Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Baking is not one of The Original Soupwoman’s strong points, but I have decided to share this recipe of pulla. Many an expat-Finn struggles with this one, partly because fresh yeast is hard to come by in other parts of the world, and because the types of available flour are different. However, this recipe has been tried and tested in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

It is somewhat unusual as it omits egg, and is made with water instead of milk. I find that egg makes the texture more heavy, and also pulla made with egg seems to loose that fresh taste quicker. Milk, on the other hand, does not improve the taste or texture in any way, so what is the point? The method is also slightly unorthodox, but it is a little quicker than traditional one.

Ingredients
35 g fast-acting dry yeast
750-1000 g strong (bread) flour
150 g caster sugar
1.5 tsp salt
8 g crushed cardamom seeds
500 ml water, warmed to 45C
150 g butter, melted (lukewarm)
milk or beaten egg for brushing
butter and caster sugar for topping (optional )

In a large bowl, mix about 300 g flour, the yeast, sugar, salt and cardamom well. Add warm water and mix vigorously. At this point you should have a thick batter. When it is smooth, whisk it some more to get some air in.

Run some warm water in your kitchen sink, put the bowl in this warm water bath and cover with a tea towel. Let rise until the batter has at least doubled its size. Should not take more than 15 minutes or so. This is a good time to switch on the oven – 210C for fan assisted, otherwise 225C. Get also 2-3 oven trays ready, putting a sheet of baking paper on each.

Take the bowl off the water bath and add the melted, lukewarm butter. As you mix the butter in with a wooden spoon/spatula/fork, start adding more flour. When you cannot use the spoon/spatula/ anymore, start using your hands. Keep adding flour a handful or two at the time, kneading it well in before adding more. It is very important to ensure the dough does not get too hard – it should be workable but ever so slightly sticky. If you are unsure, it is better the dough is too soft than too hard.

When you are happy with the consistency and the texture of the dough, let it rest for a few minutes before turning it on a lightly floured worktop. Give it a few good kneads, divide it to equal-sized lumps, and make these into rolls. I usually make 36 small buns, but it is a matter of preference. Place the buns on the baking trays, spacing them evenly. Keep in mind they will about triple their size.

Cover the trays with a tea towel and let the buns rise until they have doubled their size. Brush them with milk or beaten egg. If you like, add a knob of butter and a generous pinch of sugar on top, pressing them lightly in (this is called “voisilmä” – “butter eye”).

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let cool and enjoy with coffee or tea.

NOTE: If you wish to have dairy and egg free buns,  substitute the butter with 150 ml vegetable oil and brush the buns with coffee instead of milk or beaten egg.


Read Full Post »

My apologies – the Soupwoman has been distracted by holidays and other forms of busyness, not to mention serious bouts of being just plain lazy. I hope this recipe makes up for it!

Ingredients
1 tbls rice bran oil or other vegetable oil
150g chopped onion
2 cloves on garlic, minced
1 medium fennel, chopped (200g)
1 chopped red chili
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 l water
1 can chopped plum tomatoes
400g of firm white fish, such as pollack, cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 tbls fish sauce (nam pla)
salt to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, fennel and chili, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add turmeric and coriander, and stir. Add water, tomatoes, and lemongrass, bring soup to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are done.

Add the fish into the pot and cook for a few minutes, so that the fish just done. Remove lemongrass stalks, if you can find them, and serve.

EDIT NOTE: After some consideration, I decided chopped onion works here better  – it’s much more pleasant to eat in a soup than stringy bits of leek! The recipe is updated accordingly.

Read Full Post »

Soup Disaster of the Week 1

Not all days in the kitchen are good. Sometimes something – or everything – goes horribly wrong, and you end up with something barely edible. This is what happened to the Original Soupwoman this week.

I had this great plan for some leeks and potatoes that I had in my fridge – a vision of this creamy light soup, spiced with cumin, with a little bit of creme fraiche for extra silkyness. I thought it would be a slam dunk.

But right in the end, I failed spectacularly.

Everything started so well: the potatoes and leeks were simmering happily, the aromas of cumin wafting around in the kitchen. Then the things started to go wrong.  I took out my trusted Bamix to whizz the soup silky smooth – but shock horror! I could not find the right attachment. The chopper had mysteriously disappeared. I had to make do with what I had, but the whisker wasn’t enough to make the leek disintegrate appropriately.

Fine, I thought. It doesn’t have to be a triumph every time, I am sure it will taste nice nevertheless, even with the wrong texture. Still confident, I added the creme fraiche and seasoning, and it was pretty good, but needed something. My eyes fell on the lemons on the counter, and I thought I had a revelation – a little bit of citrus would surely lift the soup to another level. Therefore, I added a generous squirt.

That was a mistake of gigantic proportions. The effect was nothing like I had anticipated. There was no lovely citrus note in the symphony of flavours – instead, everything had turned sour.

Hence, no soup for anybody.

Read Full Post »