“Gone fishing in the middle of nowhere” – how does this status update sound to you? It was what we actually and honestly did this summer during one blissful week: Fishing in Finland. Looking at the pictures now i feel a pang of longing.
For the vast landscapes of Finland, the untouched seas and forests, filled with wild blueberries and pine trees, the silvery evening lakes that barely showed a wave at all, and the charismatic, endless skies above, scattered with quirky clouds that occasionally held a surprising rain shower in stow. We soaked it all in, and just raveling in the memories makes me so happy, even now that the beautiful vacation is long but over. I feel so lucky that i was able to encounter so many inspiring and beautiful things, first and foremost nature, at its wildest and most bare and impressive.[gap height=”20″]
[gap height=”20″]It feels like everything we did do during this adventurous trip was quite mundane compared to every day life here in zurich, submerged in the daily grind. The tasks we were faced with were very basic indeed. Sleeping, and then maybe napping some more. Breathing in the fresh air. Eating simple, gloriously fresh food – berries and fish, directly from before the front door – that we prepared with much relish. foraging for wild blueberries (that the finnish call bilberries). Cleaning the kitchen after the meals. And waiting for the fish to bite while chugging along lonely lakes and island, so we would have something to look forward to, come dinner time. The simplicity of it all made us unwind easily and forget the mountains of busyness we were facing at home, each day.
The fishing was something else, altogether. I was a admiring the process from afar, admittedly, at first. Safely hidden behind my lens, perched on one end of the little boat. We caught so many glorious pikes and zanders and perches, it was a challenge to turn them into meals, all at once. I might or might not have had a slight allergic reaction to all the fish we ate, but oh, the great taste of fresh fish, that’s really something else, altogether. The boys spent hours upon hour just gutting their catch each day. With much shouting and laughing.
As for nature itself, i’ve rarely seen anything more beautiful than Finland. The vastness is something we’re entirely lacking in Switzerland, and i found myself baffled by the immensity of the solitude you can find there. no house, street or man in sight, for kilometers. As my finnish friend Sini from My Blue And White Kitchen told us, there is a reason for that. Obviously, the country is huge and there are only about 5 million fins in total, which isn’t much. Apparently, though, they also enjoy their solitude. a finnish saying goes like that:
[blockquote_sty ver=”1″ border_size=”10px” color=”#808080″]The Best Neighbor Is No Neighbor[/blockquote_sty]
Isn’t this just so brilliant? The blueberries that i picked one day – the bounty must have been, what, maybe two or three kilos – went straight into a blueberry galette. The crust was very crumbly and buttery. And the berries in the middle weren’t runny at all. instead, their slightly tangy seeped into the crust, forming a nice and moist, juice-drenged, doughy layer, partly juicy and partly flaky. The good thing about a galette is, that you don’t even need a special baking pan or pie pan. All you need, in fact, is a random baking sheet and a parchment paper. If you don’t have a rolling pin on hand, fret not, we did not, either. We simply used a precious bottle of lillet to roll the dough out. Such is vacation spirit, you get creative and come up with simple tricks to manage a task on hand. Normally you’d just reach for the rolling pin, ha.
Dear Finland, thank you for being so lovely to us and for showing you from your best side, possible (apparently, all but this very week were much more wet and cold, and we were greeted with sunshine, throughout), and leaving us with memories that we will treasure forever.
For the bakers out there: should you want to make this galette and you do not happen to have wild blueberries on hand, fret not: you can make it with any kind of fruit (or even porcini, which i’m strongly planning on doing, any time soon now). In summer, obviously raspberries would be divine. or just think of peaches…?[gap height=”20″]
PS: I will share my helsinki diary, as well, asap. More gorgeous inspiration from the Magic North, ahead! xx[gap height=”20″]
[fourcol_one][/fourcol_one][twocol_one]Wild Blueberry Galette
200 g flour
1 pinch salt
80 g sugar
120 g butter, cold, cubed
750 g blueberries or other berries
40 g vanilla sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg for eggwash
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the very cold, cubed butter and work it into the flour, until you’re left with crumbs. You should work rather quickly, so the butter doesn’t melt too much.Add the egg and combine until a dough forms. Do not knead for too long. cover and chill for 30 minutes or overnight. If the dough is too cold and firm when you want to process it, just remove it from the fridge and leave to come to room temperature again.Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a 5mm thick circle. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect, at all. That’s the beauty of the galette! Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Maybe chill the rolled out dough again for 15 minutes, so the crust turns out even more crispy. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Sweeten them with the sugar and vanilla sugar. Spread the blueberries in the middle of the rolled out crust, leaving out a rim. Fold in the rim from the sides towards the middle and press firm a little. Beat the egg and brush the rim with the egg wash.Bake the galette at 200 c / 400 f for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. The berries are now nicely cooked through and sweet. and they won’t be rather, but rather their juice will be merged with the crust. Leave the galette to cool – or, really, just serve warm.[/twocol_one][fourcol_one_last][/fourcol_one_last]