Monday, 17 March 2008


The Kitchen relocated over the weekend to the Finnish seaside town of Hanko. Well to a small 20m2 hut on a beach about 6km out of Hanko. It was fantastic to just relax for a few days, cook some nice food, drink some good wine (and a few Finnish beers) and indulge in crazy activities like swimming in the Baltic in March, naked.

This was our fist experience of a Finnish Möykki and it was excellent to cook in what the tourist office described as a well equipped "Kitchenette" which the rest of us understand to mean very basic! As I have mentioned before on this blog (here) that these holiday cottages can be good for cooking and so it proved here. Our menu was

Lingunie puttanesca a la Hanko
Beef curry with jasmine rice and naan bread
Steak and crispy baked potatoes with cream cheese

Needless to say the point here is that you never know what you are going to find in the way of cookware and utensils and you just have to enjoy improvising on the spot. Once again we came up trumps with a cast iron frying pan that did the steaks proud. The lack of running water or sink didn't seem to hamper the operations and the curry turned out to be the winner of the weekend in terms of flavour in return for the most basic cooking.

Cubed beef
Garam Masala
Coriander seed ground
Cumin seeds
Red Chillis
Tinned tomatoes

Heat the oil in the pan.
Brown the onions and then add the beef. Cook for a minute or two and add the garlic, chilli and ginger.
Add the vegetables (except the spinach) and continue to cook. Add the tinned tomatoes and a good dash of beer.
Bring to the boil.
Add spices. I have to say that as this point I used my judgement. I had some home made garam masala so I used that as the main spice and added lesser amounts of Coriander seed, cumin seed and tumeric (getting less with each one).
Reduce to a simmer and leave for as long as possible.
This is the perfect time go for a sauna, swim in the sea (if mad enough) and then have a beer on the veranda before going back to the kitchen and
Add spinach
Cook rice and Naan.

We also had some kiwi fruit with ricotta for breakfast which was divine.

(Please note that not all the items behind the plate were used in making the dish!!!)
The best bit here was the kiwis have been begging to be eaten at home and somehow always managed to get overlooked. Here nothing was wasted and all leftovers came back to Helsinki to be turned into a lunch this week.


It was also a chance to read a bit and while I continue with Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune I am not gripped by it. Yes it is well written but it seems to be a story trying to be fantastical rather than something fantastical been told as a story. Maybe my next book will be something special, I've had a run of duds recently so my luck is due to change.


Until next time, waste nothing...I'm off to make the left overs from the Hanko trip into something interesting....pasta, cabbage and ham...where to begin??

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