Saturday, 31 August 2013

Reindeer roses

I have been waiting for this Saturday for a long time. I think this is the first weekend since we moved into New House when I have absolutely nothing in my calendar. No guests, no DIYing, nowhere to be or nothing to do. There has been so much going on ever since my major life overhaul in May. Almost all of it good, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. But between the new job, lots of wonderful guests, trying to make the Bachelor Pad look good enough for someone to want to rent it and most recently, a wonderful trip back home, I have not had the energy to try and squeeze in some blogging time. But today I woke up knowing the only thing on the agenda is cleaning the house, and that is done (well, apart from the kitchen, but everything else is vacuumed, dusted and cleaned). As much as I detet cleaning, I love the feeling of accomplishment when it's all done and everything is neat, tidy and clean again. Feeling slightly guilty that the Culinary Consultant has been slaving away at the Bachelor Pad all day. We had our first two viewings today, please keep your fingers crossed that they like it.

As I mentioned, last weekend me and the Culinary Consultant went back home for an extended weekend to catch up with my family and attend the wedding of a dear friend. We got to enjoy good company, wonderful weather and seeing so many of my friends and family cheered me up so much. My mum threw us a crayfish party, I got to see my friend's son who is already five months old and it was definitely about time, and I saw my cousin and her new cafe (Cafe Norra on Aino AcktĂ©n tie 8 in Helsinki for all my friends around that part of the world). Definitely worth a visit if you are in the neighbourhood. The cheesecake and butter-eye buns (I'll explain another time, it's a Finnish thing...) are well worth a try!! We crammed our bags full with Finnish chocolate, Domino biscuits, rye bread, reindeer, Finnish toothpaste (don't get me started on this, but the only good toothpaste is Pepsodent) and other absolute necessities. 

Today's recipe is of course a Finnish delicacy in honour of all the smoked reindeer meat we hauled over here. You can even use smoked salmon! This is my Mum's recipe. It's always present on our Christmas table. But it's great to serve outside of the festive season and I think it's a perfect summer starter as well. If you can't get hold of reindeer, you can use some other smoked meat. Also smoked salmon works. The recipe below is the original one, I made some small adaptations as I made a much smaller serving as the amount of reindeer was rather limited.

Reindeer mousse (serves 6-8 as a starter):
300 g smoked reindeer meat
1 onion
50 ml (about 3 tbsp) finely chopped leek
100 g cream cheese
100 g cottage cheese
200 ml whipping cream
black pepper
4 sheets of gelatin

The howto:
Finely chop the meat, onion and leek. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Mix with all other ingredients apart from the gelatin. Soak the gelatin in cold water for about 5 minutes, then gently melt in a tablespoon or two of water. Let cool for a few minutes and slowly pour into the mousse while stirring constantly. Put the mousse into a mould (my mum used a smallish bundt cake pan), but you can put it in pretty much any container. I used large muffin moulds shaped like roses. We always eat the mousse on top of toasted rye bread with lingonberries or cranberries.

I made a variation of the mousse using 100 g smoked reindeer meat, about 1/3 of a leek, 1 1/2 tbsp cream cheese, 3 tbsp cottage cheese, 100 ml whipped cream, black pepper and 2 sheets of gelatin. You can work with whatever ingredients you have, the cream cheese can be completely replaced by cottage cheese or vice versa. If you don't mind whether the mousse will be keeping it's shape (i.e. you are serving it out of a container) you can omit the gelatin, it will still taste the same but be a bit softer and not keep it's shape if you try to get it out of the cake tin/moulds. It is still a good consistency to spread onto bread.

The verdict:
I served this to the Culinary Consultant's family when they came over for a visit, and it went down very well. Unfortunately I had neither rye bread nor lingonberries but they didn't seem to mind too much. I love the mousse, I can eat heaps and heaps of it on top of bread. I can't claim it's very healthy, but it's well worth the calories!

Card of the day:
Before my trip to Finland, I needed to make a few cards. This is the first of them, my Dad's birthday card. I bought the stamp ages ago on Ebay especially for my Dad's card. He has a necklace with Snoopy, and he has worn it for as long as I can remember. Although the current version of the necklace is Snoopy 2.0, as the first one met some sort of tragic ending many years ago. 

I stamped the GR1097 Driving Woodstock stamp from Stampabilites in black Hobbycraft ink and embossed using ultrafine embossing powder before colouring with Tim Holtz distress markers. The main colours of cardstock are Fired brick and Pumice Stone. The background stamps are from the Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Grunge Cirque set and stamped in the same colour as the Tim Holtz cardstock. I really like how the card turned out, it looked a bit empty before I added the stars and the checkered pattern but I think they really did the trick, although they are quite subtle. I'm pleased with how this card turned out, as making cards for men is always tricky. I have to find a new Snoopy stamp for next year though. 

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