Salmiakki Sauce for Seitan and Beet ‒ Salmiakkikastike seitanille ja punajuurelle

When I dine at a restaurant I find it very pleasant if the menu clearly states what's in a given dish, for example "Chili rubbed seitan steak, raspberry vinegar marinated beets and salmiakki sauce". It gives me as a customer much better idea of what to order if the name isn't just some fancy French word I don't know how to pronounce. But when I see this elsewhere, peculiarly in recipes, for some reason I find it annoying and just trying to sound fancy, for example "engine oil rubbed Tavastian soap with small stones and slowly caramellized rubber". It's really a combination of the different ingredients or even separate dishes, and guess my logic goes that this means that any given part of that plate isn't really worth repeating or at least the recipe writer doesn't believe it is. Guess I'm only annoyed because this has becme some sort of a fad among Finnish celebrity chefs. Anyway, I try to avoid that happening in my recipes, although I realize I might just have an attitude problem. Sometimes the combination of tastes truly is the more important thing than any given part of it. Taste pairing might just be the single most important part of kitchen art.

This is the case of this recipe too. Although the part needing a recipe is really just for the sauce, I couldn't help but putting a suggestion of what comes under the sauce in the headline. These three tastes are just fine on their own, but they work especially well together, so I thought to highlight the combo. The idea came from a salmiakki marinated beet starter dish, created by a salmiakki making company, but I thought to turn it into an entrée. For the seitan, I used chili in the dough and fried them well in oil. For the beets, I sliced them thin, drizzled with oil and raspberry vinegar, as well as spiced with salt and thyme before roasting them in the oven long just long enough to still have them crunchy. The portion is crowned by the sauce which has a lot subtler aroma than you might think.

- 150 g salmiakki candy (hard ones are best in this, I used Turkinpippuri) + 1 dl water
 - 4 dl strong vegetable bouillon
- 1 dl white wine
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 2 tbsp wheat flour
- black pepper
- salt

Prepare a salmiakki syrup by putting the candies in a small bowl and pouring water on them just enough to get them covered. Turn around with a spoon when you walk by. Dissolving only takes a few hours, so if you start in the previous evening, you can be sure they'll make it in time.

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan. Shift the flour on the melted stuff and stir. Pour in the stock before the roux start to turn brown (unlike in basic brown sauce). Let the sauce thicken on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the salmiakki syrup and the wine. Let the sauce reduce until the consistency is thick enough to stay on the seitan. Spice with salt and pepper according to your taste buds.

Nutritional values / 798 g:
energy 882 kcal
fat 22 g
protein 2 g
carbohydrates 144 g
fiber 1 g


Roasted Garlic Soup ‒ Paahdettu valkosipulikeitto

I recently noticed my whipped porridge in a Buzzfeed post about Finnish foods. It was an interesting listing altogether, featured many things you can find from this blog as well, like pea soup or cabbage casserole, and also reminded me of some dishes I'm yet to post, like korvapuusti or Karelian stew. But one item there didn't feel quite right. Garlic soup. Is that supposed to be some Finnish speciality? Yes, many Finns love garlic and there's even a garlic restaurant in Helsinki which serves garlic icecream, but I wouldn't call it any countryside stable. This soup I'd locate somewhere around Spain or perhaps even France.

Still, this is a perfect winter time soup to keep away flu, vampires and small-minded people. The modest outlooks don't really do justice to the wonderful complexity of the taste. Even if garlic isn't usually your cup of tea, you might still want to try this pleasantly smooth and sweet twist of it. Similarly to best of beers, the thing tastes like many things at once. You shouldn't start the cooking when your already hungry though, because it needs some time to develop all that symphony. Notice it's more of a starter than an entrée soup, though we enjoyed it paired with oven sandwiches consisting of rye bread, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked tofu, vegan sour cream and basil. The only important things in the soup are naturally the garlic roasting and onion caramelizing, but we based our version to a recipe which uses some beer as well, since hey, didn't someone just mention how good it tastes like?

- 7 whole garlics
- 4 onions
- 1 l vegetable broth
- 4 dl oat cream
- 2 dl strong tasting beer (or apple cider)
- 1 dl canola oil
- 2 tbsp farin sugar
- thyme
- black pepper
- salt

Cut the garlics in half breadth-wise. No need to remove the now halved cloves from their place, just put them in an oven casserole open side above and drizzle some oil on them. Roast in a 125°C oven for 1.5 hours. Now the cloves should be quite easy to peel.

Peel and chop the onions coarsely. Pour rest of the oil in a pan and heat up. Put the onions and garlics in the pan, turn down the heat to a mild temperature. This part takes a lot of patience as it may take up to 45 minutes. You shouldn't fry the onion but let it caramelize in time. Turn them occasionally and keep a low heat to prevent them from burning. They're ready when they look golden and taste sweet, just like the garlics when they came out of the oven.

Add the sugar and the beer with the onions. Let the mixture come in to a boil and then quickly add the broth. Put the lid on and let the soup simmer for half an hour or so. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for a few minutes more, smooth down with a hand blender and cure your flu.

Nutritional values / 2635 g:
energy 2136 kcal
fat 133 g
protein 44 g
carbohydrates 170 g
fiber 21 g


Black Trumpet Sausage ‒ Mustatorvisienimakkara

Mustamakkara, literally "black sausage" is very likely the most famous speciality of my home city Tampere. It's basically a groat sausage which gets its Gothic colour from blood and is usually served with lingonberry sauce. For years I've had this weird urge to make a vegan version out of it (Hey why not? Edinbourgh is full of pubs serving vegan haggis.) but had absolutely no idea what I could use in it.

As I've mentioned before, there are several traditional Finnish sausage types with no meat in them. I was especially delighted to find a recipe for a mushroom sausage that is otherwise vegetarian but uses real intestines as mold. I wouldn't know how to get those even if I wanted to, but this gave me an idea of using black trumpets when mushrooms are called for. They should naturally make a black sausage, so this might be an idea in line with the name. My version is a bit different though, containing gluten flour for added firmness and fillingness.

I've never actually tasted the blood version so I did some questioning among my friends who had. Apparently some versions do taste like blood while others don't. That sounded like a relief. While you could easily add an effervescent tablet to bring the iron taste into this, it doesn't sound like something I'd really like my sausage to taste like. Especially when black trumpets have such a discreet taste on their own.

- 300 g salt-pickled black trumpets
- 5 dl water
- 4 dl gluten flour
- 2 dl oat cream
- 1.5 dl whole barley grains
- 100 g fresh soy cheese
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- white pepper

Cook the barley in salted water. Mince the garlic. Rinse and drain the mushrooms couple of times, then cut them into smaller pieces. Mix all the ingredients except the gluten flour. Start kneading the flour into the rest by your hand, a small amount at a time, to get it evenly mixed with the rest of the sausage. If there seems to be too much of the dry stuff, add a dollop of water, but carefully, since you don't them to become too soggy.

Take a fistful of the mass and roll into a bar. Wrap into folio and roll some more. Repeat for the rest of the mass. I got myself six large sausages from this amount. Bake in a 175°C oven for an hour. Enjoy as a snack or on the dinner, preferably with lingonberry or cranberry sauce.

Nutritional values / 1 sausage / 242 g:
energy 308,5 kcal
fat 11,5 g
protein 29,3 g
carbohydrates 22,5 g
fiber 4,5 g
Osta neljä tuotetta ja maksat vain kolmesta - Luomutallin kampanjatuotteet näet täältä

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