Saturday, July 24, 2010

Apprehended by police after complaint on food

Eat your food, and do not complain if you are dissatisfied during your flight. If you do, you risk being apprehended by the police as one Norwegian passenger flying Ryanair experienced last week. He claimed that the sandwich tasted like rubber and declined to pay. That is what he claimed what happened. The airline has a completely different story.

Henrik Ulven (52) was on his return flight with Ryanair from Berlin Schönefeld to Rygge airport when he ordered «Freshly Made Premium Sandwich» priced at NOK 37 (4,6 EUR). He found that it was not fresh enough, and did not want to pay. He offered to change his order to a muffin, but at that point the account of what happened differed according to who tells the story.

Ryanair’s version was that it was not the sandwich but Ulvens behaviour that was the problem, whereas Mr. Ulven stated that his request for another item (chocolate muffin) was the reason for it all.

He told the press that the stewardess, after he had asked to be served something else, got very displeased with his behaviour and told him that she would ask the police to apprehend him on arrival at the airport.

Both the two versions may be right, to a certain extent. It feels unlikely that the Ryanair staff would go to such a step on the ground of a mere 4 Euro sandwich. I have, however, met enough cabin crew to know that overreactions may occur in a stressful situation, and if the guest acted remotely inappropriate, he could have been perceived as difficult.

So, if flying Ryanair. Bring your own sandwich. Avoid everything marked “freshly made” and if you are served stale bread or rubbery cheese, sit down and be happy.

Four Euros badly spent is much better than ending up behind bars.

More stories on travel food:
Photo - top: A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger by Petar Pavlov
Photo - right: English: Sandwich 日本語: サンドイッチ, by: 溜池ゴロー

New direct flights Kastrup - Haugesund?

Ryanair has applied for slots to serve 23 destination from the new low price SWIFT terminal at Copenhagen airport and one destination on their list is Haugesund airport on the Western coast of Norway.

Ryanair has had flights from Torp airport for a long time, and extended its activity to Rygge Airport closer to Oslo. The air carrier has also had direct seasonal flights from Haugesund to Alicante, Bremen, Edinburgh and a all-year service to London Stanstead. Now Haugesund may get non-stop flights to the new SWIFT terminal in Copenhagen.

This as the city is on Ryanairs wish list. Other cities on it are:

  • Belgium: Charleroi
  • Finland: Lappeenranta, Tampere
  • France: Montpellier
  • Germany: Dresden, Leipzig
  • Holland: Eindhoven
  • Ireland: Dublin, Shannon
  • Italy: Brindisi, Pisa, Rome-Ciampino
  • Morocco: Sais
  • Spain: Alicante, Jerez de la Frontera, Madrid, Málaga, Reus, Santander
  • UK: Edinburgh, Liverpool, Prestwick

Their plans may not, necessarily, mean that these flights will start, as budget airlines are bidding for slots as part of their tactic, and Ryanair has not confirmed which destination to fly to. It will probably be late August before the air carrier will decide whether they will start flights to the 23 new destinations from Copenhagen.

More on flights to Haugesund Airport

Source:, June 18th 2010

Photo: English: Haugesund Airport. Outside view by Dr Rdl

Friday, July 23, 2010

Common purslane

I was excited to find one small common purslane plant at my local farmers market. This old vegetable is hardly available anymore here in Norway, but was well known in my mothers and grandmothers generation. It thrives in my herb garden, but only one plant will prove to be more than a curio than a significant source for culinary use.

Common purslane originates from Asia, but is now cultivated around the world. It is regarded as an invasive species in the US after it was taken there by the settlers. In Norway it was widely cultivated, but is hardly used or even known now.

I planted mine under a large apple tree, but with morning sun. It shares the flowerbed with a large columbine and a few flower bulbs. It likes thick and fertile soil, and I used fresh potting soil in this bed prepared last year.

Purslane was said to have medicinal purposes, but is now used in cooking. Traditionally stalks were pickled and served to fried fish or fish soup and to Sunday roast and meatballs. Stalks were even steamed and used as a substitute for asparagus.

I found a few ways to prepare purslane at the Aust-Agder Archive website. I will take the liberty to translate them for our non-norwegian readers.

Pickled purslane stalks

1 kilo / 2,2 lb's purslane stalks
1 kilo / 2,2 lb's sugar
50 cl / 1 pint vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves

Remove leaves and thin stalks. Thick are washed and tied. Place in boiling water until slightly tender. Pour off water and dry them in a kitchen towel.

Boil vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. Place purslane in a jar and pour liquid over.

Pour off liquid after a few days and heat again. Cool and pour over stalks again. Repeat procedure 2-3 more times.

Purslane in vinegar

Cut thick purslane stalks in finger long pieces. Place in brine for 12 hours. Remove brine and dry in a colander and dry them in a cloth.

Heat enough vinegar, nutmeg and bayleaves to cover the purslane. Add stalks when vinegar foams and bring up to boiling temperature. Drain stalks from liquid. Reduce vinegar slightly and pour it boiling hot over the purslane. You may add small pickled onions for more flavour.

Use for roasts or in gravies and ragouts.

Purslane in sugar

Cut thick stalks in small chunks. Bring equal quantities vinegar and water to boiling temperature. Add stalks. Dry them in a colander and then in a kitchen towel.

Weigh the purslane, as you will need 150 grams (5 oz) sugar to 150 grams purslane. Boil sugar to syrup with 125 ml (4 fluid oz) water. Add purslane to syrup and heat to boiling point. Then pour all into a jar or glass.

Separate the syrup after a few days and reheat it with an additional 30 grams (1 oz) sugar, lemon peel and vanilla. Remove foam on surface and boil until smooth.

Pour syrup over purslane when cold.

Photo - top: Portulaca sativa cultivar by Burschik
Photo - right: Common purslane in Flora Danica

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good bargains for expensive wines in Norway

In Norway the state holds the sale of wine and liquor in its firm hand through Vinmonopolet. 240 large and small shops are scattered throughout 19 Norwegian counties. In Europe Vinmonopolet is a major player and secure a wide selection of products for Norwegian customers.

Taxes make cheaper wines more expensive, but as the tax is flat, you may get expensive wines to more reasonable prices. This as Vinmonopolet buys large quantities of wines from the producer at good prices, and they do not charge as much for storage as other larger retailers.

Many low priced wines, both in bottles or in 300 cl boxes are generally expensive compared to countries in the European Union. The price may even be the double of what you may have to pay in the Swedish Systembolaget.

This tax systems do have its advantages if you chose to buy wines on the other end of the scale. An expensive champagne as Clos des Goisses Brut 1999 is offered at 104 EUR per bottle in Norway.

On the net you may have to pay up to 10% more for this vintage champagne, and in France even more. Bottles there may cost up to EUR 122, i.e. 17% more than in Norway. In Sweden you will have to pay up to 30% more for a bottle of this luxury bubbly.

A good Chablis like the Garnier Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2006 will cost you 25,75 EUR, wheras you will have to pay 10% more if you buy the same bottle in the UK.

Other wines may be more evenly priced, but if you are travelling to Norway, checks prices of a number of items of your choice and go to a well stocked Vinmonopol in Norway.

The best are found in the major Norwegian cities. Vinmonopolet has even opened a new super shop at Vika in Oslo, where you are offered a wider and more exclusive range of wines of liquors. Here you may be in for a surprise if you know what you are looking for and has done a little research on the net.

(Photos. Top: Vinmonopolet at Briskeby, Oslo by bep
Middle: Chateau Lafite Rothschild Label for the 1999 vintage by Michael Case)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cennet Yoresi, Istanbul

There are restaurants that are impossible to evaluate. One of these are Cennet Yoresi. In spite of strange food (my choice), uncomfortable seating in cramped conditions, I still recommend those visiting Istanbul a visit there. It is a genuine experience.

Cennet Yoresi - total score: BBBB (3,99 points)
  • Location: BBBB (4,0 points)
  • Service: BBBBB (5,0 points)
  • Interior and atmosphere: BBB (3,16 points)
  • Food: BBBB (3,8 points)
  • Beverage: Not available

A short stroll away from the main sights

Cennet Yoresi is located by Divan Yolu Cd., a busy street in the middle of Sultanahmet, i.e. the oldest part of the city.

You can get there with a 10 minute walk from Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar is found just in the neighbourhood.

Cennet Yoresi is a place for many tourists as well as the citizen of Istanbul, and you are welcomed by the staff, and are well attended to during your meal. The waiters are in full control and you may order and get served with no delay.

A unique culinary and cultural experience

You are seated in a truly ethnic interior at Cennet Yoresi, but this visit was probably one of the most uncomfortable seating experiences I have had during my travels.

We were seated on stools by very low tables and all my joints were aching during the meal, due to this peculiar seating arrangement.

Walls are covered by Turkish carpets and old women were preparing one of its specialties - insanely thin pancakes in a corner of the restaurant.

My friends ordered Lamb, whereas I was tempted by the Turkish raviolis. This is a dish to try once, as a unique culinary experience.

The raviolis were very thin, white and watery and had a very strange consistency. The filling had a pleasant taste, but it was immersed in a sour cream sauce with a hot chilli topping. It provided a taste never

The good thing was that you did not pay an arm or a leg for the meal. Not that that was the case elsewhere in Istanbul either.

This was a strictly non-alcohol restaurant, and we chose bottled water - a good choice to quell the heat from the hot chilli peppers.

Cennet Yoresi is worth a visit!

Cennet Yoresi is no place for those of you with rheumatism, as you may spend the meal in agony due to its strange seating arrangement. The restaurant does, however, provide a cultural experience far removed from most you’ve had until now. At Cennet Yoresi you get a glimpse of the real Turkey.

Do choose the lamb; even though the ravioli was an interesting dish, you get more for your money if you choose the meat dishes offered on the menu. I regret not trying one of their crepes. Do try one with a small cup of strong coffee.

Find Cennet Yoresi and more on our map of Istanbul

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anderbergs Tyger, Göteborg

This beautiful house at Haga in Göteborg is called "Andersbergs Tyger" or "Anderberg's textiles." Here is a short story of this house.

Anderbergs tyger is one of the most beautiful houses of the Haga district of Göteborg. A blue memorial plaque gives an account of the history of the house .

It tells that the house was built in 1858 after a design by town architect Heinrich Kaufmann. The house was owned the first years by inn keeper Peter Ericksson.

He rented out 10 small apartments in the back of the building facing the courtyard. Ground floor facing the street had a large quarter for an inn.

The house was taken over by textile merchant Anderberg in the first years of the 20th century, and the ground floor rooms were converted into a textile shop.

The house was restored 1987-1990 and the original environment has been preserved.