Fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes

I’m more of a savoury breakfast person, however from time to time it’s nice to opt in for the sweet version. These kind of American style pancakes haven’t really found their way to Finnish or British breakfast tables, so I’ve not had much experience with eating or making them. I wasn’t happy with my first attempt some time ago, however now, after research, and then combining what I read to my own recipe, I ‘m pleased to announce that the result has been magnificent! These came out super soft, airy and fluffy with great flavour.

350ml plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
250ml buttermilk
100ml milk
1 large egg
25g butter, melted + extra for frying
175g blueberries

1. Place all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and mix together with a spoon. In another bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together.

img_4245

2. Spoonful at a time, add the flour to the wet ingredients, mixing in with the whisk. You don’t however want to overwork the batter (like with any cakes once flour is added), as this will end in a dense, rather than fluffy texture. The batter will be quite thick.

3. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

4. Rinse and drain the blueberries.

5. Heat the frying pan with little butter on a medium – low temperature. Place lumps of batter on the pan. Add some blueberries on top and press them into the batter a little bit. Once the batter has set (around 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pancakes and the heat of the pan) turn over. Fry the other side for about 1-2 minutes.

img_4255

Marrowfat pea soup

This is one of the soups I’ve really been missing from my native Finland. Ask anyone what food is served on Thursdays, and they should all say it’s this pea soup, followed by pancake for dessert. I found it difficult to find dried marrowfat peas traditionally used, so I decided to try a soup mix of pearl barley, green split peas, haricot beans, marrowfat peas, red split lentils, yellow split peas and brown rice, and was absolutely delighted at how close it came to the real deal! I was organized and planned my roast pork which literally fell apart (click here for recipe), for the weekend before making this soup, and it was perfect.  You will need to be a little bit organized when making this soup even if you haven’t planned to cook the meat in advance, because you need to soak the dried pulses for 12 hours. This recipe will make a big soup.

500g soup mix of dried pearl barley, green split peas, haricot beans, marrowfat peas, red split lentils, yellow split peas and brown rice
~500g pork shoulder meat, pulled to shreds
4 litres water
2 beef stock pots
salt
white pepper

1. Place the dried pulses in a large bowl, and cover with plenty of cold water. Leave to soak for 12 hours.

2. Drain and discard the soaking water. Place the pulses in a large pan, together with 4 litres of water. If your pan isn’t large enough, start with 2 litres, and add more after some liquid has evaporated. Bring to brisk boil, and boil for 10 minutes, unvovered.

3. If using uncooked meat, place the piece in the pan, skin removed. If you are using already cooked meat, leave until later. Bring the mixture to a softer boil, add the stock pots and cover with a lid. Boil for 2 hours. Stir a few times during the cooking.

4. If you cooked the meat with the soup, remove the piece, pull apart to shreds and add back to the soup. If you are using pre-cooked meat, add it in now, and heat through, stirring occasionally.

5. Season with the salt  and pepper to taste. You should have a nice, slightly thick soup. Also, it will taste even better when reheating it again the following day. As a serving suggestion, do also try it with a little bit of mustard mixed in.

img_4244

 

Seafood and chorizo paella

Just like with risottos, I’ve never liked paella – until I made my own. I’m also not great friends with seafood with shell on in the food (I know it’s supposed to make it tastier, however I don’t like having to remove shell whilst eating), so I’ve used a way around it.

serves 4

600ml water
200g shell-on tiger prawns
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
400g cooked mussels with shell on
~~~~~
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 small green finger chilli
10 plum tomatoes
1 red pepper
200g cooking chorizo
150g raw king prawns
200g raw squid
100ml white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
1 lemon, juice squeezed
2 dl frozen peas
250g Bomba paella rice
pinch of saffron
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. As I don’t like seafood with shell on in my food, I use the shells for the stock separately. Pour the water in a pan, and heat to boil. Remove the heads and shells from the tiger prawns, and add to the water (keep the actual prawns aside for later). Add the sea salt and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the mussels, and simmer, covered, for 8 minutes. Once done, pour into a jug through a sieve (I also use a piece of muslin). Whilst prepping the other ingredients, let cool. Once cooled, remove the mussels from the shells.

2. Whilst the shells and mussels are boiling, I tend to prep all the other ingredients before starting the cooking. Finely chop the onions, garlic and chilli. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until softened, and add the garlic and chilli. Also add the saffron and half the paprika powder.

3. Chop the chorizo and squid, and add to the pan with the raw king prawns. Fry for 5-10 minutes, until the prawns and chorizo are cooked.

4. Add finely chopped tomatoes and pepper, mixing everything together.

img_4230

5. Add the paella rice, and stir together. Pour the wine, and let bubble. Once almost reduced, add the stock liquid. Stir, then boil uncovered and undisturbed, without stirring for 12 minutes. During this time, sprinkle the salt and black pepper on top.

img_4233

6. Add the peas, mussels and tiger prawns, and stir until warmed through. Add the remaining half of the paprika powder and the lemon juice.

Slow cooked roast pork shoulder

After not having had time for much home cooking lately, it was wonderful to whizz up this perfect fall-apart, melt-in-the-mouth shoulder of pork. I will also be using some of the leftover meat for another dish later in the week (keep your eyes peeled). This recipe does take quite a long time to cook, but I prepared the seasoning on the previous evening, and started the cooking as soon as I woke up in the morning. You can leave it unattended for a long time in the middle part of the fpreparations, so I also managed to go shopping whilst it was in the oven. For foolproof recipe for perfect Yorkshire puddings, click here.

1.6 kg piece of pork shoulder
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1. Crush and mix all the ingredients together. Cut slits on the pork skin, and rub the spice mixture all over the skin, slits and meat. If you have time, do this the evening before you intend to cook the meat. Place in a container, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Heat oven to 220°C / 430°F. Place the pork on a roasting rack, and roast for 30 minutes uncovered. Cover the pork properly by couple of layers of foil, and reduce the temperature to 160°C / 320°F. Roast for 4 1/2 hours.

3. Remove from the oven, and increase the temperature to 180°C / 360°F. Cut the skin off, and wrap the meat in the foil. To keep it warm, you may also want to wrap the foil package in a kitchen cloth / towel.

4. If cooking roast potatoes in the cooking juices from the pork, place the potatoes at the bottom of the roasting tray. Place the skin on the rack on top of the potatoes. Roast for about 1 hour 20 minutes , turning the potatoes every now and then (around every 20 minutes).

img_4203

Murusoosi (mince beef sauce)

The direct translation for this mince beef sauce is descriptively ‘crumb sauce’. It’s perhaps not a pretty plate of food, but it’s one of my all time favourite childhood foods and I still cook it to date.

serves 2-4
vegetable oil
250g mince beef
1 onion
50g butter
1dl plain flour
500ml water
salt
black pepper
paprika powder
ground allspice

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Place in a frying pan together with a splash of vegetable oil and the mince beef. During the cooking keep breaking the beef into smaller, ‘crumb’ like pieces, mixing together with the onion. Once ready, place aside in a bowl.

img_4143

2. Boil the water. I’ve noticed that using hot water rather than cold will more easily give you a sauce that’s lump free. Melt the butter in the same frying pan you used for frying the meat. Once melted, add the flour. Mix together with the butter. If the mixture appears too dry (pictured below), you can add a little bit more butter. Fry, stirring, in medium heat until the butter – flour mixture has browned.

3. Reduce the heat to lowest possible setting. Pour about 300ml of water to the mixture. Whisk together until smooth. Add the remaining water, to the desired thickness. Add the cooked mince beef and the sauce together.

img_4134

Mussels with spaghetti

This recipe makes wonderfully flavoursome sauce for your pasta. There isn’t much cooking effort to be made, the most time is spent chopping the ingredients. Depends on your portion sizes, this could serve 2-4 people.

olive oil
1 celery stick
3 spring onions (or 1 onion)
5 chestnut mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tbsp if not using fresh lemons)
100ml white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc)
400g mussels
150g plum tomatoes
200ml creme fraiche
salt
black pepper
small bunch of dill
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook your preferred pasta.

2. Finely chop the celery and onions. Slice the mushrooms, and peel and squeeze the garlic. Fry in the olive oil for 5 minutes.

img_4123

3. Add the white wine, lemon juice and mussels, and boil, covered with a lid, for 5 minutes.

img_4122

4. Then add the creme fraiche, halved plum tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and add the dill.

img_4121

5. Add the cooked pasta to you sauce, mix well together and warm through. Enjoy with some additional Parmesan cheese.

 

Homemade pizza

Whether you’re having a quiet, cosy night in by yourself or with family, or are hosting a house party, homemade pizza never disappoints. The good thing is that there are no rules when it comes to the toppings, and you can make yours exactly how you like. It’s also a great way to use up some leftover ingredients in your fridge. I often make mine with mince beef, however this time I made mine half chicken – half tuna.

Dough for the pizza base
350g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of fast action dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 dl lukewarm water

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

2. Mix the warm water and oil together, and add to the dry ingredients slowly, whilst mixing. I use a food food processor, but if you’ve doing this by hand a wooden fork is good, as it will tie air into the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. Kneading the dough for this long will help you get it to rise nicely.

3. Cover with an oiled cling film, and a non-see-through cloth, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

4. Flatten the dough by hand. I then tend to use a rolling pin to get the dough thin. I usually make one big pizza, so I then place the dough in the oven tray, and stretch it to the whole size of the tray by hand. It’s easy to do, as the dough is very flexible and won’t break easily.

Tomato sauce

1 celery stick
1-2 carrots
1 medium onion
2-3 garlic cloves
handful of fresh basil leaves
handful of fresh parsley
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato purée
dried oregano
dried herbs de provence
olive oil
salt
black pepper

1. In a blender, finely chop onion, garlic, carrot, celery and fresh herbs,  and fry in olive oil in  pan.

2. Blend the chopped tomatoes, and add to the pan. Add dried herbs and tomato purée, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Put back in the blender, to make extra smooth texture, otherwise it’ll be somewhat coarse.

Building your pizza

1. Spread some tomato sauce on.

2. Sprinkle most of the grated cheese on. I tend to use something like cheddar. Today I used a mixture of cheddar, red leicester and manchego.

3. Add the other ingredients of your liking, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on. I used tomatoes, red pepper, mushrooms and red onion. On the tuna half, I crumbled some blue cheese on top, on the chicken half (I cut the chicken into small pieces and pan fried it) I used the same cheese mixture as at the bottom of the pizza.

4. Heat the oven to 250°C / 480°F. Place the pizza on the bottom shelf and cook for 15 minutes. When I take the pizza out I tend to squeeze some raw garlic, and sprinkle some dried oregano on (this might be a Finnish habit).