Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tastes of South Africa

Yesterday I went to StorO centre in Oslo, home to one of the best supermarket in town. I came out with a highly untraditional shopping bag. Norway has a strictly regulated food market. This means a smaller selection of imported foods than in most other part of Europe. I returned to my kitchen with some very interesting products to try in my cooking. Like three intriguing ready made sauces from South Africa.

It is excactly one year since I was in South Africa. I was very excited to see products from this country in the supermarket shelves. Three different products branded as Something South African. On their website the firm describes their products as;

"...a little African fire, a dash of Dutch heartiness, a soupcon of French finesse, a smidgen of British restraint, a touch of German richness, and a smattering of the mysterious spices of Eastern lands for good measure."
They are said to reflect the rainbow cuisine of South Africa a fusion of European, Asian and African influences. I encountered all these tastes during my trip to South Africa.

I bought all three sauces available. The Peppardew, sweet piquante pepper sauce, Cape Malay Curry with coconut and garlic, and Spicy Durban Curry with chillies and ginger.

The sauces are well suited for beef, lamb, chicken as well as prawns.

I am very excited to find such interesting products in my supermarket shelf, and I do look forward to use them in my cooking. Then we'll see whether they have encapsuled the tastes that I remember from this wonderful country.

Read more on my visit to South Africa here

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Infuse your spices!

When visiting the US I always buy spices in industrial quantities. This time I bought 4 large boxes. Montreal Chicken, Canadian Steak, and Italian seasoning and Emeril's Essences. The latter a creation of celebrity cook Emeril John Lagasse.

When preparing chicken in Scituate September 15th, I decided to infuse the spices. Most of us just open the lid and sprinkle the seasoning directly on the meat. The result gets so much better if you infuse them.

The Indians always roast their spices in a dry pan in order to bring out the tastes. I used another technique. I poured 5-6 tablespoons of Montreal Chicken seasoning into a bowl, added 10 cl (4 liquid oz) olive oil, and mixed them well. Make your own combination, but remember if there are salt in the mix, avoid soy sauce and other salt seasonings.

When preparing the mix for the chicken, I also added tomato ketchup, to balance the saltness and 5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Here you may use other ingredients as well as lime, teriyaki sauce, or maple syrup.

In order to release more flavour, I heated the oil & spice mix in the microwave oven. We had bought 4 lb's (2 kilos) chicken thighs and drumsticks. We placed the thighs and drumsticks into 4 ziplock bags, poured equal quantities of marinade into the bags, closed them and allowed the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator over night.

It was obvious to us that the marinade was a success, when opening up the resealable bags the next morning. The spices had released all their aromas and second phase in the preparation could start.

The best to prepare chicken is to bake it for a long time in an oven on a very low heat.

We dressed two baking trays with tin foil, placed the thighs and drumsticks on the trays. Sprinkled the excess marinade over the chicken.

placed them in a very low oven (220F) and allowed them to bake for 5 hours. At this low heat you will end up with a delicious result with no effort at all.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Le Petit Glouton - rustic, traditional cuisine

Saturday evening I found Au Petit Glouton, another traditional bouchon in old Lyon. I was determined to try a local specialty, and I did. Sadly it left me a little disappointed. The cuisine at Le Petit Glouton did not make me tick in any way.

Location: BBBBB

Le Petit Glouton is located in Rue St. Jean in old Lyon. A unique area steeped in history is a prime location for a good restaurant. The nearest Metro station is Old Lyon, 500 metres further south, by the cathedral. See location on map here.

Atmosphere: BBBB

Le Petit Glouton is located in an old town house with a beautiful rustic beamed ceiling and white painted stone walls.

These architectural features would provide the best possibilities for those that would create a traditional intimate interior. There were some interesting details, but I found the restaurant a little bare.

Price level: BBBB+

A three course dinner, including one half bottle of rosé wine for around the €20 mark. A respectable price for such a meal, but the quality made this a slightly less attractive, than further down the road.

Service: BBBB

Good service. I did not have to wait long to be served. The wine was served with a highly unusual amuse bouche, and the three other dishes followed without delay.

Food: BBBB

French Onion Soup: BBBB+

An overall good start of the meal, arriving piping hot to the table. Made from good stock, it had ended up a little too salt, without the necessary sweetness to balance it up.

I also missed the cheese, unless this is the way they serve this scrumptious dish in Lyon.

Saucisson Lyonnais: BBB+

I had decided to choose a specialty from Lyon. I hesitated to order the Andouille Lyonnaise, a tripe sausage. I chose another made from more traditional ingredients.

I had expected a more rustic dish, more meat, garlic, and herbs. What I got was a sausage resembling the ones I buy in my local supermarket, served hot in a dark gravy. I thought it very disappointing.

Cheese: BBBB-

I had swapped desserts with locally produced cheese, and I got the same cheese every time. Very soft, young, unpasteurized cheese.

One salad leaf or two on the plate.

Wine: BBBB+

A good produced rosé wine, equally good for both meat, fish, or cheese.

Rating the Le Petit Glouton experience: BBBB (4,1 points)

I would rather recommend the two other bouchons than Le Petit Glouton.

Le Petit Glouton
56, Rue St Jean
69005 Lyon, France
Phone: +33 4 78 37 30 10

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Au Pont Saint Martin, Strasbourg - a culinary rendez-vous

A culinary rendez-vous, as one of the meals I remember best from my first visit in Strasbourg 30 years ago was enjoyed at Au Pont Saint Martin. Strategically located in the Petit-France area, we suspected it to be a tourist trap. I am pleased to say that whether it was or not, we enjoyed a terrific meal there.

I vaguely remember the meal back then. Seated at the lower deck we ordered a pork dish with spicy tomato sauce. It was the location rather than the food that left a strong impression.

The location is still one of the best you could think of. By a bridge, probably bearing the same name as the restaurant, close to the canal with locks and river boats passing by, and a view to the beautiful old houses of Petit-France.

We found a very nice table and we both ordered the same mouthwatering dish.

We chose "Le tournedos strasbourgeois au foie gras de canard", i.e. tournedos with duck foi-gras and truffle sauce, roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans.

This was an extremely delicious dish. Tender beef beyond your imagination, garnished with a warm slice of foi-gras. Poured over these already wicked ingredients, a dark sauce with rich truffle aromas.

The potatoes and beans were perfectly seasoned, crispy potatoes and beans with crunch. We were also served a orange-green coloured terrine, green being spinach, and the orange? Sweet potatoes, turnips - I do not know but it was equally good.

Both Øivind and I were surprised, as we did not expect such a meal here, and it was, in spite of the ingredients, very affordable (€24). In spite of the fact that we had one meal here, I would recommend this if it is on the menu. I would even be tempted to revisit Au Pont Saint Martin to find something else to eat. Maybe next time?

Au Pont Saint Martin
13-15 rue des Moulins
67000 Strasbourg
Phone: +33 (0) 3 88 32 45 13
Fax: +33 (0) 3 88 75 77 60

Monday, October 06, 2008

Updated October 6th: 2008 - Food stories from A-Z

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel for the year 2008 on this page. Enjoy!!

- A delicious sauce, Oslo (April 27th 2008)
- A German shopping bag, Schwerin (September 11th 2008)
A lazy chocolate mousse, Oslo (March 29th 2008)
- A tribute to a great cook, Salisbury, MA (September 25th 2008)

- Barcelona - two places to go for foodies, Barcelona, (June 7th 2008)
- Breakfast in America, USA (November 9th 2008)

- Cooking with herbs, Vatnebu gård (June 3rd 2008)

- Delicious, delightful dumplings, Oslo (February 4th 2008)

- Easy food for easy living, Stor Treen (May 25th 2008)
- Eat green food, or another colour, Oslo (June 18th 2008)

- Eduard Arzner, Master of Delicacies, Strasbourg (August 22nd 2008)

- Focaccia failures, Løten (May 10th 2008)
- Food and drink in Montenegro, Montenegro (July 22nd 2008)

- Food in Yerevan, Armenia (August 17th 2008)
- Food Market at Boulevard de la Marne, Strasbourg (July 31st 2008)

- Giovanna's Delicacies, Oslo (February 7th, 2008)
- Grub for hockey mams (and dads), Scituate MA (November 8th 2008)

- Halloween 2008, Oslo (November 5th 2008)
- Ham Heaven, Barcelona (July 29th 2008)
- Hip hooray - 17th of May, Oslo (May 14th 2008)

- In carb-junkie and fiber addiction heaven, Schwerin (September 16th 2008)

- Let them eat - ham! Sitges, September 14th 2008
- Let us make it a good egg (Oslo, June 12th 2008)
- Lidl gives up Norway (March 15th 2008)
- Lyon, a culinary capital, Lyon (June 6th 2008)

- Mackerel on the barbie, Sørlandet, Norway (September 7th 2008)
- Meals on your way (September 5th 2008)

- New herbs and exotic plants in my garden, Flosta (October 14th 2008)

- Offering a gluten free alternative, delivered to you, New York (July 9th 2008)

- Ravioli with saffron, Oslo (February 7th, 2008)
- Recession? 10 smat ways to save money on groceries (November 17th 2008)
- Re use food containers - save the environment, Oslo (May 3rd 2008)

- Say cheese! Scituate MA (October 16th 2008)
- Sexy, succulent strawberries! Sitges (October 13th 2008)
- Slow Food Oslo prepares bacalao, Oslo (August 23rd 2008)

- Smoking halibut, Santa Ana CA (July 19th 2008)
- Spanish delights, Sitges (November 7th 2008)
- Sturgeon terrine with seaweed from Bretagne
(March 29th 2008)

- Tastes of South Africa, Oslo (October 11th 2008)
- Thank God Its Friday - Duck, Oslo (March 29th 2008)
- Traditional luxury, Bjerke Gård, Lillehammer (January 13th 2008)
- Truffle Risotto from Piedmonte, Sørlandet, Norway (July 30th 2008)
- Two delicious sandwiches, Sørlandet, Norway (September 22nd 2008)

- What a swell party this is, Løten (October 29th 2008)
- What is the catch of the day, monsieur, Marseilles (April 21st 2008)

See food stories on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2007 here

Sitges: Izarra - favourite among locals

I love Danish open sandwiches and I love Pintxos! The latter being Basque tapas, i.e. delicacies served on slices of white bread. In Sitges we found Izarra, a place favoured by the locals. Here we were served delicious pintxos, but - they could never compete with those served at Bilbao Berria in Barcelona.

For those of you that have not enjoyed a pintxo, you are recommended to do so. The basques love rich ingredients as mayonnaise and salads based on mayonnaise.

As these delicious ingredients in abundance pinned to a slice of white bread, slices of delicious salted anchovis topped with hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise.

Contrasts - the mild richness of the eggs and the strong salt fish! Yum!

Another personal favourite is the pintxo with baked red peppers and tuna salad. I have enjoyed this variety at Bilbao Berria. When preparing tapas for my good friend Ketils 50th anniversary September 2007, this was one of the pintxos I prepared for his buffet.

The sweetness of the red pepper and the mild tuna, mayonnaise salad is unbeatable - a winner!!!

Here is another mayonnaise based salad, made with hard boiled eggs and crayfish tails in large quantities. Sinful, greasy goodness, a mild and tasty combination.

In the background a rather atypical pintxo, a variation of the tapas above. Short crust pastry filled with tuna salad and garnished with roasted peppers.

Izarra is definitely a good place for a rendez-vous with a pintxo or four. The small room is packed with people, most Spanish - young and old gather to eat, drink and talk. The prices are very agreeable, no tourist rip-off to eat at Izarro.

C/ Major 22

08870 Sitges, Spain
938 947 370

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A free ticket to Copenhagen

Well I got my free ticket to Copenhagen after all. Tuesday October 7th I leave Oslo with Crown of Scandinavia with my sister as paying guest. Last Wednesday we booked our ticket and all that has been is now forgotten. We got our first class Seaways Cabin and a trip for NOK 348. I would like to thank DFDS for good customer service.

I have visited the Danish capital three times in 2008, making this my 4th trip to Copenhagen this year. This is however one of these short trips, leaving Oslo 5 PM, Tuesday arriving in Copenhagen Wednesday at 8 AM. After 9 hours in Copenhagen we will leave at 5 PM, arriving Oslo Thursday morning at 8.

This will be a time for a few good meals on board and a lunch on land - and shopping. My sister is planning some Christmas shopping, I will visit the food hall at Magasin Du Nord and Illums, and buying duty free wine and spirits on board.

And where to eat lunch in Copenhagen? There are several good places. I enjoyed delicious Danish open sandwiches at Skt Annæ, one with small prawns and one with plaice with remoulade. Wicked!!

Or Le Pavé at Gråbrødretorv. A small basement tavern with French inspired cuisine.

If you stay tuned to Enjoy Food & Travel you will see what choice I made. I look forward to a 48 hour escape from my daily routine.

See places visited in Copenhagen January 2008

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See places visited in Copenhagen March 2008

View Larger Map

More ferry stories

Read on the new super ferries going from Kristiansand and Larvik to the continent

Read more on Ferry Services from Europe to Norwegian ports here

More on DFDS services

Read more on the DFDS Commodore De-Luxe Cabin Experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2008 here

Read more on the DFDS Commodore Cabin experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2007 here

Read more on the DFDS tourist class cabin experience on board Crown of Scandinavia here