Finnish delicacy – leipäjuusto with cloudberries

Today I’d like to tell you a bit about two very typical Finnish products – leipäjuusto and cloudberries that can be married into a really fast and delicious dessert. Leipäjuusto is a kind of fresh cheese made of cow’s milk, or traditionally from cow’s beestings. Direct translation of the name means bread cheese and I guess the name comes from it’s looks – dark brown spots that appear after the cheese is baked. Or maybe from the simple, yet  unusual fact that it is put into stoves just like bread is. The texture is very firm, a bit rubbery, maybe somewhat reminiscent to halloumi in this sence, yet totally different. Because of it’s texture it is also sometimes called squeaky cheese as it makes really funny noises when you eat it warm. I love it’s texture and the sound it makes, it’s simply a part of the fun when eating this dessert, but I know many people, particularly foreigners might be a bit discouraged by it. The cheese is very mild in taste, milky with a hint of sweetness and it can be used in desserts but also appears often in salads.

Cloudberries are another very typical Finnish ingredient. I know, I know, I should put here a picture of a real fruit not just jam, but you see… I somehow never really went to pick them up 😉 It’s a tricky business (or so I keep telling myself 😉 ). The fruit might look a tiny bit like a yellow raspberry, but unfortunately it doesn’t grow like one. The raspberries grow on a tall bush, and they are lots, making it easy to pick them up. Cloudberries, are more like wild strawberry bushes and sadly one plant forms only one berry! What a job to fill in a basket with them! Even worse, they grow sparse, only in separated places (known to the avid cloudberry foragers, not lame couch potatoes like me 😉 ) and preferentially in wetlands among hordes of mosquitos. Phew… does it sound like a good excuse? 😉 Anyway, they are really delicious and both the leipäjuusto and cloudberries are a must try when you’re visiting Finland.

INGREDIENTS:

leipäjuusto

muscovado sugar

double cream

cloudberry jam

Cut the cheese into small pieces, sprinkle muscovado sugar on top of them. Pour double cream, not too much, it shouldn’t cover cheese. Put to oven under grill and heat up till the sugar is caramelised. Serve with cloudberry jam.

Make jam when life gives you flowers :)

Oh, what a great weekend 🙂 We had a really nice relaxing time – some shopping, some cooking, a bit of hanging around and a really neat day trip with friends (maybe I’ll post some pictures later on). But, the most important part of the weekend was that finally, the rose bushes next to our flat started to blossom! And that means that the time has come to make a jam from rose petals! Yup, I’m not crazy, you can make a kind of jam from flowers. It is actually he taste of my childhood. My grandma uses it mixed together with plum marmalade to stuff doughnuts. The rose petal jam doesn’t have any particular taste, it is sugary with tiny bit tart aftertaste, but it’s totally not about it. Everything comes to it’s amazing smell! It is used to perfume whatever you mix it with and it is fantastic! I collect petals from Rosa Rugosa, that is a very common shrub in Europe. When collecting the petals you need to remember not to pick them in the vicinity of any road. The preserves are really easy to make and there is so much sugar that you don’t even need to bother with pasteurization.

Ingredients:

rose petals

sugar

1. Collect the petals. You’ll need quite much of those. The above tiny jar of jam was made from a salad bowl full of petals.

2. Spread the petals on the table covered with newspapers and let all inhabitants escape 😉

3. Now the most tiresome task – grab scissors and cut away all the white parts of petals. They are really bitter and need to be removed.

4. Put the petals eg to your measuring flask and squeeze them very tight there with your hand, look at the volume that they take in the dish, now that’s the volume of sugar you’re gonna add

5. Blend the petals together with sugar. If it is too watery, then add a bit more sugar. Transfer to clean jar.