Simple pleasures

Tag: #DPchallenge


by tableofcolors

When I go through a cook book, flip through a magazine or a newspaper I usually discover three different kinds of recipes. The first kind offers inspiration. The pictures might be incredible and it introduces new dimensions, flavors and ingredients. These recipes do not get written down(since I know I won’t follow it anyways) but the next time I am making supper or baking an element of that inspiration is included.

The second type of recipe does get written down. By the time I serve the actual dish it is nearly indistinguishable. This is where the fun the begins. It involves analyzing the recipe and deciding which characteristics should stand out or be included (sticky, spicy, chewy, crunchy, crispy, luscious). It is somewhat like the rubiks cube game, matching all the right colors to get the flavor desired.

The third genre of recipes, is a rare find. It is followed exactly every time. I only have a handful of these ones. I am going to share one of those recipes with you. Feel free to use it for inspiration and modify it a bit. If you come up with a new version, feel free and share with the rest of us. Maybe you will like it as much as I do.

This Mustikkakukko (or Rättänä as it is called in Eastern Finland) is as Finnish as Apple pie is American. It is a deep-dish blueberry pie with a rye crust. Rye is considered a very Finnish grain. In this dessert it is combined with blueberries that the forests’ are abundant with. I found this recipe in the Helsingin Sanomat about a year ago and use it often, especially in the fall.


Mustikkakukko or Deep-dish blueberry pie

250 g/8.8 oz butter
1.5 dl/0.7 c sugar
5 dl/little over 2 c rye flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 l/4.2 c blueberries
1 1/4 dl/ 1/2 c sugar
2 tblsp potato or corn starch

Combine softened butter and sugar. I prefer to use a stand mixer for this. Mix the rye flour and baking powder. Fold flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Let cool in the refrigerator for a bit. Roll out 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and place into a greased, deep bowl or pan. Mix the sugar and starch with the blueberries and pour on top of the crust. Roll out the remains of the dough and cover the blueberries. Pinch the sides and bake in the oven at 200C/390 F for about one hour. Serve with icecream or whipping cream.

For a shorter bake time use small tins as shown in the photos. If using fresh berries the bake time is only about 15 minutes. When using frozen berries the bake time is about 25 minutes. Instead of rolling out a cover for every mini kukko, I crumbled a few pieces of dough.

Mini pies before going into the oven.

The term kukko is refers to the rye crust that encloses the baked good. The savory cousin to the sweet blueberry version is a vendace loaf cut and served in slices. Vendance is a very small fish, quite often eaten whole. Sometime in the future I will share the that recipe.

PS. I made a separate page for wedding cakes and other celebrations that can be found in the header. From time to time I will update this page adding stories and photos of cakes to celebrate the milestones.


Girls like treasure hunts too

by tableofcolors

I have chatted with my friend that often when women take off for the weekend, we have the longest list of things that need to be accomplished. A lined water-proof fall jacket for one, rubber boots for another, underwear for the whole family, indoor gym shoes for our oldest, socks for myself and the list goes on and on. When we return home from our treasure hunt we are not necessarily well rested and possibly a bit crabby because so much money was spent, even if it was due to necessity.

This time we decided to take our girls on a treasure hunt around Helsinki. We were not necessarily hunting for material things (even though a few things were found) rather for experiences and to enjoy the last days of vacation from school. School starts here next week. Our entourage included two ladies and five little ladies. Each with their own personality and lots of nervous excitement and anticipation.

Eat & Joy, Muu milk bar and coffee shop
Smoked fish salad

When we arrived in Helsinki, we had seven hungry bellies. We decided to try the Muu milk bar and coffee shop which is situated in downtown Helsinki in the basement level of the Kluuvi shopping center. They serve a soup daily and smoked fish salads. We ordered the European perch soup for all of us. The lunch comes with a salad, organic bread made in their own wood-burning oven, farm-fresh milk and a cup of coffee or tea. The only down side after we had paid for our meals was that the soup was nearly gone. We arrived a little after two in the afternoon. Fortunately the staff was very nice and everyone got something to eat. The kids ate the soup and the adults had smoked fish salads. The potato rieska (flat bread) was a favorite.

Now we were ready for an adventure. We headed to the harbor and took a ferry to the Suomenlinna sea fortress which is also an Unesco World Heritage Site. It is an affordable place to visit since there is no admission. The ferry over costs five euros for adults and two fifty for children (round trip).

The fortress was built in the 1700s to defend the Eastern part of the Swedish empire. During Russian rule Suomenlinna was used to defend the sea passage to St. Petersburg. It is full of cannons for the girls to climb on, tunnels to explore and walls to run on.

Suomenlinna, sea fortress

Exploring the tunnels

Friendly ghosts

Sunday morning we headed to flea market in Hietalahti. Usually kids get told to only look and not touch. Flea markets are meant for digging and touching, except for glassware. We even found a few treasures to take home with us.

Hunting for treasures

Kids can sometimes be picky eaters but we thought exposure to different tastes is always a good thing and so we had lunch at a Nepalese restaurant, Kantipur. After we ordered, the kids asked many questions about Nepal and the paintings of Himalayan scenery. The ladies had Bhendo Khursani or lamb in a ginger, capsicum, soy and spicy chili sauce. The little ladies had Kukhurmo Korma or chicken in a tomato and cream sauce. The little ladies really impressed us! Quite a few of them cleaned their plates. Lunch was served with fresh Nan bread which was popular with everyone. “When would I make Nan bread at home?” was the next request.

Himalayan scenery

Kids are great because often they don’t need toys, they come up with games to play in almost every setting.

Jumping from rock to rock in Kaivopuisto

The bungee jumpers had a captive audience.

Bungee jumping

Although we didn’t find the new backpack for school we did find a few keepsakes to put into our pockets and many experiences richer, we headed home ready for a new school year to start.

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”
― Ansel Adams