Goddess of Cake


A Fifteen Meter Lunch

In the States these so called 100 mile menus seem to be the new fad in restaurants. Basically it means that the ingredients for the menu are grown within a hundred miles. Also, in London there is a restaurant, which sells food that originates within the subway network of London. This menu that I’m going to write about, is not a 100 mile dinner, but a 15 meter lunch, since most of the ingredients were from a garden patch just 15 metres away.

veggies copy

I think that ideally we all should live like this, with lunches and dinners that are really picked just 15 metres away from the doorstep, and not bought from supermarkets. The commercial farming systems that produce the majority of our food at the moment are killing the planet, draining the water resources, turning independent farmers into slaves of the system, and suffocating natural ecosystems. We need a new agriculture. Monocultures must go.There aren’t many good alternatives, though. We are far too many people to be fed with grace, and some destruction of natural ecosystems is inevident in order to produce enough food for all.

But it’s not hopeless! There are things to do! You should all do it! Decentralization is the way to go with the production of food and energy. Small, intensive farming systems can produce amazing amounts of calories, if they are closely integrated in the everyday lives of people. Eat local, crop mob, depave, guerilla garden! Learn and teach permaculture, make a transition town initiative in your hometown, get an allotment garden, eat the seasonal food, and support your local organic farmers. And most important of all, do not despise what older people have to tell you, since many of them have the skills and knowledge from a life that was much more self – sufficient than our current lifestyle.

Recently me and my cousin made a trip to this old farmhouse, where our dads grew up. These days no one lives there, and that whole part of the countryside is full of empty houses, since the people have found their living in cities. There is a strange, almost haunted feeling in these places, with the rosty old farm machines in the barns and the empty gravel roads, once so busy.

old toys

But anyhow, we both felt very peaceful and happy there, among the ghosts of our grandparents. The garden was also abundant, since my uncle and aunt had been tending it every now and then. Among the chickweed we found horse radish, potatoes, swedes, onions, carrots, beetroot, broad beans, mangold, salad, parsley, garlic and dill, and a monstrously big bush of lovage. And of course lots of black and red currants, which were the aim of our trip. This is some of the simple summer food we made.

the house

Beetroot with Horse Radish

4 beetroots

a 3×3 cm piece of horse radish, peeled

1/2 dl extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

water for cooking

First I sliced the beets thinly, and boiled them and the finely grated horse radish in a shallow amount of water until done, about 20 minutes. Then I drained off the water and added the oil and some salt. If you like more horse radish, you can grate some more and add at this stage for a stronger aroma. This dish can also be made into a bread spread, by using a hand held blender.

potato and beetroot

Herb Oil with Parsley to Go with New Potatoes

2 dl extra virgin oil (olive, canola etc)

1 dl finely chopped parsley

1 clove garlic

salt

This is such a simple thing, the ingredients are simply combined. It so delicious when made of fresh parsley. It is very nice together with new potatoes.

15 meter lunch

Salad Dressing with Black Currant

2,5 dl black currants

2/3 dl extra virgin oil

sugar

salt

The black currants should be ground through a sieve, in order to get rid of the peels. The resulting black currant mush is then mixed with oil, salt and sugar. It depends a bit how sweet you’d like to have it, you don’t necessarily need much sugar if you like it with a bit of a tang. We had it with some lettuce combined with a bit of mangold and marigold petals.

black currant dressing

Mangold Stir Fry

10 mangold leaves

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp jeera

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

a pinch of chillipowder

salt

oil for frying

The mangold leaves were first roughly chopped, as well as the onion and garlic. Then we fried the onion, garlic and the spices on a frying pan, and then tossed in the mangold, just for a minute or so.

kesäläcollage



A Guerilla Gardener’s Dinner

This is a light dinner I made for my cousin Vappu and my friend Aino who were coming over for sauna some time ago. Some of the ingredients came from this gorgeous guerilla garden project that I’ve been doing with the environmental organisation Dodo. Our garden is on a piece of unused land, between new and old railroad tracks, only a couple of kilometres from the city center of Helsinki. We have made two big containers for the soil out of recycled wood and used old coffee bean bags and car tyres to grow veggies in. So far our piece of reclaimed land has not been disturbed guerilla gardening

by any authorities and the veggies are growing beautifully. A week and a half ago there was a lot of lettuce, dill, mint, mangold and the first big zucchini ready to be harvested! I used the dill for a potato salad, the mangold and mint for mangold leaf rolls and made a nice lemony marinade for my half of the zucchini. There is some more information on our project in Globaali Piknik (in Finnish though).

Potato Salad with Dill and Radishes

2 litres new potatoes

7 radishes

1/2 dl capers

1 dl green peas

1 apple

a handful of fresh dill

The Dressing

1 dl olive oil

2 tbsp white balsamico vinegar

2 tbsp mustard

salt, sugar and black pepper

First I scrubbed the potatoes and cooked them in lightly salted water about ten minutes, until they were done. With new potatoes you should really use them fresh from the ground, because then you can actully scrub off all the peels, which didn’t happen now since my potatoes had been standing too long in the fridge. Then I allowed the potatoes to cool, chopped the other ingredients and made the dressing by whisking the oil, vinegar, mustard and spices together. Then I chopped the potatoes and assembled the salad. With potato salad it’s quite important to let it wait for a while before serving. I think potato salad is always good, but I this combination with salty capers, crunchy radishes and sweet apple is definetely my favourite at the moment.

potato salad1

Mangold Leaf Rolls

3,5 dl whole spelt kernels

2 dl tomato paste

1 dl olive oil

1 red onion

a handful of mint

salt

about 12 mangold leaves

Mangold or chard is spinach – like vegetable, with big leaves ideal for making rolls.This time I used in the filling wholemangold spelt kernels, but actually risotto spelt or any other “sticky” grain would be better, since it is easier to assemble the rolls if the filling sticks together.

First I soaked the spelt kernels a few hours, and then cooked them in water about an hour, until they were done. Then I added the rest of the ingredients, the onion and the mint finely chopped and blended the filling well.

flatten with knifeThe mangold leaves I prepared by cutting off the extra stem and flattening the rest of it with the edge of big knife, beacuse then it is easier to bend the leaf.

Then I placed about a tablespoon of the filling at the other end of the leaf, folded over the sides and rolled a nice tight roll of it. The ready rolls I put on an oven plate and drizzled them with olive oil. I baked them in the oven in 200 °C about 20 minutes, until they were brownish.

mangold rolls2

Marinated Zucchini with Lemon

Half a zucchini (or one smaller one)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon, juice and zest

salt

1 tsp brown sugar

I cut the zucchini first into half moon shaped pieces, then I fried it quickly on a really hot frying pan in a generous amount of oil, until it was a bit speckled with brown. Then I squeezed the lemon and grated the zest, and mixed it with a bit of salt and sugar, and poured it together with the zucchini pieces. Then I let it cool down for about an hour before serving. The idea with this dish is that it should be extremely tangy, so use enough lemon!

marinated zucchini