Sunday, 3 July 2011

Film Food, Midsummer Madness and New Friends in the Helsinki Food Scene...

It is time for a long update once again. This is what working life does. No time for cooking or blogging.

In the past few years Helsinki has turned into a true summer paradise, with temperatures hitting +30 celsius. Last night I finally got inspired by the heat and made a big jug of Gazpacho, sunk on the sofa and turned on Pedro Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. The film is an absolute classic and this Gazpacho is made in the film by the leading lady Pepa, who wants to murder her ex. Just to clarify - I left the sleeping pills out of this recipe.


3 ripe tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cucumber, peeled
5 tbsp good extra virgen olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and black pepper

Cut the ingredients into chunks and blend them smooth with a hand blender or food processor. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Let the gazpacho cool down in the fridge for a few hours.

The main was Falafel with Yoghurt Dip and Halloumi Salad. It was tasty in the end, but I still need to practice with the consistency of the mix! I got inspired by a vegan fast food restaurant and I have to admit that they how to make them better.

I would have written about juhannus earlier on, but as I mentioned before I have been stuck in an office counting currencies.

There has always been something mysterious and special about juhannus - Finnish midsummer celebration of the "nightless night". In folklore juhannus (without a capital letter according to Finnish grammar) is a celebration of the longest day in a year and of fertility. Juhannus festivities and preparations hold many ancient traditions, such as juhannussauna, juhannuskokko (bonfire) and many magical myths to reveal the identity of your future husband. Nowadays juhannus is an anticipated family and friends get together with endless food and of course, alcohol. Usually we get the big table out on the terrace and cover it with food. This time we had a Tex-Mex theme with a Jamaican twist. Quite sure the king of the evening Jamaican Jerk Marinade will soon make an appearance on this blog.

Celebrating juhannus always beholds a recollection of the magical childhood midsummer parties, with spells and ghost stories. Only during juhannus were we aloud to stay up until dawn. Living away from Finland for most of the year, juhannus is always an important moment in a year - the begginning of the summer. Some things do last in life and this is certainly one of them.

Lately I have also started a journey back to my roots, well if not exactly my roots, then back to the roots of Finnish food culture. I was jumping with joy at juhannus lunch, when Mom had made my favourite - pickeld herring. I will definitely be exploring more of my food heritage this summer.

I have also been trying out new restaurants and cafés in Helsinki. Gran Delicato on Kalevankatu was a pleasant new acquaintance. They had a lovely selection of filled baguettes, ciabattas, salads, pastas, etc. I had a ciabatta filled with mortadella, marinated aubergine, feta and rocket. It was a mix I have never tasted before and it was good! 

The German chain Vapiano, which offers "fast casual Italian food", has opened its first restaurant in Helsinki. I am always apprehensive towards chain and franchise restaurants, but Vapiano was a pleasant surprise. The fact that they have a wholewheat pasta in a few shapes is a plus and you can get Montepulciano D'Abruzzo there for a relatively good price. I tasted Ravioli Con Carne, which was special as a dish, but the fact that you can get nice pasta for under 10€ in Helsinki is quite rare. You could see it as a pro or a con that you have to order your food from the kitchen, drinks from the bar and pay to a separate counter, but everything was priced well.

One quite surprising new favourite (as a meat lover) is Vegemesta, which offers fast vegan food. Vegemesta has earlier only been in Kallio, but has now opened a small place on Pikku Roba. They offer everything from vegan burgers to kebabs to schnitzels. I had Falafel in Pita Bread. It tasted very homemade and nice, but I would have wished for some sort of spicy sauce with it. And I probably should have asked the hippie guy making it, why was there sauerkraut in my pita? I would still strongly recommend Vegemesta to all those, who wish to keep up with a vegan diet even after a night out or if you just want a healthier and tastier option for McD's or Hesburger.


  1. Love love love Vapianos!! it's everywhere in Germany and soo tasty! xx

  2. We just got it here and I really quite like it! And for Helsinki it's really affordable! xxx