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Last July I was in Finland and I went to the Rante Restaurant in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Espoo in Finland is an Italian restaurant which also serves some Finnish dishes.
I had originally walked into Haguland (Tapiola) to see if I could get a meal there (as I am generally not a great fan of hotel restaurants) and couldn’t find anything open or the only other choice was McDonalds.
So after quite a nice walk, I went back to the hotel and went into the restaurant. I sat down at a table and looked over the menu.
I decided that an antipasto would be nice, followed by carpaccio and then the reindeer.
For the antipasto I asked for prawns in pesto, and thought this would arrive quickly.
Fifty minutes later it did!
A small bowl of small prawns in pesto arrived, I don’t know why I thought they would be grilled prawns, but they were not.
I did not have to wait as long for my next course, beef carpaccio.
This was superb, coming with some weird leaves (more like grass) and some what I think were very large pickled capers!
I then thought ah not too long to my main course, couldn’t have been more wrong, forty minutes later it eventually arrived.
Well the reindeer was certainly worth the wait and certainly not what I expected. On the way to the Hotel from the airport I used a Yellow Line taxi, these are communal shared taxis, one of the occupants, a shipping consultant for the Silja Line, had mentioned in passing conversation that when he had reindeer he had found it very strongly flavoured akin to venison. So I was expecting the reindeer fillet to be very strongly flavoured, but it wasn’t it was very delicate, tender, almost melt in the mouth. It came with a fantastic sauce, a few vegtables. I had asked for the chive mash to be replaced with french fries (as that was what I fancied.
I decided against a desert as the neighbouring table had to wait an age for theirs and it was getting late.
Overall I was pleased with the quality of the food, the only real disappointment was the prawns.
The carpaccio and the reindeer were excellent.
A variety of bruschetta with cheese, tomatoes (fresh and sun-dried), artichokes and mushrooms.
Start off with a ciabatta, though in theory you could use a baguette or french stick (and I have done so).
Butter one side only.
Dribble olive oil over.
Bake in a hot oven for less than ten minutes.
Trofie Pasta with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts and grated parmesan.
Fresh Trofie pasta.
Into a pan of boiling water (no salt, no oil).
Cook for ten minutes.
In a blender/grinder, handful of basil leaves, olive oil, blitz and blend. Add more basil leaves and more oil, blitz.
Dribble olive oil in.
Toss and coat pasta.
Add basil pesto, handful of pine nuts, handful of grated parmesan.
A salad I made which included red pepper, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. It was dressed with some white wine vinegar, olive oil and a dash of freshly ground black pepper.
I do make variations, this just so happens to be one I remembered to photograph!
Additions in the past included:
Fresh Mozzarella Pearls
Here’s a great kitchen tip. You know how bowls of soup in food magazines always have a few bubbles rising artfully to the surface, giving that freshly ladled-from-the-tureen appearance? Well, you can recreate this effect quite easily at home by lightly drizzling some washing-up liquid into your soups but, please, only use the best stuff; this is no time to cut corners. Next, take a plastic straw and gently blow into the soup, creating an entire bowlful of bubbles. Using a pin pop away until you are left with just those few artistic ones that will survive for hours. The taste might not be to die for but at least your bowl of soup will look just like it does in the food magazines.
This is my recipe, there are no exact quantities as I don’t use them…
Get some amaretti biscuits, you can use sponge fingers if you prefer.
Make up some espresso coffee, using decent espresso coffee. Add some Amaretto spirit. For those that avoid spirits, then just using coffee will be fine.
Dunk the amaretti into the coffee/Amaretto mix, and place into small bowls (or one big bowl).
Mix (say) three egg yolks with some caster sugar (say 3 oz), mix in a tub of Mascarpone cheese.
Spoon the mixture onto the biscuits.
Now you could do a layer of biscuits, a layer of the Mascarpone mixture, but it depends more on what you are serving them in.
Leave in the fridge to set.
Once set, dust with cocoa.
I do like mozarella, there is something about the texture and though the taste is not extreme, it is still there.
Cooked or raw it is a very versatile cheese.
Personally I like the mozarella pearls you can buy, but I am finding these difficult to get at the moment, sometimes they are in the fridge, most times they are not! When I do find them I add them to salads.
One way in which I do like using mozarella, is sliced with tomatoes and then dressed with some good olive oil, white wine vinegar and freshly ground black pepper, delicious.
If I am cooking with mozarella then I like to either cube it and mix it with the main ingredients or thin slices on top – especially good on pizza.
Before venturing into the STEAM museum in Swindon recently, we popped into the shopping outlet next door to grab a coffee.
We had a very nice coffee form the Lavazza coffee bar there.
Pity it was in a paper cup.
So organic free range chicken is twice the price of *normal* chicken.
Is it worth it?
A resounding yes.
The flavour and tenderness was superb.
I made chicken, mango and pineapple kebabs and served it with a mixed salad (with virtually all organic ingredients).