Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Copycat: Molly's bouchons au thon & emakeelepäev

Tuna omelets /Tuunikalaomletikesed

Today is emakeelepäev (pronounced ['emakeelepæev] - now there's a mouthful!) alias the day of the mother tongue in Estonia. It's the birth anniversary of Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801-1822), the father of Estonian written poetry. Since 1999, this day has been marked by various events celebrating Estonian language, the mother tongue of just one million people. It's a beautiful language, closely related to Finnish, and more distantly to Hungarian (and not at all to Russian, Latvian, English and other Indo-European languages). Apparently it is a pretty difficult language to learn. We have a funny letter Õ in our language (as well as more familiar Ä, Ö and Ü), three degrees of phoneme lengths, no grammatical gender (the word for 'he' and 'she' is both 'tema', no distinction is made), our nouns and adjectives decline in 14 cases, we have no future tense, yet we've got two infinitives. You get the picture..

A former US Peace Corps guy, Douglas Wells, has written a funny account about The Origins of Estonian Language, describing his frustration about learning the language after five years' residency. Do read it, it's hilarious! And if you want a more serious overview of the language, then check out this article by the Estonian Institute.

Back to food now. We had a most delicious and simple dinner last night, courtesy of Orangette's Molly. Two years ago she posted a recipe for tuna mouthfuls, or bouchons au thon - a recipe she had brought back from her time in Paris. I bookmarked the recipe ages ago, but, as it often happens, didn't make them until much-much later. I was beaten to it by Michelle of Oswego Tea, and Zarah Maria of Food & Thoughts - both praised those tuna bouchons. You can officially add me to the list of your bouchons au thon fans, Molly!

Molly's bouchons au thon

1 can of tuna chunks in water (185 g), drained
3 Tbsp tomato purée
5 Tbsp sour cream
3 large eggs
200 g grated cheese
4 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 finely chopped small onion

Flake the tuna chunks into smaller pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and give the mixture a good stir.
Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cups (I use a silicone muffin tray for this).
Bake in a preheated 165 C oven for 25-30 minutes, until the omelets have a golden and slightly crisp topping.
Serve with a fresh green salad.


thepassionatecook said...

how funny... people always tell me that german is difficult, with three genders, but it pales in comparison. so does every other language i speak, of course. estonian rules. no wonder someone dreamed up esperanto 120 years ago where all the grammar fits on one (A4) page!

Thredahlia said...

"We have no sex and no future!"
See on see lause, mida minagi tihti noorsoovahetuste osalejate tutvustamise juures meie keele kohta kuulnud ja lausunud olen :D

Molly said...

Hoooray! So glad to hear that you've joined the bouchon au thon fan club, Pille. These little guys call for an unlikely combination of ingredients, I know - I mean, canned tuna? But thanks for keeping the faith and giving them a go!

Anonymous said...

Happy Emakeelepaev!
You took a can of tuna and made a masterpiece! I like more herbs as well and would use your recipe.

Clivia said...

Hooray for the beautiful Estonian language! I just read a book the other day where the author wrote about how many ways there are to describe things in Estonian, lots of words and poetic descriptions. I bought a dictionary this summer in Haapsalu and learn a word here and there. Killekott is my favourite, so cute!

Andrew said...

Languages and me = crap. But I know how to swear six different ways in Polish, buy a beer in Spain and even manage to order food in Scotland but how how do you pronounce emakeelepäev ??

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I'm guessing it's a pretty difficult language based on what you said. I wish I was better with speaking foreign languages. It's always been one of my regrets that I don't speak another language. Thanks, I enjoyed reading this post.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

They look unique to say the least. But that's a good thing!

And I'm with Andrew - how do you pronounce the name?

Callipygia said...

Happy Emakeelepaev- How wonderful to honor one's culture and means of communication. With no gender differentiation in language does this make for more equality?

Anonymous said...

I made this on Sunday evening - but for 3 hungry guys I baked it in small flat casserole dish. I added zucchini & red bell peppers. Thanks for a great tasty dish.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the link Pille! These look really good and will be bookmarked post haste! :) I'm sure I will like them!

Gracianne said...

Sounds like a challenging language. Lucky for us that you write in English. I love those bouchons au thon, I have tasted several versions already, they are really nice and easy.

Pille said...

Johanna - a grammar that fits into one A4 sheet sounds like a dream! We kept learning Estonian grammar right through the 11 years at school:)

Thredahlia - ma seda "No sex and no future" polnudki kuulnud:) Minu repertuaari kuulub "nali" sellest, miks eestlased-soomlased-ungarlased on pidevalt enesetapuedetabeli tipus. "There's no future, so what's the point?!?"

Molly - thank you for a great recipe. I made them again on Saturday morning, and my sister and mum liked them a lot, too:)

Sandi - well, Molly's recipes work like a dream, so it wasn't difficult.

Clivia - what was the book you were reading? And it's funny how things sound funny in other languages. "Kilekott" sounds just normal to me:)

Andrew - sounds like you'd survive in most places:) I've added the pronounciation for the word - I'll check that you've mastered it in April in London!!

Susan - it's difficult from a learner's perspective, I guess, but as it's my mother tongue, it's a different story for me..

Scott - the pronounciation has been added. And do give those bouchons a try!

Callipygia - there's an interesting question for gender researchers:)

Pene - nice to hear you and your family enjoyed it! I might add some red bell peppers next time myself - would make the dish more colourful!

Joey - you're welcome, Joey! I made them again last weekend, they're delicious indeed!

Gracianne - I'd love to hear about all the versions of bouchons au thon you've tried!