Filed under: Salad | Tags: avocado, pomegranade, raspberry, Salad, spring equinox, vinaigrette, walnut
There is an old story that tells about the Spring Equinox: Hades, the god of Kingdom of Death, stole the beautiful maiden Persephone down to his realm to be his wife. Meanwhile her mother Demeter, who is the Goddess of Earth and all living things, made everything barren and dry in her mourning. Finally Persephone was allowed to return to stay in in the Land of Living every half of the year, and her returning was the coming of the spring, when her mother made all flowers bloom in her wake.
So since now it is the time of Spring Equinox, I wanted to make a salad to celebrate the oncoming Spring, even if the land is here in the North not quite blooming yet… This salad is very sweet, like the Maiden Persephone is sweet returning from the Land of the Dead, and the first signs of spring are sweet to the soul.
Salad with caramelised walnuts and rasberry vinaigrette (2 – 3 portions)
150 g of different kinds of salad (I had chicory, radicchio and corn salad)
1 half of a cucumber
1 1/2 dl alfalfa sprouts
70 g walnuts
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 dl rasberries
1 dl olive oil
2 tbsp rasberry vinegar
1 /2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
First I prepared the caramelised walnuts. This I did simply by adding all the ingredients for the caramelised walnuts on a frying pan, and frying them for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar was caramelised. This means it becomes sort of syrup – like. The sugar burns easily so I tried to concentrate. Then I poured the mixture onto a pan that was covered with baking parchment to let it cool down.
Then I made the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients with a hand held mixer. I suppose in order to be very gourmet you should actually puree the rasberries using a sieve, so that you’d get rid of the seeds, but who cares?
Then I chopped all the other ingredients for the salad and took out the seeds from the pomegranade, being careful not to take out any of the white skin that is inside the fruit, since it is very bitter. Then I assembled the salad by mixing all the ingredients and the dressing.
In Finland, we eat a lot of oatmeal porridge. That’s what I ate for breakfast almost every morning when I was a child. Though, it is generally quite restricted what goes with your porridge here: usually, it is something like a jam or soup made of berries, some milk or cinnamon and sugar and perhaps a bit of butter or margarine. So I guess that’s why I was so delighted when Damien once fed me this Japanese – tasting porridge in Brisbane Australia…
Japanese porridge,1 portion
2 dl water
1 dl oatflakes
pinch of salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
spring onions, chopped
1 tsp miso paste
First I cook the porridge in quite the usual way, boil the water with a pinch of salt, and add the oats, except that I also add the grated ginger to the water. Then I cook the porridge until it’s ready, and serve it with miso paste and chopped spring onions, and have some green tea as beverage to go with it. This time I had white rice miso, and it was really delicious, but also barley miso is good. Ohaiyoo gozaimastanee!
Since today is my birthday, I thought I very well deserve a bit of comfort food, not that I would need it though! So I made pasta with lovely pink beetroot pesto. It is a very slightly modified recipe from a previous issue of Glorian ruoka ja viini, a Finnish gourmet magazine. In this pasta I like especially the colour and how fast and easy it is to prepare.
Beetroot pesto (4 portions)
2 beetroots, chopped
½ an onion, chopped
water for cooking
1 clove of garlic
1 ½ tblsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 potted basil plant, or 2 dl fresh basil leaves
½ dl pine kernels
1dl olive oil
First I boil the beetroot in a shallow amount of water until done (about 20 min), and fry the onion on a frying pan, with a little olive oil. Then I drain off the cooking water from the beets, and mix them with onions and other ingredients, using a hand held mixer. Then I boil a little whole wheat pasta and mix the pesto together with it. This time I was actually using strawberry vinegar instead of red wine balsamic vinegar, but I don’t think it contributed much in the end result.
1 dried apricot
½ tsp cinnamon
1 dl red currants, frozen
1 ½ dl soy or oat milk (if you live in the North, make it oat for a better world)
I try to remember to put the almonds and the apricot to soak Friday night. This is very challenging for me, but sometimes I get it done. Saturday morning, I peel and chop the apple, and blend in all the ingredients with a hand held mixer. This smoothie is very thick, but I really like that consistency and usually eat it with a spoon.
Then I put on some chilled music, this time it was Emma Salokoski Ensemble, and enjoy my smoothie to it. This is the best way to celebrate the fact that I didn’t have to wake up at six a.m. like on weekdays!
Filed under: Baking, Cakes | Tags: cake, champagne, chocolate, strawberry, vegan
There was some leftover champagne from my working place, and I felt such a shame to throw such luxurious stuff away. So I was wondering what I could make out of it. I found some non – vegan recipes for champagne cakes, and decided to try to make something like that, but vegan. I also thought what would go well with the taste of champagne: traditionally it’s often strawberries and chocolate… So this is the end result: a vegan strawberry champagne cake with chocolate topping! So I made this cake for my friend Pinja’s birthday party.
100 g vegetable margarine
2 dl frozen strawberries, pureed
4 1/2 dl wheat flour
21/2 dl sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp egg replacer
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp bourbon vanilla powder
2 dl champagne (or sparkling wine)
150g vegan dark chocolate (good quality)
50g vegetable margarine
1,5 dl powdered sugar
1 tbsp red berry juice concentrate
First I melted the vegetable margarine in a pan, and set in my cold outer corridor to cool down. Then I pureed the strawberries, using a handheld mixer. After that I mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then added the pureed strawberries, the champagne and finally the margarine, careful not to beat it too much. Voilá! The consistency of the cake batter seemed right away perfect! I poured it into a greased cake tin, about 24cm in diameter and baked in the oven that was preheated to 175 C about 40 minutes, until the cake was nicely brown and did not stick to the edges of the cake tin. I put the cake to my corridor to cool, and after about two hours added the topping.
The topping was simply made by melting the chocolate and adding the margarine to it, and then beating the mixture smooth. It is indeed a very good idea to melt the chocolate in a microwave oven, if you have one, since otherwise it is too easy to get water into the mixture, which will make the consistency crumbly. I put the cake again cool down, and when the topping had hardened, I decorated it with a letter P that I made out of marzipan, and hearts that I made out of the powdered sugar and red juice paste. The juice a used is something that has been hanging around in the fridge for ages, and it has become rather thick, so it gives out a very nice colour. I usually just use an old plastic bag (the brand Minigrip is good, or any other bag with a distinguishable corner) when decorating, I pour the paste into a corner of the bag and, squeeze tight and cut off the corner. Then it is possible to draw all kind of nice shapes on top your cake.
I suppose that in this recipe it would be very much possible to use sparkling wine instead of champagne. The champagne that I used was rather dry, so if you are using something more sweet, maybe adjust the amount of sugar.
People at the birthday party liked the cake well enough, even if I did not think it tasted much like champagne or strawberries… they said that it was “a cake for grown – ups”, whatever that means, and said that there was definitely a taste of champagne in it. As an afterthought I would next time perhaps make the cake a layered cake, and put the strawberries in between the layers, to make the taste clearer.