Tag Archives: Finnish

Finnish Blueberry Tart Recipe

As you know I’m a BIG fan of Scandinavian cooking.  And this Blueberry tart is, for me. quintessentially Finnish. The pastry for this is so simple, and I’m reluctant to even call it a pastry as it’s not done in the traditional manner, but using a mixer with- shock horror- soft butter.  BUT this makes it easy to make, even for those terrified of their warm hands…. It also uses my FAV – Cardamon

Finnish Blueberry Tart

Cardamon Love

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Afternoon Tea Part 1- the non posh kind

It’s a given thing in our house, that anyone around the farm at approximately 4 o’clock in the afternoon, heads to Alan’s house for “tea”.  This has been happening for as long as we are in Waterford (15+ years), and I’m sure it happened before then too.  And the tea consists of tea, with a maximum of 2 biscuits.  In fact that was my first foray into speaking Finnish.  My nieces and nephews would ask Liisa (my Finnish sis in law) how many biscuits they could have.  And to this day, she still will say “kaksi keksejä”, which means two biscuits!  But sometimes it involves cake…

Some rather untidy pear tart for afternoon tea

Some rather untidy pear tart for tea

The key ingredient of course, of any afternoon is the tea. I try to use looseleaf when making a pot.  And I’ve lots of teapots. Lots. But sometimes only a bag in a cup will do.  My favourite is Breakfast tea blend, but try to have Darjeeling later through the day. And I know it sounds ridiculously snobby to have a a favourite tea.  But people have favourite coffee don’t they???

Afternoon tea can be fun- but also glamorous, and is a very relaxing way to spend time with friends and family. Afternoon tea, is in the fact the new cocktail hour in many hotels.  At some stage I want to try the one served in the Ritz Hotel in London.  They have served this meal since 1906!! But at £52 per person it’s a bit steep.  The more up to date version in Claridge’s (who have only been serving it for 150 years)  is a more informal setting focuses more on the food.

 Making the Perfect cup of Afternoon tea:

Using fresh water (very important because of aeration) bring the kettle to the boil.

Immediately “scald” the pot, leaving the water in it for around 5 minutes.  

Empty this water out.

Add one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per person into the warmed pot. Reboil the kettle and add onto the tea. Leave for about 3 minutes, stir and serve.


  Time for tea

Darjeeling, as it happens, is a perfect flavour to have with a creamy pastry, so says the king of pastry, Eric Lanlard.  So who am I to disagree? Course now that he’s said that, I’ll have to try it.  Won’t I??


Butter Chicken & Cardamom Recipe

I love cardamon.  I first tasted it when my sister in law cooked Pulla, a type of sweet bread flavoured with cardamom.  For years she would bring me back little packets of distinctive smelling goodness from her trips home to Turku.  Now, of course, you can get cardamom in most supermarkets. But I still prefer the pods.  Cracking them open makes me smile.  A foretaste of the banquet ahead.

This recipe in its purest form, it is yogurt-and-spice-marinated chicken dressed in a velvety red bath comprising butter, onions, ginger and tomatoes scented with garam masala, cumin and turmeric, with a cinnamon tang.  And of course, my added cardamom.

Copyright Jeni Pim

You can nearly smell the spices through the picture

Butter Chicken & Cardamom Recipe

Ingredients: 25g butter & 2 tablespoons butter extra

2 onions, halved and finely sliced

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

2 teaspoons each of garam masala, Turmeric and ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground fenugreek

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

12 cardamom pods, seeds removed

1 cinnamon stick

500g fresh tomato passata

50ml double cream

150ml yogurt

fresh coriander, chopped

cooked rice, to serve naan breads, to serve

Method: Heat some of the butter in a large pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for about 5 mins until soft.  Blitz the ginger and the garlic, then add this to the onion. Add the spices except the cinnamon and cardamom. Continue to cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes.

Copyright Jeni Pim

Spices, onion, garlic and ginger

Remove this to a bowl for later. Add the chicken to the pan with some butter, and continue to fry until turning golden brown. Remove once almost cooked. Add the spices, garlic, ginger and cardamon and passata to the pan, with the cinnamon and cardamom.  Leave to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.  Add the chicken back into the sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered.

Butter Chicken with Cardamom bubbling away

Butter Chicken with Cardamom bubbling away

Just before serving, stir in the extra butter, yogurt and cream, season to taste and serve scattered with coriander, and with the cooked rice

and some naan breads on the side.

Copyright Jeni Pim

Better late than never

As you know, I love food history, and reading about food history, but last night I got so wrapped up in reading about Pancake tuesday that it was Ash Wednesday before I saw it was FAR too late to start a blogpost.  So.  Tonight it is.

The earliest mentions of pancakes being eaten regularly the day before Lent is in the 15th Century, these “pancakes” were thicker than our modern nod to the French crepe.  It was around the 18th Century that the pancakes became thinner, under the influence of French cooking, that was becoming popular at the time.

Woman Baking Pancakes Adriaan de Lelie, picture c/o Rijks museum c. 1790 - c. 1810

Woman Baking Pancakes
Adriaan de Lelie, picture c/o Rijks museum c. 1790 – c. 1810

The ingredients involved in the pancake making represented four pillars of the Christian faith — eggs for creation, flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.  The term “shrove” comes from an old English verb “shrive,” meaning “confess all sins,” it was seen as the last opportunity for religious observers to indulge themselves before giving up food for Lent. Pancakes were adopted as the Shrove Tuesday food of choice because they contain many of the things that were forbidden during Lent, including butter, fat and eggs.  Often the first three pancakes  would be marked with the sign of the cross then sprinkled with salt to ward off evil.  These would then be set aside.  The eldest unmarried girl in the family would be let toss the first pancake.  Success meaning she would be married within the year.

What was interesting to me was the similar “day” elsewhere in the world. In Finland the day is called laskiainen and is generally celebrated by eating green pea soup and a pastry called laskiaispulla (sweet bread filled with whipped cream and jam or almond paste).

Pea soup, and cream filled buns

Pea soup, and cream filled buns

And in Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) and is marked by eating salted meat and peas! Think I will stick to the pancakes!

What pancakes did I make yesterday?  Only one type for a change.  Salted caramel ones.  Divine.  Seriously.

Tuesday 17 Feb 010



The Gingerbread Wreath

About 2 years ago I obsessed with making a Gingerbread man wreath, I made SO much gingerbread that I actually haven’t made gingerbread since.  But plan to make some more again this year.

The basic gingerbread recipe is a traditional Finnish recipe, given to me by my Finnish sister-in-law.

  • 350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g soft butter
  • 175g light softbrown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate

  • Writing icing
  • cake decorations


Preparation method

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 1800C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
My reindeer

My reindeer


  1. Roll the dough out to approx mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them, if not doing the wreath.  If you are doing the wreath, see below.
  2. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Wreath Preparation method

  1. Draw a circle on greaseproof, using a dinner plate, in pencil.
  2. Place the men, “holding hands”, using a pastry brush, paint water on the bottom hand, then press the top hand on top.
  3. Place in the freezer for ten minutes prior to cooking.

Leave to cool on the tray before threading ribbon through the little men.  This is NOT my pic, but I will pt mine up as soon as I have it made!