Saturday, April 24, 2010

Salad of cured fillet of moose, figs, balsamico and truffle oil

I made a mid week dinner on Wednesday and served an extraordinary starter made from a pretty exclusive ingredient - cured, cold smoked moose fillet. Price? €83 per kilo.

Salad of cured fillet of moose, baby figs, balsamico and truffle oil (Serves two)

50 grams (2 oz) cured, cold smoked fillet of moose (or good cured ham)
50 grams (2 oz) salad leaves, rinsed
8 dried figs, soaked in hot water and halved
Crema de balsamico
Olive oil with white truffles

I decided to balance the salted meat with sweetness. I had bought 100 grams of small, dried figs. I revived 8 of them in hot water, and cut them in halves.

I bought some salad leaves, rinsed them in cold water and arranged them on two large white plates. Then I arranged the thinly sliced meat on top and garnished with the figs.

The meat was quite salt, so I decided to use two very different tastes to create balanced taste. I sprinkled reduced balsamic vinegar (crema de balsamico) AND truffle oil, and this combination worked extremely well.

Most of you may have little access to cured game, but you can use salted and cured ham instead with an equally good result.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Norwegian? Stuck abroad? Try!

Norwegian travelers stuck abroad due to disruption of air traffic may now consult a new website in order to get home.

HSH - The Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a new service where operators, travel companies, and Norwegian delegations abroad may register free transportation capacity. Here Norwegians waiting to get home may find a way to get transportation. is a temporary site that will be used during emergency situations, and will be disabled when situation is back to normal.

Read more on (In Norwegian only)

Stuck? Access the service here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great World, Playa del Ingles - pure rubbish!!

The presence of restaurants as Great World at Playa del Ingles proves that it is not a destination for fine dining. The only grand thing with this eatery is the name, the rest is rubbish - Chinese rubbish.

Location: BBBB

Great World is located at Avenida Alfereces Provisionales, close to the Yumbo Centre - easy to get to, but hardly the most scenic location for a restaurant.

Service: BBBB-

No service out of the ordinary is provided at Great World.

We were served promptly, and we did not have to wait long to get our food. Not surprising, really, as the food did not make you tick.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBB-

We were seated in a cold and uninteresting interior with some Chinese features, made a little bit more interesting by the presence of a few palm trees at the outdoor dining area.

Food: BBB

Food was as uninteresting as the interior, in short a dinner with no highlights, Chinese culinary rubbish if you ask me.

We ordered a four course menu, where one of the dishes was boiled rice, a complementary ingredient often defined as a separate dish. The dessert - ice cream, is hardly worth mentioning.

The only nice thing of this meal was the price - rubbish - yes, but hardly a rip-off.

Spring rolls

We ordered spring rolls as a traditional starter of our Chinese meal.

These pastries are good indicators on the quality of the kitchen, as they may be scrumptious at its best, and terrible at its worst.

The rolls served at Great World was decent. Deliciously crisp and pastry was not soaked in oil.

Filling soft, slightly overcooked. Not much taste, though. Low in salt and pepper, but a little sweet chili sauce on pastry helped a little.

Roasted duck

I ordered duck as main course, and it looked promising when it arrived at the table. A generous portion of fried duck served on top of crisp vegetables.

I still ended up being thoroughly disappointed.

The vegetables were well prepared, and the skin of the duck was roasted until nice and crispy, but I discovered that the meat was dry and tough.

It did not taste much either, and we wondered if the cook had used any seasoning at all.

I wonder how the cook had managed to end up with this result. Duck is, after all, an ingredient that is relatively easy to prepare with a satisfactory result.

Beverage: N/A

Rating the Great World experience: BBB+ (3,52 points)

Good location, low prices, but the rest of the Great World experience is hardly worth mentioning. Based on the food we were served, this restaurant is definitely not a place to recommend.

Great World
Avenida Alfereces Provisionales
Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria

View Gran Canaria from A-Z 2009 in a larger map

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deacon Larkin House - Charlestown MA

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of
Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Charlestown is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in Boston. If you follow the legendary Freedom Trail, you will end your journey there, at Bunker Hill, the site of the famous battle between the English and the American patriots that took place here in 1775.

I was struck by the charm of Charlestown. It had this old feel to it, and on and off you see houses that date back to the 18th century, as the House at 55 Main Street, that once was the home of Deacon John Larkin (April 3, 1735 – December 14, 1807). He was also a merchant, in the tea trade, for the East India Company, having in his possession chests of tea that he readily concealed to avoid England's Stamp Tax.

This beautiful Georgian-style residence was built for John Larkin around 1790. He is remembered for his role in Paul Revere's legendary midnight ride. Larkin's horse carried Revere out to Lexington and Concord to warn the Committee of Safety of the approaching British troops.

The original Larkin's house stood in nearby City Square, and was, as most of Charlestown, destroyed during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. This clapboard-sided house with a low third floor and quoin-embellished corners is a rare survivor from Charlestown's post-Revolutionary era of construction.

See more on Paul Rever's ride on this small film clip

Other sights of the Charlestown area - see this map

Vis New England on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2009 i et større kart

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to make a perfect poached egg

Many years ago, when I was a student and constantly low on cash, I once ruined six perfectly good eggs in a late night attempt to master the art of poaching. I have since cooked a lot of nice meals and mastered some advanced cooking skills. The failure poaching still had me convinced poaching was too difficult for me, that there was no point in trying again.

By Guest Writer Susanne Koch

So this Easter, when an acquaintance told me there was nothing to it, I didn't believe her. But when she told me she had learned to poach eggs online, I was encouraged. I spend my days online, I am a web wizard and an egg head (!) and if I can learn it in the company of my Mac, I am not afraid.

So I consulted WikiHow, my favorite source of instructions -- any kind of instructions -- and found a seven step introduction to poaching eggs, complete with illustrations. Following the simple instructions, there really was nothing to it and the result was very gratifying.

The photo above shows the sandwich I made, placing some wilted spinach and canned salmon on a piece of toast and topping it with my newly poached egg (add a little curry to the spinach to add some warmth and zing).

Susanne Koch is an Internet professional who works as an e-learning and web communication adviser at the University of Oslo. She blogs about search engines and search engine optimization at You may also want to have a look at Susanne Koch's homepage.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shopping for exotic jewellry

I have found that buying accessories to families and friends is a success. When traveling in Europe, the quality of jewelry vary a great deal. When I visited Istanbul and Marrakech I found truly hand made accessories at ridiculous prices. Here are a few pieces I bought as examples.

Fatima's Hand - protecting against the evil eye

I bought this beautiful, large amulet formed as Fatima's Hand from a salesman in Rue Riad Zitoun el Kdim, in the Kasbah area.

On sale for around 200 Moroccan dirhams (18€), the claim that it is made from silver is highly unlikely, but I do not mind, as it is a beautiful piece of art with its decorations and large turquoise like stones.

The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة ‎, khamsa, lit. five, also romanized khamsa and chamsa) is named after Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

I bought it as a lucky charm, as Fatima's hand is said, throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, to protect the bearers from the evil eye. Due to this property, I have bought it to protect our beautiful summer home from evil forces.

Turkmen folk art

Above and on my right is an example of Turkmen folk art that I bought in the Grand Bazaar at Istanbul. It is said to originate from either Turkmenistan or Turkmen areas in neighbouring Afghanistan.

If I had space in my suitcase, I would have certainly have bought more from this shop.

I do not think it is a traditional piece of jewelry. I think it is more a decorative piece, made to be sewn on to a traditional folk costume. Some of the textile is, in fact, still in place on the back of it.

It consists of beads made from glass or ceramics, set on a base of a metal, probably pewter. It cost me around 30 Euros.

A Turkmen money belt.

Forgotten your purse? Then it would be a good idea to fasten your change to your belt.

I bought another highly original piece of jewelry from the Turkmens in Istanbul. A long narrow belt set with pearls, metal buttons and a long row of what looks like coins.

Another rustic item, with a wide possibility of use. This is not something anyone would use. I have thought of using it as a border on a lamps shade or set on another decorative object. For sale for 20 Euros, it is so much more decorative and original than something for sale in any standard shop in Europe.