Autumn Porcini

‘I can smell fall dancing in the breeze’

Finland is slowly transitioning into a beautiful autumn setting, all the leaves are changing colour and the forests are filled with amazing mushrooms and lingonberry. The air is crisp in the mornings, although lately during the day, the weather has been almost 20 degrees celsius. It has been an exceptionally warm fall and in a way, it feels like it is only starting! Today I went for some forest therapy with my mother and came home with a basket filled with porcini and yellowfoot chanterelles so I thought I would make a comforting soup for supper with sautéed porcini on top. The soup takes about 20minutes to make with a lovely sweet flavour to it topped with the perfect fresh porcini.

Soup ingredients

  • 1/2 broccoli (including stems)
  • about 5-7 brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 large dollop of butter for cooking
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • black pepper/salt/ chili flakes

Directions

Heat a sauce pan with a generous amount of butter. Add to this the roughly chopped the garlic, shallot, brussel sprouts broccoli and sweet potato. Let it cook in the butter with the lid on for about 7 minutes before adding the chicken stock. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat;with a handheld blender pulse the soup into a smooth texture. Place back on heat and add the cream, parmesan and seasoning. Let it gently intensify in flavour for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Once the soup is ready, sauté the porcini in butter and season with salt and pepper. Place the porcini on top of the soup and drizzle a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, black pepper, basil and finely chopped brussel sprouts on top.

Also, try some porcini toast, see recipe here.

Ladies Crayfish Night

‘It was an epic party that lasted till 4am’

“Helan går Sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej”… as we toasted to the end of summer with our snaps!

A few Saturday’s ago we had such a fun crayfish party with some lovely ladies at our place! We decided that I would whip up the menu, so with the cray fish I served; beetroot canape with a limoncello ginger cocktail, an earthy black trumpet soup and a berry caramel pavlova with lemon cream. We had an epic night, one of our friends came all the way from London so it was lovely to just talk and dance the entire evening. We sang Helan går (swedish snaps song) with snaps and ended the night with dancing on the chairs! We had so much fun that we only left to town at 01.00 where the night continued till the early hours of dawn! What an amazing group of ladies! You know it’s a successful party when everyone accidentally coordinates on clothing hues that also match the colour of the wine. I thought I would share some of these easy recipes with you if you are planning on throwing a dinner or a crayfish party any time soon! Have an amazing weekend darlings!

limoncello spritzers cocktails

Lemon Ginger Concentration

  • chunk of Ginger
  • 2 juice of lemons
  • drizzle of cold water

Blend together into a liquid in a blender

To make the cocktail, add plenty of ice in a glass, some limoncello, a bit of the ginger lemon concentration & sparkling water. Garnish with thyme twigs.

‘Amuse-bouche, beetroot blinis topped with spicy beetroot humus’

Beetroot Paste:

  • 2 beetroot (pre cooked)
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 onion
  • drizzle of cream
  • butter/salt/pepper/chicken stock cube

Garnish: beetroot humus, lemon zest, sesame seeds

Add some butter into a saucepan. Add the roughly chopped beetroot, garlic and onion and let it gently cook for about 7 minutes. Add a bit of cream and part of a chicken stock cube and let it cook so the cream reduces a bit. With a hand-held blender, blitz the mixture into a soft paste. This part is optional, but I still strained the paste through a sieve to make it totally smooth. Let it cool.

Make the blini batter:

In a large bowl, add 4 egg yolks (I only used yolks, since I used the whites already for a pavlova base), 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking power, a pinch of salt and mix it all together with the beetroot paste. The batter should be quite dense and leave it to rest for an hour or so.

Ready to fry: Add little dollops of butter onto a non-stick pan and cook a few minutes on both sides. The texture should be airy and fluffy. Let it cool. Once the blini is ready to be served, add a dollop of beet humus on top, add chili, sesame seeds and lemon zest.

Find the recipe for the beetroot humus here

Cooked cray fish delivery arrived home in this dill salt water bucket: Beautiful +13cm sized crayfish with lovely large claws! yum!

‘Earthy Black Trumpet mushroom soup’ (serves 6)

  • 1 litre of black trumpet mushrooms
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6dl cream
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • salt/pepper/ oregano

garnish: toasted cashew nuts, parsley, black pepper

Begin by finely chopping the vegetables (carrot, parsnip, shallots, garlic). In a heavy saucepan, add a generous amount of butter. Let it heat and add in the roughly chopped black trumpet mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes so they release some juices before adding the vegetables. Cook gently with the lid partly on for about 10 minutes. Add the cream, chick stock, salt, pepper and a few twigs of oregano. Let it gently simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and blend the soup with a handheld blender into smooth brown texture. Place back on low heat and add the parmesan. Check for flavour and reheat once ready to be served.

For toppings, I toasted some roughly chopped cashew nuts and sunflower seeds in a bit of salt, added more black pepper and sprinkles of parsley/lemon zest.

 

 

‘Summer Berry Pavlova with lemon cream & salty caramel’

Pavlova base

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 6 drops of red food colouring

Pre heat oven 125c (circulation air mode)

Whisk the egg whites and salt together with an electric whisk until small peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar until the mixture turns a white glossy colour and becomes stiff. Mix together the cornstarch, food colouring vinegar and vanilla extract and gently fold it into the merengue. Scoop the merengue into a circular shape onto a baking tray with baking paper on it. (I made a circle of 20cm and made the merengue quite thick) Place into the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once ready, turn the oven off and leave it to rest in the oven for a remaining 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

Caramel Filling
  • roughly 180 ml cream
  • 100g butter
  • 330g regular sugar
  • 125ml water
1. Add the butter and cream into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Place the sugar and water in another small saucepan over high heat and bring to boil. Boil WITHOUT stirring until the mixture becomes a deep golden colour. Be patient and keep a close eye to it, you can begin to smell the caramel, the deeper the colour the more intense the flavour. However, make sure if does not burn as this gives a nasty flavour to the caramel. Some use a candy thermometer for this, but I did not have one and played by eye and it worked perfectly.
3. Remove from the heat when the colour is golden and immediately add the butter/cream mixture in a thin steady stream. Place the pan back onto the stove and stir for another 5 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Then pour it in a bowl and leave it to rest so it cools to room temperature.
Lemon Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

With an electric mixer, whip the cream until it thickens. Gradually mix in sugar and lemon juice and beat until soft peaks form. Fold in lemon zest and refrigerate for up to a few hours.

Garnishing for Pavlova

  • suffeli cookies
  • gooseberries
  • blueberries
  • lemon zest

Ready to make the Pavlova: On top of the base, drizzle some caramel, crunch in some of your favourite cookies or chocolate, I used airy waffle chocolate cookies (suffeli) and add the lemon whipped cream on top. Garnish with lots of blueberries, gooseberries and lemon zest.

 

 

Spring Style Roasted Garlic & Parsnip Soup

The last days have been just beautiful and sunny, the streets are dry and the snow has melted away and the days are longer and brighter. Asparagus and large bushes of herbs have arrived into stores along with all kinds of Spring vegetables so I decided to put that into good use.

This roasted garlic and parsnip soup is sweet and flavourful, where the refreshing basil vinaigrette balances with its acidity, while the sautéed asparagus toppings add a touch of spring to the bowl. The garlic is mellowed by the long slow cooking leaving a decadent aftertaste to the soup. The soup is velvety with a lot of depth, while the light pale colour against the deep green is a vision in itself, making this a comforting spring treat.

Ingredients (2-3 large bowls)

  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 4 parsnips
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 200dl cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt/pepper/olive oil/ butter
  • water (about 1-2 cups)

Garnish: sautéed asparagus tops, basil vinaigrette, black pepper and fresh baby leaves of basil and thyme

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. In a roasting tray, add the peeled garlic and roughly chopped parsnips. Coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place into the oven for about 45 minutes.

2. Add a dollop of butter into a saucepan along with a chopped shallot, apple and celery stalk. Cook gently with the lid until the onion becomes translucent. Add in the goods from the baking tray and enough water so all the vegetables are covered. Also add in a bit of chicken stock. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes before removing it from the stove.

3. Purée the vegetables into a smooth paste in a blender. Place sauce pan back on a gentle heat and add in the cream (and more water if consistency is too thick) and the grated parmesan. Ground in white pepper and salt if needed. Let it simmer at low heat for another 5 minutes before serving.

4. Ready to serve: For the garnish, saute the tops of the asparagus in a bit of butter on a hot pan for a couple of minutes. Serve on top of the soup with a drizzle of basil vinaigrette and black pepper.

Basil vinaigrette

  • 1- 2 cups basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoon lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Blitz into a smooth paste in a blender. The honey makes the vinaigrette a bit sweeter, but since the soup itself is rather sweet I prefer the vinaigrette more acidic.

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Yellow Soup of the Day

 

This yellow vegetable soup is a quick hearty friday fix if you are looking for something delicious, easy and comforting for the start of the weekend. It builds from basic staple ingredients such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and some vegetables that of course can be altered to your liking. Not to mention, the above are all incredibly good for you, it also has a soothing creamy taste from the coconut cream and is vibrant in flavour from the variety of veges, toasted seeds and freshness from the raw yellow beet.

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped paksoi
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 200dl coconut cream
  • Seasoning: 1 teaspoon of soy sauce & sriracha

Garnish: toasted seeds, yellow beetroot, oregano

Directions

In a medium heated sauce pan, add a dollop of butter and stir in the finely chopped garlic, shallot and carrot. Stir gently for a few minutes before adding the cherry tomatoes, grated ginger and turmeric and zucchini. Mix around for a few minutes and pour in the chicken stock. Let it simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Add in some seasoning and the rest of the cream. Add in some roughly chopped kale/paksoi. Let it simmer so the cream reduces and becomes thicker for about 15 minutes. Taste for flavour.

Ready to plate: Pour some soup on a plate and garnish with fresh oregano and toasted seeds of choice. Grate some raw yellow beet on top.

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Sweet Potato Ginger Soup

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Craving for a delicious comforting soup? A perfect weeknight dinner recipe.

I keep receiving compliments for this soup and it has become a staple recipe in our household this week, as you just keep craving for more of it! The key is to add a good chunk of ginger to get that heat in the background and I just love the comfort of the sweet potato. Sweet potatoes can also help in skin health as they contain a lot of vitamin A, making it naturally anti-inflammatory and ginger, well that is just all around good for you in so many ways!

This soup is healthy, it contains no cream, just a splash of milk and you can skip this part too if you follow a vegan diet. It is easy and quick to make and has all the qualities of a comforting hearty soup. I’m always freezing and I’ve noticed that a bowl of this is absolutely perfect for warming your stomach and banishing coldness on those crisp evenings. It’s thick, creamy, bright, and an excellent use for leftover sweet potatoes. You can garnish as you wish, with just a sprinkle of fresh herbs or toasted nuts/parma ham, blue cheese or a drizzle of yogurt for a tangy touch. This soup makes an easy weeknight meal all on its own or for a more bulkier meal, add a side salad or some protein.

Ingredients (serves 4 large bowls)

  • 1 1/2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • About 1/2 cup pealed roughly chopped Ginger
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable stock concentration
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • salt/ground black pepper
  • Garnish: finely chopped parsley/dill or chives

Directions

In a large saucepan, add a dollop of butter and bring to heat. Add in the roughly chopped onions, garlic, sweet potato and ginger. Let them simmer gently under the lid and stir once in a while for about 7 minutes. Add in just enough water to cover (or a bit less actually) the vegetables and continue cooking until the sweet potato has softened. Add a tablespoon of vegetable stock concentration. (tip: rather add a little less of water than too much because you can vary the concentration later) 

Blend the soup with a food processor into a smooth velvety paste. Add in a couple pinches of salt, ground black pepper and a  good splash of milk. Place the saucepan back on the stove and re-heat gently. At this point, check the taste and alter the thickness of the soup to your liking by adding either more milk or water. (tip: coconut milk works well too)

Ready to plate: Serve the soup hot and garnish with ground black pepepr, chopped chives and dill.

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Delicious Deep Green Cleansing Soup

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When it’s frosty and -20 Celsius outside, all you want to do is find comfort in a delicious hot soup and hibernate at home. This soup is the best, don’t let the ‘cleansing‘ label fool you, it still has all the qualities of a soothing and filling soup where each sip feels like it nourishes you through out. It is thick and velvety, despite having no cream. The combination of kale, spinach, zucchini, mint, garlic, celery is rather magical that explodes with vitamins from the dark green leaves, plant protein and fibre.

This soup happened a little by accident as I was combining my favourite leftovers from the fridge after a freezing walk with our dog. It really makes an easy healthy lunch or quick supper if you are in need of an extra boost. I had just taken a walk outside with Bella, the sea was fogging that was a piercing blue colour while the stones were covered in pure ice. The air was frosty, but ever so beautiful and at that moment I wish I would have had my camera with me. When I came home, I searched my fridge for all different greens and began making a hot soup! This is a definite must share recipe and it’s extra delicious served with some avocado either on top of the soup or on the side as a toast.

Anyways, this soup is quick and easy to make, suitable also for a vegan diet. All you really need to do is chop, heat and blend and you have a fabulous green soup! It really needs no cream to make it delicious, of course you can tweak it as much as you like and make it more glamorous. You can add parmesan, crispy parma ham on top or what ever you like! It will have a great impact on your body as it is filled with minerals and vitamins, especially calcium. The ingredients are clean and good for your body, a natural cleansing remedy. This healthy soup is a great addition to January’s healthier lifestyle and it is made for these frosty chilly days. Eating like this, will help you stay away from the winter flu and raise your immune levels. Enjoy everyone!

 

ingredients

  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 large garlic gloves
  • 1/2 medium-sized zucchini
  • About 5 dl vegetable stock
  • 3 large Kale Leaves (stem included)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • dollops of butter for cooking
  • pinch of Maldon salt

garnish: sesame seeds, parsley, ground black pepper

Directions

Chop the celery, shallots, zucchini, garlic and heat in a sauce pan with a bit of butter. Gently stir and let them sweat under the lid for about 7 minutes. Stir in the chopped kale and spinach and let them wilt. After a couple of minutes, add in enough vegetable stock so almost all ingredients are just covered. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender.Remove from the stove and blend the mixture into a smooth paste in a food processor, add a pinch of salt. Place it back onto the stove and heat. Ready to serve: garnish the soup with a generous amount of ground black pepper, light sesame seeds and finely chopped parsley. A small dollop of creme fraiche is great with the soup too!

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Turnip soup with Porcini mushrooms

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Hand picked wild porcini mushrooms from our backyard add a degree of luxury to this humble turnip soup. The texture is rich and creamy with a subtle sweetness and salty bits from the crunchy pancetta. At the countryside, we visited the morning market and couldn’t resist in buying these beautiful organic turnips that have been grown locally. Turnips are quite versatile; grated raw into a salad or cooked in rosemary and garlic, they add an interesting flavour to our dishes. This thick soup is comforting and fulfilling, where the salty porcini give an earthy flavour, that is purely superior. Porcini mushrooms are by far my favourite ones to pick, they are elegant and robust and true gems in our forests.

 

Ingredients

  • 5 turnips
  • Butter
  • 150- 200 g cauliflower
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots
  • Handful of chopped leek
  • 2 dl cream
  • 2 dl chicken stock
  • Fried crispy bacon/pancetta chopped into fine pieces

Porcini Mushroom fry

  • porcini mushrooms
  • Butter
  • Black pepper/ Maldon salt
  • Fresh Thyme

Directions

Begin by frying about 8 bacon slices or pancetta so they become crispy and crunchy. Leave to the side and place on kitchen paper to remove excess fat. Then chop all the vegetables (turnips, cauliflower, garlic, leek and onion) and place in a saucepan on medium heat with a dollop of butter. Cook for about 7 minutes until a lovely golden brown. Add in the chicken stock and cook gently with the lid on for about 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat and blend the soup into a smooth paste in a food processor. Place back onto the stove and add the cream. Add in the bacon, a bit of salt and ground white pepper. Let it simmer until it thickens in consistency for about 10 minutes. Check for flavour. Meanwhile chop the porcini mushrooms into smaller pieces and fry on a hot pan in some butter. Add a bit of salt, thyme and ground black pepper. Ready to serve: plate the soup and add some porcini mushrooms on top. Add more black pepper in the end. Serve with a glass of champagne.

Summer Salmon Soup

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‘Midsummer salmon soup on the balcony’

It feels so strange being in the city for midsummer, the town is quiet as everyone is at their summer places. Mr. N and I decided to make a colourful creamy salmon soup that we ate on the balcony. This soup is super tasty and takes under half an hour to make! It makes a great summer lunch, appetizer and you can still eat it the following day.

ingredients

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 potatoes
  • broccoli
  • 1 onion
  • fish stalk/water/cream
  • smoked salmon
  • Herbs of choice
  • Black pepper/salt

In a medium-sized saucepan, boil about 1/2 litre of fish stock. Add all the chopped vegetables to boil under low heat. Boil about 7 minutes and add in large chunks of the smoked salmon. Add some black pepper, salt, cream, water and let all the flavours merge for another 10 minutes. Serve with fresh herbs and ground black pepper.

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Rustic Country Mussels

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Robust & rustic with hints of garlic is what this mediterranean dish is all about! We ate these mussels on our balcony on a warm evening and it almost felt like we were back in Italy surrounded with our fresh herbs and lavender.  This country recipe is so quick to make, easily under 20 minutes, so it can be a great saver for dinner parties. Mussels are cheap, sustainable and overly delicious! The lovely taste of the garlic explodes in your mouth and all you want to do is soak up all the delicious buttery herb broth with a piece of olive loaf! I love the saltness of the olive loaf, I think it brings out the flavours of the seafood along with a good squeeze of lime. This dish makes an efforltess appetizer or light lunch, excellent with a chilled glass of white wine.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Mussels
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 large shallots
  • Parsley ( or herbs of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Serve with olive loaf & lime wedges

Begin by cleaning the mussels by scrubbing under cold water and remove beards. Make sure to remove the dead ones. Any easy way to check if they are alive, is by tapping them and if they do not close, they are dead, thus throw away.

In a large pan, add in the garlic, shallots with some butter and cook about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add in the wine and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add mussels, cover with lid, increase the heat. Cook until the mussels are open for about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and butter. Serve with lime wedges and rustic olive bread.

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‘Green Summer Soup’

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Finally, we have fresh peas at the market! I have been waiting for their arrival as I have been craving for a fresh summer soup for quite some time now! This creamy rustic delight is so easy to make reminding your taste buds of those simple summer flavours. It has a slightly sweet flavour to it, depending on the sweetness of your peas and you must serve it with a perfectly cooked 7 minute egg, a bit gooey on the inside but the whites are perfectly firm to give an extra lift to the taste. If your peas are not sweet enough, add a small teaspoon of sugar in the cooking process to bring out that flavours.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure the type of the green leaf I used in the soup, I couldn’t figure out the name. I think it is a relative to spinach, yet it does not wilt so easily and tastes a bit like spring cabbage or paksoi. I would suggest to use any large green leaf with some stem that you like, but I think a basic small leaf spinach is too mild for this. Now let’s begin the cooking process.

ingredients

  • Fresh Peas
  • Large Spinach Leaves or spring Cabbage
  • 250 g Cream
  • Chicken Stock (1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot
  • Small handful of leek
  • Butter/ salt/ black pepper
  • Fresh herbs of choice (I used oregano and thyme)

 

Directions

Begin by sauteing your shallots, leek and garlic in a knob of butter. Let them sweat and release flavour until slightly translucent. Close your eyes and enjoy the smell, it is truly wonderful! If needed, add a bit of sugar at this point to sweeten the base. Then add the peas and roughly chopped green leaves and cook under a lid for about 5-7 minutes, gently stirring once in a while. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Add in your cream, a bit of chicken stock and let it gently simmer for about 10 minutes. Let the cream thicken in consistency and taste for flavour. It may need an adjustment of spices. Once you are happy, close the lid and turn off the heat for the remaining time while you cook the eggs. Boil your eggs for 7 minutes to get the perfect result. Garnish the soup with fresh herbs, lots of ground black pepper and a sliced egg. Serve with a rustic loaf of bread & butter. Bon apetit!

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