Saturday, August 23, 2008

Slow Food Oslo prepares Bacalao

The Slow Food movement has conquered Norway. Since 1999 its members have met to prepare and enjoy food according to Norwegian traditions. I have been a member for a year, and I have had the pleasure to participate in their arrangements.

For those of you living in Oslo, you may discover an interesting culinary tradition around a genuinely Norwegian ingredient – the revered salted and dried codfish or the Bacala.

Bacala or stockfish has been produced for centuries according to old traditions. In fact it has placed Norway on the map in Southern Europe and as far away as South America. September 4th Slow Food Oslo, will prepare some interesting recipes from different countries based on Bacala.

Carlo Hjelkrem from the Norwegian Bacala capital Kristiansund, will prepare the local Bacalao. It is made from layers of potatoes, onions, Spanish pepper, garlic and stockfish, boiled in stock, tomato paste, and olive oil.

Baccala alla Napolitana is a mild bacalao with layered fried codfish and mussels, garlic, oregano, olive oil and tomatoes.

Ravioli di Baccala. Raviolis filled with codfish, potatoes, parsley and served with a tomato and basil sauce.

For more information on this and other arrangements at Oslo Slow Food, send an e-mail to

More on Slowfood Norway on

On bacalao on Enjoy Food & Travel

Some recipes on the net

Friday, August 22, 2008

Eduard Arzner, Master of Delicacies!

My first small can of Foie Gras, was bought at Edouard Artzners shop nearly 30 years ago. I did not remember when the shop was located then, but I think it had another location than today. I am so pleased to see that the shop is still around.

Foie Gras – passionately loved or hated

I know many have strong objections to Foie Gras. The objections are based on animal rights, and genuinely reflect high morals. Still food made from animals often includes distress, and some foods are rather grotesque. I love suckling pig, animals slaughtered just after birth. I personally think that other standards must be set for the treatment for animals, but try to limit the amount of distress to the lowest level possible.

I close my eyes to the production of foie gras made from ducks or geese, as I love it passionately. I remember when I visited his shop 30 years ago; they sold fresh goose liver paté with truffles in industrial quantities. This as the International community in Strasbourg has a lot of entertainment. As I ended up with 50 grams of the stuff, the customers bought it in kilos – freshly made. What impression did that make, as I knew how much my little can cost.

Edouard Artzner today!

The shop of Edouard Artzner is today located by Place Kleber, the main square in Strasbourg. Here are some of the scrumptious dishes on display in his window.

Goose Breast

Fancy a duck breast, and rather a goose breast. Bigger, better, and more succulent. Here in slices, prepared the way a good duck and goose breast should be, pink in the middle.

Price: €3.15 per 100 grams

Ham with bone

Ham with the bone, here under offer at €2,50. In the background roasted poussin, i.e. small chicken and roasted regular chicken.

Edouard Artzner
7 rue de la Mésange, 67000 Strasbourg
Phone: 03 88 32 05 00
Fax: 03 88 32 91 59
Official website

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crispy Italian Triple Dekker - Step by step

This is inspired by the multi layered calzones I have seen in several Italian Bakeries in Bostons North End and at Quincy Market. You can make this in many different ways. Make your own pizzadough with spices and a lot of olive oil, and use your own homemade tomatosauce and you'll get an even more excellent result than I did. But believe me, use ready made pizzadough and canned tomatosauce, and it still tastes great.

Step 1

For one Triple Dekker use:

1 sheet of ready made pizzadough
3-4 tbsp of tomato or pizza sauce
50 grs / 1 1/2 oz of Italian salami or other cured meat, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
125 grs / 4 oz Italian mozarella, crumbled or thinly sliced
Some dried Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, etc)

Step 2

Roll out the pizzasheet. Place ingredients a few inches away from the edge, as this will be folded over. Brush some olive oil on, and add som dried herbs. Then place thin slices of mozarella, salami, red pepper, and place some tomato sauce at the top. The fold the left edge over. Seal properly by pressing the dough with you finger.

Step 3

Place another layer of filling and add tomato sauce. Fold the left edge over and do it once more, leaving a few inces of dough on the right side. Fold the right edge of the remaing dough over and seal it thoroughly to keep all the goodness inside.

Brush with Olive Oil, place remaining cheese, salami, and peppers on top

Bake in a hot oven 180-200C / 400-440F, for 25-35 minutes. Alllow to rest a few minutes before serving. Serve with salad.

Step 4

And here is the end result.

Crispy crust on the outside, wonderful italian taste sealed inside.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Flight news

Singapore Airlines best airline for 3rd year in a row

Skytrax has previously made Hong Kong Intl Airport best airport in the world followed by two other Asian airports. In the competition for the best airline of the year, Asia makes it even better. 8 out of 10 best airlines operate from Asia. It was based on over 15 million interviews during an 11 month Survey period.

Singapore Airlines was, for the 3rd year in a row, awarded the title best airline of the year by Skytrax research, the leading research Advisers to the world airline and air transport industry. It was followed by the Hong Kong based airline Cathay Pacific on second and the Australian air carrier Quantas on third place.

The 10 best airlines of the world

1. Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
2. Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
3. Qantas (Australia)
4. Thai Airways (Thailand)
5. Asiana Airlines (South Korea)
6. Malaysia Airlines (Malaysia)
7. Qatar Airways (Qatar)
8. Air New Zealand (New Zealand)
9. Emirates (United Arab Emirates)
10. Etihad Airways (United Arab Emirates)

Ryanair grounds passengers with valid tickets

The Irish low cost carrier Ryanair, has had enough of travelers that buys tickets through third party website. This according to the Wanderlust Travel Magazine.

All tickets bought through other websites than, will be canceled and refunded. If you have not got this message, and go to the airport with such a ticket you will be grounded.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A few good dinners!

I have had a few very good dinners lately. A friend served me this delicious duck breast. I gave her advise on how to prepare a perfect breast, but I loved the ingredients served with it. Mashed sweet and regular potatoes, lightly steamed beans, and raspberries, and she added raspberry in the sauce, as well. DE-LI-CI-OUS!

The traditional ingredient to serve with duck are cherries. The raspberry were more interesting and provided a more interesting contrast to the salted meat.

Try it!

Penne with ruccola pesto and blue cheese

I make the most delicious pesto from home grown pesto from my garden of my country home. The idea for this sauce was conceived in an Italian restaurant, where I was served gnocchi with a ruccola-blue cheese sauce. To create a similarly smooth sauce, dissolve 75 grams blue cheese in a little milk over gentle heat. Add ruccola pesto and heat lightly until sauce is smooth.

Add olive oil to newly boiled penne or other pasta. Add fresh ruccola - as much as you want, and stir before adding the sauce. Before serving add Parmesan cheese and pepper.


An extremely easy and healthy dinner (or two)

Coming home after a busy day at the office, you often have to make an easy meal. This does not mean that it has to be unhealthy.

Buy a bag of frozen vegetables, and place in an oven-proof dish. Add a little oil, salt, pepper, 200-300 grams of diced cold boiled ham. and stir. Then stir in what sauce you want, I used 3-4 tbsp of pesto. Place in a medium hot oven, and bake until tender.

High in proteins, low in fat and carbohydrates - and it tastes good too!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Food in Yerevan

By guest writer Øivind Grimsmo

Although Yerevan is not a major tourist destination, there are a number of decent restaurants in the city. If you prefer international cuisine, the unavoidable Italian and Chinese restaurants are of course available. I however would recommend one of the restaurants which serve typical Armenian or Caucasian cuisine.

Armenian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus, with strong influences from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and, to a lesser extent, from the Balkans. Like in the Middle East, Armenians like to start there meal with mezze, a number of small appetizers which are jointly shared by those present (if you are on your own, you may just ask for one, they normally come in big portions). For main courses Armenians love grilled meat, the barbecue is very popular in Yerevan. There are however many other interesting dishes as well, for example different kinds of stews. The soups are also good.

Personally I did not find Armenian wine particularly attractive. It is rather expensive, and for some reason Armenians, like many Russians, prefer their wine to be sweet. I tried a supposedly dry red wine, but still there was a sweet after-taste which a dry red wine should not have. You can get French wines in good restaurants, but they come very expensive. So stick to beer, or if you are brave, do like some of the locals and ask for half a bottle of vodka to go with your meal! It is drunk cold, in tall glasses with lots of ice cubes.

The Armenian coffee is like the Greek or Turkish coffee, small, strong and with a lot of coffee-grounds. Normally sugar will be added before it is served. As a digestive, try an Armenian brandy (still named cognac in Armenia and ex-Soviet states, in spite of the French having protected the name under EU laws). This was Winston Churchill’s favourite brandy, and he got Stalin to send him a few cases regularly.

Øivind Grimsmo is originally from Oslo, Norway. He is currently living in Strasbourg, where he works for the Council of Europe. He has also lived in Brussels, London and Valencia. He is married to Monica from Spain and has two children. Øivind has a degree in Romance Philology from the University of Oslo, and has a career mostly working with European affairs in international organisations.