Thing I miss (eating) about Tallinn

Tallinn is THE perfect city for a student. Apartment prices are low, food is cheap and eating out is ridiculously affordable if you know where to go. Even though I’ve settled in Helsinki after living here for about 6 months, I long for some particular dishes from my favorite restaurants in Tallinn.

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The pizzas from Pulccinella in the old town. This hidden gem is in the middle of the tourist mayhem, yet you can go and eat a GREAT buffalo mozzarella pizza without getting annoyed by drunken Finns. I mean, LOOK AT THAT PIZZA! It is the best pizza I’ve eaten outside Italy and only for about 10€.

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Lendav Taldrik in the hip area of Telliskivi was one of my favorite places to go to eat a family styled meal with my friends. The restaurant offers Indian and Asian fusion dishes to an affordable price(5-10€), and the palak paneer is simply divine. The interior in the restaurant is interesting and industrial, but yet a place where you want to spend the evening and stuff your face with curry’s.

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CARPACCIO! WHY CAN’T YOU FIND carpaccio in any restaurant in Helsinki? One of my favorite was from Kolm Sibulat (great place) or a scaled down version for 7€ could be found at Hetk (which is no longer open). Simple, three good ingredients, slob it with evoo and yes, food haven.

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Last but definitely not least, Gotsu Koyuho’s Kitchens crispy, sticky, delicious, garlic and chili fried chicken. This is lethal, you WILL be addicted to this. And the kimchi. Sooo good! This gem is a short walk from the old town and only open on weekdays as it is more of a lunch restaurant, but it is always packed. They serve also bibimbap and other authentic Korean dishes. You will get the lunch of your life for 7€.

 

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Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore

                            

On the second day we drove to the coast to Cinque Terre. The road there was astonishing, and the village as well . On this particular day it was about 40 degrees, but we managed to walk around for a few hours and eat lunch at a really nice Michelin restaurant. I ate fresh tuna which was really good! 

We drove back to the wine yard and ate dinner at the restaurant there. During the trip, the best food I ate was at the restaurant on the wine yard. Super delish! 

Toscana – Pisa & San Miniato

                

        

So my vacation is unfortunately over and tomorrow I’m going back to work. The last week in Italy had been absolutely fantastic, the weather and food has been amazing! Last Monday we flew together with my boyfriends family to Pisa, where we spent the day sightseeing and adjusting to the heat. Your body is experiencing quite a shock if you are used to 15 degrees and then hop in to a toasty 35-40 degrees and full sun. But I really can’t complain, it was really nice to have some heat. 

After our day in Pisa, the next destination was the wine yard where we were going to stay for four nights. The wineyard was in the middle of basically nowhere in between Pisa and Firenze in a small town called San Miniato. The wine yard was super cosy house with a few rooms and guest houses, pool and restaurant on top of a hill. The wine yard is family owned and they produce some nice redwines such as Chianti and Merlot, but also olive oil. 

There was a lot of smaller villages near by and we had dinner in the neighbour village the first night. The restaurant was called 4 Gigli and the restaurant itself was stunning, it had a view over the mountains. The food was mediocre but the view made up for it. 

   
     

Zucchini and eggplant lasagna

As it is the end of the month, and you never have too much money as a student, I usually cook a large dish that can be eaten during several days to save some money. The absolute favorite dish of mine at this moment is vegetable lasagna. Instead of lasagna sheets I use vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini, but it is completely fine to use a few sheets of whole grain pasta, as I did this time in order to make it more hardy. I use a ton of veggies, so even though there is a little cheese, this is extremely healthy, and you can leave out the meat completely by adding some soy protein or chopped cauliflower. 



Zucchini and eggplant lasagna:

– 1 large eggplant

– 1 large zucchini

– 500g of crushed tomatoes

– 1 chili

– 3-4 cloves of garlic

– 1 large onion

– 1 large carrot

– 1 red pepper

– vegetable stock cube

– 500g of minced meat (or soy protein)

– spices such as salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, smoked paprica, basil etc.

– 100g of buffalo mozzarella 

– 70g of any grated cheese 

Start with washing the eggplant and zucchini, then slice thin strips with the help of a cheese slicer, the eggplant is easier to slice with a large knife into thin strips. 



Then in a hot, slightly oiled pan, fry the strips until golden and season with salt and pepper. 





Then start with the tomato sauce, chop onion, garlic, chili and paprica, grate the carrot. Add olive oil to a pan and on a slow heat gently fry the vegetables. Then add the minced meat, vegetable stock and spices and cook the meat through. Add then the cruched tomatoes and 1-1,5dl of water and a splash of wine if you will. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile slice the mozzarella.

As I don’t use any bechamel sauce (cheese sauce), I usually combine 3dl of milk with 2 eggs and add it to the lasagna. This is not necessary when only using vegetables, but as I used a few layers of pasta, it needs some additional liquid. 

Then you can start assembling the lasagna, in an oiled oven tray, put a little sauce, then either pasta or vegetables, sauce, vegetables, sauce, cheese, vegetables… Etc, you know the drill! I like to put the cheese as the middle layer! Then just top the lasagna with the shredded cheese and put in a 220 degree oven for about 30 minutes until beautifully golden! 



Slow cooked bolognese sauce

Hi there! Long time no see, I’ve been trying to read for my exams (emphasis on trying). Yesterday I cooked something that most people are familiar with, bolognese. A bolognese sauce means to most people minced meat and crushed canned tomatoes, which is fast and comforting (and cheap). But a real bolognese is slow cooked, includes bacon, vegetables and wine and most often small pieces of meat instead of minced meat.

So what you need:

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– 2 x 500g of crushed canned tomatoes
– 2 dl of water
– 2 small carrots
– 2 small onions (or 1 big)
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– 1 large chili
– 1 vegetable stock cube
– 100g of bacon or pancetta
– 2 celery stalks (I forgot)
– 500-600g of beef, I used roast beef cut, I recommend to use a fattier cut
– pinch of sugar
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tsp of dried oregano
– 1 tsp of dried thyme
– 1 tsp of smoked paprica
– 2 dl of red or white wine
– salt & pepper

Begin with chopping the onions, chili, celery and garlic into small pieces. Grate the carrot. Then slice the bacon or pancetta into thin strips, then the meat into small cubes. Heat up the skillet, add a nob of butter and olive oil and first fry the meat quickly so it gets some color (I did it in two batches as there was so much of it) and remove it from the pan.

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Then add the bacon and let it get a bit of color, then add all vegetables and turn down the heat. You don’t want the vegetables to get color, just soften them slightly, fry for about 3-4 minutes.

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When the vegetables are soft, add spices and vegetable stock cube, pour in the red wine, and let the alcohol cook away for 2 minutes. Then add the beef and all its juices and the tomatoes and water. Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Let it come up to a simmer, then turn down the heat (it should not be boiling, gentle simmer) and put on a lid and let cook for 4-5 hours. Stirr every once in a while. If you’d like, you can cook it in a 120 degree oven aswell.

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After 4-5 hours, if the liquid has reduced too much, add a little water. Check seasoning and serve with pasta and grated parmiggiano cheese!

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Enjoy!