Countdown to the future

Less than a week to go until Bali. 5 days, in fact. I have successfully (finally) presented my thesis in school, done all my shifts at the restaurant, and said “if I don’t see you anymore, see you next year” countless times. Last weekend we had a joint farewell party with a friend who is also going to the same continent, and it was a blast! I baked a lot, got very good feedback for everything, and got plenty of hugs. Luckily at Sunday brunch I realized I still have one more weekend to go and say more goodbyes. I hate saying goodbye.

Gang of feet.
Gang of feet.

Luckily I won’t be away for too long, and most likely I will be reluctant on coming back! Probably everything will be somewhat the same here, though not quite – I need to find a home sooner or later, yet again.

Studying material.
Studying material with flu curing ointment.

Last week I let my mom buy me tons of different possibly essential medications for the trip, and now I also have a cool head lamp! Who knows when the lights go out and there’s no electricity and there’s dogs with rabies chasing me – I can now protect myself! I still haven’t tested my backpack and I still don’t have booked the flight tickets back, only to Vietnam on Jan 2nd. The plan is to go from Ho Chi Minh to Cambodia via Mekong Delta, and then fly to Germany for Biofach expo. We’ll see how that will all sort out…

Sushi at Fuku in Helsinki. Om nom.
Sushi at Fuku in Helsinki. Om nom.

Quality time and quality food make leaving in style worth all the hassle of trying to remember and foresee all the things I might need and the things I definitely will not need and should leave behind. Hard to tell in advance, but besides the arsenal of (mostly diarrhea) medicine I have packed 4 pairs of shorts, 1 sandals and  flip-flops, one hat and some tops. Maybe 3 long sleeve shirts, put them all on for the plane.

Meanwhile in Finland - just like in May!
Meanwhile in Finland – just like in May! Make sense not war.

I am beyond excited to go and discover what it is I will do on my trip – every time someone asks, I wonder the same question myself. Maybe I’ll work, maybe I’ll surf, I don’t know quite yet. In a few months I’ll tell you!

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Adventures await

Friends – I am still alive! Almost a year without writing here, since I have been (pretty inactively) writing elsewhere. But now it’s time to rise from my ashes and face new adventures! I have booked flights to my next destination, so I feel like I have something to share again. Not that life in Helsinki has been boring, no way! So much has happened during the previous 10 months, I am actually leaving this city with warm thoughts and feeling at home. Though I don’t have a home. So my home IS where my heart is, ha!

 

 

I'm trying my best.
I’m trying my best.

 

I have gotten rid of most of my material possessions; all I have left now is a lamp, Vitamix, coffee grinder and aeropress. Minimalism rules! I moved to my last temporary apartment last weekend, and I did it with a bike. 5 rounds back and forth, that’s all.

 

Taking my space. Kallio Block party.
Taking my space. Kallio Block party.

 

This summer has been weird, awesome, fast and hot, filled with laughter, baking, coffee and friends, just to name a few. I enjoyed a brief holiday at the cottage (!!), eating 15kg of strawberries, and went to Tallinn for lunch.

 

Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background
Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background

 

What else…lots of great things happened, I think I also learnt something, not yet quite sure what. Yesterday I learned that women can’t dunk in basketball. Go figure.

 

5 am in May, Katajannokka.
5 am in May, Katajannokka.

 

Oh, Helsinki. I will miss you (your people, at least!) during my Asian explorations. But no worries, I will come back.

Last quarteryear

Dear friends,

I am still alive! (Not that I thought any of you might have thought I was dead because of what seems like forever-lasting radio -erhm- blog silence)

My last post was something about food, posted from my home at that time – actually my mom’s home- in Tampere. After that, so many things have happened, that they would be worth several posts. Anyhow, since it’s the New Year and the new year is all about looking back and ditching all the bad things and thinking positively about all the great things that lie ahead, I decided to make a comeback. No matter how unpopular this blog might be in the Finnish scale, since Finns read only blogs from Finns that are in Finnish (go figure)…here I go. Again.

La vie, c'est belle!
La vie, c’est belle!

Yeah, I went to Paris (and I did go closer to la tour Eiffel than that). For a brief few days in October, to visit NatExpo trade show for organic industry. Ate a lot of baguette, and have been gluten-free ever since! No more French paradox for me, merci beaucoup. The trip and all the pictures I took would definitely be worth a post itself, but I’ll just give you a hint: if you go to Paris, you must visit all the markets, i.e Bastille, Raspail (organic!), and if you get a chance, go eat in Sol Semilla. I didn’t, and I regret it. Paris, I’m not done with you quite yet.

Morning sunrise in Pyynikki
Morning sunrise in Pyynikki

In September I was feeling out of breath, and not in a I-just-ran-5k way, but in a What-the-f-am-I-doing sort of way that makes you want to just, well, I don’t know how to describe it, really. Long story short, I changed the view above to the biggest hustle and bustle I could find in this country: Helsinki.

Big city life.
Big city life, no kidding

Here I have been since November, busy as a bee. There was Smoothie national competition where I was not smoothing but working for my friend’s company, there was Chocolate Festival where I was working and eating myself up a weight category (though I don’t do any sports that require categories…), there was the Food &wine expo where I was promoting Vitamix for 4 days to people who were interested mostly only in free samples, there was the new job, the other new job, the thesis that finally got started in a way…and trying to figure out which gym to join or sport to start.

My “day job” is now working in a raw food/smoothie bar that is inside Finland’s oldest vegetarian/living foods restaurant. I have learned a lot about coffees and such, get to work with nice people and see people at my workplace (which is luxury), and get to eat proper food! Win win win. Maybe soon I’ll learn how to make the heart shape to cappucino.

Silvoplee, aka who wouldn't want to eat/work here?
Silvoplee, aka who wouldn’t want to eat/work here?

The other job has been editing and creating product descriptions for Foodin.fi, my friends’ online store that sells the best quality stuff I know and have had the chance to try. I am proud to be able to sell the same products in Silvoplee.

The best candy.
The best treats and Lasse.

The third job is not really job – I am working on my thesis for Goodio (chocolates, which just happen to be the best chocolate, pictured above). Coconut ice cream coming up! I have been extremely lazy on the thesis, but this Christmas time I got a kick to do it since it was pitch black and raining all the time, my brother and dad were in Thailand, and I just wanted to feel at least tiny bit proud about being miserable and stuck here. Mission accomplished.

Umm…I was supposed to post this on 2nd of January, but there was few things that got on my way…like a broken wrist. Anyhow, we’ll see how things go. See you soon, I hope!

More Carnivals and few tips for Helsinki

Apparently my time in Helsinki was all about good people, cakes and other (gourmet) food! NB: This post includes links to recommended places in Helsinki, most of them are in Finnish. However, I bet you get the idea and I do recommend you to visit even though you don’t understand much of the interwebs info. Reality is so much better, anyways. And they do speak English.

If you ever go to Helsinki and you care about what you eat and drink, I highly recommend Johan & Nyström in Katajanokka. I have posted pictures before, this time around I went for some serious cake tasting. The place has a good selection on different raw cakes and pastries, and you can also get different kinds of quality coffees and teas. However, there are better places to get your caffeine fix: Caffi, Kaffa Roastery, Gruppo Coffee Lab just to name a few better than average places…Helsinki has much more brewing on than in Tampere, and I still have more places to check out!

After Eight (the winner), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström
After Eight (the winner of the tasting), Raspberry licorice, and lingonberry cake (skip this one) at Johan & Nyström

Last Thursday was The Night of the Arts in Helsinki, which included loads of cultural events around the city. Since I was busy with the Raw Food course, I couldn’t attend anything, I just had time to visit Teurastamo, an old slaughterhouse nowadays a culture space and a restaurant, which hosted a night market carnival event. Too bad Evira didn’t allow crickets to be served for some ridiculous reasons, such as not all species are edible (not all mushrooms are edible, but some are still eaten! Why are the Asians eating crickets and still alive?), I would have liked to try those. In stead, we had some delicious summer rolls from Rulla, and my dad enjoyed some frog legs as well. This was my first visit to Teurastamo area, which also hosts a solar-powered kitchen. Pretty cool atmosphere and area!

Carnival in a slaughterhouse
Carnival feeling
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Creative rulla-combos served with a smile
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse
Hammocks, frog legs and graffitis in a slaughterhouse

I am back in Tampere now, but can’t wait to go back to Helsinki to try out few other places. I already had a terrific lunch for a fairly reasonable price (9,7€ for mediterranean appetizer buffet, main course and fruits+coffee) in Krog Madame, which besides the delicious food and good looking staff also has a nice patio. Another place with a nice atmosphere: Cafe Köket (the Swedish name is a bit misleading) near the big church. Nice service and good breakfast in Finnish designer environment.

Take your pick and move to the buffet table
Take your pick and move to the buffet table

Since I seem to have so many new favorites around town I might have to dedicate a separate post to them all. But while I’m at it (or not really), check out Costo, the coolest hats I know and own. I might have bought 2 new ones this past week.

Something was going on in Tampere this weekend and upcoming week: DesignOn Tampere and Design market.

Finnish hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff
Hats, jewelry, clothes and artisan stuff from Finland

I love happenings!

Restaurant Day Asian Raw Bar

Good people, good food and good vibes
Good people, good food and good vibes

Approx. 24hrs of work, but totally and beyond worth it: this Restaurant Day most likely blew away many of those who are sceptic towards raw foods, but also was something special to those already dedicated to the subject.

Even Raw Dessert Chef Maria Lönnqvist approved!
Even Raw Dessert Chef Maria Lönnqvist approved!

The mouth-watering super-delicious [insert other phrase words here] menu was the following:

Pad Thai Asian noodle salad with crunchy almonds
Spring rolls with almond dipping sauce
Chinese beetroot dumplings with chili plum sauce

Blueberry crumble pie with fresh coconut vanilla sauce
Blueberry chocolate cheesecake

Blueberry cheesecake pictured just before eating by Markus Karjalainen
Blueberry cheesecake pictured just before eating by Markus Karjalainen

 

I think everyone left the place happy and satisfied. We had time to tour around other places after wrapping up our pop-up restaurant. There was a lot of entrepreneurship going on in different parks in Helsinki, and apparently the offerings were very versatile (437 restaurants!). We were treated to a free shot of tequila and pureed cranberry juice served on a block of wood, and we also popped by a paleo cafe, but unfortunately I was too full to try their cookies or sandwich. I don’t know which is more fun: to organize a restaurant or to visit several places and sample different things. If the menu is as good as ours, I think I prefer to be in the kitchen!
 

Nuff said.
Nuff said.

 
This week I’ll stay in Helsinki for Borisraw food courses, where I’ll be assisting. Despite the pouring rain, this is going to be a good week!