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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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).

Simple steamed salmon

I find steaming a really good way to get salmon cooked in a way that it’s not over cooked, but very juicy and soft inside. It’s also very convenient if you have a tiered steamer pot. My one has three tiers: the bottom one is where the water goes, and I might often cook the potatoes in the bottom tier, then depending on what else you cook you can use one or two steamer tiers. I’ve accompanied my salmon with boiled new potatoes, steamed broccoli and peas, and avocado / tomato / onion salsa.

Serves 2
200g new potatoes
2 salmon fillets, 125g each
1 small broccoli
1 dl frozen peas
1 avocado, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers
white pepper
salt
cayenne pepper

1. Wash the potatoes, and bring to boil in salted water. Boil on medium temperature for 15 minutes. Season the salmon with salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Prepare the salsa by chopping the avocado, tomatoes and onions, then add the lemon juice and capers. Place in the fridge whilst other ingredients are cooking.

2. Add the tier of broccoli and boil / steam for 5 minutes. Add the peas together with the broccoli. On another tier, also add the salmon at the same time as peas. Steam for 5 minutes.

Guinea fowl supreme

One tray bakes are a very easy way of cooking dinner. All you need to do is chop your ingredients, put it in the oven and relax. I love gamy birds. Game is very lean meat so it may dry easily, which is good to be aware of. It has it’s distinctive flavour, some more, some less. Guinea fowl has a very mild flavour, so if you’ve not tried game birds before it might be a good one to start with. In addition to the usual vegetables I use for my one tray bakes, I thought beetroot and sweet potato would also be great accompaniments, with their earthy flavours going well with game. Also, bacon goes well.

serves 2
2 guinea fowl breasts
1 large raw beetroot, peeled and chopped to small cubes
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped to small cubes
1 pepper, cut into bite size pieces
1 courgette / zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped into large pieces
4 chestnut mushrooms, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 plum tomatoes
4 thin smoked streaky bacon
few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
salt
black pepper
olive oil

1. Heat oven to 180° / 355°F. First, place the guinea fowl and the prepped beetroot and sweet potato in the tray, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme leaves. Roast for 15 minutes.

2. During the first stage, prepare all the other vegetables. After the first 15 minutes of cooking time, add all the prepared ingredients. Drizzle with some more olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.

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3. Place the thin bacon rashers on top, and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.

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Cappuccino cake

My husband would like me to bake more, so I’ve been making cakes a bit more than I normally do. I’ve been trying to be creative, and make a variety of styles. Last time it was fruity pineapple cake (click here for recipe), this time it’s a cappuccino cake with a mild coffee flavor.

5 tbsp strong coffee
175g butter
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
~~~~~
400g double cream
50-75g dark chocolate (I use 85%)

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating into the mixture. If the mixture ‘curdles’ during this process, add a spoonful of the flour.

2. Mix the flour and baking powder together. Once all the eggs have been beaten into the butter – sugar mixture and it’s again fluffy, start adding the flour. When you have only little flour left, add the coffee, followed by the remaining flour. After the flour has been added and completely mixed, you don’t want to overdo the mixing.

3. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 345°F. Line a baking tin with non-stick baking paper (unless you’re using a silicone one), and pour the cake mixture in. Bake for about 45 minutes.

4. Once baked, take out of the oven. I tend to check the cake is baked through by using a metal knitting pin. When you pull it out, if it’s clean the cake is done, if some batter has got stuck to it it’s not done yet.

5. Lift the cake and the baking paper out of the tin and let the cake cool on a rack.

6. Remove the baking paper and cut the cooled cake into three layers.

7. On each layer, put some whipped cream and grated dark chocolate. Then put another layer on and repeat.

Chicken burgers

One of my husband’s hates is fast food burgers, and he in fact refuses to eat them. Having said that, he loves them when homemade. When I noticed we still had some homemade burger buns in the freezer from the last time, he was absolutely delighted to learn that we were going to have chicken burgers for dinner. It is also especially suitable food for days when watching The World Cup. For the chicken preparation, I’ve used the same technique as I use for my Wiener Schnitzel click here for recipe. I beat the chicken breasts to be thinner, and one breast will serve 2-3 people.

serves 2
2 burger buns
1 large chicken breast
1 egg
1/2 dl plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 dl breadcrumbs
50g butter
Garnishes to your liking: cheese, lettuce, gherkin, tomatoes, mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, red onion

1. Chop your garnishes to be ready, and set aside.

2. On one plate, mix the flour and all the spices together well. On another plate, put one beaten egg, and on a third plate put 1/2 dl of the breadcrumbs. Keep the rest of the breadcrumbs at hand, as you will need to add more during the chicken preparation.

3. Place the chicken breast in a bag (I use a medium re-sealable freezer bag). Beat the breast until wanted thickness, about 1 centimetre (around half an inch). Cut the beaten breast to pieces.

4. First, place the pieces on the flour – spice mixture, followed by the egg, and last the breadcrumbs. On each stage, coat both sides. I tend to use one hand for moving the pieces through the stages, and use the clean, dry hand at the last stage.

5. Place most of the butter in a frying pan, and once melted place the prepared chicken pieces in, frying in medium – high temperature for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken, add the rest of the butter, once melted fry the burger buns for couple of minutes on the cut side.

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6. Build your burgers and enjoy!