Saturday, January 14, 2012

Grocery shopping in Marrakech II - Acima Supermarket

Acima Supermarket is a fully modern food store with domestic and imported products
The Acima Supermarket is a proof of changing times in Marrakech. Guëliz, the modern part of the city, is home to many secularized Moroccans as well as French nationals and other tourists.

Buy what you need of couscous and other wheat products
I love visiting grocery shops wherever I go. The Acima was no exception, and when entering you might as well be in Europe or America.

Many of the products were either produced in Europe or on licence in Morocco.  

The products are partly standard European products, or Moroccan specialties produced by well known brands. You could, for example, get a mix for the famous Harira soup made by Knorr.

Other products were clearly Moroccan, as couscous and other wheat products that are staple foods of Morocco.  Many of the vegetables were also clearly local grown.

There is also a small section for wine, beer and liquor, products illegal according to Muslim law, and clearly there for the tourists using the supermarket. There is, interestingly enough, a considerable domestic wine production in Morocco, and many Moroccans drink wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks.

What to buy at Acima
Buitoni does not only produce pasta, but also light toast for your breakfast
The Smiling Cow is a well known dairy brand, here with an Arab  variety - processed cheese made from red cheese
Another cream cheese - Coeur du Lait, most probably a domestic dairy product
Small balls of sardines in tomato sauce

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia, Marrakech

Tall washingtonia palm trees in the enclosed courtyard.
Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia is a five star hotel located just a stone's throw away from the Koutoubia Mosque and Djemaa el Fna Square. We entered through the lobby and discovered an enclosed courtyard separating guests from the commotion on the streets outside. 

Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia is a seriously expensive place to stay in Marrakech. You will have to pay up to €400 per night for a regular double room, compared to the € 55 we paid for our very comfortable room at Riad Libitibitho. Here are a few snapshots from our visit to the hotel courtyard. 
The swimming pool where you may relax far away from the commotion outside, just a few yards away.
You can hide away from the scorching sun or even rain in one of the open seating areas by the swimming pool.  
Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia - interior design: Delicately decorated Moroccan style tiles
Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia -  interior design: An impressive Moroccan lantern
One pink rose bud on our lunch-time table
Lunch: Mexican style food served the Moroccan way at Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia
Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia
26 Rue De La Koutoubia
40000 Marrakech, Morocco
Visit the Hotels official website

Vis Marrakech on Enjoy Food & Travel 2010-2011 i et større kart

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Explore the city of Sitges, Catalonia, Spain

Vis Barcelona and Catalonia on Enjoy Food & Travel i et større kart
Explore bars, hotels, restaurants, and sights of Sitges, a famous holiday resort south of Barcelona on this map. By zooming out you will also see stories from Barcelona and Montserrat. Enjoy!
Here is a clip from one of the fiestas of Sitges I attended in June 2009

Rating Taberna de la Puerto, Sitges Spain

Less is more - here is the proof: White bread with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil
If you care to take a 15-20 minute walk out of Sitges city centre you will find yourself at the Marina de Aiguadolc. Here you are far removed from the hectic life in the summer resort. Still this tranquil area has a great deal to offer as nice hotels, a beach and a few decent restaurants. Taberna del Puerto is definitely one of the best in the area.

Rating Taberna del Puerto, Sitges: BBBB (4,20 points)
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBBB
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB
  • Food: BBBBB
Delicious sausages with green peppers
Marina de Aiguadolc is located a 15-20 minute walk north of the city. The most scenic way is to follow the coastline, ending on a cliff overlooking the marina, and from here you’ll have to climb down a steep flight of stairs until you get down.

If you are in any way in bad shape, I will recommend you to talk the slightly longer walk around the hill to get down to the marina area. (See the map below)

The area around the Marina de Aiguadolc is a charming miniature village with narrow alleys. Along the waterfront you have a number of bars, snackbars or restaurants to fit any budget.

The Taberna de Puerto is not the cheapest option by the Marina, but is by far expensive for anyone travelling on a decent budget.

Taberna de Puerto is located on both sides of the small street running along the Marina de Aiguadolc. It has a light and nice interior. You can be seated either inside, or outside but still under a roof.

We chose the table by the street. This table did not provide full comfort as there was little room around the table.

Service: No remarks at all. Nice staff, orders taken, and food served promptly.

Delicious cold Vichyssoise
Before our meal we were served fresh white bread with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. I have no idea how to recreate that same delicious Mediterranean experience using the same ingredients at home, but you can’t.

At Taberna del Puerto the bread was so deliriously crispy, and the flavours of olive oil, garlic and sun ripened tomatoes went into a higher unity. A small and very easy starter to make at home, but that Spanish taste is completely impossible to duplicate. 

Then I ordered a bowl Vichyssoise, a cold soup made from white wine, onions, leeks, potatoes, and cream  topped with deliciously crispy croutons.

The Vichyssoise at Taberna del Puerto was perfect. Creamy, slightly bitterness combined with a distinct aroma of leeks.

Taberna del Puerto - exterior
Then I ordered a colourful dish made with small green peppers, fiery Spanish sausages and potatoes fried in olive oil. Much, much flavour and very pungent indeed. All ingredients were slightly brown and crispy and the olive oil had been coloured by the pimenton found in the sausages. 

I highly recommend Taberna del Puerto for its food, at least if what we were served reflected the overall standard of the kitchen, and I sincerely believe so.

Taberna del Puerto is located a good walk away from the city, but dining at the Marina is a pleasant and calm experience.   

Vis Bars and restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel 2012 i et større kart

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Asian style salmon tartar

This little clip from YouTube demonstrates an alternative, and equally easy way to prepare Asian style salmon tartar. Ingredients as ginger, lime, chili, coriander and sesame oil reflects Thai or Vitenamese cuisine. This recipe is definitely something to try, but do adjust the amount of chili to the pallet of your guests.  

Salmon tartar with capers

This Salmon tartar with capers is probably one of the easiest, and by far one of the best starters I have ever made. I found the recipe on the Norwegian website
To make salmon tartar for 8 you'll need:
650 grams / 1,3 lb of raw sushi quality salmon, finely chopped
2 small red onions, finely chopped
50 grams  / 2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
75 grams / 3 oz capers
5 cl / 2 fluid oz extra virgin olive oil

8 small Russian blinis
Sour cream
100 gr / 4 oz salmon roe

Be sure you get high quality salmon, I use Norwegian sushi quality Salma salmon.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 8 equally sized burger shaped tartars. I placed a custom made open metal cylinder on a dinner plate and shaped the tartar by pressing the mix into the mould, then removing the cylinder.

Spread sour cream on the blinis, and then garnish with salmon roe. Place on top of the tartar.

Serve immediately.

Other salmon recipes on Enjoy Food & Travel
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This blog post contains information on products or specific brands. Our staff will ensure our readers that we have no commercial interests in, or are paid to promote these or other products, brands, or labels.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Almond Truffles - Moroccan "Zellige" cookie variation

I found the site Here you get to learn how to cook real Moroccan food, and I guarantee you will be intrigued by the taste of the Maghreb! 
In my quest for Moroccan sweets I found this amazing demonstration on how to make Moroccan style truffles with almond filling. The cook, Alia,  used orange blossom water as flavouring, but other aromas can be used with equally good results. This recipe is certainly one to try. It looks intriguing!!!!

I will certainly use more time browsing through the site www.cookingwithalia to seek inspiration for my Moroccan cooking.

Moroccan chocolates from Pralinor

Pralinor - Moroccan made chocolate pralines
One of the food stuffs you may bring home from an area outside the EU / EEA is chocolate, as these chocolates I brought back from Marrakech, Morocco.

We found the Pralinor outlet by the Acima Supermarket in Güeliz, the new part of the city. It was one of very few shops open in a mall clearly hit by the recession.

The Pralinor shop looked one of the similar shops in Europe. Here you could pick your own basket and pay per weight or buy a ready packed one, as I did.

There is very little on Pralinor on the net, except one Pralinor shop in Casablanca where they market their products as Pralines Belges. On the Casablanca site the shop is described as
"Pralinor is the specialist in candied chocolates! For a gift or to treat yourself, do not hesitate to push open the doors of this chocolate maker. A large selection of goodies is proposed: rochers, truffles, chocolates sugar free, fruit confections, nougats and sugared almonds – there is something for every palate!"
The pralines were partly made of dark, milk and even white chocolate with different filling. Did they taste good? I found the chocaltes sweeter and harder than those made in Europe. This is my general experience from Morocco as well as Turkey, where they tend to sweeten their pastry and chocolate products more than in Europe.

But all the goodies from Pralinor was consumed, one by one, and now I have only this photo to remember them by.
Pralines from Pralinor were partly made of dark, milk and even white chocolate with different filling
More chocolate stories on Enjoy Food & Travel  

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We declare: Enjoy Food & Travel has no commercial interests in products or brands

This blog post contains information on products or specific brands. Our staff will ensure our readers that we have no commercial interests in, or are paid to promote these or other products, brands, or labels.

Monday, January 09, 2012

CRJ-700 may replace Boeing 737-300 on Lufthansa flights from Stavanger

These Lufthansa Boeing 737 will disappear from Sola Airport . Photo: Arpingstone
- 2000 fewer seats each week on non-stop flights to Frankfurt

According to the preliminary flight plan for Lufthansa, all Boeing 737-300 aircrafts operating direct flights from Stavanger Airport to Frankfurt will be replaced by the much smaller CRJ-700. This will mean more than 2000 fewer seats each week, if the proposed flight plan is implemented. 
The official explanation is that Lufthansa are taking all of their 33 Boeing 737-300 planes out of traffic, leaving them with no other choice than replacing them with the much smaller CRJ-700. This will particularly effect economy class travelers, as fewer low price tickets will be available on the smaller jets. 
Lufthansa is currently operating three daily flights between Sola Airport, Stavanger and Frankrfurt International Airport

    Danish Air Transport starts non-stop flights Stavanger - Florø

    Danish Air Transport TAR-72 OY-RUB in Düsseldorf International Airport by Tm.
    Danish Air Transport (DAT) starts direct daily flights from Stavanger to Florø January 16th.

    Danish air carrier DAT has started several direct domestic flights to smaller Norwegian airports lately. The city of Florø has already got flights to Bergen and Oslo operated by DAT.

    The direct flights to Stavanger will connect the Norwegian Oil capital to another key location for the national petroleum industry.  DAT will also start flights from Rygge Airport to Bergen and Trondheim January 9th. 2012.

    The flights will leave Stavanger Airport each morning and returning flight from Florø will leave each afternoon.

    Latest stories on DAT on Enjoy Food & Travel

    Sunday, January 08, 2012

    Pammakaristos Church - Istanbul

    The victorious Christ - one of the magnificent golden mosaics that has withstood the centuries
    Pammakaristos Church in Istanbul is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. Hidden behind the rather gray facade is an 850 year old art treasure.

    Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos - exterior
    December 23rd 2009 we decided to take a ferry from central Istanbul up the Golden Horn to Balat, the area that once was the home of the majority of the city’s Jewish population.

    There we visited the ancient Ahrida Synagogue, and St. Stephens Church. Then we looked for the Pammakaristos Church. It was not easy to find, but our quest were worthwhile.  

    Pammakaristos Church, or the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos (Greek: Θεοτόκος ἡ Παμμακάριστος, "All-Blessed Mother of God") was built in the 12th century.

    Byzantine masonry
    It was used as a Christian house of worship until it was converted into Fethiye Mosque (Turkish: Fethiye Camii, "mosque of the conquest") in after the Muslims occupied the city.

    Today the Pammakaristos Church is a museum and one of the most famous Byzantine churches in Istanbul, Turkey.

    The exterior og the Pammakaristos Church is not very impressive, but rather grey and small. You expect the same to go on when you enter. The fact is, however, that the Pammakaristos church is highly ornate, packed with fantastic gilded mosaics. The small and narrow rooms are highlighted by this wonderful works of art, that even today glitter in the subtle lighting. 

    The mosaics of the Pammakaristos Church
    Central dome of the parekklesion with Christ Pantocrator with the prophets of the Old Testament
    Christ Pantocrator (detail)
    Mosaic of Saint Anthony
    St. Gregor the Illuminator (top)
    Mosaics of the magnificent Pammakaristos Church
    Other sights of Istanbul, Turkey 
    Location of the Pammakaristos Church

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