Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chicken pie from Holmen Culinary Laboratory

By guest writer Malin Kjelsrud

Making a pie was a new experience for me and my fiancee Dagfinn, so we decided to use our good friends Ketil and Astrid as guinea pigs. Our dear friend Tor (owner of this blog) was unfortunately away, otherwise he’d been tortured through this too.

First, we started making the pastry: Lots of softened butter, flour, and water worked for 10 minutes, and through this you’ll experience a good workout for stiff rheumatic hands (if you have).

Squeeze the pastry into a flat disc, gracefully, until it get its ideal shape and try to keep those swearing words inside when you discover how difficult this operation really is.

Then, place it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to make the surface of the dough hard.

Then, to the filling. Fry some bacon, mushrooms and onion seasoned with a little sugar, salt and lemon pepper. Tear the soft, grilled chicken roughly, dice the paprika, add corn, broccoli and peas – mix all together thoroughly. (OOPS! We forgot the green olives).

Place all into a baking tray, dissolve a stock cube in a little boiling water, add 6 eggs, cream and milk, heaps of garlic, chili, paprika-powder, salt, sugar, more lemon pepper (we just love that stuff), grated cheese, and pour it all over. Then comes another tricky bit; making a lid on the pie.

The plan was, as you may see, to make an “Apple-iPie”, hence the paper here. Destiny perhaps took this as a bad omen, because the rest of the lid turned out more like modern abstract art, and it was close to impossible to see. If we hadn’t been so blasphemous and chosen apples for the filling instead, it might just have been more successful.

The finished pie was in the oven for about the time it took for 4 people to share a bottle of cheap champagne.

Inspired from the Quesedilla with sauce at “qba”, a Grünerløkka (Oslo) based café, we decided to make our own Mexican style sauce. Guessing the ingredients is a good start.

First, chop green olives (which I just recently started to like; before it has always been considered to be an emetic aid, and this time we didn’t forget them), pickled jalapeños and some very hot “Green Chili Pickles” into really tiny pieces. Add Créme Fraiche, cream , lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, and we had to add more cream as the Créme Fraiche of course made the sauce too dense.

Serve in a beautiful porcelain dish together with a gorgeous salad in an expensive bowl. See illustration left. Irony aside, what really is expensive in our kitchen is the japanese knives. (May say something about our priorities, or really, the reminiscences of our previous “lives”.)

Then, while waiting for dinner, scare your guests with tales of how you created everything (elaborate wildly!) while the dish is finishing, and relish later watching their visible relief when it actually tastes quite good.

Serve with some good red wine. Be biblical and start off with the wine the guests brings, it is probably more expensive and better than yours. “Corallo” - vino da tavolo rosso, from Italy was our guests splendid choice. When empty, serve some leftovers from earlier: “Monterio” - temperanillo 2005, vino de la terra de castilla/Spain.

Later on, we had the Australian “My world” which at about 8 pm. tastes like three stars, but around 11 pm. had been upgraded to as five star claret.

The dessert was a half-fabricated carrot cake served with coffee and a Braastad cognac which happened to still exist in our cupboard. (Nothing particular to say about that, the dessert was merely okay). But what you may make with the cognac is to make not an Irish coffee, but a “Norwegian coffee”. Then just replace the whiskey with cognac, which we didn’t do this time, but it tastes better. We speak from experience.

An idea for next time is to make the pie the day before. Then everything sticks more together and tastes even better, which we found out at lunch today.

Malin Kjelsrud is born 1972 and is a painter and writer. She is mother of two, loves South Park. She is engaged to be married to composer Dagfinn Koch.

For more information see her website

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pizzeria 93 in Charlottenberg, Sweden

No site in the whole world have reviews of two or even one pizzerias in Charlottenberg in Sweden, except Enjoy Food & Travel. If this small town had not been located just a few miles away from the Swedish-Norwegian border, nothing would have happened here. Thanks to Norwegians traveling in thousands to buy cheap food and alcohol in the EU. Charlottenberg has a huge shopping centre (compared to its size), a haven for Norwegian shoppers, especially today, i.e. Thursday before Good Friday - a public holiday in Norway, but not in Sweden. Today Norwegians are queuing up to cross the border to buy cheap alcohol and groceries. Enjoy Food & Travel co-writers Dagfinn and Malin passed the border in March. Here is their account of what they did, and their visit to Pizzeria 93.

By guest writers Dagfinn Koch and Malin Kjelsrud

We (i.e. Dagfinn and Malin) went to Sweden on a "Harrytur" (i.e. trip Norwegians make to buy cheap groceries and alcohol just across the border) the other day. First we went to Systembolaget, the local Swedish state run wine outlets where you HAVE to go to buy alcohol stronger than 3,8%.

It is painful for Norwegians to see those - for us - insanely low prices on wine without being allowed to bring home through the customs as much as we want to. However, the borders aren't that strictly guarded.......

We found a really cool beer with a moose on the label. When opening one of the bottles, we sensed the weirdest smell, like bad breath found in one that has been drinking alcohol for days, without having brushed his teeth, plus a dash of urine(!)

In spite of this rather unpleasant smell, it tasted surprisingly good.

After the successful quest for meat in the enormous grocery store, hunger struck. We usually eat junk food when we do our groceries in Sweden, and this day was no exception.

We were not in the mood for a regular burger or pizza, so we dropped in at Pizzeria 93, a place that also serves kebab. (Kebab tastes quite different and much better in Sweden than here in Norway, by the way).

Dagfinn had the "Kebab tallrik" (kebab plate with French fries and salad) and Malin had the "Kebabrulle", a kind of pizza wrapped around salad and kebab meat and sauce.

The portions at Pizzeria 93 were HUGE, which is easily shown by Malin's expression when the food was served. We managed to eat half of of our portions, and we got a doggy bag to bring the rest back home.

As for the environment in this place, we would not go as far as calling it "pleasant". The staff was quite uninterested, slow and not exactly service minded, but the food tasted pretty good. There was hardly any other guests, and no noisy TV or music (extra star for that) and everything included soda cost 120 SEK for both of us, which is really, really cheap.

(Photo Kekabtallrik: Lurifax)

Charlottenberg - a haven for pizza lovers?

Read the review of Pizzeria Roma - Charlottenberg here

Malin Kjelsrud is born 1972 and is a painter and writer. She is mother of two, loves South Park. She is engaged to be married to composer Dagfinn Koch. They are living at Holmen in Oslo.

For more information see her website

Dagfinn Koch, born 1964, is a well known freelance composer. He writes popmusic as well as contemporary music. He loves to travel, and hanging out with friends, cooking, and reading.

For more information see his website

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Long roast peppery pork for Easter

April 7th 2008: I am in the process of preparing food for Easter. As I am alone, I find the easiest way to buy a larger portion of meat and prepare it all at the same time. As I roamed through Centra, my favourite Oslo supermarket, I ended up with two meats. Rack of salted and smoked pork from Smedstuen gård and two very decent-sized chicken thighs from Holte gård.

Smedstuen gård - a high quality producer since 1972

Smedstuen gård was founded in 1972 by Henry Haug, the heir to the old Smedstuen farm located at Dal, outside Oslo. He had been trained as a butcher. The firm he founded has grown from a small scale producer to a large producer that deliver exclusive meat products all over the Eastern part of Norway.

Smedstuen gård delivers a wide range of different meats, from lamb, beef and pork, as well as game as moose and reindeer. They also produce sausages, and cured ham and salamis.

Products are rather expensive, but you know that you end up with high quality. I bought 500 grams of smoked salted pork. I planned to long roast them, and wanted to have a hot spicy twist to my meat.

See Smedstuen gård's official website (sadly only in Norwegian)

Salted smoked pork with fresh green pepper and sweet Thai chili sauce

This meat has a wonderful pink colour and a decent amount of fat will keep the lean meat succulent during cooking.

It is enriched by pungent smokey aromas, needs a only om minimum of seasoning. I decided to enhance the smokey flavours with a hot Asian twist to it.

I LOVE fresh green pepper, bought in my Chinese supermarket and frozen down in a jar, you will at anytime have pungent pepper available for a wide variety of dishes.

I placed the pork on a baking tray, and poured over sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce. To get even more heat I sprinkled a generous amount of ground fresh pepper corn on top, and placed them in a very low oven to long roast for 4 hours at 100C / 215F.

I can really confirm that they offer high quality products from Smedstuen gård. When you long roast pork, you experience that the meat is swimming in water. Nothing like this happened with the pork from Smedstuen gård. A small quantity of liquid in the bottom of the baking tray - very salty and aromatic. I decided to deglace the pan, and went into my living room to find what alcohol that would work and ended up with Noilly Prat.

I poured the vermouth into the pan, and allowed it to mix with the rest of the juices. The semi-dryness mixed beautifully with the sweet chili, the peppery peppers, and the salty smokieness from the pork. Brilliant!!

I allowed the pork to cool down, and will reheat the meat, by slightly warming it in some tin foil and serve with a hollandaise, asparagus, and boiled potatoes.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The 2009 season is here

It is a magic moment to open up our summer home for the coming season. The 2009 season started first weekend of April. We arrived in beautiful spring weather, and I am glad to say that all is well with the old house and the garden, with a few exceptions. Those failures were, however, results of horticultural hybris.

Our summer home is close to the town of Tvedestrand – a quaint community with small white wooden houses that has existed around 200 years. It is located by the south eastern coast of Norway, and if you want good weather during summer, this is the area to visit. A rugged coastline with small inlets, embraced by the warm weather of the Gulf Stream. When the western coasts have rain and fog, the south eastern coast has sunshine.

This was the one of the reasons that I last year purchased a small palm tree at the local Garden centre, a European fan palm variety that is growing in the Atlas mountains. It would normally withstand the winters along this coastline, but as I arrived I found that it had died.

I have to add that the winter of 2008-2009 has been brutally cold, compared to the normal temperatures found along these coasts. To my surprise my Eastern prickly pear cacti had survived the winter. No wonder, as these exotic looking plants are growing along the eastern coast of America, even as far north as Canada.

I have already told you about my herb garden. I am glad to say that the herbs I harvest for my cooking were dormant, but alive, or had slowly woken up. My strong tasting ruccola had small, green leaves, and the oregano and mint were well alive.

The winter green herbs as winter savoury, thyme, sage, lemon sage, and lavender were green. I can therefore look forward to a wide variety of herbs in my food for the 2009 season.

My garden has plants that will or may defy the northern location of my country. This season I will try again with new exciting flowers and plants from different regions. One of the more species I plan to buy this spring is a Chusan Miniature Windmill palm (left) from Japan. It may survive temperatures of -10 to -15 degrees and will survive normal winter conditions.

Another is Agave Montana from Mexico, that may thrive in damp and even freezing temperatures. I have planted a Yucca Filamentosa, a species that may struggle, but may survive a normal winter.

So my plans for an exotic garden is under way, as you see. It is up to the Gods to secure a climate, but the Gods are full of whims, as you may know, but if they are generous to my little spot in the sun, I may create an illusion of more generous skies along my northern coasts. I will keep you posted.

Other stories from my herb garden

(Photo windmill palm: Thecoldmidwest)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Corn on the cob

You often need that one perfect ingredient acting as one whole meal in itself. If I could choose one such ingredient, sweetcorn would be high on that list. You do not mess around too much with it, it isn't necessary. Let you teeth sink into those soft yellow golden nuggets, and you hear angels sing in the culinary heaven.

Every time, when I am in the US, I am served fresh, ripe sweetcorn. If not bought at the market, you drive out and buy it directly from the producer. When you get home, you have to struggle with the hard husks to reveal what is underneath - you have to rip and tear to find the hidden treasures, those round, ripe, juicy, rich golden nuggets.

Aren't they beautiful? The corn we bought had different colours, yellow and creamy coloured nuggets, the latter nearly looked like precious pearls stringed on a necklace.

And how to prepare sweetcorn, you act through the principle - less is more. Steam them, or place on the "barbie", until soft. Use the best butter you can find (skip the low fat, only the real thing will do), and allow the butter to melt. Add freshly ground pepper, and tuck in - and do not forget paper napkins.

Eating sweetcorn is like eating spaghetti - nothing for those preoccupied with manners or etiquette, this is food that brings out the cave man or the naughty child within - you just HAVE to prepare for fat sticky fingers and lips.

Ouch! I am getting hungry for sweetcorn. Sadly I have to wait for another six months to re-experience this American staple.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Enjoy Food & Travel team

I have some wonderfully gifted friends, that on and off leaves a story or two on Enjoy Food & Travel. These guest writers are true soul mates, as well as good friends, as they (as I) love to travel and see, taste and sense the wonderful world we are living in. I would like to present some of the guest contributors here on Enjoy Food & Travel, and I will start with Per and Susanne Koch.

Susanne Koch

Susanne Koch is senior engineer in the Educational Technology Group at the University of Oslo.

She is an excellent cook, and loves to prepare food from scratch with fresh ingredients. Her favorite dishes are invented at the spur of the moment and are often inspired by the traditions she has encountered during her many travels.

She and her husband Per Koch are also the creators of Pandia, that provide Web users with up-to-date information on tools for searching the Internet and on the best search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

Her favorite destinations include Koh Samui, Lisbon, and New York City.

More on Susanne Koch:
Susanne Koch's stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Susanne has provided Enjoy Food & Travel with a large number of stories from Asia, the US, and Europe. Her story on Street food: The Halal Boys in New York City is one of my favourite stories on my site.

Food Stories
Travel stories
Per M. Koch

I have known Per Koch close to 20 years, and he is a great and interesting friend. He is currently working as a director of analysis at the Research Council of Norway. This means that he travels a lot both as business and leisure.

When he's at home, he likes to read tonnes of science fiction. He loves the exotic sights and tastes of South East Asia and he enjoys exploring destinations with a lot of history, like Tallinn.

He and is wife are also the creators of Pandia, that provide Web users with up-to-date information on tools for searching the Internet and on the best search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

He is married to Susanne Koch. They live in downtown Oslo, with Basilikum and Timian, their two cats.

More on Per Koch
Per Koch's stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The tombs at Skt. Petri Church

Last April I visited Skt. Petri church in Copenhagen. The oldest part of the building dates as far back as 1450, making it one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen, and the oldest church. One of its most striking features is the mausoleum connected to the church. It is is strange and wonderful feeling to walk around in this necropolis - the city of the dead.

Tombs like these are found all around Europe. The first tombs found at Skt Petri kirke go back to the time when the chapel was established in 1681, and is the only one, of its kind in Scandinavia. Three different wings enclose the herb garden, which used to be the old cemetery, where there were many graves. The identity of most of those buried here are unknown. The extended part of the southern wing was built in 1740 on the grounds of an old chapel that had burned down.

You may wander around in the halls of the entire complex. The sarcophagi are placed in three to four layers in the subterranean chambers. Most of the monuments at Skt. Petri were created by contemporary masters as Quellinus and Widewelt.

Some of the most extravagant tombs were made as side chapels in the large southern wing. Here large costly sarcophagi stand on the floor. The largest and most exclusive of all tombs at Skt. Petri is found at the end of the western wing. In a separate building you find to large marble sarcophagi and a baroque epitaph.

Grave of Sir Walter Titley

Why Sir Walter Titley, an English peer, decided to rest in a tomb at Skt Petri, will never be known. A few German poems are stored in a a small urne in one corner. Titley himself is buried in an extravagant ornate marble sarcophagus under a 5 meter monument with a Latin inscription and a portrait made by the sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt (1731-1802).

Titley was born in Staffordshire, November 28th 1700, and arrived in Denmark as "Resident et Envoyé Extraordinaire" in 1729. He served as British ambassador under three Danish kings, Fredrik IV, Christian VI and Fredrik V.

Titley ended up as an admirer of Denmark, and even bought his own country residence by Lyngby Church, where he held his receptions. He decided in his will, to be buried in his second fatherland, Denmark, and chose to rest at Skt. Petri Kirke.