Sunday, 5 April 2009

Into the light

So the Kitchen closed for a week to allow me to go and play in the French Alps. The weather was mostly as per the photo and with the added bonus of plenty of fresh snow when we woke up each mornings. I had rented some Salomon Lord skis and was lucky enough to have more than enough opportunities to ski in deep fresh powder most mornings and relax with a glass or two of red wine in the evenings. We managed to ski in all four valleys during the course of the week. On one safari all the way to the other side of the ski area I noted that Courchevel 1650 looks like the perfect resort for teaching a young family to ski and maybe tempting the boss back onto skis.
Back in Finland spring is definitely on the way, we've seen the first snowdrops and there are signs that the bulbs are coming up in the garden. Best of all though the snow is melting. The temperature has been stable above freezing and the change in the clocks has made a big difference to the light. Our moods have turned towards the possibilities to come rather than the winter behind.
On Friday night I participated in the great Finnish Beer test which was a "scientific" effort to show that Finnish beer isn't all that good. It was organised by Dave and involved 15 of us sampling various beers and trying to find the least bad. It was an experiment in so far as the beers were organised to be comparable, there were rules for drinking, groups were organised randomly and we weren't free to get mullered at our own pace. However despite these restrictions it was a good night and everyone was in good spirits. Despite proving that Finnish beer is not the best in the world I would add my own observation that some of it is miles ahead of the Kronenbourg we were drinking in Val Thorens.
Coming home has also got the Kitchen going again. Maybe it was the break, maybe it is the extra light but I feel we're finding new variations and cooking new things again instead of falling back on old standards. A good example is the simple lunch we had on Friday.
I think this would make a great Saturday/Sunday lunch
A knob of butter
1 slice of brown bread
1 mushroom chopped finely
A few leaves of frisee
Half an avocado sliced
A handful of cashew nuts
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
A handful of fresh thyme chopped
Heat the butter in a frying pan until it melts.
Fry the mushrooms and when they are about 3/4s done add the frisee and the thyme.
Place the avocado on the bread so it covers it, put the frisee on top, sprinkle with the cashew nuts, drizzle a little olive oil and add salt & pepper.
Then on Friday night we had some roast onions and sweet potatoes served with couscous with chick peas to which we added a few, whole cherry tomatoes, some chopped red pepper and a handful of beansprouts.
Today has been mostly about getting through jobs and we're doing well but it's getting to the point where I want to read my new book, Peter Høeg's "A History of Danish Dreams". Have I ever said on this blog that I love the letter "Ø"? The way it looks, the way you write it. I never ever thought I would have a favourite letter but I do and this is it. I first remember seeing it in Denmark years ago and it caught my imagination then. Now having lived in Norway where I made a point of writing it everyday I have moved to Finland where I have to be content with the equivalent letter "Ö" I can say that I miss it. Now why do I feel like a sesame street character all of a sudden?
Looking ahead to the coming weeks the Boss & I will be hosting the first BBQ of the season next Friday whether there is still snow on the ground or not. Then we will be going to Riga to continue our exploration of the Baltic region and we will be welcoming some friends in early May for a visit. Their weekend did coincide with the Helsinki half marathon weekend and while I have been tempted to take part in it I have no decided not to as they had booked that weekend long before I knew of the race and it's not fair to drag them all this way and then run 21km just to prove my stupidity! Finally it looks as though the trip to St Petersberg in late May will be without my parents all that remains to decide is whether the boss & I will go anyway or explore somewhere just as exciting like Tampere.

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