Saturday, January 27, 2007

Making Enjoy Food & Travel better

....with a little help from my friends!

Per and Susanne Koch are great friends. They are nice and clever, they like good food and drink, to travel - they are very good company. As well as being successful professionals they also run the website Pandia Search Central, one of the worlds best sites on search engines.

They will come and help me to make Enjoy Food & Travel into an even better website. So I hope I can present some improvements for you. I hope to introduce the following new services on the site:

Babelfish - I will introduce the translation service Babelfish, in order to have an option for those of you that do not read english well. This translation service is meant to be a only help for you, as system translations are never very good and may never replace a good translator.

Subscription - I hope to introduce a service where you may subscribe to news on this site.

E-mail. I hope to link remarks you leave on the net, in order for me to answer any questions you leave on the site. Now I have to go through blogger every day to see whether you have left any remarks or any questions.

So I will see what the wizards can do to make the site better. So stay tuned........


More dumplings

Today Per and Susanne Koch will come and help me to improve Enjoy Food & Travel. And even computer wizards need food. And what to serve. Small pizza swirls when they come, and then - dumplings.

I love steamed dumplings. Last weekend I had three varieties, and this weekend 7. Here I will present two of them:

Siu Mai - the round dumplings are made with pork and tasted with sesame oil

Gau Choi Kau - are the large white dumplings with prawns, waterchestnuts, pork, and chives.

I also bought another dumpling to prepare:

Har Kau - prawn dumpling, containing, scampi, bamboo shots and pork

These dumplings may be prepared in two different ways. The ones with rice paper, may be deep fried, as well as steamed. The dumplings wrapped in bean curd are better steamed. And do buy a bamboo steamer, if you find one. They are great.

Serve dumplings with sweet chilisauce, sesame oil and soy. Yum!!!

Monica in London recommended Ping Pong, if you want to indulge in some good steamed and deep fried dim sum, while visting the metropolis.

Saturday dinner - an easy way out!

Finally - the weekend is here!! I love to spend my time cooking, but if you want to do something else, there are easier ways to make a good dinner. Last weekend I made chicken korma topped with gratin dauphinoise. And why be pretensious, buy a glass of korma sauce and premade potatostew. It will make a good dinner. The combination of the mild potato stew and spicy kormasauce is great. And if you want some more heat, why not add a hot chili or two!

Ingredients
1 package of gratin dauphinoise, premade or frozen (750 grs / 1 1/2 lbs read made potatoes)
1 glass of korma sauce
500 grs / 1 lb of meat (chicken, lamb, beef), diced
1-2 tbsp of sweet chili dipping sauce
1-2 hot chillies, sliced (optional)
3-4 oz mild grated cheese

Gratin dauphinoise is potaoes in a mild cream sauce. Here in Norway we can buy the sauce frozen, or make it from a packet. I love the frozen one. It tastes great with some cheese on the top. But first, the korma sauce.

Korma is a great mild curry sauce. You can use a premade glass, but I find the premade sauce contains a little bit too much vinegar, so I usually add some sweetness, sugar, maple-syrup, or sweet chilisauce. Fry one onion in oil with a few cloves of garlic in hot oil, the add meat. You can use different kind of meats, raw or precooked. I particularly like chicken. Then add the sauce, some sweet chilisauce. Here you can choose whether you would like to add some more chili if you want it hotter. Boil until meats has been warmed through. Allow to cool.

If you use a packet, make the dauphinoise according to description on the packet, and allow to cool. If you use frozen, allow to thaw slightly.

Pour the kormamixture into a tray. Place the dauphinoise potatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is golden. Serve with some bread and a salad.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Where crusaders enjoyed their ale....

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and other very old places to enjoy your ale

Along side the house of Nicholas Flamel in Paris there are other extremely old historic places to visit to drink or enjoy a good meal. The oldest history of some of them are lost in the mist of time, but if legends are true the oldest goes back 818 years in time - Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.....

This public house in Nottingham is dated through the painted signs on the building wall. There are however no documentation to verify its true age. Still lengends say that the famous crusader King Richard Lionheart and his men enjoyed a pint of ale, on their way to fight the sarascens in the Holy Land. The pub building as it stands today, dates back only 300 years, but behind, in the Castle Rock of Nottingham there are caves, that might have housed the original medieval pub.

In Nottingham there are two other pubs claiming to be extremely old, Ye Salutation Inn claiming to date back to 1240 and the Bell Inn that claims to have served great ale from the time when a group of Carmelite Friars arrived in 1276.

And here are some other old public houses to visit:

  • Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans, very old public house, situated in an 11th century building, claims to be even older than Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
  • The Royal Standard of England, Beaconsfield, claiming nearly a thousand year history, and being the oldest english free house
  • Adam and Eve, Norwich, anno 1248
  • The Pickerel Inn, Cambridge, early 15th century
  • The Golden Cross Hotel, Shrewsbury, anno 1495
  • The Kings Arms, Oxford, anno 1607
  • Lamb & Flag, London, anno 1623
  • Citti of York, London, anno 1645

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sights of Paris: The old house in 51 Rue de Montmorency

The legacy of a magician

Marais is not the oldest part of Paris, but is one of the quarters that have escaped the city planners. It used to be marshlands , before the Knights Templars cleared the land in the 12th century. Today this is one of the most popular places to live in the metropolis. The area has many old houses and its narrow streets is a melting pot. In Rue des Rosiers, you find the Jewish community side by side with immigrants from Nortern Africa. And closer to Centre Pompidou you find the Paris gay community. And Place des Vosges closer to Place de la Bastille, is maybe one of the most beautiful squares in Paris dating back to 1605.

If you walk up Rue de Montmorency you come to number 51. This is said to be the oldest private house still standing in Paris, built in 1407. It was left to the poor by the famous alchemist Nicholas Flamel (1330-1410), as a refuge where they could find a place to sleep and to get a free meal. Nicholas and his wife Perenelle were said to have found the Philosophers Stone and how to turn base metals into gold. When they died they were said to have been fenomenally rich.

On the facade of the house you can read the following text: On y mange, on y dort. Here you eat, here you sleep. And here people have had their meals for 600 years. Today there are a restaurant in the house. Sadly, it was closed, when I visited Paris in 2002. But the next time, I will go to eat there.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Planning a trip to Norway - how to get a cheap airlineticket

Are you planning a vacation? May I recommend travelling to the far north. If you are tempted, you may actually get cheap airlinetickets from many destinations in Europe directly to several interesting destinations. There are three budget airlines that operate non-stop flights to Norway:

Ryanair

Ryanair is the cheapest alternative. The main destination is Torp airport outside Sandefjord. Usually this airport is referred as Torp-Oslo. The fact is that it serves the county of Vestfold and the bordering counties. But if you plan to go to the Norwegian Capital, it is only on and a half hour away and there are good bus connections. Ryanair offers, if you are lucky, tickets for less than €1, except taxes ofcourse. But you have to pay for every piece of your luggage, and you have to buy the food on board. Ryanair also operates one service from London-Stanstead to Haugesund, on the west coast of Norway, close to the wonderful majestic mountains and the deep fjords of the Norwegian Vestlandet.

Sterling

The Danish budget airline Sterling operates services to Oslo from a large number of destinations in Europe, but not the whole year so check their schedules. Sterling is not as inexpensive as Ryanair, but if you are lucky you can get a roundtrip ticket for less than €20, but there are not many. A good tip - check the airline low-price calendar. Here you will find prices and schedules.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian Air Shuttle is a Norwegian owned budget airline that is extending by opening new flights to many European destinations. So now you can fly nonstop fram i.e. Paris Orly to Tromsø in the Northern part of the country in order to enjoy the midnight sun. This airline does not operate all destinations year around, and in order to get the best deal you can check the airline lowprice calendar. If you want to check available flights from Oslo to Alicante-Murchia in February you can see it here.

Norwegian Air Shuttle operates international non-stop services to most larger airports in Norway. The main cities of Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø have a larger number of destinations.

Budget non-stop flights from Europe to Norway - a list

I have made a liste based on information on the airline websites. On prices, schedules etc. you have to consult the web for more specific information.

Austria
- Salzburg (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)

Bulgaria
- Varna (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Chech Republic
- Praha (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)

Croatia
- Dubrovnik (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Pula (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Rijeka (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Split (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Denmark
- København (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- København (Sterling – Oslo, COMING: Bergen)

Estonia
- Tallinn (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)

France
- Bordeaux (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Marseille (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Montpellier (Sterling – Oslo)
- Nice (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Nice (Sterling – Oslo)
- Paris-Orly (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Harstad, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- Paris-Orly (Sterling – Oslo)

Germany
- Berlin (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo)
- Bremen (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Düsseldorf (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Hahn (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Hamburg (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- München (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Tromsø, Trondheim)

Greece
- Athens (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo, COMING: Rygge)
- Athens (Sterling – Oslo)
- Chania (Sterling – Oslo)
- Heraklion (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Hungary
- Budapest (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- COMING: Hungary (Wizz Air - Torp-Sandefjord)

Ireland
- Dublin (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Dublin (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)

Italy
- Bergamo (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Florence (Sterling – Oslo)
- Pisa (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Pisa (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Roma-Ciampino (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Roma-Ciampino (Sterling – Oslo)
- Venezia (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Latvia
- Riga (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger. Tromsø, Trondheim)

Lithuania
- COMING: Palanga (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Rygge)
- Vilnius (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)

NEW: Morocco
- COMING: Marrakech (Norwegian Air Shuttle - Rygge)

Netherlands

- Amsterdam (Sterling – Oslo)

Poland
- Gdansk (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- COMING: Gdansk (Wizz Air, Torp-Sandefjord)
- NEW: Katowice (Wizz Air, Torp-Sandefjord)
- Krakow (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- COMING: Poznan (Wizz Air, Torp-Sandefjord)
- COMING: Szczecin (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Rygge)
- Warszawa (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, COMING: Rygge, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- NEW: Warszawa (Wizz Air, Torp-Sandefjord)

Portugal
- Algarve(Faro) (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Russia
- St. Petersburg (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)

Serbia
- Belgrade (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo, COMING: Rygge)

Spain
- Alicante (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, Rygge, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Alicante (Sterling – Oslo)
- Barcelona (Sterling – Oslo)
- COMING: Barcelona (Norwegian Air Shuttle - Rygge)
- Burgas (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Girona (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Las Palmas (Sterling – Oslo)
- Madrid (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Madrid (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Malaga (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, COMING: Rygge, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Malaga (Sterling – Oslo)
- Murcia (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim)
- Tenerife (Sterling – Oslo)
- Valencia (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo, COMING: Rygge)

Sweden
- Stockholm-Arlanda (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

Switzerland
- Geneve (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- Zürich (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)

NEW: Turkey
- COMING: Istanbul (Norwegian Air Shuttle - Rygge)

United Kingdom

- Edinburgh (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo)
- Glasgow-Prestwick (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- Liverpool (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)
- London-Stanstead (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Bodø, Harstad, Kristiansand, Oslo, COMING: Rygge, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim)
- London-Stanstead (Ryanair – Haugesund, Torp-Sandefjord)
- Manchester (Norwegian Air Shuttle – Bergen, Oslo)
- Newcastle upon Thyne (Ryanair – Torp-Sandefjord)

A dinner in retrospect

Stuffed quails with wild rice and warm figs

The quails were stuffed with a mix of dried ceps, small strips of Traminer Brettlspeck, onion and a tin of Paté de Cerdo Iberico I bought in Barcelona and a few drops of Larsen cognac. This paté is made from pigs liver from animals fed with acorns.

The quails were covered with thin slices of Traminer Brettlspeck. The sauce was made from from dried ceps, onion, good stock, sherry and cream. At the end I added a small drop of Jack Daniels Bourbon. Oh, and I forgot, I also used a great herb I bought at Keflavik airport - Arctic Thyme. A great choice!!

Wild rice is a great alternative to potatoes or plain rice. Boiled for thirty minutes in stock, and when the excess liquid has been poured out, add 1 1/2 oz/50 grs butter. It has a great, nutty flavour!

A dinner in retrospect - dim sum

The four fish dumplings were served with sweet chili dipping sauce and sesame oil. Very good taste, delicious consistency. And enjoyed with a bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro

A dinner in retrospect - the table

As I served the foi gras and the dessert in my living room I set the table for the entree and the main course.

The glasses were (from the left to right), red wine, white wine (cava), a very small glass for Gammel Reserve aquavit (much needed for a large meal) and glasses for water.

In retrospect - Chateau La Rose Figeac 1986

This was really a great wine, much fruit and pepper, and a small hint of oak. I am also pleased that it had survived the long storage in my basement and to be quite frank, it could have been stored even longer. Actually to defend the high price I would strongly recommend it, if you have a cellar like mine.