Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cauliflower purée - a good alternative to mashed potatoes

In a world occupied with low-carb diets and glycemic index, the potato is seriously scrutinized. The once important staple in our diet is accused of being fattening, and even unhealthy. These are certainly grim times for lovers of mashed potatoes, but there is hope. There are good alternatives to a potato mash. Try a cauliflower purée. It tastes heavenly good, and it is so easy to make.

Depending on how many you are going to serve use half a cauliflower for two people. Divide it roughly.

Heat up ½ liter of good stock (use a stock cube if you do not have homemade stock).

Boil the cauliflower until tender.

Remove cauliflower from the stock. Place in a bowl.

Add a little of the stock, while using a hand mixer, and then use a little single cream until the purée has the right consistency.

Serve the purée to fried fish, chicken or beef.

Still a potato lover? See stories here!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Favourable transatlantic air fare available fall 2009

I have started the preparations for my trip to the US. One of the most fascinating parts of the planning is to find cheap air fare. Increased competition over the herring pond means lower prices, at least if you travel after labour day, the end of the US summer season.

I tried a quick query through several booking sites August 19th, and found that that round trip air fare from Oslo to Boston was extremely favourable in mid September. Here are a few examples:
  1. Cheapest: Travellink - NOK 3357 / 387,19 EURO
    Air France
    Route: Oslo - Paris - Boston
    Traveling time Oslo - Boston: 11 hours 5 minutes

  2. - NOK 3464 / 399,65 EURO
    Air France / KLM
    Route: Over Oslo - Paris - Boston
    Return: Boston - Amsterdam - Oslo
    Traveling time Oslo - Boston: 11 hours 5 minutes

  3. - 3482 / 401,80 EURO
    British Airways
    Route: Oslo - London Heathrow - Boston
    Traveling time Oslo - Boston: 8 hours and 50 minutes(?)

  4. Travel Partner - NOK 3649 / 420,70 EURO
    Route: Oslo - Keflavik - Boston
    Traveling time Oslo - Boston: 9 hours 50 minutes

  5. Travel Start - NOK 3825 / 441, 34
    Air France / Northwest Airlines
    Over: Oslo - Paris - Boston
    Return: Boston - Amsterdam - Oslo
    Traveling time Oslo - Boston: 11 hours 5 minutes
There may be extra charges made from the different sites. Prices may vary from day to day, and if you have decided to travel, you are therefore recommended to book, if you find a good price.

Are you a D.I.N.K?
Transatlantic news stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

UPDATED: Pilestredet 30 A-B, the home of Edvard Munch

If you are looking for this large version of scream you will be looking in vain. Edvard Munch's childhood home has finally been restored, but the painting made by architect students fighting the demolition of the house has sadly been overpainted.

Until recently you could see this version of his famous painting "Scream" on the end wall at Pilestredet 30 A-B. This was the home of the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch during his childhood from 1868-1875.

These were important and deeply tragic years in the young Edvards life. The year he moved in here, he lost his mother in tuberculosis, and in 1877 he lost his sister, Johanne Sophie, born 1862. The Munch family was plagued by physical and mental illness, and this is evident through his paintings.

More Munch stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

More Oslo stories

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A hotel and a love story

Navegant des de 1969 or in navigation since 1969. That is what is printed on leaflets and cards from La Santa Maria hotel. It refers to its name, the same as the vessel navigated by Christopher Columbus to the new world in 1492. But the story behind the hotel is a story of a young German woman and a young Spanish man and their determination to create a future in this beautiful beachside resort.

Very rarely you get to know the owners, when checking into a hotel. You are met by receptionists, and the founder will stay discreetly in the background and enjoy the fruits of their once hard labour. The best hotels are, in my mind, those where the owners take part in the daily management of the hotel. The family run hotels have more character as the proprietors leave their distinct personal mark often providing a higher level service to the visiting guests than ordinary chain hotels.

Last year I saw a woman behind the counter at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Little did I know then, that she was the owner of the hotel. I do respect management this way, showing the staff around that we all are in the same boat - La Santa Maria.

When telling her on my work, she was eager to read what I had written last year, and she told the story of the hotel - and I told her that I just had to share it with all of you visiting Enjoy Food & Travel.

The story of Santa Maria Hotel

Ute Voigt is a German, originally from Münich in Bavaria. In the late 1960's she worked in Sitges. Here she met Antonio Arcas Sanchez. As she did not speak properly Spanish, and he did not speak German, they both talked French to each other. They married and decided to find a house to start a hotel.

They looked at different buildings outside Sitges, but decided that the future would be on the beach. In 1969 they bought their first beach side building, and they expanded the hotel as they took over four different buildings and turned them into one hotel. They ran the hotel together until she lost her husband three years ago, but she is still going strong as the captain on board La Santa Maria.

More on La Santa Maria Hotel

See review of the hotel Santa Maria 2009 here on Enjoy Food & Travel

See review of the hotel Santa Maria 2008 here on Enjoy Food & Travel

See review of Santa Maria Restaurant here

More on Sitges

See article with map on what to do in Sitges here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pintxos - easy basque bite-sized delicacies

I love finger food, and pintxos are easy to make, and fun to eat. I prepared these Basque bite-sized delicacies for my 48th anniversary July 25th. They are easy to make, as you can make much of the toppings the previous day. Do assemble a few hours before to ensure full freshness. Pintxos are delicious served with cold white wine or a beer. Here are a few varieties.

Pintxos with ruccola and chorizo (serves 4)

8 slices of baguette
Ruccola (or basil) pesto
8 slices of good chorizo sausage

On how to make your own pesto see recipe here.

Toast the slices of baguette.

Garnish with ruccola pesto and one slice of delicious chorizo.

Pintxos with foie-gras and blackcurrant jelly(Serves 4)

4 slices of baguette
150 grams / 5 oz foie gras of duck or goose
Blackcurrant or rowan berry jelly

Divide foie gras into 4 equal slices when cold.

Toast the slices of baguette.

Spread on toast when on room temperature. Garnish with jelly.

Pintxos with salmon mousse and remoulade (Serves 4)

8 slices of baguette
8 slices of good salmon mousse
2-3 tbsp Hellmann's mayonnaise
1-2 cornichons, finely chopped

Make your own mousse or buy enough to cover the sliced baguettes. See easy recipe for salmon mousse here.

Toast the slices of baguette.

Mix chopped cornichons and mayonnaise to your taste. Spread on the slices, top with one slice of mousse.

Pintxos with anchovies and artichoke heart mousse and boiled eggs (Serves 4)

8 slices of baguette
Anchovis and artichoke heart mousse
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced

See easy recipe for anchovies and artichoke heart mousse here.

Toast the sliced baguette. Spread mousse on bread. Garnish with slices of hard boiled eggs.