Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gravlax... innit???

It is so expensive to make buy gravlax so why not make your own. It is very simple. First of all you need a nice bit of salmon. On offer in the shops at the moment at reasonable prices are farmed salmon from Norway or deep sea salmon from Ahvenamaa. I went for the salmon from the archipeligo.

raw salmon from the archipelego

To start the process you need to salt the fish and I use natural rock salt. It is big and it is cruchy and it looks good. It is enough to put a couple of table spoons on the salmon to coat the flesh.

Salmon salted with rock salt

After that the flesh is sprinkled with ordinary sugar. Just plain old sugar. I used sugar from estonia which I bought at a bargain price from Lidl. I was tempted to use some brown sugar from Suomen sokeri but thought better of it.

sugar added

Then it is time for some spices and I went for a mixture of rose pepper and Jamacian allspice. The recipe from the web called for crushed white pepper, but I did not have any so I went with the Rose pepper instead. It looks better with a little bit of red added to it.

Rose pepper and Jamacian allspice

Traditionally for some green you should go for dill, but I did not have any, but I did have some rosemary growing on the balcony so I chopped up some leaves and sprinkled it over the fish. It made a good contrast with the rose pepper.

Rosemary added

Finally the fillet is tightly wraped in cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of days to mature. The package is placed in a dish and then another dish is placed on top of it to weigh it down. You should expect some juices to come out of the fish fillet.

Wraped in cling film

In 48 hours time the fillet will be removed from the cling film and all of the remaining salt and sugar and herbs will be scraped off and the fillet sliced at 45 degrees to give very thin slices. It should be eaten with garlic mustard but I have decided to do gravlax con meloni.

If the Italians can get away with parma ham on melon, then I am going to be the first to put strips of gravlax with melon. I may even smother it in liqorice sauce. Eat your heart out fat duck.

P.S. Did I forget to mention that it was also marinated in Hunaja-Terva Snapsi (Honey-tar Schnapps)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fava bean and chickpea soup

I visited a Kurdish shop in Espoon Keskus and bought some nibbles. It is hard to describe what they are exactly, since it looks like hollow bits of spaghetti coated in chilli pepper. Whatever they are they taste good, and to my mind are better than peanuts or popcorn. Perhaps it is a Kurdish version of Bombay mix.

Anyways I also discovered they had some condensed milk, something I have not been able to find in the supermarkets here in Finland. Maija found a recipe for some special christmas sweets which needed dark chocolate and condensed cream so we will be all set to roll in a few days time.

The other thing that I picked up was a tin of Fava beans with chickpeas, by Wadi Chtoura Foods. The only time I have heard fava beans mentioned in connection with eating was in the the movie "Silence of the lambs", when Hannibal the Cannibal says "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." So I just had to try the Fava beans and instead of liver I tossed in some spiced Gyros from Dulano.

I suppose the Fava beans should have been eaten in a salad with olive oil and lemon but when I opened the tin the beans and chickpeas were floating in a hot and spicey tomato and chilli sauce, and since it was one of those raw days outside, I added some more liquid to the sauce and made the whole thing into a warm and satisfying soup. I crisped up some bread under the grill and while it was still hot spread it with a generous layer of real butter. I had intended to leave half the soup for tomorrow but it tasted so good I ate the lot in one go. It was excellent and I plan to do it again as soon as I get more beans.

Though the wife says wait until tomorrow until you see how you react to the beans.