I got older a couple of weeks ago, and to celebrate, I jumped on a plane and spend a lovely week in surprisingly sunny Portugal. After getting back I have been working long hours, leaving me little to no time to go through the massive amount of pictures taken on the vacation. But hopefully I’ll find a moment to sit down soon and show you why Lisbon is a fantastic option for a little spring getaway.
While we’re waiting for that to happen, I have a little treat for you. I got a little homesick a while ago and dug out my boyfriend’s cookbook, The Food and Cooking of Finland by Anja Hill, that my family got him on our first Christmas together, to introduce him to Finnish flavours. The book has been very useful, especially on every Christmas after that.
I’d say Finnish food is very humble, others might consider it bland and boring, as many of the recipes are all about getting the basic ingredients right. The food is not spicy, most of the taste comes from salt and herbs. Finnish cuisine is not known around the world (and even if it is, people confuse it with the very similar Swedish cuisine) and you certainly won’t find a “Finnish restaurant” anywhere – not even from Finland really. It’s all about home cooking and tradition, doing everything the same way as your own grandparent’s did it.
While browsing through the cookbook, I feel like a very bad Finn. I don’t know even half of the recipes in the book! But still, one of them really stands out for me. It takes me back to my childhood, to my grandparent’s countryside home, where we would get all the ingredients ourselves from the forest and garden. And it’s simple enough! I just had to give it a go, even though we had to alter the original recipe – you can’t really find a forest with wild mushrooms from around central Manchester, you know. The outcome was amazing though! Pure taste of home.
The original recipe calls for cep mushrooms, but as my kitchen is all about low budget, we used regular mushrooms. They are not as deliciously nutty, but they’ll do. You’re also supposed to prepare the chicken stock yourself, but I cheated and used a store-bought cube to cut some corners. Because besides low price, I’m all about speed as well. Cheap, fast and delicious, that’s how I like it. But enough chit chat, let’s get chopping:
Finnish Mushroom Soup
50 g unsalted butter
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
250 g mushrooms, sliced
25 g plain (all purpose) flour
1 litre of chicken stock
100 ml double (heavy) cream
15 ml chopped fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
Warm bread to serve with
1. Prepare the chicken stock in your chosen method. As I said earlier, we used chicken stock cubes, which are easy and fast, but probably not the tastiest option.
2. Chop chop chop. Heat the butter in a large pan, add the leek, shallot and mushrooms and fry until they begin to soften. Stir in the flour, and cook over a low heat for 30 seconds. Add about a third of the stock and bring to boil, while stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes and add the remaining stock. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
3. Stir the cream and chopped parsley into the soup.
4. Serve hot, with warm bread.
I hope you enjoy this simple and lovely little dish as much as I have!