Thursday 17 July 2014

Operaatio kakku -- part 1

Last week we (the students and summer workers) were pretty much alone at Polaria at morning and afternoon coffee. In fact, nearly all the SGO staff happened to be on leave. It was deathly quiet. So... alone.

Well, sort of.

In Polaria (the main institute building) the coffee area is shared by SGO (Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory) and FMI (the Finnish Meteorological Institute). The two institutes have coffee at the same time every morning, but sit at separate tables. It is as if there is  barbed wire and land mines between the two.

So, in the absence of any parental control, we (the revolutionaries) formed a cunning plan. Called "Operaatio Kakku" (= Operation Cake), we schemed to make a batch of cakes and the use them as an excuse to go and fraternise with our colleagues from the other side.


All we needed now was the cake.

So, after careful and comprehensive planning, we split into two Cake Divisions and set about to accomplish this formidable task. 1st Division was deployed a the guest house to carry out the production of Cake #1, while 2nd Division was set up at the EISCAT building to make a second (and possible third).

Today we have some photographs from the preparation phase!

The planning phase.

Cake #1 was to be a date cake. Made from a trusted recipe (a student has done this before!), the 1st Cake Division over at Guesthouse #3 had this well in hand...

By the time we arrived, the cake was in the oven and the mess cleared up.

1st Division relaxing. They look like they know what they're doing.

Meanwhile at the EISCAT building, Cake #2 was to be a lemon tray bake. This didn't go quite as planned. Firstly, due to a translation error, yours truly had bought the wrong sort of baking paper (voipaperia. not leivinpaperia).

Cake inspection officer... "you've got voipaperia? what?!"
Then we needed to convert normal flour to self-raising flour. Oh... and there were no scales to weight anything. Or measure anything. We just guessed. The recipe was for inspirational -- not instructional -- purposes.

Tray-bake looking a little flat.
 The mixture was sloppy and the tray too big and shallow. At this point we decided to declare a "Cake of Emergency" and started a second batch.

With ingenuity, some Skype-help, an interruption from a colleague (trying to get a scientific paper re-submitted) and a lot of trial and error, we resulted in a new cake and two roulades.

Science meets cooking.

To be continued...

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