Thursday, 4 June 2009

The lemons from Helsinki railway station

Doing nothing can be quite time consuming. I started my holidays last week and find myself surprised to be here a week later with no idea where the time has gone. Please do not feel sympathy for me, especially if you have been at work, and please don't think I have wasted my time at all.

The weather over the weekend was marvelous and we had a BBQ outside in the garden. I have made mention on this blog of how BBQing food does not grant a licence to carbonise. The trick as ever is to be prepared and be patient. We had chicken, halumi and water melon skewers, corn, asparagus and courgette and some pork marinated in what I will call a Mediterranean fashion. The best bit was that for the two of us it was way too much food and the pork made its way onto a very tasty bruschetta with sun dried tomatoes for lunch a few days later.

On Saturday we were in Helsinki and we managed to find a large piece of the magnificently titled Merikrotti (Monkfish) and set about preparing to cook "Rape in Adobo" from the cookbook Big Flavours and Rough Edges. (If you are ever in London I recommend you eat at the Eagle if you can get a table!). The last ingredients we needed was a lemon. As we were walking towards the train the fruit stall in the station was selling bags of Lemons 2 for 1 euro! So we went home with a beautiful piece of fish that would do at least two meals and more lemons than we knew what to do with!
The Adobo was magnificent: it was a dry cooked marinade consisting of onion, carrot, garlic, parsley, thyme, olive oil and white wine vinegar. The fish was marinated for several hours and then rolled in flour and fried. We served it with some home made tortilla and a little salsa. The sun shone and we could have almost been in Spain!

However this left us with many lemons still to use, the boss stepped in with her usual aplomb and offered to make a lemon meringue pie which is delicious and I have made a lemon and asparagus risotto straight from Nigel Slater's excellent Kitchen Diaries. However that still leaves quite a few lemons in the fridge!

If all that is not enough I have also found time to go, explore and swim in the outdoor Olympic swimming complex in Helsinki, visit the Arabia museum of porcelain, the Kiasma museum of contemporary art, the Parliament of Finland, read half of the Count of Monte Cristo and do my Finnish homework!

We are also busy plotting a train tour around Finland in July with some friends and I manged to organise hotel rooms in Kuopio yesterday on the telephone in Finnish - a first - and find some reasonably priced, if still slightly on the expensive side, rooms in Savonlinna during the opera festival which most people tell me is impossible!

Here's to doing nothing, but to doing it with Lemons!

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