Sep 5, 2009

carrot harvest

we dug out the carrots, whole kilo of them in the big planter... i so need to get my vegetable garden started, somewhere, anywhere, at the shack? please, mr certain someone...

here are the rows still in

they look like carrots, taste like carrots, they just are a bit small

these two obviously took a liking to each other

this is all we got... though i think that a few might have disappeared earlier, maybe a bunny-rabbit, maybe someone else

all washed up

would have been nice to have gotten a proper harvest, like grates of carrots, potatoes, beets, etc. but where would we store them? an old fashined earth cellar would be ideal but hard to build, or rather dig in. so maybe this was ok, so far.

i checked the apple trees today as well... there are 3 huge trees and i could see about 50 or so apples in all of them. no apple sauce this year, i'm going to bake those apples into pies. maybe i should get some more plums and nectarines and make some more jams out of them...

Sep 4, 2009

chicken marbella & chocolate caramel tart

i was driving home from work on tuesday, i had yle mondo and NRP news on. ari shapiro was talking with someone and they were discussing sheila lukins who had died on sunday. shapiro asked the lady what was her favourite recipe of lukins' that she kept going back to. she described a chicken dish marinated with garlic, prunes, vinegar and olive oil. she then added that brown sugar was added on top, the whole thing slow roasted in oven. i knew i had to try that on my day off...

i looked up the recipe, it's chicken marbella. the lady shapiro was interviewing was lynne rosetto kasper of the spendid table. just for the record, i only have 2 of lukins' cookbooks...

the recipe calls for whole chickens, didn't want to drive around to get some so i bought chicken leg quarters instead. here is what went into the marinade

all cosy in oven pan, before brown sugar

after brown sugar

happily soaking in white wine

didn't want toget too fancy, plated with boiled potatoes. there was nice bread and mixed greens with lime vinaigrette to go along

even since i got the april issue of saveur magazine i have wanted to make the ultimate chocolate caramel tart that was pictured on the cover. what has put me off this long? well, have a check of the ingredients and you'll know. if you think your ordinary chocolate tart is bad for your waist...

here is the innocent start of it

before baking, the recipe made one 9" pan plus four 3½" pans

after baking

caramel filling

ganache. mine didn't come out smooth as i would have hoped, could be the cream was too hot, or cold...

ready to be served with salt on. initially i thought that the salt was a bit too much, but it really hit the note

tomorrow is yet another day at the office, just as good, i get to share rest of the tart. there is no way i could possibly eat all that myself (nor share with certain someone now that he thinks he's gone "fat") knowing what went into it

Sep 3, 2009

vegetable oven pancake

few days ago the mailman dropped a pirkka magazine in my mailbox. usually i browse thru the magazine and its recipe attachment and throw both to the recycling bin. this time i found an interesting recipe for veggie oven pancake. pirkka is the magazine of store chain brand for kesko, they have pirkka products from groceries to cosmetics, they also have a website promoting their products.

it seems the recipe isn't online yet, but since it was in a free magazine, here is my adaptation of it:

2 eggs
8 dl milk
4 dl all-purpose flour
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp salt
50 gr butter / margarine (melted)
100 gr frozen spinach
300 gr vegetable (i used frozen mix of carrots, peas, cauliflower and some dried wild mushrooms)
2 dl grated emmental

preheat oven to 175C / 425F. mix eggs, half of the milk and flour. add salt and grated garlic (i used some white pepper and nutmeg as well), mix well and add rest of milk. defrost spinach and veggies (you could use zucchini and /or broccoli). add grated emmental and half of melted butter to batter. brush 13"X15" rimmed sheet pan (or 2 smaller) with rest of melted butter. pour batter onto sheet pan, bake for 30 mins, let cool a bit and cut to portions (you'll get 9 lunch size portions), serve with (or without) salad of mixed greens, boiled potatoes, etc. if you wish, you could really spice up the veggies and add chilis

pancake translated into finnish is this kind of baked batter of eggs, milk and flour seasoned with sugar and/or salt. omit all other ingredients of this recipe and add 1tbs sugar and you'll get a slightly sweet pancake that is to die for with strawberry preserve and cold milk.

this is how it looks baked

i think variations of this are going to be in my lunch box quite often in future. if you have a non-stick sheet pan you wouldn't have to use any fat. you could leave the cheese out, replace some of the flour with whole wheat, add even more veggies. just a forewarning, this pancake will puff up in places in oven, so don't panic, it's supposed to do it...

Sep 1, 2009

souvenirs & aftermath of sandy beach

do not like sand. especially not in my suitcase, nor my bathtub, on floors or toothbrush... i can certainly the see the joy on kids' faces when they play on a sandy beach and get all wet and gritty. but i have hard time believing i might have ever been one of those kids, maybe i should ask mom. i do remember quite many occasions were my brother or i fell down into something wet and icky. (i got slightly sidelined while typing this and checked if i might have obsessive compulsive disorder, which sounds like something i would have. but no, i think i just diagnosed myself as negative perfectionist, which seems to be not as bad as neurotic perfectionist. let me just quickly add, before you call a real doctor for me, that i read a book that deals with this kinda of issues... i'll get to that on a later date)

sandy beach, hmm. i did enjoy swimming in the sea, which was delightfully + 23C. i can't believe i used to go ice swimming as a kid, the water being +4C and outside temp sometimes as cold as -20C. anyways, i did like the sea and beach combo, i just didn't enjoy getting rid of all the sand that flew back home with me... not sure i should confess this to you all, not sure it's common practise, but i washed our shoes. with a brush and soap. you might now want to reconsider my earlier diagnosis...

lokoum which i know in this case can't possibly be turkish, but greek delight. i'm sure any turk would say it is fact turkish and greeks will have hugely different opinion on the matter. the taste of this particular sweet is, well very sweet. you can clearly taste the honey in it, and the almonds. what i find curious is the taste versus texture, something with such a strong taste of honey shouldn't be so chewy but smooth. it's so sweet that one piece is enough

this is some of the souvenirs we brought home

i did read a couple of books whilst laying on the beach. but those, among other books i've read lately, will be revealed on a later date

Aug 31, 2009

faliraki, GR

back to work and rain after a very sunny and hot week in faliraki on the isle of rhodes, greece. it seems that autumn creeped over in just a week, it's pouring down with rain and the leaves are turning yellow and eventhough the sun still shines some the wind has that chilly autumn feel to it. fortunately i like the rainy autumn nights!

this holiday was all about just getting away, having a break somewhere else. i had wanted to go to croatia in the spring and again in the summer, but sometimes certain someone needs time to process things, and that's why we ended up going only now and to faliraki. not complaining, just that you know...

we wanted sun, nice beds and good food and we got it. had we wanted to spend a somewhat more cultural holiday, faliraki wouldn't have been the right place, the village was built, way back when, just to serve tourism. the food... i ate octopus or kalamari 4 times during the week, i do like it!

this was grilled octopus at ilios taverna

pork gyros with metaxa sauce at the same taverna, certain someone ate this, but i had some to taste, the sauce was excellent

somewhat plain breakfast, but i did have a huge nectarine as well!

as a rule i don't drink, i know i keep saying this a lot, but i really don't. this drink, caipirinha, was probably the best ever, just the right balance of sugar, lime and booze... i would have drunk more had it not been for the alcohol in it! thank you taverna porto bello

porto bello had this huge wood burning oven, i so wanted to have pizza but pizza is such a no-no when there is octopus around

like this one!

greek salad is the same wherever you try one, feta, tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion and olives. this variant had dill and a pickled hot pepper, pepper was ok but dill... could be just me, but dill and cheese of any kind... well, maybe some actually likes it

this one, wow, maybe the best grilled kalamari ever, no kidding and it's a shame i forgot (already) the name of the taverna, sorry

certain someone's plate at the same taverna, chef's special, lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and loads of olive oil, very tasty as well

taverna kastri, went there twice, excellent food and convinient location. this was my plate and i really didn't feel like eating meat that evening, mixed grill for one. fortunately certain someone had sword fish and room for some of this

there were guys at the beach selling fruits and doughnuts. never have i tasted figs this fresh, sweet and ripe. figs we get in finland are a pale (and unripe) in comparison to this

or huge juicy nectarines

doughnuts! apple doughnuts, sugar doughnuts! there was this guy, he walked the lenght of the beach several times a day shouting just that, finally i had to buy one. he told that business was bad this summer, there were no tourists to buy his doughnuts. it's a hard living for him

inside of our sunshade at the beach, such interesting shapes. poor certain someone hit his head too many times on the metal rim of it...

view from the balcony of our room

isn't this so greek?! this was right up the hill from our hotel, i need to check the name of this chappell before i post it, stay tuned...

there were chillies growing all over like perennials, and basil too, not sure you could eat it, though, them growing right next to a busy road

took me days to notice that this was actually a banana tree. wonder how long it takes before someone nicks these in the dead of night

never have i seen anything like this, another thing i need to find a name to...

lovely shape, and color, of the urn