Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas 2007 - at the Polar Circle


















From today, December 17th to December 27th I will take a break to visit my brother. He and his family are living at Rise, between the cities of Stokmarknes and Sortland in Nordland county. These two communities are located on the Vesterålen Archipelago a range of small and large islands north of the Polar Circle. I will take a plane to Harstad Evenes airport and travel two hours by bus. Now this region is resting in the Arctic winter where the sun does not rise over the horizon. So now you have to wait for ten days for my Christmas stories from 2007.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Your Norwegian snowguide: www.skiinfo.no




















In quest for snow? Looking for the best pistes? Planning to visit the Alps? Let me give you another idea. Travel to the Norwegian mountains. At http://www.skiinfo.no/index.jsp you can find snow reports, last minute offers, events - all in the main European languages. Have a look.


For many, there has been no other alternatives than the alps, but with increasing competition in the air, there are other options for you to discover.

With Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, and Sterling, there are departures from an increasing number of airports in Europe to destinations in Norway, often at very good prices. From Oslo and the other main Norwegian cities there are good public transportation to many of the ski resorts. I leave for Trysil to stay with friends to celebrate the New Year. A great place to be and you are guaranteed snow and good conditions.

At www.skiinfo.no, you get information on conditions from resorts from Alta in the North to Hovden in Bykle, in the South of Norway, current weather and for the coming five days, accommodation - regular and last minute offers. You will find a good presentation of the resorts, facts, ticket prices, nearest airports and more, and you can have a peak through one of the numerous web cams.

This is a very good website that offers information on European resorts as well, so you can even compare conditions.

So browse through www.skiinfo.no, available for foreign snow lovers in French, Spanish, German, Danish, Swedish, Italian, and Dutch. Good luck!!

Ribbe med surkål!!





















10.50 AM, December 16th.
I have previously told my readers on the ultimate Christmas test - how to make Pork Rib with crispy crackling, the way our mothers did. My mother died in the year 2000 and I still struggle to get my ribbe perfect, and today I will have another try. I have two friends for dinner and I will make it the easy way. Roasting on low temperature a very long time, so that I may leave the house to do some Christmas shopping.


The pork rib has been left marinating for a few hours. I made an untraditional marinade, chili and barbecue spices. The theory is that the sweet chili will help crisp the crackling at the end of the cooking time. The plan is to bake potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, Christmas sausage and meatballs under the dripping fat.

I will keep you informed on how this ended as the day progress.

11.30 AM

The Pork Rib in in the oven, at very low heat 100C / 210 F and will stay there for at least 7 hours. I have poured hot water to steam the rib. This to soften the cracklings and make them crispy at the end of the cooking time. Yum!!

I then leave the house to do some serious shopping.

5.15 PM

Back in the house. Three presenta have been bought. The rib has been steaming in the oven for 5 hours and 30 minutes. It is time to prepare the other ingredients. I place the rib on a grill and place the chopped potatoes on a tray underneath it. This will allow them to fry in the fat from the pork. I have remove the liquid. This will be mixed with a stock cube and act as a base for my gravy.

5.45 PM

At this point I increase the heat to 200C / 400F. Brussels sprouts join the potatoes with two other traditional ingredients. They are medisterkaker i.e. meatballs made from ground pork and beef with up to 25% fat, and Christmas sausage.

These are ingredients that a real foodie should make himself, but as I am extremely lazy, I tend to buy them. All in all, these products hold a decent quality, in fact they are so good that you do not hesitate to buy them.

6.15 PM

I boil up a kettle of hot water and add a bag of ready made surkål, Norwegian sauerkraut. This is the next best thing, as a proper housewife or a foodie should in all decency make their own.

15 minutes in hot water and it is heated through.

6.30 PM.

The rib is removed from the oven. Sweet chili sauce is not a good idea, as the cracklings burnt due to the sugar in it and did not turn crispy. Another failure. Next time I will use the traditional salt and pepper and hope for a better result.

Then I may serve the most delicious long roast rib to my friends, with Brussels sprouts, meatballs, Christmas sausage, roasted potatoes and brown gravy.