Sunday, December 16, 2012

Milk & Cookies

It's a real winter here now! Has been snowing for days and almost storming now. So all I feel like doing is just reading by the fireplace and having some delicious milk and cookies :)

This milk is perfect for all sorts of drinks, from fruity to chocolaty to even alcohol drinks. Also good in baking and cooking and with breakfast cereals/muesli. You can make different kinds of milks with the same recipe just by changing the almonds to what ever nuts or seeds. My favourite is hazelnut milk. What's yours? :)

Almond milk
  • 3 dl raw almonds
  • 10 dried dates (or less if you don't like too sweet)
  • 1 l water
  • (cinnamon, vanilla etc. for flavouring)
Soak the almonds for 8-12 hours and rinse well. Soak the dates for 8-12 hours in water that just covers them.
Put the soaked and rinsed almonds to a blender. Add the dates and the soaking water and start mixing. Add water little by little so you get really fine texture. Filter the milk to a pot through a very fine strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze the remaining pulp to get all of the liquid. Add flavouring if you desire so and bottle. Store in fridge and shake well before using. I recommend to use within 2-4 days.

Raspberry milk for two:
  • 4 dl almond milk
  • 2 dl raspberries
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla powder
Mix in a blender and enjoy. Test also other berries or fruits!

Cacao-coffee for two:
  • 5 dl almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other desired sweetener)
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
Put all ingredients to a pot, mix well and slowly heat up on the stove. Don't boil!

Raw & spicy almond cookies
  • pulp from the almond milk
  • 1 dl flax seeds + 2 dl water
  • 1 dl raisins + water to cover
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp orange peel powder
Put the flax seeds and raisins to separate dishes, add water and let soak at least for 2 hours. Puree the raisins with their soaking water in a blender. Mix all the ingredients into smooth dough (I used hands) and let it stand in fridge for about an hour. Roll the dough between two baking sheets and cut into desired shapes. Dry the cookies in a dehydrator or in 40'C degree oven until they are totally dry. This takes 12-24 hours, depending on the thickness of the cookies and the dryer. Will stay good for months in a cool and dry place.

  • 10 dried apricots
  • 20 dried plums
Soak the apricots and plums in water at least for 4 hours. Put to a blender and mix till smooth puree. Use as much water as needed. Store in fridge and use within a week.

~ Ilta

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday gift ideas

Time for goodies!!!

Earlier I've stated that I don't really celebrate Christmas and it also means that I don't like to buy gifts (not on other holidays either), but I do love to make and give eatable presents. So here is some suggestions what to bring as a gift when you visit people on these holidays.

All are of course very easy to make, healthy, extremely yummy and guilt free! :)

Chocolate truffels
yield 20 pc.
  • 200 g soaked & boiled chick peas, white beans or broad beans (I've tested them all and can recommend!)
  • 100 g dried dates
  • 1 dl cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • coating ideas: coconut flakes, cacao powder, berry/fruit powders, chopped nuts
  • filling/flavour ideas: dried fruits or berries, nuts, essential oils, rum/brandy etc.
Soak the dates in water that just covers them for 4-8 hours. Put all the ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth dough. Pour the dough to a pot and stir in desired fillings and/or flavours. Let set in fridge for a moment. Roll into balls and roll them in the desired coating. Store in fridge.

Corny PB-balls
yield 20 pc.
  • 250 g peanut butter
  • 0.75 dl maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder (not necessary)
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 4 + 1 dl cornflakes (sugar free!)
Stir peanut butter, maple syrup, lucuma and vanilla powders together. Crush the cornflakes into bit smaller pieces and add 4 dl to the PB-mixture. Roll into balls and coat with the remaining cornflakes. Store in fridge.

Citrus coconut balls
yield 10 pc.
  • 2.5 + 1 dl coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1.5 tbsp dried lemon/orange zest powder
  • 10 drops pure orange oil
Mix 2.5 dl of coconut flakes and the coconut oil in a blender into a smooth butter. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Let set in fridge for a moment and then roll into balls and coat with the remaining shredded coconut. Store in fridge.

~ Ilta

Christmas dinner idea

Here is one idea what to offer on Christmas dinner.
I made these last Thursday on Finlands Independence Day and we we're really satisfied and happy! Everything tasted fabulous and fit perfectly together and we were totally full, so full that could hardly go to sauna anymore... and that sure is something for a Finn! Sorry about that, but have to give some credit to myself occasionally :)

We don't really celebrate Christmas, because we're not religious nor materialistic (which you might have noticed by now from the fact that we're selling almost everything!!!) and this holiday just doesn't have much meaning for us, except some nice free days from work :) But we do love to eat well and I love cooking! So I guess that's my way to celebrate all these religious holidays... in kitchen inventing new stuff and feeding my dear 'guinea pig' :D

Hope you like these and get at least some ideas for your hopefully animal friendly holiday!

All recipes are for about 4 persons.

Fruity starter salad
(one of my favourite salads ever, especially the sauce!)
  • Salanova lettuce
  • Bloody Sorrel lettuce
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 persimons (aka sharon or khaki)
  • cashews
  • hemp nuts
  • 1 dl mint leafs
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (other oils are also ok)
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 very ripe pear
Wash lettuces. Peal and grate carrots. Peal and slice persimons. Pile into beautiful salads. Sprinkle cashews and hemp nuts on top.
Mix mint leafs, avocado oil, lemon juice and peeled pear in a blender until smooth sauce. Pour dressing on salads or offer on the side.

Seitan & plums stewed in brandy 
  • 3 dl wheat gluten flour
  • 2 tbsp powdered pepper
  • 2 dl water
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp sojasauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls. Pour the wet to the dry and knead into firm dough by hands for few minutes. Cut it into 6-8 pieces and boil in water for about 20 minutes. The dough will swell 2-3 times bigger, so have enough big pot for boiling!

  • seitan (soya cubes might work also, but I haven't tried yet)
  • 2 dl dried plums
  • 2 dl brandy (or other desired alcohol or even strong juice)
  • 4-6 dl water (add if needed!)
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp potato flour (or other starch)
Cut the seitan into cubes. Oil a big oven dish and put all the ingredients in there and mix well. Cover with a lid or foil and let stew in 175C degree oven for about an hour. Check and stir occasionally.

Not really photogenic but really delicious!
Creamy mushrooms
  • 300 g champignon mushrooms
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • 2 whole garlics (about 20 cloves)
  • canola oil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt & pepper according to taste
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 dl oat cream
Wash the mushrooms and cut into big peaces. Peal the onion and garlics. Chop the onion into rather big chunks and let the cloves of garlic stay whole. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic cloves as long as most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. (this won't taste too much of garlic 'cos they are not crushed or sliced, the cloves will become just nicely soft and delicious!)
Oil an oven dish and put the mushroom mixture there with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover with a lid or foil and put to 175C degree oven for about an hour. Check and stir occasionally.

Sweet potatoes from heaven :)
(this is one of my biggest comfort food favourites!)
  • 1.5 kg sweet potatoes
  • 2 dl coconut cream
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • breadcrumbs
  • vegan butter
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and boil in salted water until soft. Pour the water away, add coconut cream, cardamon and salt and puree with beater or mixer. Pour the mixture into greased oven dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and some thin slices of butter. Bake in 175C degree oven for about an hour. Don't cover so you get nice crispy and brown crust.

...and finally the dessert:

Chocolate pudding with red sauce
  • 4 dl cashews
  • 2 dl dried dates
  • 1.5 dl rice-coconut milk (or other veggie milk)
  • 1 dl cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 0.5 dl melted coconut oil
  • 300 g fresh or frozen strawberries (or whatever berries you like)
Soak the cashews in water for 4-8 hours and rinse well. Soak the dates in water that just covers them for 4-8 hours. Put the cashews, 2/3 of the dates & soaking water in to a blender and mix until silky smooth. Add milk, vanilla, cacao and coconut oil and mix again. Pour into serving dish and let stand in fridge at least for an hour.
To make the sauce mix the strawberries and 1/3 of the soaked dates in a blender until fine puree. Serve for example from champagne classes.

~ Ilta

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

All day coconutty ;)

The weather in south Finland is now really yucky, slishyslashy as I call it :) Not much fun to be outdoors and at least I feel like just laying on sofa in front of fireplace and watching good films and of course eating well... especially plenty of comfort food! To me it means things containing chocolate, peanut butter and coconut. I've already posted some recipes of the first two ingredients so now it's time for coconut. Here is few of my current coconut favourites. I hope you enjoy them and be as comfy as possible this fall :)

Grapefruit breakfast
for two
  • 1 dl millet (whole grain! oats or sesame seeds fit also)
  • 1 dl coconut flakes
  • 1 grapefruit (I prefer pink ones)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder (optional)
Soak the millet grains in water for 12-24h. Rinse well and put to a mixer. Add coconut flakes, peeled grapefruit and banana and the powders. Mix high until very smooth. Enjoy right away.

Mocha balls for afternoon tea
Ball factory :)
(you may enjoy these other times also, but remember that they contain plenty of energy!)
  • 1 dl oat flakes or ready oat flour
  • 1 dl coconut flakes or about 0.5 dl coconut flour
  • 1 dl coconut sugar (or other sugar)
  • 0.5 dl cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 0.25 tsp rose salt
  • 1 dl melted coconut oil
  • 0.5 dl maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
Grind the oat flakes and coconut flakes into coarse flour. Mix all ingredients in a pot into fine dough. It is most likely very running so let the dough stand in fridge for a moment. Then roll into balls and roll them in coconut flakes. Put to fridge to harden before eating. Store in fridge or freezer.
Can you resist these? I can't!!!

Creamy peanut butter cabbage
2 - 4 portions (I recommend this for dinner because of its heaviness)
  • 500 g white cabbage
  • 2 onions
  • canola oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp Indian spice mix (coriander, turmeric, onion, black pepper, fennel, cardamom, clove, cumin, cayenne pepper)
  • 2 dl coconut cream + 2 dl water
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tomato pure
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 0.5 tsp rose salt
  • boiled pasta, rice, quinoa, potatoes...
Shred the cabbage and onions and fry in oil in a pan until bit softer (about 15min). Add the spices and stir for two minutes. Add the coconut cream, water (measure the water with the cream can so you get everything in use), peanut butter and tomato pure and let simmer for few minutes. In the end stir in the lime juice and salt. Serve with pasta, rice, potatoes etc. or enjoy just like that :)
Mixed with boiled corn pasta, my new favourite of the gluten free pastas!

~ Ilta

Monday, October 29, 2012

Etelän Pystymettä 2012

In all those years I lived in Finland, I visited Pystymettä in 2011 for the first time (see some pics here). It was a true liberating experience. Inspired by this fantastic atmosphere and maybe a little tempted by the excellent weather, I decided to join Pystymettä also in 2012. The journey was a little further for me this time, yet still a peace of cake when riding a GS.

Another purpose was to test how my new sidecar SilberWolf is behaving on gravel roads. Well as it turned out, it was a test how to drive on icy and snowy asphalt roads :D ... none can do - cheers.

Some strange sounds started to worry me a little and I went to ask one expert from my local dealer. He confirmed my worries and told me that "don't drive anymore - your rear wheel bearing is gone". Well, its a known BMW decease but with 36000km??? Anyway, the bearing or the rear wheel drive needed to be changed (I bought one from a R850GS which had a ration of 37/11 instead of 31/11 of the R1150GSA).
So I decided to change the entire rear wheel drive and the taper roller bearing in the rear wheel drive (half was missing from the other one which I bought).

Listen to the difference in sounds:

Five hours later the job was done (thanx to all the hints from Guy!) - it was now 23:30. I was hungry, dirty and I still wanted to pack so I could meet Ari next morning at the agreed time. A bit hasty start ...

Anyway - next morning and I was welcomed by a snow-covered backyard.

Some impressions from the trip towards Pystymettä.

The streets were extremely slippery. Our small detour to try to ride on a small street ended almost in the ditch (like this other new BMW which had hit the tree). So we were doomed to go on the big roads. After Lahti even riding on those big roads became a dance with the gas lever. I missed my winterbike which has tyres with studs. The last 8km became even worse. One fellow biker fell and injured himself, so that he could not walk. As I heard later-on, the ambulance came and took care of him. We had even trouble to lift his bike - it was just sliding on the ice.

Finally we made it.

We found a great camp site providing a three-star accommodation.

More people came and it was snowing for quite a while.

Kari's bike with trailer.

All you need - puukko (knife) and cable ties.

This stunning sidecar lamp would cause heart attacks to any German TÜV personnel.

Happy guys - 30 years Pystymettä and they go for a swim each year.

Reijo  -can't walk without aid, nevertheless rides his bike ;)

Kari let me experiment the fish lens.

Dinner time.

The highlight of the evening - FEUERZANGENBOWLE.

Frozen-grilled pear and banana.

Modern times ... Pystymettä and facebook.

Electric toothbrush - unbelievable ;)

Typical accommodation (laavu).

Lonely guys need to have some fun in the woods .... when I understand it right the discussion was, what is the better lubricant? Gearbox oil or engine oil?

Yeah - and we had a few hours of sun light as well.

All sorts of vehicles were present.

Another case for the German TÜV (look closer at the sidecar wheel).

Lunch time here

some maintenance there ...

The night was again cold - it went down to -9C.

The swimming area.

Compared to last year, this time it was deluxe - with organized toilets and drinking water (be fast or it freezes!).

Next morning - ready to go.

And finally saying goodbye to Ari at Bemböle kahvitupa - the weather got better with every km we drove south.

I don't know how to translate Pystymettä - it is something what you need to experience. Welcome to Finland.

~ Wolfi