September 17, 2010

Finnish Summer Soup - Simply Scandinavian

Earlier this week I received a beautiful book in the mail called Simply Scandinavian - Travelling in Time with Finnish Cuisine and Nature. This visually stunning book is created by two Finnish men: Kimmo Saira and Tero Kallio, and their goal in this book is to create the most traditional Finnish recipes, using the most traditional ingredients, but do so with a modern international twist. I think in many ways this is the culmination of Finnish mentality today. We are a very small, but a very proud nation, and we wish to maintain our heritage and culture, but we also want to be part of the international sphere.

I am amazed by the creativity of the recipes in this book. There are some truly traditional ingredients, including bark flour which is made out of the bark of a tree! Other traditional ingredients include a variety of wild berries and mushrooms, and of course reindeer and moose meat. These ingredients are a vivid reminder of how unique this part of the world is in its harsh climate, and how strongly the Finnish history still lives in the minds of all the Finns.

You don't have to be a Finn to love this book and feel so strongly about it. It is visually stunning, and cuts across the core of Finnish culture and cuisine. This is admittedly more of a coffee table book than a practical cookbook, but you are most definitely able to re-create these recipes even outside Finland. I think this book makes a magnificent gift for all those not only interested in Finnish food, but Scandinavia as a whole, and Scandinavian culture, nature and design.

I picked this beautiful soup recipe from the book because I've been meaning to make this for a while now. It is such a classic dish, and many Finns would associate it with childhood, others having bad memories of it, and others loving it. You can probably guess which group I belong to ;-)

Finnish Summer Soup
(Recipe from Simply Scandinavian by T. Kallio & K. Saira
Published by Raikas Kustannus, 2008)

500ml water
200g carrots, peeled and chopped
300g new potatoes, chopped
200g cauliflower, washed and cut into flo
2/3 cup green peas
500ml milk
1 1/2 tbs plain wheat flour
small handful of fresh parsley, to serve

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to boil. Add the carrots, and the potatoes, season with a pinch of salt and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower and the peas and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Whisk the flour with the milk and add into the soup. Let simmer until the vegetables are tender. Serve with fresh parsley.

Thank you so much to Kati Lähdemäki at Kirjakaari for sending this book to me.

For all details on how to order this book, please visit