Sunday dinner and I finally got round to preparing the hare that Peter hunted in Pojo a couple of weeks ago. The hare weighed in at 5.2kg which is pretty huge compared to the rabbits I used to stew in France. Having dismally failed to plan ahead (no red wine in the house) I decided to go with beer instead and Rekolan's juniper beer (Katajan Kuiske) is perfect for this recipe.
The hare needs to be jointed and the joints are then generously dusted in seasoned flour. I prefer lots of black pepper and not much salt for this. These are then fried in rapeseed oil and placed in the stew pot. The pan is deglazed with some of the beer and the liquid is added to the pot with diced carrots and parsnips, and some onions (keep them whole if they are fairly small). I topped up with the rest of the beer and some beef stock, the sauce will thicken with the flour already covering the meat. Add crushed juniper berries and peppercorns and a handful of whole garlic cloves.
To give some depth of flavour we added dried, powdered trumpet (funnel) chanterelles which we forage and dry ourselves. They add a strong forest taste without resorting to conventional spices.
And then the whole thing sits in the oven for as long as you've got on a low temperature until the whole house smells great! The meat literally falls off the bone. We had ours with butternut mash and french beans but it would be great with celeriac mash and brussels sprouts or just boiled potatoes and broccoli or steamed kale.
Chop about 2kg of tomatoes, half a kilo of apples and 750g of onions and heat them up in 600ml of cider vinegar (I used a mix of cider vinegar and some leftover raspberry vinegar). Zap a finger of fresh ginger, six fat cloves of garlic and some chili (I used dried) in a blender with 2 tsp salt and a little liquid from the tomatoes in the pan. Add the ginger-garlic-chili paste to the tomatoes. Add 500g of sugar and about 200g of sultanas. I found a nice bag of mixed sultanas at the supermarket - different colours and sizes. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Reduce the liquid on a fairly high heat for about 30-40 minutes until the chutney is thick. Then put into hot, sterile jars and store for a few weeks before using. The recipe is more-or-less the one from Thane Prince's 'Jams and Chutneys' book.
I had to buy the ginger and the sultanas (and the sugar - I could've used honey I suppose) everything else was home grown. I'm off to the UK at the end of the week and will be travelling down to Somerset so... I'll be able to bring back some authentic West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and we're all set for a Ploughman's Lunch.
I bought some of Södergårds emmer grains at the Slow Food market yesterday and used them to make a 'risotto' tonight. I used a Jamie Olivier pasta receipe for the sauce: aubergines, tomatoes, onion, basil and garlic. I cooked the emmer in chicken stock but have since found a website suggesting it should be soaked overnight before it is cooked. I quite liked the 'al dente' texture of the grains (and their nuttiness) but next time I will try soaking them just to see if it makes a difference. Generously sprinkle the top with feta and then garnish with more basil. Delicious and very filling.
I finally managed to find time to pick up my sausages! Ferencs's Hungarian mild paprika and also a packet of Merguez. Feri is an artisan sausage maker who recently won the "Helsinki's Best Sausage" competition beating some well-known rivals such as Wotkins and Reinin Liha.
I decided to cook mine in the Remoska. It is just like an oven - so not grilling or frying - the sausages cook slowly, don't burst and don't burn. I was told to prick holes in the skins, but next time I won't as I felt too much of the fat was released and they were a tiny bit dry. We had ours with lecsó - a kind of Hungarian ratatouille made of tomatoes, onions and peppers (all from the garden). I'll probably make a couscous dish to have with the merguez tonight.
I've ordered the hot paprika and the lamb and rosemary for next weekend.
As a Brit I'm quite partial to a cucumber sandwich and especially on a hot day like today (one of the few this summer). So this is my take on a traditional British affair. The cheese is the brand new Fiskars perinnejuusto which recently came available, I got mine from the Deli Tukku in Pohja. It has a fresh taste that goes perfectly with our homegrown cucumbers., seasoned with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, some cracked black pepper and a sprig of basil. As you can see, I keep the crusts on mine and I unashamedly used salted butter. Ginger beer is a nice accompaniment (an Enid Blyton nostalgia trip, if ever there was one) but Rekolan Panimo summer beers work just as well.
Summer soup "kesäkeittö" is a traditional Finnish recipe which is eaten at this time of year when there are plenty of fresh, young vegetables. I used parsley instead of dill, broad beans and baby courgettes instead of peas, and kale instead of spinach because that is what I had on the day! The recipe uses water and then adds the milk and some flour but I par-boiled the veggies in organic chicken stock then added whole-fat milk - and no flour. I like plenty of black pepper in mine too, I guess you could even add a few whole peppercorns too.
Oops, I forgot to take a photo of the finished tzatziki! The last stage is just mixing yoghurt with all the other ingredients and then leaving it in the fridge for a while for the flavours to infuse. I Sometimes use a blend of natural yoghurt and fromage frais for a thicker consistency. Tzatziki can be eaten on its own as a dip or as an accompaniment to grilled meat from the barbecue, especially lamb.
It's been raining (quite a lot) so I've been clearing out some cupboards and I found a can of Mamade which is a brilliant shortcut for making homemade marmalade: a concentrate of sliced Seville oranges from Spain.
Meadowsweet is in flower at the moment so I decided to try adding some to the marmalade. It is probably a good year for it since it grows on river banks and in wet fields or swampy areas, and we have plenty of those.
I soaked the flowers in hot water with the juice of a lemon overnight. The aroma is amazing. I strained the water and mixed it with the orange peel and sugar in a pan and boiled for a few minutes.
26th June: I made these for Fred's graduation party. I forgot to add the peas in the mixture... but they all disappeared anyway.
This is a bit too rich and boozy to be called Ribena as we use a French recipe that mixes red wine with the blackcurrant juice and sugar. Most of the alcohol disappears when the syrup is brought to the boil but the wine adds flavour and makes it very smooth. The hardest part is the filtering - which takes forever. I love to drink it mixed with sparkling water (Lidl does a sparkling water with a hint of lemon which goes really well with this) but it's great with tap water too.
This batch was made recently with blackcurrants from the freezer. The cordial keeps well in sealed bottles kept in a cool, dark place (a root cellar for example, but any cupboard will do).