Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A present from a northern neighbour

When I started blogging back in June, I knew only of one other foodblogger and Melissa of the beautiful Traveler’s Lunchbox also happens to be my fellow resident of Edinburgh. Over the last few months some other Edinburgh-based bloggers have been popping by – Anita (originally from Finland) of the Madness of Space Cat, Shauna (originally from Australia) of What’s Wrong Pussycat, 'everyday chef' of, well, everyday chef. And it looks there are other bloggers in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland who read my blog. Thanks!

When I returned from Estonia in August, I met up with Anita for a chat and cuppa and gave her a bar of Fazer chocolate. Fazer is a really delicious Finnish chocolaterier – and as Anita, herself Finnish, hadn’t been at home for a while, she had asked me to bring something. (Fazer is widely available in Estonia, as is the Swedish Marabou. You’d probably have to search for Cadbury like a needle in a haystack).

Well, Anita did go to Finland in October and kindly asked me if there’s anything she can bring me from Finland. There are two food items that I always think of as related to Finland. One is the squishy-squeeky cheese juustoleipä/leipäjuusto, and the other are Karjalanpiirakkat or Karelian pasties (above). Both are widely available in Estonia as well. And though it is possible to make both of them – frying cottage cheese results (apparently) in leipäjuusto, and here is a recipe for Karelian pastries, but making the latter can be quite time consuming (I can personally say, after having baked them once. All worth it though..)

When I met Anita for a coffee last Thursday, she gave me six beauties that she had brought from Finland.

The traditional filling for Karelian pastries is cooked rice porridge, but my favourite is the potato mash stuffed kind (above), and I’m also partial to the carrot mash version. You pop them under a grill, heat them through and then cover with egg butter (well, egg, butter, salt and some parsley for instance).

And then you have these delicious and very filling pastries. They are very popular for breakfast in Finland, but I had them for dinner. And then again for breakfast. And then for lunch. Two each time:)

Kiitos, Anita! And good luck with the new job!


Paz said...

Yum! I'd love to taste this. The photo looks good!

Alanna said...

After living/cooking/tasting in Finland for a year, I can attest to how good these are and how fussy they are to make! But I may yet be inspired to try again, kiitos paljon to your post, Pille! (And yes Fazer for a snack, midway through!)

Nefritite said...

Hi Pille,
glad you enjoyed the 'karjalanpiirakat'! Good picture you've taken there :)


Iain said...

Hey Pille. everyday chef here, alias Iain. I have found the time to properly update my blog and have added some biog details etc. that were absent and also describe the reasons behind my blog.

Yours was one of the main inspirations for starting a blog. I love reading food blogs from other parts of the world, but it's cool to have a local view to share - and I love your angle on Edinburgh life. Cheers!

Pille said...

Paz - they're yummy!!! I am seriously contemplating making them myself soon. Unless Anita goes to Finland again:)

AK - thanks for your support! And maybe we can both make them (despite the fuzziness) and compare baking notes?

Anita - thanks again for karjalanpiirakat!

Iain - thanks for popping by and revealing the true identity of the everyday chef:) I am utterly flattered that my blog could be inspirational to anyone - so a huge thanks for making my day!!! I'll add you to my blog roll as soon as I update my template again..

Tanja said...

oooh, I absolutely LOVE karjalanpiirakoita! My favourites are the ones with ricepudding, topped with butter and cheese. *yummy*
Also wanted to say that I love your blog. It's one of my "watch daily for updates blogs" :) Keep up the good work!

Antti said...

I had totally forgotten karjalanpiirakat even existed! It's so funny I had to visit your blog to be reminded of one of the most staple foods of my adolescence :D

I'm reading your archives from the beginning, and I totally love your writing style!

Cheers, Antti

Pille said...

Another very late reply, so sorry!

Tanja - thank you for visiting and reading my blog. And whereas the 'classic' rice pudding filling is delicious, then I'm more potato mash kind of girl:)

Antti - I'm one lucky girl to deserve your loyal readership, eh:) Looking forward to meeting you and Anna one day for real!

My-a-blogger said...

My Mother's recipe is listed at

I use rice porridge filling. I'd like to try barley instead sometime. And now I would like to try these too.

Hyvaa ruokahalua.

Lena said...

I came across your blog from the Traveler's Lunchbox and was intrigued when I saw you had Finnish recipes. My mother is Finnish and although we were raised in the U.S. we traveled there often as children and grew up eating lots of Finnish food, especially karjalanpiirakat. Mom would make them and I remember how long it would take. We would slather them with munavoita and eat, eat, eat. Seeing your photos and reading your recipes brings me right back. Look forward to reading more!

Tampa, FL