Nordic diet | Beef Stroganov

No it’s not a new weight loss program, its way of eating. Eating Nordic way is all about being locavore aka using as much as possible locally sourced seasonal ingredients. It’s a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and beneficial fats. The traditional Northern Europe diet emphasizes quality homemade and homegrown food, avoiding processed foods. Nordic diet consists of a wide variety of grains, berries, vegetables, fish, poultry, and game (hunting) meats. Since hunting is not option for most, the nearest of organic meat as wild meats is organic farmed poultry and beef. Nordic diet is comparable to celebrated Mediterranean diet in terms of nutrition.

I’m partnering with the good folks at OBE Organic, an organic and halal beef company from the Outback of Australia, that’s available right here in the UAE. Have you tried OBE Organic beef yet?

See what delicious iftar meal I made for you using their organic, halal and grass-fed beef. It’s Beef Stroganov alias Beef Stroganoff recipe.

Obe_Recipe_BeefStroganoffInOven_SM (1)

Originally from Russia “Beef à la Stroganov with mustard” was lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream without onions and mushrooms. Stroganoff is popular in Nordic countries. In Sweden, a common variant is “korv-stroganoff” aka sausage Stroganoff, which uses the local falukorv sausage as a substitute for the beef. In Finland, the dish is called makkara-stroganoff, “makkara” meaning any kind of sausage. Beef Stroganov is also a common dish in Finland. Finnish Stroganov is served with diced brined pickles.

OBEBeefStroganov_NakedPlateblog

DID YOU KNOW: OBE Organic’s beef is certified organic, 100% grass-fed and halal? Find OBE Organic halal beef in the meat section at select Carrefour stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And while you’re at it, “like” their page here on Facebook: OBE Organic Halal
Search for hashtag #HealthyRamadan in Twitter and Instagram, give some insta-love and tweets if you like.

Here’s how the OBE Organic meat packing looks at Carrefour supermarket meat section.
OBE Organic at Carrefour UAE

Korean Barbecue Bulgogi

Looking for healthy, easy and fast Ramadan recipes?

It’s been Korean food trend for a while in Dubai. Having tasted Korean barbecue bulgogi in few Korean restaurants, I was sure this is the beef dish I can re-create in my home kitchen.

This barbecue cooks quickly without having barbeque grill, just normal frying pan works best.  It takes max 15 minutes to prepare a healthy Korean style meal.  Slice the beef and dip into marinade for half an hour or more.

KoreanBarbecue_NakedPlate

Bulgogi Korean Barbecue recipe

    600 g beef (sirloin or tenderloin or any cut you prefer)

    1 onion

    For the marinade:

    1 apple or peer, peeled and finely grated

    4 tbs soy sauce

    2 tbs sesame oil

    1 ts tahini sauce

    1-2 tbs sugar

    1 tbs honey

    1 tbs crushed garlic

    1 tabs sesame seeds

    black pepper for your liking

 

Method

  1. Cut beef in slices (or strips)
  2. Cut onion in about 1/2 cm thick
  3. Mix all marinade ingredients in bowl
  4. Add beef and onion strips to marinade and let meat marinate for 30 minutes
  5. Heat the frying pan and grill beef on high heat

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seed and serve on lettuce leaves

#healthyRamadan Korean Barbecue Bulgogi

I have been partnering with OBE Organic, an organic beef company from the Outback of Australia that’s available right here in the UAE.

Follow hashtag #healthyRamadan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get cooking inspirations for your daily menu planning.

DID YOU KNOW: OBE Organic’s beef is certified organic, 100% grass-fed and halal?  Find Bbe Organic halal beef in the meat section at select Carrefour stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  Where to buy OBE organic

Sailors Beefsteak – Finnish recipe (Merimiespihvi)

In Finland this dish is called Sailors Steak; it’s said to be old favorite in sailorman galley. Browned meat, non alcoholic malt drink or beer, potatoes and onion is cooked in casserole in oven, or on top of the stove. I make it always in oven, that’s the beauty of it, Sailors beef steak cooks without attention. Preparation takes 15 minutes and cooking by itself 2 hours. This is fool proof recipe with the unique flavor.
NakedPlate-SailorsSteak
SAILORS BEEFSTEAK RECIPE: (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

600 g organic beef tenderloin (or any meat cuts for your liking)

8 potatoes (abt. 1 kg)

4 small onions sliced (two sautéed and two raw)

25 g butter or cooking oil

Salt and pepper

1 sprig of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups of beer or malt drink

For serving: pickled cucumber or beetroot and sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley

METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C
  2. Cut the meat into slices across the grain. If you use other cuts than tenderloin, pound the meat cuts with a mallet to tenderize.
  3. Brown the meat in a hot skillet quickly on both sides using only half the butter or oil. Remove to a plate.
  4. Lower the heat and sauté 2 of sliced onions in skillet slowly in the rest of the butter until they are soft and golden.
  5. Peel and slice the potatoes as thinly as possible.
  6. In a 1liter (1 quart) casserole dish, layer the potatoes with the browned meat and onions, sprinkling each meat layer with dash of the salt and pepper. I start with a layer of potatoes, meat and sautéed and raw onions. Repeat and make the last layer one of potatoes.
  7. Rinse the skillet with the beer. Pour into the casserole. Add the bay leaves.
  8. Cover with lid. Bake for 2 hours in 180 °C oven or until the meat is tender and potatoes are soft.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Sailors Steak is traditionally served with pickled beetroots or cucumbers.

SailorsBeefsteak ingredients

 

I have used OBE Organic beef tenderloin which I bought as a part of Ramadan collaboration with the good folks at @OBEOrganicHalal, an organic beef company from the Outback of Australia that’s available right here in the UAE. This Sailors Beefsteak – Finnish recipe (in Finnish ‘Merimiespihvi’) is one of my favorite because of the effortless cooking, practically it takes 15 minutes to prepare, plus cooking time in oven without no stress and standing by stove. I did not want to share this as part of Ramadan recipes because it has beer, nevertheless it’s non-alcoholic malt drink available here in UAE in every supermarket, but it can be easily associated to it’s boozy version.

DID YOU KNOW: OBE Organic’s beef is certified organic, 100% grass-fed and halal? Find @obeorganichalal beef in the meat section at select Carrefour stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And while you’re at it, “like” their page here on Facebook: www.facebook.com/obeorganichalal.

 

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

Read More »

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.

NakedPlateBlog_Baked_CottageCheese

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.
NakedPlateBlog_Finnish_Cottage_Cheese

Baked Finnish Cottage Cheese recipe

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

Preparation:
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.

NakedPlateBlog_Baked_Cottage_Cheese

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.
HelsinkiFoto2014_SummerNights

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

HelsinkiFoto2014-ArtificialLightExercise

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-Picnic
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.

HelsinkiFoto2014-TocaRestaurant

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?

THE HEAT IS ON IN HELSINKI by Simone.

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
DubaiFoodPhoto2014_flyer

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

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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 :
AlKitby_farm_AlAin_UAE
AlKitbyFarm_UAE
AlKitby_Farm_UAE
Al Kitby UAE Organic Farm_visit
AlKitby UAE Organic Farm_visit
From UAE AlKitbyFarm to Farmers market Dubai
HoneyAlKitbyFarmUAE

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

FarmersMarketDubai

Pomgranate_juice_FarmersMarketDubai

FarmersMarketDuba_produce

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation:

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
Ingredients:
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.

Filling:
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