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Spicy tuna & zucchini pasta

Zucchini is a wonderful versatile veggie because it's not only good, but it fits perfectly with pastas, risottos, soups and many other main dishes as well as side dishes. Because of that I use it often :)

This time I write a recipe that I learnt from my mom and it's still one of our favorites. One good side is its lightness and healthyness: zucchini and tuna are low in calories, especially the first contains a whopping 95% of water and it has many other good properties.
The other good side is that, like almost all of my recipes, it's really easy to make!


In the original recipe we use also zucchini flowers, which I've never found on sale here in Finland so, sadly, I have to go without them. Btw, zucchini flowers are delicious, for example deep fried.

I always buy tuna chunks in water instead of those in oil because they're healthier :)

Ingredients (2 persons):
  • 200 g short pasta, e.i. penne
  • 1 medium size zucchini
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 onion
  • chili (fresh or dry)
  • rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese

Directions:
Wash the zucchini, cut off the edges and slice it in thin strips, julienne style.
Finely chop the onion and saute in a saucepan with oil over medium heat, then add zucchini and let it cook, stirring from time to time. Add salt, pepper and chili up to taste.
When the zucchini is soft enough, add the tuna (without the water/oil of the can of course) and mix. If the sauce results too dry pour some warm water into the pan.
Cook the pasta in salty water until al dente. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve with grated parmesan on top.

Oven potatoes with meatball!

Oh yes, you read correctly. Not meatballS but meatball! :D
It's sooooo yummy, I just started doing it and was awesome... therefore I don't have pictures of the process, just of the outcome, because I didn't believe it would actually come out this good. Be prepared for supah-supah awesomeness! ;)

Here's what we're going to do:

Ingredients (for 7-8 serves):
  • 4 large potatoes
  • fresh parsley
  • mustard
  • 300 gr of minced meat
  • 100 gr of philadelphia
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • 1 slice of "old" bread
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • salt
  • paprika powder
  • olive oil
  • 1 smashed garlic


Instructions:
Peel and cut the potatoes in "deluxe" slices, pour mustard over them and a bit of salt, olive oil and parsley, mix and dispose on a container, with a hole in the middle for the meat.
For the meat, put the minced meat in a bowl, add salt, 1 egg, the very thinely cut slice of old bread, the paprika powder and smashed garlic, and mix well together to a "paste".
On a pan, cook the previous sliced carrots, zucchini and mushrooms. While almost done, add the philadelphia, cook in low fire, then retire and let cool in the fridge. It then becomes a quite "harder" mixture.
Now, take 1/2 of the minced meat and put on a plate, in the middle of it put 1 or 2 slices of ham. The philadelphia-veggies mixture will be disposed over it, and covered with the other ham slices (like a ball). And then, the rest of the minced meat will be put over it. Easier: ball of veggies-philla, covered by ham, covered by minced meat. xD
If you do it correctly, you can mold it all to a ball. ;) This ball you'll cover it with the bacon slices all around, and dispose the meat ball in the middle of the potatoes. Optionally, you can also put a bit of mustard and parsley over the bacon slices.
Then bake it in the oven for 45 mins at 180-200ÂșC.

My ball is quite tiny, because most prefered the potatoes than the meat... :P But you can put less potatoes and more meat if you prefer... XD

Sushi Time!

So I friends and I went to a sushi night to take a practice on how to do good sushi... it was fun though the knife wasn't sharp enough... so the pieces didn't actually come out as good as we wanted to, but at leat we had a good time. Here some pictures:

Here the tables as we arrived, the rice was already prepared, since it takes a bit of time to do it. :)


Explaining the procedure of cutting the salmon: the white stripes must be visible, because it's the fat, and it gives not only taste, but also visual effect.


Cutting ourselves the first slices, yay!


ARRRR I cut cut cut! Salmon be mine!


My first salmon Nigiri! The trick, is that you just push the piece gently over the rice, and round it down the edges


Explaining how to roll and cut the sushi:


These are our cut pieces... waiting to eat!


Lol... a friend kind of.. let's say.. had troubles.. XD


YAYYYYY everything together... as you see it's not the prettiest sushi, but it is yummy!!


More pictures:


Again, more pictures:


This are california rolls, inside out. ;) and you see the shrimp tails!


This was done in an euphoria at home, lot's of avocado because friends love it:


There was sushi for 12 peoples at least.... XD



So that was my cooking Sushi experience. :)

I've learned that the most important part was doing the rice correctly, and never smash it while "sushing". Here's a good recipe. ;)

Ingredients:
  • 250 gr of high gluteic rice (usually the round type)
  • 400 gr of water
  • a bit of sake
  • 4 spoons of vinegar (best if plain vinegar, no balsamico, no apple and no wine vinegar)
  • 2,5 spoons of sugar
  • 1/2 spoon of salt

Instructions:
Clean the rice with lots and lots of water, to clean from impurities and until the water comes out white.
Then take a pot (without the lid), where we put the rice together with the water and the sake and let it stay for 30 mins.
Meanwhile prepare the vinegar solution (vinegar, sugar and salt) for the rice once it is cooked. You can warm a bit the vinegar so it binds better with the salt and the sugar. Then, let it cool in the fridge, for it must be cold.
Now we start cooking the rice on maximum temperature in the pot (still without lid), until it starts to boil. Then we cover the pot with the lid and go down to very low heat, and let it boil without never ever retiring the lid for 20 mins. After those 20 mins we take the pot away from the fire, and DON'T remove the lid. We just let it rest like that for another 20 mins. This is very important, taking the lid prematurely away can make that your rice isn't good enough.
When those 20 mins resting pause are gone, we throw the rice gently on a glass or plastic container (never metallic one) and start "opening" the rice with a spatula. We cut lines dividing the rice, like letting the aire come in between but be careful to not "smash" the rice. It must be done very gently. We take the vinegare-solution out of the fridge and add them slowly to the rice, as we continue "cutting" it. We can also make use of a fan: it helps absorb the good quantity and be "fluffy". But again: do it gently, never smashing or mixing the rice, otherwhise it would be unuseful.
Then , the rice is ready. ;)
It will be sticky, so just remember to wet your fingers and hands with water while doing your maki, sushi, nigiri, etc. :)

Great ingredients for sushi are: fresh fish (tuna, salmon and shrimps are the most common), avocado, surimi, cucumber... just whatever you like, I even saw some makis done with philadelphia and salad leafs. :P

Trip to Joensuu

Yesterday was a lovely day! We visited Joensuu, a city in the eastern part of Finland, in the North Karelia region at about 110 km from where I live. Joensuu is traversed by the Pielisjoki river (the name itself means "river's mouth") and nowadays is mainly famous for its University.

I've never visited Joensuu before, but my bf stopped there few times when he was in the Army and he said it's a pretty town. Well, he was right, in fact Joensuu is beautiful! I liked it a lot. It's a big city (but not too big), with lots of cool shops, a nice marketplace, lovely views and food and it doesn't feel too crowded, actually it feels very relaxing :)


When we arrived, we found the marketplace full of people and stands waiting for us. There was also some sort of festival because there were dancers and singers performing on stage. There I went right away towards the muikku stand, which sells fried little fishes that are absolutely delicious! I love them :D



The best place was Taitokortteli, a handcraft and culture quarter situated in the center of the city. Inside there were many small workshops where women crafted before your eyes beautiful handmade goods like carpets, bags, t-shirts, pillows, hats and much much more. I was totally fascinated, and I must go there again!!



In front of Taitokortteli there was a nice garden and harbour.




Of course this was also a taste journey, so we ate more yummy stuff! For example I tasted their karelian pie, which is made and sold across all Finland but it is originally from the Karelian region. Other yummies were a kermamunkki from a local bakery and Arnolds' wonderful donuts :)




Here's more photos of Joensuu.








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