Category Archives: Recipes

Artichoke and leek gratin

Jerusalem artichokes and leeks are both excellent winter vegetables, standing through the worst of the weather to be dug as and when needed. At this time of year, the leeks are at the end of their useful life and will soon put forth a flower spike, and the artichokes are growing again. A couple of weeks ago we dug over the artichoke bed, selecting tubers for replanting, and using the last of the harvest for soup and the gratin described here. Continue reading

Forcing rhubarb

Forced rhubarb – a spring treat

Though strictly speaking a vegetable, rhubarb is most often used in the manner of fruit, and in that category it is rather useful, providing the first fruit of the year long before the earliest of the summer soft fruit. Rhubarb is easy to grow with few problems. It appreciates a sunny spot with a rich soil for best results, but tolerates shady corners well and is not particularly fussy about conditions. It can be planted and all but forgotten for a few years, although the crown will, at some point, become crowded and benefit from splitting up, replanting the younger parts to replace the old and unproductive. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – dill sauce

Dill sauce – a dressing prepared with lots of mustard and dill is a common accompaniment to the gravad lax – cured salmon – and other cured and smoked fish that are an essential part of the first course of the Finnish Christmas meal. It is easy to prepare provided one has suitable mustard. Those produced in Finland and Sweden are ideal, as they are flavourful, but not too strong and a little sweet. I use olive oil in the dressing, but one can use an alternative, such as rapeseed oil, if preferred. The dressing is best prepared a few hours before needed so that the flavour of the dill has time to permeate. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – Riitta’s dill cucumbers

Riitta dill cucumbers - a somewhat unseasonal but delicious addition to our Christmas table

Riitta’s dill cucumbers – a somewhat unseasonal but delicious addition to our Christmas table

This post is, for this blog, uncharacteristically unseasonal. Fresh dill cucumbers are more properly prepared in the summer months, when cucumbers are naturally in season, and one would turn instead to the gherkin at this time of year. However, mother-in-law Riitta prepares such delicious dill cucumbers that we make this one unseasonal concession here and add these to our Christmas table. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – beetroot salad

This beetroot salad is my version of a dish widely available ready prepared in Finnish stores. It is one of those elements of our Christmas table that is not an established part of the traditional menu, although the salad is widely consumed throughout the year. It is one of my favourites, and something I often prepare for the many gatherings of the local Finnish ladies. It is quick and easy to make, an excellent accompaniment to herrings, cured and smoked fish, and great on open sandwiches. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – Italian salad

In Finnish stores one can find a prepared salad known as Italian salad. It is one of my favourites, and something I always like to have when we visit Finland. Although it is not a traditional part of the Christmas menu, it is something we have always served alongside the very traditional rosolli, and another less traditional beetroot salad. It is made from pasta, hence the name, with ham, peas, and various other ingredients, in a creamy dressing. My own version is not entirely like that which one can buy in Finland, but we enjoy it nonetheless. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – rosolli

Rosolli is the classic salad accompaniment to the Finnish Christmas meal, going particularly well with the cured herrings. Some add herring to the rosolli, when it is then known as sillisalaatti – herring salad. This variant is particularly common in Sweden. We, though, prefer to serve the salad without adding herring, and serve several different side dishes of herring that one can pick from. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – Riitta’s herring

Although most of the cured herrings served at the Christmas table come essentially ready to serve, one can also buy whole fillets of herrings preserved in salt and sugar that can be further prepared in various ways. These strongly flavoured fillets are the basis of many dishes, and here I provide the recipe for the preparation Riitta and I made this year. As with many such recipes, quantities are not strict. This recipe calls for soured cream, which is readily available here and convenient as we use it in several other Christmas recipes. Smetana would be more commonly used in Finland. Use either, or, indeed, crème fraîche, according to preference. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – rullasyltty

Rullasyltty – spiced rolled pork belly

Rullasyltty is a spiced rolled pork belly, available year round, but also a popular part of the Finnish Christmas table. The dish is particularly well known throughout Denmark and Sweden. Whilst in Finland one can readily buy the prepared dish, here we have to make it ourselves. Recipes vary as to the herbs and spices used, but we have used our own recipe for many years now and it always turns out well. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – cured and smoked fish

Gravad sea bass, cold smoked trout, and cold smoked salmon

Gravad sea bass, cold smoked trout, and cold smoked salmon

Cured fish is, for me, the highlight of the Finnish Christmas table. Along with the ubiquitous gravad lax, we also prepare gravad sea bass, which turns out rather similar results to a fish known as siika, which is not available here. Curing and smoking is a strong part of Finnish culinary traditions, and they produce a wide range of delicious products. Being a bit fed up with the less flavoursome smoked salmon more commonly available here, I have been cold smoking at home for some years, with great results, and it is easier than one might imagine. Continue reading