fish graffiti
blogging, Food

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Something Fishy

Join the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

For the next two weeks, the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge asks for you to share a story, photographs, poem or recipe on the theme: Something Fishy. You are very welcome to join in.

  • crab
  • fish face mural fgraffiti art

Think fish markets, lobsters, fishing tales, the one that got away, graffiti art, food or travel photography, even something suspect or mysterious can fit with this theme. Make it your own!

Gold Fish in a pond
Wellington Botanic Gardens, New Zealand

The Friendly Friday Blog Challenge instructions fully explain how to join in. Don’t forget to pingback this post and leave a comment below, so I can find your post.

Here is my contribution for Something Fishy.

Fishy Dishes

During my formative years, as many Aussie families could attest, Salmon dishes hadn’t extended beyond one’s elderly Aunt Betty’s, “Salmon Patty.” For the uninitiated, salmon patties are a slightly bland salmon and mashed potato concoction. For the most part, Australian cuisine hadn’t spread its wings beyond the ‘meat and three veg’, until well after the seventies.

Unless your family was into crabbing or regular fishing trips, like my former neighbour who served up this delicious smoked fish and Red Claw lunch one day, you might not be tempted by seafood at all. But I can’t really understand that! It matters not whether it is Barramundi, Salmon or Mussels, there isn’t any seafood I don’t like.

Red claw smoked fish
Red Claw and Smoked fish

Ten or so years ago, Norwegian Gravlax, entered my life. I was visiting a Danish friend who was teaching me how to string a loom for weaving, (which had nothing to do with salmon), and she kindly offered me a smoked salmon and lettuce sandwich for lunch. It was humble and it was delicious. I was hooked. I had to have more.

Salmon and Avocado on ryebread
Salmon and Avocado on ryebread

Norwegian Gravlax

Gravlax tastes like a cross between salmon sashimi (imagine it with the addition of seasoning from salt, plus fresh herb flavour), and the smoked salmon slices you buy at stores – but minus the smokey flavour, because smoked salmon, is, [of course,] made by smoking salmon.

It’s not too salty, the flesh is not overly cured i.e. still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough to be easily sliceable into thin pieces, (which is virtually impossible with raw fish). It’s salty enough that you’ll want to eat the slices plain, but not too salty that you’ll need to guzzle a glass

recipetineats.com/cured-salmon-gravlax/

Most of the salmon, that is produced in salmon farms, is thought to be highly toxic. This is due to the techniques required to produce it according to a documentary on YouTube. Some varieties of FARMED salmon they consider especially so. The farmed salmon can and may infect, wild populations as well.

Although this revelation concerns this salmon zealot, I’ve only discovered the delights of eating smoked salmon a mere decade ago, so I’m thinking I am not about to give it up, yet, especially at my stage of life.

It’s All About the Salmon

So where do you find the best Salmon?

Sweden? The very best I’ve eaten was a Salmon dish in Stockholm, with Swedish friends. A melt-in-the-mouth fillet topped with a berry-based sauce that can only be described as sublime perfection.

Surprisingly enough, the next best salmon dish, I’ve eaten, was a pan-fried Tasmanian Salmon fillet I selected from a local restaurant’s menu. Again, it was – perfection.

Salmon varieties in Finland

Many Scandinavians love eating Salmon, so I can easily blame my Nordic genes, for my present addiction. Finns have a hundred different varieties of this fishy beast to try, as I discovered in Helsinki, one day.

Salmon Quiche, found in a Norwegian friend’s Women’s Weekly magazine, was more popular with visiting guests, than it was with my children, as was a Salmon pie recipe shared by a fellow Australian School-Mum.

Needless to say, I loved them both.

salmon pie
Salmon Pie

Some folks enjoy Salmon soup, which I found to be quite similar to a creamy seafood chowder I was served in Wellington harbour one year, but the Finns adds a flavour to die for. It must be the fresh dill or the cold waters of the Baltic region? Here’s the one I tasted in Finland.

salmon soup in helsinki
in helsinki

By now, you have probably figured salmon, smoked or otherwise, had me in its grasp. Each time I ate it, I liked it more and more. So much so that I experimented with making my own Gravlax.

How to Make Your Own Gravlax

A rose gold lump, formerly knows as a marine creature, sat curing in the refrigerator, under a cleaned bluestone rock, for 3 days. It had been doused with black pepper and enough salt to clog several arteries. The rock was to compress it, (apparently). Here is the recipe I followed:

Smoked Salmon Gravadlax
Smoked salmon fillet prior to adding the seasonings and rock

Gravlax Recipe

  • Mix equal parts salt + sugar (combined) to 50% of the weight of the salmon. 
  • Coat a fresh fillet of salmon liberally with the salt and sugar mix
  • Top with loads of chopped fresh Dill, or herbs of your choice.
  • Place a cleaned, heavy weight, such as a rock, a paperweight or marble board, on top.
  • Leave, loosely covered, in the fridge for 24 hours to cure; 36 hours for medium; 48 hours for hard cure. [I chose the medium time frame.]
  • Slice with a very sharp knife into wafer-thin slices and serve.

Next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Sandy, from The Sandy Chronicles, will announce the next theme for the Friendly Friday Challenge over at her blog, in two weeks time.

Blog challenge Friday
forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/instructions-for-the-friendly-friday-photo-challenge/

Until then,

Fishy Cheers from Amanda

Community

Hanging Around in Helsinki – Part I

“So what’s Helsinki like?” I am often asked, when people know that I’ve visited Finland.

helsinki-montage

“Well, there are loads of great things about Helsinki, itself, ” I usually tell them, “…not the least of which is great design in clothing, architecture, romantic historical sites and a great summertime atmosphere.” [N.B. Most Australians only travel to the Arctic in summer!]

“But first up,” I then say, “you need to know that the people of Helsinki eat a good deal of fish, freshwater fish, that is. Even sometimes three times in a day. So when I think of Helsinki, I think of Salmon, and lots of it.”

And I remember it is not just ordinary salmon, because the thing that struck me about Finns, was that they had taken Salmon to a whole new level, like as in Heinz 52 different varieties.

Now I love Salmon, so I was pretty happy with this, until I realized how hard it would be be to choose which one to buy! I needed help to choose between Tsar’s salmon, Cold Smoked Salmon, Flamed Salmon, Lemon Salmon and Rose Pepper Salmon, etc. and in the end, feeling rather befuddled, I settled on Cured Salmon with Basilic??

salmon

“But freshwater fish? Why only freshwater fish?” –  my Australian friends might continue to ask.

Apparently the waters surrounding Helsinki are extremely low in salt, due to the existence perhaps of only one, narrow channel entering the Baltic sea from the open ocean, (and that is around Denmark, for the geographically challenged). Therefore, the Baltic waters contain a multitude of freshwater fish varieties, but almost no prawns, (read: shrimp), or mussels, as those are the species that need salt water to flourish.

On a perhaps unsurprising side note: fishing or angling, in Finland is free and does not require a special permit, as it is considered every man’s basic right.  – Yay for Finland!!

mhall-2

“But, surely there is not just fish to eat in Helsinki?” they continue to ask me.

“Certainly not!! There are many other indigenous styled foods, such as ‘Bear’ pate and ‘Reindeer Snacks.’ ” I venture.

If truth be told, when I first saw the reindeer ‘chips,’ I started to wonder if the Finns were chewing on Rudolph’s antlers for morning tea??? Feeling slightly bilious at that thought, I opted for a tin of reindeer pâté instead. But then I thought of home. And how I would explain a tin of reindeer/bear meat to Customs officials? I mean, Customs officers in Australia, take CITES and moreover, bio-security, very seriously: just ask Johnny Depp and Amber – if you haven’t – Heard. (apologies –  bad pun!!).  Thus, I ended up buying neither….. window shopping was the mantra at this store.

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I digress. We were discussing Helsinki, itself, weren’t we?

If you do want to try any of the aforementioned foods of Helsinki, the place to go is definitely the covered and historic Market Hall, located right on the main square, adjacent to Helsinki’s harbor. It’s usually crammed full with locals, but is truly the best ‘old world-foodie’- style atmosphere, you can find in the 21st century and the food is good, seriously good.

market-hall

From 8 am, visitors cram like sardines, into the deli stalls, micro-cafes, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, (well: gourmet soap and candle stalls), for candles, seafood or cheese supplies or, they do as I did, they just hang out there for a delicious lunch.

markets-and-architecture-helsinki

Outdoors, I found more food and craft markets on the harbor square, selling both hot and cold foods, fruit and vegetables, fresh berries to die for and a variety of furs and traditional handicrafts of the kind that seem to fascinate cruise ship tourists, but few others!

Once I’d  filled up on Finnish food, I decided to work off the extra calories with a stroll uptown, through both the Helsinki Botanic and Observatory gardens. In early summer, the gardens are lined with the omnipresent Birch trees.

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That made me muse romantically that their delicate branches hang like the braided locks of a long-haired girl, lazily swaying in the cool breeze.  I was also besotted with the tulips naturally peppering the garden verges and bare spots in the grass, almost like weeds, whilst the local squirrel population delighted me with their frivolous antics in the lower treetops.

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I wanted to tell you about Suomenlinna and the marvelous architecture that you find in Helsinki, but that will have to wait for the next post.

Find my earlier post Finding my Feet in Finland here

Something to Ponder About

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salmon pie
Community

What’s for Dinner? – Salmon [Fiesta Friday]

I think it must be a common family scenario, but I’m not sure?

Location: A suburban family kitchen. Time: 5pm, any day of the week. The pantry door swings open and shut several times; a low groan is emitted from a junior family member, quickly followed by a, “There’s nothing to eat,” kind of mantra.  As the cook of the house, my first reaction, to hearing this mantra, is to ignore it and keep working. I find that is best.

But as each family member wanders into the kitchen, clearly starving and desperate for a crumb of sustenance after a long day at work, my resolve wavers.  Collectively, their next move is to inspect the pantry, a second time, with the due diligence of police detectives at a crime scene, and it is then they hit me with the ‘kicker’, that eternal question, the one that makes me inwardly cringe………..

This is me inwardly cringing
This is me inwardly cringing

“What’s for dinner, Mum?”

And it is not only them. So attuned to hearing the ‘What’s for dinner?’ mantra, the canine members of my family become edgy at this hour too, and begin to pace up and down at the kitchen entrance, chiming in, in their own special way, to pressure me for food.

It is at this point, I have to steel myself and feign deafness, [clearly unsuccessfully], as I am always asked a second time, a little more urgently, “Hey, Mum. What’s for dinner?”

“Salmon,” I have to say, on this particular day, albeit through slightly gritted teeth, to which the response is anything from a contorted grimace, (coming from the fish-hating child), to unenthusiastic moans/yawns from the adolescent man-child/children.

canned_salmon_l1
Source:http://img.thrfun.com/img/089/862/canned_salmon_l1.jpg

Salmon!

It may be the ‘Steak and three veg’ of the hipster movement,  and it’s almost certainly still a popular dinner for both the weight-conscious and the seafood lovers of the world, but in my family, salmon is, ostensibly, boring and unappetizing, for dinner. [I can’t understand this, myself.] Now, thanks to a dear friend sharing her treasured family recipe with me, I can serve a seriously good Salmon Pie, that effectively nips the ‘What’s for Dinner’ groans, in the bud.

I hope you feel tempted to try it for yourself. It may just be something you ponder about for dinner.

2016-04-14 13.49.54

Salmon Pie

[Salmon is considered by some to one of the world’s healthiest foods, and contains Vitamin B12, D, Niacin, Omega -3 fatty acids, Phosphorus and Vitamin B6]

To make the Pie Crust:

1 and 1/2 cups of Plain All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1 cup Grated Cheese (I use tasty)

125 g Butter

Method:

Rub butter into flour, until it is well mixed. It should still be crumbly at this point, not mixed up together into a dough*

*[A food processor is the easiest way to do this, especially if the butter has not yet softened].

Press 3/4 of this mix into a greased pie dish with your fingers, to form the base and sides of the pie. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the mix for the topping.

Pie Filling:

220 grams Salmon (flaked and boned)

I Onion, finely chopped

3 Eggs

375 g Sour Cream

1/2 cup Grated Cheese

2 drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour on top of the base.

Crumble the remaining 1/4 of  the pie crust mix over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180° Celsius or until slightly browned.

Allow to cool and serve warm with a Garden/Greek salad or cold.

 

 Linking to FiestaFriday.net

For more fantastic menu ideas visit:

hostessatheart

toozesty.wordpress.com