Friday, September 14, 2007

Enjoy Food & Travel - your hotel site!

There are so much to save on hotel by just browsing on the net, but what site gives you the best bargain? The best advice - try a few, find the one you like and compare prices in good time before departure, and be aware - every site has a flaw. One site will be good to order hotels in Europe, but will give you a bad selection in the United States. One may have a large number of hotels, but many located far outside the your destination. One will charge you as you leave and give you a refund if you cancel, another will keep your money if you try to cancel just a day after your booking. Try to find the one that gives you the best price, but always check at least one or two other sites to get the best price. I have compiled some links for you here on Enjoy Food & Travel - Good luck!!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Passage to South Africa

September 28th I will start my passage to South Africa. This will be my first voyage across the equator into the Southern Hemisphere and first visit to the African continent. I am happy to say that I will leave the emerging fall on the Northern hemisphere and meet the spring as I arrive in Johannesburg. After a terrible summer, getting an additional two weeks of sun and heat will be most welcome.

The full plan for the trip is not fully decided, thus leaving room for improvisation. We plan to stay in Melville, one of the Johannesburg suburbs, and leaving for KwaZulu Natal and the mighty Drakensberg Mountains, bordering the small kingdom of Lesotho. From there we live for the capital of the province, Pietermaritzburg. We hope to get a few nights by the beach in the Saint Lucia area. And finally we are determined to enjoy a few days of safari at the Pilanesberg National Park north of Johannesburg.

It is great to improvise, but we will have to book some nights in advance in order to get rooms at the most popular destinations. We are luck, however, as Jan Bjarne, one of my fellow travellers knows this beautiful country and its inhabitants. In fact I have declared, that if I love the country half as much as he does, it will be the start of a long love story, and my expectations are high, but I am not afraid to be disappointed.

So it will be very quiet here for two weeks, as I explore South Africa, but be patient. I will return with my memories from this passage to the Southern tip of Africa to share with you!

Travel plan for our trip to South Africa September 29th to October 13th

  • September 29th: From Johannesburg intl. airport, in a rented car to Melville Gauteng, a suburb of city. Staying at Melville Guesthouse, a charming small hotel
  • September 30th: In Melville Gauteng, morning service in a Baptist church in Alexandra township
  • October 1st: Melville Gauteng to Giants Castle in the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu Natal, bordering Lesotho. Here we will stay in a charming mountain lodge (See map)
  • October 2nd: Giants Castle Drakensberg Mountains
  • October 3rd: Giants Castle to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu Natal (See map)
  • October 4th: In Pietermaritzburg
  • October 5th: From Pietermaritzburg to Cape Vidal, in the beautiful St. Lucia Area by the Indian Ocean (See map)
  • October 6th: Cape Vidal
  • October 7th: Returning from Cape Vidal to Pietermaritzburg
  • October 8th: From Pietermaritzburg to Melville Gauteng, revisiting Melville Guesthouse
  • October 9th: From Melville to Pilanesberg Natural Park, located north of Johannesburg (See map)
  • October 10th: Pilanesberg - safari
  • October 11th: Pilanesberg - Johannesburg intl. airport returning to Europe

It's delicious, delightful, delovely -

I have found the most sexy food site ever! is pure gastro-pornography, displaying the most indecent close ups of luscious desserts, fruits and tarts. Glistening meat and fish posing sensually on the most exquisite surfaces. Frozen pink, red, and yellow drinks in tall glasses crying out to touch your lips.! Tastespotting is delicious, delightful, delovely - absolutely wicked!!

My friend and co-writer Susanne Koch accidentally found and she wrote me the most ecstatic e-mail describing it as a feast for the eye, and it truly is. If you have a bad appetite, run out of ideas what to make, or want something different let your eyes explore the delicacies served here.

So click on this link and become a tastespotter yourself!!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Three old houses in Gamlebyen

Gamlebyen in Fredrikstad was built as a military stronghold to defend Norway from the advancing Swedish army 440 years ago. Since then civilians and military personnel have lived side by side here mutually depending on each other. They have left some impressive monuments through the last 200 years.

As many Norwegian cities, most of the houses in Gamlebyen were constructed in wood. Most of the buildings built in the earliest part of the period burned down in several fires that raged the city. Today the oldest wooden houses in Gamlebyen dates back to the last half of the 18th century.

Dunkejohngården (1784)

Many of the largest and oldest houses are found around the Central Market square.

Here you find this impressive ochre building. It is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the city, dating back to the time of the French revolution.

The name is much younger. It is derived from Dunke John (Barrel John) alias John Larsen that lived in the house in 1860. He was a merchant in Fredrikstad and had moved to the city as a trader. And he sold hard liquor from barrels he stored in the basement of the house. He did not live here alone. It was big enough to house two other families.

The house is now owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Vennehåbet (Late 18th Century)

This beautiful neo-classic building was built during the last decades of the 18th century. It was extended in 1837 to house Vennehåbet a local club that stayed here until 1913.

Today it is the Masonic temple. It is now the home of the St. Magnus lodge.

The old city hall (1861-1864)

This beautiful neo-roman building is designed by Emil Victor Langlet, a Swedish architect. The house was built on this site after a fire in 1858 where two old wooden houses burned down.

Langlet is more famous for another building. He designed the Norwegian Parliament building, and it was actually built on the same time as the City Hall, in the mid 1860s.

It has many of features found in the parliament building. It is constructed in yellow bricks and many of the details are found in both buildings. The arched windows and medieval-like features.

More Sights?

See other sights in Oslo and around the world here on Enjoy Food & Travel - your travel source!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alchemy from Burgundy

Making beef stew from Burgundy is not cooking, it is alchemy. Quantity and quality. Quality - what meat, what wine to use. Quantity- salt, sweetness, acidity, a fight between cosmic forces. Beef stew from Burgundy is a quest through an alchemical process, a quest for harmony.

This quest took place at Løten, a Saturday two weeks ago. I had lost battle number one - these stews need texture, meaning tough meat with the necessary amount of fat and fibre. Fat to add taste, moisture and to cleanse our digestive system, fibre to keep the structure of meat through hours of cooking. These stews were originally made to use what was left of the carcass. But I lost the argument with Stian and Øyvind - used roast of beef - too good for alchemy....

If you expect a recipe here, I have to disappoint you. No recipe is required, only intuition. I had roughly 1 kilo/ 2 lbs of lean beef, good cut with the most brilliant ruby red colour, clearly visible as I diced the meat into 1 inch by 1 inch dices. I used, as every peasant from Burgundy would, any vegetable available. Two onions and one large carrot, diced, and celery cut into small pieces.

Do use an iron pan - as it will share the tastes from its former meals adding to the mystery of the process. Stians pan had been used for more than 50 years. Mystery!!!

Take a very generous amount of good butter - heat it until golden, and brown the one third of the meat, remove, then one third and at last the last third. Put aside.

Brown as much garlic as you want in the excess butter and then add onions, carrots and celery (in that order), one tbsp of flour and stir until well mixed. Then add 50 cl / 1 pint of good stock, 2-3 tbsp tomato pure, and any herb you may have in your garden. I picked fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, and organo and added a bay leaf. Then 1-2 glasses of red wine. Put the browned meat back in the pan and let the alchemy commence.

A word of caution. If you are tempted to consider using anything but your favourite wine in your cooking - reconsider. Use the wine you love in you favourite food. Bad wine does not get any better if you use it to cook with. I used the table wine from the Wine Brothers, a wine I was served and appreciated, a rich blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

As the alchemy started, I was alarmed as I tasted the stew the first half hour, tasting nothing but the acidity of the wine, and then added sugar and pepper in small quantities as it simmered. Through the hours the stew grew milder as all the tastes developed. At this point I added the necessary amount of seasoning to enhance the flavours of the ingredients.

And now the moment of transformation. After three hours on low heat, I removed all the meat from the stew, and poured the vegetables and sauce into a liquidizer and blended until smooth. Then I poured the mixture back into the pan, added the meat and allow to simmer for another hour.

By now, all the flavours had infused further and blended into the most beautiful mix derived from the best from all ingredients.

Transmutation!! Gold from base metals.

What to eat with it. Mashed potatoes or even better - try baked potatoes.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Cheating at pizza

By guest writer Susanne Koch

Having one of those days? Busy at the office, slow traffic, long lines at the supermarket... You just don't feel like cooking. I often dial a pizza place and ask for a pizza brought to my door. It's very convenient, but it's expensive and often not quite as good as I had hoped for.

Today I made my own 'home made' pizza in 5 minutes (15 if you include the cooking time). I got to choose my sauce, cheese and topping and I didn't have to wait for the pizza boy. Here's how:

My supermarket now has ready made rolled pizza dough. All I had to do was unroll it. I was a sceptic until I tasted it, but the result was really good.

For my sauce I chose a pasta sauce with gorgonzola, which gave my pizza a nice, sharp taste. Then I simply added some slices of mozzarella and some good quality prosciutto. This way I have control of the quality of the ingredients and my pizza was tastier, healthier and less expensive than what I get from the pizza boy.

Are you wondering what to cook today?
See other recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel here!!