Taste of Helsinki

Easily the most beautiful portion of the day
For the second time many of the best restaurants in Helsiki present their style and food during the four day food festival Taste of Helsinki. We visited the festival area yesterday. We were lucky with the weather. Today its pouring rain but yesterday we only got a few drops.  

Organic egg and mushroom toffee by Luomo

The Food

When the city's top restaurants are present, the expectations are sky high. It was difficult to choose where to go first. It would not be possible to taste everything. Below is a selection of the most memorable dishes in their own categories.

The most exotic : This goes clearly to the EARTHQUAKE” – Organic egg 64,7°C with mushroom toffee Luomo.  The egg was, well an egg. It was even a bit weird with all the cold softness. The mushroom toffee was so good I could have eaten just that. The mushroomy umami and the toffee sweetness just worked wonders together. This will require some experiments in the home kitchen as well. Luomo in general represents the more experimental style of cuisine in the Helsinki area.

The most beautiful : This is easily the PATÉ OF PIKE with beetroot and cucumber, seasoned with currant leaves by Juuri. (photo on the top of the article). Juuri is also the home of Sapas (i.e. the Suomi/Finland tapas) of which the delicate paté is a quality example.

To be tried at home : and probably real quickly. I just loved the taste of the beetroot aioli in ORGANIC BEEF CARPACCIO, beetroot aioli and juicy salad by Bistro Omat. The beetrood sweetness combined with the little garlic tang in the end was fantastic and should be attainable at home (?) Bistro Omat represent the Scandinavian cuisine from local ingredients. You can find quality farmer's products near the city.

The chosen dessert : There were many different kinds of desserts available but I went directly towards the macarons of Petris Chocolate Room. They were big enough to have more than one bite and also transportable. That is what I brought home. Our Toto (2 years) just loved his passion fruit macaron. "Mjam,mjam" was heard more than once. The chocolate room is situated in Fiskars. The old "industrial" village which is nowadays the home of many artists and full of interesting handicraft.

Macarons with Taittinger rosé... the cheaper one available

Taste of Helsinki was an interesting experience. I hope this short sampling of restaurants also helps all of you traveling to Helsinki area in the near future. These are all places to go to.


4 boys + 2 adults = one oven pancake

Well, perhaps not on one go, but I can tell you there was a big whole in it already after the boys.
 Strawberries with icing sugar and vanilla sugar + whipped cream. Not bad as an afternoon snack for the children on holiday.

This is a very traditional and a very common Finnish dessert / afternoon snack. Pancake made in the oven is the option chosen when you get lazy for staying by the stove for making crêpes. Perfect for the warm summer days.

I used the whograin flour as part of the mixture so this can be considered the healthier version... I also reduced the amount of butter a bit.

Our healthier oven pancake

1l milk (not the nonfat version please)
3 eggs
70g melted butter
1 dl sugar
1,5tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1,5 tsp vanillasugar
3 dl wheat flour
3 dl wholegrain wheat four

Mix all the ingredients together and leave for at least 30min.
Put into a deep oven tray (the size of the oven...) on baking paper and bake for 30-35min in 200 degrees.


Spanish Pork Chops ?

Not being a "connaisseur" of the Spanish cuisine, I'm not sure what is so Spanish in this recipe. That's how the original was called in the Delicious magazine. Perhaps it is the combination of porc and olives, and the smoked paprika ?

Be what it may, this was eaten in our house in record time... Of course, the boys were starving as well - having run outside for the whole day. They're already on summer holiday. Here in Finland the schools close in the beginning of June, and the children return to the classrooms in the middle of August. This year the summery weather started at the same time that the school ended. We've had 10 days of fantastic beachweather. So much it seems that the rest of Europe has been under water and shivering with cold. Is this the Nordic warming instead of the global one ?

I felt the original recipe was a bit grey. It's summer after all - there needs to be colour. So I added a few things - chorizo, onion, sweet peppers... I changed some other things as well, so below the recipe as we had it. 

Spanish Pork Chops 

4 big chops
olive oil
3 crushed garlic gloves
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ordinary paprika
fresh thyme sprigs
1 lemon zest and juice
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp red wine vinegar
half a kilo small (new) potatoes
2-3 chorizo sausages. sliced
big splash of white wine
1,5 dl vegetable stock
handful of green olives
parsley and mint
2 onions thinly sliced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
little sweet peppers sliced

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the chops into a bowl with the olive ilive, garlic, paprikas, thyme, lemon, fennel seeds and vinegar. Add salt and pepper and let marinate for 30min.

Put the sliced onion in a little bowl and add vinegar, salt and pepper. Let marinate until the dinner is ready. In half an hour the tang of the onion has mellowed into a refreshing sweetness.

Clean and slice the potatoes and mix with some olive oil, salt and pepper and the chorizos. Roast in the oven for 20min. Add the wine and stock and set the chops on the top. Put back in the oven for 15min. Add the olives, half of your sweet peppers and put the tin again in the oven for 5min.

Let the tin wait for a few minutes and sprinkle parsley, mint, onion and rest of the peppers on the top.


Summertime and strawberry menu

Summer is here. How do I know ? Well, you can't get the children to bed in the evening and you can't get them up in the morning. Too much light they say. Perhaps that's true as we are approaching the midnight sun and there is light still late in the evening.

Then there are the strawberries... no, not the Finnish ones yet. These come from Spain or Holland, but they can still be used. One of our favourite lunches with straberries of any origin is a salad with halloumi and strawberries. Simple and delicious.

Some time ago I tried the lemon posset for the first time ever. This time I made it with our own rhubarb and that was the point of no return. I cannot understand  how I've managed not to taste nor make before something as good as posset seems to be, whatever the variation. The rhubarb posset was heaven on earth when flavoured with vanilla, with strawberries, of course.

Strawberry-halloumi salad

So simple. Just mix saladleaves with cucumber, spring onion, strawberries and avocado. Fry the cheese slices on a pan with little oil and put on top. We like balsamicosyrup as dressing, but you can, of course, put whichever dressing you like best.

Rhubarb posset with strawberries

I found the recipe in one of the Finnish blogs (Maistuis varmaan sullekin) and modified it to fit the quantity and family mood in our house i.e. added some vanilla extract and more sugar.

3,3dl cream (one packet size in FInland, thus the funny quantity)
3 branches of rhubarb cleaned, peeled a little and cut into 2 cm pieces
1,5dl sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
0,5dl lemon juice

Cook the sugar and rhubarb pieces with half of the lemon juice until rhubarb is almost dissolving. Let the cream boil for a few minutes in a separate saucepan and mix then with the rhubarb and add the rest of the lemon juice. Divide into little bowls (I got 5 of them) and let cool and set in the fridge for a few hours preferably until the next day.

30min before serving, mix the strawberry pieces with icing sugar and some vanilla sugar.  Eat on top of the rhubarb posset.

And yes, be warned. If you have not made posset before, remember, this is incredibly addictive Especially the rhubarb flavoured.