Monday, November 21, 2011

Marika Blossfeldt's 'Essential Nourishment' and a recipe for Kabocha Apricot Soup (book giveaway)

NB! I've got one copy of this wonderful book (in English!!!) to give away to Nami-Nami readers. See details below!

I had seen the Estonian version of this book at my friends' place, and loved it. So when Marika, who divides her life between Estonia and New York, and whom I've met couple of times, asked me if I'd love a copy of the English version, I said yes. The book's full title is "Essential Nourishment: Recipes from My Estonian Farm. Your feel-good guide to healthful eating and energized living, one delicious meal at a time". It's divided into three major sections - Nutrition and Nourishment; Lifestyle; Food Guides and Recipes. Marika has been trained in integrative nutrition - meaning a reasonable and wholesome approach to eating and living healthily, and the resulting combination of information on nutrition and a collection on recipes is excellent.

I've got my own favourites - her beet, fennel and quinoa salad is wonderful, as is the recipe for Rye Porridge with Sesame Seeds. Our good friends regularly make her Zucchini Walnut Muffins and Carrot Ginger Soup (I'm especially partial to those muffins - our friend Peter bakes them in mini muffin tins, and they're addictive!) There are several healthy- and delicious-sounding recipes I'm looking forward to trying as soon as the festive season is over - Polenta with Roasted Sunflower Seeds, Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake Mushrooms, Dandelion Greens in Creamy Sesame Sauce, Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes, to give you just an idea.

But when I asked Marika which recipe she'd like me to share with my many American readers, she suggested this nourishing soup. Hope you'll enjoy it - and why not serve it as a starter this Thursday?

Kabocha Apricot Soup
serves 6

What could be a better treat than a squash puree soup on a chilly autumn day? Although the original recipe calls for kabocha squash, any winter squash or pumpkin can be used. The dried apricots add a little twist of sweet and tart and a hint of sophistication.

1 kabocha squash, about 2 pounds (1 kg), cut into quarters, seeds and fibrous parts removed
4 cups (1 l) water
1 onion, cut into wedges
12 dried apricots, cut into halves
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 inches (5 cm) long, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

Place the squash in a steamer basket inserted into a large pot. Add 3 cups (750 ml) of the water and steam for 20 minutes. Reserve the cooking water. Place the cooked squash onto a plate to cool. Use a spoon to scrape the meat from the peel.

Boil the onion, apricots and ginger in the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) of water for 10 minutes.

Combine the squash with the onion mixture. In batches, pour into a blender or food processor and puree, adding some of the reserved squash cooking water for a smooth blend.

Return the puree to the pot. Add the butter and bring to a boil. Add more cooking water if the soup is very thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into soup plates and garnish with chopped scallions.


NB! In the month of November Marika offers her book for sale on her website at a discounted rate. You will receive a signed copy and shipping is absolutely FREE in the United States:
Hint: this beautifully designed cookbook might just be the perfect Christmas present for all your health conscious friends and family members.
European readers, you can order Marika's book on and

Furthermore, I've got ONE copy of this book to give away to a Nami-Nami reader (I'll ship anywhere in the world). To win one, just leave a comment with your name, location and the name of your favourite healthy cold weather dish. I'll randomly choose a winner on Monday morning (November 28th).


Joanna said...

Joanna, a Brit living in Latvia. My favourite cold weather food is a good old fashioned roast dinner, with Yorkshire puddings and lots of veg.

Kris & Tony said...

Kristiina, living in Finland, estonian by nationality, though.
Tomato soup with goat cheese is definitely the best on those cold winter days when the wind if howling and windows have a little frost flowers on.

Anne said...

I would love that! Anne, in Sweden, and I'm very partial to soups and stew in the winter time. In particular, I'm dreaming of a soup with lamb mince, rice, spinach, lentils and tons of spices - I had one a few years ago at a restaurant, and haven't dared to recreate it!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Alanna, an American living in St. Louis, Missouri -- you visited, remember?! :-) -- where my favorite cold-weather food is roasted vegetables, vegetable soup, vegetable strudel, vegetable ... I'm kinda stuck on vegetables at the moment.

Kristel said...

Ma ei pretendeeri küll raamatuloosile, aga hoopis kirjutan küsimusega, et kas ma sain õieti aru, et selles on olemas ka eestikeelne versioon? Just hiljuti sirvisin Rahva Raamatus seda sama inglisekeelset raamatut ja mulle sealt öeldi, et eestikeelset polegi...

Tricia said...

Ooh! Exciting! I'm in the U.S. and I love split pea soup in the winter. Ta"nan loosingu eest!

KathiB said...

Kathi--a Canadian/Estonian/Scot living in Tucson in the southwest USA. My go-to healthy winter favorite is Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats cooked in the slow cooler. Breakfast for me 6 days out of 7 all winter long.
The squash soup recipe looks great. Just made a recipe with butternut, leeks and tart apples-vegan. Also yummy.

Dagne said...

Dagne, Kanadast (Vancouver). Lemmikud on kindlasti supid, näiteks frikadelli- vôi hernesupp :)

Pene said...

I spied this book during the summer & borrowed a copy from the Tartu Public Library, & I was very impressed with the recipes & the photography.
I would have to say my favourite winter food is 'Tomato & Lentil Soup' with any extra vegetables that I have handy & served with toasted rye bread.

I think this would also make a great wedding gift for any young couple.

Stephanie said...

Stephanie, living in the USA. My favorite cold weather dish is soup, any kind really! I also love root vegetables, roasted with rosemary in the oven.

Margaret said...

Margaret, living in northern Canada. I love noodles and dumplings in the winter, and my favourite dish would be my German grandmother's homemade egg noodles and butter baked chicken.That's my comfort food.

Kairi said...

Kairi, Estonian living in Brussels. My favourite cold weather food is spicy carrot soup with cumin. Might do that today, I feel flu coming :(

Sheryl McDonald said...

Sheryl, a Canadian studying in England. My favourite cold-weather food is a hearty soup served with crusty bread.

Laurel said...

Laurel, an American living in Vancouver, Canada. This sounds like a lovely book and I think my half-Latvian husband would be very interested in it. I am relying heavily on hearty vegetable soups and stews as this year's harvest is over and the fresh foods are mostly hardy greens and root veg.

Anonymous said...

dear pille, i enjoy reading your blog a lot, thanks for that! i am iris from the netherlands. in winter i love lentil soups (often with fruit) or oven roasted root vegetables.

Träk said...

Kärt, elan Michiganis ning kui väljas on külm, siis armastan valmistada ülekõige hapukapsaid sealiha ning ahjuporganditega.

Tünde said...

Tünde, living in Hungary. I couldn't decide between these two: balsamic vinegar - honey glazed beetroot with garlic tartar, and the other is a hot plum cream soup with cinnamon, cloves and dried plums poached in red wine. It's like a nice cup of mulled wine. :)

Marika Blossfeldt said...

Kristel, eestikeelne tiraaz on labimuudud - kaalume kordustrukki - kuid sellega laheb veel natuke aega.

janet @ the taste space said...

This looks great! As a Canadian, I get my share of cold weather which thankfully has not arrived just yet. But when it does come, I adore hearty winter stews! :)

Unknown said...

Hi, I'm Maie from the Toronto area and my favourite cold weather food is my mother Leida's sauerkraut:
-fry onions and smoked meat (turkey thigh/ bacon) in large pot
-add rest: tin/jar of plain sauerkraut (not in wine), 2 + tins water, 1/2 + raw cabbage chopped (whatever fits in pot), good handful of barley,
salt, pepper, 1+ tablespoons sugar
-optional: grated carrots, apples
bring to boil and cook on low all day (check that there's enough liquid, add more water periodically)

Maimu said...

Maimu from Toronto, Canada here. I met Marika many years ago when she took part in the Metsaülikool week-long lecture retreat, which takes place each August in the woods by a lake outside of Toronto. I remember her moving modern dance performance as if it was yesterday!

My favorite food on a cold evening is the Estonian favorite "Mulgi kapsad"...stewed pork roast in sauerkraut with barley...I always add a bit of fresh cabbage!

Anonymous said...

Chelsea from the USA. I think one of my favorites is a nice borscht with caraway seeds and some sour cream or yogurt dolloped on top. My family always made fluffy "biscuits supreme" to dip in them, but I guess rye bread would be more traditional.... biscuits are really tasty, though!

Katrin said...

Katrin, an Estonian living in Brooklyn, New York. I love soups in the wintertime. My favorite is a potato-lentil soup that my husband makes. Thanks for this drawing, and thanks for sharing the kabocha soup recipe!

Pille said...

I love using Research Randomizer ( for choosing winners. This time I added range of 1-22 (Kristel didn't want the book) and RR gave me 1 - that is Joanna, a Brit living Latvia, as a winner :) Congrats, Joanna!

Joanna - would you please send me your postal address and full name - I can be reached at petersoo (at) yahoo (dot) com