Mulled white wine with raspberries

A much as I always loved Christmas, the nowadays commercialised version of it just gets on my nerves. Year by year, shops are decorated with Christmas stuff even earlier, pervasive commercials make you feel as if the nuclear war is coming and you just HAVE TO buy all the presents NOW, at least a month in advance (not to mention omnipresent, nerve-wracking “Laaaaast Christmas” song putting it’s final touch to spoil the mood). Yes, it is somehow uplifting to see all of this beautiful decorations, and yes,  it is nice to feel that soon you’ll get several days off your work, but for God’s sake why to start with all of it already in November? By early December I’m sooo fed up with all the “ho ho ho”, buy presents thingy, that I try to avoid shopping at the malls at all costs.  However, I do like Christmas time as such, the time of anticipation for something special to happen. Nowadays, it doesn’t have much of a religious meaning to me but it is all about the family gathering, slowing down the pace, going back to the basics.

The Christmas time has a scent, a beautiful smell of cinnamon, cardamom and orange peel. Making mulled wine is one of those great  Christmas traditions. In every country it is made differently and called differently, but the point is the same – to combine the wonderful  aroma of Christmas with a delicious soul-warming beverage. Glögi, as it is called here in Finland, is THE thing that makes me feel like Christmas time has come. There’s nothing better than a warm cup of glögi in the evening. We usually are fine with a non-alcoholic version of it that is extremely popular here, but once the temperatures dropped below -15C we decided it’s time to make it “real” and spice it up with some booze 😉 The recipe comes from a finnish magazine Kotivinkki and it’s absolutely addictive 😉


400g frozen raspberries
1/2 dl sugar
5 dl apple juice
2 star anise
1 piece of cinnamon bark, broken in half
10 green cardamoms, crushed delicately

5 dl white wine

1. Add raspberries, sugar, juice and spices to a saucepan. Boil on a small heat for about 10 min.
2. Use a sieve to separate the spices and berries from the liquid.
3. Add the wine and heat it up (do not boil!).


Lamb stew from South Africa

So it’s official. The real winter has finally arrived. The temperature has dropped below -10C and the world out there is completely white. As much as I shiver every time I look outside of the window, still I really enjoy the frost, but only when accompanied by sunshine. The world is then just like taken straight from a fairy tale. Tiny particles of ice shine like little diamonds all over the trees. For such weather there is nothing better than the ultimate winter dish – stew. Slowly cooked meat in a flavorful sauce is surely one of the best comfort foods in such weather. I’ve found this delicious recipe on Fork Spoon Knife blog and changed it slightly according to the contents of my fridge ;). Below you’ll find my version of the mouthwatering South African lamb bredie.




400g of lamb shoulder, diced into cubes


400g can of tomatoes

2 red chilies, diced fine

2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

100ml beef stock

5 whole black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick, cut in half

6-7 whole cloves

4-5 cardamom pods, very slightly crushed

1 tsp brown sugar

salt, pepper as needed

100g  peas



finger sized ginger piece, grated

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1. Marinade the meat overnight.

2. Dry roast the cloves, cinnamon and whole peppercorns, set aside once they are fragrant. Brown the meat in a little bit of butter in a cast iron pot. Add the tomatoes, chilli, cardamom, stock, salt and pepper and stir well. Slowcook the meat in the oven in about 120C for 2-3h.

3. Once the meet starts to become soft and fall apart, add the potatoes and cook till they are soft. Add peas, return to the oven for several more minutes. Serve with rice.

Luscious dessert – Berries poached in wine with mascarpone cheese

It’s been a while since I was preparing any dessert. I basically don’t enjoy baking that much when it’s hot, and I’m sure this summer hit the record in Finnish history – the temperatures were skyrocketing for this latitude! It was simply amazing how hot it was. Ok, if I say that the record temperature was +37C you’ll just laugh, but well here in the far North it is a serious thing when scale reaches over 30C 😉 Actually I don’t remember a single day last summer that had a temperature over 30C… so you see, we don’t get much heat here in general. Well, I don’t complain actually, I’m not a fan of hot weather, my organism starts to go on strike above 25C, so Nordic countries are in a way perfect for me. There is another great plus of living so far North. We get here wonderful berries, the forests right now are full of billberries, cranberries, lingonberries and if you’re lucky you may find some cloudberries as well. This time of  the year is perfect to get most of the nature goods, also the mushrooms starts to appear. That makes me additionally thrilled as Mr. No Onion Please is also Mr. No Mushrooms Please, however this year he has promised to try some mushroom dishes (YAY 😉 that’s another story though). Ok, so back to the recipe. I wanted so much to make a dessert with mixed berries and must say that as usual when it comes to fruit desserts Gordon Ramsay is unbeatable. I’ve found this recipe when I was looking through his “Fast food” book. The original calls for blackberries and figs (extremely difficult to be found here in a good quality), but a mixture of strawberries, billberries and raspberries fits amazingly well! I really loved it. The berries poached in wine are a bit syrupy and sweet, however as soon as they are paired with heavy, creamy mascarpone one just realises how perfectly everything fits together. Mmmm…. I want to eat it againnnn


1 vanilla pod

250ml red wine (eg. Merlot)

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 star anise

100g sugar

400g mixture of various berries

250g mascarpone

2 tbsp icing sugar

1. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds, reserve both the pod and seeds.

2. Pour the wine into the pot, add the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, cloves, anise and sugar and slowly bring to the boil. Lower the heat to simmer, add the fruits and poach gently for 5-7 min. Let it cool down completely

3. Mix the mascarpone together with vanilla seeds and icing sugar.

4. Divide mascarpone and poached fruits. It will be enough for 4 portions.

Pears poached in perry

You know those days when you’re craving for something sweet, yet are full of guilt of even thinking about any kind of  dessert? Well time to go back to good old fruit desserts before the bikini time is here 😉 . Usually pears are poached in an alcohol that gives them quite distinct flavour from their own one. But no worries here, pear cider nicely complements their natural taste and the spices are balanced perfectly! The recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s book “Great British Pub Food”.


4 ripe pears

700ml pear cider

100g caster sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

10 cloves

3 star anise

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1. Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan, except for the pears.

2. Bring the syrup to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to thicken it slightly (don’t worry about the foaming, the liquid will clear further on).

3. Peel the pears and soak them in the syrup. Take care they are fully immersed in the liquid. Poach pears for 15-20 min till soft but still tender.

4. Take the pears out and return the liquid back to the heat and boil till it is reduced and thickened. Pour it over the pears to coat. Serve with ice-cream or whipped cream.