Saturday, November 01, 2008

Then to something completely different - flight news!

Here are a few headlines from the Norwegian flight market picked up from different news providers during the last weeks of October 2008.

Weekly flights from Switzerland to Røros during the 2009 summer season

Røros, the beautiful mining town on the UNESCO Heritage list, has struggled to attract airlines to land at their local airfield. Widerøe is the only air carrier operating services on a regular basis.

The Swiss company Kontiki Saga Reisen will change this, as they will operate a weekly charter service to Røros from June 25th to August 6th. Swiss tourists will then get the opportunity to discover this architectural gem.

The tourists will then be offered a return from Karlstad Airport in Sweden.

(Source VG Nett, October 28th 2008)

Read more on Norwegian Heritage sites here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Furious travellers as Krabi Airline postpones new direct service Oslo - Bangkok

Krabi Airline planned to open a new non-stop service twice a week from Oslo to Bangkok and Krabi November 1st.

The airline has now decided to wait for another month. The airline planned to launch the new service back in April, but has postponed the new service three times already, first June, then August, then November 1st.

The delay has officially been caused by late maintenance of their Boeing 747 that will fly from Oslo and additional paper work.

Krabi Airlines offers the travellers, full refund, new tickets on later flights, or tickets to same destination with another competing airline for the original price.

Ask for a full refund or new tickets on another airline, if you ask me, as booking for another flight on Krabi Airline may be risky.

Enjoy Food & Travel will keep you posted.

(VG Nett, October 22nd 2008)

See story from Thailand here on Enjoy Food & Travel: The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts

New non-stop service Oslo - Philadelphia from May 21st 2008

The only non-stop service from Norway to the US has been operated by Continental. The flights from Oslo airport to Newark International Airport have been a great success.

In a press release, US Airways presents Norways 2nd daily non-stop flight to the US May 21st. From that date they will fly their Boeing 757 from Oslo Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, PA, with an easy access to both the Washington DC area, as well as the New York City Area.

The plane will leave Oslo 1.00 PM CET and land in Philadelphia 4.00 PM EST, returning 8.30 PM EST, arriving in Oslo at 10.30 AM the next morning local time.

Read US Airway press release here (October 22nd)

Read more on Enjoy Food & Travel: New non-stop flights from Oslo to New York and Bangkok from 2010?

(Source: VG Nett, October 23rd)

Ryanair opens flights to fifth destination in Italy from Torp

Ryanair use Torp airport at Sandefjord as its Norwegian hub. The Norwegian capital is 1,5 hour away by shuttlebus.

The airline operates two services to Italy already, one to Bergamo and one to Pisa. They plan to launch flights to two other Italian destinations, Bologna and Sardinia in March 2009. Its fifth service from Torp will be launched May 1st to Trapani, Sicily.

Ryanair has struggled to get enough passengers to several of its destination from Norway. We'll see whether they have chosen the right destinations this time, and whether there are equal interest from Italians to visit Norway.

Enjoy Food & Travel will keep you posted!

More? See story on Enjoy Food & Travel: Ryanair say goodbye to Madrid, and au revoir to Provence!!

(Dagbladet, October 30th 2008)

Friday, October 31, 2008

A good stock

A colleague has a son that hunts moose in the deep forests of eastern Norway. When she told me that she had a problem getting rid of the bones when slaughtering the animal, I told her; grieve no more - give the bones to me. This as they hold the essence of all cooking - a good stock!

A few weeks ago she brought the first delivery, directly from her freezer to the small kitchen in my office. The following Saturday I planned my make my stock. I had bought onions, celery root, and carrots. Be aware that this is not cooking from a recipe - add what you like, garlic, red peppers, take your pick and create the base for your personal cooking.

Making a good stock is easy, but time consuming. In order to get a good result, it is vital to allow the bones and vegetables to simmer on a very low heat for at least 4-5 hours. To get started, place the bones and vegetables in the largest pot you have. Pour in water to barely cover them, add salt and pepper, bay leaves and other herbs you have in your kitchen. Thyme is delicious.

You may substitute the salt with 3 stock cubes. I know that it is not very kosher in gastronomic circles, but do not tell anyone - I did. Then bring the pot up to boiling point and allow to barely simmer for 4 hours. Remove some of the grey foam that may appear on the surface.

Remove all bones and vegetables. While you clean the bone for excess meat, turn the heat up and reduce the amount left. Here you may make a stock by reducing by 50%, or you may create even more concentrated essences by reducing even more.

Freeze down vegetables and excess meat, they have soaked up so much flavour. Cool down the stock and place in small zip-lock bags or jars when completely cold. Freeze them down for later use.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cape Malay Curry - A good days work

I was so happy to find a South African brand in my local Supermarket. One Saturday I decided to try a packet Cape Malay Curry. I did not choose the easy way as described on the back of the packet. I made a curry that took most of a day, but my it was worth it!

To make a portion for three to four I used:

1 kilo / 2 - 2 1/2 lbs beef, cheap cut, roughly diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red onion, diced
3-4 small carrots, diced
100 grams / 3 1/2 oz celery root, diced
3-4 tbsp butter or oil
20 cl / 7 fluiz oz good stock
20 cl / 7 fluid oz water
20-30 grams / 1 oz dried mushrooms (optional)
1 bag of Cape Malay Curry mix
3-4 tbsp sweet thai chili
20 cl good coconut milk

Fry the cubes of beef until brown in a large pot. I prefer a cast iron pan. Do not fry too much meat at the time, as it may not brown then.

Remove meat and place on a plate.

Add garlic and onion and fry until golden. Add carrots and celery root and fry gently with onion and garlic. Add stock and water and chili sauce to balance. Do use more chili powder if you prefer more heat.

Get a buzz - explore you own heat level.

Allow to simmer for 4-5 hours on a very low heat until meat is extremely tender. Then add Cape Malay Curry and dried mushrooms. Allow to mix and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Add coconut milk at the end, but be careful not to cook, as the milk may split.

Serve with rice.

The trick here is to use a cheap cut of beef. It has more texture and will become deliciously tender if simmered for a long time. If you use more expensive cuts, reduce the cooking time, and I recommend to follow the instructions on the back side of the bag. When preparing the dish my way, the tastes develop, the spices infuse into a higher entity.

More recipes?

See my slow beef stew with beer here

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

R.I.P. Sterling Airlines A/S (1962-2008)

I wrote an article here on Enjoy Food & Travel September 27th. The title of the article was The end for Sterling in the Norwegian flight market? It was not only the end in Norway, it was the end, everywhere, full stop! The following message was posted on Sterling Airlines website today October 28th.

Dear customers, employees and other stakeholders

"During the last few weeks, the management, board of directors, and the shareholder of Sterling Airlines A/S have been fighting a battle to keep the company alive. Sadly, this has not had a positive outcome, and we have therefore decided to file for bankruptcy which will be done later today."

See the rest of the message here

The airline was founded in Denmark 46 years ago, and was bought up by the Icelandic investors Fons Eignarhaldsfélag in 2006. Sterling experienced large losses during 2008 and the collaps of the Icelandic financial sector delt the final blow to the airline.

You who have bought tickets over internett will get no refund. The airline gives travellers the following advice:
  • "Customers who have directly purchased their tickets on Sterling’s website will unfortunately not be refunded neither will their return flights. You therefore have to book your return flights with another airline company.

  • If you have paid for a flight by credit card, we advise you to contact your bank or credit card company to ask for a possible refund.

  • Customers who have booked their flights through a travel agency or tour operator should initially contact them"
Sterling established October 1st a codesharing agreement with Norwegian Air Shuttle on several of its flights. For those passengers Sterling gives the following advice:
  • "Passengers who have booked their tickets through Sterling, but is flying with Norwegian, should contact Norwegian directly on one of the below phone numbers:
    +47 21490015 (from outside Norway)
    815 21 815 (from Norway)"
More information on rights of Norwegian travellers are avaliable here

What a swell party this is......

"Have you heard? Professor Munch

Ate his wife and divorced his lunch.

Well, did you evah?
What a swell party this is!"

Cole Porter

September 28th my friends Øyvind and Stian celebrated their 30 years times 2 party, made into a 60th anniversary. These two guys have succeeded in more than one way, and the party was no exception. It was a swell party, and what food. If married to it, I would never need a divorce, and there were no need to eat neither you wife nor your husband.

The party had been in progress from the previous Wednesday, as most of the extended family had been busy preparing food for the arriving guests. We were over 50, all in all, and the buffet had a wide variety of food in abundance.

Roastbeef and fish cabaret

Thinly sliced cold roast beef, delicious when served on dark or rye bread with raw onion and tartar sauce or remoulade. Here the roast beef was served with small pickled onion.

Fiske kabaret or fish in Aspic - shrimps and other fish or shellfish with hard boiled eggs, peas and carrots in aspic. Served on white bread with mayonnaise.


Smoked salmon and meats with scrambled eggs

What would a party be without cured products. Delicious smoked salmon in thin slices served with scrambled eggs.

There were cured smoked ham in abundance, and I had brought delicious cured chorizo bought in Spain in June, dripping with olive oil and pimentos.

The best of Southern and Northern Europe!

Warm as the Mediterranean sun

Øyvind and Stian had visited Lisbon a few weeks earlier and this dish was inspired by one enjoyed in Portugal. Rice with lemon and lime, an interesting delicious and highly unusual combination.

And much more.......

Crispy salad and pasta salad with multi coloured fusili. Delicious small spicy meatballs in an aromatic tomato sauce. Cheese and crackers and cakes. I particularly remember a chocolate cake brought by Hans Christian, a friend. Sinful and wicket. Succulent chocolate sponge with a creamy sweet chocolate sauce with an indecent amount of hard liquor.

This was a party with happy people that love food. No divorces or cannibalism in sight!!

What frills, what frocks!
What furs, what rocks!
What gaiety!
It's all to exquis!
That French champagne!
So good for the brain!
That bands, it's the end!
Kindly don't fall down my friend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lyon - Church of Saint Paul

Lyon is one of the oldest Christian centres in Western Europe outside Rome. The city was the home of Ireaeneus, one of the most famous early Christian fathers, and remains of churches going back to the first millenia may be found close to the cathedral. Another old church is the Church of Saint Paul located further down by the western bank of the Saone river. It is one of the oldest churches in the city, as part of it was constructed in the 9th century.

It is a small and rather anonymous building with a small tower. The centre of the church retains the charm of the Romanesque era thanks to an octogonal cupola over squinches.

Saint Paul has a remarkable acoustic. Inside several 15th century Gothic chapels are constructed around the old Romanesque nave.

There are two special architectural features found within these chapels. One is this highly original hanging keystone vault in one of the chapels (right)

Another of the Gothic chapels is decorated with medallions depicting angels playing musical instruments. These decorations can be dated to 1495. (Left)

The church of Saint Paul is the most monumental church buildings in Lyon, but it predates most of them, including the main cathedral. It is a dark and mysterious building well worth visiting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sitges - an ancient mysterious house

I am a historian, and when visiting a new destination I always look for old sights. In a secluded street in Sitges I found this plain house, and it has a 341 year history connected to an unknown and mysterious guest.

I found this stone memorial plaque. It has the following the original text.

VVIA (1) 39 RE
1668 ARIBA

Difficult to get all the text, but 341 years ago a man called Don Juan or Joai e Austria arrived in this house. I have tried to find any reference to the man on the internet without any success. Maybe one of you may solve the mystery.

Maybe this other object may share some more light on the mysterious man. Is it a coat of arms that may be seen between these two statues? What ever it may be, history has removed all symbols within its frame.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More hotels on Enjoy Food & Travel

Stay tuned for more Hotel experiences on Enjoy Food & Travel this fall, as we will visit more Norwegian hotels on intriguing locations. Coming up in November and Desember.....

Quality Spa & Resort Son

Located in the quaint community of Son, an hour away from the Norwegian Capital, Quality Hotels launch a brand new spa hotel with the sea as its nearest neighbor.

Here you may exercise, enjoy all kind of luxurious pampering, and good food under the same roof. Enjoy Food & Travel will be one of its first guests and will bring you the full story.

See hotel website here

SAS Radisson Royal Hotel Norge

SAS Radisson Hotel Norge is one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Bergen and is located in the heart of the city adjacent to the popular city park and Lille Lungegårdsvann.

The hotel is within walking distance from most of the historic sights of Bergen as the Mariakirken, Bryggen, and the old fortress of Bergenhus with the Rosenkrantz Tower and Håkonshallen.

To enjoy a breathtaking view over the city, mountains and the Atlantic – taking the funicular to Mount Fløyen is highly recommended.

See hotel website here

Highland Hotel & Spa, Geilo

Geilo, Norways St. Moritz, is the location of several, large prestigious hotels.

Highland Hotel & Spa has recently been renovated to a high standard, offering a new Spa area, swimming pool, a brand new conference centre, and all 160 rooms with free high speed internet access for all guests.
(Photo: J. Gruber)

See hotel website here