Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nami-Nami Easter Brunch 2014

Nami-Nami Easter Brunch 2014. Kevadpühad 2014.

Last Sunday we had a full house again. 28 people, including the kids, celebrating the Spring and enjoying the traditional Nami-Nami Easter brunch. It was a gorgeously sunny and pleasant day, and we ate al fresco.


First, the eggs. To be honest, we only dyed them after the party, but they're still part of the Easter brunch in a way. We used the Estonian way of dyeing eggs with onion skins (read all about it here) for the yellow-brown eggs, and frozen blueberries for the blue eggs. I think they turned out gorgeous, and the kids loved them!

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: salmon roe appetizers
Small rye cups were filled with salmon roe and sour cream (also known as creamy caviar dressing, recipe here).

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Suitsukalasalat. Smoked fish salad.
Smoked fish salad, spiked with some horseradish (I used hot-smoked hake).

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Kurgisalat. Cucumber salad.
Ottolenghi's cucumber and poppyseed salad - always festive, yet simple to make. I omitted the sugar this time and didn't miss it at all!

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Ristemäe talu "presidendi kilud"
Marinated fresh sprats from the Ristemäe talu stand at my local farmers' market, Viimsi Taluturg.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Makaronisalat. Pasta salad.
Pasta and sausage salad, very Estonian and always popular with older kids.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Sun-dried tomato and olive nibbles
Puff pastry canapés with sun-dried tomato pesto and black olive filling.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014
Another view of the table.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Crostini with cured ham and wild garlic ricotta.
Wild garlic is in season, so I made some crostini with ricotta and wild garlic spread, served with Estonian cured pork filet.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Pulled pork. Nyhtöpossu. Ribaliha.
I did all the prep work on Sunday morning (the kids make sure we wake up rather early :)). However, I did slow-cook a huge Boston butt (2,5 kg) on the previous day, serving the pulled pork at the brunch. The recipe was adapted from this Finnish magazine.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Rosemary and garlic salmon.
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Salmon a la In Sock Monkey Slippers. It was a huge salmon, so there was plenty for everybody.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Kiwi and grape salad. Roheline puuviljasalat.
Green fruit salad looked inviting and spring-like. I omitted the maple syrup, as the kiwis and grapes were sweet enough, and sprinkled some almond slices on top for some extra bite.

Over the years I've got better in delegating. Some friends brought imported strawberries, some oranges for the freshly squeezed orange juice, some brought wine. Some friends volunteered to bring food. And they brought some wonderful dishes.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Mutabak by Liina.
My friend Liina baked a fantastic mutabak.

Nami-Nami Easter Brunch 2014. Wild mushroom salad by Piret. Metsaseenesalat.
Piret brought along a typical Estonian mushroom salad (wild mushrooms, onion, sour cream, seasonings).

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Kristiina salat. Kristiina's salad.
Our friend Kristiina makes wonderful salads, here's what she brought along this year.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Paavo kardemonirullid. Paavo's cardamom rolls.
And her husband Paavo baked a big batch of Swedish cardamom twists.

Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014: Buckwheat mocha hearts. Kohviglasuuriga tatrakook.
I had also made a small cake, namely gluten-free buckwheat hearts with mocha glaze. Our son Aksel is somewhat sensitive to wheat (and hazelnuts), so I try to make sure there's something on the table that doesn't make his skin all itchy. (If you need more buckwheat inspiration, then check out my buckwheat recipe board on Pinterest.)

Here's another look at the table: Nami-Nami Easter brunch 2014

We drank Prosecco and various wines, cold-brewed hibiscus water (the bottle on the left) and black aronia cordial (the jug on the right). Coffee and tea later.

What did you have for Easter? I'd love to hear more in the comments!

See overviews of our previous Easter brunches:

Easter brunch 2013, featuring blood orange Mimosas, avocado and smoked salmon salad, cucumber bites with cream cheese, small tattie scone rounds with smoked salmon mousse, deviled beet eggs,  chorizo meatballs, a great carrot and cream cheese cake, roasted cauliflower, and much more.
Easter brunch 2012, featuring crostini with dill-marinated pork tenderloin, Ms Marmite Lover's focaccia shots, marinated olives, Estonian mushroom salad, cold-smoked salmon, a delicious paskha, cardamon-scented apricot and curd cheese cake, and much more.

Easter brunch 2011, featuring a pretty (imitation) snow crab salad, beet quail eggs, two types of home-made Estonian cheese "sõir", smoked salmon with horseradish dip, wild garlic (ramp) pesto with almonds, crostini with white cheese and red onion jam, puff pastry rolls with feta, white bean salad with  chorizo, Limoncello, coconut and white chocolate tart.

Easter brunch 2010, featuring spinach and hot-smoked salmon salad with quail eggs, green beans and asparagus, Marika Blossfeldt's quinoa salad with beets and fennel, savory cheesecake with goat cheese and chives, Ottolenghi's cucumber salad with poppyseeds, bean salad with lemon and parsley, Baltic herring with cherry tomatoes and herbs, Estonian home-made cheese "sõir", paskha, traditional Simnel cake, and another cake with coconut, lemon curd, elderflower cream and lemon balm.

Easter brunch 2009, featuring bright green pea soup shots, zucchini rolls stuffed with goat cheese, hazelnuts, figs and mint, peppered beef fillet, marbled beetroot eggs and marbled turmeric eggs, layered surimi "crab" and egg salad, pineapple carpaccio with mint sugar, matcha madeleines, and two different paskhas.

We also hosted Easter brunches in 2007 and 2008, but somehow I didn't document their properly. I can see on Flickr what was on the table back in 2007, but that's about it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, Estonian style

This was originally posted in 2011. You'll find all my Easter recipes here

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

We don't really 'do' chocolate eggs for Easter here in Estonia, but real, chicken eggs. Dyeing eggs for Easter is very popular, and using onion skins is probably the most popular method. Using onion peels gives you most beautiful dyed eggs, each one unique and special. Here are some photos of the process that I took few years ago.

Pille, onion skins

Here's what you need to do:

* Few weeks before Easter start collecting onion peels. Yellow ones are better than red onion skins, as they give a nice colour.

* You need white eggs for doing this (this gives the shops a chance to sell specially packaged white eggs for a much higher price before the festivities).

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take an egg and neatly put few onion peels around it:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take a piece of mesh/muslin/kitchen foil or even an old nylon stocking and wrap it around the egg to keep the onion peels on place. I used foil here:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Boil as usual. Cool, then unwrap and unpeel.

Here's the result - each egg is unique and gorgeous:

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

Natasha describes a similar, though less complicated way of dyeing eggs with onion peels that's popular in Russia and Ukraine: Russian Easter Eggs. My 91-year old grandmother uses the same method - she says she's too old to "play around" with the onion peels too much :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wild garlic pesto aka ramson pesto recipe

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto / Karulaugupesto
(From the recipe archives - originally posted in April 2011. Three years on, this is still my favourite way of preparing wild garlic pesto. You can use either ramson or ramps).

Wild garlic has arrived! Wild garlic, also known as ramson or bear's garlic (Allium ursinum, 'karulauk' in Estonian), is a very close relative to the wild leek aka ramp (Allium tricoccum, 'grislilauk' in Estonian). I've been eagerly waiting for this spring green, as I love both the flavour and the versatily of it, and it's a good health-booster at this time of the year. Well, if it's good enough for big brown bears, it's good enough for us :D

Although I've been happily making a wild garlic pesto with pinenuts for a few years now, this one is a new favourite. There's more flavour, and somehow it's much more gutsier than the 'regular' wild garlic pesto. The idea to use almonds instead of pinenuts in a wild garlic pesto is from a German food magazine. I've upped the amount of almonds and cheese, and used regular almonds instead of blanched.

Let me tell you - this was a huge hit at my recent birthday brunch, where the guests were spreading it on thin slices of ciabatta. I'm heading to my secret wild garlic field later today, just so I could make this one again :)

You could definitely try this with ramps or even with garlic scapes. If you love garlic, you'll love this, I promise!

Other recipes using wild garlic/ramson @ Nami-Nami:
Wild garlic tzatziki
Wild garlic and potato mash
Wild garlic butter
Wild garlic pesto (with pinenuts)
Stuffed tomatoes with wild garlic salad

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto
(Karulaugupesto mandlitega)
Makes about 200 ml

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto / Karulaugupesto

a good bunch of wild garlic (about 125 g), rinsed and drained
50 g Parmesan cheese, roughly chopped
50 g whole almonds
75 ml (5 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place almonds and cheese into a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. Add wild garlic, process again until you've got a coarse pesto. Now add the oil little by little, with the machine still running.
Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to keep your pesto for a few weeks, then place into cool sterilised jars and pour a layer of olive oil on top. Keep in the fridge.