Mare's Garden and Estonian potato salad recipe


We visited Mare and Lembit's house and garden in Tartu, Estonia recently. Arriving as she finished wheelbarrowing for the third time all the chopped wood into a neat pile. The whole garden is an inspirational cornucopia of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables that she has developed over 15 years. We wandered around the garden stuffing our faces with currants, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes while Lumi the cat stalked through the bushes. It really is dramatic the difference in the seasons in Sweden and Estonia from down under. Summer is just lush and green and full of flowers and fruit and winter's a barren desert of snow. (In Australia winter's green and summer's parched and yellow often -in the south of Oz that is. ) Every time we go to Estonia it's warmer and sunnier than Sweden which seems to be afflicted with low, grey clouds in summer that never seem to end and drive you crazy.
Mare out in the garden.
One of her favourites.
The rich magenta red of one of the red currant bushes.
The homemade hothouse. Being able to pick your own tomatoes is what having a garden's all about to me.
Estonian food is pretty simple food and is easy to make. Though whether it really tastes like Estonian food is another thing. To me it's very plain, hearty food, often with a sweet taste. Potatoes and cabbage seem to be in everything. (And lots of meat. I've never seen so much packaged and cured meats in my life in the supermarkets in Estonia.

Estonian Potato Salad (Serves 15)
1 kg potatoes
300 g carrots
300 g pickled cucumber
200 g canned peas
200 g fresh cucumber
2 eggs
1 large onion
400 g sour cream or plain yoghurt
400 g mayonnaise
salt
sugar

Boil the unpeeled washed potatoes and carrots until they are soft. Let them cool and peel. Boil the eggs for about 8 - 10 minutes until they are hard and then peel them. Peel the onion. Dice all the components into small cubes and put them in a bowl. Add peas. Pour in the sour cream, mayonnaise, season with salt and sugar and mix thoroughly. Let it stand for a few hours in a cool place so that the flavours blend together. Decorate with parsley and tomato slices.

Tip: You can also add ham and apples to the potato salad. Enjoy!

(Recipe taken from a book titled 'Traditional Estonian Cooking'  Publisher Tulip OU www.tulip.ee One of the very few books on Estonian cooking in english.)

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