Saturday, May 01, 2010

Tortellini with nuts and gorgonzola in creamed mushroom sauce



This is one of these recipes where I just do what I do, not making notes, and end up with an exquisite result. My recommendation is that you regard my quantifications with a pinch of salt. Use my ingredients and experiment in order to give this recipe you particular character.

To satisfy two hungry dinner guests you'll need
  • One packet Giovanni Rana tortellini with gorgonzola and walnut filling

  • ½ small onion, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 grams shitake mushrooms, halved
  • 50 grams oyster mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 50 grams small portobello mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 100 grams ordinary button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • ½ tbsp flour
  • 20 cl. beef or vegetable stock
  • 15 cl. low fat cream (10%)
  • 3 tbsp crema de balsamic vinegar (or sugar, after your taste)
  • Ground pepper
  • 1-2 tsp white truffle oil

  • Parmesan cheese and more truffle oil to add to the dish.
Fry onions lightly in oil. Lower heat, while adding fresh mushrooms, place lid on casserole and allow mushrooms to wilt (sweat), slightly.

Add flour, and stir into ingredients, to avoid lumps. Then add stock. Stir until sauce thickens. Balance the salinity with balsamic vinegar or sugar, before adding pepper and stirring in truffle oil. This exquisite ingredient adds a "je ne sait pas quoi" aroma that will impress your guests.

Add cream at the end of cooking time. Check balance is to your taste.

Sprinkle freshly ground parmesan cheese and more truffle oil for extra taste.

Truffle stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beyti – dining for the famous, rich or powerful


Beyti has been visited by many famous guests during its history, some famous others unknown to me. They have a gallery of notorieties on their website, here are a few I know.

Jacques Chirac, Ludwig Erhard, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Arthur Miller (photo), Leonard Bernstein, Sylvie Vartan, Johnny Hallyday, and Danny Kaye have all dined under the same roof as me.

You may see photos of some of them on Beyti's website.

See their gallery here

Christmas dinner at Beyti



Christmas Eve 2009 we sat in a cab, lost far outside Istanbul, looking for Restaurant Beyti, the venue of our Christmas dinner. It was supposed to take 15 minute from our hotel, but as a one hour trip approached we demanded to be returned to our hotel. A minute later, we passed Beyti, by accident. Tired and upset, but we decided to try it. We did not regret, as this ended up as a dinner of a life-time!!

Location: BB+

Beyti is located in a residential area a good 30 minute taxi ride away Sultanahmet. If our hotel had not recommended it, we would never have thought of dining there. Our taxi driver did, in fact, get lost looking for it, driving up and down the neighbouring streets, running into it just by luck.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBBBB

Beyti is probably one of the most exclusive restaurants I have ever visited. It is a located in a large 3 storey building. Here you may dine in eleven dining halls and three terraces served by five kitchens (!). It is decorated in Ottoman and Turkish style.

We were seated in the dome room, by an exquisitely set table, comfortably distant from other dinner tables. An elegant table with white tablecloths, china, wine glasses, cutlery and napkins.

We felt like royalty at Beyti. It was a grand experience!!

Service: BBBBB

Grand room - excellent service!! Good time to order from a large menu, and were pleasantly surprised by the price. Even though it was expensive in Turkey, prices were not frightening.

Food: BBBBB

Visiting a restaurant like Beyti, you hesitate to bring out your camera and taking images of the food and interior. Under cover as tourists, I did, however dare to take a few pictures, but the circumstances explains the bad quality of the images.

Mezze plate

Another item forgotten, was a notebook. As the content of most starters are easy to decifer from any images, remembering the exact dishes in a combined dish as a mezze is much worse. So for what it is worth, here are what I recollect of our first course.

The flaky cake, was a puff pastry pie with fish filling. The green roll was a traditional dolma found in both Turkish and Greek cuisine. The paste was a dip made from aubergine, garnished with walnuts. Then it is getting worse, but I remember faintly a steamed fruit, and a baked tomato with mint.

What I do remember, however, was that the starter tasted wonderful. A treasure chest of well balanced tastes and textures, from the crispy pastry to the soft, tender steamed vegetables and fruits.

Lamb chops

We ordered lamb chops from the grill, and three small chops were served with creamed spinach, rice and baked tomatoes.

Lamb chops are better undercooked, than overcooked as the latter preparation method may leave the meat dry and tough. The chops at Beyti were perfectly prepared.

Not that I remember whether the meat was pink or not, but that it was deliciously tender. The other ingredients were equally seasoned and prepared to perfection.

Wine: BBBBB

Beyti had an extensive wine list to choose from, but as I forgot my notebook, I only remember that we chose Turkish wines. Prices were comfortably low for us, and we chose a glass of white wine - each, and a bottle of red wine to share.

The wines were served as they should be in a restaurant like Beyti – in large glasses and in style.

Four months on, I remember the wine experience at Beyti as exquisite. Good full bodied wines very well suited to our food.

Rating the Beyti experience: BBBB+ (4,47 points)

It would definitely be in the super class of restaurants if it wasn't for the location. For city guests it is in the middle of nowhere, and do consider what options you have if staying in downtown Istanbul. Except from this, Beyti is an exquisite restaurant. Wonderful, classy interior, great service, excellent food and wine.

Address:
Beyti
Orman Sok. No:8 - Florya / İSTANBUL
Phone: +90 212 663 29 90
Fax: +90 212 663 29 95
E-mail:
bilgi@beyti.com.tr
Website: http://www.beyti.com/en/


View Istanbul A-Z 2009 Updated January 6th 2010 in a larger map

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bereketzade Medresesi Mosque, Istanbul

As you pass over the Galata Bridge, walking up the steep hill towards the Galata Tower, you find the Beretzkade Medresesi Mosque. This building was built in a turbulent, crucial year in the city's history.

The Beretzkade Medresesi Mosque looks like any of the numerous houses of worship found scattered around the city, but is, however, one of the oldest mosques in the city. It was built in 1453, the same year the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople.

The original building was built on the order of Haci Ali Bereketzade, the castellan of the nearby Galata Tower.

It survived for centuries until it was closed in the 1920's and it was completely destroyed in 1948, so the current building is only a replica and was finished in 2006.

The old drinking fountain once found on the site has been moved to a location close to the Galata Tower.

An interesting feature is a hidden access from Galata Tower to the minaret of the Bereketzade Mesedresi Mosque leading on to the Karaköy Harbor.

Location of Bereketzade Medresesi Mosque - see this map


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

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Non-stop bus service Stavanger-Hamburg reopens


After the last weeks volcanic chaos, planes are out, and land transport is in. Now you may take bus from Stavanger to Hamburg again.

Hamburg is a major hub in northern Europe. From here you may travel by air, bus or train to a large number of destinations in Europe.

Veolia Transport Sør ran a non-stop service from Stavanger to Hamburg, but closed it down, due to low interest by the public. From April 20th it reopens the 15 hour service on a temporary basis.

Tickets are available on the bus. Price, ferry included, will be NOK 1700 (115 EUR) one way. To make a reservation call 901 13 393.

Veolia will decide on the fate of the service when air traffic is back to normal.

(Photo: Hamburg city hall, Germany by Daniel Schwen)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Been there - done what!

A lot has happened this weekend. Here is a short recap of events taking place April 23rd to April 25th.

April 23rd: A Habsburg sausage party.

I and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writers Susanne and Per Koch visited Göteborg two weeks ago.

As already told here, we bought a wide range of East European sausages. Friday night we arranged a sausage fest. Starter: Small spicy sausages on tooth picks, then goulash soup.

All the sausages were sliced and baked in the oven with vegetables. So many tastes and textures!! Dessert: Warm brambleberries with vanilla ice cream.

Great stuff!!!

April 24th - open sandwiches at Fyret

Fyret is a "whole-in-a-wall" restaurant located in the Bazaars at Youngstorget. You may barely move around, but what it lacks in size, it returns in charm. This is a place with loads of atmosphere.

What to eat here. Do try the hamburger, made from freshly ground beef. I personally prefer the open sandwich with liver paté, bacon and mushrooms.

And what to drink? Do enjoy the food with a cold glass of beer, and a shot of aquavit.

Velbekomme!

A stroll in the Botanical Garden

Saturday and Sunday I took a stroll in the Botanical Garden, located in my neighbourhood.

I love the Botanical Garden in spring. During spring you may see beautiful flowers, as this Eastern Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens).

The Botanical Garden was the ground of Tøyen manor, a large wooden building going back over 300 years.

In the park you can also visit two green houses built in the late 19th century. Victoriahuset was built in 1876 to house the Victoria water lilly (Victoria cruziana).

Palmehuset, the other greenhouse, was built in 1868. Until the year 2000 you could admire a huge Canary Date palm (Phoenix canariensis) planted in 1815 by Christen Smith, one of the collections founders. Sadly it died of old age in the first year of its third century.

Sausages from Eastern Europe


At Milorad Zagorka at Saluhallen you find yourself in sausage heaven - in an Eastern European sausage heaven!

Sausages are among my favourite foods, when made properly with good meat, garlic and seasoning. If you agree, Milorad Zagorkas little shop at Saluhallen in Göteborg is the place to go.

You may buy Spanish and Argentian chorizos here, but most sausages are rustic Eastern European. Here are a few varieties for sale:

Domaca sausage and Sremska kobasica from the Serbian area of Srem, a slightly smoked sausage made from beef and pork meat spiced with paprika, black pepper, salt and "secret spices".

Teufel wurst, is a hot Hungarian sausage.

Kabanossi are dry sausages made throughout Eastern Europe from pork and beef, lightly seasoned and then smoked.

Kabanosy are made of pork, most commonly dry to very dry in texture and smoky in flavor. Both names comes from the Turkish term "kaban", which means hog.

Rackebajsare are strong beer sausages with garlic and cayenne.

Kielbasa Jalowcowa
are Polish, firm, full-bodied, dark, semi-dry sausages, heavily smoked with juniper wood and seasoned with pungently flavored crushed juniper berries.

Polish Mysliwska or hunters Sausages
are made of pork and beef and prolonged smoking and juniper berries give the sausages its unique character. Hunting always was a popular sport in Poland practiced originally by the nobility. Mysliwska Sausage was a relatively short, well smoked sausage that would make an ideal food or snack during hunting.

We could not resist the temptation and we bought five varieties each to enjoy in good company. I will tell you how we prepared them later.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Buy famous brand names in the US - it's cheap!


Vis Where to buy famous brands in Boston i et større kart

A 50 year old man (like me), with a slightly larger average waist line than most, may have trouble finding a Hugo Boss suit in Europe, and if I do, it will cost me an arm and a leg. For large and slim men it is much easier to find suitable brand names in clothing in the US, and it is much cheaper too!!

I have to admit that I, as a foodie, am struggling with my waist line. I am slightly obese, but in no way restricted by it, except that it may be difficult to find famous brand clothes in my size when traveling in Norway and in Europe.

When I do, I find that I may easily pay 750-1000 Euros for a suit. My advice to those in the same situation as me - cross the Atlantic. You may easily save the ticket when buying one single suit.

I have during the last two decades bought suits from DKNY, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren, and I have rarely paid more than USD 500, and they fit perfectly. This as my American brothers are definitely more obese than me. Whereas I am over average in size in Europe, I feel slim and attractive when walking down the streets in downtown Boston.

Start at Marshalls and TJMAXX

I know Boston very well, and here are a few ideas where to go to buy brand names. Start at Marshalls and TJMAXX.

They are part of large chains of retailers that sell a wide range of clothes for men, women, and kids. What to look for? In men's clothes, look for designer boxer shorts, ties, pants, and jackets.

Last September I bought a designer fleece jacket from Calvin Klein for USD 90, that was a perfect - it fit like a glove. Another item that went into my trolley was a great soft sweater in lambs wool from Ralph Lauren. These items would probably cost me three to four times the price at a Oslo retailer.

For those of you visiting Boston you'll find several stores in downtown, two of them a stone's throw away from the Downtown Crossing subway station. My favourite store is found in Seabrook in New Hampshire, an hour's drive north of the city.

Mean's Wearhouse

Last year, I was looking for a dark business suit. Erica, my cousin in Scituate MA, suggested that we should visit Men's Wearhouse in Hanover, a small community on the Boston South Shore.

I loved the experience. I was given full service from the first minute, and unfortunately I was just looking for the suit. This, as you can get accessories as shoes, socks, shirts and ties at a much lower price at TJMAXX or Marshall's.

Sadly I could not take advantage of their special offer - "buy one suit for $300 and get the second for $100." As I tried a most delicious dark gray suit made by Joseph & Feiss International, I looked through the shop for a second one. Sadly all of them had pleated legs, not my favourite cut.

But I got my Joseph & Feiss suit, perfectly fitted by a tailor for just $360, a very good price. This year I will return to Men's Wearhouse and see whether I can find another fitting attire.

For your information, the Cleveland based Joseph & Feiss Company is founded in 1841 being the oldest American tailored clothing producer.

For those visiting Boston, you'll find one shop in Boylston Street in the Back Bay area, and one in Summer street by Downtown Crossing. Be aware that if you need their tailor service, you may have to wait 1-2 weeks, so you may have to choose to take the suit home and get it fitted there.

Syms

Five years ago, my cousin in Salisbury MA, offered to drive me to Saugus, to shop for clothes at Syms, another large US retailer. They offered equally good service and I ended up with a large heap of clothes. I bought a navy blue Ralph Lauren suit, and a Ralph Lauren jacket.

Great service, but the quality of the suit was disappointing. It litteraly fel apart, and I had to find needle and thread to keep it together.

But I really got my money's worth at Syms, and ended up with a large number designer brands attires.

Since then, I've checked the location of the shop, and has found that it is not in business any more. Unlike the other chain stores, there are no shops within the Boston downtown area. The only shop is now located in Norwood on the South Shore, not far from the end of the Red Line in Braintree.

Photos:
T.J. Maxx store, Ypsilanti, M - Dwight Burdette
Men's Wearhouse, Miamisburg OH - Ed