Appivanhemmat went to mökki today. Mökki, or cabin, is something of a Finnish tradition. According to Culture Smart! Finland Finns yearn for the countryside, and during “the main holiday month” of July they retreat to their rural summerhouse, of which there are over 400,000.
These cabins are normally situated near a lake or the sea, or on an island. The mökki which we go to is by a lake in a wooded area. As with most cabins it has it’s own sauna – an old fashioned wood burning sauna, meaning we have to chop the wood to fuel it.
There’s no running water. If we want a drink the water comes from a well. Water for washing is pumped up from the lake, and it’s freezing, which means sauna is a necessary precursor to showering because it’s the most sensible way to warm the water. The lack of running water means that the toilet is of the compost variety.
Add all that to the multitude of bugs, not forgetting that having an abundance of lakes means that Finland also has an abundance of mosquitoes, and you can probably understand why I got a bit freaked out the first year we went to cabin.
I’m not a city girl. I know about nature. I grew up in a smallish village. My primary school backed onto farmland. But mökki was all a bit basic. I think it was the bugs more than anything. I hate bugs… Which is made all the better by the fact that they seem to love me. Somehow I manage to get bitten more frequently than the others, on top of which the bites I get occasionally react weirdly, leaving me with nasty bruised looking patches that are so itchy!
But, I actually got used to being there fairly quickly, and in the end I even enjoyed it. When we went last year, the second time I’ve been, the “nature stuff” barely even fazed me.
Unfortunately we’re not joining Appivanhemmat at cabin this year. S is working and couldn’t get the time off, having only recently taken a week to spend in England. So instead of going and being at one with nature, we will be home alone (plus cats) for the week. But if we really feel the need to get a bit of nature there’s a huge lake nearby, the park, a wooded area… Even Finland’s cities are green!
Today’s recipe is one of S’s favourite dishes. I got the recipe from Anoppi, but I’m not sure where she got it. It’s quite a simple dish to make, and is very tasty.
Source – Adapted from a recipe given to me by my Anoppi
Pasta, we normally use Tagliatelle
300g salami, chopped into little matchsticks
3tbsp (approx 42.5g) butter
3 cloves of garlic, or to taste, chopped finely
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, I would recommend white pepper as it is a white sauce
Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil. Depending on the fat content of your salami, you could skip the oil.
Sauté the salami in the oil.
Push the salami to one side. In the other side of the pan, melt the butter.
When the butter is completely melted, add the flour and mix together to make a roux.
Add the milk and stir the sauce continually. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for five minutes, until thickened.
Season with salt and pepper, and mix in the chopped garlic.
Serve over pasta, with parmesan for sprinkling.
And that’s it. Enjoy!
Leftovers should last for a couple of days in the fridge. The sauce may separate slightly when reheated, but all it needs is a stir to set it right!