Saturday, November 14, 2009

Warning - culinary experience imminent!


My good friend, Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer and food guru Dagfinn Skoglund celebrates his 5oth anniversary this fall. He has invited to a series of dinner parties, and I will attend today, Saturday November 14th 2009. He makes scrumptious food, and he sent us (the guests) a mouthwatering menu to prepare us for the imminent culinary experience. Here is what we have to prepare for!!

Entrée: Bouillabaisse

The famous fish soup originating from Marseilles is made from good stock and with a wide range of fish, mussels, and crayfish, lobsters, or shrimps. It is flavoured with herbs and garlic and delicately dyed intensely yellow with saffron.

I enjoyed bouillabaisse in Marseilles, its culinary cradle, and found that they released small crackers with rouille, a strongly flavoured sauce based on oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili pepper, as small dinghies into the sauce.

I think I have a glass of rouille somewhere. I promised to bring it, so we can have a little maritime fun during the soup. We'll see whether I can find it.

Eating bouillabaisse at La Daurade, Marseilles - see story here


Piéce de résistance: Poussins and Chorizo boiled in wine. Home mash with herbs and Parmesan
cheese.

I love food immersed in wine on top of the stove. A poussin is a dinky little chicken, only allowed to live 28 days or so, before it is released into never-neverland with one, brutal chop. I say - off with his head, as due to its unfulfilled life, it is a small, succulent, and sinful experience, enough to seriously challenge your conscience.

I really feel like a criminal, when tucking into a poussin or a suckling pig, but after the first bite, I think - to hell with it, let's enjoy the crime. Eat your heart out, Agatha Christie, have a ball!!

Dagfinn's potato mash is not remotely close to anything out of a packet. Real potatoes, chunky, and always exquisitely seasoned, and my remark is - put a little Parmesan into your mash, it certainly adds more taste.

More dinky birds - See how to make stuffed quails with wild rice and warm figs

Dessert: Creme Caramel, or Karamellpudding, if you will


Homemade creme caramel is comfort food like your ancestors loved it. Many a forty-, or fifty-something Norwegian man/boy gets tears in his eyes by the memories of mums karamellpudding.

As any good comfort food it is wickedly unhealthy, with all those ingredients nutritious super nannies are warning us pose a grave hazard to our health as double cream, eggs, and a lot of sugar.

I am certainly ready for a stroll along amnesia lane, and tuck into a serious mummy-memory.

(Photo: Basel15)

More on Dagfinns culinary wizardry!

See the account from a delicious Good Friday Dinner here

Fava beans (and what you can do with them)

Stories by Dagfinn on Enjoy Food & Travel

Madeira - a paradise for fish lovers

Friday, November 13, 2009

Playa de Las Canteras - Europe's Copacabana


Las Palmas is Europe's southern most metropolis. The city enjoys as pleasant climate all year around, and has one of the best beaches in Europe as one of its biggest assets. Playa de Las Canteras follows most of its seafront, and it is protected by shallow reefs. The Las Canteras beach is Europe's closest rival to the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro!

Above is a picture from my first visit to Las Palmas in 1995. The wide and beautiful beach of this large city outside the northwest African coast made an impression on a visiting Scandinavian, and when traveling to Gran Canaria in March this year we decided to revisit.

Most of the tourists visiting Gran Canaria end up on the resorts on the southern tip of the island. The location of these new developments are very understandable. As the interior of Gran Canaria is dominated by high mountains, the northern part is more humid, but is in contrast to the south, covered by beautiful green vegetation.

The first charter tourists from Scandinavia to the Canary Islands went to stay in Las Palmas, and the city has had a renaissance as destination these last years. In spite of the more unstable weather conditions, it is a vibrant metropolis of around 400 000 inhabitants, with so much more to offer than the newer gigantic tourist machines further down the coast. Here you can visit the old historic part of town, but one of its biggest assets, in my opinion, is the Las Canteras beach.

I remember it as wider back then, but I believe that this time we were there during high tide. We did not bring our swimming gear, but walked along the seafront. We watched surfers riding the breaking waves, as well as those take a swim, or working on a nice tan.

My sister and her husband is one that always come back to Las Palmas. They rent a beach front room every year and are thrilled by all Las Palmas has to offer. By the beach front there are many places to eat, have a snack or just enjoying a glass of wine or beer. Then you can just cross the street and have a swim.

I think I will follow their example and try this urban alternative at Gran Canaria. What we may miss in form of a stable climate, we may find in the form of entertainment.

More beach stories on Enjoy Food & Travel
More on Gran Canaria

See this map for more information on sights, bars and resturants, hotels, and travel stories from our visit to Gran Canaria.


Vis Gran Canaria from A-Z 2009 i et større kart

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More flights Oslo-Reykjavik - New York


Iceland Express, an Icelandic low cost carrier, will from June 2010 launch two weekly flights from Oslo to Reykjavik, connecting more travelers from the Norwegian capital to New York. Fare for a round trip ticket will start from NOK 4045 (USD 722 / EUR 481).

Icelandic Express will start with flights during peak season, i.e. the months of June, July and August, but will consider extending flights if traffic is good.

Flights will leave Oslo every Tuesday and Thursday. It will use 4-5 year old Boeing 737's or 757's on their transatlantic crossings.

I traveled with the main competitor on trips from Norway to Iceland, Icelandair, to the US in September. A round trip ticket with the main Icelandic airline was considerably more expensive, and did neither include food, drinks nor entertainment. A disappointing experience compared with earlier year's flights.

Flying with Icelandair 2009 - see the full story here

Iceland Express will, in that sense, offer more value for money. You will, as on Icelandair flights, have to pay for food and drink on board but travel at a lower price. It will be interesting to see whether the new competitior to Icelandair over the Atlantic will push prices down for its main rival.

As Icelandair will be the only air carrier at the distance Reykjavik - Boston, it will probably not have any effect on the fare for my transatlantic crossings.

For early booking on Iceland Express - see company website

More transatlantic news


Feel Air - a new long haul airline with a fresh breath

Fly even further with Norwegian Air Shuttle from 2010

Keep track of direct flights from Oslo to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the US

On special maps you find non-stop flights operating from Europe to the largest Norwegian airports. Here you have non-stop flights from Oslo Airport to destinations in Europe, Middle East, Asia and the United States.

On these maps you will find markers that display status on different non-stop flights to Norway.

A red marker means that flight is seasonal and not in operation or that an earlier non-stop flight has been canceled. A green marker shows that there is a new non-stop flight planned to this destination.

A yellow marker means that there is a seasonal flight still operating to this airport, whereas an airplane button means that service is in operation all year around from the destination to Oslo international airport.

See non-stop flights from Oslo here

More non-stop flights from Norway to the continent
(Photos: 1. Iceland Express: JuergenL 2. Oslo Airport: Cccc3)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hotel Luna - birthplace of A Doll's House



Henrik Ibsen, the famous Norwegian playwright, loved the Amalfi coast. He wrote his famous play "Ghost" while staying at the Imperial Tramontano hotel in Sorrento. Another famous play was created on a hotel further down the coast.

As my friends John and Øystein passed the Hotel Luna Convento in Amalfi, they spotted these memorial plaques. The hotel used to be an old monastery dating back to around 1200, and is located on a cliff overlooking the crystal clear Mediterranean waters.

Henrik Ibsen - a man before his time

The plaque tells that in 1879, Henrik Ibsen wrote "Casa di Bambola" - or a doll's house, while being a guest at Hotel Luna Convento.

A doll's house tells the tragic story of Torvald and Nora Helmer, and how their apparent love for each other breaks down as lies and deception are exposed. As a result of this, Nora breaks out of their marriage, leaving Torvald and their children to fend for themselves.

A doll's house challenged marriage as an institution, and caused a public outcry. The reaction was so strong that it forced Ibsen to write an alternate ending, where Nora is led to her children after having argued with Torvald. Seeing them, she collapses, and the curtain is brought down. Ibsen later called this a disgrace to the original play and referred to it as a 'barbaric outrage'

The plaque also tells that Ibsen the story of the scene where Torvald made Nora into a fisher's maid and dance a tarantella, a local dance inspired by his stay at the Amalfi coast.

Another plaque reveals that one year later Richard Wagner wrote second act of Parsifal. The Hotel Lina Convento may boast of having hosted a long list of celebrities as Humphrey Bogart, Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman, Otto von Bismarck and Samuel Morse.

Hotel Luna Convento - rates

The Amalfi coast is an expensive high-class destination. Traveling during low season, though, you may get accommodation at much lower prices, and you may enjoy an extra bonus in the form of less tourists and more pleasant temperatures than during summer.

Traveling to the Amalfi coast during low season? See story here!

If you consider staying at Hotel Luna Convento, you will find that this is an exclusive alternative you have to pay a large sum of money for, both during high and low season. Money better spent at other, more affordable hotels.

But Hotels like the Luna, is still a place of the special occcasion. As when my friend Ketil and his wife spent their 50th anniversary at Hotel Imperial Tramontano in Sorrento. These hotels are venues for the perfect honeymoon or a romantic once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

See story from their stay at Tramontano here

Here are the present rates for different rooms during low season (January 3rd - April 30th and from October 1st - December 27th) and high season May 1st - September 30th and December 28th - January 2nd)
  • Standard room: Low season:€ 190,00, Peak season: € 250,00
    Cost in your currency use XE-Full currency converter
  • Superior room: Low season:€ 240,00, Peak season: € 300,00
  • Deluxe room: Low season:€ 280,00, Peak season: € 340,00
  • Junior Suite: Low season: € 380,00, Peak season€ 440,00
  • Suite: Low season:€ 530,00, Peak season:€ 590,00
  • SPECIAL Suite: Low season:€ 590,00, Peak season: € 650,00
  • Suites LUNA & TORRE: Low season: € 780,00, Peak season: € 840,00
See images of rooms at Hotel Luna Convento here

You can book your romatic vacation at Hotel Luna Convento here

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Capris - a great Italian deli



As I wondered around at Saluhallen in Göteborg a cold day in March, I ended up by Capris a great Italian deli. It reminded us that there are countries to escape to, during cold Scandinavian winters, countries by the warm sunny Mediterranean sea. We ended up taking a little of the warm Mediterranean culture home with us. Salami with black truffles, and the most exquisite Parma ham. Here are a few other delicacies you can buy, if you visit Capris.

Pasta in all shapes and flavours


Seeing such a range of pastas under offer, I feel Norway is very far away from Europe, whereas Sweden is definitely closer, as a working member of the European Union.

I will guarantee you'll never find anything like this in Oslo. At Capris you can choose from tortellini and ravioli with different filling as ricotta and spinach, or Gorgonzola. Another intriguing filling was a paste made from porcini, walnuts, pistachio nuts, pecorino and Parmesan cheese.

You would have to pay around SEK 18 (€1,75) per 100 grams. Not bad for such a range of quality foods.

How to make your own ravioli - see how to do it here


Parma rolls!!

Parma, located in the Po river valley is widely renowned for its high quality ham. You may enjoy it just as it is, in a salad or made into delicious appetizers.

And what could be better than these Parma rolls, where the delicious ham are folded around creamy rich mozzarella, and sun dried tomatoes, and allowed to infuse in olive oil.

These appetizers can be taken home at SEK 25 / €2,70 each. It would be perfect for an evening where you could combine them with other antipasti, and at Capris there were certainly much more to choose from.

Markus Molitor Riesling Trocken 2007 is a perfect wine to Parma ham - see story here


Assorted antipasti

As these containers with other high quality products.

In the foreground there are three different varieties of marinated artichoke hearts. The core of these large flower buds are considered a delicacy, and is often served in naturel or filled with cheese. They can also be used on a hot pizza.

In the background you see parma rolls, baby mozzarella and home made pesto.

The art of enjoying an artichoke - see story here

Salami Cacciatore

The Italians make delicious salamis. This, is finely ground, and according to its name prepared "hunter style".

At Capris you find a large selection of different salamis. If you are not buying a whole sausage but a smaller quantity, do ask them to slice it for your you.

Finely sliced cured meats are perfect for your sandwich, in a salad or as a part of a plate of different cold cuts. Beware, though, that sliced cured meats have a shorter shelf life, than a whole sausage. It must be consumed within a short period, preferably 1-2 weeks.

A country lunch with Italian coppa, pancetta, and ham - see story here

Adress:

Capris Italienska Delikatesser is located at Stora Saluhallen in Göteborg, Sweden.

Capris Italienska Delikatesser
Stora Saluhallen 65-69,
SE-411 17 Göteborg
Phone / fax: +46 031-13 83 33
Website: www.capris.se

More to do in Göteborg?

See map with sights, restaurants and hotels here

Monday, November 09, 2009

Enjoy Food & Travel 2008-2009


Enjoy Food & Travel has been running since August 2006, and after a slow first year, I am happy to see that more and more of you return to read my assorted mix of travel and food stories. After I changed to Google Analytics November 5th 2008, I have seen that the number of visits have increased from a humble 7000-8000 in 2007 to close to 50 000 the last 12 months .

Enjoy Food & Travel started as my personal culinary and travel diary, but has evolved into much, much more. At present I and my friends have published more than 1340 stories, from all over the world.

Here are a few data on the visits to the site.

Visits and visitors are going up and up

October 2006 was the first month I monitored the traffic om the site. At that point I had published 40 stories, and I had an average of 9 unique visitors every day. October the following years unique visitors rose to 67 (2007), 106 (2008), 123 (2009) per day. The peak monthwas February 2009 when I had an average 305 daily visitors, due to an inexplicable storm of very short visitors from Austin TX, and Rahway NJ.

Page views have increased similarly, even though the number of pages visited have decreased somewhat as traffic has increased. First month each visitor read three pages. November 2009 you only read 1,5 page.

Here are the basic data on visits November 2008- 2009. Enjoy Food & Travel had:
  • 47424 visits (129,9 per day)
  • 41602 visitors (113,9 per day)
  • 66104 page views (181,1 per day)
RSS and subscription

I started to register RSS feeds April 2008 and since then the number reading feeds have increased from 27 to 48 per day, meaning an additional 1488 visitors in October 2009. This means that the total number of visitors exceeds 5300 for October. 23 of you have even chosen to get daily news to your e-mail address.

Enjoy Food & Travel all over the world.

I am proud to say that we are going worldwide. Last year I had visitors from 164 countries or territories in all corners of the world.

65% comes from either number one on the list, the United States or number 2, Norway my native country. The following top ten countries are all European countries except number four - Canada.

In spite of the strong traffic from Europe and North America, I am very pleased to see that I have had visitors from, for me, unlikely places as Ulanbataar in Mongolia, Rangoon, Burma, and Nuuk in Greenland.

I know that there are readers in Tehran (image), Chennai, India, and Pretoria, South Africa that follow me regularly. I am deeply honoured.

Visitor on Enjoy Food & Travel are coming from all continents, including:
  • All US States and Canada
  • All countries in South and Latin America except Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Nicaragua
  • All countries in Europe except Liechtenstein and Serbia
  • All countries in Asia except Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Laos, Cambodia, Papua North Guinea and North Korea
  • All countries in Northern and Southern Africa, fewer in eastern and western Africa
Here are the 10 countries with most visitors 2008-2009.
  1. USA (18359)
  2. Norway (7595)
  3. United Kingdom (3854)
  4. Canada (1464)
  5. Sweden (1383)
  6. Germany (1343)
  7. Denmark (1102)
  8. Spain (949)
  9. France (945)
  10. Netherlands (768)
If you break the figures down to cities there have been visits from 5617 cities worldwide. Number 2 and 3 on the list came after the sudden storm of visits in February 2009.

I am very proud to see that my hometown, Oslo, is number one on the list, and I have wonderful memories from all the other cities on the list from number 4 and down.

London - the taste of a great red wine in the cellar of Rudyard Kipling's house. New York - the nightly view from Empire State building. Barcelona - pintxos at Bilbao Berria. San Francisco - waking up in a Castro Street flat to the smell of freshly ground coffee from the café below.

I am privileged to have seen so much, and I hope to see much, much more.

Here are the top ten of cities.
  1. Oslo (NO): 4833
  2. Rahway (US): 3900
  3. Austin (US): 3529
  4. London (UK): 1721
  5. New York (US): 733
  6. Bergen (NO): 600
  7. Copenhagen (DK): 501
  8. Barcelona (ES): 402
  9. Paris (FR): 305
  10. San Francisco (US): 302
Enjoy Food & Travel - what now?

Enjoy Food & Travel has turned into something bigger and much more, that I expected, when starting to write. The size of the site has meant that I may have stretched blogger that host my site, to a certain limit. I have recently found that the search on top of the page, does not find stories I know I have published.

Even though placing another search for you to use, I have found that it does not find all I know is on the site. I am currently considering what to do in the near and more distant future.

I cover a wide range of stories, from my own culinary adventures to historic sights, and travel information. With all my visitors, I hope I may use the site to get in touch with my readers, and even publish your stories. This may include what you prepare for dinner, your favourite restaurant, and sights where you live? I would love to know your story.

The easiest way is to send a mail to johnsen.tor@gmail.com, and do enclose some pictures.

I would like to thank you all that drop by, and I hope you'll stay tuned for new travel and food stories the coming year.

(Photo Tehran: Apcbg)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Odd Fellow Palace anno 1755


"Da den nye Bydel rejste sig paa Kongens Bud opførte C. A. Greve af Berckentin paa sammes opfordring dette Værk for sig og Efterkommere 1753." This is the inscription on the small plaque outside the Odd Fellow Palace in Copenhagen

Close to Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv you find a few monumental buildings that were constructed when Fredriksstaden, a new part of the city was developed during the reign of the Danish kings in the 17th and 18th century. One of these buildings is the palace that Viscount C. A. af Berckentin built for him and his descendants in 1755.

The Viscount af Berckentin (1694 - 1758) was a German born diplomat and Geheimråd i.e. royal advisor. He also served the Danish king as diplomat at the Austrian Court in Vienna.

He married a German noblewoman Susanne Margaretha von Boineburg zu Honstein and they had one daughter, that married Christian Sigfred von Plessen.

At the end of his life, he asked the famous Danish rococo architect Johann Gottfried Rosenberg to design a large palace. The work started in 1751 and it was finished in 1755.

It was taken over by his daughter. Christian Sigfred von Plessen and Louise von Plessen had no children, leaving the viscount with no heir. She moved to Germany and died in Celle in 1799, 74 years old.

It is a remarkable building easily mistaken as a wing of the nearby Amalienborg Palace, the royal residence, that dates from the same period.

It was in private hands until 1900 when the Danish wing of the Odd Fellow Order took over, and they still conduct their meetings in the grand residence. In 1993 a large fire damaged the building seriously, but the Odd Fellow Palace has since then been restored back to its former glory.

Close to the Odd Fellow Palace you'll find:
See map of Copenhagen here


Vis Copenhagen on Enjoy Food & Travel 2007-2009 i et større kart