A midsummer party
I have two large parties a year. In October I have my Halloween celebration. As my birthday is July 25th, I invite my siblings, their kids, cousins, and my old 90 year old aunt for a midsummer part. This year was no exception.
When making food for 15 people in a tiny kitchen, I always prepare cold food, and this year I made some classics I have made before. I made a tapas table - a Nordic-Mediterranean fusion meal.
Salmon mousse with herbs
I have a recipe on salmon and tuna mousse here on Enjoy Food & Travel. There I recommend that you use gelatin powder or sheets.
I made the mousse the same way. I used packets of aspic (stock and gelatin powder) that you can get in most Norwegian supermarkets and used 1 kilo / a little over 2 lbs of salmon.
I poached the salmon in 50 cl / 18 fluid oz of milk. Added 1 tsp sweet chili and herbs (lemon balm and lemon thyme). Removed the salmon an allowed to cool.
Dissolved the aspic in the remaining milk. Took half the salmon - flaked it up and blended it thoroughly with the milk in the liquidizer. Poured half the mixture in a long
oblong container adding the rest of the salmon. Allow the salmon mousse to set in the refrigerator over night. Remove from container on to a tray.
Chicken aspic with peas and asparagus
Use another packet of aspic. Heat 50 cl / 18 fluid oz. of water and add the aspic powder.
Then you need approximately 800 grams / 2 lbs of chicken meat. I bought a cold roast chicken and plucked the meat off. Arrange white asparagus (I used canned), green peas (frozen are great), and the meat in layers in a oblong container. Pour aspic over. Allow to cool in refrigerator over night.
Remove from container on to a tray.
Crispy Italian bruschetta
Pour 20 cl / 7 fluid oz good olive oil in a casserole. add 4-5 anchovies fillets, 2 tsp minced garlic and herbs in you have in hand. I used lemon thyme, thyme, oregano, tarragon, and rocket leaves.
Heat the oil carefully, it should only infuse, to enhance the flavour from the anchovies, garlic, and herbs. Remove from heat after 10-15 minutes.
Cut rolls or ciabattas into halves, dip the surface into the oil, place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle a liberal amount of grated parmeggiano on top, and bake in a hot oven until golden and crisp. Great for soups or salads.
Seafood in spicy olive oil and white wine
Waste not - want not. As I have much of the delicious infused oil left after the bruscetta, I decided to prepare some seafood. I used 500 grams / a little over 1 lb of frozen seafood mix. This mix contained calamaris, prawns, and mussels.
Defrost the seafood. Pour the leftover olive oil and one glass of good, dry white wine (I used a table wine from Languedoc) in a ovenproof dish. Add the infused olive oil.
Place in a hot olive oil, and allow to remain in the oven 10 minutes after you see the liquid bubble. Great to dip the bred in the liquid.
Other tapas served
I served my little piggies, prunes rolled in bacon.
See recipe here
Then I made salmon nibbles with cream cheese.
See recipe here
I am happy to say that the party was a success. I started the preparation of the food the day before and in this way, making food for 15 an easy task. As long as you have a large refrigerator you can prepare the aspic, salmon mousse and the piggies and store them over night.
You only need to prepare the seafood, salmon nibbles and the bruschetta the same day.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
A midsummer party
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I have always admired the local initiative and at the farm Bakken Øvre at Løten, they have found a production that really pays off - ice cream.
The Kildahl family had milk left after they had produced Pultost, their locally produced and very traditional Norwegian cheese. This milk did not go to waste. They produced the most delicious ice cream from the leftover milk.
My friend Øyvind took me to a local cafe, one of the few places that sell this delicious product, to indulge - and we certainly did. I ordered strawberry and vanilla / blackcurrant. This was a great product. It could most definitely compete with any Italian gelato. Today they produced 30 different varieties, half based on cream, the second half sorbets for sale in the local area.
The Kildahl family has most certainly shown rest of the Norwegian farming industry how they should meet the future. The future Norwegian agriculture should rely on production of high quality products not by high import duties.
Hurra for Løten!! Hurra for Bakken Øvre!
I launch a new blog, today, Thursday July 26th. Lokes Nidblogg will be my new personal space in Norwegian. I want this blog to be a channel for my opinions on what happens on the national arena. And sorry - no food or travel there!!
The first article is on H.R.H. Princess Märtha Louise, that claims to possess the ability to communicate with angels. Regrettably, the spiritual scene of the Kingdom, is gradually taken over by quacks, that claim to have solutions to all your problems - for a price. Her Royal Highness is hoping to cash in on this trend, by opening her own academy. Here you can learn how to communicate with angels for the sum of 3000 EUR a year.
Sadly these idiots makes it so much harder for those of us that have a genuin interest in the area itself. These kind of ideas makes it so much difficult to achieve a sound and serious debate on important issues related to spiritualy and religious systems.
Read more on Lokes Nidblogg here:
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Decent wine at a decent price
Yesterday I invited my friend Laila for dinner. The deal is, as always, I cook and she brings wine. This time she brought a Beronia Crianza 2004 from the Rioja region in Spain. She had bought it on the duty free shop at Oslo airport, but it is available at our Vinmonopolet at only €11 a bottle. Decent wine at a decent price, if you ask me.
This wine is made from tempranillo, grenache and mazuelo grapes. It is recommended for lamb, cheese or pork dishes. In my opinion it can also match a good beef, as most of the Rioja wines I have had the pleasure to taste.
It has a wonderful red colour, has a rich character of fruits and herbs. Can be consumed now, but I think it may mature further if stored for another year.
A great choice, and it matched what I served Laila, cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach, topped with a rich tomato sauce. Yum!
Dead easy to find, as Tenorio is located in one of the busiest street in Barcelona, close to Catalunya. Hardly the most romantic setting to sit outside, but you can always take a drink in Barri Gotic. But the interior may ignite some romantic feelings, I must admit.
When we entered, we were amazed to see that only one more couple ate in this large restaurant. As one of my first rules is that a good restaurant is always packed with people, we wondered whether we had made a good choice. But since we were early diners, compared to the Catalans, that tend to eat rather late, we decided to give it a try.
The service was excellent, nothing more, nothing less. As we arrived early, there were more staff than guests. We were well advised on the menu, choice of wine. The food arrived without delay.
The price for two entrees, two main courses, a bottle of wine and coffee was a little over 100 EUR for two. Hardly the most expensive experience, particularly if you compare this to Scandinavian prices, but considering the food we got, and compared to other restaurants in the same price range in Barcelona, we found the food at Tenorio a little overpriced.
Tenorios chef Jaume Turon is known for imaginative, even unique, fusion cooking like his own special paella, Butifarra sausage grill, and artichoke ravioli with aged Spanish ham in carbonara sauce.
It was served with an excellent red wine from Rioja (sorry have forgotten name), deep red colour, with aromas of red fruits and with a distinct oak character, a good match to the meat.
Great interior and service, but the food did not meet our expectations
Address: Paseo de Gracia 37 Barcelona.
Phone: (34) 932 720 592
Looking for a better place to eat tonight?
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Oslo fjord is a long narrow body of water that stretch 100 kilometres / 60 miles into the eastern part of Norway. For someone that loves the sea, like me, it is more a puddle, than the real thing. Still when you visit one of the islands on the fjord, you are left with that feeling being by the coast. I did, as I have friends living in the middle of the summer paradise – all year round. And a week ago, they invited me out for a dinner.
At this point I realized that Hans Morten and Sven Børge are into style as well as cooking. They picked out their crescent shaped white china, used plastic squeeze bottles to make decorative lines of balsamic vinegar and olive oil (just like on BBC Food). Fried the large scallops in a pan and added pine nuts and Dijon mustard with honey.
I took this snap shot, and I really think it turned out quite well. Their wooden table, fancy china, beautifully presented food and the wine glass.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Hamar – the Bishops Fortress
Close to the old cathedral you find the remains of the fortress for the bishops of Hamar. The diocese was founded in 1167, and the bishop’s residence grew in size during the next centuries. Today much of the fortress is still standing and you get a good impression of how large the buildings were.
Through the Middle Ages Hamar grew into an important political and religious centre. The church played a major role in this process, but during the 15th and 16th century, Hamar's ambitions of power were challenged by Oslo. The Danish-Norwegian king Christian III embraced the Lutheran reformation in 1536 and as the last Catholic Bishop fled in 1537 the diocese was abolished and this started the decline of Hamar.
From 1540 to 1560 century on the Bishops palace and the cathedral slowly fell into disrepair, and it all ended as the Swedes destroyed most of it in 1567.
In 1587 the king closed the market in Hamar and the city lost its privileges.
Still, surprisingly enough, much of the remains of the fortress survived and it continued to serve as part of the farm buildings at Storhamar. The large barn is built on much of the remains of the old fortress and the Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn designed a new museum building over the rest of the walls. The barn and the new addition are now an important part of the collections of the Hedmark county museum.
Here you see the impressive barn that once was the northern wall of the bishop’s palace. Its new role as a farm building at Storhamar farm saved much of it from further decay. It is now connected to the building designed by Fehn.
As you enter you see remains of the buildings located within the walls.
The keep was the main tower of the fortress. Here you found the bishops quarters. It was a large structure that was built up successively from 1200 until 1450. The tower rose 60 feet over the ground and dominated the whole structure. It also contained the kitchen and probably a large hall on the top. Today only the basement area is left. Here the bishop stored food and a well supplied the bishops household with water.
Within the walls you also find the bakery. This small two-room building is much newer, built in bricks and wood in the 16th century, i.e. just before the finale decline of the fortress. One of the rooms had a large fireplace in the corner, and this is the place the guards could get some heat during the cold winter months.
The other room had a large oven, where the guards could make the bread for the episcopal household.
Another interesting part of the old structure is the kitchen - a vital centre in a strong political centre, also added in the 16th century.
Here there were large flat stones in the middle of the room, for an open fire, as well as a fire place in the corner to fry fish or meat. One may just wonder what has been made here to feed the hungry bishop and his men.
On the opposite side of the courtyard you would have found the large hall, where the bishop met important visitors. The rooms under the hall was used for storage. The keep and the great hall are rivalled only by similar buildings in Trondheim (Bishops Palace), Bergen (Håkonshallen), Tønsberg (Tønsberghus castle) and Oslo (Akershus castle).
The museum and its collection
The new addition is partly built on the fortress west wall. Here you find a large walkway with exhibitions on both sides, where artifacts going back to medieval times and beyond are displayed. Some of the most important treasures from the last two millennium have been found in the fertile area around the largest lake in Norway. The most important is the jewels found at Åker farm dating as far back as the Merovingian era, around 575 AD. This Merovingian treasure is claimed to be rivalled only by the rich treasures from the same period found at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. It is on display in the Norwegian Historical Museum in Oslo
The bishop’s fortress is one of the most important remains in the interior part of Eastern Norway. It is a place you have to visit if you travel by Hamar, and you can get a guided tour at the premises. It is evident that you are on historic ground, when you visit the area.
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