Saturday, August 07, 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle stops direct flights Bergen - Warsaw, Poland

Norwegian Air Shuttle will shut down its branch in Warszawa, and its staff will be transferred to its Danish, Swedish or Norwegian offices.

Eight flights from Warsaw will stop August 3oth. These are:
  • Alicante, Spain
  • Athen, Greece
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Málaga, Spain Palma, Spain
  • Split, Croatia
  • Varna, Bulgaria.
Norwegian will still have non-stop flights to Warsaw from Stavanger and Oslo Airport

See all non-stop flights to Bergen Airport here

Collage: Top: Financial centre, Middle left: Royal Castle, Middle right: Old Town Market Place, Bottom left: Presidential Palace, Bottom right: Wilanów Palace by: User:BurgererSF

Friday, August 06, 2010

Tastes of the great outdoors

Elise, a friend, sent me a picture from her mobile phone. A treat with tastes of the great outdoors.

Wild fish and game are turning into a luxury, as more and more fish and animals are domesticated. Wild mountain trout is among the best products you can get, and brilliant when prepared on the BBQ.

Remember that, when preparing a fish like this, less is more. As this plate of mountain trout served with pickled cucumber, amandine potatoes and asparagus.

Pure tastes for the pallet, as nature meant them to be.

Wanna try to prepare a Norwegian cucumber salad?

See this recipe on the Son's of Norway recipe site

More trout and salmon on Enjoy Food & Travel - wild or farmed

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The fabulous Melody Gardot on stage at Canal Street Festival

Canal Street is a major thoroughfare in the city of New Orleans dividing the older French/Spanish Colonial-era city and the newer American Sector. It has also given its name to the Canal Street Jazz & Blues Festival held annually the last weekend in July in Arendal, Norway - my hometown.

Last Saturday the crowd gathered in front of the new Arendal city hall was completely mesmerized by the beautiful voice of Melody Gardot. She has certainly beaten the odds, as she has fought herself back from a paralyzing traffic accident, turning herself into a highly successful singer.

What a fate, what a voice, what a brave woman!! Melody was a star twinkling so much stronger than any of the other musicians on stage that weekend, touching us all with her sensual songs and her personal power.

Melody Gardot is an example to us, what we may achieve if we believe and fight hard enough, and do not accept our limitations. Then we can immerse in the stardust, knowing that only the sky is the limit to what we can achieve.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Chez Bahia, Marrakech

Dining in Marrakech is an experience pleasing the eye, pallet - and the wallet. All over town you may dig into the rich culinary traditions of Morocco at a fraction of what you would have to pay for a meal in Europe. You are, however, recommended to assess where it is safe to eat, as hygienic standards in Marrakech may be completely different to what you are used to. One place it is definitely safe to eat is Chez Bahia!

Rating Chez Bahia: BBBB+ (4,31 points)
  • Location: BBBB+ (4,5 points)
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB- (3,66 points)
  • Service: BBBBB (5,0 points)
  • Food: BBBBB- (4,6 points)
  • Beverage: N/A
Authentic Moroccan

Chez Bahia is located in one of the main streets leading from Djemaa el Fna to the Kasbah area. It is a charming area from my point of view, genuinely Moroccan, a pulsating busy street with pushy vendors selling all kinds of objects onto tourists.

Here you may leave the street and suddenly find yourself in charming Riads, quiet old merchants quarters often turned into hotels.

Chez Bahia is a no-nonsense place where people gather to enjoy genuine Moroccan food, tourists and natives alike. Its interior evades my rigid systems. It is not one of these restaurants with fancy decor or neatly dressed tables that may be awarded a high score.

You are seated in a room, where walls are partly covered by beautiful tiles, partly cream coloured. Hardly the most stylish or comfortable place to eat, but decent, authentic and honest in any way.

Good service from the staff, running around serving all the guests entering the restaurant. This seemed to be a popular place to eat, and provided a good living for those in charge.

Tagines and more - mmmmm...........!

We had to try one of their tagines - meats served in traditional terracotta pots prepared over open fire. At Chez Bahia you are served mostly chicken and lamb tagines, often flavoured with fruits, honey and nuts.

The terracotta pots were displayed by the street, cooking over open fire. This is genuine slow food, as meats and vegetables are allowed to stew for hours. When you open up the rustic conically shaped lid, exotic aromas fills the air and you cannot wait to tuck in.

The price of the food was hardly a rip-off - 30 dirhams pluss/minus (2,50 EUR) was more or less the price of all offered on the menu. I ordered a lamb tagine, piping hot, flavoured with onion and honey, and other secret exotic spices.

What salt, sweet and spicy aromas - a real taste of what the Maghreb region has to offer!! The meat was extraordinarily tender, disintegrating into thin flakes by the fork. The vegetables was soft and tender, soaking up all the flavours of the stew. The onion was sticky, and glistening with sweet honey.


I would have died to have a glass of red wine, or even a beer to this exquisite food, but as in many Morrocan taverns they observe a non-alcohol policy. We ordered a bottle of chilled water, and that was as refreshing as a beer would have been. The good thing was that we did not have any other flavours competing with our food.

Chez Bahia - recommended!!

Chez Bahia is a place I will return to when revisiting Marrakech. Authentic, high quality food offered at ridiculous prices. A bargain for low budget and luxury travelers alike.

Chez Bahia
206 Riad Zidoune Lakdim
Marrakech, Morocco

Chez Bahia live - on YouTube

See interior of Chez Bahia on this clip from my YouTube account

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A midsummer tapas party

July 24th I celebrated my 49th birthday by throwing a tapas party at our summer home. Tapas was on the menu. Here are some of the tapas on the menu of the evening.

Baby mozzarella in ruccola pesto

Estimate 2-3 baby mozzarella per person.

Buy amount of baby mozzarella according to number of guests. Prepare your own ruccola pesto, as finding it ready made may be difficult.

Immerse the mozzarella in the pesto. Allow to marinate overnight. Serve with small tooth picks for easy serving.

Pizza swirls

An easy and interesting way to prepare pizza.

Estimate 1-2 swirls per person, depending on how many other tapas you prepare.

Use a square sheet of ready made pizza dough. Spread a good pizza sauce on the dough, add diced ham or salami and cheese.

Roll the dough as a Swiss roll. Cut in 2 cm / 1 inch slices.

Place on oiled baking tray and sprinkle a little more cheese on stop.

Bake until golden.

Smögen röre (Serves 10-15)

A light summer salad served cold with toast. Make your own variation. Add more or less mayonnaise or sour cream for a lighter or richer salad. Try a pinch or two of chili for a hotter “Cajun” style salad.
  • 2 tbsp Hellmanns mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • 200 grams / 1/2 lb shrimps, shelled
  • 1 can of crab meat (125 grams / 4 oz)
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • Salt, pepper
  • juice of ¼ lemon
Mix mayonnaise and sour cream. Add shrimps, crab meat, and onions. Mix well.

Mix in ketchup, salt pepper and lemon. Add more seasoning to suit your taste. Allow to cool before serving

Serve with toast.

Tiger prawns in garlic butter and Noilly Prat (2-3 per person)
  • 500 grams tiger prawns, with shells
  • 150 grams good salted butter, softened
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 25 grams parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 cl Noilly Prat
Mix butter, garlic and parsley well. Allow to rest in refrigerator 2-3 hours before you assemble the dish.

Place prawns in an oven proof dish. Pour Noilly prat over, mix to cover all the prawns. Add butter evenly over prawns.

Place in hot oven (200C / 400F) for 10-15 minutes until prawns are pink. Check, prawns after 7 minutes. Do not overcook.

Toasts with rouille Sétoise

Rouille is a sauce made from olive oil , breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers from southern France. It is used on toasts served to fish and seafood as the famous bouillabaisse, the fish soup from Marseilles. I had a glass of sauce prepared as they do in Séte, a charming city in Languedoc.

I simply placed the jar on the table with a basket of freshly prepared toasts or salted crackers. A great combo with seafood.

Tomatoes margherita (2-3 per person)

Easy and pleasing for the eye, green, white and red as the Italian flag. Take tray, cover bottom with pesto.

Divide cherry tomatoes, scoop out the centre with a teaspoon. Place a half or a whole baby mozzarella in the tomato. Fasten with a pin.

Place in refrigerator to chill overnight.

Other tapas on the menu with link to recipe:

Monday, August 02, 2010

UPDATED: Sigtuna - the city by the water

September 2009 I visited the town of Sigtuna, founded in the year 980 by the Kings of Svealand. Sigtuna is the oldest city of Sweden, with a scenic location by the beautiful Lake Mälaren.

Once a centre of power, the town of today is a scenic settlement not far from Arlanda Airport with small quaint wooden buildings an impressive number of remains from the Middle Ages. It is a part of the larger Sigtuna Kommun, and is a home to many commuting to the Swedish capital.

Enjoy Food & Travel will tell stories of this ancient town. Here is some of what is coming up on the site.

Bars and restaurants:
See map of Sigtuna and surrounding area here

Vis Sigtuna and surrounding area 2009 i et større kart

St Lars Kyrkruin, Sigtuna - Sweden

St. Lars Kyrkruin is located in downtown Sigtuna. This and other remains of impressive old church buildings are a reminder how important the city was during the early years of what would be today's Sweden. During Medieval times this sleepy small town had six massive stone churches with their own cemeteries. Today only one of them is preserved.

By the old city hall, you find a large tower in gray stone. It is what is left of a church dedicated to Saint Laurentius, most likely Saint Lawrence (225–258), the Christian martyr, after whom all others are named or Saint Laurence of Canterbury (d. 619), second Archbishop of Canterbury.

St. Lars church was built in the early 11th century. From the early 13th century the town was divided into three parishes and St. Lars became the main church of the town.

Today only what used to be the west tower of the church has been preserved. This probably due to restoration made by king Johan III of Sweden in the late 15oo's.

More on Sigtuna - see these highlights on YouTube

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Choice group creates historic hotel in Oslo's old central station

Oslo old central station will reopen as hotel with 160 rooms in 2012. Original window frames and glass will be restored, as well as period furniture and painted commercial posters from the 1880’s.

The present building dates back to 1854 and is the country’s oldest train station. The exterior is listed and part of the interior will be restored when converted into a modern hotel.

The “Kronerom” (railway’s old board room) with 5 metres (15 feet) up to the ceiling, will be converted into a suite with its original interior. Walls in this room are covered by rare leather wallpaper partly damaged by fungus. This wallpaper will be fully restored by foreign experts.

Another suite will be located in the former station manager’s office.

The current building has been extended two times since the first part was finished in time for the opening of Norway’s first train line in 1854 from Oslo to Eidsvoll.

The large railway hall, now holding shops, supermarkets, café and restaurants was built 1878-1882, and increased traffic lead to further extensions in 1907 and 1920. Additions were also made in 1940 during the German occupation of Norway. This scar from World War II will be demolished.

The Choice hotel group will lease and run the hotel in the former central station, and first guests will be welcomed early in 2012.

More Oslo hotels