This is the cover of the October issue of one of the best-selling home magazines in Estonia, Kodu and Aed (Home and Garden) and it has my name on the cover page :)
"How come?", you wonder.
In early September I got a phone call from their editor-in-chief, Ms Veigel, asking if I'd be interested in being the editor of the food section. The phone call was totally unexpected and came out of the blue - but as I am unable to return to my academic post at the University just now, I decided to say yes. It all went very quickly then - turned out they wanted me to be in charge of the October issue already and I had about a fortnight to come up with the menu and do the photoshoot. With the help of Juta Kübarsepp, the photographer, we ended up with the following "Pille Petersoo sügismarjamenüü" aka my autumn berries menu. The concept behind the menu was that while Estonians are very good in forageing for wild forest berries (cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, cloudberries, lingonberries and such like), they often overlook the berries in our own garden. Hence I focused on black aronia aka chokeberries (a popular and very beautiful hedge plant, the berries are mainly used for making cordial), sea-buckthorn berries (the super-berry of 1990s and 2000s over here) and rowanberries (the berries of rowan or mountain ash; see also and article in The Guardian). All three are pretty abundant, especially if you live in a small garden town or on the countryside, yet the vitamin-rich and antioxydant-rich fruit of those trees/bushes are too often left for birds to eat (while trendy urbanites spend a fortune on exotic super-berries like acai, goji, golden inca etc).
Here's the menu, photos by Juta Kübarsepp.
Gravadlax with sea-buckthorn juice and berries:
My autumn berry menu began with lightly salted salmon filet (rainbow trout would be excellent, too), that had been seasoned with salt, sugar, pepper and concentrated sea-buckthorn juice. After 24 hours in the fridge, the fish was thinly sliced and garnished with whole sea-buckthorn berries.
Beef or venison "olives" with rowanberry gravy, accompanied with carrot ragout:
The sliced beef or venison is topped with sliced carrot, onion and some rowanberries, then rolled up, fried in the mixture of butter and oil, and then simmered in liquid until done. The carrot ragout is a simple mix of sliced carrots, onions, oil, water, rosemary and seasonings. Earlier versions of both recipes have been featured here on Nami-Nami about five years ago (see here).
Black aronia smoothie and whipped semolina pudding with apples and black aronia berries:
The smoothie is a mix of banana, a handful of black aronia berries, a spoonful of kama or oat bran or oats, a cup of kefir or plain yogurt, sweetened with honey or maple syrup. The whipped semolina pudding (mannavaht) is made with water, apples, black aronia berries, sugar and (wholemeal or spelt) semolina/cream of wheat.
Sea-buckthorn smoothie and sea-buckthorn kissel with crispy rye bread crumbs:
The smoothie is a mix of banana, regular or oat milk, (frozen) sea-buckthorn berries or undiluted juice, sweetened with honey or maple syrup. The fruit soup (kissel) contains water, sugar, pureéd sea-buckthorn berries and potato starch/flour (cornflour would do), served with curd cheese mouse and garnished with crispy rye bread crumbs.
How do you like the menu? Are you familiar with any of the berries and if yes, then how do you tend to use them in the kitchen.
We shot the November issue last week and are shooting the December one in a few days, so there's a lot of cooking and writing going on at our house just now.
Home Cuisine: Estonian Pille in Print Recipes: Fruit/Berries My recipes in Home & Garden (Kodu & Aed), October 2012