Friday, 21 November 2008

Chelsea Girl

A few weeks ago we were at C's for some knitting and food. She was working her way through CD's alphabetically and we were treated to what could charitably be described as repition therapy to persuade us of the merits of A-Ha. However she had also discovered that she had a few duplicate CDs and I came home with a copy of "Celebration" by Simple Minds. I have to say I haven't listened to their early work for many years now. Readers of this blog will know that as a teenager their work from 1979 to 1982 was part of my life.

So despite it being a few weeks since dinner I finally had a few minutes to myself the other day and popped the CD into the computer while I was messing around at home on my own. I have to say that after a gap of many years some of it has dated. However I defy anyone who listens to Chelsea Girl not to come out of it with a big stupid grin on their face. How did a punk band produce such a great pop single as only their second single?

I was also amazed at how well the song "I Travel" has lasted. It is such a shame that they went so bad by 1985.

In other news life in Helsinki is good at the moment, OK so the economy has gone to hell and that brings loads of stress at work but there is Moles Beer to drink in town and the car is working well and there is a little bit of snow on the ground. All we need is the temperature to get above freezing now, which isn't forecast until well into next week and maybe not even then. Good that the firewood for the winter is coming tomorrow.

Tomorrow evening we're going around to T&H's for dinner and meeting Charlie the dog. Apparently he's old enough now to have visitors, why do I think we might need some help?

Friday, 14 November 2008


Moles beer has finally come to Helsinki. When I came to Helsinki a year ago I had an afternoon before my interview to wander around. I was lucky enough to find a pub called Black Door that had real ale on tap which after the beer desert of Trondheim was wonderful in itself and as I enjoyed a beer I noticed that on their wall several Hand Pump Tags from the Moles brewery. Now after a year of waiting for it to put in an appearance it has finally come back. Happy happy days!

Yesterday was meant to be a day off but I ended up at work for most of the day, however in the late afternoon I managed to escape in town, did some foraging in the oriental supermarkets in Kallio and as I was heading home I popped into the Pullman Bar at the Railway station and had a pint of Moles Landlord's Choice. It was excellent and tasted as good as I remember. The even better news is that the brewery has obviously sent a few barrels over as I have seen that it will be featured in a couple of other pubs that sell real ale around town so I know it will be a good few weeks!

Afterwards the Boss and I went to see the new Bond film. While I enjoyed it I have to say that 24 hours later I find myself refering to it as "The Bourne Redundancy". I still enjoy Daniel Craig as Bond and I approve of his hard portrayal of the character but in this film it seemed as if he kept the character in too tight a straight jacket and it eventually served to make him seem less of a man and more of a terminator.

So today has been my catch up day off and a chance to play in the Kitchen. We've been out and foraged successfully and I feel inspired about all the opportunities to cook again. I think I suffered a bit in the week after Barcelona in respect to cooking. If you have to eat out every night, coming home to a Kitchen can be a bit of a come down. Especially if you get caught in the circle of the same ingredients prepared in the same way. Sometimes it can be comforting but last week it was a bit of a dead end. However this afternoons dinner put paid to that.

Tuna steak with deep fried julieened leeks & red pepper served with sticky jasmine rice and a pea and mint puree. When I write it out it sounds very posh but trust me it wasn't actually very complicated to put together.

It takes about an hour to cook everything so maybe it is not a weekday supper but it isn't so difficult to do.

Serves 2
2 tuna steaks
110g rice
4 handfulls of julieened leeks
half a red peper sliced into strips
Seasoned flour

Pea & mint puree
250g peas
1 sprig of fresh Mint
A pinch of sugar
Creme Fraiche

Boil the peas in water with a sprig of mint and a pinch of sugar until just cooked
Add a few spoonfuls creme fraiche until you get the consistency you want
Add salt & pepper and a spoonful of freshly chopped mint

To cook the vegetables, dust with seasoned flour and cook very quickly in oil heated to about 140-160C

Cook the rice

Cook the Tuna on a hot griddle, max 3 mins pers side but it will depend on how thick it is.

Once everything is done arrange on a plate and enjoy!

I had loads of pea puree left over so will be using it in some soup in the next few days.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Our week in Barcelona is over and we are home. I had a fabulous time with the boss. We spent a whole week in the city and certainly feel that we got more from it than is possible from the usual long weekend. We ate, we drank, we walked, we saw, we talked, we stayed up late, we walked through some of the seedier parts of town, we looked in the windows of some of the most expensive shops, we admired achitecture from many different epochs, we drank beer by the sea, we climbed hills, we laughed, we were silly, we were always curious about what was around the next corner and we always tried to take the road less travelled.

We came home with many many photos, some are classic tourist photos and some are a little bit special, some were taken by me and some by the boss. The best may even make it onto the wall at home one day soon.

I think over the next few days we will begin to coallate a few favourite moments and add a few more photos to Flickr. Life will return to normal and we will get ready for the coming winter.

Two questions are on my mind as I get ready to go back to work tomorrow: Where next & when?


Update. I think I owe an explanation for the photo above. I took it in a quiet back street in the old city on our last afternoon just wandering around and in quite a bit of pain due to a sore back. It was an impromptu shot because I liked the shape of the people in the sunlight. I took two photos pretty much without thinking about the composition, I just checked the exposure settings. As soon as I saw it I know I'd struck gold. I am very proud of this one. The best of the photos are now up on Flickr. I will continue to add to the set on it but am being as critical as I can so only the very best of the 300+ we took make it up there.