Finnish salmon soup – lohikeitto

This salmon soup is easy to make, quick, super healthy and perfect for every occasion. Imagine delicious chunks of salmon and just-right potatoes in a delicious creamy soup with a good helping of fresh dill. Ah!

prep time 10 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4
  • 500 g fresh salmon fillet, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek, well rinsed, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 potatoes (buy a firm variety since they need to retain their shape through cooking), peeled and cut into mouth-size cubes/chunks
  • 1,25 l fish stock (you can use the skin to make your own) or water
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 dl heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 5-6 whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in a fairly large soup pot and sauté leeks and onion until soft, about 8-10 min.

2. Meanwhile cut the salmon fillet into chunks, peel and cut the potatoes and slice the carrot.

3. Add the fish stock to the pot with the potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and allspice and let cook for another 12-15 min until the potatoes are just tender.

4. Add the salmon chunks along with the cream and gently simmer on low heat until cooked through, only a few minutes. Add dill and pepper and check the salt.

5. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy with rye bread and butter.


Banana zucchini bread

I have tried many banana bread recipes and now I have finally found the perfect one for me: not too sweet, not too banana-y, not too wet, not too dry, just perfectly moist. I have made it three times in a row now and it has turned out perfect each time.

prep time 20 min     cook time 50-55 min
ingredients for 2 loaves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped almonds (walnuts or hazelnuts work well too)
  • 1 cup (2 small) raw zucchini, shredded and squeezed
  • 1 cup (2 normal size) mashed ripe bananas

OPTIONAL for frosting

  • 150 g dark chocolate and a handful of chopped hazelnuts OR
  • 150 g powdered sugar and poppy seeds or sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F .

2. Grease and flour two 13 x 23 cm loaf pans.

3. Shred zucchini and mash bananas and set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil together.

5. In another bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and nuts and mix together.

6. Mix the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar batter.

7. Add zucchini and bananas and continue to mix until blended.

8. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 180C for 50-55 min or till the toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to completely cool on wire rack.

10. Put the frosting on a cool cake. Melt the chocolate, pour it on the cake and add the chopped nuts while still warm and semi liquid. Or make the powdered sugar frosting adding a few tablespoons of hot water, mix well, pour it on the cake and add poppy seeds or sprinkles.

Tip:  Remember to squeeze the shredded zucchini for the excess liquid. If you find the bread a tad too rich, you can  decrease a bit the amount of oil and the amount of sugar ( maybe 1 1/4 cups instead of 1 1/2).

Tip: The riper the bananas, the sweeter they are.


Rainbow roasted veggies

These healthy rainbow veggies are an easy way to add color, tons of vitamins and flavors to your meal in one sheet pan. They are a fantastic side dish for chicken, beef, lamb or pork. You can omit the oil, if you want to. I always use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. I have two variations. And both times I forgot to take a photo of the cooked veggies. Prep time and cook time are the same.

prep time 15 min     cook time 30 min
ingredients for 4 (option 1)
  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots,  cut into sticks
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 zucchini, cut into rounds
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • handful of parsley, dried rosemary and dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.

2. Place vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Drizzle oil on top.

3. Bake for about 30 min until the vegetables are cooked but still a little bit crunchy.

ingredients for 4 (option 2)

  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 350 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • dried herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Other than the above mentioned vegetables, you could choose some of these:

RED: tomatoes, beets, radishes

YELLOW: yellow beets

ORANGE: orange bell peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash

GREEN: green beans, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, snow peas

PURPLE: purple carrots, purple cabbage

You can also add potatoes, but I hardly ever mix potatoes with the veggies, instead I make a whole baking sheet of potatoes.

tip: try to make one layer of each vegetables, they will roast better.


Chickpea and potato soup

An easy option for a quick, healthy and hearty soup. You can use cannellini beans instead of chickpeas if you want.

prep time 10 min     cook time 35 min
ingredients for 4
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400 g) chickpeas
  • 1 l vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • grilled bread cubes or croutons (optional)
  • peperoncino oil (optional)

1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot and add onion, carrots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent.

2. Add potatoes and vegetable broth and cook for 25-30 min total. After 15 min add halved tomatoes and chickpeas as well as bay leaves and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, croutons and a few drops of peperoncino oil for added taste.


Spaghetti alla puttanesca

There are almost as many explanations for the origins of pasta puttanesca as there are ways to make it. Ostensibly a sauce invented and made by prostitutes, it was designed to lure customers with its powerful aroma. Whatever the stories, pasta puttanesca is a wonderful and easy dish to make. You only need a few basic ingredients.

prep time 10 min     cook time 20 min
ingredients for 4
  • 350 g spaghetti
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes for sauce or 1 can (400 g) peeled tomatoes
  • 100 g Gaeta olives or taggiasche (Ligurian olives), pitted
  • a handful of capers
  • 8 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • peperoncino
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • parsley

1. If using fresh tomatoes place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Then drop the tomato into the boiling water. You can add several at a time. Remove them after 30 seconds or when the skin begins to peel and put them into the bowl of ice water.


2. Heat olive oil (don’t be stingy ;)) in a large skillet. Add crushed garlic and let cook for a few minutes. You can also use whole garlic and take it out after a few minutes.

3. Stir in anchovies, peperoncino flakes and seeds, olives and capers. Let simmer for a few minutes.

4. Drain tomatoes and crush with fork or hands. Add to skillet, with some salt. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and mixture becomes saucy, about 10-15 minutes. Add chopped parsley.

5. While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions.

6. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Serve immediately.


Spetsofai aka Greek sausage stew

Spetsofai is a rustic spicy dish made with thick country sausages and peppers in a rich tomato sauce. You can find this Greek dish in many variations. The famous spetsofai from Pelion contains aubergines, while in most areas, it is prepared with green or multicoloured mild bell peppers. If using mild sausages, spice it up with peperoncino or red hot chili peppers and hot paprika.

prep time 15 min     cook time 35 min

ingredients for 4
  • 4 country sausages, sliced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • a glass (cup) of water
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oli
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • peperoncino
  • 2-3 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper

1. Place a saucepan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the sausage until nicely coloured. Don’t crowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Into the same pan add the rest of the oil, the chopped onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato puree and cook for another minute. Add the peppers and continue to cook.

3. Deglaze with red wine scraping the bottom of the pan with all the yummy parts and wait the wine to evaporate. Add crushed tomatoes, water, herbs and spices, turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 min with the lid on.

4. Add sausages and cook for another 15-20 min until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning.

5. Pair it with lots of crusty bread to wipe up all the delicious sauce or serve as a main dish with basmati rice.



This is the best basic hummus recipe ever. This Middle Eastern dip is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Once you have mastered the basic recipe, you can flavour it with whatever takes your fancy: black olives, paprika, cumin, coriander seeds, red bell pepper or sun dried tomatoes.

prep time 10 min
ingredients for 6-8 as a starter
  • 2 x 400g cans of no-salt-added chickpeas (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 garlic clove crushed (most recipes call for 2)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 6-7 tablespoons reserved liquid from chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons squeezed lemon juice
  • parsley or coriander to garnish (optional)

1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. I use an immersion blender. Take out the germ/core  of garlic, the green shoot in the middle which makes it bitter especially if the garlic is older.

2. Add the crushed garlic, tahini, salt, the reserved liquid, the lemon juice and blend them. Pour slowly in the olive oil while you are blending.

3. Taste and adjust the flavour to your liking. When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish.

4. Drizzle with some olive oil, and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped parsley.


Cranberry oatmeal cookies

I used to make plain delicious oatmeal cookies but this year I wanted to give them a twist adding cranberries. And it paid off! These old fashioned style oatmeal cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy inside. Easy to make and bake.

prep time 5 min     cook time 8-10 min
ingredients for 25 cookies
  • 100 g butter
  • 1,5 dl sugar
  • 2 dl oatmeal
  • 1,5 dl flour
  • 1 dl dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Melt butter. Mix dry ingredients and add to melted butter.

3. Add the egg and mix the batter.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons and place on a cookie sheet spacing them about 5 cm apart.

5. Bake for 8-10 min until the cookies are lightly browned. Let them cool for a few minutes before placing them on your serving tray.