Saturday, February 27, 2010

Long roast pre-marinated beef tenderloin

Beef tenderloin should, as a rule, be served medium done, to be moist, tender and succulent. If prepared well done you usually get a disappointing result - a gray, often tough and very dry piece of meat. For those of you that dread eating a medium beef fillets, there is an option that will keep it moist and tender. A very easy way to prepare any meats, but it takes time.

I had, until last September, never made a beef tenderloin well done. This as I (and all my friends) love a piece of beef served medium done.

Early last fall, I visited my cousin in Salisbury MA, in the US, and she had bought a whole frozen tenderloin at the DeMoulas Market Basket in Seabrook N.H. She did suspect, however, it not to be the best cut of beef, and it had been pre-marinated as well.

Keen on experimenting we decided to give it the DeMoulas beef the long roast treatment that I had told her so much of. If it ended a disaster, it would hardly matter greatly.

We allowed it to defrost slowly in the refrigerator.

The next day I sealed it by frying it in hot butter, then we placed it in a low oven, i.e. 100C (215F) for a long time (do not remember exactly - but if you leave it for 6-8 hours, that'll most certainly do). If you are daring you could even lower the temperature to 80C (175F) for the same period.

I am happy to say that it ended up as a supreme piece of meat. It remained very moist and exceptionally tender, equally so to a medium beef tenderloin. I suspect that this piece of meat would have been tender any way we would have prepared it.

So there is definitely hope for those preferring beef made well done. This way of baking a tenderloin is certainly more time consuming, but much easier, as you may leave the beef in the oven and remain stress free.

More long roast stories

Friday, February 26, 2010

Losby Gods - a manor house hotel

Losby Gods is a stately home converted into one of the best hotels in Norway. It is located less than an hour away from Oslo city centre and is a wonderful blend of old and new.

The old manor has been brought back to its former glory, and all the small and large rooms are filled with antiques. The modern complex is built completely in harmony with the old manor.

The origin of the present manor house goes back to 1744, when Peder Cudrio, a wealthy Christiania merchant merchant built up a vaste estate in order to run his lumber business. The present manor is built in Swiss chalet style dating back to middle of the 19th century.

There are, I recollect, no guest rooms in the old manor house. I stayed in the new wing of Losby Gods years ago, when I served as Head of Information at the Norwegian Agricultural Inspection Service. I enjoyed a spacious luxurious room with view to the dense spruce forest surrounding the hotel.

Very few hotel experiences in Norway may compete with Losby Gods. Staying here was an extraordinary experience. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner during our two stay and all the food was extraordinary good.

This seem to be the case even know. My good friend and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Ketil Zahl stayed at Losby Gods recently and was equally impressed by the hotel.

For those of you that wonder how much it would cost to stay here I can tell that prices vary. During weekends it is not too expensive, whereas during the week prices are much higher, as Losby Gods is very popular as a conference hotel. If you choose an all inclusive (except alcohol), you will end up close to €300 per night.

Some hotels are really worth to pay for, and this is certainly the case with Losby Gods. It combines tradition, comfort, class, and may boast of an exquisite kitchen using the best ingredients Norway can offer.

Losby Gods
Losby Veien
1475 Finstadjordet, Norway
Phone: +47 67 92 33 00

Location of Losby Gods

See this map of Oslo and surrounding areas

View Oslo on Enjoy Food & Travel - from A-Z in a larger map

More on Losby Gods

See this short film from Losby Gods and surrounding area taken during winter of 2009, the coldest in living memory.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Norwegian third airline flying Oslo-Helsinki

Norwegian Air Shuttle will start non-stop flights from Oslo and Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland from April 29th. It will be the third air carrier with direct connection to the Finnish capital.

Both Finnair and Scandinavian Airlines are currently flying from Stockholm and Oslo.

These new direct flights to Finland are a natural part of Norwegian Air Shuttle's strategy to strengthen its position in the Scandinavian flight market.

Managing Director Bjørn Kjos, claims that the air fare to Finland is too high and that the Norwegian Air Shuttle may offer cheaper tickets for business and leisure travelers than its competitors.

Ticket sale will start from March 11th and prices will start at NOK 299 one way from Oslo, and SEK 349 from Stockholm.

(Photo: Jontss)

Norwegian Air Shuttle: No long-haul flights in 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle announced late last year that they planned to extend their services even further beyond their current destinations. Non-stop flights to Bangkok and New York would start in 2010 and direct services to destinations as Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, and Miami would be considered the coming years. Two months later it seems that Norwegian Air Shuttle have put their plans on hold - at least until 2011.

The airline had gone as far as to get slots at Oslo Airport for their two new destinations from March 2010. They planned to fly to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York with an Airbus A330 carrying up to 300 passengers.

Currently there is only one non-stop flight to New York from Oslo run by Continental. The current non-stop service is one of Continental's most profitable flights, and the US air carrier is planning to extend its activity to two flights, three times a week this summer.

Feel Air, a new budget air carrier is also planning flights to the Big Apple this year.

US Airways is also flying non-stop from Oslo to Philadelphia from April to October.

Besides Norwegian Air Shuttle, Feel Air is even planning budget flights from Oslo to Bangkok, in competition with Thai Airways, that started flights from Oslo five days a week last year.

Maybe it would be a better idea for Norwegian Air Shuttle to look for other destinations where they may fly non-stop without the competition from other major players.

Flying non-stop to China or India would open up a completely new market for the wealthy Norwegian traveler, in constant quest for new, interesting experiences.

Norwegian Air Shuttle emphasize that their plans are postponed, not cancelled. They even imply that flights may start in 2010, and that their planes to New York and Bangkok most certainly will take off in 2011. It will be interesting to see what will happen to ambitions of high-flying air carriers as Norwegian in the current financial turmoil ahead of us.

(Photos: Arpingstone and Charlie Fong)

Ryanair: New non-stop flights from Norway

Irish budget carrier Ryanair opens two new non-stop flights from Norwegian this spring, opening up for more travelers between Norway, Lithuania and Italy.

Non-stop flights Torp Airport - Abruzzo to open May 2010

Torp Airport was, until recently, the main airport for Ryanair in Norway. As the budget carrier fasten it grip on the Norwegian market, it has extended its activity to Rygge Airport, on the other side of the Oslo fjord.

Ryanair has recently moved several flights from Torp Airport to Rygge. Now travelers to and from Vestfold county can travel non-stop to Pescara Airport Abruzzo in south eastern Italy from May 2010.

See all non-stop flights from Torp Airport here

(Photo: Raboe001)

Direct flights Rygge Airport - Kaunas from May 2010

Ryanair will start a large number of non-stop flights from Rygge airport to destinations in Europe from March 2010.

Last week they announced that would launch its second non-stop flight to Lithuania.

Norwegian Air Shuttle has a all-year service from Rygge Airport to Palanga Airport. From March Ryanair will starts flight to the same airport, and will start flying to Kaunas, Lithuania's second largest city starting in May.

Norwegian and Ryanair will from May 2010 operate flights to 28 European destinations from Rygge Airport.

See all non-stop flights from Rygge airport here

(Photo: Grobuonis)

More Ryanair stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Ryanair makes Rygge its Norwegian base

Cheap fare with Ryanair? Not without boarding pass

Beware - airports off the beaten track!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maghreb cuisine in downtown Oslo

Longing back to sunny North Africa, I and my good friend Per went to Marrakech, the only Moroccan restaurant in Oslo. I experienced a culinary stroll along amnesia lane, as I tucked into a piping hot and tender lamb tagine.

Few destinations has left such a mark as Marrakech. Flying down to an old trading centre in North Africa, away from the worst winter in living memory, gave a short but very welcome rendez-vous with summer. I was intrigued by the tastes, sights, sounds, scents, and smells of the Maghreb.

Marrakech in Oslo gave a distant echo of this world. There were colourful lamps, ceramic ornaments and rugs looking like the once we saw when exploring the many soukhs in Marrakech. On the bathroom I admired the complicated mosaics that Morocco is so famous for.

As we tried to order Harira, the pungent soup from this region, we were informed that they could not serve it. Likewise with the locally produced pastilla.

Per ordered Kefte, spiced skewers with ground lamb, and I wanted to taste the local tagine, and we chose the Domaine de Shari, the only Morrocan wine on the menu. We ordered dessert as well, Per a chocolate fondant and I chose vanilla ice and mango sorbet.

The tagines was less spiced, but the meat was served in a rustic tagine, piping hot, and was exceptionally tender (as it should be). Per was also extremely happy with his kefta.

This is absolutely a place to return to for a full review, and for those of you that want Moroccan comfort food, do try it.

Restaurant Marrakech
Hieronymus Heyerdahls gate 1
0160 oslo
Phone: +47 22 41 30 01
Fax: +47 22 41 30 01
Mobile: +47 936 22 036

More on the Maghreb cuisine on Enjoy Food & Travel
(Photo: Restaurant website)

A place to buy tagines

I asked the proprietor of Restaurant Marrakech whether you could buy tagines anywhere in Oslo. He gave me the following retailer of Moroccan goods.

Lille Medina
Kjerschowsgate 1/3
0462 Oslo
Phone: +47 976 69 810

Park Lunch- a traditional American diner

When I was leaving Northern Massachusetts for Boston's south shore last September, I was taken for a light traditional lunch at Park Lunch in Newburyport. I found that the best American grub is often found in family run diners like this.

Location: BBB+

Park Lunch is found in Merrimack Street lading into Newburyport, a beautiful old New England city. The diner is located outside the historic centre, and not easily accessible without a car. It is definetely a place for the locals and has been around for years.

Service: BBBBB-

One of the best things with places as Park Lunch is the welcoming and warm atmosphere.

The staff here provides swift service, taking your orders and delivering your food casually with the right amount of small talk and a smile.

Park Lunch had the perfect balance between efficiency and charm.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB+

Park Lunch interior is one of those places deeply rooted in the local tradition. It is an image of a traditional diner with a simple rustic wooden interior with plenty of sporting memorabilia and other decorative items stuck to the walls.

There are partly free standing tables and chairs, partly leather sofas and chairs along the walls. We were seated in one of these soft sofas, leaving us with just the right amount of space for our meal.

Food: BBBBB-

Park Lunch had a large menu of different burgers, subs, and salads at very nice prices. The fried clams are supposed to the best in the area, and they are also renowned for their Open Steak Sandwich and Steak Fries. At lunch time they always have great specials.

I chose a lunch special, a combo, i.e. two dishes. One cup of New England Clam Chowder and a slice of quiche. A seriously good choice, as this was seriously comfort food based on real home cooking.

The clam chowder was served with cracker crumbs on the side. It was a deliciously creamy experience, with a mild , sweet and salty taste. Clams were slightly tough, chewy, as they are supposed to be.

The quiche was equally delicious. Rich cheese and egg filling, with vegetables. No stringy cheese, but it was moist, succulent, and creamy over a pre baked, still crunchy pastry case.

This combo left me quite satisfied before my trip from Newburyport Bus station to South station and a ride with the Greenbush line to its end station on the South Shore.

Drink: N/A

Rating the Park Lunch Experience: BBBB+ (4,31 points)

Park Lunch is a delightful diner in the outskirts of downtown Newburyport. Those of you looking for traditional comfort food should certainly check it out. This is certainly a place to go to experience a traditional eatery with a typical interior, good service and serious home cooking. Recommended by Enjoy Food & Travel.

Park Lunch
181 Merrimac Street
Newburyport, MA 01950-2245, United States
Phone: (978) 465-9817

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arasta Bazaar - Istanbul

The Arasta Bazaar complex was built in the first decades of the 17th century, at the same time as the Blue Mosque. It used to function as a market area, and the rents went towards the mosque's upkeep.

Walking here is a less tiring experience, compared to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, where there is an endless stream of people. At Arasta Bazaar there is less stress, and we found the vendors here to be less pushy, compared to other places in the city.

There are 83 shops selling jewelry, pottery, spice, textiles, and carpets. You also find a Mosaic Museum here, displaying mosaics dating back to the Byzantine area.

Read more on the Bazaar on their official website

(Photo top: Bazaar website)

Location of the Arasta Bazaar - see this map

Vis Istanbul A-Z 2009 Updated January 6th 2010 i et større kart

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shopping for spices in the US

One of my passions is to buy ingredients for my cooking while traveling. Whereas meat, fish, and vegetable products may be imported to Norway, while traveling in Europe, traveling outside the EU is more complicated on what food products you may take home to your kitchen. What you may bring back with you, is spices, and I have a large collection of blends from many of my destinations. Here us what I look for when shopping spices in the US.

My kitchen is packed with different spices I have bought in the US. Brands like Tone's, McCormick, and Goya produce a wide range for seasonings for different cuisines or ingredients. Here are a few ideas what brands to look for to take that American taste home with you.

Tone's - multipurpose seasoning in industrial quantities

The Tone's brand has been for sale at Sam's Club, but last time I visited, many of my favourite blends had disappeared from their shelves. There are different blends custom made to different kind of foods.

Most Tone's mixes contains spices, salt, dried vegetables as e.g. garlic. I brought back one Tone's spicy spaghetti seasoning, and now it is nearly empty. It contains:
"A spicy, coarse blend of onion, garlic, spices, red and green bell peppers, with an added touch of crushed red pepper for heat. Used to make a delicious, spicy sauce for pasta. This colorful blend has medium sized pieces of peppers, onion and garlic."
As most of Tone's seasonings contains salt, add seasoning to your food before adding more salt.

My favourite Tone's blend is the Rosemary Garlic blend, a seasoning with a wide range of uses. It containes rosemary, garlic and onion, black pepper and lemon peel.

Sazón Goya - seasoning for Hispanic cuisine

I remember the first time I got a packet of Sazón Goya seasoning. It was left for me in a small gift box assembled by Erica, my cousin.

Goya Foods is the largest, Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. It was founded in 1936 by Don Prudencio and Carolina Unanue, two immigrants from Spain. They produce a wide range of products.

The Sazón Goya is a range of dried spices. They come in different blends, e.g. with coriander and Annatto, Saffron, and tomato and coriander.

All these contains sodium as well as the other ingredients, and both saffron and annatto contains food colouring as well.

All have a distinct aroma. My favourite is the blend with saffron, and I used it to flavour and colour my paellas. Used to, as I discovered another blend of seasoning in Sitges last year, that had so much more of that genuine Spanish taste.

McCormick - many flavours and products

I have a large number of McCormick products in my kitchen. This as this company produce seasonings in different forms, some of them quite clever.

The Montreal Steak is one of my favourite McCormick blends. I cover the surface of the meat with it. It contains red as well as black pepper, garlic and paprika.

Amother favourite is the Buffalo Wings seasoning. I love this specialty, but the genuine taste is hard to create from scratch. I bought three sachets of Buffalo wings seasoning, and it creates the real McCoy!!

Another interesting range of McCormick spices is the Bag'n Season. Bag'n Season is a roasting bag, as well as a spice mix to prepare a special dish. You get Bag'n Season for meat loaf, beef stew, Swiss steak, Chicken, and many other dishes.

Related stories here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Youtube: See PrincessDiana161 make her Arroz con Gandules with Sazon Goya seasoning

(Photos: Tone's, McCormick, and Goya Food websites)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The world according to Benito Nava

Benito Nava is a Italian restaurateur that has launched a new brand of Italian foods, in co-operation with the Norwegian REMA 1000 group. One of the better line Italian products I have found lately.

I am pleased to see that Norwegian food stores are taking consumers seriously by extending the range of products beyond the bare necessities. REMA 1000 are slowly turning into my favourite among the low price food shops here in Norway.

They introduced their Benito Nava brand with a line of different products. I tasted a few, and they were better than many other brands of Italian products I have found in the shelves.

Chicken scaloppina or thinly sliced chicken breast as Buffalo tenders

300 grams offered at NOK 29,90 is cheap, as these slices go a very long way.

I used these slices for tapas. I mixed McCormick Original Buffalo Wings seasoning (bought in the US - not available here in Norway) with olive oil into a paste, and allowed the blend to infuse overnight.

The next day I placed 300 grams chicken scaloppina in the paste to marinate for another day. As the thinly sliced chicken breast were covered in seasoning and oil they were easily finished off in a dry hot non-stick pan.

A favourite among my guests.

See presentation of product and additional recipe here (in Norwegian)

Benito's Italian meat balls as Spanish Albondigas

The best meat balls are definitely the ones you are making yourself, but Benito Navas meat balls are some of the better ones I have tasted. You get 60o grams for 55 NOK. For meatballs as most other dishes the secret's in the sauce.

I prepared them as Spanish albondigas. I made a tasty tomato sauce with heaps of garlic, onions, tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs, salt and sugar, and immersed the meatballs in the thick sauce.

In this way it was easy to prepare them. I placed the meatballs and the sauce in an oven proof dish and finished them in a medium hot oven (180C).

Pastasauce Arrabbiata

At only 14,90 per packet (22o ml), this is an easy and affordable option for a quick dinner.

To be picky, I would have preferred it to be a little hotter, as real arrabbiata is a pungent experience due to the amount of red chili in it.

Sadly I also found that Benito Nava's sauce (as nearly all) contained too much vinegar. I used a little sugar to cut the acidity.

I cooked some linguini, mixed in some oil and the sauce, and finished it off with a drizzle of Parmesan cheese. A decent and easy choice for a mid week dinner.

(Photos: McCormick website and Sandstein)