Saturday, 25 April 2009

Man from the Moon

Last week I had the great pleasure to meet one of the few persons ever to walk on the surface of the moon Dr. Harrison Schmitt. He was in Helsinki to give a lecture at my work place entitled "My Space Travel. The Future of Mankind in Space", and what an interesting lecture it was! Dr. Schmitt was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 17 (last of the manned Apollo missions) which makes him one of the last humans this far to visit the moon. Apollo 17 mission took place in December 1972. Dr. Schmitt was also the only scientist to visit moon. All other astronauts were pilots. Dr. Schmitt was a geologist, but before he went to the moon, he had to train as a pilot, too.

His lecture was a great success. People came all the way from Oulu (some 600 kms from Helsinki) to hear him speak. All together there were about 300 people attending the lecture. I do have many pictures of the event, but unfortunately not any taken by myself, and I have not had the opportunity to ask permission to use any of the pictures on my blog, thus no pictures of the event here.

I guess the perfect recipe for this post would be moon cake. :) Sorry folks, no moon cake recipe this time! I will, however, share with you the recipe for the world's easiest mayonnaise that I learned on a cooking course the other day. Forget all about adding the incredients in a certain order or carefully pouring in the oil. This recipe is sooooo easy, and the mayonnaise tastes great!

World's easiest mayonnaise recipe aka 4 second mayonnaise :)

2 dl rape seed oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoons lemon juice or white vine vinegar
(3-4 garlic cloves)

Note: Both the oil and egg must be room temperature!

1. Put all the incredients in a small bowl.
2. Put your stick mixer into the bowl so that it touches the bottom.
3. Turn the mixer on and counting to 4 lift it until it reaches the top of the mixture. If there is still any oli showing repeat once more.
4. Serve for example with spicy oven potatoes.
5. The mayonnaise keeps up till 5 days in the fridge.

Note no 2: If you want your mayonnaise to be thicker, add more oil.

Spicy oven potatoes
(another great recipe from the course I took)

large potatoes
rape seed oil
garlic powder (or crushed green pepper)
cayanne pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 225 Centigrade and cover a baking pan with baking paper.
2. Wash the potates but do not peel them. Cut them into "sticks".
3. Brush the potatoes with some oil and place them on the prepared baking pan.
4. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
6. Season with garlic powder and cayanne pepper or green pepper.
7. Enjoy with homemade mayonnaise.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Small Is Beautiful

There was a big, new supermarket opened a couple of weeks ago only a few hundred meters from where I live, and I have visited their food section a few times since, but about a week ago I checked out the upper floor where they have among other things quite a nice collection of kitchen utensils for sale. I ended up buying a very nice 5 liter steel bowl and two cute 16 cm springform cake tins. All those were put to very good use today!

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Up here the only palms we have sit in pots, but I wanted to bake something for tomorrow with a kind of, even if a bit far fetched, palm theme. The food section in the above mentioned new supermarket is quite good, and I bought a small jar of coconut jam there the other day. I had never seen, much less tasted, coconut jam before. I also always have coconut flakes in my cupboard as they are part of my favorite breakfast, so, the thought prosess went something like this: Palm Sunday -palms? -hmmm? -coconuts? -yes! -coconut palms! -okay! I had coconut jam, I had ococnut flakes and a pair of brand new cake tins. I decided to bake a coconut flavored layered cake.

About the layers. I have notices that for some reason in American resipes the layered cakes most often have four layeres. Here in Finland it is usually three. Don't ask me, I have no idea as to why it is so. Anyway, this time I broke with the Finnish tradition and used both of my new tins to bake two small cakes that I cut into two layers for a four layered cake. This recipe is very easy and quick, and fool proof really, as long as you whisk your eggs and sugar very well and avoid upsetting the batter by banging your whisk(s) into the sides of the bowl. You want to get two well risen cakes, don't you? This is no pancake recipe, you know. :)

Layered Coconut Cake

For the cakes:
4 eggs
2 dl sugar
2 dl wheat flour

For the filling and topping:
2 dl whipping cream
150 g coconut jam
a few tablespoons strawberry jam
coconut flakes
1/2 dl cranberry juice mixed with 1/2 dl water

1. Preheat the oven to 200 Centigrade.
2. Prepare two 16 cm springform cake tins with butter and breadcrumbs.
3. Mix eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Add flour and mix well.
5. Divide the batter into the two tins.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.
7. Let cool.
8. When the cakes have cooled down completely cut them into two layers.
9. Whip the cream.
10. Start compiling the layered cake.
  • Moisten the bottom layer with 3-4 tablespoons of the juice/water mixture. Add half of the coconut jam and some whipped cream.
  • Put the second cake layer on top of the filling. Moisten. Add some tablespoons of strawberry jam and some whipped cream.
  • The third layer is moistened and then topped with the rest of the coconut jam and some whipped cream.
  • Moisten also the top layer. Then cover the whole cake with the rest of the whipped cream. It is not necessary to smooth the cream very finely.
  • Decorate with coconut flakes.
11. En-Joy!:)