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Salty croissant

I decided to do a salty snack with some puff pastry I had left over. Easy, fast and yummy. Plus, you can make the filling as you please!


Ingredients:
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 150 gr of ham in slices
  • 150gr of goat cheese
  • 75gr of smashed nuts
  • some basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions:
Roll out the puff pastry and cut triangles out. put on each a slice of the ham. Meanwhile, put in a bowl the finely chopped basil leaves, the garlic, the smashed nuts and the cheese. Mix it thoroughly together. With a spoon then, dispose a spoon of it on the large base of the triangle. Then roll the puff pastry as to recreate a croissant. Beat the yolk and brush it over the pieces. Now if you want you can sprinkle the top with a bit of cheese-powder or pepper. Put in the oven for 10-15 min for 200ºC until golden, then enjoy! :)

The best, is that the filling can be changed it is still awesome.. some ideas:
-goat cheese, spinach
-tuna fish, tomatoe
-smoked salmon, avocado
-mozzarella, basil, olives


Asparagi alla milanese

Asparagi alla milanese, or Milanese-style asparagus, is a first course dish traditional of the Lombardia region (Milano is the main city of Lombardia) where asparagus grows in abundance naturally.

Asparagi alla milanese is a very popular dish in my Country but almost unknown outside of Italy. It doesn't contain any silly sauce, on the contrary is really simple and it includes only 3 ingredients: green asparagus, eggs and grated parmesan cheese. It's sooooooo delicious! When I was living in Milano, my mom always made this dish especially in late spring, when the asparagus is in season.
When eating, I always break the egg yolks and allow it to run over the asparagus.... mmm so good!!!


Asparagi alla milanese is usually served as first course (primo), it works beautifully also as antipasto (appetizer) or second course (secondo).


The original recipe says to cook the asparagus in salty water, but I do it differently and also, instead of using butter to fry the eggs, I use oil which is a bit healthier :P



Ingredients (2 persons):
  • 1 large bunch of fresh green asparagus (6-8 asparagus per person)
  • 4 eggs
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • rapeseed oil (or butter)
  • salt & pepper

Directions:
Wash and dry the asparagus, cut the hard bases off. If needed, trim their skin also.
Pour some oil in a large pan, lay the asparagus and cover with the lid. Let them cook at medium-low heat, stirring time to time and adding salt up to taste.
Just before the asparagus are cooked, fry the eggs in another non stick pan with some oil (or butter), sunny-side-up. Ensure the whites are fully firm, while the yolks are still runny. Season to taste, I always add a bit of salt and black pepper on the eggs.
Arrange the cooked asparagus on a serving plate, lay the eggs over them and then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Sima, the viking drink (mead)

In my imagination I see viking wild parties where hairy tall vikings drink mead from horn cups and dance happily on the tables.

And, as Vappu (May Day) gets closer, this fantasy gets bigger and bigger :D
I always wanted to be a viking! And to drink mead from horn cup! Sadly I would be a ridiculous viking, being so short with dark hair and eyes. I would be an exotic viking! :D

Alright, I cannot be a viking (and cannot dance on tables) BUT I can make and drink my own sima! In Italy, we call it "idromele"... the word has a nice and romantic sound to it :)
Sima, sweet mead, is a bubbly brewed drink traditionally made with lemon, honey and raisins. It's related to the Finnish Vappu festival on May 1st, that celebrates International Workers' Day.

I love sima very much! It's sweet and fresh and bubbly! Last year my bf made sima himself and the result was excellent. It tasted way better than the commercial sima, it had a more traditional taste. So yesterday he made another batch for the upcoming Vappu, and it should be ready in about 1 week.


Here's what you need to make your own mead, don't forget a big bucket (or other sturdy container) with lid and empty bottles!


 mmm fresh lovely lemons...

Please note that this recipe doesn't include raisins because we don't like them much.

Ingredients (8 liters of mead):
8 liters of water
500 g brown sugar
250 g white sugar
2 lemons
about 250 g honey
1/4 ts fresh yeast


Directions:
Put the sugars at bottom of the bucket. Boil 4 liters of water and pour it in the bucket, stir until the sugar is all melted. Add honey and keep mixing.
Add the rest of the water cold (4 liters). Check the temperature, when the liquid is lukewarm mix the yeast in a little bit of water and add it to the mixture.
Wash and slice the lemons, throw away the edges. Drop them in the bucket. Close the bucket with its lid and let it rest 1-2 days in a draftless place. 
After those days, bottle the sima without lemon slices: add a spoon of sugar to bottom of the bottles, close the caps loosely (might explode otherwise, especially if you were careless with the yeast), and let it rest 3-5 days more in a warm, draftless place.
Finally put the bottles in the fridge and serve cold.

Burrito! Mexican omelette

Usually, on saturdays, we eat pizza. But pizza is annoying if eaten eeeevery saturday, so I proposed to friends to start changing a bit the menu and include international yumminess. So today we went mexican, ay ay ay!!
We still didn't caught the difference between burrito, enchillada, tortillita, taco, gordita and whatsoever, but since we wanted to eat at Taco Bell's and weren't able to, we just made our own creations. We were like 6-10 persons, so I'll just give more or less the medium amount for 2-4 persons. :P


For the tortillas:
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • a bit of salt
  • 2 cups of milk (or might be 2-4.. read the instructions)

Instructions:
Beat the eggs, add one cup of milk and the salt, and start mixing. The add slowly milk until the mixture is not too liquid, but neither too thick, it must at the point where it is thick enough to not be liquid.. great explication, lol. Then heat a pan with a bit of oil and put in the pan 2 table spoons of the egg mixture. The thinner the better. Let it get gold brown on both sides, and do so until you have a bunch of those tortilla pancakes omelette thingies. :P

Meanwhileeee.....
The Filling:
  • 250gr minced meat
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tiny onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 crushed tomato
  • some slices of red, yellow and green pepper
  • paprika powder
Instructions:
Preheat a pan with a bit of oil. add the finely chopped onion and garlic until they are golden, then add in pieces the minced meat and the salt, until it cooks a bit. add the paprika powder, the crushed tomato and the slices of pepper. Let the meat absorb some liquid. When it becomes a compact mix, it's ready.
Then just take a tortilla above, put 2 or 3 spoons of the filling, roll and.... serve! :D
Some also put above a bit of cheese... but I liked it like this, simple and yummy!!
If with many friends, you can also buy some nachos and preparse some chilli, pepper, cheese or guacamole sauce... but I reserve this for another recipe. ;)
 

Farfalle al salmone

I have already said that I love salmon and I try to eat it often since it's so good and healthy. Our top favorite salmon recipe is smoked salmon pasta: delicious and easy to make! I cook it almost every week.


On the internet you can find many salmon pasta recipes, but I always cook it the Italian way... very very simple. Italian foods are simple and tasty because they are made with few but good raw ingredients.

In this recipe I use a little bit of vodka. It might sound weird, but it does really give a good taste and goes well with the salmon.

In Italy people don't usually add parmesan cheese to fish dishes, that's why parmesan is not included in the recipe (but I always add it anyway :P)

Ingredients (2 persons):
  • 200 g short pasta, e.i. farfalle or penne
  • about 200 g smoked salmon
  • 250 ml cooking cream
  • 1 onion
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1-2 caps of vodka
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & black pepper
Directions:
Slice the salmon in small stripes.
Finely chop the onion and saute it in a saucepan with oil over medium heat. When it gets a nice blonde color add the salmon and let it cook for few minutes, adding black pepper and, if needed salt, up to taste.
Pour the vodka and let the alcohol evaporate for few minutes stirring well. Add the cream, stir, and let the sauce cook for few minutes at low heat so it gets thicker.
Cook the pasta in salty water until al dente. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve with fresh chopped parsley on top.

Wonderland in Helsinki & new bunny bento

So, yesterday I was in Helsinki to get my new Italian passport. My god what a trip! 5 hours straight on the bus killed my royal 'tocks!! It was also my first time visiting Helsinki.

As I arrived at the central bus station, I couldn't find the Tourist Information point anywhere, so I asked people without getting any useful info. It was also hard to understand what they said! In the Capital they speak a totally different dialect than what I'm used to. It's crazy :P

At the end I found the Tourist Information office in the railway station, small and hidden in a corner... I managed to reach the Italian Embassy and get all the burocratic stuff done. So I still had about 3 hours free that I could use to visit the city and do some shopping! :)

Even if it was first snowing, and then raining (nice Spring weather isn't it?) the walk back towards the Centrum was nice. First I went to Tokyokan, a store that sells japanese food and kitchenware. I expected it to be a big bigger for some reason, but it was very nice anyway.
Sadly, I couldn't find the furikake I wanted to buy, but instead I found a wonderful blue bunny bento!! Oh joy! :D They had actually 2 types of bento, the blue one with bunnies and a red one with flowers.



I also bought a couple of Pocky packs :P
In these photos you can see the bento box better. It's a two tiers bento box, with chopsticks and divider included. In the package there was also a nice little bag to carry the bento around.



From DAYSHOP I bought this cute little tray. It's a very nice shop, full of cute and colored stuff for the house and accessories.


At this point my belly was rumbling so I had to stop to eat something. I ended up in Arnolds coffee shop... as it describes itself on the webpage "Finland’s first bakery & coffee shop chain with American style fast service".


There I ordered a chicken bagel and a milk chocolate donut. It was the best donut I've ever had in my whole life!!! My god was it good?!!
The bagel, on the other side, wasn't that great, also because the chicken was taken right from the fridge and it was still ice cold :/

Before I had to take the bus back home, I had the time to go to Tiger shop (a Danish chain) where I bought this lovely neko coin purse  ^^



I like Helsinki, it's a very nice city and I'd like to visit it again when I'll have more time at my disposal and a car!

Arroz Marinero, or Rice à la aye aye capt'n...

So, I don't really love the typical spanish paella, but I do like alternates with only mussels or only gambas. ;)
This time, some fishermen sold great thin mussels in the beach, and I thought of cooking them in paella style, with some tomatoes.

Ingredients (5-6 persons):
  • 2x two hands of mussels (didn't weight them)
  • 2 hands of thick grain rice per person
  • 4 big tomatoes (peeled)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3dl Gambas - fond (it's homemade-bouillon... I made this while peeling fresh shrimps, putting the heads and carcase to boil in water, like this you become very good shrimp-bouillon for cooking fish and seafood recipes ;)
  • parsley, salt and pepper
Instructions:
Wash the mussels and cover them with water and a bit of salt in a bowl.
Meanwhile, cut the onions and garlic in pieces, put in a big pan with a bit of olive oil on medium heat, until it caramelizes and becomes transparent. Then add the rice and let it fry for a bit afterwards cut the tomatoes in cubes and add to the rice. Thanks to the juice, it will start boiling, now is the time to add a bit of the fond water. Put away the salty water of the bowl with the mussels, and incorporate them to the pan. As the water boils and evaporates, continue to add the Shrimp-Fond. Meanwhile the mussels will open. It's time to add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Remember to remove well from time to time. Now you can decide whether you want your rice "dry" or with more liquid. I like it somewhere in between, so if the rice get's dry remember to add more fond if you still have enough, or just add a cup of water. :) When the rice is done, turn of the heat, put over the pan a towel and let it rest like this for 5 min. In Spain we say it must "sweat a bit". :P
Meanwhile just prepare the table, then serve and eat. Enjoy. ;)


"Schnägge" or Sweet-Rolls

I went walking, and it is difficult to find strawberry fields here... but you can find street markets! :D And there was this great offer of kg's of fresh strawberries, for few money. I bought a lot, made milkshakes and sweet rolls. These are similar to the cinnamon rolls, only, in Switzerland, we call them "Schnägge", what means "snail". Usually you just do them with nuts, but inspired by the berries, I decided to include them. It was a sweet and nice surprise. So here comes the recipe. :)




Ingredients:
  • 275 gr puff pastry
  • 170 gr smashed hazelnuts
  • 2 spoons milk
  • 1 spoon natural yogurt
  • 4 spoons of sugar
  • 80 gr strawberries in pieces

Instructions:
Put the puff pastry over a non stickable surface. Mix the rest of the ingredients well together, and dispose the mixture over the pastry. Roll out by the larger size, become a big roll, and then cut out tiny rolls (kind like cutting sushi, lol).
Put the rolls together on the mold where you will bake everything and brush over with either egg yolk or a bit of milk. Then bake in the oven for 15-20 min at 200º until golden. And then, eat. :)


Baked champignons filled with minced meat

In Italy we often eat baked filled veggies, and they're usually tomatoes, bell peppers or eggplants. They taste delicious!

Here in Finland, however, I wanted to try something less common. I decided to use champignons mushrooms (which I love) and I filled them with minced meat. My god they came out GOOD!!! Also my bf loved them so much and this is now one of our favorite recipes.


For this recipe you need to buy quite big champignons so they can contain more filling and they're also easier to clean.



Ingredients (3 persons):
  • 9 big champignon mushrooms
  • 200 g minced meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbs bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese
Directions:
Wash the mushrooms and carefully break off the stems. With a knife scoop out the brown parts, the rest of the stem and a bit of the floor of the mushroom to make space for the filling but without breaking the "hats". Keep what you gouged out of the mushrooms and the stems.
In a pan heat some oil over medium heat. Add finely chopped onion and garlic and saute until they get a nice golden color. Add the meat and let it cook, adding salt and pepper up to taste.
Add then the mushrooms' chopped stems and the hats content into the pan. When the meat is cooked, remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture in a bowl with egg, bread crumbs and parsley, mixing well.
Grease an oven plate with some oil, put the mushrooms' hats. Fill them with the mixture and add a bit of grated parmesan cheese on top.
Bake at 200ºC in the oven for about 15 mins, or until the cheese melts and gets a nice brown color. Serve still hot, with for example a salad.

Blueberry yogurt smoothie

I recently bought a new small blender so I can finally make all sort of different foods that I couldn't make before, like this smoothie. I've never made a smoothie before, it's quite fun :D
In the future I want to try out other types of smoothie like with strawberries and bananas.


For this one I used the ingredients I always have at home: white fat-free yogurt and blueberries. The smoothie came out very soft and tasty!

Please note how the 3 blueberries in the photo look like Mickey Mouse's head :P

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbs blueberries
  • about 400 g white fat-free yogurt
  • 1 ts sugar (optional)
Directions:
Put all the ingredients in the blender and ...well, blend :D

Easter noms

So we spent Easter holidays at my bf's mom place. There it was very hard not to eat sweets since the whole house was filled with chocolate eggs and at every coffee break she offered us tarts, or pulla or cookies!

I managed to take photos before all the noms went down the belly :P

Chocolate eggs and pretty decorations...

Something healthy in between noms :P

Yes it's Spring, I swear it....even if it doesn't really look like it... :(


Colorful candies.

Soft cream + lemon sprinkles = AWESOMENESS!

We went to a nice Café in the center where I ate this delicious kermamunkki (finnish donut).


Easy but tasty pie with cream and sugar sprinkles :P

Day outside... And Alioli sauce!

So... I went last weekend to eat outside with a friend. So I didn't cook, but I did eat and saw yummy thing around. Of course I recorded it with pictures to show them off here. :)

What I ate with a friend was as follows.*.*
Soy-champignons-alioli-salad:


Wok rice with shrimps:


Next we went to walk around, and got to see two interesting shops.. first one was a kind of imitation of Willy Wonka's Fabric.. full of chocolates, marshmallows, sweets, etc...



Then, in the middle, a new corner of homemade popsicles decorated in different styles, very yummy and "cool". Of course, idea made in Italy. xD


Didn't manage to eat anything of those, but next time I will! ;)

Anyway, to make a tiny recipe-input, salad gave me the idea of post the alioli recipe, perfect for salads, or as sauce for dips. Here's its also very usual to eat "patatas alioli", fried or boiled potates, with the sauce all over.

Ingredients:
  • 150 -200ml Seed-Oil (I wouldn't use olive oil, it can make it taste bitter or too strong.. seeds oil is better)
  • 2 garlics
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Salt
Instructions:
In a container you put the egg, the garlics, the parsley and the salt. Beat a tiny bit only and add the lemon. And then start beating while pouring strings of the oil. It's important to not pour all the oil immediately. Also it's important that the egg has chamber-temperature. The lemon will help to create a homogenous sauce. Beat until there's the texture of mayo. And then use it, if you don't eat everything, put it in the fridge. It will last for 1-3 days. If you see you want more garlic, feel free to add more, but behold, no vampire will want to kiss you, lol! Enjoy ;)...

Dragon Eggs

Making the Colored Easter Eggs I showed in my last post was so fun that I decided to make a second batch :)

This time though, I broke the egg shells a little before dying them and only at the end I peeled the eggs. As result, I got gorgeous weird looking eggs that I named DRAGON EGGS, because of their fantasy-style appearance.



The Dragon Eggs look also a lot like pretty jewels.

The painter's palette...

Funny colorful shells.

Easter idea: naturally colored eggs

One thing I noticed is that Finns are CRAZY about crafting! At Xmas, and now at Easter, magazines are full of crafting ideas and stores sell all sort of tools and decorations.

In Italy we don't care so much about holidays decorations and crafting, especially for Easter... we care only about good food :D Of course, children love to do that stuff and I remember when I was little we often colored eggs with crayons at school for Easter. It was fun!

I'm not much into crafting so I wanted to make colored Easter eggs in a different way. I didn't use crayons, I used food. I know that shops sell fantastic food dyes, but I don't really trust those and I tried to use natural colors instead. This is my Easter basket with my naturally dyed hardboiled eggs:


This was my first attempt to do such a thing and I was really happy by the result! The colors turned out pretty and funny (even not as intense as the food dyes, of course) and I think it's a very nice idea for Easter.


I almost felt like an alchemist, stirring my boiling caludron full of strange colored liquids and emanating funny smells :D

First the eggs are boiled and then dropped in the colored solution (plus 2 teaspoons of vinegar) for some time, depends how strong you want the color to be, I left them for about 1 hour. 

I used blueberries (striped blue), red radicchio (light blue), curry powder (yellow), beetroot + paprika powder (pink). I wanted to make also a green egg but we didn't have spinaches at home.
If anyone of you want to make colored eggs this way, you need also to buy vinegar which makes the color stick to the egg.
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