Nordic Summer Light – Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam | my blue&white kitchen

We are living the magical Nordic summer time right now. What makes it so special are the seemingly never ending days, the Nordic summer nights. I mean, looking at a blue sky at 1am in the morning is pretty rad. I can shoot my posts from 4am until 10pm and still have perfect lighting; during the darkest winter period I was only able to shoot from 11am to 2pm. Can you imagine, how this changes the pace of life around here?

I think living in a country of four seasons, of four very different and dramatic ones, teaches you a lot. It teaches you to really appreciate the season on hand. To make the most of it. Every season has a special place in our hearts but summer, oh I think summer is the season that is most dear to us living in the north. Summer, or suvi as we call it here in Finland, is the thing that helps us to survive the long, dark winter days with almost no sunlight.

We know, however, that this magical season of light doesn't last for very long. Three months, four if we get lucky. So we have to make the most of it: spend as much time outdoors as we possibly can, soak up the sun, and smile. Lazy days, ice cream, sunshine, all kind of seasonal vegetables, berries, and fruit, farmers' markets, picnics, drinking a glass of rosé on the porch, midnight walks... We really need to make it the best summer ever because if one thing is certain it's that winter is eventually coming. Oooh, see? It's the pessimist me who's talking right now. Really need to try harder to live in the moment.

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam | my blue&white kitchen

This weekend, we're celebrating Midsummer, the longest day of the year. It's one of the most important and beloved holidays in Scandinavia. Everyone is trying to get out of the city to celebrate Midsummer at a summer cottage, preferably by a lake, on the coast, or in the Finnish Archipelago, although, urban Midsummers have become more and more popular. Midsummer is all about praising the magical summer light. It's about good food: new potatoes & pickled herring, local vegetables, berries, & fruit, and lots of barbecuing. It's about going to the sauna and enjoying good company. Bonfires are burned at lakesides and by the sea. As Midsummer has believed to be the time of the year when magic is most powerful, folk magic, myths, and rituals are very present: young maidens collect wild flowers, put them under their pillow, and hope to dream of their future husband. It's the time life feels great; the time we feel blessed to live in a place like this. It's the time we say 'I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world right now'. [Okay, it's also the time that is almost always doomed to be accompanied by bad weather... It feels like media starts to forecast Midsummer weather right after Christmas. Most years it's cold and rainy, but occasionally we get lucky and celebrate Midsummer blessed with wonderful sunshine.]

In case you got curious, I recommend watching this fun, short video, which is about Swedish Midsummer. There are some differences in the traditions (we don't dance around a maypole = we are not that much fun) but the spirit is very much the same.

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam | my blue&white kitchen

Wishing you all a rainless Midsummer.
And may your Midsummer breakfast tables be glorified with this jam.

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

yields about 750 ml / 3.2 cups jam

This has been my favorite jam for years. Rhubarb and strawberries are quite an unbeatable flavor combination, and I love the hint of cinnamon. This jam isn't overly sweet as I don't want to get rid of the rhubarb's acidity; it would be like wanting to change its personality. I like rhubarb as it is: tart, a bit quirky, and a whole lot of fun. I often make this as a compote; I just use less sugar. Compote won't keep for as long as jam, but if you use gelling sugar 1:3, don't cut the sugar by more than a fifth, and can it, I have noticed that it will keep in the fridge for several months.

I know that some people feel a bit nervous about home canning. When making jam, I never boil my jars once filled and have never had any issues. Actually, although we are quite a home canning nation, I don't think anyone in Finland does water bath canning in addition to sterilizing the jars & lids (nor is it the jam making method official sources suggest), and pressure canners are unknown here. However, I know that in the US this is not seen as being up to food safety standards. So if you are new to home canning, worried, or would like to learn more about the process, USDA has a whole site dedicated to home canning which you may find helpful. I also really like Food in Jars' Canning 101. Below, I'm describing the jam making method that we use here in Scandinavia which may, as I've already said, differ from the one that is recommended in your country.

Always remember to work with clean equipment and only use fresh and undamaged berries and fruit.

about 600 g (1.3 pounds) rhubarb, peeled and sliced (you should end up with about 575 g / 1.3 pounds peeled rhubarb)
245 g (8.6 oz; 2 ¾ dl; 1 cup + 2 ⅔ tbsp) gelling sugar 1:3
¾ tsp cinnamon
60 ml (¼ cup) water
1 tbsp lemon juice
160 g (5.6 oz; 2 ½ dl; 1 heaping cup) strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced

To sterilize the jars
Put the clean, empty jars in the oven. Heat the oven to 110°C (230°F). Once the oven has reached the given temperature, sterilize the jars for at least 10 to 15 minutes. To sterilize the jar lids, boil them in water for about 5 minutes. Fill the jars with the hot jam immediately and close the lids tightly.

To make the jam
In a medium-sized pot, combine the rhubarb, gelling sugar, cinnamon, water, and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb starts to soften. Remember to stir every now and then. Add the strawberries and simmer for a couple of minutes more.

Skim off and discard any foam that might raise to the top as the mixture cooks. To check if the jam is ready you can drizzle some on a cold plate. It should set within a couple of seconds. Otherwise, keep the jam boiling for some more minutes.

When ready, carefully fill the sterilized jars with boiling hot jam (a jam funnel comes handy in this step), leaving about a centimeter / 0.4" (or less) of headspace. Close jars tightly. After about 10 minutes, twist the lids one more time making sure that they're tightly closed. Let the jars cool completely. If the jars are properly sterilized and sealed, the jam will keep in the fridge or in a cool, dark place for up to one year. This jam doesn't keep in room temperature as it's not made with preserving sugar 1:2.

So how do you know that a vacuum has been created? If you use jars with metal lids, you'll notice that there is a small "button" in the middle of the lid. As the jam cools down, this "button" should be drawn inwards. If you fail to create a vacuum (or decide not to can the jam), you should store the jam in the fridge where it keeps for a couple of weeks.

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam | my blue&white kitchen

Breakfast Deluxe – Croissants Filled with Brie & Strawberries

Croissants Filled with Brie & Strawberries | my blue&white kitchen

Life is like a chain. A chain of moments. The past weeks have been pretty busy and stressful around here but several small moments have kept me sane. These kind of moments don't need to be big and sensational. No, it's rather the everyday moments that are the ones making your life meaningful.

So I sat down for a while and wrote a list of moments that filled a special corner of my busy, and often messy, brain during the past week. So here it is; my chain of moments.

Listening to bird songs at 4 am. Cherries. Feeling the warm sun on my cheeks. The laughter of a dear friend. Ice cream in a cone. The smell of sun-kissed skin. A black cat sleeping on my lap. Rain drops against the window. Fried asparagus for breakfast. Screaming seagulls. Spotting dandelions. A glass of Kungfu Girl on a Wednesday night; cause girl power. Wearing shorts. And flip-flops. Beer sorbet. Thunder. The smell of freshly baked bread. Encouraging words. A trip to the farmers' market. Stargazing. Freshly ground coffee. Birch trees. Strawberries. Sunbathing on the dock. A bossa nova kind of morning. Pavlova. A blue sky. And blue lake water. The scent of freshly mowed lawn. Yogurt+rye granola+strawberries+agave nectar. Hitting the beach. Mole in my burrito. Nightless summer nights. Screaming at a concert like a teenager. Nettle foraging. A road trip. Pizza night. These muffins. Listening to two middle aged men at the beach: "Is the water warm?" "Yes!" Are you kidding me? 10°C (50°F) IS NOT WARM! Watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy. Gray rocks. The smell of lilacs on a warm summer night.

Croissants Filled with Brie & Strawberries | my blue&white kitchen

And last but not least, this breakfast deluxe.

Croissants Filled with Brie & Strawberries | my blue&white kitchen

Croissants Filled with Brie & Strawberries

This is what I call a breakfast deluxe. Croissants make every morning feel special but filling them with brie and strawberries makes them even more luscious. I added lettuce leaves for some extra color and the additional texture they provide. To be honest, this can hardly be called a recipe. However, I felt that it's just too delicious to not be shared. I was, actually, introduced to this dish at quite a young age. My mom claimed that this was "overly delicious". I was skeptical to say the least, but it didn't take me long to get to appreciate it as much as she did. You can use good quality store-bought croissants or make your own ones. I have to admit that I've never made croissants at home but am eager to try. Both Linda of The Tart Tart, Melissa of The Faux Martha, and Yossy of Apt. 2B Baking Co. wrote a blog post about the croissants of the legendary Tartine Bakery. I truly can't wait to make the recipe myself!

flavorful lettuce (I used Red Salanova), washed & dried
brie, sliced
strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced

Using a serrated knife, cut the croissants in half horizontally without cutting all the way through. We want to make a kind of pocket for our fillings. Fill the croissants with lettuce, brie, and sliced strawberries. Honestly, it is impossible to overload them with strawberries so be generous with them. Enjoy with a cup of coffee (either warm or iced) or a glass of freshly squeezed juice. Et voilà!

Saying Thank You & Having Ice Cream For Breakfast...Well, Kind Of

Frozen Bilberry Cardamom Yogurt | my blue&white kitchen

You may have noticed that badge on the sidebar. Maybe you also saw my updated March Love&Inspiration post. Or you stumbled upon my euphoric/totally perplexed tweets (poor you) or my instagram pic...oh and I surely mentioned it on Facebook as well. It was a truly surreal Monday night. I'm still pinching myself just to check I'm not sleeping. If this is a dream, it's a pretty realistic director's cut...

I'm extremely honored to be nominated for a Best Food Blog Award from Saveur Magazine, in the category Best New Blog. 'OMG'  has been my mantra for the last couple of days. I'm truly over the moon about the nomination. For you who don't know what the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards are about, well, the music industry has the Grammys, the film industry the Oscars, and we food bloggers, we have the Saveur BFBAs. I still don't know how I ended up being nominated with all those super talented people; people I look up to. But there I am. BOOM!

I want to thank you for all your support, cheers, and congrats. For making my recipes. For reading this humble space of mine, for leaving comments, and for being such a constant source of inspiration. It's truly special to be honored for something you have created yourself. For something you have not only invested time in but that you've done with a big heart.

Thank you.

If you would like to vote and send me to Vegas for the Best Food Blog Awards party (Saveur will fly the winners to Vegas for free. I know, totally crazy.), please click the badge on top or on the sidebar. You'll need to register to Saveur, but it's straight forward, and there won't be any spam emails or anything. You can vote until April 9th which is next Wednesday.

But let's move on to today's recipe, shall we? I have a huge crush on it. It makes my pupils dilate, and my heart flutters like hummingbird wings when I have a spoon of it. There's berries in it which does not only turn it into a bright, cheerful color but makes it a vitamin bomb too.

As some of you already know, I often have yogurt with homemade granola, berries, and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for breakfast. Nothing special there, but at least it's delicious. However, after I stumbled upon this recipe, all I saw in my morning bowl were the ingredients for something so much more fun. I mean, who doesn't want to have ice cream for breakfast, right? Well, maybe not real ice cream but something that totally feels like ice cream but isn't. Does this make any sense to you? [I'm sure the BFBAs are messing up with my brain...]

Frozen Bilberry Cardamom Yogurt | my blue&white kitchen

However, I didn't want any bananas in my wannabe ice cream. Those are reserved for milkshakes only (right, dad?). Adding bananas would yield in a firmer consistency, but I've always preferred my ice cream half frozen anyway. So all berries. I chose bilberries cause I still needed to clean my freezer from last summer's berries. Some of you may wonder "How much berries does this girl have in her freezer?". The answer is: way too much. It was a good summer with lots of berry picking trips. I felt the urge to spice it up with cardamom cause bilberries and cardamom are such a wonderful flavor pairing. And then maple syrup. Yesss.

Because we're talking about breakfast here and granola is such a staple on my breakfast table, we'll of course sprinkle some on top. The granola you see in the pictures is this one. It's one of the best granolas I've ever made. I like to add millet and some extra seeds to my batch.

Ooooh, heaven!

Frozen Bilberry Cardamom Yogurt

serves one hungry soul or two as a side (eat that croissant!)

I encourage you to use bilberries rather than 'regular' blueberries both for their vibrant color and for their taste. If you, however, can't find bilberries, blueberries will be just fine.

Side note: You may or may not have blue lips and a blue tongue after enjoying a bowl of this goddess of breakfast. I  strongly encourage you to have a look in the mirror before leaving the house, and to wash your teeth after rather than before breakfast. Just sayin'...

200 g (7 oz; 2 dl; ½ +  cups) Greek yogurt
200 g (7 oz; 3 dl; 1 cups) + 35 g (1.2 oz; ½ dl; ¼ cup) frozen bilberries
¼ tsp ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
2 tbsp maple syrup

homemade granola, to serve

Blend yogurt, 200 g / 7 oz bilberries, cardamom, and maple syrup in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining blueberries and mix with a spoon (we want these berries to remain whole for some additional texture). Serve with granola on top. Cheers!

In Search of Exciting Breakfasts – Baked Blackcurrant Ryemeal

baked blackcurrant ryemeal | my blue&white kitchen

"I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!"

– Tove Jansson, Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Vol. 1


The past couple of weeks have been a mess. I find it hard to blame life cause, after all, this is the life I've chosen. I don't want to bother you too much with my every day breakdowns but I can pretty much sum it all up in one single word: thesis. If you have done yours or are in the midst of it, like I am, you probably know what I'm talking about. I'm like one awkward crazy brain. I feel like there's always more to do than what I actually manage to accomplish, and there are always new obstacles in the way. "I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!" has been my personal mantra lately. But deep inside I know this won't last forever. Everything will eventually come to an end. And then there will be a new thing to stress about. It's called life, and it's good as it is.

baked blackcurrant ryemeal | my blue&white kitchen

Today, I want to talk about breakfast. Breakfasts are a rather boring affair in this home. Not bad but boring. Usually it's a slice of rustic country bread, or a bowl of homemade granola with plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey. There's always coffee with milk; usually two cups (at least). On weekends, I may make some eggs or enjoy a croissant and freshly squeezed orange juice, but, to be honest, that happens way too seldom. I'm not the one making pancakes or waffles early in the morning, neither do I make breakfast frittatas. Like I said, boooooring. If there's one thing I want to change about my eating routine, it would be making more exciting and satisfying breakfasts.

Today's recipe is a result of cravings. First, I saw this breakfast post from Yossy Arefi at A Cup of Jo. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to make it. An exciting breakfast! I started to wonder if rolled rye would work in this dish. You know, this is the first time I've used them. Would it be too "heavy"? I decided to give it a go. I still had a lot of blackcurrants from last summer in my freezer waiting for their destiny, and I felt like this would be a dish that would do them justice. Furthermore, I used cardamom instead of cinnamon cause, well, I'm a cardamom girl. Cardamom also felt like the perfect pairing with the deep flavors of rye and blackcurrants. "Plain yogurt would be great too", I thought. So I made it last Friday. I knew, I did everything right the moment I had the first mouthful of it. Comforting, delicious, nutritious, exciting. Everything I asked for, really. I found a new breakfast favorite. One to break my boring morning routines.

Baked Blackcurrant Ryemeal | my blue&white kitchen

More breakfast inspiration:

More breakfast inspiration can be found on my Breakfast Board on Pinterest! And for more berry breakfast love, don't forget my Whipped Lingonberry Porridge. It's not only damn beautiful but also a luscious way to start your day.

What do you have for breakfast? I would love to hear about your mornings!

    baked blackcurrant rye meal | my blue&white kitchen

    Baked Blackcurrant Ryemeal

    adapted from this recipe from Yossy Arefi (who adapted hers from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, p. 44)
    serves 3–4 

    I think, this also makes a comforting dessert if served with vanilla ice cream! Feel free to play around with different berries, sweeteners, and grains. Furthermore, the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled. In other words, perfect to serve a big crowd!

    75 g (2.6 oz; 2 ½ dl; 1 cup) rolled rye
    ½ tsp ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
    ½ tsp baking powder
    2 pinches of fine sea salt
    2 ⅔ dl (1 1/8 cups) whole milk
    1 egg (S)
    2 ½ tbsp maple syrup
    60 g (2 oz; 1  dl; ½ cup) pecans, toasted & roughly chopped
    140 g (5 oz; 2 ½ dl; 1 cup) frozen blackcurrants (you can use fresh ones too)
    30 g (2 tbsp) butter, melted + more to butter the baking dish

    plain yogurt, to serve


    Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Butter a 16 cm (6") round baking dish.

    In a medium-sized bowl, combine the rolled rye, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. In another, small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and maple syrup.

    Spread half of the rye mixture in the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the pecans and blackcurrants, then cover with the remaining rye mixture. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the rye. Top with the remaining pecans and blackcurrants, and drizzle with the melted butter.

    Bake on the middle rack for 35–45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the ryemeal has set. Serve warm with plain yogurt, and drizzle with maple syrup if you feel like it.

    baked blackcurrant ryemeal | my blue&white kitchen

    I also wanted to thank you for all the support you're giving. I was amazed by all the positive feedback on my last post. Your words mean the world to me. I feel blessed to be able to share my heart and passion with you all and to do something that others really love as well. So thank you. A thousand times thank you.

    That boat thing - Whipped Lingonberry Porridge

    my blue&white kitchen

    For the last two weeks, the web has been full of all things pink. Cute cupcakes, satin ribbons, chocolate hearts, and gooey goodness. I guess you're expecting the same from me, from this small space I've created. But I'm afraid I have a confession to make. I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. I don't even like it. There's certainly nothing wrong with the message itself. Love and friendship. I'm all yours. However, I can't cope with the commerciality of February 14. It makes me feel anxious.

    Somehow the day feels fake to me. Like I would appreciate the people I love only if I do something special on this specific day. I don't like that it's expected from me to do something special. I don't like "should-dos". Maybe I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to things like this.

    my blue&white kitchen

    Love is less about showing and acting but more about being. Being there for each other, sitting in that same boat. Enduring the mighty storms when the waves crash against the sides of your boat, watching the light rain falling down on you both, and trying to find the right direction when the morning mist makes it hard to see. Enjoying the gorgeous dawn together and sunbathing in the bright sunshine. It also means being there when the time has come to raise the sails and travel to places yet unknown.

    I hope you get what I mean.

    my blue&white kitchen

    I didn't plan to post a pink dish this week. It just happened. And well, I guess this would be the perfect Valentine's Day breakfast, right? You could totally serve it next Friday. Cause after all, although it isn't my kind of day it totally could be yours. But don't label this as a Valentine's Day porridge. It's so much more than that.

    Whipped Lingonberry Porridge

    serves 4–6 didn't know you can actually whip porridge? Well, here's the good news: yes you can. We people of the North do it all the time. It keeps us warm. Okay, just kidding. The reason we do it is because it gives you a bowl of fluffy goodness. Fluffy, pink porridge! That's what dreams are made of.

    For most Scandinavians whipped porridge is a dessert. I however like the not so sweet version that can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a midday snack. So folks, you're welcome to add more sugar if you feel like it and call it a dessert. No one will judge you. You could also substitute regular wheat farina with whole wheat or spelt farina if you want to go an even healthier route. One more note: I made this with lingonberries which is the traditional take on it BUT you can totally use other berries if you want to. Black or red currants, sea buckthorns, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries... And if you can't decide, just mix them! I wonder if cranberries work as well. My guess is, yes. Just adjust the sugar amount according to the sweetness of the berries you use. Lingonberries are quite tart so I would use less sugar for a whipped strawberry porridge.

    EDIT: Anita made a batch and served it with coconut milk. According to her, it "is terrific on top". So, by all means, do try it with coconut milk instead of regular milk.

    8 dl (3 ¼ cups) water
    250 g (8 oz; 4 ½ dl; 2 cups) lingonberries (fresh or frozen, no need to thaw)
    pinch of fine sea salt
    100 g (3 ½ oz; 1,2 dl; ½ cup) granulated sugar (+ more to taste)
    120 g (4 oz; 1 ½ dl; ⅔ cups) farina (Cream-of-Wheat)

    whole milk, to serve

    In a medium-sized pot, combine the water and lingonberries. Bring to a boil and boil for 10–15 minutes.

    Add the salt and granulated sugar. Gradually whisk in the farina, making sure there are no lumps. Let simmer for 5–10 minutes (depending on how long your farina needs to be cooked), stirring constantly. Taste and add sugar if you feel like it could be sweeter to your taste. Remove the pot from the heat and let the porridge cool to room temperature.

    When the porridge has cooled, beat it with a whisk or a hand mixer, until light and fluffy.

    Serve at room temperature or cold with milk.

    The porridge can be stored, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days. Just beat it again before serving.

    whipped lingonberry porridge :: my blue&white kitchen

    P.S. Join me and other food bloggers and help to provide a nourishing school lunch for South African children. Read more about it here, here, & here (just to name a few contributing posts). You can donate here. Thank you for The Lunchbox Fund and The Giving Table for making this happen.


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