Roast Vege Quinoa Salad

roast vege quinoa salad

roast vege quinoa salad

This is a very easy, quick and delicious salad. A little bit the flavour profile of a ratatouille but without the tomato and instead of being stewy, the veges are caramellised on the outside and goey on the inside.

There are only a couple of tricks to it:

  • Roast in a hot oven to avoid stewing the veges
  • use a large tray (or two) so all the veges are in one layer (see above)
  • use plenty of olive oil and season well
  • use way less water to cook the quinoa than typically instructed on the quinoa box

It’s good warm but I think it’s better the next day served at room temp after a night of mingling in the fridge. This recipe is courtesy of our daughter’s godmother. Thanks Laura!

  • 1 large or a couple of medium sized onions
  • 1 large courgette
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 100ml quinoa
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • some form of acid (lemon or vinegar – I’d stare clear of sweeter vinegars personally though) – you can leave this out at a pinch too

Optionally you can also add:

  • fresh herbs
  • crumbled feta (though I’d tone down the salt on the veges a bit if using feta)
  1. Preheat your oven to 225C.
  2. Wash and slice all the veges into bite sized chunks (inch cubed about, but it’s not super important).
  3. Lay the veges out onto one (or more) baking trays so that they’re in one layer.
  4. Generously coat the veges in oil and season well with salt and freshly milled black pepper.
  5. Roast for about 30mins or until they veges have caramellised. At this point they should be pretty well cooked through, but sometimes the courgettes in particular still have a little bite to them which I personally don’t mind.
  6. Remove from the oven and cook the quinoa.
  7. Most instructions say cook quinoa with 2 pars of water to one part of quinoa. That’s too porridgey for my taste. Better is 1-to-1 in my opinion. So follow the packet instructions but use 100ml of quinoa and 100ml of water (or stock).
  8. Mix the veges and quinoa and allow to cool.

Luumukisseli / Prune Soup

Commonly in Finland you may be served ‘kisseli’ for desert. I’m not sure what might be a very good translation for that. I’ve seen ‘fool’ but I don’t really know what that is. To me they’re like fruit soups, typically thickened with starch (usually potato flour). These can be made from basically anything. I’ve probably had a kisseli of every colour in the rainbow and every fruit you could find. Raspberry, orange, rosehip, they’re all good. Most traditional at xmas time though would be prune kisseli.

Recipe basically straight translated (with some minor modifications) from here.

  • 200g prunes
  • about 1L water
  • 75ml sugar
  • 50ml water + 2T potato flour
  1. Place the prunes, water and sugar into a large saucepan.
  2. Warm over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, until can leave it for 20-30 minutes (keeping a rough eye on it) until the prunes have swollen and softened. Add extra water if it looks like it’s running low and the prunes are still too hard.
  4. Mix the 50ml of water and potato flour together.
  5. Pour the starch mixture in a steady, slow stream into the prunes whilst stirring. It should thicken very quickly, so stop when you’ve reached the desired consistency.
  6. Depending on how you like it, you can buzz the mix with a hand-blender, or do what I typically do, mash it with a potato masher to break the prunes up a bit (they should be so soft that they easily collapse).

Serve cool, optionally with whipped cream.

Rice Porridge

Rice porridge is a very traditional thing to have at Christmas up North. Or actually any time during the winter but especially at Christmas. It’s super easy, it just takes a little bit of time.

  • 200ml porridge rice (i.e. starchy rice like risotto rice)
  • 100ml water
  • 2T butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1L milk
  1. Place the water and butter into a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the butter is melted.
  2. Add the rice, and stir until the water and rice have mostly been absorbed.
  3. Add the milk, raise the heat to high and whilst stirring continuously, bring to the boil.
  4. Once at the boil, drop the heat to low (3 out of 10-ish).
  5. Stir once every 5 or 10 minutes (to make sure that the milk doesn’t catch to the bottom of the pan) leave to the milk has mostly been absorbed. This should take something between 30-60minutes.
  6. Add a pinch of salt now, if you wish, and stir.
  7. Remove from the heat and leave to come to room temp.
  8. Transfer to the fridge.

In Finland, in my circles, this is typically served (at least at Christmas) with ‘luumukisseli’ or Prune ‘soup’ and whipped cream. In Sweden, or as a less decadent version you can served it warmed with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

Grainfree Banana Pancakes

On the same theme as the last post, here’s another super simple and yet awesome recipe. However, this one is even simpler. What could be simpler than 3 ingredients and 10mins? 2 ingredients and 10 mins :)

This recipe did the rounds in Finland a year ago or something. Again it feels like it has to be a scam. “So you’re telling me you can make pancakes from just bananas and eggs!? And they’re good?!”. Yes and yes.

They don’t need any sugar or anything. The banana is plenty sweet enough.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  1. Chuck everything into a blender.
  2. Blend.
  3. Fry in a pan with butter (à la normal pancakes).

Yeah, it’s that easy. Definitely worth trying

Passionfruit Posset

passionfruit posset

cooling on the windowsill

This is one of the simplest desserts you can make. And it’s awesome. And that’s pretty awesome for me, as I can’t say I’m overly blessed with free time at the moment (young child to look after and all). Feels like it’s some kind of trick to be honest. 3 ingredients and 10 minutes and I get that?! Yeah, worth trying out.

A posset is more traditionally made with lemon. However this is a Kiwi-fied version. Passionfruit is kinda exotic for Finns. Not that exotic for a Kiwi – I had great up with a passionfruit vine in the back yard.

  • 200ml whipping cream (~35% fat)
  • 1/3C white sugar
  • 4 passionfruit
  1. Bring the the cream and sugar to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar
  2. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes
  3. Meanwhile halve the passionfruit, scoop the pulp and seeds into a sieve, and stir with a spoon until you’ve got seeds left in the sieve and juice in a bowl.
  4. Take the cream off the heat, add passionfruit juice and stir to mix
  5. Pour into small glasses, and place in the fridge overnight to set.
  6. Serve with berry of whatever else takes your fancy.

Zucchini, Feta, Lemon and Herb Quinoa

Quinoa is basically couscous for celiacs, so in that sense it’s pretty versatile – it’s more about what you put with it than the quinoa itself. This is just a just a decent starting point: It could be changed up in many different ways, or swapped around depending on what you have available. Having said that, this is a lovely combo.

Recipe based on this.

  • 400g quinoa
  • 500g water
  • 400g zucchini (aka courgette)
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 200g feta
  • a handful each of coriander and parsley
  • 1 lemon
  1. Put the quinoa, the water, the zest from the lemon, 1T of oil, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper in a pop over a medium low heat i.e. just gently simmering (reserving the zested lemon for later).
  2. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the fluid and the base of the pot is dry and the quinoa, fluffy.
  3. Slice the zucchini and place over a medium high heat in a frying pan with some salt, pepper and olive oil. If it’s a large zucchini with a particularly ‘fluffy’ inside, you can remove the fluffy part.
  4. Saute the zucchini until it takes a bit of colour but still retains a bit of firmness and doesn’t completely turn to mush.
  5. Allow the quinoa to cool then add the zucchini, chopped herbs, the juice of the lemon, 2T of oil, crumbled feta and stir to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

Maiju prefers this warm, but I reckon it’s better when left to come down to room temperature.



Grainfree Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

These are quite wicked, quick, tasty and completely grain-free. Snappy and crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. And quick and easy to make.

glutenfree chocolate and pecan cookie

  • 150g chocolate
  • 175g chopped pecans (1.5C)
  • 400g icing sugar (3C)
  • 65g (3/4C) cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt (1/4t)
  • the whites of four eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 220C.
  2. Whisk together the icing sugar, salt and cocoa powder to remove any lumps.
  3. Add in the egg whites and mix.
  4. Add in the chopped chocolates and nuts and mix.
  5. Place on a sheet pan with a decent amount of space between each cookie as they’ll about double in size.
  6. Place the cookies into the oven for about 25 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool fully before trying to remove from the pan.
  8. Enjoy!

Christmas Date Cake – Taatelikakku

It’s traditional to have a date cake at Christmas time in Finland. This works really well as a glutenfree cake as, the date fibers do a good job of holding the cake together and combating the usual glutenfree ‘crumbliness’. And they also add an awesome natural, caramel flavour. What follows here is pretty much a straight translation to English of this recipe.

  • 300ml water
  • 150ml brown sugar
  • 250g stone-less dates
  • 200g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2t vanilla sugar (or 1t of vanilla extract)
  • 2t psyllium husk powder
  • 2t baking powder
  • 350ml ‘fine’ glutenfree flour
  1. Dice the dates and place them into a pot with the sugar and water.
  2. Simmer the mix over a medium heat until it’s thick and the date have fully ‘broken down’.
  3. Take the pot off the heat, add the butter and stir it melts and blends in.
  4. Leave it to cool to room temperature. When cooled, add the eggs and beat until smooth.
  5. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, psyllium powder and vanilla sugar and mix in until just mixed.
  6. Pour the batter into a well-greased cake tin.
  7. Bake at the bottom of a 175C oven for about 50-60 minutes or until ready.
  8. Leave to cool to room temperature before eating (it’s much better cool).

Berry Quark / Marjarahka

berries in Hakaniemi market square

Down to the market to get some fresh berries.

raspberries, blueberries and cherries at Hakaniemi market square

raspberries, blueberries and cherries. Had to get a bag of each

There’s this stuff called ‘rahka’ in Finland (generally translated as ‘quark’). Which I haven’t really seen outside of Scandy, but I’ll include this recipe here anyway as it’s ridiculously easy and really good :) It’s some kind of dairy product, like thick yoghurt. I guess you could get near enough to this though by using greek yoghurt of whipped heavy cream, or mascarpone or something.

You can put basically anything you want with it, but as it’s the middle of a very warm summer here, and as I’ve been off work for two weeks (paternity leave), we’ve made it an almost daily routine to wander down to the local market square and collect some berries. So berries it is. Which also happen to be one of my favourite food things in Finland.

Here I chosen to use raspberries and strawberries. As a word of warning, the Finnish food safety authority (Elvira) advises that you shouldn’t eat raw raspberries from outside Finland, as they might contain some nasty parasite. Would probably pay to check the situation in your own country (I’ve never heard of such a parasite in New Zealand for example). And you could of course just leave them out or substitute them for something else.

  • 1l strawberries
  • ½l raspberries
  • 500g creamy rahka
  • icing sugar to taste (depending on how sweet or tart the berries are)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Enjoy :)

Blueberry Pie

Summertime in Finland = lovely fresh berries. Having said that, you can make this equally well with frozen blueberries in the middle of winter.

The pastry here is more like a cheesecake base than a traditional pastry. But to be honest even with the help of gluten I could never really figure out pastry and post-diagnosis all my attempts at a traditional style pastry have ended in disappointment. But this is good. Just not really ‘pastry’ per se. Pastryish enough though.

glutenfree blueberry pie

why is it “blueberry” – things you wonder whilst learning a foreign language

  • 125g melted butter
  • 1C almond meal
  • 1C buckwheat flour
  • 3/4C brown sugar
  • 1t psyllium husk powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1l blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3C potato flour (I imagine corn starch could be used as a substitute)
  • 1/3C icing sugar
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the pastry and press into a loose-bottomed pie tin.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the filling and tip it into the base.
  3. Put the pie into 180C oven for about 35-40mins or until such time as the blueberries have begun to get jammy and the pastry has taken a little colour.