Friday, April 27, 2012

Italian toast

Italian toast - a delicious, easy and lazy meal perfect after a day work
Post working day dinner means lazy food, and Italian toast is the simplest meal ever. Made from bread, pre made sauces, sliced ham, and grated cheese, it takes minutes to assemble. 
To prepare two delicious Italian toasts you'll need: 
  • Four slices of bread, toasted
  • 6 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 4 thick slices of boiled ham 
  • Grated cheese, as much or little you crave for
  • 8 tbsp ready made bechamel 
Two Italian toasts ready to be eaten
Pre heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) 
Place two slices of bread on an oiled baking tray. Use fine bread or whole grain as a healthier alternative. 
Pour tomato sauce on the bread, place sliced ham over sauce and ad cheese as topping. I used Barilla sauce with ricotta and mozzarella, but any sauce will do.

My choice of sauce. Photo:
Place second slice of bread on top. Pour bechamel on top of toast, and add more cheese as topping. 
You can make your own bechamel or use a pre made sauce. I chose Dolmio bechamel sauce for lasagna.

Place toast in the oven and bake until cheese is golden.

Serve immediately by itself or with a fresh salad.

More toasts and croques on Enjoy Food & Travel
We declare: Enjoy Food & Travel has no commercial interests in products or brands

This 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.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Call of prayer from Koutoubia Mosque

Here is a video encapsulating the magic of the call of prayer from Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, as heard from the gardens of the Koutoubia Gardens hotel.
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. There we enjoyed a great meal on our last day of our stay in January 2011. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Koutoubia Mosque - Marrakech

The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque is 69 meters tall
If there is a trademark of Marrakech it has to be the Koutoubia Mosque. It is by far the oldest and largest mosque in the city dating back over 800 years.
The Koutoubia with the Atlas mountains in the background
It is funny to see the minarets in Marrakech, they all look alike. My idea is that most, if not all are modeled after the Koutoubia Mosque.

The Koutoubia has been the model of two famous buildings the famous  Giralda tower of the cathedral in Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat, and has influenced buildings further away. Some has even claimed that from Spain, the Koutoubia has influenced thousands of church towers in Spain and Eastern Europe. Intriguing.....

The Koutoubia was built in the 12th century, during the reign of Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur. You can see the beautiful minaret from all over the city, and the view from the Djemaa el Fna square is magnificent, with palms and other trees making a green line along the road down to the tower.

Koutoubia seen from Djemaa el Fnaa
It is a pity that we are not allowed to enter, as all are closed for us infidels. I would have loved to visit the Koutoubia, as all holy buildings are so important for the culture. We had to take stroll and watch the grandness of the minaret from the outside.

It is magic to experience the Koutoubia at night when the minaret is flooded in light, and at dawn at dusk when the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer. I do not know whether the muezzin at the Koutoubia has a priority, but as one starts the songe, all the others join in. Just then you are far from Europe.

More mosques here on Enjoy Food & Travel  

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lazy Sunday chicken

                           Chicken seasoning and bag bought at Scituate Market
I always buy seasoning when I visit destinations outside Europe. Last fall I roamed through the shelves of Scituate Market looking for cooking flavours. I chose a few McCormick Bag'n Season, including this "Original Chicken". This Sunday I made a very lazy chicken for my friend Ketil.
Lazy Sunday chicken, what could be easier. My chicken was less lazy than it could be, as I chose to remove the carcass ending up with boneless drumsticks and breasts. To make it easier, you can easily cut out the breasts and drumsticks or just divide the chicken in two halves and roast them on the bone.
Lazy chicken with baked vegetables
If you do not have Bag'n Season (as most have not been doing the grocery in the US), just use a roasting bag and your favourite seasoning.

I cut open the bag, folded it out. As a bed for the lazy chicken I poured 1/2 kilo (1,1 lb) "lapskaus blanding", i.e. a mix frozen diced potatoes, carrots and leeks on the bottom of the roasting bag. This mix is used to make lapskaus a Norwegian meat and vegetable stew, but is delicious as baked or fried root vegetables.
The Bag'n Season also contained a bag of seasoning. I poured a little olive oil on the chicken to make the seasoning stick. Then I placed the chicken in the bag and sealed it. I made three incision in the bag. Then I placed the bag in a low oven (100 degrees Celsius / 215 degrees Fahrenheit), and baked for six hour.

The juices from the vegetables and chicken made the dish moist and delicious. In spite of the low effort in its preparation it was delicious and worthy a formal Sunday dinner.

More long roast recipes:  
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.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SPECIAL RECOMMENDATIONS: Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel, Cuzco - Peru

Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel - exterior
I did not book our stay at the Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel in Cuzco at random. My sister stayed there last Christmas and loved this hotel and praised its generous breakfast included in the price. That made our choice easy.
Rating Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel, Cuzco Peru: BBBB (4,12 points)
  • Location: BBBB+
  • Service: BBBBB
  • Room: BBBBB
  • Breakfast: BBBB+
  • Facilities: BB+
  • Price: BBBB
Lower section of Saphi street, main square in background
 The Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel enjoys a great location in central Cuzco, just a few blocks from the city's cathedral and historic center.

The colonial style building seem, as many others found in this city,  to have an ancient Inca foundation. The base is made up from delicately carved stones.

The staff at the Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel was great, in spite of the fact that we did not speak Spanish, we were given great service, both at the reception and in the breakfast room.

Living space with quipu decoration and stone walls
We stayed in room 212, a suite with a spacious living room, bedroom and bathroom decorated in modern comtemporary style.

The living room has a small modern table and chairs, and a small leather sofa and coffee table, perfect to relax after a busy day. The back wall of the living room is made up by a massive rustic stone wall.

The adjoining white wall has a large quipu, an Inka document made with knots, and there is a small flat screen TV, one out of two in the suite.

The biggest double bed escapes the angle of my camera
The bedroom had the biggest bed I have ever seen, more than big enough for two people. It provided excellent comfort and had the most delicious white crisp bed linnen, and if you was during night you could cover yourself with the warmth of pure baby alpacca wool blankets.

In room 212 at Tierre Viva Saphi Hotel there was an open wardrobe providing storage not quite sufficient for two travelers,  but close.  There was also a safe to guard the essential passport and credit cards.

Bath room: washing area filled with our stuff
The beautiful bathroom had been renovated up to a high standard with new stone floor and tiled walls.

It had a bath tub, as well as a shower area  and a generous space for a sink and storage for all that toiletries essential when traveling.
Courtyard with fountain
The room held a very high standard, was squreeky clean and held no maintenance issues whatsoever and a great bargain at less than € 80 per night.

Including in this unbeatable price was a buffet breakfast, including bread, cold cuts, cheese, as well as scrambled eggs and spicy sausages. The buffet was served in a charming old room with old beam roof.

As well as the rich nourishing ingredients there was cereals, yogurt, and fruit for the health conscious tourist. For those with a sweet tooth there was jam to balance the aromatic south american coffee.

Art work
The score for Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel is innfluenced by the fact that the hotel has very few facilities to offer the guests. There are no inhouse bar or restaurant, no leisure facilities.

The Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel has, however, so much more to offer. It is well maintained, clean and has a great atmosphere. The hotel is located around two courtyards with beautiful fountains decorated in beige and bright blue colours as a fresh contrast. Here there was additional seating - if it is warm enough. In March it was not very tempting, at least not during the evening.

Breakfast room
Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel is therefore, as the first here, awarded a special recommendation, with a few other hotels I have stayed - and loved earlier.

Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel is inexpensive, the room is excellent, and the service is very good. This weighs up the lack of quantifiable facilities.

So we give the Tierra Viva Saphi Hotel our special recommandations as an excellent and inexpensive place to stay in Cuzco, Peru.  

Tierra Viva Hotel
Shaphi 766
Cuzco, Peru
Phone: (0)84 601317

Vis Peru March - April 2012 i et større kart