Saturday, September 20, 2008

Schnitzel Cordon Bleu – variations over a theme

Pork chops are, if you remove the fat, very lean meat, and are besides that very inexpensive. A few weeks ago I made two variations over the famous Schnitzel Cordon Bleu. Very easy to make and my, how good it tastes!

What you will need for this recipe
2 pork chops, boned
½ pack of Shake’n Bake or any other crumb
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 large slices of boiled ham
2 large slices of gruyere or Swiss cheese

Schnitzel Cordon Bleu is originally made from veal, but pork is an excellent and cheaper alternative. I took two pork chops, removed the bones, and placed on a sheet of cling film and placed another sheet on top. Then I took out my mallet and gave the chops a really good wack or twenty, flattening until they nearly doubled in size.

I had, from my last stay in the US som Shake’n Bake bread crumbs left. I placed the crumbs on a plate and placed the schnitzel on top of the crumbs. Then I spread 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard over the whole surface of the meat, then placed cheese and ham on one half. Folded the other half over, and placed in a well oiled baking tray. Baked in oven at 200C / 400F for ½ hour until bread crumbs are crisp and cheese has melted.

During a stay at our summer home, first weekend in October I made the recipe again. As I had a visit from a friend that does not tolerate gluten I made the recipe without the crumbs. That worked perfectly well, but you do not get that delicious crunch. For those of you with coeliacs disease or gluten intolerance there are gluten free bread crumbs available, so you may have not miss that experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

InterCityHotel Schwerin.

During our stay in Schwerin we had booked three nights at €79 per night at InterCityHotel Schwerin. This was certainly a nice price and we got good value for money. Hotel Intercity can only be described as good and not great.

Location: BBBB

The hotel is located close to Schwerin main railwaystation. The area is a little run down, and not very charming. Very typical of most hotels with a similar location.

There are few restaurants close by. As Schwerin is a small city, most restaurants are located within a 10 minute walk.

Service: BBBB+

The staff at InterCityHotel Schwerin was professional and provided good service. I would particularly praise the staff at the reception.

Price: BBBBB

At EUR 79 a night InterCityHotel Schwerin was a great bargain compared to its price.

Room: BBBB+

Good sized rooms, with a clean and comfortable queen sized bed made for one. Spacious with a small table and two comfortable chairs. TV, minibar. Large closets to hang up your clothes and store away your luggage.

In spite of this the rooms had two major flaws. The floors were covered with wall-to-wall carpeting that, combined with hardly any ventilation, could seriously affect guests with allergies. If opening the window (as I did), you would easily be disturbed by the traffic noise by the railway station. As the hotel is located by the Pfaffenteig, one of the small lakes, I was affected by something else - mosquitos. As I am highly allergic to these creatures, one night with the window open, more or less ruined my well being for the rest of the trip.

The hotel is requested to change the carpeting overall (recommended) or at least offer rooms for allergics with no carpets.

Spacious bathroom, elegantly tiled. Enough place for toiletries. Comfortable shower. Good lighting.

Breakfast: BBBBB

InterCityHotel Schwerin offered breakfast included in the price, and what breakfast!!! This is probably one of the best I have enjoyed in a hotel ever.

A wide range of products made the breakfast into a feast. For those needing a healthy breakfast there were fresh fruits, muesli and yogurt. There were cheeses, cold meats, patés, and mayonnaise based salads. I grew particularly fond of a ham salad and a cheese salad with oranges.

And scrambled eggs, bacon and good German sausages - such a comfort the day after for those that have experienced a long evening on the bars of the city.

If you wanted a sweet end to your breakfast - croissants with jam or why not a freshly baked pastry!

The coffee, tea and juice were good too!!

Facilities: BBBB-

The InterCityHotel Schwerin did not offer much of facilities. The reception area was spacious but a little bare, and not a place to sit down for a cozy talk.

There is a restaurant offering light meals and a bar at the reception. Good service and low prices, but it had no atmosphere.

Price: BBBB

79 Euros is absolutely no rip-off and even with the current standard the hotel is recommended as a good place to stay in Schwerin. A few improvement in the rooms and the reception area would lift the rating further. Great breakfast!!!

Rating the InterCityHotel Schwerin experience: BBBB+

Enjoy Food & Travel recommends InterCityHotel Schwerin. Great breakfast but there are potential for improvements of both rooms and facilities.

InterCityHotel Schwerin
Grunthalplatz 5, 719053 Schwerin, Deutschland
Telefon +49 385 5950-0
Telefax +49 385 5950-999

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New non-stop flights from Oslo to New York and Bangkok from 2010?

SAS is planning to extend its non-stop flights from Scandinavia by opening two new direct services from Oslo Airport to New York and Bangkok. This according to a statement its Vice President John Dueholm made to the Danish Travel Magazine Take Off. This will happen after the airline has gone through the current restructuring in order to cut costs. Scandinavian has grounded 18 planes, fired personnel, and cut down on destinations in Scandinavia to get a healthier economy.

The new destinations will most probably be launched in 2010 at the earliest, as 2008 has been disastrous for international airline business and gloom is expected to last way into 2009.

Continental took over the only non-stop flight from Oslo to the US from Scandinavian in 2004. The American air carrier has turned this service to Newark Intl Airport from deficit to surplus, and has, with 90% of seats sold in average, made it into a very profitable venture. It is also preferred by many business travelers from Norway to America.

Thailand is a very popular destination for Norwegian travelers, and Scandinavian hope to get its fair share of the profits on direct flights from Norway to Bangkok. The airline is met with competition from the Thai air carrier Krabi Airline, that will open non-stop flights from Oslo November 1st this year. SAS Inter Continental and the main Thai air carrier Thai Airways are also operating direct services to Bangkok from Stockholm, so time will show whether a non-stop flight from the Norwegian capital to Bangkok will turn out profitable for Scandinavian Airlines.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In carb-junkie and fiber addiction Heaven

Schlosspark Center, in the middle of Schwerin, is a danger for anyone with a credit card. Here you may roam for hours and find anything you’d like. And when you get tired, you can sit down for a snack in one of the small bars or cafés in the center. The center is not only the place for shoes and clothes but a temple for any other addiction, including food.

I leave most shops alone, but I am deeply addicted to food shopping. On the 3rd floor at Schlosspark Center you have a large super market. It was here I filled up my German food basket. On the ground floor I found two fascinating places catering to two different tastes.

Look at this fruit and green grocers. I have rarely seen anything similar. By the entrance of the Schlosspark Center I found the spectacular place of worship for fiber fanatics. The place to indulge in internationally and nationally produced fruit and vegetables. This is food to go to heaven for, it is not only good for you, but it tastes good and looks great as well. All the colours of nature will help you fight any kind of evil. Eat colour!!

If you, on the other hand, are part of the current anti-trend, still craving for carbohydrates – this bakers shop may be the place for you. The Germans are deeply into pastries. Puff pastry with fruit fillings often dipped in sinful frosting. This food is certainly to go to hell for, particularly in these times when all eyes are on what you eat and how bad it is for you. I still believe that a sin on and off is good for you. People eating only fruit are boring. Those who dig into a large cake are much more interesting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Let them eat - ham!

Few nationalities have such a passionate relationship to cured meats as the Spanish. They love their chorizos, jamon serrano, and the precious pata negra. Even today home made cured meats are made all over the Iberian peninsula. I remember something I experienced in Brussels 10+ years ago.....

The sister-in-law of my good friends Øivind and Monica comes from Salamanca, and she stayed with them at the same time as I. She had brought one of her mothers home made chorizos, and shared it with us, proudly. I say people in the Spanish highlands know what they are doing.

In Sitges we found a Jamoneria selling all grades of Jamon, from the relativ inexpensive ones to the top shelf priced from EUR 100 a kilo and up. We stood outside and enterred in awe to see all the pigs legs hanging up waiting to be carved in very thin slices.

For Norwegians this kind of passion seems strange. To create a "Louis Vuitton"-like shop to sell ham seems to be very natural. This passion is wonderfully described in the Spanish film "Jamon Jamon" and a word of warning - you do not know what good ham can do to you - it may wreck you life!! One scene from this film springs to mind.

A young couple is having a good time behind a giant logo of the brand "Torres" depicting a large bull. The man sucks at her breast, and she asks "what does my tit taste like"? He thinks for a moment and answers "you tit tastes like patatas (potatoes)". Then she turns the other one over and asks; "what does this tit taste of?"

He sucks it, and answers without hesitate; "Jamon!"

Back to Sitges.

Our friend John went in and bought a few slices of the best and we sat down to share and compare it with a few slices of lesser quality ham.

It was certainly a difference, both in texture and taste. The expensive had an intense aroma reminding of nuts and was extremely tender. The more inexpensive variety was good, but the first was superior by far.
So when in Spain, invest in 50 grams of expensive ham and have a taste of cured perfection - and buy a bottle of cava to go with it. It is perfect!