Sunday, 17 May 2009

Daughter of the Baltic

I am a Helsinkian born and bred. Helsinki was founded in 1550 by the Swedish king Gustaf Vasa (Finland was part of the kingdom of Sweden at that time) on the banks of river Vantaa. In 1812 the capital of Finland was moved from Turku to Helsinki. Nowadays some 570 000 people live in Helsinki. Helsinki is also called the Daughter of the Baltic. Here are some maritime photos I took in and around the centre of Helsinki earlier this month. Enjoy! :)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Such a Closet Case!

Remember my I'm-not-eating-any- chocolate -campaign that was supposed to last until the end of January, but then went on until Easter? Chocolate is really the only sweet I have ever craved for, and too much of even a very good thing is simply too much. I am an athlete. I don't get any younger. I want to eat a more healthy diet.

I did eat some chocolate at Easter and was very, very surprised to notice that I did not crave for more afterwards. So, I decided to go on eating less chocolate. I don't buy it for myself, but if somebody offers me some, I don't automatically decline. :) What I just realised it that the same pretty much goes with myself and meat!

I really have not thought about it. I have no ethical nor health nor even taste-related reasons for not eating meat, though I do prefer organic if possible, but I simply more often than not choose to eat vegetarian. I hardly ever buy meat and cook it at home. I do eat meat sometimes, if I have lunch at the cafeteria at work, but even there it is very rarely red meat, mostly I choose fish or chicken, and they do have some pretty good vegetarian options, too.

So, there it is. I just might be a closeted vegetarian. Phew, I've said it! Or maybe a vege-fisheterian, who sometimes has a relapse and eats white and even red meat... Actually I don't like labels. Labels are fine in your Jimmy Choo shoes or your Dolce & Gabbana jackets (for those of you that can afford the real thing, please, do not buy pirated copies of anything!!), but not on people. On that note, I might just continue on my chosen path of prefering veggies but not limiting myself to them. I like being me. I hope, you like being you, too! :)

Carrot and bean patties

Recipe by Cinnamonda. Makes about 8 patties.

10 small carrots
230 g large white beans, cooked
1 yellow onion
2 gloves of garlic
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon crushed green pepper
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of salt
rape seed oil

1. Wash (and if necessary peel) the carrots. Crate them.
2. Crush the cooked beans.
3. Peel and chop the onion.
4. Put the crated carrots, crushed beans and chopped onion into a large bowl.
5. Crush and chop the garlic gloves and add into the bowl.
6. Add the flour and all the spices and mix.
7. Pour some rape seed oil into your hands and with oily hands form patties little smaller than the palm of your hand.
8. Put the patties onto a prepared baking sheet.
9. Cook in the oven in 250 Centigrade for about 15-20 minutes. Turn the patties upside down and let them stay in the oven for 10-15 minutes more.
10. Enjoy!

The patties go very well with some salad and a refreshing, cold sauce like this spiced, youghurt-based sauce I used:

Spiced, yoghurt-based sauce:

4 tablespoons Greek or Turkish yoghurt.
handful of fresh basil, shredded
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of salt and black pepper

1. Combine all the incredients in a jar.
2. The sauce is great with most vegetable dishes or as a salad dressing.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Happy May-Day!

Hauskaa Vappua! Happy 1st of May! May-Day (or Vappu in Finnish) is the one and only carneval-like holiday here in Finland. It is a festival of students, past and present, and of workers. In Helsinki the celebrations start on the eve of May-Day with university students washing the statue of Havis Amanda in the Market Square in the center of Helsinki and putting a student cap on the statue's head (See this link for a picture of the "crowning". That is how it is done nowadays :). In the past the students climbed on the statue, but that was prohibited as it could have damaged the statue.) Thousands of people gather on the Square to watch the ceremonies. Many party all through the night and continue then straight to Kaivopuisto Park, which in the morning of May-Day is really like one huge picnic (see a picture here), thousans of people picnicing there!

Traditional May-Day food and drink includes:
-sausages and potato salad
-May-Day fritters
-champagne and sparkling wine (lots of it! :))

Other accesories :) include:
-student caps
-carnival wigs
-colourful streamers
-picnic baskets

The picture in the beginning of this post shows my little May-Day treat: a class of mead and a May-Day fritter by Fazer Bakeries. A close-up of the fritter below.

Read more of Finnish May-Day traditions here and here.

If you feel really brave and adventurous :), here you can find recipes for both May-Day fritters and mead.