Miso glazed pears & rice porridge

“December 15th Buttery miso glazed pears with rice porridge”

We arrived back from Spain over the weekend and we are making the most of trying to adjust to Christmas mode. We picked up a beautiful tree yesterday and have started drinking glögi and listened to plenty of Christmas songs. Before we left for Spain, we had some snow in Helsinki but as of now, it has been washed away with the rain. We managed to make the most of the snowy weather and take a forest walk to pick some material from the woods (for wreaths etc) and enjoyed some rice porridge in the all white forest. I glazed some small pears with a miso infused buttery sauce that is a delicious topping for the porridge.

Miso glazed Pears

  • 1 ripe pear halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste

Rice Porridge

  • 2 dl water
  • 2dl rice porridge
  • 1l milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Melt the butter on a pan and add the honey, bay leaf and miso paste. Add the halved pears (flat surface facing down) into the frying pan and cook gently (with lid on) for about 10 minutes. You can occasionally turn the pears to the other side so they ripen throughout.

To make the rice porridge, add the water, cinnamon stick and rice to a saucepan. Let it gently cook until the water has dissolved into the rice. Then add the milk and let it cook gently for 45minutes stirring occasionally. Add some salt. Once you serve a portion, make sure to pour the butter sauce from the pears on top of the porridge for delicious sweet flavour.

Dec. 5th, Winter Turmeric Rosemary Oven Loaf

“ Is there anything cosier than homemade baked bread during December mornings?”

I haven’t practised too much of baking bread, because I for some reason think it is going to be a really difficult task. However, one day I came across a simple no knead oven tray bread recipe that I decided to try out. To my liking, I actually added some rosemary and turmeric to this recipe and left out some of the original ingredients out (like garlic) and made it more suitable to my needs. It turned out fantastic and my husband was very impressed too, so this first trial has defiantly sparked my interest in making more homemade loafs. This recipe is time consuming just because it needs rise overnight (12h) so with that being said, make the dough the night before and then just bake it in the morning.

When the weather starts getting cosier and colder, the idea of baking home made bread is rather idyllic and charming, quite perfect to start practising in December. For example, if you were going for morning coffee to a friends/families house during the holiday season, how lovely would it be to bring over a freshly baked loaf to put a smile on their faces? This recipe calls for all-purpose flour but in the future, I really want to also try something robust like spelt or rye flour. I love rye bread the most, so my goal is to learn how to make that too. I have a great recipe for a healthy seed bread that is super easy to make, see the recipe from here. However, this loaf is more traditional, that makes great breakfast loaf with a crunchy surface and delicious soft middle. The turmeric and rosemary add a succulent mild flavour to the background and the deep yellow colour is rather magnificent too.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 7g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 rosemary twig finely chopped (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

Directions

In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, turmeric, salt, rosemary) and the warm water together. Mix everything until dough is formed and place a towel over it. Leave to rest in a warm place overnight (for at least 12h).

In the morning, lightly flour the sides of the loaf pan. Turn the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and shape into the loaf tin. Cover with towel and let it rise at least for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 210-Celsius degrees and bake the loaf for 30 to 45 minutes until the surface has beautiful browned a bit.

Generally you should let it cool for a while, but it you are impatient like me, that rarely works. We ate it with chilli hummus and pomegranate but it was perfect with just butter too.

Lavender Lemon Pound Cake

‘Lavender Lemon Tea cake, lace tops & beautiful nature’

Lavender, such a beautiful elegant aroma and is for sure one of my favourite flowers of all time. I love the fragrance and always seek out home scents, sprays, soaps and flowers as it brings me such great memories when travelling. It gives me an instant reminder of those warm days in Italy or France that I cannot get enough of.  I found some dried lavender from the spice market in Dubai and for the sake of Friday and post Valentines day, I wanted to make a tea cake for the weekend. This recipe is just a traditional pound cake with a hint of infused lavender into the icing and filling. Lemon and lavender have a wonderful marriage and together they do wonders to afternoon tea time treats! Even though, Spring is not on its way yet, it is evident that days are getting longer and lighter and nature is quite beautiful right at this moment. We have lots of snow, the birds are out and I’ve already starting pulling out my lace blouses as we are slowing working our way to March.

Lemon Pound cake (serves 12)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lavender
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Lavender Icing

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup (perhaps more) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • red colouring (optional)

Garnish

  • Dried lavender
  • Lemon zest
  • Thyme twigs

Directions

Preheat oven 177 celsius degrees. Grease a loaf tin or use a silicon based one that needs no prepping.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and lavender.

In another bowl, blitz together the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until pale and fluffy for about 3 minutes. While gently mixing, add in the eggs (one at a time), the vanilla and lemon juice.

While mixing, add in 1/2 of the flour and the buttermilk until combined. Then add the remaining flour and mix well.

Pour into a silicon cake tine and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, it is ready. Leave the cake to cool on a rack while you make the icing.

Lavender Icing

Heat the milk in a small saucepan with the dried lavender in it. Just before it comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Leave the lavender to soak in the milk for about 10 minutes until it turns a gentle purple colour. If the milk looks to mild in colour, you can add a drop of red colouring to help bring out the purple colour, but this is optional.

Then strain the lavender out of the milk and whisk the sugar into the milk until it turns into a thick icing. If the icing looks too loose, just add more sugar and that will do the trick. Once the cake has cooled, drizzle the icing on top and garnish with lavender, lemon zest and a few twigs of thyme.

Blueberry Gingerbread Christmas cake

‘ May your Christmas be sweet & merry´

Don’t be overwhelmed by the christmas rush, this cake is an easy showstopper dessert that is so simple to cake. It takes some time to solidify, but the preparations for it cause no fuss! This blueberry cake is a refreshing end to a hearty Christmas meal, it has the right amount of sweetness and a hint of festive flavouring from the gingerbread. May your Christmas be filled with love and joy and your stomachs filled with amazing food. Take in all the beautiful moments that happen around you as Christmas comes only once a year.

Base ingredients

  • about 10 Gingerbread cookies
  • 75g butter melted

Filling ingredients

  • 200g blueberries
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 2dl cream (whipped)
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 5 gelatin sheets

Directions

Base:

I used a 16cm diameter cake tin that is slightly more narrow but tall. I added some foil to the bottom of the cake tin before attaching the side to it. I then brushed melted butter all over the cake tin.

In a blender, mix the gingerbread cookies into a sand-like texture. Add the melted butter to this so it becomes more wet. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the cake tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Filling:

With a handheld blender, mush the melted blueberries. Mix in the cream cheese, cardamom and sugar. Place the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes so they loosen.Whip the cream at this point.

Meanwhile heat the lemon juice in a saucepan and after removing the excess water from the gelatin leaves, mix them into the lemon juice. Let the gelatin melt and keep stirring it. Add the lemon juice to the blueberry mixture and lastly mix in the whipped cream.

Pour the filling in the cake tin on top of the cookie base. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours or even overnight.

Once ready to eat: Remove the side part of the cake tin (may have to let it stand for a bit before removing it) and garnish with figs, little chocolate balls, blueberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Arabian inspired Date cake

‘The night before Christmas brings sweet date cake, wrapping the last of gifts & a whole lot of Christmas movies under the blanket’

Inspired by the date market in Abu Dhabi & the festive feeling of dates, I thought it was time to join in on the ride and make a juicy date cake. This so called- coffee cake is the opposite of dry & it has a wonderful naturally sweet flavour to it from the Majdool dates. The cake has a festive backdrop to it as the dates are cooked in glögi (mulled wine) to bring out those Christmas spices. It is optional to garnish a dry cake, but I just love lots of figs over Christmas, so I think they work beautifully together.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 large dates (pits removed)
  • 2-3 dl glögi (mulled wine) apple juice/strong coffee is a good substitute
  • 1dl sugar
  • 200g butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 dl flour
  • cake tray preparation: 1 tablespoon butter/ about 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • Garnish: figs & icing sugar

Directions

Add the seedless dates & glögi to a saucepan and bring to gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. With a handheld blender, blitz the dates into a mush if needed.

Add the sugar and butter to the blended dates. Then beat in the eggs along with the dry ingredients through a sieve. Mix well.

Pour the batter into a cake tin that is well brushed with butter and all the sides dusted with breadcrumbs.

Bake for an hour or a bit less in 160 degrees celsius. Let it completely cool before removing from the cake tin. This is optional to garnish, but I added some figs and a dusting of icing sugar.

Winter edition Chia pudding

‘Forest walks & festive chia pudding’

We took a little nature walk outside of Helsinki to enjoy the white winter scenery. We spotted a few deer, drank hot coffee, ate sweet chia pudding and enjoyed the christmas atmosphere all around us.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup oat milk
     

Garnish: banana, figs or any desired berry

Mix together all the ingredients and place into a jar. Tighten lid and place chia pudding in the fridge to set, about 2 hours or even over night. Once ready, garnish with banana slices and lingonberry


Christmas Beetroot Tartar


‘December 8th & easy beetroot tartar’


Beetroot is a great winter root that makes great festive dishes with its vibrant purple colour and earthy sweet flavour. This tartar is such an easy appetizer full of gorgeous texture from the feta, garlic and pistachio. This starter looks pretty & if you wish to add some protein, it suits a slice of roast beef or gravlax.

Tartar ingredients

  • 4 Boiled Beetroot (peeled & chopped)
  • 1/2 cup rich feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon strong dijon
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1-2 garlic cloves grated (alter the strength with the amount)
  • Pinch of salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup pistachios chopped

Garnish: Black pepper, chopped pistachio, chili flakes, parsley

Directions

In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, dijon, lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic and feta cheese. Mix well into a paste. Chop the cooled, peeled and boiled beets into small pieces and place into a bowl as well. Mix together, add a pinch of salt and black pepper, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about an hour to marinate all the flavours.

Ready to plate: After an hour take out with bowl from the refrigerator and mix in the chopped parsley and pistachio. With the help of a tartar mold press some beetroot into it, to get a little tower. Garnish with more pistachio, chili flakes and chopped parsley.

Sunday Beet.

‘If your sunday comes with a pause button and your coffee needs a little date, then this easy beet cake is meant for you!’

Saturdays are for adventures and Sundays are designed for cuddling and recharging your batteries for the upcoming new week. It’s all about creating that cozy feeling and giving time for your soul to catch up with your body. Keep your pajamas on for a little bit longer and make yourself warm cups of tea or cappuccino all day and partake in the simple pleasures. Everyone should incorporate baking into your weekend schedule as it coats the house with a warm atmosphere leaving its sweet aroma drifting behind. This morning I was craving for a healthy treat with my second cappuccino and wanted to make something with beets as I was just pressing juice from them. With a banana bread in mind, I decided to bake something similar but with beets, chia, a bit of cinnamon and honey. I wanted something comforting and semi-sweet but nothing outrageously unhealthy and with that in mind, this little cake was born. A beetroot cake might sound unusual, but the purple delights add great moisture and colour if you’re looking for a healthier cake option. The chia seeds add a sublte texture to the golden middle and the cinammon, vanilla and honey add a comforting blend of spices and flavour. I whipped some matcha cream on top for a little extra goodness, making this quick recipe the perfect loaf cake to whip up to quests when they pop round for a cup of tea!

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Beetroot cake

  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1 tablespoon runny honey
  6. 2 bananas
  7. 1/2 cup oat milk
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  11. 3 beetroot raw roughly chopped & peeled

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line your baking tray with baking paper. In a blender, add the bananas, oat milk, honey, eggs, roughly chopped beets, oil and vanilla extract and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer into a bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and pour the cake mixture into the cake tin. Place into the oven for about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

To  make the sauce on top, whip together some double cream (about 1 cup), icing sugar (1/2 tablespoon) and matcha powder ( 1 teaspoon) for a velvety result. Garnish with sprigs of thyme.

 

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Cozy Campfire Salmon

In true Scandinavian style, eating around a campfire is such a cozy experience that everyone must try a few times in their lifetime. It is especially beautiful this time of year, with the snow-covered ice, no one around and the endless white horizon that has such a calming effect. In true countryside style, we decided to make a fire on the ice and cook some open fire salmon in these beautiful surroundings. With the temperature around -10 celsius degrees, we sat on reindeer skin and warmed up by the fire as the salmon cooked above the flames. Sometimes the simplest of cooking can be the best and this recipe proves just that.  The salmon didn’t require much for it to taste great and why is it that food always tastes so much better outdoors?

 

Ingredients

  • 500g salmon
  • Ground black pepper/salt
  • lemon wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped parsley
  • aioli sauce

This recipe is fairly simple if you have a little campfire set up. Begin by coating the salmon with oil and sprinkle salt/pepper on top. Place the fish into an iron grid and place it on top of the fire. Let it cook gently for about 15 minutes on each side. Ready to plate: Squeeze lemon on top, along with chopped parsley and a generous scoop of aioli sauce.

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-23 Celcius Nordic Lobster lunch

When the temperatures drops to -23 celsius degrees, I can’t think of anything better than a lobster lunch al fresco style… and that’s exactly what my friend and I did on a sunny day at our countryside. The amazing sunlight hit directly on our terrace and we bundled up in our fur, dabbed on some red lipstick and dropped a bottle of bubbly into the snow before the feasting begun!

It was breathtaking, the intense winter sunlight was low, full of flare as it shimmered through the pine trees and reflected off the crystalized lake. Every breath was greeted with a dainty fog that evaporated into the cold air and the crystal glasses were coated with a light layer of frost. I cuddled into a blush coloured oversized knit, put on my favourite ruffle dress (with layers of thermal pants underneath of course), stepped into my uggs and through on my mink. In true nordic style, I skipped on makeup, let my hair run straight and painted on some ruby-red lips for our luxurious lunch. We sat on reindeer and sheep skin and watched the beauty of the countryside amaze us as we sipped on our ice cold drinks. Every now and then a faint gush of wind caused piles of snow to drop from trees and a few ravens circled the blue sky and we enjoyed one blini at a time, a slow divine day.

These turmeric blinis (or mini pancakes) are really easy to make and showcase a great appetizer or canapé in any given occasion. I thought the classic combination of smoked salmon and cream cheese with a bit of seaweed roe on top always works with lobster and a spinach garlic infusion for some freshness.

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How to make turmeric blinis

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup milk

Mix everything together until it forms a thick batter. Cook “tablespoons” of batter on a non-stick pan over medium heat until the surface starts to bubble. Flip over and voilá, little blinis are formed! Let them cool before adding the toppings. I made two types of toppings to suit our lobster dish.

Smoked salmon filling

  • smoked salmon
  • cream cheese
  • parsley
  • seaweed caviar (fish roe will do as well)

On top of a blini, add some cream cheese, a slice of smoked salmon, a spoonsful of seaweed caviar and chopped parsley. Add ground black pepper on top.

Spinach garlic puree

  • 2 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 large grated garlic clove
  • 100g greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt/pepper
  • 1 avocado

Blend into a smooth puree with a handheld blender. And place a dollop onto a blini. Add some rich feta, a spinach leaf and more seaweed caviar. Add ground black pepper on top

 

Sage Garlic Green beans

In a medium heated pan, add a generous amount of butter, about 5 sage leaves and some grated garlic ( a few cloves will do). Give it a good stir and add the green beans. Let it cook for about 7 minutes until they are just aldente. Add a pinch of salt and white pepper and sprinkle with roasted nuts.

Serve the lobster on top of the green beans with a generous scoop of aioli sauce.

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