Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Time for action

Has it already got to the 6th of January? Have I been sleeping though Christmas and New Year? Seems like it though the truth is, of course, that I have been at work. So much so it seems that my boss (at work) told me I was working too much and to make sure I took some time back. My challenge of course is when!

The time off I had over the Christmas/New Year break has been good, I have done a lot of reading: Scarlet & Black was finally finished and can be much recommended. Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks was a let down to anyone who has read and enjoyed even one of Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels. Now I am plunging straight into the Kalevala, the Finnish National Epic and so far so good. I was lucky enough to receive a pile of books over Christmas so I need to keep up the pace so that I keep on top of them. That last sentence is, I think, a great thing to be able to write. It's good to have books waiting for you.

The Kitchen was busy over Christmas, of course. We were very organised and planned all our food before hand (on the back of an opened envelope). So much so in fact that we are still living off the food we bought and only one avocado has been wasted in the process.

This is what we had
Fri 19 Pasta Carbonara
Sat 20 Thai Red Curry
Sun 21 Cous Cous (Which we took to Quinn's leaving do not realising she was going to invite herself to our house for Christmas!)
Mon 22 I was working late so the boss made herself Pasta surprise
Tue 23 I did the same as Monday and so did she
Wed 24 Home made leek and potato soup
Thu 25 Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding
Fri 26 Left over surprise
Sat 27 Bulgar wheat with aubergine
Sun 28 Chicken ramen noodles
Mon 29 Boss' pasta surprise
Tue 30 Lamb chops and potatoes
Wed 31 Fennel, Cannelleni Beans and Gnocchi
Thu 1 Roast Pork Loin with pomegranite

The basic idea was to build the Christmas New Year time around 2 or 3 big dishes and then have something lighter on other nights. We plundered Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries and Moro East for inspiration. Drew up our shopping lists, tried to remember we were only feeding two when thinking about quantities and then went out and foraged. We enjoyed the experience of standing in Hakaniemi Kauppahalli on the last Sunday before Christmas as all the Finns came to collect their Hams. We were the linguistically challenged foreigners tried to explain what pork loin was to the butcher amidst all the enormous hams flying over our heads like airplanes! At least they have decent butchers here in Helsinki, it was so much more challenging in Trondheim.

Last night we had some pan fried tuna steaks with some rice and roast butternut squash. Which was lovely. The Boss worked up some kind of Fennel seed, Coriander seed, Garlic, Salt and Olive Oil rub which gave them a lovely extra dimension in flavour. The best thing is we have left overs now and can decide if we do ravioli or risotto. The agony of choice!

Today should be a quiet day, I have had a cold but now am better and want to get outside. I am entered into the Finlandia ski race next month and I need to start training. The weather has been very cold for the past fortnight and hopefully today will bring the snow. In the meantime the Boss & I will try and explore over towards Itä Keskus and the mad underground swimming pool that used to be a bomb shelter (Helsinki City Council's website still proudly says it can be converted into an emergency shelter!). All I know about this place is that it is a bomb shelter big enough for 3 swimming pools and one of them is 50m long!

Apart from exploring and reading I need to start my training for the aforementioned ski race but before I begin I want to share my one and only resolution for 2009:

Not to move out of Helsinki.

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