Recipe index

We haven’t been publishing a lot of recipes lately, but we’re still here! To make this site a bit more user-friendly, I put together some recipe indexes, one by meal type, a second one by region influencing the recipe, and a third one displaying all the keywords or tags that are used to characterise a recipe. The last one is handy to browse recipes with a certain ingredient or ingredients (like “tofu“), or a certain characteristic (like “easy“). Look for the indexes in the side panel on the right under “Browse all the recipes”.

The indexes are not 100% complete yet, so some more recipes will appear there once I finish going through the recipes and tagging them appropriately.

Rye Wheat Bread

Our poor dear blog has been ignored for too long, but here’s a little recipe to make things right. It’s all about a dried sourdough starter I bought at an organic grocery in Tallin by a German company called Lecker’s. I thought it sounded like a lovely product and wanted to give it a try, and it didn’t let me down! I made two loaves’ worth of dough with some added dry yeast as per the instructions on the sachet, and the resulting bread had a lovely, slightly chewy texture and a very pleasant mildly sour taste.

I used a whole sachet of dry yeast because that’s what the instructions suggested, but I do think that even half the amount would have sufficed with a slightly longer proofing time. Sadly I haven’t seen dried sourdough starter sold in Finland, but I think I’ll ask if our organic store’d be willing to add it to their selection. Sure, homemade sourdough starter is great especially as its flavor develops over time, but sometimes it’s rather satisfying to take the easy way out and have a fresh loaf of sourdough in just a few hours!

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 sachet dried sourdough starter (30 grams), Lecker’s
  • 7 and 1/2 dl water, lukewarm (37 Celsius)
  • 6 dl whole rye flour (plus 1 dl for shaping)
  • 6 dl white wheat flour
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 sachet dry yeast (11 grams)

First I mixed the starter with water and let it sit for about 5 minutes to wake it up. Then I briskly whisked in 1 dl of rye and 1 dl of wheat flours, covered the bowl loosely, and let it brew for half an hour. I mixed the rest of the flour, salt, and dry yeast in another bowl and mixed that in the starter liquid. I kneaded the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it wasn’t quite as sticky anymore but still pretty wet. Now I set the oven temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and let the dough rise for one hour, until it had more than doubled.

I poured 1 dl of rye flour on my working surface and scooped the dough out of the bowl. Then I cut the dough in half, shaped each half into a loaf, and placed them on a floured baking sheet. I let the loaves rise for half an hour, then slit them with a sharp knife, and baked for 45 minutes until they sounded hollow when tapped on the underside. I also placed a small ramekin filled with water in the oven during baking. After baking I wrapped the loaves in kitchen towels and placed them in a plastic bag to soften the crust a bit, and after about two hours they were easy to cut into.

Dried sourdough starter and its package.

Glögi – Spiced Drink for December

Glögi is the Finnish equivalent of mulled wine, and before Christmas its readymade incarnations start to appear in the stores – some with alcohol, but most without. I find them usually way too sugary, and that’s why I always thought that I just don’t care for the drink that much. It wasn’t until this weekend that I tried making my own and realized how delicious glögi can be. My mind is now buzzing with possible additions, which means glögi will be abundant around our little home this December!

glogi

Finnish glögi rarely has citrus peel as a flavor component like its Central European cousins, but cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are essential. I added a few spices that aren’t all that traditional – dried mint, pink peppercorns, and star aniseed – just because I personally love them, and they did add a certain freshness to the flavor. I also cut down on the amount of cloves, since often there’s a whole tablespoonful of them in a similar recipe, and I think their taste can get wildly overpowering. I would use the recipe below as a starting point and tweak it to your own tastes.

The kind of juice that is used as a base also has an important role – we use a red currant juice concentrate that Heikki’s mother has made from her own berries, and it lends quite an authentic color and flavor to the drink. Grape juice or even lingonberry or cranberry would surely be worth trying out. This spice infusion would probably be lovely added to some warmed up apple juice, or black currant juice for the sneezy days, and I can see it spicing up my cup of tea even. Finns often add some almonds and raisins in their glögi mug, but I prefer mine without.

This is what I used:

  • 5 slices of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (or 1 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 star aniseed
  • a pinch of allspice
  • 3 dl water

I placed all the above in a small cooking pot, brought to a brisk boil, and lowered the heat so that the mixture was barely bubbling. Now I covered the pan and let the spice mixture simmer for half an hour, and then sieved it through a cheese cloth into a small jug.

To make a cup of glögi, I use about 3 tablespoons of the spice infusion, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of red currant juice Heikki’s mom has made, and 1 and 1/2 dl of hot water. It all depends on how sugary the juice is. This recipe yields about 2 dl of the spicy mixture, which I would say is enough for about five glögi portions. I store what’s left over in a small bottle in the fridge. An alcoholic version could be made with half red wine and half fruit juice, or by adding a little bit of vodka (or another spirit of choice) in the glögi mug.

Chipotle Black-Eyed Peas

This was a quick and easy Saturday lunch I cooked in half an hour. I’ve blogged about chipotle black-eyed peas before, but this time the dish was a lot simpler and not a bit less yummy! I don’t know if canned whole chipotles are available in Finland – we’re lucky to get them from a relative who travels often to Mexico – but we did spot them in a small shop in Tallinn called Piprapood. I think whole chipotles are really tasty, but the tomato sauce and chipotles could be substituted with a ready-made chipotle sauce if chipotles are not available. We served the peas with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Chipotle black-eyed peas

We hadn’t eaten black-eyed peas for a while, so the peas and rice did taste extra delicious. Anni commented how the taste of the black-eyed peas combine the sweetness of chickpeas and the flouryness of regular beans. I think that’s an apt description!

Here’s what I used:

  • 2,5 dl dried black-eyed peas
  • a piece of kombu
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • about 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • about 1,5 teaspoons of coriander
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 dl tomato sauce, passata style
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

About two hours before I started to cook, I quick soaked the peas: I rinsed them, put them in a bowl filled with boiling water, and covered the bowl. (Obviously, they could’ve been soaked overnight too, but since I forgot to do it, I had to quick soak them.) Then, two hours later, I began with boiling the black-eyed peas. I threw soaking water away, put the peas in a kettle over low heat, added the kombu and plenty of boiling water.

While the peas were simmering, I prepared the sauce. First, I put a frying pan over medium high heat, added the onion, and fried it until quite brownish. I kept stirring the onion a lot so that it wouldn’t burn. Then I added the garlic, cumin, coriander and the chipotle, and fried them about half a minute, stirring continuously. I poured the tomato sauce in the pan, stirred, lowered the heat, and waited until the black-eyed peas were done. I drained the peas, removed the kombu, and added the peas into the frying pan. I mixed the sauce and the beans, added the salt, and checked the taste.

Almond Lime Cake

I really love it when cooking inspiration hits me when I’m reading someone else’s recipes, and often it’s even more inspirational when they’re not vegan – there’s more of a challenge in making the non-vegan things my own. The making of this cake was inspired by a post on the New York Times blog Bitten by Mark Bittman. My recipe came out quite differently from his – first of all, my cake is not pan-fried but quite traditionally baked; secondly, no eggs for me; and thirdly, I decided to use lime instead of the lemon zest. A very nice cake came out of the oven: heavy crumb from the almond flour was brightened by the lime flavor, with tasty browned edges and a little bit of crunch from the topping of sugary slivered almonds.

almond_lime_cake

We enjoyed this cake with a store-bought vegan whipped topping, but I am sure that vanilla ice cream would be just as good. I tend to choose full-fat whipped toppings on the rare occasion when I buy commercial ones – they’re not quite as artificial-tasting as the lighter versions. My favorite right now is GoGreen Vispi, an oat-based product that is available at least in Finland and Sweden.

The Wet:

  • 2 dl plain soy yoghurt
  • 1 large lime, juiced and zested (1/2 dl juice, 1 tablespoon zest)
  • 1/2 dl canola oil

The Dry:

  • 2 dl almonds, ground into 3 dl almond meal
  • 1 dl white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 dl gram (chick pea flour)
  • 2 dl sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • pinch of salt

The Topping:

  • 1 dl slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk
  • pinch of salt

To Serve:

  • vegan whipped topping (we had GoGreen Vispi)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

The batter was as straightforwards as can be – I mixed the wet and the dry separately and then combined, stirring with a fork. I also stirred the topping ingredients gently together (I didn’t want to mash the slivers), then poured the batter in the baking pan and sprinkled with the topping. For an even coating, you might want to double the amount of topping.

Then I baked the cake for 25 minutes in 200 degrees Celsius, until the edges were nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake came out with just a few crumbs. I let the cake cool to room temperature, and served with vanilla whipped cream. For the cream, I just scraped the seeds from half a vanilla bean with the tip of a sharp knife, and added that to the commercial vegan whipping cream as I was whipping it.

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