Sunday, June 17, 2012

Last Day

It's the last day of my holiday today and I must say it's done me a world of good being off for a week and doing exactly as I pleased for seven glorious days. It's gone by quite fast, yet I saw a photo I posted on Facebook on my first day and it feels months away. The week started with sunshine and seems to be ending that way, too. Some drizzle and rain nicely bookended by sun.

I've walked on the beach, listened to the waves and felt really small. I've gotten pampered from head to toe only to emerge feeling so relaxed I could've been poured into a jug, that's how liquid I felt. Last night we had dinner at Mr. S's hotel, they had an Indian themed night and we ate until fit to burst. Food was delicious, and the company made it even better.

Off to work tomorrow, but I'll push that thought aside for today, I still have a whole glorious day to spend as I please. I had my morning caffeine fix out of a porcine mug, it is quite charming in it's on-the-nose-ness. Breakfast was a bacon sandwich and some sausages, after a walk on the beach.

The cats are sunbathing on the windowsill, sadly it is much warmer inside than it is outside, even with the sun out. I think I'll spread out at the dining room table now and catch up on my reading. I still haven't got through the weekend's Guardian, and of course I need to catch up on the local news from home with the latest issue of Pogostan Sanomat.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Home Cooking

I was reading this post by Johanna(it is in Finnish) about home cooking and baking, and it got me thinking. Johanna is a Finnish lady living in USA, and her daughter had come home from her friend's house asking if they could bake some cupcakes, she had gotten a great recipe for them. Johanna read the recipe, which read: "take a packet of cupacake mix. Bake the cupcakes. Decorate". To her, and to me, this doesn't count as baking. She had chosen to show her daughter how to make mocha squares. From scratch.

Sundried tomato loaf

I'm just wondering are there really that radical cultural differences when it comes to home cooking? When I was in school, home economics was taught to show us how to cook simple meals, how to clean, wash up and do laundry properly. I still have my old home ec book from year 1994 and I still consult it regularly to find out a basic recipe for something I want to put my own twist to.

Chicken pasta

A friend of mine, who spent a year in USA told me how the mother of the family would consult her vast cupboard of ready meal mixes, choose the one that hadn't been cooked the night before, added water, threw the whole thing into the oven and served it with shop-bought mixed salad. And that was home cooking. My friend went to make mac and cheese for the kids, from scratch and watched the kids' amazement when she went for an actual bag of macaroni, and grated some real cheese and made the sauce from scratch as well.


There seem to be two clans of home cooks. The ones, who are more than happy to stick a frozen pizza into the oven and call it a day, and the ones who are the Nigellas and Gordons of their own kitchens. The latter one whip up three course meals on a daily basis and up the ante to four or five courses when they're throwing a dinner party. Which is often. Where is the happy medium?

Breaded pork chops

You know, the nice, simple home cooked meal enjoyed by the whole family around the same table at the same time. I grew up on that, and maybe that's where my love for cooking stems from. My mother makes the best meatballs and mashed potato and macaroni & mince bake. I've yet to find someone to rival my dad's fishcakes and fillet of pikeperch with fried potatoes. The fish in our house was what dad would catch. We ate a whole lot of venison, as my dad would hunt moose, and at the christmas table the was always a pot roast of game birds. Tasty, simple and all the more appreciated when you knew the effort gone into making it for you. Not to mention the vegetables grown in our own garden.

Mince & rice pasties

That's what I'm calling out for. Normal, homecooked food where you're not left wondering what kind of E-numbers and other nice chemical surprises may lurk in your next meal.

All the photos above are my own creations. Homemade. From scratch.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Strange Searches

Checking the traffic stats of both of my blogs I noticed a couple of strange search keywords that had led people to my blogs. For example, someone searching "creepy smiling kitten" had been directed to this blog, while someone searching for graveyard on the southern town of Tuusula, in Finland had been directed to my Finnish blog. The mind boggles, indeed. I'd like to ask you to check your stats and let me know what kind of strange search words have directed people to your blog. It's silly little trivia like that I find infinitely fascinating.

PS. I'm officially on holiday now, and guess what? It's actually sunny here!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Light Dinner

I'm only trying out blogging on my phone so bear with me.

I cooked up some sea bass last night and it turned out very tasty.

I coated the fillets in a mixture of plain and rye flour flavoured with sea salt, pepper and dill. I whacked the fillets onto a hot pan with plenty of butter. About four minutes on either side, and half way through cooking the second side, I squeezed in some lemon juice and a generous glug of white wine. Once the fillets were cooked, I added some capers to the buttery pan and hey presto! I got myself a sauce.

Served with mash flavoured with herb cream cheese, carrots and parsnip. All washed down with a nice Italian Pinot Grigio.


The Return

I wonder if I have any readers left? After a three month, self-imposed hiatus, that is. It was only supposed to be a little break and I would apologise for my absence had it not been so gloriously relaxing as it was. I all honesty, I probably would've been back sooner, but the weather. Man, oh man, the weather. It's been so typically non-irish, I've simply had to stay outside and enjoy it.

Sunset after a hot day

I've discarded all blog-related activity, and only dipping into Facebook and Twitter on my phone, leaving my laptop sitting on my desk gathering dust. It's been liberating. See, I started to stress and feel guilty for not blogging more often. I know, it's silly, it's only a blog and I hardly have thousands of followers hanging onto my every word, but still. I'm a worrier, I feel responsible for things I'm not necessarily responsible for at all. It's just me. But I have managed to teach myself to ignore those niggling feelings of guilt.

Taken at 10.30pm

On my Twitter travels I've met a namesake who lives in Sligo. Another poor Finnish woman lured here by a crafty Irishman. I've also met Jane, who lives on the other side of this little bay of water. On a clear day I could wave from my front porch and hope to be seen in Mayo.

Jane, I know you're out there!

I've enjoyed doing very little, lazing about and generally making the most of the summery weather. Barbecues, beers and merriment. Our collective midriffs are starting to move away from the six pack and edge towards a keg instead. I better dust off the old exercise bike again.

A light snack

I've felt old and young in one night, attending a friend's 21st birthday party. I've laughed until I was sore and stayed up until 7am on a very cold night it Dublin. I've attended an art exhibition opening, where I fell in love with one of the pieces, which is now hanging on our dining room wall. I've been going where the mood has taken me and put my "responsibilities" on the back burner. I've successfully recharged my batteries.

Tom surveying his kingdom

There is on piece of Really Big News. My favourite (and only) brother is finally getting married this September! We are all beyond excited, and you may expect plenty of wedding related blogging in the next few months. I will obviously need a dress, and I have decided on one, which unfortunately currently only exists in my head. I want a dress to match my prettiest shoes. Thankfully Teresa has been some sort of a wizard in spotting the right colour/style dress online, so I have nominated her as my personal online shopper.


So, that's it. It's raining here now, so I shall do a bit of hoovering, bit more reading and get the seabass out of the freezer ready for dinner. I'll see you around!