Friday, May 06, 2011

A New York State dinner party

Chicken breasts ready to be prepared
During my visit to Port Jervis, NY, my cousin and host prepared a dinner party in my honour. Finger food, mussels and chicken cordon bleu - dishes I could have chosen myself.
Finger food

Sliced cheese and pepperoni sausage to be served
We were served gin and tonic before dinner, and my cousin carol had finger food in abundance to be enjoyed to the drinks.

I love finger food, and you may serve them before a meal, as with my cousin Carol, or just serve them in a cocktail party. You can use a wide range of different dishes.

First she took out a box of Cohens frozen filled pastries consisting containing Garlic Potato Puffs, Mini Beef Franks, Spinach and Potato Puffs, Spicy Beef Turnovers, Beef and Pepper Pockets. All prepared according to Jewish food laws.

To add more choice to the the drinks she arranged sliced cheese and delicious Italian pepperoni sausage on a crystal tray serving them with crackers.

More finger treats - read full story here
George's homemade mussels
Mussels

One specialty of George, cousin Carol's husband, is mussels. I was given a small taste as he prepared them, and it was delicious.

Mussels have a special taste that it is hard to be indifferent to. You either love or hate this seafood treat. I love mussels, but I am hesitate to harvest them myself, as they may be toxic during the summer season where I live.

I do not know George's recipe, but his dish was based on tomatoes and onions. Other way to prepare mussels is with white wine, garlic, and cream. I have enjoyed this in Belgium where moules frites is a national dish.

George's mussels were served as an appetizer, whereas Moules Frites is served as a main course with French fries.

Escargot - a great nibble!! - read full story here

Chicken Cordin Bleu sizzling in the pan
Chicken Cordon Bleu

I love Chicken Cordon Bleu. Breaded chicken breasts filled with mustard, sliced cheese and ham.

This dish is easy to make. You may find my recipe for this dish here.

George and Carol had and industrial amount of chicken to prepare and the chicken turned out perfect.

Schnitzel Cordon Bleu – variations over a theme - read full story here

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Royal Palace, Brussels

The main facade of the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Brussels is located half way between Grand Place and the European quarter. The building is massive and fully comparable to other royal residences in Europe. The grounds, however, are very restricted - just a small rectangular garden between the street and the massive complex.
One of the side wings
Palais Royal in Brussels is the residence of King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium. The oldest part of the current complex is around 200 years old, but what you see today was constructed around 1900 during the reign of king Leopold II.

He is responsible for the hideous Palais de Justice you can see from much of the city and other monumental buildings in the Belgian capital.

The massive building face a small park with neatly trimmed shrubbery. On the other side of the busy road you find the large Brussels Park, that was a hunting ground of the former palace. 

The current palace is built on the site of the former palace of the dukes of Brabant. It was a very impressive building dating back to the 11th century and was an integral part of the fortifications of the city.

The site of these palaces is called Coudenberg, a small hill overlooking the city.  The dukes of Brabant built up an impressive palace from the 11th century, and it was destroyed in a fire in 1731.
Palace of Coudenberg in 1659


Vis Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2010 i et større kart

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Two terrible products

I am not into home made foods as many thinks. After a day at work I often look through grocery's shelves,  refrigerators or freezers looking for at least something decent or if I am lucky, something very good. These last days I've tried one bad, and one even worse food product, and the latter was supposed to be good for you, as well.

BAD: Kystens fiskegrateng by Findus


Norwegian Findus produce frozen foods often made with fish.
Kystens fiskegrateng contains 10% Alaska Pollock
One of the Norwegian staple dishes is fish gratin, a delicious treat when homemade,  an oven dish made from fish and noodles in a bechamel sauce topped with cheese.

I picked a package of  Findus Kystens fiskegrateng, the cheapest of the ready made gratins priced at less than 20 NOK (3,20 EUR) for 450 grams (roughly 1 lb).

If I had not added cheese as topping it would have not tasted much.

Bland and boring white sauce with too much over cooked pasta and too little fish. It is a great comfort that I paid so little, as this was not a tasty treat but mere stomach fodder.

Stay off!! Kystens fiskegrateng is boring, boring, boring!!!

WORSE: Nutrilett Creamy Tomato Soup

Me after a week with Nutrilett creamy tomato soup
I am slightly obese, and know that I should loose weight in order to stay healthy. The Nutrilett diet products are supposed to substitute one or several of daily meal.s The creamy tomato soup comes in packages of five and  a 20 cl / 6 fluid oz serving contains around 115 calories. It costs 60 NOK (€8,80) per package.

I decided to give them a try. A soup is a decent way to end a day, and I bought a package.

What a waste of money!

Nutrilett creamy tomato soup IS THE WORST product I have tasted in a very long time. Many of us think that food (and even diet food) should taste good.

The Nutrilett creamy tomato soup is based on a powder dissolved in boiling water and whisked into a thick soup. It was creamy enough yes, and the colour was good too.

If a product tastes little or nothing.  You may  try to swallow it down, but Nutrilett creamy tomato soup  is a very, very bland product. No good saltyness, no balancing sweetness and even no acidity.

You are recommended to eat the stuff as some or all meals for three weeks.

THAT WOULD HAVE DRIVEN ME MAD!

Thanks, but no thanks. I'd better find something else that works. I will consider whether I will donate the four remaining bags for charities or throw them in the bin. I would really hesitate to use them in other foods. If you would like to try, do so, but I have warned you!

Even a salad dish tastes better.

Other healthier and tastier food on Enjoy Food & Travel  
  

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Winter season 2011: New destinations in Egypt



As the political situation in Egypt returns to normal, tour operators are opening up access to this beautiful winter destination. The Norwegian charter operator Ving is offering new resorts in Egypt for the winter season 2011. Marsa Alam and Port Ghalib along the Red Sea are ready to recieve Norwegian guests.
Marsa Alam (Arabic: مرسى علم‎)

Marsa Alam is located on the western shore of the Red Sea. It is becoming a popular  tourist destination and development following the opening of Marsa Alam International Airport in 2001.

Here the Arabian Desert meets the Red Sea offering lush vegetation consisting of palm trees, mangroves and a beautiful sea coasts fringed with barrier coral reefs.  Marsa Alam is a perfect for scuba divers with its numerous and unspoilt diving sites both along the coast and offshore where you may spot spinner dolphins, dugongs and hammerhead sharks

Marsa Alam is also close to Emerald Mines and the a Temple dedicated to Seti I at Khanais.

At Marsa Alam you may choose from 10 different hotels in different price-classes.

See all hotels offered by Ving at Marsa Alam. 



Port Ghalib


Port Ghalib is located around 30 km (19 miles) north of Marsa Alam.It is a smaller ,  relatively newly built resort located around a luxurious marina. You may take a stroll along the beach, or dive in the Red Sea.

Port Ghalib offers a number of restaurants and cafés with a contemporary ambiance, and it is a rery child- and family friendly resort. 

Here you may stay at three hotels of different classes as  Crowne Plaza Resort Sahara Sands/Oasis shown on this film clip from YouTube.

See the other hotel offered by Ving at Port Ghalib




Other stories from North Africa and the Middle East  

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sanguine Brasserie Operaen, Oslo

 
If you cannot get a ticket to a performance at the new Norwegian opera house, it is still worth a visit as one of the new landmarks of Oslo. When you have walked on and over this this snow white structure, it is a good idea to try a meal at the Sanguine Brasseri located in the opera foyer. A little pricey, maybe, but absolute one pf the better meals of 2011.
Rating Sanguine Brasserie Operaen: BBBBB- (4,59 points)
  • Location: BBBBB
  • Service: BBBBB-
  • Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB+
  • Food: BBBBB
  • Beverage: BBBB
Sanguine Brasseri enjoys the prime location within the Oslo's new opera house. It is located a short walk away from Oslo Central Station and it rests, like an iceberg, on the water creating a new artificial coastline. The design is made by the world famous Snøhetta architects that created the new library of Alexandria in Egypt and takes part in the reconstruction of the 9/11 site on Manhattan.

The building is made from white Carrara marble, and you may walk up to the top admiring the towers and roofs of the city. Do bring your sun glasses, as the light is strongly reflected from the stone.

Sanguine Brasserie is located in the opera foyer. Here you may visit the bar to have a drink, or you may be seated for a meal from an informal and modern menu.

You are offered great service from a professional staff, taking orders and serving you without any delay.

You are seated on modern white metal chairs by tables elegantly set for your meal. The chairs were slightly uncomfortable, and all shining white furniture in the equally white interior may feel chic, but also cold. All this white has been contrasted by the enormous walkways up to the different levels of the huge opera.

I ordered Skagen salad on sourdough bread with red beets, shallots and fried capers. If you thought that open sandwich would be a teaser to a slightly overweight person like me, think again. This dish was a full meal on itself. It was served on a large white plate. The bread was completely hidden under a larger serving of deliciously crispy fresh lettuce and a large heap of salad made with prawns, onions, mayonnaise, red beetroot and capers. The two latter are not present in a traditional Skagen salad, but these additions made the sandwich even better.

The amount of mayonnaise was small, and the other ingredients were present in abundance, making it into a rather healthy meal. The sweetness of the shallots and beetroot well balanced by the savory prawns and capers. All deliciously fresh providing the perfect texture. I found the presence of the fried capers intriguing as they released deep salty aromas with every crunch.

And what to drink? I chose a pint of cold beer, but a glass of cold white wine would have worked equally well.

This is certainly not the last time I will take a Saturday lunch at Sanguine Brasserie. In spite of it being a little pricey, you are bound to be happy when you leave. I and my company chose three different dishes, and all were thrilled by the quality of the meal.

Address:
Sanguine Brasserie
Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1
0150 Oslo
www.operaen.no‎