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Feel Finland – Weekend on an island

Finland is known for its thousands of islands, which are ideal places to escape from modern city life.  Finnish people, or finns, are known for their coolness.  I don’t think they are cold.  They are simply cool – do not bother others, and do not want to be bothered.  Chinese people often say: The unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants.  I think finns are part of the Finnish nature.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Fortunately, we had the opportunity to enjoy a typical Finnish weekend.

Around 8:50 am, two friends (one of which is Finn) and we met at the Kinvenlahti pier (in Espoo).  The 9 am ferry was already there.  We purchased the tickets (5 euro each), and boarded the ferry.  The ferry has two floors.  The top floor is open air.  The bottom floor is inside.  The ferry stops at many islands.  Our target was Gasgrund!  It took about 90 min.  Although 90 min sounds a bit long, it’s actually a pleasant journey.  After all, we came out to enjoy our time.  This particular ferry does not have coffee, but some other ferries do.  I do not know how many islands we passed by, but almost every island has one or more houses.  What a life it is to own a vacation house on an island!  In some aspects, I feel I will enjoy Finnish life – I don’t mind to be isolated at all.

Espoo ferry
Espoo ferry
Espoo ferry inside
Espoo ferry inside

Soon we arrived at our destination – Gasgrund Island.  Nothing extraordinary, but who asked for it?  The point is: we are on an island; we are surrounded by trees and water.  The wood storage is right in front of us, and the shelter is only 20 meter away.  The shelter is well equipped for BBQ.  Actually, it looked like somebody just used the fire place.  So our friend just needed to add wood to it.  While the wood was burning, we took the time to walk around the coast.  So peaceful!

 

shelter
shelter
fire place in shelter
fire place in shelter

After we came back from a short walk, we started to prepare food.  Our friend is clearly professional!  Look at her BBQ!  We prepared chicken and asparagus, which are also tasty 🙂  The dessert was chocolate banana!  It’s really delicious.

BBQ
BBQ
BBQ dessert
BBQ dessert

Different from the BBQ in US, it’s much quieter and natural in Finland!  I liked that the wood was used for BBQ.  Before we left the island, our friend threw in a few more wood to keep the fire.  Finns do not talk much, but they are very considerate.  Everything is in good and unspoken order.

 

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how to cook Japanese rice with a cooking pot

If you cook Japanese rice (or any rice), you can use a rice cooker. Of course, there are many good rice cookers available anywhere nowadays. But you may not have a rice cooker when you want to eat steamed rice suddenly!
Don’t worry, you can use a normal cooking pot to cook tasty steamed rice. I want to introduce the way to cook Japanese rice with a cooking pot in this post. The method may be okay for other types of rices but I cannot guarantee the taste 😉

  1. Wash Japanese rice
    If your Japanese rice is not written as no-wash-rice (無洗米),  you need to wash rices. You can take about 500 ml of rices for 4 people, then put them into a bowl. You can add a lot of tap water into the bowl and wash the rices by pushing with a hand. You can do it strong as row rice is very hard. After pushing several times, you can exchange the water a few times to remove the white clouds in the water.
  2. Water Absorption
    Now you can transfer your rice into a cooking pot (Or, actually you can do 1st step in a cooking pot). Cooking pot can be anything if it has flat bottom and a good lid. The cooking pot is slightly better if it is teflon coated, but not necessary. I am using below metal pot recently. You can soak the rice about 1 hour in same amount of water as rice (~500 ml in this case) to absorb the water. You may want to use filtered water if you are living in a big city. Water absorption step is very important when you cook the rice with a pot. Otherwise, you will get undercooked rice!!cooking pot                                             A cooking pot for steamed rice
  3. Cook
    After waiting 1 hour, it’s time to start heating the cooking pot with a lid closed. Middle to high heat is good at first depends on a cooking top you have. Once you start to see the bubble from the water you can change the heat to low. Then, keep cooking 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you can turn off the heat. But don’t open the lid yet. Wait 10 minutes to steam the rice by remaining heat. After 10 minutes, open the lid and mix the rice. Now the rice is ready to eat 🙂

The rice may be a little hard or soft for the first time depends on your cooking top and/or cooking pot and/or kinds of rice. You can play with your heating way to get the best rice from your cooking pot 😉

BTW, it’s easy to get good Japanese rice in US or in Europe. US has good rices from california while Europe has good ones from Spain. Imported rices from Japan is, of course, very good but they are very expensive.

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