Saturday, February 16, 2008

Images of Copenhagen



















Copenhagen has a 1000 year history, first as a fishing harbour, and as a city from the mid 12th century. Very few buildings predates the 1600, but much of the old street plan is still visible. Outside the Copenhagen City Museum in Fredriksberg, you can get an idea what the city looked like around 1500. Here are a few images of old Copenhagen.

The home of Kristofer Klog and Anna Iensdatter

In Niels Hemmingsens gade I found this magnificent door. This street is close to Gråbrødretorv (Grey Friars Square), and this area of Copenhagen has many of houses of great age.

The golden statue of the door is the Roman deity Neptune, the god of the oceans and rivers. He holds a large fork in his arm.

The little coat of arms over the statue bears the names of the builders / owner of the house - KRISTOFER KLOG - ANNA IENSDATTER

Half timbered houses

These old houses were located in Niels Hemmingsens are typical for Copenhagen and Denmark. For a Norwegian, used to houses built only from wood, these buildings gives a feeling of being on the continent.


Anno Domini 1733

This gate was completed 275 years old, and a coat of arms with a phrase from The Lords Prayer was placed in it.

GIV OS HVER VAART DAGLIGE BRØD. Give us each our daily bread, a prayer for something not every citizen would get daily in Copenhagen back in the 18th century.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn - the new port, is a wonderful area of Copenhagen. When I grew up, this area of the Danish capital was regarded as an area with a bad reputation.

Today this area has some of the most expensive addresses in Copenhagen. Here you find a great number of old taverns, as Hyttefadet, going back as far as the beginning the 18th century.

Vartov

This huge building - Vartov, is located close to Copenhagen City Hall. It was built 1724-1755. It used to be Helliggeistes Hospital, the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. This Hospital goes back to 1296, and moved to this location in 1666.

For 200 years old and poor were taken care of here. The famous Danish theologist, N.S.F. Grundtvig worked as a priest at Vartov church from 1839 to 1872. Today it is a place dedicated to Danish youth.

Løwenborg

Look up and see beautiful things. As I looked up in Fredriksberg I saw Løwenborg. Jugend, Art Noveau. I do not know, but this hybrid was probably built in the late 19th or early 20th century.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicken Coriander Soup & Crispy Crunchy topping




















As a fan of slow food, I am still constantly looking for an easy dinner solution. I have stopped using sauce and soup mixes, as the result is inferior to any decent product made from scratch. There are still a few packages in my kitchen drawer, but they are close to their “use by” date.
Some of them are made by Knorr, but the world is moving forward. Knorr has introduced a range of soups that tastes great. With a few easy modifications they are turned into good everyday meals.

Chicken soup with curry and coriander

This is a delicious, well balanced creamy soup with chicken.

To get an even smoother and creamier soup I add 10cl single cream (20%), and two table spoons of sweet chili to add more sweetness, and additional heat.

A delicious touch is to fry three slices of streaky bacon until very crisp, cool on a kitchen paper. Crack into smaller pieces and sprinkle on top

Rrrrrrrrrr!!!!!


Goulash Soup with beef


This is a new variety of the Knorr brand. It was a little salty, and I added two table spoons of sour cream (10%), 2 table spoon of sweet chili sauce.

I had some raw and hot Spanish chorizo, sliced them and added as well. The red pepper and olive oil left ruby red pearl on the surface. Sexy!

And here are the end results!



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Breathtaking Botanical Beauty





















Looking back on my experiences in South Africa, one word springs into my mind - spring! We arrived as springtime emerged on the southern hemisphere, and that meant that flowers and plants that had been dormant through the winter, suddenly woke up and started to bloom. I have already shown some of the beautiful flowers of the South African Spring. Here are some more.



















Blooming in the mild winds of the Indian Ocean

The beauty of the flowerbeds along the streets and beaches of Durban. In the mild winds of the Indian Ocean the flowers and trees were thriving.

It is so strange to see flowers that usually grow in your window.

Two varieties of hibiscus, one pale pink another yellow and dark red. A wonderful strelitzia, or bird of paradise flower.

And a bright green cycas, not a palm tree, but a species closely related to pine trees but with roots back to times when dinosaurs roamed the world.























A garden in Kwa-Zulu Natal


We stayed three nights at Aintree Lodge in Pietermaritzburg. In the hotel garden spring had arrived.

Look at the roses, with tears made from the mild African rain. The patience, that I plant at my summer home and die at the first frost, here they have flowered through several seasons.



































In a suburban garden (above)

In Heidi Hollands garden in Melville spring was in the air. In the neighborhood, pale purple flowers covered the jacaranda trees. Leaving the gray shades of Europe, it was such inspiration to arrive in the South African spring, and to be welcomed by such a botanical beauty.



































Flowers of Sundown Ranch


I have already told you about the fabulous gardens of the Sundown Ranch Hotel. Within the garden and bordering the wilderness there were more flowers and plants.

Some were easily recognizable, as yellow and bright red honeysuckles.

I had already experienced the medicinal properties of the South African Aloe, and the cactus of Africa, the euphorbia, was growing to large trees.

It is still winter, but the inner images of the Africa are still strong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lunch at Restaurant Oasi'd Italia




















Lunch in Copenhagen. One trivial problem for two hungry Norwegians. What and where to eat? As we roamed the narrow streets of central Copenhagen we realized that this city could offer any kind of food at any price. We settled for restaurant Oasi'd Italia in Kompagnistræde. That was not a bad choice.

Once in Paris, my good friend Øivind Grimsmo gave me the following piece of advice if looking for a good place to eat. Never choose an empty restaurant, and when in Paris, never chose a restaurant with a clean floor.

If I should have followed his advice, Oasi'd Italia would have been a place to avoid. Not the clean floor bit, as we are in Scandinavia proper, where food authorities may close you down, if you do not sweep your floors. We did, however, enter a very empty restaurant, and we did not leave.

As we sat down and glanced at the menu, we concluded that this restaurant had nice prices. Pasta starting on less than €10 and salads starting at a few euros more.

I decided to try a ravioli. Talking to the waitress, she told us that the Pasta Fatta in Casa, read; ravioli of the day, had a spinach and parmigiano filling served with a strong tomato sauce.

I was a little concerned that a tomato sauce would overpower the mild filling. I asked whether I could choose a cream sauce instead, and that was no problem. So - Pasta Fatta in Casa at DKK 79 would soon be served at my table. Ketil decided on a salad with chicken at DKK 89 and none of us were disappointed.

So - wine. As Ketil looked at the wine list, he smiled and highly recommended Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, the tears of Christ, refers to the legend of Christ's ascension into heaven and his emotion as he saw the breathtaking beauty of the Bay of Naples beneath him.

It is described as "Deep ruby red color, intense fruity nose, mainly cherry and blackberry. Soft and round with a pleasing tannic finish."

I often find that Italian wines lack richness, being too fruity, and with less character than Spanish wines. Still the Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio was a very good wine indeed.

Then the food came. Ketil was served a large salad, lunch for a real man, with large pieces of chicken.

And as my ravioli arrived at the table, I knew that this was good!!

The waitress told me that I was served ravioli with a creamed tomato sauce. That was obvious, as the pasta was swimming in the most beautiful orange sauce. It was topped with grated parmigiano.

The creamed tomato sauce did not overpower the delicate spinach and parmigiano filling. I sprinkled a little pepper and good olive oil over the ravioli and started eating.

€9 was a ridiculous price for that food!!!!

I did not need any dessert, but ordered coffee. Italian espresso as black as a tropical night, creamy and mild, bitter and pungent at the same time.

Perfect.

Can you guess how much we paid for all this? The two of us paid €55 for this meal. If you would settle for beer, the final bill would be under €40. If that isn't a bargain, what is?

Address:
Restaurant Oasi'd Italia
Kompagnistræde 19, 1208 København K
Phone: 33-11-11-18

More restaurants?

See other restaurants visited in 2008 here

See restaurant ratings on Enjoy Food & Travel from 2006-2007 here

See unrated restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel from 2006-2007 here

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dinner in the Dungeons

Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa has a superb restaurant in the most exquisite environment you can think of. The enormous fortress is built around 15o years ago, but the island had military facilities from around 1650. So here you are on historic ground. The large fortress itself has been renovated and the hotel offered the greatest dinner. I took some snapshots, and I do recollect most of the menu at Oscarsborg, but not enough to give the restaurant a rating.

We arrived in the large fortress building and even in late September the old building was packed with people. I do not know whether they stayed at the hotel or were just visiting from the nearby city of Drøbak. But people had a great time, and we were very satisfied as we ended our meal.

The first part of the meal was delicious cured Italian ham served with mushrooms, romanesco broccoli and a crisp salad. The lightly salted ham, the romanesco broccoli boiled al dente, the sweet balsamic vinegar on the salad. A great starter full of contrasts.
Main course delicious steamed halibut served with a stew with lentils, diced carrots, and onions and a potato cake.

A great combination of gently steamed fish and a aromatic stew complementing each other.



A delicious fruit mousse on a sponge, garnished with a physalis and a fresh fig. A perfect end to a great meal.


A hotel - a fortress on an island




















Early fall last year I attended an extended board meeting in the Norwegian Security Association. This board meeting took place on a location that has played an important historic role during the first days of World War II. Oscarsborg fortress, on an island in the Oslo fjord had large canons, and managed to give the approaching German fleet a serious blow, sinking the German cruiser Blücher, April 9th 1940.

Location BBBBB

The Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa is located on an island, where the Oslo fjord is at its most narrow. You may only get there by a boat and a small ferry bring guests from the small city of Drøbak. It is a superb location, particularly during summer, but visiting the island off season has its charm.

Service: BBBBB-

Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa offers good service from a professional staff, both in the reception room, as well as in the breakfast room and restaurant.

Hygienic standard: BBBBB

Very proper and well cleaned in all of the hotel and its facilities.

Room: BBBB

If you are looking for luxurious spacious rooms with new and interesting design, Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa is nothing for you. As a former military area, buildings have a decent standard, but nothing more. The rooms have been renovated in pleasant beige and nuances .

Bathroom: BBBB

The bathroom was small, but has been renovated to a good standard, white tiles, terracotta tiles on the floor.

Breakfast: BBBBB

The breakfast was served on the large breakfast room, with large windows facing the western part of the Oslo fjord. The breakfast was very good, with all you could expect at a good hotel. Eggs, bacon, as well as cheese, sliced meats, muesli, yogurt, good coffee and tea.

Facilities: BBBBB

The location of the island is one of its biggest assets. Oscarsborg offers good conference facilities, a spa, several bars, and a wonderful restaurant in the main fortress. It is particularly a great place to stay during the spring, warm Norwegian summer, and early fall.

Rating the Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa experience: BBBBB- (4,73 points)

A great stay in a newly renovated hotel and historic monument on a superb location.

Address:
Oscarsborg Hotel & Spa, 1443 Oscarsborg
Phone: +47 64 90 40 00
Fax: +47 64 90 40 11
E-mail:
post@oscarsborghotel.no
Official website: http://www.oscarsborghotel.no/index.php

More hotels?

See hotels visited and/or reviewed on Enjoy Foods & Travel in 2008 here

Read more on hotels 2006-2007 on Enjoy Food & Travel here

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dining around the World on Enjoy Food & Travel


View Larger Map

Enjoy Food & Travel has visited and reviewed close to 80 restaurants in 9 countries on 3 continents 2006-2007. Here you can see where we have roamed the last two years. I will share new and intersting restaurants coming years, so stay tuned for more culinary experiences in 2008

More on the restaurants see:

See restaurant ratings on Enjoy Food & Travel from 2006-2007 here

See unrated restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel from 2006-2007 here

Quack, quack, another duck!!




















On our way to Sunnemo, Terje and I agreed to cook a good meal for their parents. We stopped in Töcksfors, and found that cooking duck breast would be the best idea. My brother calls me the biggest enemy of all ducks. I bear no grudge to the members of the duck family, but love to cook this succulent meat. We needed a starter, and what better to make, than soup made from Jerusalem Artichoke.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with black truffles
(Serves 6)

Jerusalem Artichoke is the root of a species of the Sunflower family, native to North America. It has a dark brown to purple colour, and a sweet, nutty taste.

You need:
1 kilo / 2 lbs Jerusalem Artichoke, peeled and chopped
1,5 liters / 2,7 pints water
3 cubes of vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons sugar
15 centiliters / 5 fluid oz double cream
Truffle oil / or 30 grams (1 oz) black truffles, chopped

I discovered how marvelous these roots are for soups, as I ordered Jerusalem Artichoke soup with truffle oil at Poppes in Arendal. After this great experience, I have regularly made this treat for myself.

Terje and I bought two packages of around 500 grams (1 lbs) each. We peeled them and cut them into smaller pieces. Then we added the chopped Jerusalem Artichoke to 1,5 liters (2,7 pints) of water, added 3 cubes of vegetable stock and a little sugar.

Allow the stock to simmer to soften the artichokes, then use a blender to create a light and smooth soup. Then add double cream for richness and taste.

Terje and I had bought black truffles in Barcelona in June, and brought one glass for this soup. We poured the juice in the soup and chopped the two small truffles finely and added the black flakes to the light creamy sauce.

I have had great success with truffle oil on my soup, and the pungent taste and aroma enhance the taste of this soup. The black Spanish truffles were, however, a disappointment, and I would prefer the truffle oil to the real thing.

Duck Breast with cherry sauce

I have already told you how to make a good duck breast. We were six for dinner and 1 1/2 duck had donated their breasts for our dinner.

They were prepared in an iron pan, and placed in the oven. Cherries and duck is a classic combination. We found ready made cherry sauce, and added red wine and duck fat and reduced.

As I always prepare duck in a dry pan, I was afraid to overcook them. I am glad to say that the three breasts were cooked to perfection. The duck was served with rösti potatoes and lightly steamed mange-tout! Yum!!