy surface. You can use the extra marinade by applying on the steaks while they grill. What ever you do, don't throw away the goodness. Use it in some other dish instead.

Nutritional values / 268 g (just the marinade; for the seitan itself see this post):
energy 790 kcal
fat 45 g
protein 4 g
carbohydrates 276 g
fiber 0 g


Cauliflower Purée ‒ Kukkakaalipyre

Yesterday I mentioned cauliflower purée. It's really just a variant of the mashed cabbage I posted earlier but thought I'd make a separate posting of it since this can give you an idea of how to turn tune a bit for a finer dinner. And when I say a variant I say it because cauliflower is a type of cabbage, in Finnish it's even called "flower cabbage". Guess you might try something similar with broccoli or kohlrabi too, but I'd save Brussels sprouts and romanesco broccoli for something where they marvelous outlooks don't get lost.

- 1 cauliflower
- 2 dl oat cream
- 1 dl white wine
- white pepper
- salt

Pour the cream and the wine in a cooking pot. Chop the cauliflower and add in. Let it simmer for as long as the cauliflower has softened up. Blend the cauliflower. (In the photo I've left it quite chunky but you can make it really smooth as well and even add a dollop of water if it seems too stiff for your purpose.) Serve right away.

Nutritional values / 900  g:
energy 441 kcal
fat 22 g
protein 12 g
carbohydrates 24 g
fiber 16 g


Soy Kebakkos ‒ Soijakebakot

I always thought kebakkos are about as boring as food can get, but actually they're an interesting example of fusion kitchen. Guess this only proves how blind you can get for things common in your own culture. Somehow it should've been oblivious as the name already is a combination of Finnish and Turkish. The Finnish word kepakko means a stick. The Turkish word kebab apparently in English-speaking world usually refers to meat in a skewer, in Turkey to any kind of meat prepared over or next to a living fire and in Finland has come to mean certain type of spicy meat dish cut from a large skewer into strips.

Kebakkos became a popular dish somewhere in the 80's in the same time when Turkish immigrants and their restaurants started to appear in Finnish city environment. They are nowadays sold as a convenience food and at least in my childhood were served at school meals. The dish combines Turkish kebab with Finnish meatloaf. The stick makes them easy to dip and they also fit with such typical Finnish sidekicks as mashed potatoes. I find them an ideal food to warm up in grill or on the flames of a campfire.

- 400 g tomato sauce
- 4 dl soy crumble
- 1 large potato
- water (about 1 dl)
- 1 onion
- 1 dl bread crumble
- 0.5 dl rape oil
- 0.5 dl soy sauce
- your favourite chili sauce
- (smoked) paprika
- marjoram
- black pepper

Cook and mash the potato. Mince and sauté the onion. Mix all the ingredients together. Add water enough to get a structure that feels easy to mold.

Between your hands or with a help of a baking sheet, roll into bars. Place into sticks. Cook in a 200°C oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the surface looks good. If you're going to barbeque them up in a grill later, oil the surface before that so they won't dry up. With my experience of grills, I'd recoomend precooking in the oven anyway.

This could be served with just salad and a good dip sauce, but this time we had it with cauliflower purée.

Nutritional values / 990 g:
energy 1280 kcal
fat 69 g
protein 62 g
carbohydrates 103 g
fiber 26 g


Hiking Menu

This summer my baby belly is so big and my speed so slow I'll better settle for short hikes in nearby national parks. Basically in the Southern Finland they're so small you can't really do more than weekend trips in them. If you really want to see wilderness you have to go up north to Lapland. Last summer I made my first "real" hike in Urho Kekkonen National Park and now dream of more of those. Seeing this post about food packages of a one-night trek I realized someone might find use for the food list of our last year's hike, since I think we managed pretty well for two complete newbies. My spouse hadn't done even short hikes before this but thanks to compulsory military service Finnish men have to through I felt more than confident he'd understand what he's doing.

Our actual trip took six days but if you're going to wilderness it's always a good idea to take one or two days worth of extra equipment. And if you're going to walk 90 kilometers carrying everything you might need on your back (plus carry the containers away as well), you want to pack as lightly as possible. So that basically means you don't want to drag much liquids, tin cans or fresh veggies along. In the autumn there are mushrooms and berries you can use but otherwise the national park rules limit foraging ideas quite a lot. I like to think myself a good packer, and with planning we managed to keep the starting weight of both backpacks well under 20 kilos though we carried along a tent we only used once and my old but loyal camping stove is probably one of the heaviest available. Also, you'll want everything to cook fast and be easy to prepare without a proper kitchen.

Some of the convenience food packages we bought from a local market probably had some animal-based ingredients in them (we didn't check) but there shouldn't be anything here you couldn't find vegan.

For breakfast:
- 12 bags of only-add-water oatmeal porridge
- 11 bags of only-add-water kissel
- a package of harsh coffee grounds suitable for cooking in a pan
- a packet of rye crisp bread
- a tube of tomato and tofu paté

Snacks and evening treats:
772 g dried fruits (banana, apricot, pineapple, raisin, date and papaya) 
616 g hot peas, curry cashews and smoked almonds 
- 6 vegan jerkys
- 8 vegan dry sausages and hemp bars
- 6 flapjacks

- a chocolate bar
- 0.5 l cut brandy (Jallu is a classic camping booze)
- different herb teas
- pancake ingredients mixed in bag except for water

- a small plastic bag of sugar
- a tube of multivitamin effervescent tablets

Main dishes:
464 g lenses
- 220 g crushed horse beans
- 136 g roasted onion
- 142 g dried vegetables
- 162 g textured soy protein strips
- a package of ready made dry ingredients for
hemp patties 
- 2 bags of dry root vegetable mash ingredients
- 3 bags of dry sauce ingredients
- 3 bags of dry soup ingredients
- 4 bags of dry pasta and stew meal ingredients

- 400 g macaroni

- chick pea omelet ingredients mixed in a bag except for water

- small amount of salt, a bottle of chili sauce and a garlic
- 2 dl rape oil

Divided by six this all of this weights about 700 g for each of us a day. In terms of nutrients this means:

energy 30142 kcal
fat 952 g
protein 1076 g
carbohydrates 3940 g
fiber 509 g

Daily portion per person:
energy 2512 kcal
fat 79 g
protein 90 g
carbohydrates 328 g
fiber 42 g


Fruity Summer Salad ‒ Hedelmäinen kesäsalaatti

All my main course salads basically consist of three parts: the green, the red and the brown. They don't necessarily need to be of the colour mentioned. The green part refers to the stuff we normally think when someone mentions salad: leafy vegetables like lettuce, salad rocket or endive. In this case I used the wild vegetables I happened to find along a short walk in the forest. The red part means juicy vegetables like tomato, cucumber, radish or in this case, fruits currently being sold on the market square next to me. This part is the most versatile as you could also add some cooked oat, fried bread, olives or sun dried tomatoes into it. The brown part refers to protein, which might come in the form of tofu, beans, nuts, sprouts or in this case, pea tempeh.

You could also turn this into a side salad for a summer evening's dinner by just leaving the tempeh out. Or skip the need for a kitchen stove by using extra firm smoked tofu instead. As a perhaps interesting side note, I thought I had made a mistake counting the nutritional values since the protein amount seemed quite high. It wouldn't be the first time I've made mistakes so I checked where it comes from. I quickly noticed that chickweed was responsible for the second biggest part of protein and though I must have values wrong somehow since it's just a simple, neutral-tasting weed. But googling a bit I found out that no, it really is that surprisingly rich in protein, consisting 15‒24 percent of the stuff. Nice.

- 300 g tempeh
- 300 g strawberries
- 300 g cherries
- 300 g water melon
- chickweed
- fireweed top leaves
- young dandelion leaves
- 3 spring onions
- pineapple weed or lemon balm
- oil for frying

Wash the onions, the weeds and the leaves and cut them into mouth-fitting pieces. Cut strips from the tempeh and fry them lightly from both sides.(At this point you can also apply some spices to them if you wish.) Cube the watermelon, half the cherries and slice the strawberries. Jumble up.

This doesn't necessarily require any added dressing, but if you wish for one, choose an equally fruity type. For example, some puréed raspberries from the freezer with a little bit of oil and vinegar added.

Nutritional values / 1480 g:
energy 1109 kcal
fat 51 g
protein 82 g
carbohydrates 170 g
fiber 40 g
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