Saturday, November 08, 2008

Grub for hockey mams (and dads)




















It is difficult for us Norwegians and even Europeans to comprehend the role of sport in the US society. Until Sarah Palin entered the political stage, the hockey mams were an unknown force, with or without lip stick. I did not know any hockey mams (or dads), before my cousin came out of the closet as one of the community. I had one of the most charming encounters with this clan, as I attended a cookout in a large garden in Scituate MA.


I have attended a few US garden parties during the last 20 years. Informality is the keyword. Relaxed around a large gas grill preparing steaks and hamburgers, large bowls of salad, snacks and dips, and large quantities of beer and wine. The Scituate Hockey cookout was no exception.

It was a beautiful property close to a large golfing ground. Being in New England in September you are struck by the intense late summer heat and the intense green vegetation. The cookout was preceeded by intense planning of the coming season, tactics, program, and money, and all participated, mums, dads, sons and daughters.

Then we assembled around the table, and it was intriguing to see what was served, as these crostinis served with a sour cream dip and chili salsa.

Another interesting dish was inspired by one of my favourites, the Buffalo wings, the Buffalo wings dip.

Exploring the net I found a recipe for this scrumptious treat, a mix of cream cheese, boneless chicken breast, chunky blue cheese dressing, hot wings sauce and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, served with nachos.

See full recipe on cooks.com

And as one of the hockey dads took over by the gas grill, cheeseburgers and hot dogs appeared at the table. It was accompanied by fresh salad, pasta salad, a delicious potato and red onion salad.

I am not particularly fond of hockey mums as Sarah Palin, but these hockey parents were no pitbulls. I had a great time in a very sympathetic crowd of parents struggling to give their kids a good time.

So this was another of many garden parties enjoyed on the other side of the herring pond. I am very happy that I stay with my family when being there. If not, I would hardly have known the breed of parents the governor of Alaska referred to, but now I know.

See places visited in New England by Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2008 here

Friday, November 07, 2008

Spanish Delights



















One of the best things being abroad is to explore the local delicatessen. I roamed through the narrow streets in Sitges. Here there are no large supermarkets, rather small green grocers, fish mongers and butcher's shops. This would be the place to live, as you could enjoy Spanish delights every day.

I found a small delicatessen in one of the narrow streets. I stood outside and wondered what dishes were displayed in the window.

This is the difference between Spain and Norway. In Spain they show off, in more ways than one. They proudly present their food in their window for every hungry tourist to see.

I remember walking around in Barcelona in June, last year, seeing cured ham and fresh seafood exhibited in many a small tavern and delicatessen in the narrow streets of the old city.

When I see this picture I think of a classic tapas - albondigas. Small spicy meatballs, packed with garlic and any kind of Mediterranean herb you could think of, and served in a sauce made with aromatic Spanish tomatoes sweetened by the hot sun.

I do not know whether they taste as good as they look. At Pescaditos in Sitges we were served albondigas that disappointed us deeply, reminding us that even Spain has its bad cooks. In Sitges there may be more of them, as it is a tourist trap, at its worst. But the little blue tin beside the dish - foi-gras from Eduard Arzner from Strasbourg may be a promising sign that the food here is on the highest level.

Another attraction along the shores of the Mediterranean is the fish mongers. In another narrow street in old Sitges I found this small fish monger offering fresh fish and crustaceans. Here I saw large pieces of fresh, dark tuna meat, sadly from a species threatened by overfishing and extinction.

Langoustines, Dublin Bay Prawns or Norway Lobsters - a delicious treats with many names. Cut them in two, add fresh pesto, garlic and parmeggiano and bake in the oven.

Wikedly good - what tucka' as the naked chef would have said.




Thursday, November 06, 2008

Coming up - Bergen Travel Hotel, a bargain over the net




















I am extending the stay in Bergen over the weekend. A good friend will join me on Friday November 21st and we will stay in a hotel for two nights. I have two favourite hotel reservation sites, www.hrs.de and www.venere.com. They offer booking, and do not charge your credit card in advance. They just make the reservation for you. The good thing is that it is both easy and profitable.


Read more on www.hrs.de here

Bergen Travel Hotel is located in the downtown area, close to Torgallmenningen, the Main Street and historic sites as Bryggen, Bergenhus fortress and Håkonshallen, and there are many good restaurants nearby.

At www.hrs.de I made a great deal. Only NOK 790 (90 EURO) for a room with two separate beds with breakfast, taxes and service charges included. This is certainly a great bargain for a down town hotel room. On the hotel website they offer special weekend rates from NOK 850 per night, but when checking availability on their site, the rate is a staggering 2360 NOK for two nights. So we saved 780 NOK on our booking over the hrs.de. This means one good dinner for free in Bergen! Maybe at Enhjøringen?

I do look forward staying at this hotel, located in a classic 19th century building, newly redecorated with contemporary interiors. I will write a review so you will know whether it is as good as looks, or whether you should choose another location in Bergen.

From November 20th to November 21st I will stay at Radisson Hotel SAS Norge, a more expensive hotel. Will it be worth the price? Stay tuned here on Enjoy Food & Travel. We’ll let you know.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween 2008

Saturday November 1st I had my annual Halloween party. This is the 7th year that I invite my friends for good food and wine. My guests are requested to bring their own wine and a Halloween decoration for me, the host. No costume is necessary, as this is a party to celebrate good friendship. As last year I had a tapas style buffet and my good friend Terje brought a delicious apple cake.

As shown many times here on Enjoy Food & Travel, I am passionately in love with Mediterranean food. The bite sized foods as in mezze, antipasti, pintxo, and tapas are great for social gatherings. Still I make my own tapas, not always in accordance with the traditions. The tapas I made yesterday was influenced by thai, Italian, and US kitchen. I went to my local Chinese supermarket to buy some intriguing ingredients.

Here are some of the bites I made.

Chicken Roulade with sundried tomatoes

Deboning a chicken is time consuming but worth it, as you can make a roulade with a delicious filling. This time I made a roulade with a twist.

I filled the chicken with sundried tomatoes and shredded mozzarella cheese. Then I mixed 400 grams ground chicken with one egg, garlic, herbs and Moroccan harissa seasoning. Then I pressed the gound meat out on an oiled sheet of cling film, and rolled the roulade into the ground meat.

I baked the roulade at a lov heat (100C / 210F) for three hours. I cooled the roulade down in the fridge over night and cut it into thin slices. YUM!

Salmon mousse with a Thai twist

Four pieces of salmon (17 0unces / 400 grs)
10 fluid ounces / 300 ml water
2 Kaffir Lime leaves, thinly sliced
1 stalk of lemon grass, bashed
8 fluid ounces / 200 ml coconut milk
1 package of aspic
3 tbsp ketchup

Pour water with Kaffir Lime leaves and lemon grass into a pan and heat to boiling point. Reduce heat. Poach salmon in liquid 10-15 minutes. Take out and remove skin and bones.

Dissolve aspic in hot water, add coconut milk., add ketchup for sweetness. Remove lemon grass, but leave the lime leaves in the liquid. Place the salmon in a blender, add liquid, and blend until smooth. Place in container and allow to cool in refrigerator until set. I served the mousse on top of tuna salad in a taco tub, and garnished with marinated Tiger prawns.

Crostinis with ruccola pesto and parmesan

Make pesto from fresh ruccola as shown here on Enjoy Food & Travel.

Spread on thin slices of fine breads. Place one slice of fresh parmesan cheese on top and bake in a hot oven until cheese is brown and bread is crisp.

Prunes in bacon

These are probably the easiest tapas to prepare, and you can prepare them the day before and store them in the refrigerator

Serves 10. Take forty small prunes, or you can cut larger prunes in half. Take a slice of bacon and fold them around the prune. If you want, you can fasten it with a toothprick. Put in a non stick roasting tray and roast in a moderately hot oven (200C/340F) until golden and crisp.

Thank you, America!

This is a rare exception - a political statement on a site dedicated to food & travel experiences!

November 4th 2008 you elected Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.

This day will forever be an important day for the US democracy, the African American Community, and the world!

Thank you for your choice!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Coming up in November 2008 - Bergen

November 20th to November 23rd I will attend a conference in Bergen, on the western coast of Norway. Bergen has a 900 year history, and the city has more historic monuments than any other Norwegian city.

I visited the city 18 months ago. Then I visited a large number of historic sights and enjoyed a few terrific meals. I will particularly praise Spisekroken for their exquisite food, in fact one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed.


See story: Spisekroken in Bergen - A Michelin star experience

Last time I missed the interior of Mariakirken, Bergens oldest building and one of the best preserved Gothic buildings in Norway. I hope to get a closer look at this building. I will also visit Bergens Aquarium, one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.

See story on the churches of old Bergen here on Enjoy Food & Travel

So stay turned for more stories from Bergen here at Enjoy Food & Travel

More on Bergen?

Here you sights, restaurants and hotels visited in the city of Bergen May 2007

Monday, November 03, 2008

Around the world with Enjoy Food & Travel - November 2008




















By October 31st, 3209 of you had visited Enjoy Food & Travel. In addition to this, an average of 28 of you subscribed daily to feeds, bringing the total number to 4101. I am still curious who you are, those of you that visit Enjoy Food & Travel.

Visitors on all continents

It is Feedburner that has made it possible for me to follow where my visitors come from, and it has been exciting to follow the increase in traffic.

From the humble start in September 2006 Enjoy Food & Travel has grown in size. In average I have published one story each day, and in a month or so the site will have more than 1000 stories on food and travel. As the site has grown, more and more of you visit. The first year I struggled to reach 400-500 visitors a month, now the number of visitors have increased six fold.

Europe


Vis større kart


Visitors from Europe cover locations on 4 maps. To see each of them, click on the link on bottom of the map.

The areas with visitors on the most locations are the Oslo area, the Øresund region, the greater London area and the Netherlands and northern part of Belgium. There are far more visitors in western Europe, than in eastern Europe, and more in northern than in southern part of the continent.

Most of the visitors on Enjoy Food & Travel come from Europe. During October there were visitors from all countries on the continent, except Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Kosovo and Andorra.

There are also many visitors from some of these areas. In October there were 118,visitors from Oslo, and London had 30, Fornebu 29, Bergen 29, Paris 22 and Larvik 20 visitors.

New countries and territories in Europe, October 2008
  • Macedonia (Stip, October 19th 2008)

North America


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Visitors from North America cover locations on 3 maps. To see each of them, click on the link on bottom of the map.

North America and Canada have the second main cluster of visitors on Enjoy Food & Travel. In fact there were visitors from all US states except one (Vermont), including Alaska and Hawaii. There was also visitors from a majority of the Canadian provinces. There were hardly no visitors from other countries north of Panama.

As in Europe, there are areas with many visitors. Those are the greater Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC areas. In the midwest there are a large number of visitors from the Chicago and Detroit areas. On the west coast core areas are found Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.


In Canada there are many visitors from the Toronto and Vancouver metropolitan areas. Locations with many visitors in North America are:


  • Mountain View CA - 55 visitors
  • New York NY - 32 visitors
  • Los Angeles CA - 26 visitors
New countries and territories in North America, October 2008

No visitors from new countries and territories in October.

Asia and Australia


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Even though most of the worlds population lives in Asia, there are relatively few visitors on Enjoy Food & Travel.
There are still white areas on the map in Asia, i.e. from countries where there have been no visitors to the site. First and foremost The People Republic of China and most of the Central Asian republics.
Still my first visitor from this region, visitor from Baku in Azerbadjan, visited Enjoy Food & Travel October 24th. The visits from India are also very few.

Most of the visitors are from locations in Australia, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines and Japan, and the biggest concentrations are around Melbourne and Sydney. There are no locations in these continents with more than 20 visitors.

New countries and territories in Asia and Australia, October 2008
  • Azerbadjan (Baku, October 24th 2008)
  • Yemen (San'a, October 30th 2008)
Africa and South America


Vis større kart


There are only sporadic visitors from South America and Africa with one exception - South Africa. There are visitors from 15 locations around Johannesburg and neighbouring Pretoria, as well as 4 locations around Cape Town. One of the suburbs of Cape Town, Parow, is one out of ten locations with the most visitors here on Enjoy Food & Travel with 23 visitors.

Elsewhere there are one or two visitors scattered over these vast continents. I am happy that there are are visitors from several new countries in Africa.

New countries and territories in Africa and South America, October 2008
  • Benin (October 1st)
  • Rwanda (October 1st 2008)
  • Togo (October 23rd)
  • Sudan (October 28th)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Garlic on all channels


















This is definitely not the recipe for those of you that hate garlic, but for us that cannot get enough of the stuff it is pure heaven. Garlic on all channels, on TV, radio, newspaper, and internet - simultaneously - and it is in smellovision, tastovision, and stereosound. Chicken with garlic in the butter, in the cavity and mixed into the vegetables. If this does not scare vampires and evil spirits out of hell, nothing will.


This is another twist to my long roast chicken. For this garlic feast you will need (in order of appearance)

75 grams (2,5 oz) good butter, softened
Fresh thyme, tarragon, lovage, parsley, and sage, finely chopped
4 whole bulbs of garlic - with skin on (!)
One large chicken (1,5 kilos / 2,8 lb's)
2 tbsp olive oil
300 grams (9 oz) cauliflower, in bites
300 grams (9 oz) broccoli, in bites

Mix butter, herbs, and 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Allow to infuse in room temperature for one hour.

Place chicken in a large baking tray. Put whole cloves from one whole bulb in cavity, do not remove skin.

Chop the two other bulbs in two, place them with the cut side down besides the bird. This will enable the garlic to soak up liquid from the tray for extra aroma. Pour a little olive oil over the garlic.

Spread the garlic butter equally on the breast, and thighs.

Place the chicken in a very low oven (100C/215F), and bake for 3 hours. Baist with excess liquid if necessary.

Take out chicken. Place broccoli and cauliflower on tray, place chicken back on the vegetables. Put the chicken in the oven for another hour. Rise the temperature to 200 C / 400F the last 20 minutes to get a crisp skin. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Pour excess liquid in pan in a pot. Add dijon mustard and cream and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with roasted potatoes or rice and the mustard sauce.