Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is Mämmi solid beer?

The Finns come Easter time take great delight in bringing out a box of mämmi. They always smirk when they ask you would you like to taste it, because it looks like something that you should not be eating. It looks like something you would find in a field of cows that had been sent out to pasture.It is dark, it is brown, and the only thing missing is a hoard of flies swarming over it.

It is impolite to decline such a Finnish delicacy, and they assure you that it tastes much better than it looks, and to seal the deal they say you can have sugar and cream on it. It is difficult to comprehend this logic, of making something faintly disturbing, better by putting sugar and cream on it.

Anyways when you look at what it is made of, the label says malted rye and malted barley, with a bit of pommerance  peel. Now if mämmi was marketed as a Guinness derivative, and that it was solid beer without the alcohol, then it might open up new doors for a world wide export market.

Having tasted it I have to confess that it is not that bad once you expunge the cows in a field connotation from your memory. I was enthused enough to try and make it myself. The baking process takes many hours and at the end of the day my mämmi turned out to be a real competitor for asphalt on the road. I believe I could patent the process and sell it as a substitute for tarmac.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Salmon Quiche

It is all in the pastry base. Really!!! What you want is something that is firm and interesting, and for this reason I added about 20 almonds that I had diced into small crumbs. They are surprises in the pastry. In addition I added half a teaspoon on rough crushed extra hot red chillies and half a cup of grated tangy Hergard cheese from Sweden. The other ingredients are 3 cups of flour and six table spoons of olive oil. Mix the whole lot in a bowl until it looks like a pastry dough. Squeeze it though your fingers untill all the crumbs are bonded together. Then place it in the centre of a big baking dish and press it out from the centre to the edges until it covers the dish. Put it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 230 C

Now for the killer filling and I do mean killer filling since the amount of calories and fat and cholestorol is equivilent to a heart attack on a plate. Crack three eggs into a bowl and add 2 dl of sour cream and half a cup of grated strong mature black label Emental. Then add three large dollops of mayonase, and five finely cut mushrooms.
Beat the hell out of the mixture and when it looks thick and creamy pour it into the pie dish and then sprinkle some smoked salmon over the top and dust down with som Parmesan cheese. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes at 200 C and sit back and enjoy the aroma that fills the kitchen.

Since you know just how much evil stuff you have added to this dish you can assuage your conscience by serving it with some Japanese Mizuna, and some cheap white wine. Be sure to eat it all before you wife returns from her weekend away.
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I like to make Foccacia bread. It is so simple and quick to prepare and it tastes wonderful. You can go to specialist bakeries and get artizan bread but they will cost you an arm and a leg, so it is so much easier to prepare it yourself with good ingredients that will give you a bread that is full of flavour and a joy to eat.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 bag of mozzarella pellets
Shredded fresh rosemary for topping.


1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and fresh shredded rosemary.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Onion soup with Aura cheese and rose pepper and dill

Does onion soup frighten you? Don't be afaid. Here is my recipe.

Cut 4 large onions into big chunks. None of this finely minced french style onions. Cut them big and rough. If you want to practice your knife work then you can take 2 sticks of celery and chop it to dust. Throw the chunky onions and celery dust into into a pot and add a drizzle of olive oil, (why is it that olive oil always drizzles, why can't you have a thunder-storm of olive oil) and cook until soft.

Add a half litre of water and a stockcube and simmer for 20 minutes. Surprisingly onion soup tastes rather sweet so for a good topping, and to add some sharpness and contrast, I add freshly ground rose pepper and dill. These two ingredients put on at the last minute when the soup has been laddled onto the bowl, give the soup a rare fragrance.

Now for the AURA blue cheese. This should be added as rough generous chunks, and allowed to melts a little before you get stuck in.

On the side you can have buttered barley bread and tomato. Very simple and inexpensive. Enjoy

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Scottish Tablet

Scottish Tablet
Originally uploaded by Arthur Eyetis.
My grandmother used to make tablet around about christmas time. She also made ginger beer and boston cream for new year

I remember being crazy for tablet, and it was always homemade stuff. The nearest commercial equivilent is Kendal mintcake that made it to the top of Mount Everest with Hilary.

Kendal mintcake is carried by mountaineers to give them energy, and when you see the recipe for tablet you can understand why.

1 kg of granulated sugar
1 tin of sweetend condensed milk
2 dl of cream
200 gm of unsalted butter

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed deep pot. Add the sugar condensed milk and cream and bring the mixture to the boil. At this stage the liquid is a light creamy colour. Once the liquid is boiling reduce the temperature so that it is just simmering nicely. It is essential that you stir the mixture continuously to stop it from burning to the bottom of the pot. A flat wooden spatula is better than a wooden spoon for this job, becasue you can more easily scrape the bottom of the pot while you are stirring.

While it is boiling you can expect the volume of the liquid to perhaps double, and it is hellish hot so don't go trying to taste the mixture straight from the pot as you will scald your tongue. As you stir the colour of the mixture will become darker and the stirring process usually take 20 minutes before the tablet is ready. You can test this by taking a teaspoon of the mixture from the pot and dropping it into a tumbler of cold water. If the mixture forms a solid globule then the mixture is ready.

Now remove the mixture from the heat and whisk for 10 minutes. Place some aluminium folio that has been greased with butter into a shallow baking tray and pour in the tablet mixture. It should begin to set almost immediately, but while it is still hot score the top of it with a knife so you can break it into squares afterwards. Set aside to cool and amuse yourself or your children by giving them the pot to lick.

One of the best thing about making tablet is licking the pot afterwards.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tentura christmas cake

While in Greece I was served up some Tentura after a meal. It is a liquer and the main ingredients are cinnamon and cloves. You drink it down in a small shot glass and I suppose it is an ancient version of Salmiaki Kossu. So it was Maija's idea to make a cake with Tentura as a spice.

Now Christmas cakes have a great tradition in the UK and America. These christmas fruitcakes weigh a tonne and apparently if you don't eat them they last for ever. A bit like the English wedding cakes covered in icing and marzipan that can be saved so that the first born can sample their mother and fathers wedding cake.

Fruit cakes given as presents at christmas can be left uneaten, and if you don't like them they can be passed on to someone else. who will undoubtedly pass it on to somebody else the following christmas. They are so rich they will last forever it left untouched. I bet you the Pharaoh had perfectly good cake in his burial chamber.

Eggs, sugar, flour, butter, all go into the basic dough and you add it the fruits like raisens, sultanas, appricots, cherries and of course a generous helping of Tentura.

Now you don't want the cake to turn out like a coal-dust brickette so to prevent the cake from burning and sticking to the container, the inside is lined with brown baking paper and the outside is covered in newspaper.

Now I hear you question as to what type of newspaper to use. Well personally we got good results with Helsinki Sanomat, though I dare say The Times would have done equally well.

At all cost avoid The Sun, or The National Inquirer. For some reason cakes wraped in these newspapers always come out badly.

Finally when the cake is ready it has to be spiked with more Tentura, for after all eating cake is only a discrete way of consuming alcohol. Prick the cake with a toothpick and pour in as much Tentura was you want.

You will observe that after people have eaten a few slices they will remark how wonderfully moist the cake is, and will be asking for another slice.

Nuckle of Lamb

Knuckle of Lamb... I ate it many times in islamic resturants in Cairo. It is an awesome sight to have a chunk of meat like this braized to perfection and falling off the bone placed in front of you.

There is something very special about the way lamb is cooked in North africa or the middle east, that makes it so different from the roast lamb that you would get in England.

Perhaps it has something to do with the lamb itself in that it is not deep frozen stuff from New Zealand. Whatever it is freshness, spices, cooking method, it sure is tasty.

In marocco they will add to the casserole apricots, dates, almonds, sultanas or raisins, honey, saffron mixture, tomato juice and lamb or chicken stock, and I guess all that fruitiness gives a sweetness to the dish that you do not usually associate with lamb

The spices that I added were freshly sliced ginger. Don't use that powdered stuff it may give ginger flavour, but there is nothing so satisfying than to bite into a bit of ginger that has been cooked. It does something for the appetite.

Then there is Bay leaves, and rosemary and thyme which are traditional herbs to go along with lamb. In addition Rose Pepper and Black Peppercorns give the casserole some extra bite.

Whack the whole thing in a cast iron pot and add a couple of onions quartered and a large carrot diced. Add a stock cube and water, clap on the lid and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours at 180 C

It is read whn the meat falls off the bone and all the marrow has dissolved from inside the bone. at it with either rice or couscous.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Avocado and date salad

I will build my love a salad. First of all I will wash fresh stalks of celery in cold water and slice them diagonally.

I will build a tower of goodness from ripe avocado, crystalised dates, and dried bananna chips.

And on it I will lay wedges of strong salty cheese, and whole corriander seeds. For a dressing there will be fresh ground black pepper, white garlic sauce, and a drizzle of virgin olive oil.

I will lay it on a table of linen, and pour a glass of strong red wine, full heady tannin, that will sing a love song to the cheese.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pasha & Kulich

Pasha & Kulich, originally uploaded by HyperBob.

Pasha is spread on the kulich and eaten.
Pasha is a very rich.

No!!! to say it is rich is a lie.

Pasha is a heart attack on a plate.
Pasha is the gunge that will clog your arteries.
Pasha has so much sugary sweetness it will have you running up the walls.
Pasha explodes in your mouth.
Pasha tingles your toes and gives you pins and neddles in your fingers.
Pasha makes you dance with schitzoid jerky movements.
Pasha is dangerous and should only be eaten by people who have practiced extreme eating for years.
Pasha is the nipple of heaven.