Sprüngli Truffle Cake – wonky chocolate cake

Seductive specialties, light and airy temptations, delicately smooth chocolate indulgences, confectioner’s craft with tradition. Sprüngli is loaded with superlatives. I got their classic truffle cake recipe and boy it did not dissappoint.  I want to think  my homemade truffle cake belongs to that 1st class.NakedPlate-TruffleCake
We are spoiled in Dubai, having here the only Sprüngli Swiss Chocolate Confiserie store and café outside Switzerland. I am double spoiled having first ever chocolate boutique just around the corner in Jumeirah 1 in Village Mall and getting invited to taste their handmade truffles, pralines and Swiss macaroons called Luxemburgerli. One of the signature cakes of Café Sprüngli is definitely the pyramid shape classic truffle cake.



Kind people from Confiserie Sprüngli agreed to share their secret classic truffle cake recipe, now also you can try to make it at home. I swear it is easy to make. Or just visit their store to get the real thing.

I love baking simple cakes loaded with high quality ingredients like Sprüngli Truffle cake. The recipe calls for Sprüngli Grand Cru Chocolate, Criollo de Maracaibo, Venezuela, 65% cocoa. Sounds like vintage wine, doesn’t it. I replaced “grand cru” with Lindth dark 70% and 80% cocoa chocolate, which is available from most of the supermarkets in UAE. It worked very well, lovely intense and smooth dark chocolate taste, cake is not too sweet. It’s the real honest chocolate cake. A treat!

I am one of those bakers who needs occasion to bake, any tiny reason to bake a treat goes. This time it was a big reason, I had my son visiting from Finland and since he is a chocolate lover, it was more than pleasure to treat him on his birthday with homemade Sprüngli style truffle cake. My version of the choco cake is little bit wonky and totally imperfect, but surely it’s tasty as the original authentic Sprüngli truffle cake. We love the raspberry and chocolate flavors combo and I got the idea to decorate with beautiful fresh red berries and rose pedals. The ultimate highlight of the cake décor was the chubby sisters of French macaroons, Swiss Luxemburgerli’s. They taste divine and are really light. My favorite Luxemburgerli is raspberry. It’s lovely to have decorations which you can actually eat and honestly enjoy. We were in heaven.

Sprüngli Truffle Cake Recipe (printable original recipe)

For the sponge base:
• 12 egg yolks
• 280g sugar
• 7 egg whites
• 65g white flour
• 80g hazel nuts, finely ground
• 40g cocoa powder
• 60g butter

Blend the egg yolks and 80g sugar until fluffy. Beat the egg whites with the
remaining 200g sugar until stiff. Sieve flour and cocoa powder together and
then mix with the ground hazelnuts. Melt butter in the microwave or on the
stove and warm to approx. 60° C. Stir the beaten egg whites slowly into the
fluffy egg yolks. Carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then
slowly stir the melted butter in with this. Bake at 170° C for about 40 minutes.


For the filling:
• 180g Sprüngli Grand Cru Chocolate, Criollo de Maracaibo, Venezuela, 65%
• 180g cream
Finely chop the chocolate. Bring the cream briefly to the boil and pour over the
chocolate. Blend thoroughly, but don’t beat into a froth. Cover the finished
chocolate filling immediately with cling wrap so that the surface doesn’t dry
out. Leave to stand overnight at room temperature.

Finishing the cake:
• 25g cocoa powder
• 80g Sprüngli Grand Cru Chocolate, Criollo de Maracaibo, Venezuela, 65%

Using a serrated knife, cut horizontally through the sponge base twice to make 3 layers. Spread the bottom layer with approx. 40g chocolate filling.
Position the middle layer precisely on top, press down and spread with another 40g filling; repeat for the top layer. Then cover the filled sponge base
with a smooth coating of chocolate filling and place in the fridge for about an hour.  After decorating, place the Truffle Cake in the fridge for another hour or so. Dust the Truffle Cake with cocoa powder.

Finely chop the chocolate, melt it gently using the waterbath method, and stir well (the temperature of the chocolate should be about 32° C). Finally, using a smooth knife or spatula spread the sides of the Truffle Cake with the melted chocolate and leave in a cool place. If you make the cake with round cake tin and leave the round shape pile your favorite fresh berries on top for simple decoration and add couple of luxemburgerlis to give some extra luxe touch and flavor.



 The finest Swiss confectionery since 1836

Sprüngli confectionery story

Visit at Sprüngli Middle East

The Farmers’ Market at Dubai

UAE farmers want you to find their produce. The Farmers’ Market at Dubai on The Terrace is wonderful place to start Friday. Buy cup of coffee from one of the market stalls and fresh bakes from stall of Baker & Spice Dubai. Arrange an instant picnic for yourself and enjoy.
Another secret of Dubaian foodlovers is revealed. It’s the only farmers’ market in Dubai where farmers are every Friday selling their locally grown organic vegetables directly to us. Prices are less than in many other markets in Dubai and atmosphere is down to earth. Excellent value for your money and health.
The Farmers’ Market is located on gardens of Emirates Towers. Scroll down for map at the end of the post. Hey don’t go…

Take tour with me at my blog. Pictures are speaking more than thousand words.

Farmers' Market Dubai

Farmers’ Market Dubai

Seasons local organic veggies

Seasons local organic veggies

Farmers' Market Dubai Emirates Towers

Single origin coffee Boon Coffee from Ethiopia

Single origin coffee Boon Coffee from Ethiopia

Farmers' Market 6th Season

Organic Oasis Farm

Organic Oasis Farm

Farmers' Market sales

Astraea olives and oils, organic dates and handmade soaps

Astraea olives and oils, organic dates and handmade soaps

Yael Mejia, food consultant to Baker & Spice Dubai and the Farmers’ Market champion, says: “When I came to Dubai to set up Baker & Spice as 2008 was drawing to a close, one of my first tasks was sourcing local and regional fresh produce.
Yael Mejia pioneered the farmers’ market revolution

Yael Mejia pioneered the farmers’ market revolution

“This is one of the guiding principles of our kitchen and I had no intention of changing course. I knew there was farming here and I just had to find it and connect.

“It took a year of investigations, phoning, cajoling, travelling in the desert, begging, and we ended up working with three farms. They delivered fantastic produce to our kitchens, mainly vegetables.

“The knowledge that the produce is organic, local, of such amazing quality and so cheap, has resonated with people who are concerned about what they put in their mouths and how they feed their children.

“Being able to connect directly with the people who grow the food we eat is something most people think is important. Many global food scandals have contributed to this global concern.

Here’s capture of message from Yael at opening of 6th season of Farmers’ Market. We’re sharing same stance on food with her, key to success in kitchen is good, clean and fresh ingredients, there’s so less you have to add to create wonderful meal if you use the best you can get products and ingredients.

Baker & Spice invited me and other bloggers to Seasons opening breakfast, for me the invite was win-win, I literally could eat anything from their restaurant, all food is whole, real and simple like myself. I am happy to promote my favorite market.

Chef Gabriele Kurz from Jumeirah Group Talise Wellness at Baker&Spice breakfast

Chef Gabriele Kurz from Jumeirah Group Talise Wellness at Baker&Spice breakfast

Tree Entrepreneurs: Farmers' Market pioneer, Organic Oasis farmer and Astraea olive farmer

Tree Entrepreneurs: Farmers’ Market pioneer, Organic Oasis farmer and Astraea olive farmer

Last season I wrote about field trip to Kitby farm, they are selling at The Farmers’ Market On The Terrace their produce. Check photos from the farm here LINK
Kitby Farm from Al Ain

Kitby Farm from Al Ain

Hey, if you reach here, don’t go quite yet, you might like to read what other food lovers found at Farmers’ market, lots of clicking ahead…
Memoires Of A taste Bud
Kitchen In The Sand
Ishita Unblogged
My Custard Pie
Cinnamon Weekends
Noni’s Place
The Farmers’ Market on the Terrace

Farmersmarketme at Instagram

Emirates Towers Jumeirah Group at Instagram

Organic Oasis Farm

Olives and oils from Astraea olive grove


How to find Farmers Market:


Drive Along – the way around to Dubai’s Farmers Market at Emirates Towers Terrace

Thank You for reading!

Baked Finnish Cottage Cheese

You can make ricotta cheese at home! Yes I did it, but I am not sure if it’s really worth of all that dairy produce I used. It’s easy and rather effortless to make but wow that amount of milk you need for so small quantity of cheese. No wonder this was popular traditional food to make at home before 70’s in Finland. At the time when we still had small dairy farmers, like my grandparents. I would be stirring this cheese mixture more so often would I have couple of milking cows with me.


For making two 15 x 15 cm squares of baked ricotta style cottage cheese (about 600 grams), you have to carry home 5 liters of milk and 1 liter of buttermilk or Laban as it’s called in Emirates. The Italian ricotta recipe does not call for eggs, but adding eggs makes the texture to form easier and taste is similar to ricotta cheese bought from market. We call this kind of cheese in Finland “Kotijuusto” which means “Cottage cheese” or “Munajuusto” meaning “Egg cheese”.
After liters of dairy stuff is purchased then next challenge is to have big enough pan where to cook the milky cheese. I have used 8 liter saucepan.

Baked Finnish Cottage Cheese recipe

5 liter full fat milk
1 liter buttermilk (laban)
200 g sour cream (optional)
4 eggs
1 ts salt

Whisk 4 eggs together with buttermilk and sour cream, keep aside.
Heat the milk to boiling point and add buttermilk-sour cream-egg mixture.
Heat the milk mixture to the boil again, keep stirring but don’t let mixture to boil.
Curds will separate from whey (liquid) and float to top.
Just when milk starts to raise remove from the heat. Let stand for half an hour.
Collect the cheese mass with skimmer into strainer or special cheese mold lined with cheesecloth.
Press lightly the cheese mass to get off the whey. Stir the salt in the mass evenly.
Fold the cheesecloth over the cheese mass and put the light weight on the top.

Don’t forget to set the cheese mold over the empty large bowl to collect the whey liquid.
Allow the cheese to solidify in the fridge overnight.

On the next day turn the cheese over on baking tray and remove the cheesecloth gently.
Brush with egg and bake in oven in 250°C until beautifully browned.


Tips from cheese master:
– Use the cheese whey for liquid ingredient for baking bread, whey is full of protein.
– It’s not necessary to bake the cheese, it tastes gorgeous as is.
– Use your favorite flavors to make sweet or savory ricotta.
– Add herbs or pesto to cheese mass before putting it to cheese mold/strainer eat fresh without baking.
– This recipe can be made without eggs.
– Serve sliced on open sandwich or with fresh berries or jam on brunch or breakfast.

NakedPlateBlog_Finnish_Cottage_Cheese_ready for baking

Traditionally cottage cheese is made from colostrum, milk for calves on calving time. In Finland it was food eaten at feast. My grandmother made the cheese and baked it at wood-fired oven, my mom made it at home when I was child. Finally I have made traditional Finnish ricotta aka cottage cheese first time only this summer, after I visited in Finland and brought with me the special wooden cheese mold. It was not easy to find the wooden mold, seems that most of us like to buy ricotta and cottage cheese from market. Fair enough, making cheese at home requires lots of milk and it’s hard to consume all the excess whey liquid. I could not throw it away. It’s protein rich food. It took me several batches of bread and pancakes to clear the strained milk whey.

I mastered the Finnish baked cottage cheese aka ricotta, but am not convinced to repeat the cheese factory until I have cow farm on my own.


In one of the images you can see the wooden cheese mold square 16 x 16 cm. Round shape cheese is made in colander and have za’atar (Arabic: زَعْتَر‎) spice mixed in.

Say Cheese!

Helsinki Food Foto and Mari’s Lemon Cake

Look at my re-creation of Helsinki’s top cake model! I have NOT fancied any citrusy cakes so far, but this beauty turned my head. I call it Mari’s Lemon Cake because she baked one gorgeous juicy cake to our picnic at Helsinki Food Foto workshop on June. It was the most photographed target at the picnic. Scroll down and read further to get the recipe and look at the pictures of #HelsinkiFoto2014.

Lemoncake with Summer Berries

Food Styling and Photography Workshop

I have this desire to take photos of food and I am always keen to learn something new on shooting edible things. When I heard that Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey?, Simone from Simone’s Kitchen and Mari from Something Tasty came up with food photography and styling workshop in Finland, in my hometown Helsinki, I did not think twice. I enrolled in at once. I have experience from couple of Meeta’s workshops in Dubai and wanted to see what Helsinki will offer, after all Helsinki is wonderful at summer time when we have nightless nights and nature and people shows their best.

Compared to some other photography courses Meeta’s workshops are excellent combo of learning how to style the food and take the best food photos, cooking, eating, tasting different kind of cuisines (specially in Dubai) and best of all meet and get to know like minded people from all over the world. We had so much fun with Sari, Marja-Riitta, Denisa, Alanna, Bente, Kaisa, Nancy and Marisa. I learned a lot not only from Mari, Meeta and Simone but from all of my learning buddies.

If I have to pick up one single take away from Helsinki photography workshop, it would be Artificial light hands on exercise with simple led light Ikea lamps (look for model Jansjö). I can’t believe how easy it was to create home studio with simple led light and couple of reflectors.
BerryGranola_IkeaLights_dark mood


Food and Helsinki

On first evening we had enjoyable delicious dinner at Toca restaurant. Finnish, Italian and global tastes on the plate by serving fresh and high-quality ingredients precisely cooked so you can savor their distinguished and classical flavors in a “kick back and enjoy” atmosphere as they correctly claim.

On second day we had typical summer picnic on rainy…no, sunny…actually rainy sunny day at Sinebrychoff Park at Punavuori mid of Helsinki. Passersby were so jealous of our setting and food. Carrot cake, lemon cake, zucchini noodle salad, quinoa tomato salad, salmon sandwiches, bubbly drinks to name few. Look at yourself…

HelsinkiFoto2014-Fiskars groupie

Our slogan for workshop project was “The Heat is on in Helsinki”. Coming from Dubai it was not that hot in Helsinki, but certainly heat was on for styling, shooting and eating the food. Here’s my location shots at Toca restaurant in Helsinki taken with iPhone 5 except the gazpacho soup pic in left corner.


Memories aijaijai….


Mari’s Lemon Cake Recipe

I have changed ingredients just tiny bit for my liking. Namely I halved the spelt flour and added potato flours. I used two 15 cm cake tins and had left over patter for the third tiny cake. I had also less of cream cheese compared to original recipe. You might wonder those measures, in Finland we use 100 ml (=1 dl) measuring cups hence desiliters in recipe. Link to Mari’s original Lemon Cake recipe at Something Tasty

My versions ingredients:
200 g butter
4.5 dl sugar
4 eggs (medium size)
Pinch of salt
3 dl spelt flour
3 dl potato flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
2.5 dl cream
3 tbsp lemon curd
2 tbsp lemon juice

Filling and frosting
600 g plain cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp lemon curd
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 dl icing sugar
Optional: yellow food coloring

Baking method is well described in Mari’s recipe (hahaa there’s some trick…in case you’ll notice and wonder, add lemon juice with lemon curd)
Lemoncake with Summer Berries

Thank You for staying this long, do not exit without visiting these blogposts of Helsinki Foto 2014. They are packed with wonderful photos from the entire event. Do you spot Minna from Naked Plate?


WORKSHOP: HELSINKI 2014 – The Heat Is On by Meeta

KAMERAT KAULASSA by Mari’s Jotain Maukasta blog in Finnish. Look at the pictures, no language barriers.

The cherry on the top of each workshop is generous goodie bags from sponsors. In Helsinki we had nice sponsors from Cocovi, Sunspelt, Winestate, Fiskars, Uudenmaan Herkku Oy, Illy Coffee, Rauch, Toca Restaurant and beautiful Scandic Paasi hotel. Thank You, your contribution was recognized and appreciated!

And Finally if you like to travel, meet people, take photos, learn to shoot food, food styling, eating and experience Dubai. Enroll to Meeta’s next workshop here in Arab Emirates and we’ll meet there. Hey I am regular already…read more click Link

Sahawaq Chili sauce recipe From UAE Organic farm to plate

Come and visit with me Al Kitby farm, a UAE organic farm near Al Ain in Arab Emirates. I am showering this post with iPhone snapshot collages to give you a visual tour to a rather small farm about 100 kilometers from hassle and buzz of city of Dubai. There is a recipe also for devilish hot Yemeni chili sauce called سحوق sahawaq. It’s made from fresh green chilies, coriander and garlic with some typical arabic spices.
Yemeni Chili Sauce Sahawaq
I have roots in Finnish countryside and the need to have a touch with soil and plants is still inside in me, even tough I live in hot desert climate. I became urban balcony gardener after I moved from villa to apartment year ago. With huge help of BUGG, Balcony and Urban Gardening group in UAE at facebook I have learned to tend my simple pot garden in challenging Emirati weather.

Thanks to BUGG I got chance to visit local Emirati organic farm week ago and got the kick start to visit the most amazing market in Dubai, Farmers Market on Emirates Towers Terrace. I am absolutely sold and will be regularly filling my farm fresh organic produce stash from there.

Al Kitby Farm is one of the farmers selling their produce there weekly, on Fridays from 8 AM to noon. Prices are reasonable and it’s still not overly crowded, we’ll see for how long. Farmers market is lively, but not too commercial. I hope this market does not loose the original not too hustle feel and look.
Hot green chili and paprika UAE Farmers produce

Sahawaq Yemeni Green Chili Sauce Recipe


200 g green chili peppers
100 g fresh coriander leaves (2-3 bundles)
5-10 cloves of garlic crushed (or as per your liking)
1 ts ground cumin
1 ts ground black pepper
¼ ts ground cloves
¼ ts ground green cardamom
1 ts salt
1 ts sugar


Clean and wash vegetables.
Clean coriander leaves discarding stems, use only leaves.
Chop chilies with or without seeds depending how hot you would like the sauce be.
Crush garlic and 1 ts salt with mortar and pestle until it transforms to liquid like consistency.
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Pour in a class jar and store in the fridge, drizzle some olive oil on top to keep it longer in fridge.

It’s hot! Do not touch anything with chili hands.

F A R M- V I S I T- S N A P S H O T S :
Al Kitby UAE Organic Farm_visit
AlKitby UAE Organic Farm_visit
From UAE AlKitbyFarm to Farmers market Dubai

F A R M E R S- M A R K E T- D U B A I :




Click flipagram for 13 seconds happiness, bye for now!

Useful links
The Farmers Market Dubai Emirates Towers

Balcony and Urban Gardening Group

Slow Food International

Slow Food Dubai chapter in Twitter

Do not leave without visiting a best guide of WHERE TO SHOP FOR LOCAL & ORGANIC VEG IN DUBAI by Sally at My Custard Pie.

Pasha – Finnish Easter custard dessert with dates

Springtime and nearing Easter brings food memories from childhood to my mind. One of my favorite was and still is pasha. Exact name of this Finnish version of sweet custard dessert is Pashka, it originates from Russia. Don’t say Pashka to Finn though, it means totally something unrelated to food and is bad word. I guess for that reason we call it friendly Pasha. In Finland it’s made of a fresh cheese called rahka, quark in English, butter, eggs, spices and dry fruits.
Naked Plate Finnish Easter Dessert Pasha

I have been is UAE almost ten years and it took until last year to learn that quark is called here fromage frais!!!. I have ton of favorite recipes calling for quark and while asking at supermarkets quark they look at me as I am not from same planet. Anyways better late than never.

Pasha is traditionally prepared in a special wooden mold, but in our household we used normal strainer lined with cheese cloth. Since the traditional shape is highrise peak I got colander which resembles that mold. Coffee filter works perfect, any thing where there is holes to drain the excess liquid works well, even clean flower pot.

Needles too say this recipe is super easy and needs next to zero skills or time, hence my favorite. I tweaked the ingredients list to include Emirati touch, dates of course. I guess Levant chef would add few drops of rose water and decorate with rose pedals and pistachio nuts. In Finland it is raisins and almonds for sure, easily available and don’t cost the fortune.
Naked Plate | Jomara Dates

Pasha Finnish Easter Dessert Recipe


250 g fromage frais (quark)
100 g unsalted or slightly salted butter
1 egg yolk
100 g sugar
200 ml whipping cream
2 ts vanilla sugar
1-2 tbs lemon juice
5 tbs crushed almond flakes
5 tbs dates cut to small pieces

Strainer (or coffee filter) and cheese cloth for lining
Marachino cherries, dates and almond flakes for decoration


1. Beat the butter and sugar up to light yellow creamy texture add egg yolk and beat well.
2. Mix butter mixture with fromage frais in cooking pan
3. Heat the mixture in low heat stirring all times until mixture starts to release streaks of steam. Do not cook the mixture.
4. Lift the pan from heat and put it over ice cold water for about 20 minutes stirring time to time to cool the mixture.
5. Whip the cream and add sugar and vanilla.
6. Mix whipped cream to cooled fromage frais mixture, add almonds and chopped dates.
7. Line strainer, or any mold you use, with damp cheese cloth.
8. Pour the mixture in mold/strainer and lift edges of cheese cloth over.
9. Put the mold/strainer over the bowl to strain excess liquid off and keep in fridge over night or 12 hours.
10. Turn over on a serving plate and remove the cheese cloth gently.

Easy 3 step preparation:
1. Whip the cream and in cooking pan mix all other ingredients together and add whipped cream.
2. Heat until streaks of steam starts to raise from mixture, do not cook. Cool it down.
3. Pour in strainer lined with cheese cloth and keep in fridge min. 12 hours. Turn over and move the cloth. Eat!

Finnish Easter Pasha ready to be turned over

Finnish Easter Pasha ready to be turned over

Get idea what you can use to make creamy Finnish springtime custard dessert Pasha

Get idea what you can use to make creamy Finnish springtime custard dessert Pasha

Decorate with yellow, red and light green ingredients for springtime atmosphere. We use candied orange and lemon peels, candied cherries, fresh citrus fruit wedges, jelly bean candies and nuts. And in Emirates dates is a must, works better than raisins in my opinion.

In Finland, in my family we enjoy Pasha as is, as Easter dessert. It could be served with sweet raisin bun called kulicha like they do in Russia.

Hyvää Pääsiäistä! Happy Easter!

Naked Plate | Karelian Pasty – traditional Finnish food with Emirati twist

The perfect arranged marriage of three ingredients rye flour, rice and milk makes very traditional pastry from Eastern-Finland called Karelian Pasty or Karjalanpiirakka in Finnish. I am certain Asians and Arabians will approve the marriage as well. Keep on reading… Surely I always find the link of my culture to the culture of Emirians or any other culture we can experience here in Dubai. The taste of these crumpy looking little Finn pasties is like freshly baked crepes yet so different of any other pastry you can get here in Dubai. And hey I made these first time in my life thanks to my sister in law Tuula, who shared top tips to succeed. Tuula is from Nothern Karelia, eastern part of Finland, from the land of Karjalanpiirakka. She is our family chef for Karelian pasties, and that title is difficult to take from her. She has made thousands of these little savoury buttery rice pies.
NakedPlate Carelian Pasties from Finland

Karelian Pasty – Karjalanpiirakka Recipe

Makes ax 30 small pies
200 g rye flour
60 g wheat flour
200 ml cold water
1 ts salt
1 tbs sunflower or other cooking oil

Mix all ingredients together to make dough and leave it rest for a while. Dough can be frozen for later use and it lasts well in fridge few days.

200 g Egyptian rice (or any sticky rice like Calrose), for EMIRATI version use Harees
1 litre milk, for EMIRATI version use Camel milk
1 ts salt
1 tbs oil

Melted butter for brushing ready baked pasties

Cook rice (or harees or barley if you use) together with milk to texture and consistency of porridge. In heavy bottom pot combine milk, oil and salt bring to boil and add rice (harees or barley). Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. Continue cooking and stirring at low heat for 30-45 minutes or until rice (harees or barley) is done.

Now assemble the Karelian (Emirian) pasties like this:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 250-300°C.
2. Roll rye pasty crust dough into 4 equal size, 10 cm long rolls.
3. Cut ax 1,5 cm button like pieces dip each in flour (half rye and half wheat).
4. With rolling pin roll each piece into a thin oval.

I used pasta machine to make thin crusts. First use your fingers to flatten the dough button, then pass it through the machine to make it thinner, the knob on the machine on mark 3.
Repeat once again dusting the dough with flour if needed on both sides before passing it through the machine, the knob on the machine on mark 7.

5. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rice (harees or barley) porridge on the middle of each pasty crust.
6. Pull the sides of the pastries up and crimp them up to close the sides around the filling (watch one minute how to video clip).
7. Bake the pastries on parchment lined baking sheet in the very hot oven for 10 minutes. Until slightly golden brownish.
8. Brush with melted butter straight after taking them from the oven.

***And now eat at least one when still hot ***

8. Cover with parchment paper and tea towel to allow pasties to soften

Karelian pasty dough rolls cut in small buttons or squares

Karelian pasty dough rolls cut in small buttons or squares

Filling Karelian pasties with rice porridge

Filling Karelian pasties with rice porridge

Traditionally we eat Karelian pasties with egg-butter spread (just mash together soft butter and boiled eggs with fifty-fifty ratio, can substitute part of the butter with cottage cheese to lighten up the eggy-spread.

Pasties keep days in fridge and are so good and crispy when toasted. Eat as open sandwich topped with all your favorite sandwich fillings. Mine is warm smoked salmon with the sprinkle of dill and spoon of cottage cheese.

TIPS from novice first time Karelian pasty baker:
* Traditionally Finns used barley to make porridge for filling
* or Talkkuna which is cooked and roasted barley flour or a mixture of roasted barley, rye, oat and pea flour.
* Dip the spoon to cold water to get porridge sliding off easily.
* When folding the dough use tips of your index fingers to fold finely edges of pasties over the filling.
* Gently push crust even to avoid burning, any pointy edge of delicate crust dough will easily burn in oven.
* Make sure rice (harees or barley) porridge is evenly layered on top of the crust (again to avoid burning, see I’ve learned my lesson).

Traditional Finnish Karelian Pasty ready to be brushed with butter

Traditional Finnish Karelian Pasty with butter

Budding steak master – Organic Fillet Mignon

Whaaat! A carnivore and cannot pullout decent juicy steak for a meal! Yes that’s me. It’s only my second try to cook perfect steak, I have been cooking meat in any other forms but not steaks, for reason. It just have been too scary to waste nice meat by my amateur hand, so I have left steaks to be an occasional treat done by real chef de rôtisseurs.
Obe Organic Fillet Mignon

This time I took the challenge when I was offered to try OBE Organic meat. Lucky me I got to take home from Carrefour (local Dubai distributor of OBE Organic meats) nice big piece of organic fillet mignon.

I undersign OBE Organic’s words about their meat, it’s amazingly good flavor organic beef and is something that has to be tasted to be believed. I have shifted my cooking as much as possible to organic produce and near grown foods. Knowing there’s a clean, certified 100% organic and natural, free of chemicals and growth promotants and Halal certified meat option in Dubai ticks all boxes in every ones requirement list, doesn’t it?
Obe Organic Beef Fillet
Making the perfect steak is two fold challenge. First you must have good quality of correctly cut meat and secondly you must know how to cook it. First one is easy part, just locate the best butcher in your neighborhood and you are all done. The real challenge is to win yourself to give it a try. Follow simple steps and you cannot fail. The sear-roasting technique seems the most easiest to follow, kind of fool-proof way to prepare steaks.

Sear-Roasting Steaks:

1. Take the meat to room temperature at least 1 hour before you cook it.

2. Rub the steaks with oil and mill couple of rounds salt and pepper on both sides and set steaks aside.

3. Preheat oven to very hot (ax. 250°C).

4. Use cast iron skillet it is the best in terms of heat and taste it gives to meat (any ovenproof pan works as well) and place it on stove,  let it heat until drops of water sizzle on it. Brush with cooking oil.

5.  Set steaks on hot pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Remove skillet from hot stove and put it with the steaks into the preheated hot oven. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of steaks and desired doneness. (see on video on 4.20 sec how to make simple finger test, seriously and I don’t mean to burn your fingers… )

If you have thermometer it will be quite useful now. Stick the thermometer into the meat from side to test right doneness for you:

Extra-rare or Blue very red and cold 46–49 °C 115–120 °F
Rare cold red center; soft 52–55 °C 125–130 °F
Medium rare warm red center; firmer 55–60 °C 130–140 °F
Medium pink and firm 60–65 °C 140–150 °F
Medium well small amount of pink in the center 65–69 °C 150–155 °F
Well done gray-brown throughout; firm 71–100 °C 160–212 °F

7. When the steaks are done to your liking, remove from the hot pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest another 5 minutes before serving.

To be perfect serve on heated warm plates. I served mine with boiled new potatoes sauteed with fresh rosemary, some air fried sweet potatoes and parsley butter.

Here’s the best easygoing video clip I found to get the idea of sear-roasting method. I guarantee it’s really easy when done in oven.


Where to buy OBE products

Note from editor, I got 100 AED Carrefour voucher to spend to OBE Organics meat to try and cook. I chose 370 g beef fillet which cost 190 AED per kilo. I bought also ribeye steak of 200 g and it was darn good as well. I will definitely return for fillet again, now that I mastered the fillet mignon!!! It’s so bliss to know that meat does not contain any residue of medicines or chemicals, just clean, healthy and nutritious safe meat.

OBE Organic Meat
Obe Organic

Naked Plate | Raw Coconut and Celery Salad

I fully converted to celery eating after I ate mix of fresh coconut and crunchy celery with thick natural yoghurt. Celery has quite strong aroma and taste, and to be brutally honest, I have only seen good use for celery stalks as a decor on Bloody Mary. Okey there is another use where celery is just spot on, it’s Waldorf Salad no doubt about it.
NakedPlateBlog Raw Coconut and Celery Salad
I am not sure if January is particularly season of local organic celery, but I was happy to find from our local organic produce market Emirates grown celery and the price was 37 UAE dirhams per kilo, fair I would say. Another key ingredient is fresh white flesh of coconut. We have Sri Lankan coconuts in normal corner shop less than 2 dirhams per kilo and ready made grated coconut 3.90 per 250g from local veggie company Barakat. Ready grated coconut is handy and fast to use, but shelf life is rather short, rarely available at my local shop. It reads production date 01/01/2014 and exp 02/02/2014, how they even managed to deliver the box to be on sale one day only. I heard Barakat have state of the art production factory at Jebel Ali Free Zone, so it really is fresh near-food.

Make the recipe of 3 ingredients Raw Coconut and Celery Salad, You’ll love it. It’s absolutely healthy, having celery is good for your digestive tract, it’s full of antioxidants and makes good anti-inflammatory support. Coconut is great for increasing nutrient absorption of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D, A and E and is improves bone health. Need I say more to convince you?!

Raw Coconut and Celery Salad recipe

Serves 2

8 fresh celery stalks (keep leaves for garnish)
5 tbs fresh grated coconut

For dressing
3 tbs thick natural yoghurt (if normal yoghurt used, drain excess water in paper coffee filter)
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt
1/2 lemon, juice (grate some lemon zest to garnish)

For garnish fresh mint and celery leaves

Grate the celery stalks or cut with knife to as thin julienne style strips as you can. Mix with grated coconut.
Mix all dressing ingredients and pour the dressing over raw coconut and celery, garnish with fresh mint and celery leaves and pinch of grates lemon zest.

If you do not have fresh coconut, you may substitute it with dessicated coconut, just soak it in water for 1 hour and squeeze excess water out before using.
NakedPlateBlog Coconut and Celery raw
NakedPlateBlog celery raw
The “RAW” foodphotography challenge #1 – 2014 by Simone van den Berg. I met Simone at Meeta K. Wolff’s Dubai Food Photo Workshop on last October 2013. Both Meeta and Simone are amazing photographers. Please check their blogs if you love absolutely stunning food photos and styling. What’s For Lunch Honey? and Simones Kitchen. I have learned tiny mini bit from both of them and keep on learning more. Simone is hosting food photography challenge with theme “Raw” until February 20th, 2014. This post is my input and attempt to kick my butt to take more photos because that’s the reason I have not been blogging for a while, I have set bar too high. I decided just start taking pictures and see where I’ll end. Click LINK to read more about Food Photography Challenge.

Here’s my “raw” themed photos for Simones challenge. I had some challenge indeed to open and break that coconut hence hammer in the picture.
NakedPlateBlog Coconut raw
NakedPlateBlog coconut raw2

Twisted Herb and Spelt Bread

Parsley and mint are regular ingredients in my cooking, not so in baking though. I could not believe how good this simple twisted herb bread turned out to be. I had already made decision time ago to avoid white flours in my home baked breads as much as possible. We had spelt and rye flour reserved for home bakery, I picked spelt and tweaked the basic recipe which I got from my secret Finnish baking buddy.
Twisted Herb Spelt Bread

Twisted Herb and Spelt Bread Recipe

100 ml milk
250 g of fromage frais (quark) or thick natural yoghurt
1 ts dry yeast or 25 g fresh yeast
1 tbs sugar
1 ts salt
300 g spelt flour
25 g smelted butter

25 g butter
1 cup finely cut fresh mint and parsley
1 tbs dry thyme or za’atar
1 tbs dry oregano
1 tbs dry basilica

Mix dry yeast with warm milk and sugar, let stand until it bubbles
Mix milk-yeast mixture with warm fromage frais and add salt
(If fresh yeast is used crumble it to lukewarm fromage frais and milk mixture and add sugar and salt).
Add half of spelt flour with fromage frais and milk-yeast mixture and mix well. Add rest of the flour and smelted butter and knead until nice slightly sticky dough forms, ax 5-10 minutes.
Let rise double of size covered with plastic foil or tea towel in warm place.

Roll risen dough into a rectangular shape on well floured table (n.30x40cm).
Brush the rolled bread dough with very soft butter, sprinkle dry herbs and spread fresh finely cut herbs over the dough.
Roll as if you would make swiss roll and lift the rolled bar on baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Cut the rolled bar from top to two parts leave connected from other end.
Twist with floured hands halved bar around each other, snip the ends together.
Let rise about 10 minutes covered with tea towel and bake in 200 Celsius degrees ax. 20 minutes or when golden brown.
Here’s two snapshots from my Lumia-phone camera to give idea of shaping the bread from roll to twisted bar, not so pretty I know, but that’s the beauty of baking at home. Taste is winner!
Naked Plate Herb Spelt Bread RolledNaked Plate Herb Spelt Twisted Bread
There ain’t better food than fresh home baked bread. Buttery herbal Twisted Herb Spelt Bread is best as is, or with side of mixed salad or soup.