Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Taste of Finland at New Port Mall with Sara La Fountain

Megaworld Lifestyle Malls in partnership with Asian Food Channel  brought American-Finnish celebrity Chef Sara La Fountain  at Eastwood Mall last  June 3 and  at  Newport Mall  last  June 4.   It was such a blessing to get a spot on  this eventful  night at Newport Mall yesterday.
 Sara La Fountain,  the stunning host of New Scandinavian Cooking of Asian Food Channel is a  chef, model, entrepreneur, author, columnist, model, and blogger.   She  trained in The Culinary Institute of America in New York, but had chosen to stay in her hometown in   Finland where she’s become a familiar face on TV with hosting jobs in Avec Sara and Perfect Day.    Even though she’s a celebrity in Finland, she may be familiar on our shores as she has been a model for several brands including Puma.
Apart from being a media personality, Chef La Fountain has a catering service and a cooking school. She also writes on her blog, Passion for Fashion & Food, and for columns in different Finnish publications. Extending her writing repertoire, she won the prestigious Gourmand Cookbook Award in the “Best First Cookbook” category for her first book, A La Sara. Another book she came out with is Perfect Day, which shows recipes on Finnish dishes inspired by the seasons in Finland, Chef La Fountain is an expert in Scandinavian cooking. To give a little bit of background on the cuisine, a lot of the ingredients in Scandinavian cuisine comes from the sea, lake, and even the ground.
Food in this part of Europe includes fish, meat, beets, potatoes, cucumbers, and fruits which are broiled, baked, and smoked. In history, this cuisine was food for the Vikings. Salting or smoking their meat and fish were traditional ways of preserving their food, which remains to be a practice to this day.
On that night, Chef Sara shared three recipes and a few points on how to prepare Scandinavian cuisine.   I love the way  she told us  how her grandmother influenced her into being an adventurous eater and eventually in to cooking traditional and gourmet Scandinavian dishes.  Would you imagine, she had her first oyster when she was only four, hmm, beat that!
 Shrimp Skagen with Dark Sweet Bread was first on the list.  This refreshing regular Scandinavian snack is spot on.  Can be likened to shrimp salad with mayo dressing and lots of dills, however, what makes it true Scandinavian is their horse-radish, something like a mustard but with a subtle kick that of a wasabi.  What the heck, this definitely would be a hit even in my own kitchen.  Yes, don't worry I will share the recipe to you and the rest of the dishes in my future post, with a few of my tweaks of course, I'm sure you will also love it.
Pytipannu, pronounced as  pyu-tip-pan-na (the last syllable has a stress as in "cup") was  also  included in the demonstration.  This is a traditional Finnish dish of potatoes, onions and other assorted fresh vegetables, diced and pan-fried with egg, pickled diced beetroot, sour pickled gherkins and capers.  It's basically a mix of everything probably would have been left on the fridge served as an entree.
Finally, she showed us  how to prepare Finnish French Toast with Wild Berries.    Lucky me, I had to finally have some raspberries and strawberries, thank God for summer fruits, even made special  in reduced syrup over a French or Nordic bread.with cold whipped  cream.
Of course how can we say we had a taste of Finland if we weren't able to savor the dishes that teased us. 
From upper left, Shrimp Skagen, Foi Gras Ravioli with truffle Sauce (c/o Chef Steve Soenen of Maxim Hotel, and the Finnish French toast
If you think, all I did was watching and eating, you are so wrong, I did a lot of beating  too or whipping up.  I volunteered to be one of the contestants to Chef Sara's whipping the cream game.  There were three of us, and guess what I was one of the winners.   I used up all my energy left to win it, and what do I get- a whopping gift form Chef Sara herself, which will be shipped from Finland to my home.  YEY!  Amazing!
 On the same event, I was also had the chance to check out the Fiddler on the Groove, the You tube sensation, who plays electro-acoustic violin, Bryson Andres.
 Also had the opportunity to chat with Chef Jonas Ng who also did a few demo on using the grill of  Indesit Ariston stove, and  be accompanied by Angelo of  AFC.

A Taste of Finland with Sara La Fountain tour was made possible by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls and the Asian Food Channel; official sponsors Eastwood Mall, Newport Mall at Resorts World Manila, Airphil Express, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of HRIM;major sponsors Indesit Ariston, Nestle Cream, Wave Q Ambertronics; media sponsors Manila Bulletin, Radio High 105.9 FM, Sky Cable, hotel sponsors EDSA Shangri-La Manila.

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