Saturday, May 26, 2012

A simple Finnish appetizer you must try

When I finally returned to Manila from Kota Kinabalu, waiting for me at my desk at the Travelife Magazine office were two beautiful coffee table books on Finnish cooking courtesy of Finnish Ambassador Heikki Hannikainen. He wrote in a note: "I remembered you had an interest in Finnish cooking and I found these books at the office. I hope you will find them useful."

Scandinavian cuisine has been in the news a lot lately because of Noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen that only serves dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients, that has been named by the S. Pellegrino List as the best restaurant in the world for several years running. Since Noma stepped up onto the world stage, there's been great interest in the food from this part of the world and many Scandinavian chefs themselves have been more inspired to experiment and further their culinary talents.

I looked through the two cookbooks full of beautiful photos, and instantly I became hungry. Thank goodness I had a nice lunch with someone on my calendar that same day.

And for dinner, I was planning to cook a meal at home for a couple of friends. Receiving this gift of cookbooks from Ambassador Hannikainen inspired me to try one of the Scandinavian dishes listed that needed ingredients easily sourced in Manila.

I looked through everything and realized that Scandinavians love and use a lot of fish in their dishes. But as the dinner was in a couple of hours and I'd already planned most of the menu, I didn't think I could do a Finnish fish dish -- especially one for the first time -- so quickly after work.

But after leafing through the books, I found a Finnish appetizer with easy ingredients, and so I decided to prepare this for my friends coming over. What a great success it was. It was simple and delicious. No stress. Later on, I bumped into Ambassador Hannikainen at a party and he told me that Finnish food is really about fresh ingredients and simple cooking. I'm sharing it with blog readers, for those interested in sampling a bit of Finnish cuisine -- and impressing their friends, the way I did.

Scroll down for the recipe.

(for 4 persons)

For the apple rings:
8 slices of apple about 1 cm thick
1 egg
1 dl flour
100 grams sesame seeds
Salt and white pepper
Rapeseed oil for frying 

For the honey sauce:
2 tomatoes
8 sticks of radish
1 bunch of chives
1 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 dl plain yoghurt
1 dl whipping cream
2 tbsp liquid honey
Salt and white pepper

To prepare the apple rings:
1) Peel and core the apples and cut them into rings about 1 cm thick.
2) Whisk the egg yolk lightly.
3) Rub the rings into the flour and then in the lightly whisked egg yolk.
4) Coat them with sesame seeds.
5) Fry them in low heat in rapeseed oil until they are golden brown. Then season with salt and pepper.

To prepare the honey sauce:
1) Scald the tomatoes, cut them in half and remove the seeds, and then cut them into even-sized cubes.
2) Grate the radishes into a bowl. Add the chopped coriander leaves and finely chopped chives. Mix these together and add the yoghurt and cream.
3) Add the honey and season with salt and pepper.

To plate:
Place a pool of the honey sauce on the plate and arrange the apple rings on top.

Happy eating!


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