Saturday, May 17, 2008

Statens Museum for Kunst - Copenhagen

Statens Museum for Kunst - the Danish National Gallery house a very impressive collection of paintings and sculptures spanning from the Middle Ages to the present time. It is located by Rosenborg Palace close to Kongens Have. This is a museum that definitely needs more time than just a few hours. It provides hours and hours of food for thought. Thus, our visit was just a taste of what the museum has to offer.

Old and new architecture in harmony

The old part of Statens Museum for Kunst is built during the last decades of the 19th century in Italian renaissance style. A new wing built in 1998 provides an interesting contrast to the old massive building. A clean white architectural structure with large glass surfaces connected by a large open walkway providing much light and additional space for exhibitions and concerts

Design down to the smallest details

Very little is left to coincidence here, restrooms, chairs, plates, glasses, and coffee cups conform to the same delicious Danish design. As we ordered a caffe latte in the cafeteria it was served in this delicately shaped mug, placed on a glass table, and you sat sat down and enjoyed your coffee on designer chairs.

We decided to admire the exhibition located in the walkway. Contemporary art with a taste of the macabre. Here are a few of the art works on display. I will return to other and older works of art later.

Delicious Death

In the large walkway you found an installation playing with death. As this blue sculpture with a glistening white skull, a colourful ghost whose light blue garment is playing in a gentle breeze.

Memento Mori, remember you will die!

A baby is expected - call the vet!?

Whose offspring is expected here - I wonder? Who to call - a midwife or a vet?

This over pregnant sculpture thrills your curiosity, as you try to figure out what is inside and whether it is its head or its feet that is/are clearly visible in the small opening.

Danse Macabre

It is difficult to see whether this hot embrace between the grim reaper and the bald headed naked man is love, a hot dance, or a fight for life.

It leaves you, in fascination, with questions and no answers. I think danse macabre is the correct word to use here.

He is coming to take you away, hi-hi, ha-ha, ho-ho.....

Scratch on - do not give up!!!

Remember the fight between Krystle and Alexis in Dynasty - the Carrington saga? This is worse!

I do not know what these two initially disagreed on, but whatever it may be, it is dead serious. Using their hands scratching each other until bleeding through every opening.

No winners, no losers here. The undertaker is waiting for his prey.

Want to see more on the interior? See this short film from the interior of Statens Museum for Kunst.

See the official website of Statens Museum for Kunst here (English version)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Enjoy Food & Travel around the world

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2055 of you visited Enjoy Food & Travel in April. In average 27 subscribed daily to feeds, bringing the total number of visitors close to 3000 the previous month. I am still curious who you are, those of you that visit my website.

I welcome my first visitors from:
  • French Polynesia (Papeete, April 8th 2008)
  • Mauritius (Currepipe, April 16th)
  • Surinam (Paramaibo, April 15th)
  • Colombia (Concepción, April 16th)
  • Oman (Mosqat, April 16th)
  • Vietnam (Ap Long Thành, April 13th)
  • Liberia (Bong, April 20th)
  • Nigeria (Lagos, April 17th)
  • Maldives (Male, April 27th)
Share a sight, a restaurant, or your favourite recipe on Enjoy Food & Travel!

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And again, thank you for visiting Enjoy Food & Travel!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sights by lake Stor Treen

Lake Stor Treen is located in the middle of the dense forest of Värmland, in western Sweden. I stayed by this large lake with my friend Terje during a hot weekend in April. We took a short walk in the nearby area and we found a few remains from a time of hard labour.

Fredros Flottningsränna

The log chute at Fredros is one of the few remaining structures of its kind in Värmland. Log chutes were built to get timber past difficult parts of the rivers used to float timber from the forests to the sawmills.

The log chute at Lake Stor Treen was built in 1912 and was used until the 1960s when this way of transportation of timber ended.

The old barn of Fredros farm

This impressive wooden building belongs to Fredros farm. A wonderful example of Scandinavian building style, made from solid timber, called "laftverk".

These buildings may, if well maintained, stand for hundreds of years. In Norway there are more than 200 timber buildings dating back before the reformation (1537). In fact the oldest wooden farm building still standing in Norway dates back as early as 1200. Some of the stave churches are even older, some being close to 1000 years old.

The farm building at Fredros is exceptionally well maintained by its owners, and will survive for coming generation to admire.

Loggers shed

We found this traditional loggers shed by the main entrance to the camping site. As the barn, built from massive wood, it provided shelter for the loggers.

The wooden frame encircles the spot of the fire where the loggers would get heat during fall and winter.

Here is a short film showing the log chute at Fredros

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hipp hooray - 17th of May!!!

Coming Saturday is our National Day, and it is celebrated with a champagne brunch - as usual! I have invited 7 friends asking them to bring one bottle of bubbly - each! As last year I invite to a buffet. I like variation on what to serve - within my repertoire. This is what I am going to offer my guest.

Last year I served cold food, salmon with creamed potato salad and scrambled eggs, cured meats, and wraps with cream cheese and Spanish ham. Shrimp salad with saffron and asparagus. This year I will combine hot and cold food, into a tapas style buffet.

What are my plans for the brunch? Here are a few hints.

Crespelle - Amalfi style filled pancakes

This is variation of the crespelle from the Amalfi coast south of Naples. The lazy version as I use ready made pancakes, but if you make them from scratch they get even better.

I use 250 grams ricotta cheese, mix in 100 grams grated mozzarella, and 100 grams grated Parmesan. Mix well. Chop 100 grams of cured ham and mix into the cheese mixture. Add a little grated nutmeg, salt pepper to taste. Remember the ingredients already contains salt so do not use too much.

Take 8 pancakes. Fill each evenly with the cheese mix and place in tray. Add a good tomato sauce and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake in medium hot oven (180C / 300F) until cheese is golden and sauce bubble.

What else to serve?

The full menu is not decided yet, but there are a few thing I will serve for brunch.

I will make my wraps with cream cheese and smoked salmon. This year I will swap the ham with salmon as salmon is equally good for this cold treat.

I will not make my shrimp salad, but I need some more fish. To increase the fish quota I will prepare my easy-made salmon and tuna mousse.

No steaming necessary - use aspic dissolved in hot milk first used to poach salmon. Liquidize milk, poached salmon, and tuna and pour warm mixture into a tray and place in refrigerator over night to cool.

I will serve a tzatziki and steamed crayfish to the mousse.

Another great and easy think to make is my little piggies, prunes in bacon, baked crisp in the oven, great cocktail treats - good for champagne as well.

Other treats to consider:

  • Chicken wings - delicious bite sized food, in hot sweet marinade - maybe a little to pungent for the champagne
  • Chicken liver paté with sweet onion marmalade - a Scandinavian specialty with a twist
  • Cured ham served with flat bread and sour cream
My meal is under construction - and much may happen. I may get a whim and prepare something completely different. What ever I make, I trust my friends will be happy with the result.

Hip hooray - 17th of May!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Finally Summer!

The last bank holiday of the spring season, summer arrived. Heat, light and sun is precious for us living so far north. The somber depressive mood change during June, July and August to a hectic, nearly manic life style. People leave their flats to absorb all the light and heat they can get.

Oslo is beautiful during summer. Here you may explore the wilderness by taking the metro to Frognerseteren or Sognsvann, returning to enjoy a cold pint of beer or a glass of chilled white wine at one of the many outdoor restaurants in the city centre. Or you may take one of the many ferries and visit one of the numerous islands of the Oslofjord.

For those of you visiting Oslo, you will find that many of us leave the city. We have summer homes by the sea, by one of the many lakes or in mountainous areas.

Sørlandet, the area I come from, is a hidden gem. On and off you find articles in European press describing the south eastern coast of Norway as ripe for discovery for the European tourist. Facing the Skagerak, the stretch of sea dividing it from the Northern part of the Jutland peninsula you are closer to the continent than any where else in Norway. A mere 4 hour ferry trip from Kristiansand to Hirtshals, in fact.

Sørlandet is steeped in history. Here you find wooden houses going as far back as 400-500 years, remains from a time when there were sailing ships in any of the small ports along the rugged coast line.

As here you find small islands and cliffs, and no beaches, and beautiful clear water and the best weather Norway can offer. Here you have the highest number of sunny days in the country, and an average temperature of 20-25C (68-77F) during the summer. The ever present breeze from the sea offers a relief from the heat - and you have to experience the light.

In June you have up to 18 hours of daylight, but I personally recommend August. Late summer, when the sun has heated up the sea and you may experience tropical nights, when the low temperature does not go lower than 20 degrees Celsius accompanied by velvet darkness, warm, humid, mysterious and magic nights as you approach the fall.

If you are interested in historic sights you are recommended to visit the old historic cities along the coast, known for their white painted wooden houses and narrow streets. Some of the smaller has kept an atmosphere of the 1700s and the 1800s.

The bigger cities have experienced the curse of urban planning. My city, Arendal, once built in wood has burnt down many times, and after the last fire in 1865 rebuilt in bricks and stone. But even here you find an impressive historic district with houses going back to 1650. The city was founded in 1528 as an important trade point for timber trade, and later iron bound for the European market.

So do come and experience our summer. You will find us a cheerful bunch, quite unlike winter when we are somber and grumpy. Where ever you travel you will be struck by the wonderful light, and if you travel far north you will experience the midnight sun. But here you may experience cold temperatures even at mid summer. In fact today, early May, there was snow in the far north, whereas here in the south we had 16 degrees and sun.

But did you know that this pink house is in Oslo? The Norwegian capital reflects Norway. Here you may even find the quaint historic areas found in many small cities, as well as all the joy that a large city may offer. A microcosm in itself!

And nature is not far way!

Why not travel to Norway this summer?