Cauliflower and pomegranate ‘couscous’ with octopus

This light cold salad was a completely experimental creation of mine. I’ve been wanting to do something resembling couscous, but neither myself nor my husband are friends of the wheat couscous. I think cauliflower is a great, healthier replacement of it, as well as the texture of the cauliflower working very well. I’ve also recently been wanting to utilise pomegranates in cooking, and thought these two ingredients were going to be the ones I was going to build the rest of the dish around of. The pomegranate and the grapes bring sweetness, and to balance this I added lime juice and capers, and it worked really well. The end result is a delightful couscous salad that is fresh, sweet, sharp, salty and earthy all at the same time. You can serve the octopus warm or cold, I served it cold.

1 cauliflower
2 pomegranates
20 red grapes
1 lime – juice
3 tbsp capers
1 dl pine nut kernels
2 spring onions
handful of pea shoots
225g cooked octopus

1. Place all the cauliflower florets in a blender, and process to a grainy texture.

2. Cut the pomegranates in half. I find the easiest way to pick the seeds out without breaking the juicy outer coating, is to break the fruit by had piece by piece, and remove the seeds by hand. Half the grapes lengthwise.

3. Add  the lime juice, capers, finely chopped spring onions and coarsely chopped pea shoots. Cut the octopus to pieces of your liking. I cut the thicker ends of the tentacles to about 5-10mm thick pieces, and the thinner ends longer.

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Sea bream with mango and crab salad

This plate of food is like sunshine on a plate. It’s so fresh and colourful, and all the flavours just simply work really well. Even though raw garlic and chilli are used, when eating this you don’t notice it. It’s also a quick dish to make.

1 mango

1 avocado

2 large red chillies (mild, or to your liking), finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

3 spring onions, chopped into thin slices

100g cooked white crab meat

100g king prawns (I tend to use raw and cook them myself, but cooked are ok too)

1 lime (juice)

1. Cut the mango and avocado into cubes.

2. Add finely chopped garlic and chilli (deseeded). Add all the other salad ingredients.

3. I usually use raw prawns so I put the mixed salad into fridge, and pan-fry the prawns. I then let them cool, while cooking the fish (pan-fry for about 5 minutes, then finish under a grill in the oven for another 5 minutes). Then mix the prawns into the salad, and serve with the fish.

Rosolli (beetroot salad)

After any festivities, and overindulging, many of us are choosing the lighter leftovers for a snack. This beetroot salad is exactly what we need. For some reason, this particular salad is only seen on the Finnish table around Christmas time. I think the flavours are actually completely suitable to any time of the year. You get sweetness from the beetroot, saltiness from the pickled cucumber and freshness from the apple. Together with the other ingredients it all comes together like a perfect symphony.

1 salty gherkin
3 beetroots
1 carrot
1 small onion
1 medium size salad potato
1 sharp apple, for example Granny Smith
half a bunch of fresh parsley

1. Boil the beetroots in boiling water for about an hour. Once cooked, pour the hot water off, and cover the beetroots with cold water. You can now rub the skin off very easily, whilst submerged in the cold water.

2. Boil the potato with skin on, until just cooked, take care not to overcook. Once cooked, peel the potato and chop into small pieces. Peel the carrot, and boil until just cooked but still firm. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then cut into cubes.

3. Finely chop the onion, and cut the gherkin into quarters lengthwise, then chop into cubes. Finely chop the parsley.

4. Cut the apple into wedges. I tend to do this first, and then peel each wedge, but you can also peel the whole apple first. I then cut the inside edge off, where the core is. Finally, chop into cubes.

5. Mix all ingredients together. For more flavour, leave in the fridge overnight before serving.

Potato salad

Potato salad isn’t something that was ever part of our Christmas table when I was growing up. Typically, in Finland it’s usually part of the Labour Day festivities. It has however now become a staple of any entertaining I might host, including becoming part of my Christmas traditions. I have been making it ever since it was a huge hit at a party a long time ago. Potato salad is simple, but I think it’s crucial to get couple of things right. I have many times had potato salad that leaves you disappointed, and my one is the best one I’ve had to date. You will need crunch from the onion, and the right saltiness from the pickled cucumber. The latter in my opinion is the crucial key for it being a success. Some recipes also use apples, but I don’t see it necessary.

500g salad potatoes
250g onions
7 gherkins
1/2 dl fluid from the gherkins
1 dl mayonnaise
grinded black pepper
1 dl cream
(salt)

For best result, prepare the salad a day before serving.

1. Boil the potatoes with skin on, until just about cooked, but do take care you don’t overlook them. While the potatoes are boiling, peel and chop the onions. Cut the ends off the gherkins, then cut in quarters lengthwise, then chop to cubes.

 

2. Once the potatoes are cooked, peel and mix with onions whilst still hot.

3. Add the gherkins and fluid, mayonnaise and pepper.

4. Rest in the fridge. Just before serving, add the cream (and salt if required).

 

Sea bass with Greek salad

This simple, healthy meal is perfect for those evenings when you get home from work very late, and don’t really have that much energy for cooking, as it requires minimum amount of effort and cooking. Greek salad itself is very simple, with only a few ingredients, and there are many variations of this basic salad. You can always adjust it with additional ingredients to suit your taste. I served my dish with boiled baby potatoes and samphire. The below Greek salad recipe may be salty to some tastes, you can reduce the amount of feta and olives, or increase the amount of other ingredients to change the ratio of ingredients.

serves 2
2 sea bass fillets
splash of olive oil
salt
black pepper
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2 leaves of romaine heart lettuce
few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
half a cucumber
red onion
200g feta cheese
200g olives
2 tbsp capers
1/2 dl olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano

1. Cut the tomatoes, salad leaves, cucumber, feta, and onion, and add the olives and capers.

2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and oregano together, and pour over the salad. Mix well, turning the ingredients so that all are coated with the oil mixture. Rest in the fridge whilst cooking the fish.

3. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan, and place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Season the flesh with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes, to crisp the skin up.

4. Place in a preheated oven 180°C / 355°F for about 7 minutes.