Welcome to the fourth episode of the Last 7 Days of Cooking series! This time there is no specific theme; the dishes, ranging from first courses to desserts, are mostly Italian with some Asian diversions.
When temperature drops and daylight gets shorter in winter, what would you like to have for dinner? The first thing that comes to my mind is a warm homemade soup, absolutely. Here are three of my favorite soups I hope they will help you to beat cold weather!
In late October, a friend of mine invited me to Karjaa in Southern Finland. It takes about an hour by train to reach there from the Leppävaara railway station. After I arrived, my friend – the one who brought me Surprise Herbs and Baby Greens last summer – picked me up and together we visited a small Finnish farm that is one of the places worth visiting west of Helsinki.
Rejböle Gård is run by Mikaela Berghäll and is not “just” a farm. It offers several interesting activities such as picking berries or mushrooms, private cooking classes, and even accommodation for two families. So if you have a chance to visit Southern Finland, do not miss it!
Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish made with rice and hot stock with several different ingredients (such as mushrooms, seafood, and so on). It is particularly popular in northern Italy because that area is suitable for cultivation of rice. The best risotto should be creamy, rich, and with a just right consistency (enough cooked, but not mushy). Normally people cook risotto with special short-grain rice which contains a lot of starch and can absorb enough liquid. Those varieties include: arborio, vialone nano, carnaroli, and so on.
Porcini are one of my favorite ingredients especially for risotto because they have a unique woody flavor and aroma – though I love all mushrooms. It is easier to find dried porcini rather than fresh ones. If so, you can use not only the mushroom but also the soaking water as stock for your cooking. There is nothing to throw away. Cool, isn’t it?
Making risotto is not difficult, but it needs time. Anyway, you need to know the basic steps and some best practices. If you’ve never cooked risotto before, that’s fine. However, I suggest to read my tips and the additional links below as they will help you to better understand. Once you know how to cook risotto, you will be able to make it not only with porcini but also with other ingredients with minor modifications. Let’s see how!
In Finland midsummer is celebrated every year on the first Saturday after June 19th – June 23rd this year – and marks the beginning of summer vacations for Finns. During this holiday time, which can last a full month or even more, also many restaurants are closed. So if you plan to visit Helsinki during this time of the year, remember that you will have less choice for eating out. One of them is the KuuKuu restaurant in Töölö.
I’ve been to KuuKuu several times before, and I’ve never been disappointed so far. KuuKuu offers traditional Finnish dishes such as salmon soup and also several dishes with seasonal vegetables and local products. My favorite dishes are grilled veal liver and the fish of the day, but this time I wanted to try something new!