The southwestern Finland is rather famous of its sweet and very dark breads. There’s no definitive way how to make them, there are quite likely as many recipes as there are bakers. I picked up this recipe from some magazine, substituted the sour milk with a mixture of soy milk and yogurt and off to baking I went. The result was a truly wonderful bread, which is why we want to share it with you.
The “sour milk”:
3,5 dl plain soy yoghurt
3 dl soy milk
Rest of the ingredients:
A package of yeast (50g)
2 dl molasses
2 tsp salt
2 dl wheat bran
2 dl rye flour
2 dl beer malts
6,5 – 7 dl wheat flour
Mix together yoghurt and milk to create the faux sour milk. Warm it up to 37 Celsius degrees and add the yeast, salt and molasses. Combine with wheat bran, rye flour and beer malt. Add wheat flour. Don’t worry if the dough seems worryingly loose or fluid at this point. Let rise under a towel for an hour.
Take two baking casseroles and line them with parchment paper. The bins should be big enough for the dough to half fill them. Cover with a blanket and let raise for another hour.
The dough should have risen now to more or less fill the casseroles (or maybe even a bit over the edges.) Bake in the oven at 175C for 1 hour and 20-50 minutes. When the top looks ready and your kitchen smells wonderful, they’re ready.
If you want a deluxe bread, brush the breads with a mixture of molasses and water after you have removed them from the oven and taken out of the bins.
Let cool and enjoy.
Apple harvest in Finland is great this year, and many people have more apples than they can eat.
Apple pie and jam are of course delicious, but if you’re already getting bored of them, try this salad. Celery, walnuts and raisins are combined with apples and the salad is finished with vegan mayo dressing. Yum!
6 celery stalks
3 apples (4-5 if they’re small)
2 dl raisins
3 dl walnuts (about 100g)
1 dl vegan mayo
2 dl plain soy yogurt
2 tsp mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper
Slice or dice the celery, save some leaves for garnishing. Dice the apples. You should have approximately same amount of celery and apples. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients in another bowl and combine with the salad. Garnish the salad with celery leaves. Preferably refrigerate a while before serving.
Middle Eastern cuisine is full of vegetarian and vegan dishes, and it would have been easy to blog about them for a week. Since our Saturday theme was veganizing, I was browsing Soheila Kimberly’s Middle Eastern cookbook to find a recipe that was tempting enough to veganize. A recipe for poussins baked in yogurt sauce caught my eye, even if I didn’t know what’s a poussin (it’s a young chicken, I know now). I used plain soy yogurt for the sauce and baked sliced tofu in it. I marinaded them for few hours, but I recommend marinading them over night, because when I reheated the leftovers next day, the flavour had grown better. We served the baked tofu with fried potatoes seasoned with sumac and some salad.
Tofu in Yogurt Sauce
500 g tofu
500 g plain soy yogurt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
0,5 tsp paprika
pinch of saffron powder or 2-3 saffron strands
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Cut the tofu in 1 cm slices. Peel and chop the onion and garlic. If you use saffron strands, mix them with 1 tsp of hot water. Mix all the sauce ingredients together. Add the tofu slices and stir carefully. Allow to marinade in fridge at least 4 hours, preferably over night. Arrange the tofu slices in a wide ovenproof dish. Bake about 40 minutes in 200 Celsius degrees.
You can find quite many different cucumber salads around the world. Raita in India, tzatziki in Greece, vinegar cucumbers in Finland… And mizeria in Poland. Mizeria is usually made with cucumbers and sour cream, bur our vegan version is made with soy yogurt. By the way, this is awesome and really refreshing!
1,5-2 dl soy yogurt
1 green house cucumber or couple of pickling cucumbers
2 tsp white vine vinegar or apple vinegar
1 tsp dried dill or 1 tbsp fresh
Strain the yogurt with a cheese cloth until it gets thicker. Wash (and peel) the cucumber and thinly slice. Put the cucumbers in colander, sprinkle with generous amount of salt and mix well. Let sit for half an hour. Rinse the cucumber and squeeze out excess water. Put the cucumbers in a bowl, add enough drained soy yogurt to barely cover them (the cucumbers shouldn’t be swimming in yogurt). Season with vinegar, pepper and dill. Add salt if needed. Serve as a side salad.
Some years ago my sister made me an advent calendar, I think it was 2005 or 2007. The calendar is made of two green ribbons and there are 12 small bags on each. Each bag contained a recipe and a small surprise (stickers, candy etc.). Next year I filled the calendar and sent it bag to my sister and we’ve been sending it to each other every year since.
This year it was my turn to fill the calendar. I won’t tell you what I filled it with, because she’ll probably read this post. But I think it’s safe to tell that on 5th day she got dried chili (grown by us) and a recipe for a soup.
Sunny Sweet Potato Soup
1 onion (or piece of leek)
2-3 garlic cloves
1-2 mild chili peppers
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp thyme
200 g passata
1 l water
juice of 1 large orange and 1 tsp grated peel
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 sweet potato (400 g)
200 g frozen peas
salt and pepper
plain soy yogurt for serving (optional)
Chop or thinly slice the onion. Mince the garlic cloves and chili peppers. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the onion and thyme couple of minutes. Add garlic and chili and continue sautéing until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the passata, water, orange juice & peel, cinnamon and bay leaf. Bring to boil and add peeled and diced sweet potato. Simmer until the sweet potato is soft, add the peas in the end of simmering. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf. Serve with or without a spoonful of plain soy yogurt.
For a long time mushrooms were eaten only in eastern Finland. In the western parts people thought they were cow food. Nowadays mushroom eating has spread all over Finland, and mushroom salad made of salted milk-caps is often served as a side dish on Yule dinner. Mushroom salad is awesome, we had it yesterday with roasted root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets and rutabaga).
Finnish Mushroom Salad
5 dl salted milk-caps
1 (red) onion
pinch of white pepper
3-4 tbsp plain soy yogurt
Soak the milk-caps in plenty of water until they don’t taste too salty and drain. Soaking may take an hour or several hours depending on how salty your mushrooms are. Change the water once or twice during the soaking. You can also boil the mushrooms for couple of minutes to remove salt quicker. Chop the mushrooms and onion. Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl and preferably refrigerate 15 minutes or longer before serving.
Weather is getting colder and forest mushroom season is almost over. Yesterday I went to forest after work and found some sheep polypores, and few other mushrooms. Not much, but enough for a dinner.
American style thick pancakes are not usually eaten here in Finland. We prefer thinner ones, and they can be savoury or sweet. Savoury ones with spinach or carrot are usually little thicker than sweet crepes. I made some carrot crepes and used the mushrooms for the filling. We also had vinegar cucumbers on the side. The crepe recipe makes about 12 crepes, but the filling wasn’t enough for all of them. We ate last two or three with lingonberries.
1 l soy milk
3 dl wheat flour
3 dl barley flour (or use 6 dl wheat flour)
3 big carrots
2 tbsp oil
margarine for frying
Whisk the milk, flours and salt together and let sit 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile peel the carrots and grate them finely. Mix everything, melt some margarine in a frying pan and fry as thin crepes as you can.
Mushroom and Broccoli Filling
1 l forest mushrooms (or about 250 g button mushrooms)
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves
florets of 1 broccoli or 1 whole small broccoli
2 dl soy yogurt
Sauté the mushrooms in a dry pan until the water comes out of them. Discard the water or fry until evaporated. Chop the onion, garlic and broccoli. Add oil and chopped vegetables to the pan when there’s no more water in it. Simmer until onions and broccoli are soft, stir occasionally. Add yogurt and season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and herbs. Heat thoroughly. Put some filling on each crepe and roll.