Saturday, April 17, 2010

White AND dark chocolate mousse - pure ying and yang

Chocolate mousse is one of the most sexy desserts I know. Rich, sweet and seductive - what more can you want from an end of a meal. During Easter I made a treat from white and dark chocolate, served in an edible cup of pure dark Belgian chocolate.

White AND dark chocolate mousse (Serves at least 6)

To make dark chocolate mousse you'll need

8 chocolate cups (optional)

100 grams (3,5 oz) dark chocolate (60% or over)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 egg white, beaten until stiff
10 cl (3 fluid oz) double cream, whipped

To make white chocolate mousse you'll need

100 grams (3,5 oz) white chocolate
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 egg white, beaten until stiff
10 cl (3 fluid oz) double cream, whipped

Beat eggs yolks, egg whites, and cream in one operation and use half in each portion.

To make both types of mousse. Melt chocolate in glass bowl over hot water. Stir carefully until it is runny. Add half the beaten eggs and stir. Fold in whipped egg yolks carefully. Stir inn half the whipped cream in the end. Be aware that the consistency of white and dark chocolate mousse are different. White chocolate mousse will end up much thinner than dark.

Take one spoon of dark mousse and add to chocolate cup. Pour in white mousse up to rim of cup. Garnish with a strawberry or raspberry. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours before serving.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Radisson Blu Hotel Scandinavia on YouTube

Here are two films from Radisson Blu Hotel Scandinavia in Göteborg. One from my room 354 and one of the large enclosed atrium.

Atrium as seen from the 3rd floor

Read more on atrium here

Room 354 - chili theme

Read more on room here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breaking news - all flights to and from Norway cancelled

Following message on Oslo Airport website this morning

All air traffic to and from Oslo Airport are cancelled from 10:00 a.m.

This due to the ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland. All passengers are encouraged to check with their airline for further information.

(Photo: Ausbruchsstelle am Fimmvörðuháls von Fljótshlíð aus gesehen (Þórsmörk). 25.03.2010 - by Joschenbacher)

Restaurant Le Fes, Eden Andalou Spa & Resort

Restaurant Le Fes is one out of three restaurants at Eden Andalou Spa & Resort outside Marrakech. It served traditional Moroccan cuisine and was the obvious choice for us when staying at the hotel.

Location: BBB+

Le Fes is located at Eden Andalou Spa & Resort, 9 km (5,5 miles) outside Marrakech. In order to dine here you'll need a car or a taxi may bring you to the restaurant for 150 dirhams (13,35 EUR). The hotel is located on beautifully developed grounds but has, sadly, no windows facing the exterior.

Service: BBBB+

The staff at Le Fes provided service with a smile. Most of those working there were young, and obviously not trained enough. Sometimes we were given service at once, other times we had to wait, but we did not care much - we were on holiday, and were not in a hurry.

Interior & atmosphere: BBBB

Here is a short (a little dark) film clip from Le Fes posted on my YouTube account.

The interior at Le Fes was dark, mysterious in deep red with velvet chairs, round tables with white tablecloths. A little dated, in European terms, but unusual and exciting as a restaurant on another continent should be.

Tables were elegantly set with cutlery, wine glasses, napkins and china.

We were placed with good distance each other, leaving enough space for us to feel comfortable. I found the chairs a little low and uncomfortable for dining.

It was live music every night we dined here during our stay.

Food: BBBB+

Food served at Le Fes is definitely recommendable. All dishes is moderately or cheaply priced (15-25 EUR for a main course) after European standards, but expensive compared to restaurants in Marrakech. I found price of wine a little steep (10 EUR and up for 1/2 bottles).

Chicken Tagine with preserved lemon: BBBB

The tagines are a wide variety of dishes named after the rustic terracotta pot they are prepared in. They are often found cooking over open fire. This was prepared with preserved lemon, a North African specialty.

It was presented beautifully in its rustic pottery, and cooked perfect, deliciously tender but still succulent. It was one of the milder tagines we ate, served with large slices of preserved lemon on top.

I found the large slices of lemon a little overpowering for the pallet, compared to the other seasoning. Smaller quantities of the stuff, mixed in with the other ingredients, may work better.

Couscous with quails from Amizmiz in crepes : BBBB

As the menu was in French only, this is my interpretation of the title. Quails or not, there were small birds involved, served with couscous, small pancakes and green peas or green lentils.

Nicely presented, served in a rustic terracotta pot according to tradition.

Interesting texture, deliciously tender meat, sticky and very rich crepes submerge in the couscous. Very rich dish, and one half of the portion would have been more than enough.

Mild, (and a little bland) in taste.

Moroccan buffet: BBBB+

Try the Moroccan buffet, when staying at Eden Andalou. It gives you a very good idea on the wide range of dishes found in Moroccan cuisine.

Here you find meat and fish tagines, couscous, small bowls with "mezzeh", soups, pastry and fruit with a wide range of flavours from strong to mild, salty, beautifully perfumed to the ultimately sweet pastries.

My favourite? Definitely the hot'n spicy tagine with tomato, sausage, and eggs. Try the harira soup as well, and do enjoy the spoonfuls with a date - a very interesting combination of tastes.

Wines: BBBB+

Morocco is an Muslim country. In spite of this, it has a considerable domestic production of wine and even beer. Most of the wines on the menu at Le Fes were Moroccan. We decided to try Morrocan wines.

Cuvée de President, Cabernet Rouge: BBBB

Cuvée de President is a wine found on many menus in Morocco. It is made from Cabernet by
Domaine des Ouled Thaleb in Benslimane, (arabic: بن سليمان‎) a town between Casablanca and Rabat. You had to pay around €10 for one 1/2 bottle. Overpriced, considering the quality.

I am not very fond of wines made from Cabernet grapes. This was definitely the case with the Cuvée de President. Too much fruit, citrus flavours even. No my cup of tea (or glass of wine).

Medaillon de Syrah: BBBB

Medaillon de Syrah is found as rosé as well as red wine. It is produced by the same firm as the Cuvée de President. Wines made from Syrah grapes are very different from those made from Cabernet. I am happy to say that this was the case with the Medaillon.

The Medaillon was priced a little higher than the Cuvée de President (€13), and it was worth paying a little more. This was a very different, and better wine, much fruit but enhanced by extra body and character.

Rating the Le Fes experience: BBBB (4,10 points)

A decent Moroccan restaurant located at Eden Andalou Resort & Hotel. Located 9 km (5,5 miles) outside the city, it is not the most obvious choice for an evening dinner for travelers to Marrakech. For guests a good alternative to try Moroccan cuisine. Good service, good food, nice (but a little unprofessional) staff. Price of food on the upper level compared to food served in Marrakech itself.

Le Fes
Eden Andalou Spa & Resort
9 km Route d'Azmeziz
Marrakech, Morocco

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas

When standing on the Playa de las Canteras, you can see a striking, square new building with a small dome on the top. This is the Auditorio Alfred Kraus, named after the renowned tenor Alfredo Kraus Trujillo (1927-1999), of Austrian descent and born in this city.

Auditorio Alfred Kraus was finished in 1997 and may be used as a conference venue, as well as concert hall. It is located by the Canteras Beach.

It is made from stone and concrete with a dome on the roof. It is decorated with beautiful sculptures on the the exterior, as those found near the main entrance facing the city (above). Outside you find a large statue of Alfredo Kraus himself.

We took a walk around the structure. It is surprisingly large, and the main concert hall may easily hold over 2000 people.

The Symphonic and the Chamber Hall house both classic and contemporary music concerts. During the year the Auditorium runs a programme of more than 100 concerts by e.g. Las Palmas Philharmonic Society and the annual Jazz and Guitar Festivals.

At the beginning of each year Auditorio Alfredo Kraus is the venue for many of the world's foremost orchestras and soloists participating at the Canary Islands' Music Festival

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New fees with Ryanair

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's Lord of the Fees, has done it again. He has decided to raise fees on checked-in luggage and charge money to use toilets. That means more discomfort for travelers and more money into his pocket.

Ryanair has decided to increase fees for checked in luggage to 20 GBP. In addition to this, the air carrier has asked Boeing to modify its vessels to introduce payment to use toilets on their planes. Three toilets will be replaced by new seats, and passengers will have to pay 1 GBP / EUR to access the remaining toilet.

Enjoy Food & Travel has remarked on the toilet fee on previous occasions. What seemed in the beginning to be a joke, will now be reality. Passengers traveling on vacation may experience higher prices and personal discomfort when traveling on vacation with Ryanair.

A good idea for everyone planning a trip with Ryanair, will be to check all fees when booking and also calculate traveling expenses and time traveling from airports off the beaten track to their destinations. You may end up surprised. That bargain trip may not end up that cheap after all.

More Ryanair fees stories
(Photo: Ryanair Boeing 737-800 taking off from Bristol International Airport, England: Arpingstone)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Al Fez couscous - instant Moroccan flavours

I am not fond of fast solution, but was tempted when I saw a packet marked "Authentic Moroccan spiced couscous" in the shelf at one of the better stocked supermarkets in Oslo. I am happy to say that this product from Al' féz was definitely the exception to the rule.

Moroccan cuisine is packed with flavours derived from first class vegetable, meats and a wide range of spices. Couscous is one out of two main groups of dishes found there.

This packet from Al'féz promised exotic spices, sultanas and pine nuts and would, if good, be an excellent base for a tasty meat or vegetable couscous dish. I decided to try, and eliminate, if necessary from the selection of products that promise more than it can deliver.

I am happy to say that it did deliver. I blanched finely chopped carrots and onions in butter, added some cooked chicken , poured in the couscous and followed the instructions on the packet just adding water, stirring and leave covered for five minutes.

This is definitely something to try again. The semolina granules were perfect, and the sultanas and pine nuts worked well with a pleasant, gentle taste of spices. I had a touch of Morocco in five minutes, but only a touch, as nothing may replace food made from scratch under the warm North African sun.

Related stories