Walnut and Raisin Bread: The Only Bread You’ll Ever Need

Remember the easiest bread recipe ever we shared last month? Today’s bread recipe is a complete opposite to it but well worth a try. Once again, it’s one of our copycat recipes: every now and then we go and have lunch at a nearby restaurant Siltanen and couple of weeks ago they served interesting bread on the salad table.

We fell in love with it immediately and started to plan how to bake it at home. The bread had nuts and raisins in it. Or perhaps they were dates.

Walnut and raisin bread

  • 100g raisins soaked in water
  • 5g yeast
  • 1dl water
  • 50g rye flour
  • 50g wholegrain flour
  • 1dl plain yoghurt
  • 12g yeast
  • 200g wheat flour or wholegrain flour
  • 40g durum flour
  • 1/3dl honey
  • 40g butter
  • pinch of seasalt
  • 100g walnuts

We started to make the bread in the morning: we put the raisins into a bowl of water. They soaked there for about six hours. Then we mixed the first 5g of yeast with warm water and rye and wholegrain flour. We covered the bowl with a cling film and let it be at room temperature for about two hours.

The next step was to add the rest of the ingredients: yoghurt, yeast, wheat and durum flour, honey, salt, and smooth butter. The original recipe advised to knead the dough for 20 minutes (10 if you use a food processor) but I was lazy and I kneaded it only for 10 minutes, which seemed to be enough.

Then, I let the dough rest while I crushed the walnuts and chopped the drained raisins. After 30 minutes we added them into the dough and I knead it for five more minutes. It is best to bake the bread it a tin so we buttered one and put the dough into it. It had to be raised for an hour so at this point it was quite late.

Then the baking started: we preheated the oven to 250 celsius and put the bread in. Then, we lowered the temperature immediately to 180 celsius. We baked the bread for 45 minutes and then we removed it from the tin and baked it another 10 to 15 minutes.And then the bread was ready! It was 11 P.M.

The bread was crispy and tasty, and it got even better during the week. Even though it required lots of work, it was very simple to make and truly worth the effort. We suggest that you make it on your day-off and soak the raisins well beforehand.

And don’t worry if you don’t know exactly how much is 5 grams of yeast. We put a tiny bit of yeast into the dough and didn’t knead it enough but the bread was still perfect! The only downside was that we happen to have an overenthusiastic oven: it burns everything if you’re not careful. Around 11 P.M. we weren’t that alert, so that’s why our bread is such a brownie and covered in a kitchen towel to hide the burned crust.

Best Soup Ever (so far)

First of all,  sorry about two soup posts in a row. But since it’s the beginning of a new and promising year, many of our dear readers are on a soup diet, right? Just kidding.

It is hard to believe but the best meals we have recently had in restaurants have been soups. Remember the divine parsnip soup which we managed to remake at home? Now we have a similar story to tell, except that the soup in question is even better.

We ate lovely pumpkin and butter soup in a newly opened restaurant in Helsinki just before Christmas. The soup was garnished with a tiny bit of goose liver. It was perfection. I don’t know whether we are really experimental or we just don’t want to pay much for a soup (it could be mostly water anyway!) but we decided immediately to try it at home. Our first try didn’t succeed. The texture was wrong and the taste just was not close enough.

After extensive googling, we managed to find an interesting pumpkin soup recipe, which sounded like it could taste like the one we were after. It is so hard to stick to a recipe! So, here it is:

  • 1,2 kg butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 dl water
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube
  • 1 3/4 dl double cream
  • salt and pepper
  • some butter

Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. Split the squash lenghtways and place it on an baking tray with the onion and the garlic cloves and put them into the hot oven. Don’t peel them. Remove the garlic cloves after 10 minutes and let the other vegetables cook for total 50 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and when they are cool enough to handle, peel the onion and garlic cloves. Use a spoon to scoop out the squash flesh. Put them into a pan with water and the chicken stock.

Bring to boil and then add grated lemon peel (of half a lemon), honey, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a hand blender to blend everything. Add the double cream and bring the soup to boil once again. Season with a little bit of lemon juice.

Since we ate a pumpkin and butter soup in the restaurant and the recipe contained no butter, I put a small pat of butter on the surface of the soup. Voilà!

The soup tasted even better than in the restaurant. I think the secret is the roasting of the veggies. It takes time but it’s worth it. And you can do whatever you like while the veggies are in the oven!

Luscious Lentils in a Soup

On winter days like this when you have taken a long walk it is almost mandatory to eat delicious hot soup. That’s what we did today. Except in a reverse order. And we eat the delicious hot soup even without the long walk. It is so easy to make: you need only a handful of ingredients. And it’s also very filling and high in protein. It’s a lentil soup and once again the recipe is of Turkish origin.

The soup just refuses to look good in pictures but lets focus on the recipe:

Lentil soup

  • 1,5 l water
  • 1 dl rice
  • 170g red lentils (ready-to-use)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 0,75 dl plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 dl water
  • salt, pepper, chilli, mint

Rince the rice in cold water (or let it soak for 30 minutes and then rinse). Bring 1,5 l of water to a boil in a large pan and add the rice and beef stock cube. Cook for 5 minutes. Rinse the lentils and cook for another 5 minutes.

Melt the butter and stir in flour, approximately 0,75 dl, in another smaller pan over a low heat. Add the tomato purée, salt, pepper, chilli (powder) and 2 dl water. Mix well. Mint goes well with this soup so if you like it, add it as well. Pour the tomato mixture into the lentil soup and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat. Done!

The soup might seem a bit modest and simple but you’ll be surprised how good it is. Often the simplest foods are the best ones. The recipe yields three to four helpings. If you refrigerate the soup, it’s best to add some water and seasoning to it when heating it again; it gets very thick in the fridge.