September 28, 2012

Aamupalaksi pannukakkuja - Pancakes for Breakfast

A leisured morning ahead of a long weekend. Thick pancakes served with fresh strawberries and a drizzling of rice syrup. Plus a pot of coffee, of course. 

Kiireetön aamu pitkän viikonlopun edellä. Muhkeat pannukakut tarjoillaan tuoreiden mansikoiden ja riisisiirapin kera. Lisäksi pannullinen kahvia, tietenkin.

Thick pancakes 
(makes 10)
(recipe adapted from

90g plain flour
90g wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon raw vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

1 large egg
100g sour cream
250ml milk

butter, for frying
strawberries and rice syrup, for serving

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. 

2. Whisk egg with sour cream and milk. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

3. Fry small pancakes in small amount of butter for a few minutes on each side. Serve warm with fresh strawberries and rice a drizzling of rice syrup.

September 23, 2012

Rahkapiirakka - Finnish Quark Pie

There are a few things any Finn living overseas will miss from his/her home country: sauna, salted licorice and rye bread are usually on top of that list, but quark (maitorahka) will most likely also make the top 5.

I've been looking for 'proper' quark since arriving to Australia almost seven years ago. I've tried using thick yoghurt and smooth ricotta in place of quark, but they never quite had the same flavour or texture of the quark I used to get back in Finland. Recently I found 'German style' quark in my local green grocer and I was keen to try how it would work out in a traditional Finnish recipe: quark pie.

This pie is certainly rich and lemony, but such a perfect treat for a sunny weekend afternoon.

Hope you are all having a lovely relaxing weekend!

Koti-ikävän iskiessä tulee tarve leipoa perinteisiä suomalaisia herkkuja. Löysin paikallisesta ruokakaupasta saksalaistyyppistä maitorahkaa ja päätin kokeilla miten se toimisi rahkapiirakassa. Tuloksena makean sitruunainen ja täyteläinen piirakka. Täydellinen herkku viikonlopun kahvihetkiin!  

Rahkapiirakka - Finnish Quark Pie*
(Recipe adapted from


250ml milk
11g dry yeast
120g raw caster sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon ground cardemom
1/2 teaspoon salt
480-500g plain flour
100g butter


450g quark
300ml thickened cream
3 eggs
160g raw caster sugar
75ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon raw vanilla sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
90g sultanas/raisins

1 egg, for brushing

* All ingredients are organic, eggs are organic and free-range, butter is unsalted. Quark is organic and biodynamic (German style) from B.-d. Farm Paris Creek.

1. Start with the base. Warm up the milk to about 42C. Mix yeast with a small amount of flour and whisk the mixture into the warm milk. Add sugar, salt, cardamom and egg. Whisk well to combine. Add flour bit by bit, kneading to form a smooth and elastic dough. Add soft butter towards the end of the kneading. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to double in size.

2. Turn the dough on a sheet of baking paper and roll to a size of a large baking sheet. Using the baking paper, lift the dough on the baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.

3. In the mean while, preheat oven to 200C and prepare the filling. 

4. For the filling, combine all ingredients except for the raisins in a large bowl. Whisk well to make a smooth texture, then add the raisins.

5. Brush the edges of the base with the egg. Pour the filling on to the base and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the edges are brown and the filling feels firm to touch. Leave to cool completely before cutting. This pie can be frozen.

September 17, 2012

Sunnuntai Sämpylät - Sunday Bread Rolls


Sunday mornings call for baking. When the smell of fresh bread filled my kitchen I knew the day had started just right. Warm bread rolls smothered with fruit spread and a big cup of tea was perfection. Peaceful and lazy Sunday was exactly what I needed ahead of a busy week.

Sunnuntaiaamut kutsuvat leipomaan. Eilen aamulla sämpylöiden tuoksu täytti pienen keittiöni ja tuntui kuin päivä olisi lähtenyt juuri oikein käyntiin. Lämpimät sämpylät hedelmäisellä hillolla ja iso kuppi teetä – täydellistä! Rauhallinen ja laiska sunnuntai tuli tarpeeseen, viikosta on tulossa kiireinen.


Sunday Bread Rolls
(makes 16-20)
(recipe adapted from

500ml warm water
11g dry yeast
150g rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons treacle
about 400 wholemeal flour
about 200g plain flour
50ml olive oil

1. Mix yeast with rolled oats and add warm (42C) water. Add salt and treacle.

2. Knead flour in bit by bit until you get a soft dough. Add oil and knead until smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place to double in size.

3. Roll the dough into buns and place on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Cover and leave to rise for about 20-30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake the bread rolls for 12 minutes or until browned from top and the bottom.

September 15, 2012

Apple-Almond Tart with Vanilla Custard

Another week has passed by and I've been so busy I've hardly spent time in the kitchen. A sunny Friday needed something a bit more special so I made a quick apple tart for afternoon tea. I picked up some beautiful flowers in the markets this morning and they really made everything look so pretty.

I am looking forward to catching up with friends and just relaxing this weekend. Next week will be hectic ahead of a big photo shoot so I need to recharge my batteries when I can!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

 Apple-Almond Tart
(Recipe adapted from

4 eggs
150g raw caster sugar
300g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla
100g butter, melted
100ml milk

400g peeled, cored and sliced apples
juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (use to prevent the apples from browning)
100g almond meal
50g butter, melted
2 tablespoons raw vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla Custard

1 egg
400ml milk
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla
1 tablespoon raw vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons potato flour (potato starch)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a round pie dish (27cm). 

2. Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. 

3. Combine flour, baking powder and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients through a sieve, half the butter and half the milk and gently fold to mix. Add rest of the flour, butter and milk and fold again to mix. Spread the mixture evenly into the dish.

4. Top the dough with apple slices. Combine almond meal, butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and sprinkle on top of the cake. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

5. To make the custard, lightly whisk the egg and put in a saucepan with all the other ingredients. Turn on the heat, then whisk continuously until custard gets thicker. Don't let it boil. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Serve slightly warm with the apple tart.

September 09, 2012


Happy Sunday lovelies!
I am celebrating my thirty-first (*gulp*) birthday today, the sun is out and the weather is warm - I'm all smiles! I had a lovely lunch with friends yesterday and today my husband and I went for a little drive to the beautiful Palm Beach and just spent time outside enjoying the gorgeous spring weather. I love weekends like this, be it my birthday or not!
I made a simple vegetable quiche with a couple of different salads for the girls' lunch yesterday. I love cooking for other people and it makes me so happy to see my friends enjoying the food. I also much prefer inviting people over and cooking myself than going out to restaurants. Nothing beats home-made food!
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!
Vegetable Quiche
150g soft butter
90g wholemeal flour
90g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water
olive oil
400g mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
fresh or dried thyme and oregano
pinch of salt
black pepper
130g grated mozzarella
100g feta cheese, sliced
3 eggs
200ml cream
1. To make the pastry, combine flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in the soft butter until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Add cold water and gather into a firm dough. Use your fingers to spread the dough on the base and sides of a pie dish (about 27cm across). Use a fork to prick the base all over and then refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and add sliced vegetables. Cook for a few minutes and add herbs and seasoning. Leave to cool completely.
3. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake the base for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and add the filling. Spread the vegetables on the bottom of the base, add grated cheese and feta. Whisk eggs and cream in a small bowl and pour evenly on top of the filling. Bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and feels firm to touch. Leave to cool for at least 40-60 minutes before cutting.


September 05, 2012

Apple and Oat Muffins

September, and spring alongside, is certainly in full swing and shaping up to be a busy one. My calendar is filled with quite a few engagements, including long overdue catch ups with friends and summer product launches for work. I am by no means complaining, but rather loving the buzz that spring seems to create every year. No doubt, warm weather and increasing sun light are making a busy schedule much more bearable as well.

I love having a few stand-by recipes in my kitchen repertoire for when I'm a little pressed with time. A favourite salad that can be thrown together at the last minute or quicker than quick home-made bread can save from a lot of unnecessary stress. Forward planning is of course the key, but I tend to rely on recipes that can either be made ahead or use basic ingredients that I am likely to have in my kitchen at all times.

These apple and oat muffins tick all those boxes and are perfect to bring along to a brunch with friends or serve with afternoon tea. Yoghurt gives them a sour edge that is balanced with sweet vanilla. Feel free to add a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon too, if you like.

Apple and Oat Muffins

(Recipe inspired by
300g plain flour (you can use wholemeal, if you like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
50g rolled oats + 2 tablespoons
170g raw caster sugar
2 tablespoons raw vanilla sugar + 2 tablespoons
400g plain yoghurt (pot set, low fat)
2 eggs
100ml olive oil
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small cubes

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, oats and sugar together.

3. Whisk yoghurt, eggs and oil in a separate bowl.

4. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a large spoon to combine. Add apple.

5. Spoon the batter in to the cups and sprinkle with left-over oats and vanilla sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

September 03, 2012

Marzipan Horns

It was a weekend of social gatherings and celebrations. On Saturday I met up with a bunch of fellow Finns for a brunch. It was my first time participating in one of these Finnish meet ups and I have to say I am feeling pretty silly for not doing so any earlier. It was a fun afternoon and it felt really nice connecting with other Finns in Sydney.

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day and had invited my husband's parents over for lunch and afternoon tea. Suitably, I baked these marzipan filled horns for my German father-in-law who seemed quite pleased with the texture and flavour of them. Father-in-law approved!

Marzipan Horns 
(Recipe from

450g-500g plain flour
11g dry yeast
250ml milk
1 egg yolk
80g raw caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
100ml melted butter

100g almond meal
180g icing sugar
1 egg white

+ 1 egg for brushing
almond flakes, for topping

1. Warm up the milk to about 42 C. Combine yeast with a little bit of flour and stir in to the milk. Add egg yolk, sugar, cardamom and salt and stir well to combine. Add cool, melted butter and the flour bit by bit, stirring and kneading until you have a dough that is soft and won't stick to your hand. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

2. Prepare the filling by combining almond meal, icing sugar and one egg white. Mix into a smooth dough and divide into 16 equal-sized portions. Set aside and cover with a towel or some cling wrap to prevent drying.

3. Cut the dough in two and roll each portion into a large (30cm) round disk. Cut each disk in to 8 equal-sized triangles. Take a portion of marzipan, roll it into a small bar and place on the broad end of the triangle. Roll the triangle up and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Continue with the rest of dough, then cover the baking sheet with tea towels and leave to rise for about 30-45 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C. Brush the pastry with egg and sprinkle with almond flakes. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the top and the bottom are browned. Leave to cool on a wire rack, covered with a tea towel. Enjoy warm. These will keep in the freezer for a good couple of months, just remember to use thick freezer bags to prevent drying.