JAMK’s Senior Lecturer Kimmo Aho worked in the restaurant business in Finland and abroad for about twenty years before joining JAMK. He also got to know the legendary Hotel Palace and Hotel Kämp. One of Aho’s strengths is combining food and drink.

“The idea was to create an Asian-type menu that wouldn’t be unreasonably difficult to realise alongside Christmas cleaning and baking. Many of the dishes, like all the fish dishes, the bread and the rice pudding, can be made in advance,” Aho says.

Aho’s children have suggested that they spend Christmas at home this year instead of his mother-in-law’s place.

“In any case, Christmas involves cleaning, lots of baking and making a gingerbread house, decorating the tree and heating up the Christmas sauna. Good food is also essential. I personally like fish a lot, so there are sure to be other fish dishes at our table besides the ones mentioned in the recipes. 

Mulled apple wine
Christmas salmon pastrami
Herring in a jar
Salt cured whitefish and clementine mayonnaise
Christmas loaf
Turkey fillet stuffed with figs, beetroot and sweet potato bake and puréed peas
Rice pudding
Nut crumble

Christmas salmon pastrami

400–500 g salmon
ground ginger
ground clove
grated orange peel

Cut pieces that are about 10 cm long and 4 cm wide from the thickest part of the skinless and boneless salmon fillet. Sprinkle the spices and grated orange peel on top. Wrap up tightly in cling film. Wrap another cling film around the package to make it tight enough. Put the wrapped salmon into warm water (55 °C) and allow to cool down to room temperature. Put it in the fridge for a few hours to increase the flavours. Remove the cling film and cut the salmon into portions a couple of centimetres wide. Sprinkle gourmet salt on top and serve with boiled potatoes.

Christmas loaf

5 dl sour milk
50 g yeast
2 tsp bitter orange peel
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp aniseed
2 tsp salt
1 dl syrup
3 dl rye flour
8–9 dl white bread flour

For brushing:
syrup and water

Grind the spices using a mortar and pestle, if necessary. Heat the sour milk to body temperature. Add the yeast, spices and syrup into the sour milk. Knead the flour into the dough, knead for 5 minutes, add the salt and knead for another 5 minutes. Allow the dough to rise until double in size.  Shape two round loaves and allow them to rise for another hour covered by a kitchen towel. Bake the loaves at 200 °C for about 40 minutes. Before taking the loaves out of the oven, brush them with the syrup and water mixture.

Turkey fillet stuffed with figs

1–1.5 kg turkey fillet
1 bag of dried figs
white pepper

Remove a large turkey fillet from the fridge half an hour before you start. Dry the fillet and quickly brown the surface in a hot frying pan. Make a deep cut in the thickest part of the fillet and fill it with dried figs. Bake the turkey in the oven at 180 °C until its inner temperature is 70 °C measured at the thickest part. Sprinkle salt and white pepper on top and wrap the fillet up in foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, remove the foil and cut into portions.

Rice pudding and Nut crumble

2 dl porridge rice
4 dl water
5 dl whole milk
1 dl sugar
1 egg
1 vanilla fruit

Add the rice and split vanilla fruit to boiling water and boil on low heat for 20 minutes. Add a little over half of the milk and all the sugar and salt and let simmer for 20 minutes. Whip the egg lightly with the rest of the milk, add it to the pot and let simmer for a few more minutes. Remove the vanilla fruit and lift the pudding into bowls or glasses for serving.

Nut crumble

30 g wheat flour
30 g almond flour (can be replaced with wheat flour if desired)
40 g sugar
30 g butter
40 g salted peanuts

Roast the crushed salted peanuts in a frying pan or in the oven. Grind the ingredients in a blender, spread them out onto a baking tray and bake in the oven at 180 °C for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on top of the rice pudding as decoration.


Recipes by Kimmo Aho, photos by Mikko Laine
Text by Pauliina Hietalahti