Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel 2010

To make it easier for you, I have compiled all the recipes on Enjoy Food &Travel for the year 2010 on this page. Enjoy!!

  • Asparagus with Spanish Serrano ham and Hollandaise sauce (May 24th 2010)
    I certainly did, what I had said I would last week. I prepared white asparagus as a special treat for supper for my sister and brother-in-law a week ago. I had forgotten how much work it was, but it was certainly worth my trouble.
  • Aubergine and garlic dip (January 4th 2010)
    The aubergine and garlic dip is a healthy and tasty alternative to mayonnaise or sour cream based dipping sauces. It is surprisingly easy to make, as well.
  • Baby mozzarella in ruccola pesto (August 3rd 2010)
    Estimate 2-3 baby mozzarella per person.

  • Baked lobster in Mornay Sauce (October 24th 2010)
    Having bought three frozen Canadian lobsters "chicks" for NOK 99, I planned a treat for my guests when we arrived for a short weekend at our summer home. Baked lobster in Mornay Sauce was an awesome starter!!

  • Baked puff pastry shells with fish (ball) stew (December 11th 2010)
    Tired and not in the mood to make advanced food, I tried to be innovative the other day. Baked puff pastry shells with fish(ball) stew was nearly a success. By preparing it a little different it will most certainly become one of my favourites.

  • Benito's Italian meatballs as Spanish albondigas (February 21st 2010)
    The best meat balls are definitely the ones you are making yourself, but Benito Navas meat balls are some of the better ones I have tasted.

  • Bird eats bird - boneless filled chicken (March 26th 2010)
    The process of preparing a boneless chicken is tricky and time consuming, but is getting easier by practice. I made a stuffed bird the other day, and has called the dish "Bird eats bird" as it is chicken filled with chicken.

  • Breakfast sandwich à la Egg Benedict (May 8th 2010)
    My friend and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Susanne proudly announced that she had prepared a proper poached egg the other day. Sadly I have not succeeded in this art. Until I manage to do so, this breakfast sandwich is the closest I get to Eggs Benedict.

  • Butter bean stew with merguez sausages (March 13th 2010)
    I suddenly craved for butter beans the other day, and decided to create an improvised stew containing a wide range of ingredients from my kitchen.
  • Gluten-free cornbread (February 1st 2010)
    More and more people are tested to discover the they either suffer from Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. Erica E. Brady, my American cousin sent these two gluten-free recipes that she'd got from Rita Evans, a friend.

  • Greek Style leg of lamb (April 10th 2010)
    I prepared a Greek style, stuffed leg of lamb this Easter. Preparing it took time, but when left in the oven I could relax, and the end result was succulent and aromatic.
  • King crab on toast (June 14th 2010)
    Making a King crab sandwich is neither cooking nor preparation, rather an assembling job, but the end result is both easy, esthetically pleasing, and wickedly good.
  • Lamb Methi Malai (October 17th 2010) I discovered the the Kohinoor sauces in my local Turkish supermarket, and I use them regularly in my cooking. This Methi Malai cook-in sauce is one of my favourites. A rich creamy North Indian sauce flavoured with fenugreek leaves. Perfect for a hot lamb dish during fall.

  • Lemon and garlic chicken with ratatouille (July 27th 2010)
    Last week I made another long-roast chicken dish with a twist. Convenient summer food, as all is prepared in one operation and takes care of itself. This dish consisted of ingredients I had available in my kitchen. So this recipe may be varied after what you have, fresh or canned, but remember to use enough garlic!!

  • Meatloaf Italian style (March 6th 2010)
    Meatloaf is a seriously filling dish, packed with proteins, and very easy to vary with whatever you may have in your refrigerator. As I visited my friends at Løten last weekend I made an Italian style meatloaf filled with tasty Mediterranean ingredients.
  • Open sandwich with pork rib (January 4th 2010)
    I made the most perfect long roast pork rib for my colleagues before Christmas. We did not manage to eat it all, so I split the leftovers into three serving portions to be enjoyed later.

  • Open sandwich with prawns and spicy mayonnaise (January 4th 2010)
    I prepared open sandwich with prawns and spicy mayonnaise. I tried to make my own mayonnaise, but failed, so I had to run out and buy a can of Hellmann's mayo.
  • Pickled purslane stalks (July 23rd 2010)
    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.

  • Pizza à la Pillsbury (June 7th 2010)
    I love food à la americana, and a few weeks ago, I found that the Norwegian pizza brand Peppes had been inspired by the American Pillsbury brand and introduced fresh pizza dough into a tube. Marvellous!!

  • Pizza Swirls (August 3rd 2010)
    An easy and interesting way to prepare pizza.

  • Pork chops with mushroom and onion stew (August 20th 2010)
    Pork is great to prepare with sweet and savory flavours. I have seen Ainsley Harriot prepare pork tenderloin with onion and apple stew. I prepared pork chops with a sweetened onion and mushroom stew. Serious yummie!!

  • Purslane in sugar (July 23rd 2010)
    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.

  • Purslane in vinegar (July 23rd 2010)
    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.
  • Quinoa Veggie Burger (February 1st 2010)
    More and more people are tested to discover the they either suffer from Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. Erica E. Brady, my American cousin sent these two gluten-free recipes that she'd got from Rita Evans, a friend.
  • Tiger prawns in garlic butter and Noilly Prat (August 3rd 2010)
    Mix butter, garlic and parsley well. Allow to rest in refrigerator 2-3 hours before you assemble the dish.

  • Tiramisu Mousse (January 25th 2010)
    I am no good at preparing desserts and pastries. I therefore gladly use a packed, if good. At New Years Eve, I used a package of Tiramisu mousse from Freia. With a little extra brandy, it turned out a delicious treat

  • Toasts with rouille Sétoise (August 3rd 2010)
    ouille is a sauce made from olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers from southern France.

  • Tomatoes Margherita (August 3rd 2010)
    Easy and pleasing for the eye, green, white and red as the Italian flag. Take tray, cover bottom with pesto.

  • Tortellini with nuts and gorgonzola in creamed mushroom sauce (May 1st 2010)
    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.

  • Truffle risotto (May 31st 2010)
    Here is another treat for dinner. Risotto with real truffles, an exclusive and seductive choice for a romantic dinner.
  • Ultimate Sunday breakfast sandwich (March 30th 2010)
    I love eggs for breakfast, but is getting increasingly skeptic to bacon and eggs floating in fat. I have been conducting a few experiments to make an all-in-one solution, and one result is the ultimate Sunday breakfast sandwich.
  • White and dark chocolate mousse (April 17th 2010)
    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.
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Enjoy Food & Travel - main index 2006-2009

Baked puff pastry shells with fish (ball) stew

Tired and not in the mood to make advanced food, I tried to be innovative the other day. Baked puff pastry shells with fish(ball) stew was nearly a success. By preparing it a little different it will most certainly become one of my favourites.

I have no serious problems using pre made food in my cooking, but I always try to create my personal touch to it. Many products taste flat, but can be made excellent by adding the right amount of seasoning. This was the case with the canned Fishballs with lobster sauce manufactured by Swedish Abba Seafood AB.

Baked puff pastry shells with fish (ball) stew (Serves 2)

4 ready made puff pastry shells or vol-au-vents
1 can of Abbas "Fiskebullar i hummarsås"
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
Grated cheese

I had bought puff pastry shells of the ones my mother used to serve her delicious fish stew. If you are really smart you can make your own, or use ready made vol-au-vents instead. They will work equally well.

I opened the can of fish balls and had a taste of the content. It was salty enough, but it lacked the necessary balance to make it interesting. I picked out the fish balls, and placed them on the pastry shells and added some sweet chili sauce to the remaining stew. Instead of doing this directly I should have:
  • Pre baked the pastry shells in order to seal the pastry, avoiding it to get soggy when exposed to the sauce
  • Heated the content of the can and added the seasoning
  • Cracked an egg adding it to the mixture and some cream and cheese to make it thicker and less runny
This for the next time. By now I had placed the fish balls and stew delicately on the shells, poured the remaining stew with some chili over them. Then I sprinkled an generous portion of grated cheese over the stew. They were baked in a hot oven (200C / 400 F) until the sauce bubbled and the cheese was golden brown.

Do not misunderstand me, it tasted well, but the pastry shells had turned soggy and the sauce a little too runny to my taste, so I will make a few adjustments to recipe the next time, and see if it works. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rating Thon Polar Hotel - Tromsø, Norway

I attended a research conference in Tromsø, Norway, November 17th to November 19th. I stayed two nights at Thon Hotel Polar. Do find another hotel, if staying in Tromsø. It is simply not worth the price.

Rating Thon Hotel Polar: BBB (3,15 points)
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBB+
  • Room: BBB
  • Breakfast: BBB+
  • Facilities: BB
  • Price: BBB
Thon Hotel Polar is located in Grønnegata, in downtown Tromsø, within reach of all the city has to offer.

I was greeted by a nice and welcoming staff at the reception desk, at was given the keys to my room with no delay. Those serving in the breakfast room did their job efficiently, but lacked the warm welcoming attitude I appreciate as a guest.

Disappointing room standard at Thon Hotel Polar

I was given a very small single room with an equally small bathroom on the second floor facing the street. It had a neutral or rather boring decor brightened up by a few pieces of decorative art.

It had one narrow bed as well as a sofa and a desk leaving very little space for anything else. The TV was placed on the desk, making it very impractical to use as a working space.

The bathroom was tiny with little room for any personal belongings. There was a rack to hang your clothes but no closet to store extra luggage.

There were parquet flooring in the room and tiles on the bathroom floor and walls making it easy to clean.

There were minor needs of upgrading in the room, but the bathroom was in need of serious need of repair. The tiles had cracks or the lines between some of them had started to deteriorate. There were clear signs of wear and tear on the ceiling and wooden trims connecting walls to floors or ceiling.

Average breakfast buffet

The Thon Hotel Polar offered a breakfast buffet included in a fixed price. It was served in Egon, a adjoining restaurant. When staying in a hotel you learn to appreciate what is a premium breakfast, and you certainly learn what isn't. The buffet at Thon Hotel Polar was very average compared to the best I've been served.

This refers particularly to the selection. You had a basic selection of different foods, but you could not choose from several varieties of what you wanted. The range of bread was equally small, and I did not care much for the warm ingredients. You could also choose a small selection of healthy options as fruit, yogurt and cerals.

When I stayed at Thon Hotel Polar, I could choose from "boiled" bacon , mini sausages and scrambled eggs. The quality of the separate ingredients was not fully satisfactory to my taste.

Low in inhouse facilities
  • "Inhouse" restaurant Egon connected the lobby area. Average priced food, but horrendously expensive beverage. I paid close to NOK 90 (11 EUR) for a pint of beer!!
  • No exercise facilities, spa, or pool available
  • No rest area except a sofa in the reception
  • Extra PC in the lobby, free WI-FI throughout the hotel
  • Good hygiene and standard in the public areas.
Low value for money

I paid NOK 810 per night (101,6 EUR / 134,4 USD) per night, including breakfast. This may not be a high price, but I found the room at Thon Hotel Polar low value compared to the overall standard of the room and premises.


Thon Hotel Polar offers good location and decent service to those of you visiting Tromsø, Norway. My room was small, badly furnished and dated and bath / shower room was in need of serious renovation. Average breakfast and satisfactory for those of you that just want to eat, but it had not that little extra to those of use regarding the first meal of the day as a feast.

Thon Hotel Polar
Grønnegata 45
N-9008 Tromsø
Phone: +47 77 75 17 00
Fax: +47 77 75 17 10
See official website

See my room on this film clip posted on my Youtube account

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ishak Pasa Mosque and hamam, Istanbul

Just by our hotel we found the Ishak Pasha Mosque and hamam. The mosque is a very early Ottoman building dates back to 1482, just after the conquest of the city.

The Ishak Pasa Mosque

The Ishak Pasa Mosque is located in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, just outside the walls of the Topkapi Palace.

It is a small and very modest building with one dome covering an interior space only 75 square meters (807 square ft).

It is named after Ishak Pasha who was a Vizier of Sultan Bayezid II that commissioned the building.

The Ishak Pasa hamam

Just across the street for the small mosque you find a large derelict building.

It used to be the Ishak Pasa hamam or bath house that dates to the same period as the mosque, i.e. the late decades of the 15th century.

It is a remain of a complex around the mosque that also housed a madrasah or Koran school, that is long gone.

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Delta launch direct flights Oslo - New York March 2011

186 000 passengers traveled between Oslo and New York last year. 86 000 of them changed flights at another European airport. I was one of them. For those of us preferring a direct connection to the Big Apple, there is good news. Both Delta Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines will open direct flights from Norway to the US in 2011.

Delta Airlines will fly their Boeing 767-300 vessels from Oslo Airport from March 29th to October 28th. Whereas Scandinavian Airlines and Continental will fly to Newark International Airport, Delta will land at John F. Kennedy International Airport on New York's Long Island.

More New York stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

View NEW: All non-stop flights from Oslo Airport - December 2010 in a larger map

Rating Norwegian Air Shuttle flight Oslo-Tromsø

In November I have been flying Norwegian Air Shuttle twice. This up'n coming Norwegian budget air carrier offers travelers a wide range of domestic and international destinations. The air fare is decent, but what is included elsewhere, you often have to pay extra for as Norwegian passenger. So was the case when I flied from Oslo to Tromsø mid November, a distance that equals most flights from Oslo to northern European destinations in length.

  • DY248 Departure: November 17th 2010, 1:55 PM from Oslo Airport - Gardermoen. Arrival : Langnes Airport Tromsø 3:55 PM

  • DY253 Departure: November 21st 2010, 7:40 PM from Langnes Airport Tromsø. Arrival : Oslo Airport - Gardermoen, 9.40 PM
Check-in: BBBBB

Only hand luggage. Electronic self service easy both ways. Then directly to gate.

Departure: BBBB

Departure on time both ways.

Hospitality: BBBB

Nice efficient staff, managing the vessel with efficiency.

Service: BBBB

Good overall service. Serving started 30 minutes after the fasten seat belt sign had been switched off.

Complementary: N/A

Nor food nor drinks included in the price. Reasonably priced food and beverage available for sale.

Comfort: BBBB

Comfortable leg room in front of seat and width of seat, whether you are economy or full price passenger. Knees not touching pouch in the seat ahead.

Flying time: BBBB

Flying time within cockpit's estimate both ways.

Arrival: BBBB

Arrival a little before schedule.

Duty free goods: N/A

Domestic flight. No duty free goods offered.

Price: BBBB

Price: 1448 NOK (€ 181,45 / $ 242,15). Cheaper tickets will be available if booking early. This price is good compared to experienced travel value.

Rating the Norwegian Air Shuttle experience: BBBB (3,90 points)

Good travel value. Good punctuality, but no complementary food or drink at this reasonably long flight.

More on non-stop flights from Oslo and Tromsø
More on what is coming from Tromsø on Enjoy Food & Travel

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Musical folklore at Giritli Restoran, Istanbul

As we sat down at Giritli restoran to eat, a local folk music group appeared, went up to the upper floor and started playing. We were son intrigued that we immediately went up to watch. I picked up my camera and shot a film clip, later posted on my account on youtube.


Enjoy Food & Travel on YouTube - see story here

Seafood heaven at Giritli Restoran, Istanbul

Armada Hotel, our hotel in Istanbul, had an exquisite restaurant, where we enjoyed a great meal. If you wanted to dine elsewhere, the hotel recommended a few other restaurants. Giritli Restoran was just located close by, and one evening we decided to try their specialty - seafood. The food was awesome, and we found a lively, informal , and congenial atmosphere that included a loud and very live concert.

Rating the Giritli Restoran experience: BBBB+ (4,30 points)

  • Location: BBBB
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB
  • Service: BBBBB-
  • Food: BBBBB-
  • Beverage: BBBB
Giritli Restoran is located in a quaint wooden building by the water in Sultanahmet, the oldest part of Istanbul. This is an area with little public transportation, so the best option is to walk from Hagia Sophia, down the hill. Look at the map at the bottom of the page, as Giritli Restoran is not the easiest restaurant to find.

The inside of the restaurant is as nice as the exterior, inviting with white and pale yellow walls and large windows. The interior decoration is discreet but tasteful with old artifacts, photos and paintings.

It is furnished with dark wooden chairs and tables, elegantly dressed with white tablecloths, and cutlery, with good distance to neighbouring tables.

The staff at Giritli Restoran was inviting and polite, and offered great service. We did not have to study the menu, as we were offered a fixed menu consisting of assorted starters and the fish of our choice, so the ordering took very little time. We chose a bottle of wine and we were all set, ready to tuck into the food - and what food!

In order for us not to be idle, we were immediately served a small bowl of seafood salad with a type of pasta as another main ingredient. A salty, but not too intriguing culinary experience.

We did not have to wait long for our starters, and small white serving plates arrived at our table - MANY small serving plates, and on each a little delicacy to tuck into. Most was vegetarian, obvious to us what we ate, others were more difficult to explain what was.

This was the Turkish equivalent to the Libanese Meze, Italian Antipasti, and Spanish tapas, made from vegetables, olive oil and garlic as ingredient. A few of were based on fish or other seafood.

The appetizers could have been a meal in itself, as there were food in abundance, in fact so much that all three of us would have been filled up, if we had concentrated on the dishes. Sadly we had to leave them for the next dish to arrive.

We were served two small dishes between the meze and the main fish course. First a baked fish pie, deliciously crisp on the outside, and super creamy filling. Then a small fried squid arrived on our table, not perfectly prepared, in fact a little tough and rubbery.

The only choice we had was what fish to choose as a main course, and I do not recall exactly what I chose. The images brings all back to me, a whole fish fillet fried in butter with no other side dishes, and who would have needed more.

The fish was perfectly prepared, firm but still flaky, and well seasoned. The fact that it was not served with vegetables did not worry, as the meal, until then, had been packed with greens in different forms.

The meal was concluded with a sweet dessert, a cake seasoned with different exotic spices, with a distinct taste of cinnamon. As most of Turkish cakes, far too sweet for my taste.

Most people around us enjoyed a glass of raki and water to the food. We chose a good bottle of Turkish red wine to the fish.


For a fixed price, you go through a culinary journey at Giritli Restoran, with a wide range of dishes reflecting the rich Turkish cuisine. You are definitely in the Mediterranean, as you may indulge in mezzeh-style appetizers, fresh fish and seafood and good wine at a very low fixed price. This is definitely a place for an evening out and if you are lucky you'll experience the presence of a colourful music ensemble as we did.

Giritli Restoran
Keresteci Hakkı Sokak (Armada Otel Yanı) Cankurtaran / Ahırkapı
Phone: 0 212 458 22 70
See official website here (In Turkish)

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010

COMING UP: Brussels, Belgium December 2010

In December 2010 I will take my annual trip to Brussels Belgium. This is a city close to my heart, as I have lived there and visited the Belgian capital many times the last 15 years.

Having a Pre-Christmas journey to Belgium has become a ritual. This as a my good friend and Enjoy Food & Travel co-writer Ketil Zahl attends a meeting in NATO early December each year. This gives us an opportunity to indulge in Belgian beer and food during a weekend.

This year we will live at Hotel Stanhope by Palais Royal, one of the most highly rated and luxurious hotels in Brussels.

I am happy that we will visit in time for the Christmas Market at Grand Place.

So stay tuned for more bars, hotel, restaurants, sights, shopping and travel stories from Brussels, Belgium.

See earlier stories from Brussels on this map.

View Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2010 in a larger map