Just over two years ago I was in Tbilisi, visiting my sister and her family for my niece’s first birthday. Since we both moved away a good few years back, seeing each other has, sadly, become a once or twice a year event. One day, my sister told me “Let’s say we live until 90 and we meet about once a year. That means we’re only going to be seeing each other another 60 times. That’s not enough! Let’s go on holiday together.” That’s how, last July, I ended up at Helsinki Airport, waiting for her connecting flight from Istanbul to land, a couple of hours after mine had arrived from Manchester. We spent a week roaming South-West Finland, from Helsinki to Hanko to Turku to Tampere and back to Helsinki.
In a similar fashion to what I did for my road trip of Morocco (refresh your memory here! One, two and three), I’ve divided all my photos from the holiday into three chunks. This is the first batch, along with a Finnish, or Finnish-inspired, recipe. I met my sister at Vantaa airport, we collected our hire car and drove straight into the sunny countryside-meets-seaside area southwest of Helsinki. Over the next few days, we slept on an alpaca farm (where we narrowly missed out on the birth of a baby alpaca, which happened only two days after we left), chatted about life sat on the jetty of a pond just like they used to do in Dawson’s Creek and, obviously, took the obligatory photo of one of the nearly ubiquitous reindeer danger signs that dot every Finnish country road. The photos in this post cover those first few days, before we drove into Tampere and finished the week off discovering Helsinki.
Start by infusing the liquid base. In a stockpot, add water, cream, allspice, and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat off and let it infuse for a couple of hours. Bring back to the boil, add onions, parsnip, celeriac, carrot and potatoes and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the biggest chunks in the soup can almost be pierced through with a knife. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want them fully cooked at this point. Add the pieces of salmon and simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked. You can check this by gently pulling apart a piece of salmon: if it flakes easily, it’s cooked. Add salt, to taste. Turn the heat off, add the chopped dill and serve (along with some rye bread or crispbread, if you wish).