Jun 6, 2009


it was nice and warm, even hot, a week ago but this is what the thermometer showed this morning! and it was even colder yesterday morning, +3C.

since the weather is cold, it's perfect time to use the oven, not just to bake but it will warm up the shack a bit as well. there are still some mushrooms in the freezer, i thawed some chanterelles, chopped an onion and half a bell pepper and sauteed them for a while

i didn't feel like making a pie dough and since i had some frozen... took the easy way out. i will not mention the brand (again) because they are not paying me... anyways, i added some chives, salt, chili, white pepper and grated emmental to the mushrooms, and poured a mixture of 2 eggs and 2 dl cooking cream over

had to taste some, and then some more. i did save some for certain somenone who was on a first gig with the band.

i also baked a brown butter strawberry tart. i saw one made of raspberries on alexis's blog, in the june 1st entry. the recipe is very easy and the crust can be used in all sorts of tarts. i will try this with raspberries when they are in season

hoya carnosa

i do not remember where i got this hoya carnosa, but it was well over 10 yrs ago. i gave it to a friend for a year to take care of when i was working abroad. to my surprise, when it came home it started shooting long spurs and after few months it bloomed. when that happened for the first time, i did't even notice it but only after i started looking around to find the source of rather strong, kinda sweet odor in the apartment. the smell is not bad in itself, it's just one of those smells that trigger my migrane.

the poor plant gets watered once a week, or not. it has never been fertilized and it got a new pot and soil approx 7 yrs ago. still it blooms, not in necessarily in the summer, but whenever. here are the blossoms before opening

i have it in a hanging planter, it reaches up

the blooms don't look like they belong to a live plant but rather like they are made of velvet or porcelain

i have seen hoya carnosas with pink blooms and i'd love to get another just for the color, but the "stink" of the blooms is just too overwhelming

soup, again

this was earlier on the week and there was "nothing" in the fridge, or so i thought. i dug out some parsnips, zucchini, celery, root parsley, potatoes and some sausage

first i sauteed the veggies, cooked them approx 15 mins before adding the potatoes. cooked that for 10 mins before adding browned sausage

the soup looked a bit lame colorwise so i dug a little deeper and found a red bell pepper, and some leek in the freezer. used stock from a bottle, and since the medley wasn't that exciting i added some chili for a little kick. i think soups are under appreciated, they can be a very satisfying meal, and you can use your imagination to use up whatever you have in the fridge or pantry. this would have been great even without the sausage and very "light" that way

i'm not a big believer in recipes labeled as "light". you should watch what and how much you eat, use butter where it is needed but not every day. however, i sometimes give "light" a chance, like it did here with healthy brownies. since i don't like the taste of coffee in my brownies, i omitted the coffee powder and used both the whites and yolks of the eggs (didn't want to waste them) and added some more flour because of the added liquid in the eggs. i like my brownies with nuts so i added half a cup of mixed nuts. well, the result looked ok, tasted ok on the day it was baked... but... would i make it again? hmm, maybe if i knew all of it was going to be eaten right away, like for a party

Jun 1, 2009

peonies, etc

remember the entry with nettles? here is how bad the peony-bed was before weeding

there are more nettles than there are peonies!

this is what i learned from martha. it's not that i'm jealous of her peonies but i do wish i had more!

i got 4 new ones, 2 white and 2 pink. i don't think they will bloom this year, maybe not even next year, but one day...

this sage has been in the same spot for 4 years, it seems to like it there. almost took it out after the first summer (little did i know of sage) but was pleasantly surprised next spring when it started shooting greens

i so wished i would have had a proper veggie and herb garden this year, snif. that didn't happen so i thought of using these big planters to plant spinach, peas and carrots, here's the spinach. the peas will do nicely in the planter and since the planters are quite deep, i figured that carrots just might have enough soil to grow at least 15 to 20 cm long. that remains to be seen...

salad and deer

time flies when you're having fun, that's why i don't remember if this was lunch on friday, or saturday. i sometimes get a craving for a greek salad and when i make some it disappoints me. this time i bought genuine greek feta, which seemed to make all the difference. i added some tuna to make it more of a meal, otherwise used cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and ice-salad, just a tiny splash of white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and the oil from the tuna

certain someone hunts, like you might remember from previous posts. few weeks ago he got up way before the sun and met with his friend and they got a tiny deer. it's legal to hunt buck deers this time of year in finland, but just the bucks. both the back legs were taken to be smoked, we got ours on friday. i've tasted a fair amount of smoked meats, this one is soooo good

there was plenty of meat, so i cut the leg to smaller pieces, some went to freezer, some for consumption right away

the bones went to freezer as well, they'll make a nice pea soup in autumn


certain someone has a bike, sorry, the bike of bikes, a harley davidson. it's his third, or fourth, i've lost count... i fail to understand the constant need to "upgrade" the machinery, like men do. i used to own a bike, i won't mention which one because it wasn't the right kind, also, how long ago it was. when i sold it i made a promise to myself, if i ever got another bike, it would be a harley. well, it's not that i couldn't afford it, it's not that i wouldn't enjoy riding it, right now i feel it would just be another thing to worry about, simple as that. anyone who knows anything about bikes, knows that they need fixing, always. i feel that i've got better things to do with my time than fix bikes, like baking! here are some snap-shots of his harley

when i was taking this one, i got a comment "the other side looks better"

so here is the other side. we took a ride yesterday to nummela for pizza. the weather was quite warm, an amazing 26C, just hoping it wasn't the last hot day of summer. oh, the pizza was great. i don't eat pizza that much, this pizzeria has a nice crust, crisp but chewy. my sin is to eat pepperoni pizza, so there was plenty of fat... my excuse was the aftermath of a migraine headache which feels like a killer hangover. those who get migraines know what i'm talking about, those of you who don't, well, you should feel blessed.

May 31, 2009

zander baked in salt crust

dad fishes a lot, and mom rows equal amount. they got this off a net just by the cottage. normally, this would have ended up fileed and fried in butter, which is very, very nice. however, we have been talking about baking zander in salt crust for a while now. i think dad saw an article in a newspaper, or one of his friends mentioned it, not sure anymore. i decided to try the salt crust method this time

there were a number of recipes for zander in salt crust (kuhaa suolakuoressa). i adapted one recipe that called for 3 egg whites and 1 kg coarse sea salt. my fish was so big i ended up using 2 kg of salt. i made a sort of paste with salt and egg whites, spread some of that on baking dish (biggest i have, orinigally bought for roasting turkey!), placed lemon slices and dill on that. next the fish, which was stuffed with leek, lemon slice and some more dill. added some lemon and dill on top as well

best way to get the fish covered was the old-fashioned "get your hands dirty"

50 mins in 200C oven

the crust was quite hard on the surface but soft and moist inside

tail part being dug out

probably the best tasting fish i've ever had in my life. certain someone seemed think the same. his only complaint was the lack of well chilled, crisp rose or white wine, i'll agree on the rose part. the fish itself was just perfect, breaking into big flakes, but not one bit dry. but the 2 kg salt, the fish must have been super salty, right? not at all, the crust kept all the moisture inside, you could taste hints of lemon and dill without them overpowering the taste of fish. naturally there were bits of salt on the fish, but because it was coarse it was easy to remove. the salad was just some greens with lemon vinaigrette.