Saturday, April 10, 2010

Greek style, stuffed leg of lamb

I prepared a Greek style, stuffed leg of lamb this Easter. Preparing it took time, but when left in the oven I could relax, and the end result was succulent and aromatic. This is how I prepared a whole leg of lamb, and if you endure this process, I promise you an extremely delicious dish.

How to debone a leg of lamb

To feed 8 you'll need:

1 leg of lamb (3 kilos / 7 lb's)

300 grams / 11 oz Greek feta cheese, diced
10 sun dried tomatoes in oil
10 whole cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Mediterranean herbs, dried or fresh

One leek, finely sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
4 stalks of celery, sliced
Salt (only if unsalted stock is used)
2 bulbs of garlic, halved
20 cl vegetable stock
20 cl good red wine

To remove the bone from a leg of lamb is serious surgery. You need at least three different utensils, one very sharp knife, one meat cleaver and one pair of strong scissors.

I had bought a chunk of meat weighing 3 kilos (roughly 7 lb's). I started to cut it the thickest end, where the bone was visible and followed the bones, folding the meat as I cut along the bone.

This is seriously hard work. It is important preserve the outer surface of the leg as unscathed as possible, in order to reduce the sewing (yes, you got it right), effort needed.

I used my nephew's Japanese ceramic knife, sharp as a razor blade. Along the joints I used either the meat cleaver to chop or scissor to cut over the smaller joints.

The goal is to ends up with one flat piece of meat, with no bones of joints left to ruin your experience.

In these roughly cut leg roasts, you will always end up with parts of barely skin left and thicker lumps of meat.

Try to get the inside of the leg as smooth as possible. Make small incisions into the meat and use a mallet to flatten the meat into a roulade. This in order to make room for the filling.

Check the outside. Use thin rope to mend openings on the surface. This to avoid the filling to leak out.

Then I got to the Greek part of the preparation. I diced 300 grams / 11 oz of feta cheese.

I placed the feta cheese on the meat, then placed a generous portion of marinated, sun dried tomatoes on top of the cheese, and added more bite by 10 cloves of garlic and dried Mediterranean herbs (thyme, rosemary, and oregano) to get that authentic Greek taste.

Then came the surgery. I used a thick, crescent shaped needle and natural thin rope. I rolled the meat to enclose the filling and sewed the meat in order to make a roulade. You may also use rope to bind it into a roast.

Moisten the surface with a little olive oil. Season the roulade with salt, pepper, garlic and dried herbs. Roll in cling film and allow to marinate over night.

Take out the lamb early next morning. Cut one large leek, 3 large carrots and 3 celery stalks and place in a large frying pan. Cut two whole bulbs of garlic in half and place the halves with the vegetables.

Season with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well. Pour 50 cl ( 1 pint) of unsalted stock (cut the salt in the seasoning if you use a stock cube), and one large glass of good red wine.

Place lamb on top of the vegetables and put it in a low oven 100C / 210F for 10 hours. Remove the vegetables after five hours and press the juices through a colander in order to extract as much liquid as possible as a base for your sauce.

Allow meat to rest 20 minutes packed in tin foil, then carve into 1-2 cm / 1 inch slices.

Friday, April 09, 2010

New review of Radisson Hotel Scandinavia - Göteborg

In 2009 Radisson Hotel Scandinavia in Göteborg was awarded the best hotel here on Enjoy Food & Travel. Now we are returning for another stay at this first class hotel in the heart of Göteborg. We'll see whether it will be awarded a top rating in 2010.

Enjoy Food & Travel reviewed 12 hotels in 2009. The top position was awarded to this classic business class hotel, with its large rooms, striking design and excellent service.

See which hotels awarded best bargains in 2009 by Enjoy Food & Travel

Our room at Radisson Hotel Scandinavia was spacious with striking design features, providing us with comfort as well as style during our stay.

After a night out, you could rest with a night cap in the enclosed atrium before turning yourself in.

We are certainly looking forward to another stay at this elegant hotel, and will deliver our verdict the coming week.

See our previous review of Radisson Hotel Scandinavia here

More Radisson stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Basement - a Michelin star restaurant in Göteborg

Last year we enjoyed a great dinner at Fond Restaurant in Göteborg. It had then been awarded one star in the prestigious Michelin guide. This year we would like to explore another Michelin restaurant and managed to get a table for 6.30 PM this Saturday.

In 2010 the following restaurants in Göteborg were awarded one Michelin star:
  • Kock & Vin
  • Sjömagasinet
  • 28+
  • Fond
  • Basement
See the review of Fond Restaurant from our visit in 2009

Decent priced menus available

Basement is located at Götebergsgatan in the Lorensberg area in downtown Göteborg. It serves 4-6 cours menues. The restaurants describes its menus like this:
"Basements experience after all years have shown at least four courses to be sufficient. We offer two menus that consist of four or up to eight courses. Wagner's choice menu is changed on a daily basis according to produce availability. We also offer a separate four course menu that consists of Basements “Classic”"
You can be offered a four course menu at a very decent price of SEK 495,- (€51) . This week the dinner consists of the following courses:
Scallops, mussels, and oysters served with a cream on spring nettles, asparagus, and freshly picked green herbs, blanched aged "prästost" (cheese) and crisp crumbs.

Loin of haddock served as rimmad (with salt and sugar) on browned butter and salmon roe with boiled fresh potatoes with dill weed and a little wok on Swedish cuttlefish and mini carrots.

Herb roasted inner leg of lamb with braised cabbage and root vegetables, red wine bouillon and puré on polenta.

Apples, pears and cinnamon in braised package, served with caramelized nuts and vanilla ice.
A very decent price, and if you will upgrade you can get even more extensive menus for a few hundred SEK extra. You can get a wine menu to match from SEK 455, (€47) ending up with a meal costing less than SEK 1000 (€103) - and that is a bargain.

We certainly look forward to visit and rate Basement restaurant, and tell you whether this is a must when visiting Swedens second biggest city.

Directions on how to get to Basement restaurant

View Gothenburg on Enjoy Food & Travel 2009-2010 in a larger map

(Photo: Sauternes & Foie gras: BorgQueen)

Queens pub A.D. 1692

Oslo is a relatively young city in Europe. The settlement goes back a thousand years, and the present city goes back to 1624. Visitors will not see many old buildings either, but when walking down Stenersgata, you will see a half timbered building. It dates back to 1692 and here you may sit down at the Queens pub for a pint of beer.

The Queens pub is definitely not the most posh of places. The furniture is shabby, run down, and the light in the old enclosed courtyard has been blocked by black canvas. This to protect the huge TV screens entertaining the football crowds. If it had not been for the house, I would never have set my foot there.

When you look through that, the Queens Pub is located in an architectural pearl. An old courtyard with stairs up to a walkway going along the old house on floor up. This is how this part of the city used to be.

So even if sports pubs are not your cup of tea, you should have a pint of beer at Queens Pub, and soak in three centuries of the city's history, but there are better places to continue that evening out.

Queens Pub og Pianobar
Brugata 14
0184 Oslo, Norway
22 17 70 26

Vis Oslo on Enjoy Food & Travel - from A-Z i et større kart

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Gothenburg Cathedral

In the middle of the oldest part of Göteborg (Gothenburg) you find the city's cathedral. It is the 3rd of its kind on the site and was completed in 1815.

The first building on the site was a stave church dating back to the the founding of the city in 1621. By then the city within its fortifications consisted of only 5 blocks. It was torn down in 1633 to be replaced by the city's second church that was constructed in granite from 1626 to 1633.

It and 211 residential buildings burned down in 1721, but the walls were used in the construction of the second church that opened in 1722. It had the same dimensions as the former church but with a tower capital instead of the former spire.

The second church was damaged in a large fire December 20th 1803. The damage was so bad that it was impossible to use the old structures. The present church was designed by Carl Wilhelm Carlberg and completed in 1815.

It is a massive classicist buildings with large columns flanking the main door. Above is a large square tower with a copper dome on top. Classicist and empire features continue inside the church as well. You will also find baroque style angelic figures from the older church. They were crafted by Jacques Adrien Masreliez and was saved from the flames in 1802.

El Badi Palace - Marrakech

These are the walls of the El Badi Palace Arabic: قصر البديع‎ - meaning the incomparable palace) in Marrakech, seen sadly from the outside only, as it was closed on the day we were there.

Marrakech has, as one of the royal cities of Morocco, several palaces. The El Badi Palace was built by the Saadian king Ahmad al-Mansur (1549 - 1603), and was finished in 1578.

It took more than 25 years to construct and contained around 360 rooms located around a large courtyard. Its design is greatly influenced by the palace in Alhambra in Spain.

The El Badi Palace was an architectural marvel. It had a large pool decorated with Italian marbles and gold imported from Sudan.

It is now in ruins as the succeeding Alaouite rulers disliked this monument left by their predecessor. The El Badi Palace was torn down by Sultan Mawlay Ismail reused to decorate his own palace in Meknes.

It rained the day we walked the Kasbah area, and we were informed by an eager young man that the entrance was at the other end of the complex. He took us on an unauthorized trip into the maze of streets of the Mellah area, once the home of the city's Jewish population, but that is another completely different story.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Luggage storage in downtown Boston

The day I left Boston, my cousins were to attend a patriots game, leaving me to fend for myself the last hours before my flight. I needed a place to store my trunk the hours before going to the airport. For those of you in need for storage facilities in downtown Boston I'd like to inform you that that is extremely difficult.

Most destinations, if not all, I've visited you may find safe storage for your luggage in airports, train- or bus stations. You insert a few coins, retrieve a key, and you are free to roam the city before you travel on. I thought that was the the case in Boston as well, but it was not.

I caught the Greenbush line leading from the small South shore community of Scituate, ending up at South Station. This is the end point of southbound suburban, regional and intercity trains.

Adjacent to the train station you'll find South Station bus terminal (image top), where you can catch bus connections to cities throughout the Northern New England area.

In any European city there will be storage facilities for those traveling through the city. As I had done my fair share of retail therapy, my trunk was so heavy that dragging it around a whole day was out of question. I therefore, on arrival, asked where a storage facility may be. It soon became clear that there were no storage facility available.

The only way to store your trunk is either to ask to place your luggage at a nearby hotel, or take the lift to the upper level of Boston bus terminal. Here you find a storage room operated by Greyhound buses.

Be aware that they close at 5 PM (Do check this yourself - as getting closing hours wrong, may end with you being out of luggage). The restricted opening hours seriously affected my day. As my plane to Reykjavik left at 9.30 PM, I had to stay the hours before leaving for the airport at South Station - with my trunk.

I tried to ask people about this particular and very obvious lack of service for travelers. The explanations were summed up in one word - security.

This seems to be fear blown completely blown out of proportions. European countries are subjected to the same security threats than the US, and are still willing to provide safe storage for peoples personal luggage. The city of Boston should provide this kind of service for tourists stranded there with their luggage waiting for connecting means of transportation. Security could be maintained by using scanners as those found on airports.

So try to plan ahead if you plan to stay in Boston a day before traveling on. Check with a nearby hotel whether you may store your luggage there. I will personally contact the South Station and make my own inquiries. I will keep you posted.


- Top: The main bus terminal of Boston from Atlantic Avenue: CaribDigita
- Bottom: Kontrolle am Flughafen Berlin-Schönefeld, Gate easyJet: Edward

Monday, April 05, 2010

A great dinner party - menu

Here is the menu to a meal I'll arrange in the recent future. Recipes will come here on Enjoy Food & Travel

Amuse Bouche
Foie gras on toast
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008
Thai seafood soup with prawns
Leitz Riesling Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg 2007
Main course

Long roast leg of lamb suffed with feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs
Lavradores de Feitoria 2008
Cheese platter
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008
Lavradores de Feitoria 2008

Mousse av dark and white chocolate
Torres 10 Imperial Gran Reserva

Sunday, April 04, 2010

UPDATED: Ferry services operating from Europe to Norway 2010

- New Service on Enjoy Food & Travel

Enjoy Food & Travel proudly introduce a new service to travelers from Europe to Norway. On this special map you find ferry connection from European to Norwegian ports.

On this map you will find markers that display status on ferry connection to Norway. A red marker means that ferry is seasonal and not in operation or that an earlier ferry connection has been cancelled. A green marker shows that there is a new connection planned to this destination. A yellow marker means that there a ferry service still operating to this port. A boat button means that service is in operation all year around from one or several European destination to this specific port.

View Ferry services from Norway to European ports in a larger map

More ferry stories

More on DFDS services Oslo-Copenhagen