Friday, 24 August 2012

Beside the seaside

I can't believe it's Friday again. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy about the fact that weekend is upon us. But I have had such an unproductive week, I've been working from home as I've been suffering from strange flash headaches, and when they hit, I need to lie down and close my eyes. Thankfully they usually pass really quickly, but I would love to know where they came from. And what to do to make them go away. So far, apart from lying really still, the only other thing that helps is exercise. As long as I'm doing sports, they stay away. But there is only so much sports you can squeeze into a day, especially after a ten day holiday during which I did practically no exercise at all, so have to try to keep the rest of my body from breaking down on me. Well, next week should be better as I'm going to the Lake District to enjoy what I'm sure will be fabulous British fall weather, and one or two full English breakfasts. 
Approaching Suomenlinna on the ferry.
Ok, well onto the theme of today. The sea. When I was back home in Finland for my summer holiday, I had a whole afternoon all by myself in Helsinki and there is only one thing to do on a sunny summer afternoon in Helsinki. Stop by heaven, aka. the amazing big grocery department at the Stockmann department store (very appropriately named Delicatessen), get some picnic food (which could be anything but for me has to be chicken Cesar salad, Karelian pastries and donuts), and hop on the ferry to Suomenlinna. Suomenlinna is a group of islands outside of Helsinki, formerly a sea fortress and currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a popular picnic- and hanging out spot, located a short, 15 minute, ferry ride from central Helsinki. There are plenty of things to see if you go there for the first time, old buildings, fortifications, museums, old cannons, stuff like that. However, if you have visited countless times, you just want to go to the more secluded regions, sit down on the rocks by the sea and stare out on the horizon. 
Sitting on the rocks and staring out at sea.
In the summer Suomenlinna can get crazy like any other popular tourist attraction, but I was lucky that it wasn't too busy although I went out on a Friday evening. The first year students have just started their studies at universities across Helsinki, so there were big groups of students picnic-ing and enjoying a drink or two. It's one of those really traditional things people do when school starts. Watching the big groups students wearing overalls brought back warm memories from my own student days. In Finland, university students often wear overalls when having university related social outings. The colour of your overalls reflects your place of study or the student union you belong to. When I was studying at the university of technology, I was wearing the Swedish speaking student's burgundy overalls with yellow print, and when I was studying at the department of genetics, I was wearing a dark blue overall with white print. Given the activities that used to go on at those parties, having protective wear was actually not a bad idea.
View from the Southern part of Susisaari (Wolf island)
towards Downtown Helsinki (in the background)
My Friday quickie today is also sea inspired. I made a really amazing omelette with salmon and prawns. I've been craving prawns like crazy lately, and have had them for three days running now. And smoked salmon in an omelette is great for flavour, not to mention for good fats as well. After working out in the morning, I also like to have a bit of salt in my breakfast, so the salmon is perfect for that as well. Anyways, this is of course not the most exciting recipe ever, but it turned out so great I wanted to share it with you.

Sea inspired omelette (serves 1):
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion
1 cup spinach
2 eggs
1 slice smoked salmon
50 g king prawns

The howto:
Finely chop the onion, and sauteƩ in the coconut oil. Add spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted. Use a fork to mix the eggs, and pour on top of the onions and spinach. Let cook for a minute or so, add sliced salmon and prawns on top. Cook for about five minutes, until the underside has set but the top side is still soft. Fold over and slide onto a plate.

The verdict:
Overall, I'm not a huge fan of coconut oil, the flavour is a bit too coconut-ty for me. Also, I know it's all the health rage right now, and I know it's good for frying as it's thermostabile, but I do worry a bit about the saturated fat content. Anyways, I have decided to vary my fats, so that I use a bit of butter, a bit of coconut oil, some olive oil and some rapeseed oil, figuring I should get a bit of the goodness of everything and hopefully spread out the possible unhealthy effects. However, I think coconut oil goes really well with prawns, which is why I used it for this omelette. And the combination of flavours really was spot on with the onions, coconut oil, prawns and the salty yummy smoked salmon. And for once I managed to cook the omelette to perfection, not dry at all. The secret is to get the omelette off the heat at least three minutes before you think it's done. I'm happy I still have a slice of salmon and some prawns left for tomorrow, I think my sea omelette will make a reappearance tomorrow morning after my Saturday morning workout.

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