Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tuesday treat

It is not often you are offered a culinary treat on a Tuesday, but I tucked into the most delicious Italian Salami by the the start of this week.

I have spoiled my nephews rotten with good food, and consequently most them are slowly converting into passionate foodies. As Knut, my sisters youngest, attended a research conference in Verona in Italy, last autumn, he had a great time visiting restaurants and gourmet food shops in between lectures.

Photo: Beautiful Verona by Tango 7417
And he was eager to share his experiences through the products he purchased. He gave me a large bag of porcini mushrooms, so revered by the Italians, and a chunk of matured parmesan cheese.

He has, since then, ran out of delicacies, except one vacuum packed piece of meat bought in an expensive deli, and I was thrilled when he asked me to share the contents of it.

Neither him, nor I were convinced that it had kept well, in spite of being refrigerated since September, but as we opened the plastic wrapped meat we found that the rich Italian salami  resting inside had remained perfectly fresh. I took out my electric slicing machine, and started the process to create as thin slices as possible.

The salami was rather soft, making it harder to get that supreme Italian quality, but we arranged the precious salami on a glass tray, took meat, white bread and truffle oil to the dinner table and tucked into this treat.

I dare say, it was a greasy experience, but that fat made it so much better, soft and nearly creamy. The salt content was low, and this enhanced the meat flavour. The soft rustically torn bits of soft baguette and rich scented oil worked perfect with the salami. We opened up a bottle of red Pinot Noir, a light wine, and  presto - the tantalizing Tuesday tasty treat was a success.

I am shamed to say that we ate up all the salami, as can be said of all good treats - easy come, easy go or eaten!!    

Other stories on ham, salami and such delicacies   

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DAT starts direct flights Stavanger - Skien

Photo: DAT-plane  in Düsseldorf Int'l Airport by Brian
Danish Air Transport is a small air carrier operating from Vamdrup Kolding Airport.

DAT has a fleet of 9 planes flying from regional and smaller airports in Denmark and Norway.

DAT started flights From Bergen to Skien Airport, February 2011, and has announced that it will start flights from Stavanger Airport March 7th 2011.

See non-stop flights operating from Bergen Airport on separate map

See other new non-stop flights launched from Norway launched in March 2011

More stories on Stavanger on Enjoy Food & Travel

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jardins de Koutoubia, Marrakech

Strange flowering tree by the Koutoubia Mosque
Les Jardins de Koutoubia is the park area surrounding Koutoubia,  the largest and oldest mosque in Marrakech. It is a great escape from the noise and fumes of the roaring traffic near by.
Washingtonia palm, Mosque in the background
Shade under orange trees
Marrakech is an extraordinary noisy and polluted city. The roars and fumes from old cars and mopeds often feel overwhelming.

There are not many green lungs in central Marrakech to retreat to. One is the gardens surrounding the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque. One part, stretch west of the mosque, and another south.

The west garden seems older than the southern. The trees are larger and it seems less planned. Tall washingtonia and date palms are competing with the mighty Koutoubia.

Many plants and trees are found elsewhere in the Mediterranean as olives, orange trees with ripe fruits in abundance. Then you see trees and plans completely new to you.

If you enter the western part of the garden, you are moving towards the Hivernage district and the Mamounia Hotel, where Winston Churchill stayed and called "the most lovely spot in the whole world."

He spent many winters at La Mamounia painting the landscape  and the Atlas Mountains  and Churchill and Roosevelt met here for the Casablanca Conference in 1943.

So when you are getting sick and tired of the roaring traffic boom, you are well advised to retreat to the Koutoubia Gardens for some peace and quiet, before returning to the charming commotion of the Medina.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

March 2011: New direct flights from Norway

March 2011: Delta Airlines will start non-stop flights from Oslo to New York
Continental Airlines has, until now, been the only air carrier flying non-stop Oslo New York. In March both Scandinavian Airlines and Delta Airlines will start flights from Oslo to Newark Liberty and John F. Kennedy International Airports. Here are what other flights that will start next month.

Bergen Airport:
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Prague (March 1st 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Paris-Orly (March 3rd 2011)  
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Stockholm Arlanda (March 27th 2011)
  • Widerøe: Skien Airport (March 2011)
  • Skyways: Stockholm Arlanda (March 2011) 
See all non-stop flights to Bergen Airport here

Bodø Airport
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Bardufoss (March 28th 2011)
See all non-stop flights to Bodø Airport here

Oslo Airport:
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Belgrade (March 2nd 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Cyprus Larnaca (March 5th 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Malta (March 5th 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Palma de Mallorca (March 27th 2011)
  • Scandinavian Airlines: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow (March 27th 2011) 
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Pisa Tuscany (March 28th 2011)
  • Delta Airlines: John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York N.Y. (March 29th 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Split, Croatia (March 31st 2011)
  • Scandinavian Airlines: Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark N.J. (Late March 2011)
See all direct flights from Oslo Airport here

Rygge Airport:
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Tenerife (March 3rd 2011 - will only run in March) 
See all direct flights from Rygge Airport here

Stavanger Airport:
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Gran Canaria (March 5th 2011 - will only run in March) 
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Berlin-Schönefeld (March 6th 2011)
  • DAT: Skien Geiteryggen (March 7th 2011) 
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Nice (March 27th 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Warsaw (March 28th 2011)
  • Skyways: Stockholm Arlanda (March 2011)

  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Salzburg (March 26th 2011)
See all non-stop flights from Stavanger Airport here 

Tromsø Airport
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: London Gatwick (March 5th 2011 - will only run in March)  
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Alta (March 28th 2011)
See all direct flights from Tromsø Airport here 

Trondheim International Airport
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Gran Canaria (March 5th 2011)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle: Nice (March 27th 2011)
  • Lufthansa: Frankfurt am Main (March 2011)
  • Skyways: Stockholm Arlanda (March 2011)
  • Widerøe: Kvernberget Airport (March 2011)
See all direct flights from Trondheim airport here

Skyways starts non-stop flights to Stockholm Arlanda from three regional airports March 2011

Vis FEBRUARY 2011: All non-stop flights from Stavanger Airport Sola i et større kart

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moroccan beer

Cafe de l'Atlas, Guëliz where you can enjoy a cold beer  - inside!
Even though Morocco is a Muslim country, does not mean that those of us that like a good pint of beer have to stay on the "wagon." There are domestic beer available at reasonable prices. Beer production is relatively new to Morocco as it was introduced by the French as late as the 20th century. Today, Société des Brasseries du Maroc oversees the production and distribution.
A good Morrocan light beer
Casablanca Lager
In many Muslim countries alcohol consumption is severely restricted or even banned. Not so in Morocco, but you have to know where to get it.

First and foremost - ordinary cafés or bars do not server beer or wine, but coffee, mint tea, juices or mineral water. There are a few exceptions. In the Medina you can get alcoholic beverages in Café Arabe and in Guëliz you can get wine, beer and spirits at Grand Cafe et Restaurant de l'Atlas.

The latter has a grand name, but that is it! I said outside and ordered a beer, but was immediately asked to move inside, if I expected to get a cold beer.

The air inside was thick with Morrocan tobacco smoke, and the clientèle looked rather scruffy, compared to those drinking their coffee outside. I was served a cold bottle of Bière de Prestige, a good pilsener style brew - perfect to quell you thirst in the hot weather.

This was one out of two domestic brews I tasted during my Moroccan vacation.

The second was a lager manufactured in Casablanca, and bearing the name of this major Moroccan city. I enjoyed it to a delicious meal at Villa Flore, an enclosed Riad and exclusive restaurant within the Medina. It was a little darker and had more character than the light Bière de Prestige, that is a more suitable to drink as a refreshment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An excellent taste of toasted onion

Help! I am running out of this!!
I bought one box of Victoria Taylor's Toasted Onion Herbs Seasoning at Milk & Honey in Salem MA. If I had know how excellent it was, I would have bought two or even three. Now I am sadly running out of this delicious spice mix.

Milk and Honey Green Grocer's, Salem MA
Food shops as Milk & Honey Green grocer's in Salem MA are the complete counterpart of the large American supermarkets. Instead of a large number of medium quality products, you may pick from locally produced vegetables, and a wide range of exclusive imported and domestic products.

I could (sadly) not bring home produce, dairy products or meats, due to the long journey and mutually restricting international rules between the US and the European Union.

Seasoning, however, is a good idea. I found one (or rather two) small boxes containing spices with salt. Besides the Victoria Taylor's Toasted Onion Herbs Seasoning, the other contained the hot Smokey Paprika Chipotle mix.

As they both salt, you can add them directly to the food. My favourite use for the Victoria Taylor's Toasted Onion Herbs Seasoning is to add it directly to unsalted butter to substitute sauce to roasted meats or spreading on white bread for the most delicious, hot toasted onion bread.

Sadly I will not return to the US in more than a year. I certainly will return to Salem, in order to purchase more Victoria Taylor's Toasted Onion Herbs Seasoning.

See the Victoria Gourmet Website here

More spices and seasoning stories on Enjoy Food & Travel