Crackerin’ up

I got re-united with my beloved donutrator ( I don’t dehydrate donuts, the shape of my dehydrator is like a donut) last Sunday, and since I have been hydrating my obsessive needs to dehydrate stuff. The toilet has been smelling of delicious food for the past 3 days, because that is the only place where I am allowed to use the donutrator, since there the constant humming is the least disturbing. It’s no Excalibur, but my dear Rommersbacher which I bought for a fair price from the flea market few years ago, definitely can get stuff dry, crispy and tasty!

 

Dry basics: apples, bananas and rutabaga chips
Dried basics: apples, bananas and rutabaga chips

Besides fruits, I have been experimenting with different crackers. Sadly enough, I am rather bad at taking measurements for recipes. Whats even more sad, is that my appetite is like of an obese weight watcher’s on a cheat day; therefore I often forget to take pictures of the fruits of my labour and the loving care of the donutrator (sounds like a weird diet, right?). However, I do have one or few recipe-ish for you.

Making crackers is fairly simple: just blend some nuts/seed combo, maybe add some vegetables and definitely spices, put the dough in your dehydrator or donutrator or even conventional oven, smell the nice smells and be patient. I prefer making the crackers in the evening, so I’ll have more to look forward to when waking up the next day!

 

O-mega! Chia, hemp, pea protein, veggies - good for more than your bones
O-mega! Chia, hemp, pea protein, veggies – good for more than your bones

Few notes on making crackers:

– Flax and chia seeds (grind to flour) work well as binding agent.
– If you blend for example sunflower/pumpkin seeds, leave some whole ones for extra texture. Chopped sun dried tomatoes give nice crunch, too.
– Vegetable pulp/grated veggies i.e carrots bring lightness to the dough. Remember to squeeze excess liquid out (in a nutbag, for example).
– Use nut pulp from making nut milk! Also sprouted quinoa and/or buckwheat are great for crackers, they make it more like hard bread.

Sweet!

Easy apple chocolate carob cookies:
– 1 dl nut pulp
– 1 medium peeled apple, blended / 0,5 dl applesauce
– few drops of vanilla/toffee stevia and some honey for sweetness
– 2-4 tsp each of cacao and carob powder or as much as you like (or be athletic and use chocolate protein powder!)
– cacao nibs and other nibbles (pieces of nuts, mulberries, gojis) for crunch,
– cinnamon, nutmeg and such for extra flavor

Mix everything together and form a dough that sticks enough (some coconut oil can help with this), and get creative with forming whatever shapes you want and your dehydrator allows. Leave overnight, but do turn them around if you happen to go pee (or snack) during the night. Depending on how moist you want your cookies, keep and eye on them for the perfect consistency.

I will have a picture of these babies tomorrow morning unless I eat them before remembering that I could be an almost proper food blogger if I was a bit more patient. But they smell so good, you’ll understand how hard it is!

 

Vegetables. Shrunk in size yet not in flavor!
Vegetables. Shrunk in size yet not in flavor!

There’s more! If you want to swap your Doritos, Lays (or Taffel here in Finland) or whatever other chips you munch, to something way more interesting, enter the root veggies!

Vegetable chips
– Big carrot (if it is small, it will become tiny. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s less fancy and visual treat)
– Rutabaga
– Sweet potato
– Any other veggies (except for beets. I am traumatized from beets and just cannot handle them, except for the dumplings in Restaurant Day, krhm.)

sauce:
– a nice splash of (apple) cider vinegar
– salt
– cayenne pepper/chili
– powdered onion/garlic
– any other spices you fancy, take your pick
– for possibly desired sweetness, some honey, agave or other sweetener (really not necessary)
– for possibly desired fatness, some coconut oil (chips without fat? Ooooooh, diet food!)

Yep, you guessed it: mix ’em all together, lay on the donutrator (nope, I can’t get enough of that word) and be patient. This stuff crispens out and shrinks pretty fast compared to the crackers, so you might want to watch out for these babies and snack a few samples every few hours. They will keep in airtight container for fairly long, unless you have a good movie to watch. They can also be used in soups or other dishes, for example in salads.

 

Kale chips and friends
Kale chips and friends

 

Who said raw food is just about slurping wheatgrass shots and green smoothies?

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More Carnivals and few tips for Helsinki

Apparently my time in Helsinki was all about good people, cakes and other (gourmet) food! NB: This post includes links to recommended places in Helsinki, most of them are in Finnish. However, I bet you get the idea and I do recommend you to visit even though you don’t understand much of the interwebs info. Reality is so much better, anyways. And they do speak English.

If you ever go to Helsinki and you care about what you eat and drink, I highly recommend Johan & Nyström in Katajanokka. I have posted pictures before, this time around I went for some serious cake tasting. The place has a good selection on different raw cakes and pastries, and you can also get different kinds of quality coffees and teas. However, there are better places to get your caffeine fix: Caffi, Kaffa Roastery, Gruppo Coffee Lab just to name a few better than average places…Helsinki has much more brewing on than in Tampere, and I still have more places to check out!

After Eight (the winner), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström
After Eight (the winner of the tasting), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström

Last Thursday was The Night of the Arts in Helsinki, which included loads of cultural events around the city. Since I was busy with the Raw Food course, I couldn’t attend anything, I just had time to visit Teurastamo, an old slaughterhouse nowadays a culture space and a restaurant, which hosted a night market carnival event. Too bad Evira didn’t allow crickets to be served for some ridiculous reasons, such as not all species are edible (not all mushrooms are edible, but some are still eaten! Why are the Asians eating crickets and still alive?), I would have liked to try those. In stead, we had some delicious summer rolls from Rulla, and my dad enjoyed some frog legs as well. This was my first visit to Teurastamo area, which also hosts a solar-powered kitchen. Pretty cool atmosphere and area!

Carnival in a slaughterhouse
Carnival feeling
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse

I am back in Tampere now, but can’t wait to go back to Helsinki to try out few other places. I already had a terrific lunch for a fairly reasonable price (9,7€ for mediterranean appetizer buffet, main course and fruits+coffee) in Krog Madame, which besides the delicious food and good looking staff also has a nice patio. Another place with a nice atmosphere: Cafe Köket (the Swedish name is a bit misleading) near the big church. Nice service and good breakfast in Finnish designer environment.

Take your pick and move to the buffet table
Take your pick and move to the buffet table

Since I seem to have so many new favorites around town I might have to dedicate a separate post to them all. But while I’m at it (or not really), check out Costo, the coolest hats I know and own. I might have bought 2 new ones this past week.

Something was going on in Tampere this weekend and upcoming week: DesignOn Tampere and Design market.

Finnish hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff
Hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff from Finland

I love happenings!

Restaurant Day Asian Raw Bar

Good people, good food and good vibes
Good people, good food and good vibes

Approx. 24hrs of work, but totally and beyond worth it: this Restaurant Day most likely blew away many of those who are sceptic towards raw foods, but also was something special to those already dedicated to the subject.

Even Raw Dessert Chef Maria Lönnqvist approved!
Even Raw Dessert Chef Maria Lönnqvist approved!

The mouth-watering super-delicious [insert other phrase words here] menu was the following:

Pad Thai Asian noodle salad with crunchy almonds
Spring rolls with almond dipping sauce
Chinese beetroot dumplings with chili plum sauce

Blueberry crumble pie with fresh coconut vanilla sauce
Blueberry chocolate cheesecake

Blueberry cheesecake pictured just before eating by Markus Karjalainen
Blueberry cheesecake pictured just before eating by Markus Karjalainen

 

I think everyone left the place happy and satisfied. We had time to tour around other places after wrapping up our pop-up restaurant. There was a lot of entrepreneurship going on in different parks in Helsinki, and apparently the offerings were very versatile (437 restaurants!). We were treated to a free shot of tequila and pureed cranberry juice served on a block of wood, and we also popped by a paleo cafe, but unfortunately I was too full to try their cookies or sandwich. I don’t know which is more fun: to organize a restaurant or to visit several places and sample different things. If the menu is as good as ours, I think I prefer to be in the kitchen!
 

Nuff said.
Nuff said.

 
This week I’ll stay in Helsinki for Borisraw food courses, where I’ll be assisting. Despite the pouring rain, this is going to be a good week!

Upcoming: Restaurant Day vol. 10

Restaurant Day “food carnival, where anyone can start a restaurant”, started in Finland on May 21st, 2011, when there was 45 pop-up restaurants in 13 cities. On the 8th Restaurant Day on May 18th, 2013, there was 1701 restaurants in over 200 cities in 30 countries. Not bad for a guerrilla activity that defies the laws and hygiene regulations. Over 45 countries in total have had these pop-up restaurants, cafes or something alike where people sell home-made dishes, treats and drinks. The event has won several prizes in different countries, no wonder why! So far there has been restaurants serving food in backyards, parks, from apartment windows to a yurt!

Porridge and Chaga in Puu-Vallila, 19.11.2011, photo by Heidi Uutela

Porridge and Chaga in Puu-Vallila, 19.11.2011, photo by Heidi Uutela

I have participated in Restaurant Day twice, but then I left the country and missed few of the most recent ones. I have been a huge fan and intrigued by the concept and idea of sharing something that you’ve made with effort and love.

This time, it will be something more than just baking few cupcakes: Raw Food chef/guru Boris Lauser has come from Berlin to serve delicious Asian gourmet dishes at Raaka baari. We started preparing today, and will continue tomorrow and Sunday morning. If I said I was pretty stoked, that’d be an understatement. So far, we’ve made chocolate blueberry cheesecake, dipping sauce for Chinese dumplings, marinade for dehydrated almonds that will be used for pad thai. I had an idea of making a berry crumble pie, and Boris got exited – so I came up with a recipe for that. If it becomes a success, maybe after the restaurant day I’ll post it here! The menu will also include spring rolls, in addition to the dumplings and pad thai. In addition to sushi, those are my favorite Asian dishes! This weekend I’ll be cooking up a storm, smelling and tasting amazing flavors, and learning a lot while enjoying the raw cuisine…and hopefully I’ll get to enjoy the Restaurant Day, too! There will be over 400 restaurants in Helsinki alone.

Marbling the cacao blueberry cheesecake
Marbling the cacao blueberry cheesecake

Yum-mee. Next week: Boris’ raw food courses. Have you heard of/been to any Restaurant Days? Would you consider organizing something?

Looking for Flow

The post title has many meanings. I have spent this week in Helsinki, working as a volunteer for Flow Festival, the biggest(?) urban festival in Finland.

I have visited the festival in 2008, and since I got the opportunity and had nothing better to do, I decided to spend 3 days in the kitchen and catering area for the few hundred workers, preparing around 300 sandwiches for each meal, serving meals, making sure no one is left without coffee and that everyone’s blood sugars don’t drop too much (I wish there was a cool video about that!). As a return for my contribution, I was given a 3 day ticket to the festival and a super cool t-shirt. Today is D-day, when the weekend commences (though the opening gig of The Knife was already on Wednesday).

 

Art getting done
Art getting done

Flow Festival is known as the (worst) Hipster gathering of this country, and I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing what kind of uber-cool show-offs I can spot. What comes to the line-up…well, I’m not too well educated about the performers. I am looking forward to see Alicia Keys, Of Monsters and Men, Grimes, and Kraftwerk, but that’s about it (other performers include Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar and Cat Power). Luckily there is more than music; art, design and most importantly, not your typical festival grub but delicious food from quality restaurants! The hardest part is to choose from all the different options. We’ll see what the weekend brings (hopefully not rain)!

 

Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment
Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment

 

Besides being indoors making coffee and slapping ham on bread, I’ve gone for a walk with my cousin and saw his new puppy, met with a friend and sampled some raw treats in a random hair event, got my wisdom tooth pulled out (I do have a picture of that, but I’ll spare you), and walked around town. Who knows, maybe this will be my city some day sooner or later.

In Helsinki, you can't get more touristic than this
In Helsinki, you can’t get more touristic than this
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed.
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed

Go with the Flow!