Getting Out Of A Funk With Exercise And Tentacle Pot Pie

November 19, 2011 · Posted in Cooking, Life, Work 

I think I finally started to get out of a deep damn funk I’ve been wallowing in throughout most of the autumn. This was a very active Saturday. I had the first exercise since god remembers when, started laying out the groundwork for next summer’s guerrilla gardening thing, and tried out an amusing recipe for tentacly pot pies.

This autumn has been quite horrible, apart from certain fun interludes like learning how to skin and cut rabbits into cookable bits, a talkoo work weekend in pals’ farm, and last Saturday’s Cookfest For Broke Ass Adults, where Ripa made excellent pot roast out of the aforementioned rabbits. The reasons for this autumn’s – and actually the whole year’s utter suckiness – are manyfold and I’m not going to go into that in detail. Let’s just say several trains derailed and one of them was my finances, which have been in worse shape than in the 90’s when I was unemployed.

A misty autumn morning in Helsinki. This is what I see when cycling to the Iron Sky job in the morning.

The last bitchslap came this Monday, when my new day job did the shittiest thing I’ve ever been done during my working life. I started that job in the end of October doing half-week, while at the same time wrapping up the Iron Sky movie job in the evenings, Thursdays and Fridays, and in the weekends. All in all, when you factor in my freelance stuff, I was doing three jobs at the same time, pulling 12-18 hour work days. Nothing new, though, and still far more relaxed than what I was doing while freelancing.

Two huge ice-breakers, Urho and Kontio.

I don’t generally air shit like this out in the open, but what happened to me in the beginning of the week was the most outrageous thing ever done to me during my working life, and frankly it left me quite stunned. This Monday the boss in the new day job suddenly called me for a meeting, told me that things don’t work, asked me for my key and stuff and basically kicked me out of the office 20 minutes after I had arrived there. Long story short, I got kicked out of the company with no warning whatsoever that anything was wrong, no severance pay (I was on probationary period, so that shit was legal) and no proper chance to defend myself from really fucked up accusations, that were 50% misunderstanding, 49% bullshit and 1% true. The real kicker was that the firing was finalized with a motherfucking SMS. My friends and former bosses and colleagues were gratifyingly appalled by this treatment, since those bullshit accusations really didn’t describe me as a worker (mainly, misusing work time and refusing to do work – I’m not really known about those things…). I sent a followback message to the company, trying to be as constructive as possible, but no reply – which was no surprise, considering the level of personnel management in there. As an insult to injury I had given up a very interesting work opportunity since I had already signed in to this shitty job. Financially this was a disaster, and I’ve spent this week selling my stuff so I can pay my rent and my overdue medical bills. So – not the best of weeks.

A new underpass in Ruoholahti - overdesigned, sure, but definitely cool.

Being really fucking angry about that treatment had the upside of snapping me out of a certain kind of mental hibernation, and it got me active again. I’ve got a potentially very interesting and rewarding hobby project lined up, and even got a little bit of money late in the week. I decided to make this Saturday a fun and an active day, and to finally start looking after my body again, so I started the day by going for a swim. My neck and back have been killing me, and some angry swimming and the really strong poolside water massage hoses softened my neck, pulled out the steel spikes from my brain, and made the achy muscles blissfully numb.

On my way back home I went for a hardware store to buy some paint brushes and a paint mixer which you attach to an electric drill. This is meant for the guerrilla gardening thing, but I think I’ll be making a separate entry about it later.

Then, it was the time to cook.

Golden autumn sunlight in downtown Helsinki.

I had noticed a great picture of a tentacly pot pie in the photo album of a black metal vocalist I know (amongst Japanese octopus porn and Cthulhu-pictures – it was a tentacle themed photo set). It looked so fun I had to search the source, and make my own version of it. (Check out Megan’s blog, it’s all kinds of awesome!)

Basically I went to buy a couple of portion sized small oven pots, and improvised most of the recipe on my way to the shop. I ended up buying a couple of fried chicken breast pieces, some cocos milk, carrots, onions and fresh champignon mushrooms. I chopped up the onions and carrots into about 5mm x 5mm pieces and fried them in some olive oil with dry chili, cinnamon, dry harissa spice mix and just basic barbecue spice mix. I boiled them soft in beef stock, added the similarly fried mushrooms, then dumped in the chicken, cocoa milk and a whole lot of curry powder and let it simmer until awesome. I cut the tentacles and the octopus body from frozen puff paste and used olive slices for the eyes.

I was ravenous after the swim. The smell of fried chicken and cold smoked salmon caused... a temptation.

Just a small pot of that stuff looked like a slightly too small a portion, plus I went to the store straight from the swimming pool so my eyes were very hungry. I decided to do a side dish of a cold smoked salmon coquettes – or that’s at least what my cooking book calls them, but I’m highly suspicious about the name. In any case, those things are really easy to do and utterly delicious: you just line a small oven cup with the slices of salmon, break an egg there and add a little bit of cream (I had to use milk). I also added a spoonful of chanterelle cream cheese.

I had no idea if the plates would take the heat in the oven. Luckily Susi is not overly worried when I introduce my stuff with "if you hear a loud bang, this was a bad idea".

All ready for the oven!

In the end everything turned out totally awesome. Adding a garlic butter baguette may have been an overkill, but the box of After Eight mints we ate for dessert certainly was one. An awesome, awesome overkill.

Good food, even better mood. Tomorrow I’ll go hunt some moss and do evil things to it, and in the evening I’ll be meeting more pals and eating & cooking more good food. The assholes from the former-new day job can go take a long breath from a short shaft for all I care. I have a very interesting work interview lined up for Monday and there are other, even wilder opportunities opening up, that unfortunately require a bit more filthy lucre than I currently have.

But you never know – come 2012 I might be 4000 km away from this place…

Success! o/

1 Comment


One Response to “Getting Out Of A Funk With Exercise And Tentacle Pot Pie”

  1. Alive and Mortal on December 22nd, 2011 14:45

    LOVE THIS!!!

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