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Blazing salmon

An old friend from the university years came to visit me for the weekend. He brought a salmon fillet and suggested we cook it using some traditional or primitive method. Well, there is this dish called loimulohi, actually I don't know how long a history it has, but we decided to try it. The method of making loimulohi is rather simple; you take a piece of plank, and nail a fish fillet on it. Start a campfire, place the plank in upright position near the flames, and let it cook. I have previosly used this method to cook muttom ribs, so for me this was a first try with fish. When writing this, I checked if there is an English name for loimulohi, and wikipedia gives a literal translation as blazing salmon.

Saturday morning we cut a suitable piece of plank, and used an electric drill to drive plenty of holes to it. We also packed flint and steel for starting a fire. And so we rowed to the nearby islet. We started with collecting firewood and kindling. Since we were going to try starting a fire with flint and steel, I wanted to be sure with the kindling - with matches you can easily try to start a fire multiple times, but with primitive methods you want to be sure that the camp-fire gets really ignited on the first try. I found a fallen pine tree, and carved chips out of it, they smelled like tar - which is good, since pine tar is easily flammable. We arranged the firewood and the kindling ready to be ignited. I happen to have two striking steels and several pieces of flint, and some stored tinder we once made with Sami. So, both me and my friend started trying to start a fire - producing sparks is rather easy, but the question is to capture a spark in the tinder, and from that on get the red glow growing until you have proper flames. It must be several years since I last used flint and steel - after a while I got one little dot of red glow in a piece of tinder, but I ruined my attempt of making it spread. The next time I happened to catch a spark in another piece of tinder, I was more careful and prepared, working slowly I managed to ignite a piece of birch bark, which we then used to start the whole camp-fire. The process of starting a fire was fun and rewarding, I'm glad my friend suggested we try it. Hmmm, maybe I can try to some time write a separate blog entry of starting a fire, with proper pictures. As, this time we were so concentrated on just getting the fire started that we forgot to take selfies of the process =)

When we got the camp-fire burning, we went to collect more firewood. My friend found some chanterelles, which we picked up. I scooped water into a kettle and set it above the fire, and my friend started cutting tree branches into smallish T-shaped pieces. He placed the salmon fillet on top of the piece of plank and pushed the T-shaped pieces through the fish into the holes in the plank. We put potatoes into the boiling water, and placed the plank near the flames. And fried the chanterelles. Which was when we finally remembered to take photos =) At that moment the flames were rather low, which was good, so that we didn't accidentally burn the fish while busy with our mobile phone cameras. After a short while the food was ready, and we enjoyed the meal sitting on the warm sunny lakeside rock.

After a swim and tea / coffee, we rowed back. From the place where I keep my boat there is a fifteen minutes walk back to my home. Some years there have been chanterelles near the bayside path, so we kept our eyes open and walked slowly. And, a bit before the path turns away from the lake, there was a batch of full-grown chanterelles. We harvested them, and scanned the nearby terrain to see if there are more of them. Indeed, just a bit uphill and there was an another batch of mushroom. We brought them home, and cooked them on Sunday, together with zucchini, onions, garlic, sliced vegetables, and cheese.

The weekend included also some practical work with firewood, a sauna bath, some philosophical discussion, and playing two rounds of Magic : The Gathering. All in all, a rather refreshing weekend. This week I should finish a smallish coding project related to the milling company my friends run. And it seems that the weather will be mostly fine, and blueberries are ripe to be harvested and the zucchini are producing more harvest than I can eat so I should be storing them for winter. Let's see how I'll manage to distribute my daily working hours between coding and homesteading.

Blazing salmon
Blazing salmon
Frying chanterelles
Frying chanterelles
Harvested chanterelles
Harvested chanterelles
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Ah cool. I have cooked perch like that, but haven't tried it with a bigger fish! I have always heard it called "planking" here.

Ah, to me 'planking' sounds like exactly the right word to describe this cooking method!


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