Saturday, September 27, 2008

The end for Sterling in the Norwegian flight market?

Sterling will, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, no longer operate flights from Norway to the continent, but will, from October 1st have a codesharing agreement with Norwegian Air Shuttle on several of its flights.

Sterling will buy a number of seats on Norwegians flights from Oslo to Copenhagen, Alicante, Malaga, Faro, Nice, Barcelona, and Tenerife. The only destination that will be operated is the service from Oslo to Billund Airport. Sterling will from the same date have no flights from Oslo to London/Gatwick, Rome or Amsterdam.

Read more on this story in Aftenposten (September 24th 2008)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palau Maricel - Sitges

When walking up the stairs from the main beach in Sitges, passing the church
Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla and enter into the old part of the city, one of the first buildings you see is Palau Maricel. It blends perfectly architecturally into the old city. In fact I believed it was an ancient building, but was astonished to learn that it was less than 100 years old.

Palau Maricel was built in 1910 by the American millionaire Charles Deering (1852-1927) to house his collection of art. Charles Deering returned to the U.S. in 1921 and took his art collection with him. Thanks to a donation by Dr. Pérez Rosales, in 1969 Palau Maricel now holds another collection of mostly medieval art.

Palau Maricel holds the atmosphere of an old noble mansion and is now one of the most famous buildings in the city. Built by Miquel Utrillo and deeply influenced by the Modernism in Catalunya, the palace is ornately decorated with magnificent tiles and beautiful terraces.

Palau Maricel is a dream venue for meetings and banquets with a spectacular view over the Mediterranean Sea. Deering ordered beautiful banquet rooms as Saló d'Or (Gold Room) in the heart of the palace and the adjacent Saló Blau (Blue Room) and Sala Capella (Chapel Room) to hold receptions.

Palau Maricel blends perfectly into the the surrounding old city, in fact it has a distinct renaissance or medieval character. I walked through an old mysterious passage way to face the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Story number 1000 on Enjoy Food & Travel - A tribute to a great cook

This is story number 1000 on Enjoy Food & Travel. When I started two years ago, I would never have imagined that it would grow this big. This story will be a tribute to a great cook and a great friend and support in my life - my aunt Hanne Skuggevik.

This story will be published September 25th, but is written on my cousins kitchen in Scituate MA. It is a wonderful and mild morning, with clear skies along the Eastern Seaboard. Everyone is talking about fall, but for me this is a prolonged summer week. I have even had a swim in the freezing cold water (63F!!!) I have stayed here for 5 days, and I will today (Wednesday September 17th 2008) travel north to my other cousins house in North End Boulevard in Salisbury Beach.

My aunt is a remarkable woman. She is now 97 years old, and in a nursery home in Newburyport MA. She is a very generous and open minded person and has been a great support for me and her American family and I look back on these years with gratitude.

When I first came to America 20 years ago, I lived in her house in Guinea Road in Stratham NH. She was a excellent cook and upheld the Scandinavian culinary traditions and loved to make traditional food from the country she settled in. And her Egg Benedict was the best breakfast I had - ever!!

When returning to the Norway I will bring some of her culinary skills with me. My cousin Erica gave me her recipe book filled with written recipes and clippings in both Norwegian and English. It was kept in a small wooden box.
I intend to collect them in a small recipe book and some of them will be available here on Enjoy Food & Travel. This as I will make the dishes from her recipe book and present it at Enjoy Food & Travel. In this way I can make the food she once made in her charming kitchen in the woods of New Hampshire.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lyon Sights - Le Manecanterie

When standing in front of the Lyon cathedral, you see a building on its right side. You immediately see that this is an ancient structure. The round Romanesque arches tells that it predates the era of the Gothic cathedral. It once was the house of the Church Singers and is today the oldest building in Lyons historic centre.

The Cathedral of Sain Jean was built from the 12th century into the 15th century. It is one of three churches on the site that date back as far as the 3rd century, and is actually located on one of the oldest christian sites in Western Europe outside Rome. To the left of the church you see a smaller stone building - the Manecanterie.

It is probably one of the oldest, if not he oldest historic building in Lyon. Whereas the Gothic church is a tribute to the Gothic style, with elegant pointed arches stretching towards the sky, the Manecanterie represents the style predating the Gothic, i.e. the Romanesque archictecture.

Built on remains going back to the 2nd Century, parts of the present Manecanterie may go as far back as the 8th century. An arch in brick and stone on the south facade (left), may be the remains of a canonic residence built by bishop Leidrade that was bishop under Charlemagne.

The name gives an indication of what the building was used for. The name comes from Mane; i.e. morning and Canterie, meaning singers. It was the home of the boys choir of the cathedral. Here they were taught musical skills as well as religious matters, and schools like these were important for those that wanted to enter a career in the church. The various subjects taught in medieval schools (philosophy, grammar, astronomy) are supposed to be represented in the alcoves under the twin arches.

The Manecanterie is one of these buildings that touch you deeply as it has been scared by its long and turbulent history. There are beautiful original windows flanked by archaic and primitive columns made more than 1000 years ago. Then there are mullioned windows that were added in the late 15th-early 16th century.

In 1562 the war between huguenots and catholics led to the destruction of the cathedral as well as its adjoining buildings. The facade of the Manecanterie was severely damaged. In 1768 wings of the building were torn down to be replaced by newer addtions that were never completed.

This long story leaves a building marked by the ages, with an age and character to it. It is like one of these ancient oak trees you see from time to time, marked by seasons and weather with turned and twisted branches. It is a place to see and meditate, as it makes us so very small and insignificant, but it is important to remember that even we leave our mark behind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A delicious salad

Another trip, another meal at the Seafood Bar at Oslo Airport. The only place to eat properly here, as far as I know. Considering the amount of time spent on airports in general, it is really strange that there are so few restaurants that serve really good food when you wait for your plane to leave.

Oslo airport has a Pizza Hut (YUK), Upper Crust that serve different sandwiches, and a few places more even less memorable. I always go to the Seafood Bar. While waiting to leave for Berlin last fall, and when travelling to Schwerin a month ago I had the most delicious seafood served.

This time I ordered a seafood salad, highly recommended by the staff. Arriving at the table only 10 minutes later it had tiger prawns, tuna, and scallops slightly fried, cold shrimps and crayfish tails over fresh green salad leaves. It was served with a fresh soir cream dressing with dill. Excellent quality, even though I suspect that the crayfish tails may have been preserved in brine.

Price quite steep, as usual, 139 NOK or 17,50 Euros, but it is so much better than the boring sandwiches and the pizzas from Pizza Hut.

If you are a seafood lover, Seafood Bar is the place for you at Oslo International airport. If you are not, why not try a delicious open sandwich with an anundance of gravlax, smoked salmon, shrimps. Then you would have eaten truly Scandinavian food. Or a plate of sushi or freshly boiled king crab. It was plenty of different things on the menu.

Read more on Oslo International Airport here

Other stories on Seafood Bar:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two delicious sandwiches

One weekend, only four eggs for two breakfasts for two, i.e. only one egg for each! Tragedy! Especially when being on our summer home and are urging for two substantial breakfasts. To avoid disaster I had to improvise. What did I have? A tin of Terrine Bretonne and crayfish tails in brine. These ended up with two very good sandwiches.

Terrine Bretonne, bacon and pickled cucumber on rye bread

When being in Lyon, I had a last day grocery shopping at my nearest Monoprix. This meant coming home with a selection of inexpensive and expensive ingredients.

Of the less expensive foods was a tin of Terrine Bretonne, paté from Brittany produced by Henaff. A large oval shaped tin.

I had already opened up a small tin of paté de foie de porc" at Monoprix, produced by Lou Gascoun in Saint-Médard-d'Eyrans in Gironde, close to Bordeaux. It was very fat and when served at a tapas arrangement for my staff earlier this year was left untouched by my guests.

When opening up the tin, I was relieved. Not the hard, dry paté with large pieces of yellow fat, as in the small tin, rather moist jelly and large chunks of meat.

This does not mean that it did not contain fat. It contained quite a bit, but in spite of the pork paté, it both looked and tasted very good. We sliced the terrine, thinly and placed it on a slice of rye bread with two slices of crisp bacon and pickled cucumber. (Image above)

This was as good as home made open Danish liverpaté sandwich and luckily one breakfast was saved.

Sandwich with ruccola-pesto and crayfish salad

I have told the story of my ruccola-pesto, made rom ruccola growing in my garden. Intensely aromatic as the leaves are growing under the hot and intense Norwegian sun.

You find crayfish tails in brine in most Norwegian grocery shops. They are, of course, of not the same quality and taste as the freshly caught crayfish, but decent when served in different styled salads.

Earlier I have mad a mayonnaise based salad, but in order to create a new twist, I decided to combine pesto and crayfish. I chopped 1/2 a red onion finely, and mixed the crayfish with 2-3 tbsp of pesto. I should have had some lime juice as well, but I found out it worked well even without lime.

I placed the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours, in order for the ingredients to infuse.

Serve a generous portion of the salad on a slice of rye bread, and if you would like the genuine Scandinavian feel to it, serve a glass of beer and a shot of akevitt or Gammel Dansk Bitter Dram.

Wonderful rich spicy aromas, crunchy fresh red onions and delicious salt crayfish. A different experience.