In Tallinn we live in an awesome apartment, in Lai street, in Old Town. That Old Town, one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the most beautiful place on Earth. So, in that apartment, in that Old Town walls are thick and we have no doors. There is a wooden, probably Medieval ceiling, pink and blue chandelier, and what is now a bathroom, used to be a wine cellar. The apartment is cold, but cozy. The previous owner, an interior designer, did a hell of a good job.
There is a window facing the street and a Russian restaurant that I’ve told you about. The other one is facing the yard. And how I love that yard! There is a grandpa walking two poodles. We often talk, using a mixture of Estonian and Russian language as I can not speak that much of Estonian, and grandpa can’t say a word in Russian. There are also two large Russian Blue cats. One of them loves me and comes to my window often. Just can’t forget the times when I was babysitting Katarina’s cat and he keeps peaking in hoping that Mila the cat will appear… And when I come out to the yard to take photos, he jumps on my back, and the little girl from the apartment across starts laughing at us. I so love it there.
The apartment is dark, even on those long summer days. I rarely can make a decent photo inside. Sometimes, I catch those 15 good minutes and a nice photo comes out of the camera. Just like the first one in this post, but only minutes later and something like that second, not that nice one happens So, this beautiful blue table that I use is in an empty room that I dreamed of making into a studio. In this apartment we used to make barbecue in a fireplace… we had a bath tub with lion legs… swords and a chest of gold in the bedroom… I suppose you’ve understood by now how I loved to live in this apartment…
And so we lived in a place more beautiful than I could ever dream of, when black mold appeared. Actually, it all started a bit earlier, when the pipe in the apartment above broke and we had a bit of flooding. Oh, well, some things get mold with style, like the blue cheese, others totally degrade, like strawberries… For us, it meant a beginning of the end of staying in the apartment. Suddenly, my carriage turned into a pumpkin. The feeling of loss was huge… I was thinking if we should do anything at all. But what if the mold eats us completely and UNESCO ninjas get through the windows and we get accused of ruining the world heritage?! What if the mold starts spreading into the building?! And then, all the way through the Old Town, house by house, street by street and so on until it eats all the Estonia??!!
Our landlord, fine lady as she always is, knowing we can not stay in that place anymore, offered a room at her house until we think of our next steps. The search for the next apartment is for the boyfriend, as I am not there at the moment and the next time I am in Tallinn, I will come to a different place… A dear friend I am never going to see again.
I do promise you will hear the end of this story. For now here is a recipe for these great burgers, who apart form the blue table, have nothing to do with the story. The buns are store bought, rye, Estonian style and I love them. They’re dense but in time you get used to the taste. Chutney is from Food & Travel magazine, and be warned, no one liked it except me.
Chicken Burgers and Tomato & Ginger Chutney
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered chilly
5 tablespoons diced ginger
250 g canned tomatoes
200 g brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2-4 chopped red chili peppers (depends on your tolerance to hotness, but know that this chutney will make no sense if you omit the chilies)
salt to taste
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
100 g button mushrooms
500 g ground chicken
1 grated yellow onion
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 green chili pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
yest of 1 lime, grated
2 teaspoon garam masala
oil for frying
Instructions for Making Chutney:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and quickly fry the mustard seeds. Reserve for later.
Hear the remaining oil in the same pan, then add powdered chili powder and fry a bit. Add ginger and fry for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato concentrate and cook until tomatoes start to break down. Add sugar and 120 ml water and cook on low heat until it thickens.
Stir in the mustard seeds and add salt to taste. Keep in the fridge.
Instructions for Making Burgers:
Dry-fry cumin in a pan. If you have a mortar and pestle, grind a bit, if not, it doesn’t matter, it’s still gonna be fine.
Pulse a couple of times mushrooms in a blender and add to the remaining ingredients (except oil). Knead with your hands and leave to rest n the fridge for half an hour at least.
Divide the mass into few parts and shape burgers. How many burgers depends on how big are the buns. Fry on both sides on a pan with a little oil, or grill.
Serve in a toasted bun, with tomatoes, chutney, lettuce, onion or an add-ons of your choice.