Saturday, March 12, 2011

Qatar Airways starts non-stop flights Oslo-Doha

Photo: Qatar Airlines at Manchester Airport by 54north
Qatar Airways will start non-stop flights from Oslo Airport to Doha October 5th 2011. This piece of news was annonunced by the company's CEO Akbar Al Baker during a press briefing at the Travel Fair, ITB in Berlin. This opens up a network of 100 international destinations from around the world for Norwegian travelers.
Duty free zone,  Doha International Airport by RoB
Oslo Airport has, until now, failed to attract foreign air carriers to open non-stop overseas flights from Norway.

Lately, several international airlines has shown its interest, resulting in non-stop flights to Bangkok, New York and Islamabad.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is also operating seasonal flights from Oslo to Dubai.

Qatar Airways will operate five flights a week from Oslo to Doha. The airline belongs to the top 6 awarded five stars by Skytrax.

The others ares:
We are looking forward to the 2011-2012 season, and will certainly check out the ticket prices when they are made available.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

CLOSED: Salumeria

Prosciutto di Parma affettato by Sun Taro
May last year I found that a small Italian deli had been opened in the old Bazaars surrounding Oslo Cathedral. It had been open for a year, without me discovering it. When passing on Tuesday I discovered that it had closed.

The mainstream Norwegian agricultural has been protected by government for decades. It has concentrated on competing with large scale producers in Europe. A small scale food production like ours, should, in my mind, diversify. Like the Italian and Spanish producers of cheese and cured meats.

As Norway is outside the common market, outrageous duties are charged on imported quality foods, as well as ordinary agricultural produce. This makes small delis like Salumeria struggle. My questions to the authorities is why importers of small quantities should pay the same duty as the large supermarket chains? There should be a graded duty system in place to help them survive.

It is most certainly our duty to help suppliers of foreign quality foods pull through. Without them, the Oslo culinary scene would be so much poorer. For Salumeria it is too late.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Bone-in rib steak or entrecote - a delicious cut of meat

Delicious, tender, marbled bone-in steak
This cut of meat, bone-in rib steak or entrecôte in French, is, according to many the very best cut of beef you can get. This as it is marbled with fat, thus remaining more moist and succulent than the fillet. The biggest problem concerning Norwegian entrecôte is whether the meat has been left to mature in order to get tenderized. My experience is that it has often been tough. Not the case with the cut we bought last weekend.

We went to my local supermarket. It offered different qualities, but my sister knew what to choose. The First Price brand is often considered to offer cheap and medium quality products. My sister had, however, tried the First Price entrecôte and found it, to her surprise, not only to be inexpensive (€17 per kilo), but also very tender.

I, personally, had my doubts, but as she was determined that it was her treat, I gave in.

Dinner take 1 - steaks

We bought dauphinois potatoes, fresh asparagus, onions and Bearnaise sauce and went home.

Entrecôte and my sister's fried onions
Believe it or not, the bone-in rib steak was delicately marbled with fat and surprisingly tender. We decided to help us to two 250 gram / 9 oz steaks, fried them in a very hot pan and allowed them to rest.

My sister prepared fried onions á la her late mother-in-law. She poured a few tbsp of oil in a very hot pan stirring constantly two finely sliced onions in the hot oil  then adding 1-2 tsp sugar. The onions turned brown and caramelized.  At the end of the frying time, she added a little hot water to soften the onions.

Another of her ideas was to add the excess hot brown butter to the Bearnaise sauce to get even more of that lovely flavours. It turned out to be a lovely dinner for two, enjoyed with a good bottle of Spanish red wine.

Dinner take 2 - roast

There were 1 kilo / 2,1 lb left for dinner on Sunday. I also had leftover  fried onions, asparagus to make a delicious creamed soup to serve as a first dish, and the second bunch of asparagus was steamed as those prepared the day before.

We decided to prepare the rest of the meat as a roast. I seasoned the roast, and sealed it in very hot butter. I then placed it in a medium hot oven (150C / 250F) for 50 minutes, took it out and allowed it to rest.

It had leftover potatoes as well, and they were baked with some cheese in the oven until the cheese was golden and the sauce started to bubble.

We found that this way to be perfect, as the roast had a delicious crisp crust and had remained red to pink and moist inside.

Dinner take 3 - TV dinner

I was left with around 200 grams / 7 oz of meat, some leftover asparagus and potatoes. I decided that the delicious meat should end up as a few TV-dinners.

I often use tin-foil portion trays in order to prepare dinners for myself for those busy weekday evenings. I took out two of them to prepare dinner for Monday and Tuesday.

This is what I used to make my two TV-dinners

200 grams leftover meat, sliced
2 slices of streaky bacon, diced
250 grams button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp leftover caramelized onions
4 leftover asparagus, sliced
4 tbsp leftover baked beans in tomato sauce
1 bag (20 cl / 6,5 fluid oz) brown gravy

I fried the bacon and meat in some hot butter, then adding the button mushrooms. When heated through and as mushrooms start to sweat,  add onions,  asparagus, tomato beans and gravy. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Pour in tin foil trays, half with stew, half leftover potatoes. Sprinkle cheese on potatoes. Allow to cool down. 

More steaks on Enjoy Food & Travel 

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Direct flight Oslo - Gotland opens June 25th

Photo: Historic North wall at Visby by Zeglarz

Visby on the Swedish Gotland island, is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Scandinavia. To visit the historic sight you may, this summer, fly Norwegian air carrier Widerøe, as it will run non-stop flights to Visby from June through August.

Photo: Widerøe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 by Alasdair McLellan
Gotland is a large island covering an area of 3,183.7 km2 (1,229.23 sq mi), and with a relatively population of 57 000. 22 000 of them live in Visby. 

It is a popular summer destination and tourism is one of the main sources of income for the Gotlanders. It has a rich history and breathtaking natural beauty to offer visitors most of whom are Swedes as the destination is less known to foreigners.

Vis MARCH 2011: All non-stop flights from Oslo Airport i et større kart