24/06/2014

MUSTARD MARMALADE FOR GRAVLAX


The so far wonderfully variable June weather didn't fail us during Midsummer either: All four seasons we saw during the weekend of nightless (and sleepless) nights.

Despite the temperatures that threaten my basils in the garden, or the hailstorms we've had few, I feel like the summer has finally begun. Must have something to do with the summery food. One of my favourite things on Midsummer table is mustard marmalade which makes the most perfect match for gravlax and new potatoes.

The marmalade is one of the things we can't do our Midsummer without in my family. Actually few years back we needed to set some rules and regulations so that the sweet brown preserve wouldn't have lost it's value: We decided it's only allowed to make it during new potato season, but not before Midsummer. And then again for Christmas table.

Having something to wait for, you know. Keeping things fresh. Playing hard to get.


MUSTARD MARMALADE FOR GRAVLAX

3 tbsp butter
4 shallot onions (small), diced finely
3 tbsp Dijon-mustard
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dark syrup (treacle)
2 tbsp dill, chopped

  1. Melt the butter on a pan and add chopped onions. Sauté until onions are tender (couple of minutes).
  2. Mix in the mustard, sugar and syrup and let it bubble gently for few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Set aside and let cool completely. After cooling, add the chopped dill.

17/06/2014

DESSERTS UNDER THE HELSINKI SKY


Dinner under the Helsinki Sky unfortunately became a victim of the horrible weather on last Thursday's Helsinki Day. We weren't the only ones who gave up and didn't show up on the reserved seats around the long table along Esplanadi.

We're made of sugar I guess. Or then we just don't have the right kind of large and steady golf umbrellas or canopy tents in handy carry bags. But I'm so glad some people do. Approximately one third of the thousand seats were said to have been covered.





But we're not total losers! After having had some great indoor pizza pique-nique at Putte's, we decided to defy the rain and took the dogs and kids, a bottle of rosé and our desserts outdoors.

Desserts under the drizzly, grey Helsinki sky.



Two days after I tried to persuade my kids of another happening we could go to with the whole family. They asked me what the event was. I told them it's called Taste of Helsinki and that it's a really nice food event.
"Nooo! No food events!" they screamed.

Have to hope for a better weather, before trying to convince them of a next food event I suppose.

11/06/2014

HELSINKI DAY!



Tomorrow it's Helsinki Day.

If I had a day off with the whole family, my day would definitely include these:

Sharp at 10 o'clock we'd be the first ones to enter the Erottaja Fire Station, since all the city's rescue stations have open doors until 18.00. After that we'd get our hands dirty at Herttoniemi Manor's Maalla kaupungissa (Countryside in the city) happening. We'd have to hurry though, cause the Helsinki quiz for kids is held at 13.30 in Taivallahti playground. Bread & circuses is offered at Torikorttelit from 14-18 and during the exact same hours there is a Gulf of Finland and sea themed event on Harakka Island. And on the way to or from these happenings, we'd make sure not to miss the giant soap bubble show by Ruffle Army.

If I had a day off with me, myself and I, I'd follow this route:

I'd start my morning at Restaurant Savoy, not having a breakfast, which they don't even serve, but taking part on the guided tour through the historical Helsinki restaurant. After that I'd pop by at Ateneum to see the Tove Jansson exhibition, free entry yay! Another guided tour of the day would be at Marimekko HQ, at noon.
I would then take a two stop metro ride to Kalasatama and walk the few minutes to Teurastamo (Abattoir) and see how the food trucks arrive to the first ever Street Food Thursday and after they open up at 15, I would definitely be one of the first customers. After eating well, I'd just walk around the city and my Helsinki Day I'd end up with a Dalindèo concert on Espa Stage at 21.

Since I'm not having a day off, neither with my family nor by myself, it'll be something like this:

After work I rush through the Street Food Thursday to make it to the Taste of Helsinki premiere. Spend a while there, then meet up with the rest of the family, who hopefully made it to one of the rescue stations before they closed. Then we'll find the eight seats I've got booked for the Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky and set a pique nique with our friends on the looong 1000 person table at Espa.

And all this can only happen if my flu is finally completely beaten by tomorrow morning. Can't wait.

Photo: Lauri Rotko

For the guided tours etc. there might not be tickets left at this point. But most of the events/happenings are unlimited. See the Helsinki Day website for more info of the hundreds of other happening as well.

07/06/2014

INDIAN SPINACH, CHICKPEA AND RADISH SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS RAITA


I'm not a huge fan of Indian cuisine. That might have something to do with the fact that my Indian food experiences mostly consist of some visits to Indian lunch joints in Helsinki. Never been to India, not even close by. And never visited a nice Indian restaurant elsewhere either.

But since Freddie Mercury went to a boarding school in India, there had to be something Indian on the menu on our Vanha Suola evening. The slot as a second course required for something vegetarian and fresh, and this is what I created.

Based on my (poor) experience, it's by far the best Indian I've had. My THE salad for the summer.


INDIAN SPINACH, CHICKPEA AND RADISH SALAD
(for four)

100g spinach
100g radishes
two handfuls of pea shoots
bunch of green onion stalks
250g asparagus (only tips for the salad, stalks needed for the raita)
240g chickpeas
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp of spiced oil (recipe below)
Asparagus raita (recipe below)
  1. Mix together the chickpeas, salt and 2 tablespoons of the spiced oil. Let marinate for 1 h at least.
  2. Cut the asparagus tips in 2 cm pieces and blanch them: Cook for 30 seconds and then cool them in ice cold water.
  3. Remove all thick spinach stems, cut the onion stalks and thinly slice the radishes.
  4. Put spinach leaves, pea shoots, onion stalks and asparagus pieces in a bowl, toss in 1 tbsp of the spiced oil and a pinch of salt. Mix.
  5. Divide the greens on plates and add the marinated chickpeas and radishes.
  6. Serve with asparagus raita.

SPICED OIL

1 dl vegetable oil
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Heat the oil on a pan. Add chili, caraway, cardamom and cinnamon, and cook for couple of minutes.
  2. Remove pan from stove, add turmeric and lemon juice and let the oil cool completely.

ASPARAGUS RAITA

250g green asparagus
2 tsp lemon juice
200g natural yoghurt
1/2 -1 tsp green curry paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh mint
1/2 tbsp fresh coriander
  1. Snap off the dry ends, peel and julienne the asparagus stalks. (Save the tips for the salad)
  2. Add lemon juice and marinade for at least 1 hour.
  3. Mix together yoghurt, green curry paste, sugar, salt, pepper and the fresh herbs.