Archive for May 2014

Comparing false morel and true morel

Kartiohuhtasienen ja korvasienen erot. Lue allaoleva bloggaukseni tai perehdy mainioon Helsingin yliopiston sienisivuston virtuaalikasvioon

The following post is about differences between morel (Morchella spp.) and false morel (Gyromitra esculenta). After this post if you are still not sure which is which I suggest to cook mushrooms by-the-book just in case. Better safe than sorry! Or do as I did earlier when I thought that true morels were false morels. Take mushrooms carefully with plastic gloves and throw them into garbage bin. Afterwards I learned more about this non-poisonous, delicacy.

First picture: false morel ***+++ (do not ever use without cooking it first! Do not use cooking water---throw away!)

Upper picture: false morel. Poisonous!! False morel has more brain-like look. It also looks like funnel cake. In my opinion colour is comparable with pine cone. Take few pine cones and you can see same shades of brown from both. Foot is smaller and more uneven/irregular. More pictures here 
Gyromitra esculenta: University of Helsinki !!!Remember to wash your hands really well after handling these mushrooms!!

    Second picture: true morel (Morchella spp.)

Morel (Morchella spp.) looks like Moomin Hattifattener with olive brown Marge Simpson twig. How describing? Foot is longer and it can be either smooth or it can have grating-like look. Cap is tall (except Morchella spp. University of Helsinki which first looks like false morel). True morel has also small sections. 

According to A New England and Eastern Canada Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Resource  "the yellow morel cap (pileus) is usually conical, oval, bell shaped and sometimes quite irregular with grayish or yellowish ribs (never black or dark brown) and darkish to yellow recesses. Black morel caps are fully attached to the stem and have black or brown ridges and tend to be conical, elongated, or bell shaped. The bottom of the stem may have a small overhang as seen in the photograph of the bisected black morel below. The pits are more in lines between the ridges like corn rows. Half-free morels caps are usually smaller,  bell shaped and only half attached. Normal cap size is 1-2 in. wide and 1-4 tall. It looks a bit like honeycomb or sponge and is never wavy or brain-like. Morels are ascomycetes. They produce spores in sacs called asci that are in the recesses on the surface of the cap. No gills or pores are present."

As seen from the picture, true morel has a different growing terrain than false morel. Or at least in my knowledge. These grew in the garden edges. Morels are occasionally found by walkways, compost and small wood chips, for example.You can see from upper pictures that there is ash in the substrate. Check out more pictures Morchella spp. University of Helsinki

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Shades of brown: how to find false morels (Gyromitra esculenta )?

And in Finnish: Miten löytää korvasieniä? Korvasienen sesonki on parhaillaan Etelä-Suomessa. Linkkaan Tuomas Salsteen loistavalle löytäjän oppaalle, jota lukiessaan voi sielunsa silmin nähdä korvasienet.
Check list:

  • Seek for loggings which are preferably two or three years old.
  • Check that logging is sand-based moor. The ground should be roughly broken so that sporocarp/mushroom appears. 
  • Season lasts from two to three weeks, sometimes more. Ground rule: when birch has dogears it's time to act (in Finland).
For us finding false morels was challenging. We found the right spot and knew that false morels are somewhere to be found. When you have been hunting mushrooms for few years you have a certain
hunch. Hard to describe, but you learn to know and understand surrounding terrain. Later more about that.
Ideal pine-based moor before turning into logging.
Notice that main tree is pine, not spruce.

Same forest after forest harvester. Ground is a bit broken. Could be more broken.
Hieman rikkonainen maasto. Hiekkaa näkyvissä, metsäkoneella raivattua maastoa.

Suurin osa itiöemistä oli männynrisujen alla, joten sai olla tarkkana. Kun korvasienet alkoi tunnistaa ainut mihin niitä sekoitti enää olivat männynkävyt, joissaa on erehdyttävän paljon samaa väritystä.

All the false morels are not pine-brown.

Find a false morel. Exquisite, delicate and hard to find.  These false morels were found on weekend one week ago. Well hidden under pine twigs. 

False morels are compared with Japanese lethal fish fugu. You have to carefully pick mushrooms with gloves or plastic bags. Keep false morels separated from other mushrooms. Besides these we found few morels and took them to different basket (without plastic bags, since they are not lethal).The following post is about comparing false morel and morel.


Edit: Korvasieniaika on parhaimmillaan Etelä-Suomessa ja siirtynee parin viikon kuluessa pohjoisempaan. Sieniestysonnea!

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Romantic, girly, bohemian..Minna Hepburn

I'm looking for a white lace dress for the following summer. I like a bit girly, bohemian and romantic look that still is preppy. Apparently Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (née Middleton) has an eye for white lace dresses. This particular Roamer lace dress is designed by Australian designer Zimmermann. 

Look is what I'm after and so I started to google similar dresses. After a while I found it. Or actually those. Minna Hepburns' dresses. And accessories.**  

Either lovely Liv dress... (picture:

Or versatile Lucie dress .. Perhaps this offers more options.(picture:

Ethereal is a right word to describe these dresses. Plus the lace is finest Scottish lace, Leavers and madras lace. Minna Hepburn is a Finnish designer who lives in Dorset, UK. According to Urban Times she started designer career as selling her hand made silk tops at a Topshop concession. Nowadays she has Minna brand that includes bridal wear, accessories, children's and women's dresses.

What about the wedding dresses and accessories? And how cute are little girls dresses, tops and accessories?

Stunning Johanna dress for the bride (and why not to wear after wedding). Chic and different. (picture:

Customising kit (picture:
Really fell in love with this idea. With this kit one can spice-up her dress (bridal or everyday), shoes, headband etc. If I were a bride I would put these flowers to headband or veil and after wedding would  re-use them in a dress bracelet or cushion cover. Something to remember from a special day.

Olivia headpiece or corsage (picture:

This  beautiful headpiece or corsage is made from recycled silks and antique buttons. Love that it is versatile and made from recycled products.

Malika dresses have a vintage look. Made from lace and silk.(picture:

 I really like Minnas' comments or notes where she recommends outlook that fits with her dresses and accessories. It feels like having a personal shopping assistant. 

If you also like preppy and bit romantic look , I suggest checking She also has showrooms in London , Helsinki and Dorset.

**Opinions are my own. No blog collaboration made with Minna brand.

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On the plate

As promised, here are some of the recipes. Most of these (mousse, bread, salmon) were made earlier, in order to avoid the hassle. 

On the left: Asparagus mousse, Åland bread with Toast Skagen,
Gravlax and Quiche with asparagus and pistachio
Asparagus mousse

Asparagus mousse was ok, but still not perfect. Texture was really good, but I'm not 100 % satisfied with the taste. I keep on finding a perfect recipe.


Åland bread

Originally I made Åland bread with this Recipe (only in Finnish) but after few experiences I have started to do experiences on my own. Recipe for the following one is coming. As a new thing I added psyllium (which added dough viscosity) and chia seeds (which make a gel-like content in 15-60 minutes). Åland bread (or actually bread rolls) were a hit with toast Skagen

Ingredient list

unsifted wheat flour
rye flour
chia seeds
Toast Skagen by Jamie Oliver

400g cooked, peeled prawns
 ½ a red onion, peeled and very finely chopped
 ½ a bunch of fresh dill
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
100 g soured cream
salt and hint of ground black pepper
Chop red onion and dill (very) finely. Add other ingredients and taste.  I added a hint of sugar.


Salted salmon 

This time we tried something new with gravlax. Evening before May Day we realized that we don't have warm smoked salmon, because shops were already closed. Fortunately we had some salmon in the freezer. We salted it and put a weight on top and let it stay in the fridge for around 12 hours. After that we took extra salt away and cut salmon in small tartar-sized pieces. It was really good.


Asparagus and pistachio quiche

Last, but not least we had quite typical quiche (with quark in dough) with perhaps not so common fillings.
Here are some of the used products..

2,5 dl cheese-cream
125 grams Emmentaler
1-2 eggs (we had two quiche, which had altogether 3 eggs)
500 grams pre-cooked asparagus


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What a May Day

As you can see from the pictures, we didn't have the sunniest May Day here.  Just had a brief visit to Kaisaniemi to see some friends and had a glass of bubbly. It was a good choice to have a rain coat and  a woolly.

Afterwards we had a picnic at home with some relatives. 
As a picnic bites we served asparagus mousse, 
toast skagen with own Åland bread, gravad lax,
 prosciutto and hollandaise. Recipes 
(and hopefully a picture) for mousse, Åland bread
 and gravad lax in the following post.

I had my Finnish student cap for the second
time on.

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