Persian Fritata

Kuku or Kookoo is a traditional egg based Persian dish that is healthy and delicious packed with a variety of herbs. The dish compares to a frittata, not an omelette as the ratio to filling is more than eggs itself. You can play around with the herbs you like, the taste is light and airy and once you make it, you will do it again! 

Ingredients for Kuku Sabzi

  • 2 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1bunch dill, finely chopped
  • ½bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1spring onion, chopped
  • Small handful (about 2 oz) fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 2garlic clove finely chopped
  • 3-4eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp flour (generous tbsp)
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt &Ground black pepper
  • 4tablespoonsolive oil

Yogurt sauce

  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves grated

Toppings

  • Crushed walnuts
  • pomegranate
  • Barberries (or dried cranberries)
  • Serve with flat bread (optional)

 

Directions

 

In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients and beat well. Add in the salt and pepper. In about a 20cm nonstick pan (about 8 inches) add the olive oil over medium heat. Pour in the mixture and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

With the help of a knife, gently cut the kuku into 4 wedges. Then gently turn each slices over to brown on the other side. If necessary, add a little butter or oil in the pan.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and grated garlic together and serve it on the side. Top the kuku sabzi with crushed walnuts, pomegranate and barberries on top.

With Easter on its way, kuku sabzi is an intriguing traditional dish to bring people together. Its vibrant green color will spruce up a brunch table bringing a set of culture together.  With symbolizing rebirth and fresh starts in a way, it is fragrantly delicious and appropriate as spring sets into bloom.

Easter Treat & Porvoo

Easter has been relaxing and beautifully sunny here in Helsinki. We took a day trip to Porvoo, strolled around the old town, had lunch and coffee at a cute little restaurant. We have spent a lot of time outdoors basking in the sunshine. I wanted to share this 10 minute asparagus pie recipe with you all, that we have been making almost every morning this easter.

You need ready rectangle sheets of puff pastry, some cream cheese, spring asparagus and egg wash. Basically, cut the puff pastries into squares, scar a smaller square in the centre of your pastry, as seen in the image below. Do not cut all the way through however. Spread some cream cheese (that is mixed with herbs) into the square. Add asparagus on top. Wash the sides with egg and place into a hot oven of 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Once they come from the oven, add a sprinkling of Malden salt and eat warm.

The asparagus tarts come out golden tasting lovely and gooey in the middle with beautiful spring flavours from the herbs and asparagus.

Christmas coffee & Pine wreath

I usually prefer a simple good quality cappuccino in the morning without any sweetness but during the Christmas season it is nice to spruce up the coffee once in a while. This maple latte also makes a great afternoon pick-me-up if you have a little sweet tooth craving and elevates your cappuccino in a matter of minutes. While hubby has looking after our little one, I quickly made a little wreath and enjoyed it over Christmas music and this smoothing coffee, which is super delicious. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices during this time of year, which I would say the entire Scandinavia agrees on.

I actually found the twigs for the base of wreath on my morning walk with Siena who happen to be chewing on them. I noticed how durable and bendy they were that I snatched a few to take home with me. You basically bend them into a circle and attach the ends together with floral wire. I took some pine twigs and little white berries from the forest and simply attached them to the base with more floral wire. It is really as simple as that. This little wreaths make great decorations on top of gifts or simple around the house to bring a little of nature inside. I think, wreaths are perhaps the finest Christmas decorations. A little evergreen in Christmas time is a must. 

Maple Cardamom latte (serves 2)

  • 1 1/2 cups cashew milk (or any milk of choice)
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • pinch of vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 2 good quality espresso
  • toasted almond flakes
  • pinch of cinnamon for topping

Directions

In a saucepan combine the milk, cardamom, almond butter, vanilla and maple syrup. Bring to a high simmer over medium heat. Transfer the milk to a blender and blitz until smooth and frothy. Top the milk on top of your espresso. Garnish with toasted almond flakes and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Autumn Spice Apple Breakfast

 

These caramel apples work wonderfully on toast, porridge and even as a base for apple pie. You can essentially use whatever spices you please, but I wanted to highlight the flavors of autumn that maximize warmth and comfort. These apples are also from our neighbors apple tree at the countryside, which are lovely and small with a tangy slightly sweet flavor to them. I prefer to leave the skin on, but you can either peel and also use which ever apples you prefer. This little breakfast spot is by the corner of our shed at our country house. I just love the distraught wood and the dark backdrop it provides during autumn. After summer when everything is bright, airy and light, I crave for more darker spaces and moody imagery when autumn is upon us. Now, let’s begin by making the easiest sweet apples that are dressed in the most delightful spices.

 

Caramelised apples in Autumn Spices

  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamum
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Apples slices
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

 

Yogurt bowl

  • Cashews
  • Gooseberry
  • Yogurt of choice
  • Herbs for garnishing (optional)

Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter to it. Once melted, add the apple slices, honey and spices. Gently mix and let it cook for under 10 minutes with a lid on. If the consistency looks too dry, add a little bit of water so it steams and realizes all the spices from the bottom of the pot.

Add some yogurt into a bowl and drizzle the apples slices (and juices) on top. Add some gooseberries (or whatever berry is in season where you live) and some toasted cashews. I added a few twigs of herbs in the end to add a bit of freshness and color.

To toast the cashews, add some cashews (gently broken) onto a dry pan with a little bit of salt flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the receive a bit of color and remove to the side.

Roasted Pumpkin Toast & Sunflower Fields

Sunflowers are the last flower to bloom as summer slowly comes to end. The beautiful golden hues spread across the fields giving us the last splash of color, before autumn takes over. The sun was setting beautifully when we visited the fields and picked a few stems to take back home with us. Pumpkin season is making its way to the stores as September comes to an end, so I wanted to share this rye roast recipe that I made at the countryside. I love the comforting sweet flavor of a roasted pumpkin that invites autumn into our arms.

Roasted Pumpkin Rye Toast

  • Roasted pumpkin slices (oil, salt, pepper, rosemary)
  • Rye Bread
  • Cream Cheese
  • Plum slices (optional)
  • Herbs of choice (swiss chard/ pea sprouts)

 

Slice some pumpkin and place onto a roasting tray. Add a little bit of oil on top, salt and pepper and a few twigs of rosemary. Place into 200 degrees Celsius pre heated oven and let the slices roast for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

To prepare the bread, roast some rye bread, add some cream cheese on top and place some pumpkin slices on top. I also happen to have seasonal plums at hand, so I also added a few of them on top. Add a few leaves of swiss chards along with some herbs.

Berry Pancakes

Pancakes, the easy and quick treat if you have a mild sweet tooth. We never eat pancakes for breakfast, most Scandinavians do not, as we prefer savory over sweet. But as the balcony season has come to an end, we decided to enjoy some berry infused pancakes with the last heatwave of summer. Now, our entire balcony is under construction for maintenance work and will be able to use again, after the new year.  Due to this, I tried to use the balcony during spring and summer as much as possible to maximize spending time amongst my beautiful flowers as now the time for it has come to an end.

Everybody knows a basic recipe for pancakes, so I will not share that with you, but what I will share is the way to elevate them into something better. First of all, whip some cream with a bit of vanilla sugar to form soft peaks. Then grate some lemon zest into it and add a teaspoon of lemon juice to freshen up the flavor. Also, make some homemade strawberry compote. Basically, in a small pot add some roughly chopped strawberries and bring to a boil. They release liquid from them as they heat up and the point is to reduce the liquid and thicken it. Add a bit sugar (or honey) if you prefer it sweeter and let it gently simmer into a mush-like consistency for about 10-15 minutes. You can press the strawberries with the help of a fork to get the ideal texture for you. Remove to the side to cool.

Once the pancakes are ready and slightly cooled, add some whipped cream inside along with black and blue berries. Roll it up and repeat the process. Plate it with a generous scoop of strawberry compote along with some extra berries. Garnish with mint if you please. This infuses the pancakes with delicious sweet but fresh flavors giving it far more excitement that your basic pancakes with syrup. It not only tastes like the memory of sweet summer, but the lightness of it all makes it the perfect sweet tooth craving without being too heavy.

 

 

Apricot Cream cheese Toast

‘Apricot toast on a bed of grass’

As the summer season comes to an end, the waves at our summer house start to get stronger with the breeze of a gentle autumn wind. The weather however, is still warm enough to enjoy breakfast outside and those little chills are warmed up by some piping hot espresso. One of my favorite spots at our summer house is in the empty woods in our garden where the hay is overgrown and wildflowers come and go as they please. Not only is it home to the most gorgeous porcini mushrooms, but it also inhabits so many birds that are a blessing to listen to. A collection of rocks and sand makes up the bordering of the water making it a cozy little spot to enjoy a picnic. This morning I gently caramelized halved apricots in honey, thyme and butter with a pinch of cardamum, maybe for about five minutes or so. I let them get a bit mushy and spread them on top of some toasted rustic sourdough bread that was smeared with cream cheese. To balance the sweetness, I squeezed a bit of lemon juice on top and added a few eatable flowers on top as we happen to have some growing on our porch. As our Bialetti espresso stove cooker came to a boil, I put everything into a little basket and headed out to enjoy these last warmer moments that will keep me going through out the darker autumn. Accompanied by Siena, we sat and listening to nature around us watching the waves crash against the lakes near us.

Summer Breakfast

Morning swims, cups of coffee & comforting porridge bowls filled with fresh berries…is what summer mornings are made of.  Hubby and I started the day with a traditional picnic breakfast on the pier. Siena and hubs swam while I sat on the softest of blankets watching them fight over noodles in the water. Even though the pictures might not reflect it,  the weather was close to 30 degrees Celsius so you can imagine the lake was lovely and warm. According to my husband, there is nothing better than a refreshing swim and a hot cup of coffee afterwards, and I could not agree more.

 

 

Wild Strawberry Toast

 

One of my favorite summer breakfasts at the country house is to eat a wild strawberry toast. The red little pearls grow around the garden so in the mornings, I tend to take a little bowl and pick some for my morning toast. During this early hour of the day, Siena takes her first stroll around the property, listening to sounds of nature around her. Usually everyone else is asleep and I’m enjoying the nature to myself picking away the sweet wild strawberries along with some blueberries. We have blueberries and lingonberry growing all over our forest, which is a common wild berry in Finland.

To make this delicious bread, you need to toast some rustic bread and let it cool. Spread a generous amount of cream cheese on top, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice and pour the berries on top. I usually garnish with a bit of thyme and it’s ready to be indulged. It really is a simple toast and maybe it tastes so delicious with the handpicked berries or the atmosphere I eat it in, but it really does remind me of the best of summer mornings. I boil my tea into a little thermos, take a few baskets with blankets and freshly picked flowers and stroll down to the pier to set up a little breakfast spot. I used to do this with our old dogo Bella, who always accompanied me where ever I went, so I’m glad Siena is learning to do the same thing. She swam in the lake as I sipped my tea and at that very moment, I felt grateful about life. The two little seagulls you see in the photos, are the same pair that always come back to our country house when we arrive there. They have almost become like pets to us, they walk all over our garden almost to the front door, sit silently waiting for a slice of bread. My mom feeds them on occasion, which is why they keep returning to us. They also joined us for breakfast, waiting at the end of the pier, for a little bit of bread. These Finnish lakes are so beautiful; they are clear, basically drinkable in this region which makes it such a refreshing experience to swim in them. A few boats glide by and the day begins to get hotter as the sun rises, as I finish my slow breakfast and cup of tea.

 

Easy Homemade Lilac Honey

My dream would be to have a garden with some lilac trees, purple and white ones to spread the scent of June. Lilac grows wild and is quite common in Finland that have been around for centuries. You can use this lilac honey as you would with normal honey and you can pick out the flowers or leave them in, as they are eatable. This recipe literally takes 1 minute to make but it needs to sit in the jar for at least 2 days before usage. It can intensify in the jar from 2 days up to 2 weeks, depending on how strong you want the lilac to be.

Lilacs bloom in June and have a few week life spam which makes their aromatic scent that much more endearing, which is why I try to make the best of them.

Lilac honey

  • Lilac flowers washed and dried (make sure to use flowers that do not have chemicals in them)
  • Raw honey

In a sterilized mason jar, add clean lilac flowers. Then add enough honey so the flowers are covered. Seal jar and allow the flowers to infuse for several days up to two weeks. The flowers will eventually rise to the top, so they are easy to spoon out. Another method to remove the flowers is to gently heat the honey and strain through a sieve. You can also leave the petals in.

Recipe in Finnish: Syreeni Hunaja

  • Syreeni kukkia (muista käyttää sellaisia missä ei ole myrkkyä)
  • Raaka Hunajaa

Laita syreeni kukat tiiviiseen lasi purkiin. Kaada päälle hunajaa niin että kukat peittyvät. Laita korkki kiinni ja anna tekeytyä pari päivää pariin viikkoon asti. Kun haluat käyttää hunajaa, kukat voi joko ottaa pois tai jättää hunajaan, koska ovat syötäviä. Itse teen aika pienen purkin syreeni hunajaa, koska se on riittoisaa.  Jos haluat eroon kukista: ne kelluvat pinnalle niin voi lusikoida helposti pois tai kuumenna hunaja hellästi ja valuta siivilän läpi purkkiin.

Serve it with some delicious cake, put on your morning toast or sweeten a cup of tea