27/03/2014

OXTAIL BEETROOT STEW


Despite the spring-like sunshiny days we’ve lately been enjoying, the sea ain’t completely unfrozen yet, temperature keeps dropping below zero during the nights and winter vegetables fill up the supermarket veggie shelves.

Looong braised meat stews are still well justified.


OXTAIL BEETROOT STEW
(for four)

1,6 kg oxtail, trimmed
salt & black pepper
oil, butter
3 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced 
1 rosemary stalk
2 bay leaves
5 dl beef stock
3,5 dl red wine
4 beetroots, peeled and cut up in 2-3 cm chunks
10 shallots, peeled
250g mushrooms, halved
fresh sage
  1. Season the oxtail pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil & butter, add oxtails and brown on all sides, 6-8 min per batch. Transfer oxtails to a plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat and add chopped onions and garlic to pot and sauté until softened.
  4. Return oxtails to pot and add also the rosemary and bay leaves, beef stock and red wine.
  5. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer covered for ca. 2,5h.
  6. Add beetroots and cook uncovered 15 min. 
  7. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook for another 15 min.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add fresh sage before serving.
You can also thicken the sauce slightly if you like: just stir 1 tbsp softened butter and 1 tbsp flour into a smooth paste and add to pot with shallots and mushrooms. I served the stew with couscous and therefore didn't feel like thickening mine.


23/03/2014

STREAT HELSINKI BEATS


Like Chris Ying, the editor-in-chief of Lucky Peach magazine, reminded us at the Streat Helsinki TALKS on Friday, street food is something that just happens. Unpredictability is a part of it.

On Saturday exactly that something just happened. I spent hours wearing my sunglasses for the first time this year and letting my feet guide me from one queue to another to get a bite of the most amazing street food. 

Me, plus the estimated 19999 people, who also visited Streat Helsinki EATS in the heart of the city. 













Oh, and my absolute favourite of those I got to taste?
Skibibi Bros & Co.'s tempura vendace with smoked root vegetable salad wrapped in a malt flatbred. Heaven on the street.



20/03/2014

WIN WIN SITUATION


And we have a winner!


Kaisa, you lucky one, please drop me a line at foodfromhel@gmail.com and I'll give you more info. If I haven't heard of you by 5pm, I'm gonna have to draw a new number.

And all you others, go get yours from Tiketti, there are still some left!

18/03/2014

STREAT HELSINKI EATS MENU (AND A GIVEAWAY!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-zpVpk35WUJT0ZjV1J2aDFpaWM/edit?usp=sharing

I know. I felt the same panic after I read the menu for the coming Saturday's Streat Helsinki EATS: How on earth am I gonna be able to eat all that I planned?! Better start fasting right away.

Print out the pdf, pick up a marker and start circling your favourites. For more info of the vendors go see streathelsinki.com.

But as I already hinted, there's also a giveaway! Leave a comment on this post naming your favourite of those 37 amazing street food kitchens. You've got time until Wednesday midnight (local time Helsinki). Randomly chosen winner is going to get two tickets to Streat Helsinki PARTIES for Friday evening at Kellohalli.

If not lucky enough, I suggest you purchase a ticket anyway. The party ticket won't just bring you awesome dj's, a DIY street cocktail bar, a portable sauna and some most international Finnish rap live from stage, but also an international street food menu with a Finnish twist, by two noted chefs of which one just got his first Michelin star.

So the fasting should be put on a small break for the Friday evening after all...

GO READ THE MENU, COMMENT, PARTY, EAT, PARTY, EAT, EAT AND EAT!

(Oh, and if you don't want to leave your email address on your comment, make sure to check back on Thursday morning to see if you're the lucky one!)


_ _ _

Streat Helsinki TALKS conference on Friday at 8.30AM-4PM at the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre has reached the maximum capacity, so the pre-registration is closed.

Streat Helsinki PARTIES party takes place on Friday 21 March at 6PM - 2AM in restaurant Kellohalli at Abattoir. Party tickets are on sale at Tiketti. Ticket price is 38,50 € (incl. handling fees).

Streat Helsinki EATS festival is held at the Tori Quarters on Sat 22 March at 11AM - 7PM. The festival area is open for all and free of charge.

16/03/2014

SEA-BUCKTHORN POSSET


Outrageously high fever for a week, a nasty sinusitis for a couple more. Then the constant on & off sore throat, headache, dry cough and sniffles. I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong, but for the most part of the first quarter this year I’ve had the flu.

My husband blames me for not taking a daily schnapps of the sea-buckthorn juice, like he does. He claims this ultimate vitamin C drink is the reason he has been able to fight back all of those kindergarten bugs kids are sharing at home.

Anyhow, flu on again.

Today I started with my daily dose of the superfood berry.


SEA-BUCKTHORN POSSET
(for 3-4)

3 dl double cream
50g sugar
0,5 dl sea-buckthorn juice (unsugared, cold-pressed)
  1. Place the double cream and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for three minutes. 
  2. Remove from the heat and add the sea-buckthorn juice. Stir a bit.
  3. Pour directly into 3-4 small dishes and refrigerate for at least couple of hours.
  4. (I had a tangerine and some almond biscuits at hand, so I diced and crumbled some on top. Garnish with what ever you feel like.) 

13/03/2014

MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANTS IN HEL



Two days ago the 2014 Michelin stars for Finland were announced. Or for Helsinki, since the stars and Bib Gourmands have so far all been given to restaurants located here.

The one and only two-star-rated restaurant, Chez Dominique, closed down last year, but the amount of stars in Helsinki remained at six. Two new restaurants got themselves to the star posse: Ask, which was also just named as The Restaurant of the Year and Chef & Sommelier, which got the same title last year.

The rest of the gang got to retain their Michelin stars, one for each: Demo, Luomo, Olo and Postres.
Congrats to all!

11/03/2014

SALMON, FENNEL AND ZUCCHINI SOUP


Our youngest one, the three year old who prefers having nothing green on his plate, loves fish. When he’s asking the daily question of “what’s for dinner?” and I tell him we’re having fish, the follow-up inquiry is always about the colour of the fish to be served. (Red fish preferred over white, you see.)

Since we have nearly managed to destroy the wild salmon stock of the Baltic Sea, the number of imported Norwegian salmon consumed in Finland is quite impressive: Over forth of all fish eaten here is farmed Norwegian salmon.

From now on, at least in our family, the consumption of Finnish red fish will probably increase though. The Finnish section of WWF announced yesterday that the farmed Finnish rainbow trout has gotten green light in their newest version of the “Consumer's Seafood Guide”. The environmental impact of rainbow trout produced in Finland has been reduced significantly in the past years. Yay, we do something right!

Here a quick recap of the updated traffic lights for your encounters with the red representatives of family Salmonidae in Finland:

Green light
  • Farmed Finnish rainbow trout
  • ASC labelled or organic farmed salmon 
Yellow light
  • Farmed salmon from Norway
  • Arctic char 
  • Adipose fin-clipped salmon from the Baltic sea 
  • Farmed brown trout
Red light
  • Wild salmon from the Baltic sea
  • Brown trout from Baltic sea and Finnish lakes


Rainbow trout ain't of course the same as the more oily cousin salmon, but in many cases it works well too. The soup above I made last weekend with the real deal imported Norwegian. Replace it with rainbow trout or any other fish if you prefer. Just bear your local traffic lights in mind.

And no, he didn't eat the greens.


SALMON, FENNEL AND ZUCCHINI SOUP

450g salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
1 tbsp oil
300g fennel, thinly sliced
300g zucchini, soft centre removed and sliced in 1,5 cm pieces
75g celery, sliced
50g spinach
1 spring onion stalk, sliced
8 dl fish stock
2 dl cream
1 tbsp lime juice
salt, white pepper

  1. Cut the salmon into 3cm chunks and salt lightly.
  2. Pre-heat the fish stock.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the fennel for few minutes, until it starts to get a little tender. Then add the zucchini and celery and continue to sauté for another minute.
  4. Pour in the hot fish stock and cream. Bring to boil.
  5. Remove the pot from the stove, add salmon, spinach and spring onion. Cover and let rest for 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

07/03/2014

OLD MARKET HALL, NEW NEWS


Helsinki’s oldest market hall, Wanha Kauppahalli, has been a massive worksite for over a year now. The renovation should be done by the end of the spring, so that for the summer the bright and shiny new market hall would be ready to embrace all locals getting their fresh of the freshest groceries done and welcome the hundreds of thousands of tourists who buzz around the Market Square throughout the year.

For the past years the heart of the hall, the main café, I’ve found a bit… how should I put it... well, dull. The same assortment of the same doughnuts and buns like everywhere else. Nothing special at one of city's flagship locations for a café.

Next June however, things are gonna be different, I'm sure. The achievements of the four new restaurateurs of the hall’s biggest café/restaurant, include for example city’s best sushi, wine importing, fine pâtisserie and - a Michelin star.


In dark blue, Anders Westerholm & Matti Sarkkinen (Sushibar + Wine, Vin-Vin and Viinitie). Teemu Aura (Demo, Grotesk) and Markus Hurskainen (Patisserie Teemu & Markus) wearing the lighter shades.

05/03/2014

ALPPILA CHURCH BRUNCH


When you go to a restaurant to have a brunch with you family and/or friends, what does it take to have a really good brunch?

Well of course great food. No doubt. I prefer mine rather neatly plated than having to jump up and down for a buffet. While brunching with small kids, I also muchly appreciate if there is something special organised for the under school aged. Good music helps in tuning into that happy-brunchy-vibe too.

If you have all that plus an extra bonus of doing good, wouldn't that nearly sound too good to be true?



Right next to Helsinki’s amusement park Linnanmäki, at the foyér of Alppila church, a brunch is served every Saturday at 11am and 1pm. Behind the idea is the parish’s innovative vicar, Teemu Laajasalo, who wants to open up the churches for visitors in a whole new way, to make them more easily approachable.


The food is prepared by a team of kitchen pros, who normally can be found working in some top Helsinki restaurants. After soup, small green salad and a smoothie you choose your main course. On our first visit we had poached white fish and a super tender braised pork cheek. Last weekend’s chicken drumsticks and stuffed portobello didn’t loose a bit.

And you don't even pay much for it. 15 € per adult for a three course menu and 1 € per year for kids. Imagine that.

Kids were happy with their own main courses served together with adults' starters. And after that even happier in the big playroom.




Oh, I almost forgot: I mentioned the good music. One of my favourite djs playing records next to our table. Dj Bunuel, loved it.


Now the best part. You eat good and you do good too. For every brunch eaten, a donation goes to Africa through Finn Church Aid. Most people working at the brunch are doing it for the charity. Some hardcore restaurant pros, some probably carrying more than two plates at the same time for a very first time. And for some, a great place to practice skills needed in working life.

The only thing missing would be a nice glass of wine.
Damn, I think it's Sunday when they serve wine at church.

Good food, good cause. On Saturdays until May.

Alppila Church Brunch
Kotkankatu 2
facebook.com/alppilankirkonbrunssi
Reservations per email: filip.muhonen@evl.fi