Grilled cheese sandwich with duck and ramson

A little while ago I was invited to a summer party where we enjoyed food and drinks. Invitation said bring a friend, your special someone or a colleague. I read friends, so I brought the three youngest children. Oops, maybe a few to many.

This years menu was a little simpler than last years bbq, but there was nothing simple about it. We had grilled cheese sandwiches with duck comfit, ramson mayo and pickled red onion and pizza made by the Norwegian and European pizza champion. My children are used to eating good food around the world, but the grilled cheese and pizzas made an impression on them. After a few hours one of them told me that we had to leave or he would keep eating. He was right, I too was quite full, but kept wanting more.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are really easy to make, there are no hocus pocus to it.. To  make this sandwich you need breadsous vide duck, pickled ramson buds, mayo and some nice cheese or if you want the original  version you need bread, duck comfit, pickled red onions, ramson mayo and cheese.

Assemble the sandwich and grill  until it is golden and the cheese has melted. then enjoy.

 

Xiao long bao

Do you ever think about how your food is made when you eat out? Sometimes I do, but sometimes I just eat (devour) and enjoy what is being served. Dumplings are one of those items I just eat. I have had different dumplings since I was little and never really given them more thought, even when I make the ones I know. It becomes a routine. This changed a little while ago, when I watched a TV program about a place in Taiwan that was famous for their Xiao long bao, broth filled dumplings. I have eaten them before, but never thought about the complexity of their making untill it was explained on TV.

These broth and meat filled dumplings, these are time-consuming to make, there are no easy shortcuts if you want good results. Yes, you can use store-bought wonton or gyoza wrappers, but it will not be the same. But if you would like to give it a go, here is a recipe, just make sure you put aside a couple of days for this. What I mean is that this is not something you can make in the spur of the moment, there are some waiting time. The first day you have to mix the dough for the wrappers and make the jelly broth or aspic for the filling. It is this jelly that will turn back into a lovely broth when the dumplings are steamed. Soup that bursts out of the dumplings as you bite into them.

This recipe makes about 60 dumplings.

Aspic, jelly soup

Did I mention that there are no shortcuts, sorry I did cheat a bit. I used  gelatine, to make the aspic rather than cooking bone and pork rind to make jelly. Okay, I did cheat  a lot.

2 liters of water
1/2 pound pork belly or fatty cut of pork
1 inch piece of peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
2 stalks spring onions, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves smashed with side of your knife
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
6 sheets unflavored gelatin, (you can use agar agar, but I do not know how much to use, besides the agar agar acts a bit different)
salt and pepper to taste.

Dough

400 grams all-purpose flour
3/4 cups boiling hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Filling

400 grams ground pork
200 grams shrimp shelled, deveined and minced finely
3 stalks green onion finely chopped
1 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

FOR THE ASPIC (soup gelatin)
  1. In a medium-sized pot, place all of the ingredients except the gelatin/agar agar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes uncovered. You can remove the impurity at this point or wait and strain when it is finished. I usually wait until the end.  I strain the broth by using a fine meshed strainer with two layers of clean cloth like a folded tea towel.

  2. Pour the broth into a clean pot and let it simmer until it is reduced to about half a liter.

  3. Turn heat off and stir in the pr-soaked sheets of gelatin or agar agar(follow the instruction on the packet). Whisk until it is dissolved. Pour broth into a dish. Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours.

  4. When the gelatin is set, use a fork to criss-cross the gelatin to break into very small, 1/4″ pieces. Alternatively, you can carefully cut into small cubes.

FOR THE FILLING
  1. In a large bowl, combine and mix all of the ingredients, including the aspic. Stir to incorporate it evenly throughout the filling. Refrigerate until ready to use.

FOR THE DOUGH
  1. Put about 90% of the flour in a large bowl. Pour about a third of the hot water in the flour. Use a wooden spoon and stir vigorously. Add more and  more of the hot water while stirring. Keep stirring vigorously until the dough begins to form. Then add the cold water and oil. Keep stirring vigorously. Stop when you can’t stir anymore.

  2. Dust counter with the remainder of the flour. Place dough on the floured  surface, and use your hands to knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes, until it becomes soft,,smooth and bounces back slowly when poked with your finger, it should feel like fresh play doh

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece (cover the remaining 3 pieces with plastic wrap) and roll it into a long sausage, about 1″ diameter. Cut dough into 15 pieces. Work one piece of dough at a time, keep the remaining covered with plastic wrap.

  5. Roll a piece of the dough between your palms to get a nice, round, smooth ball. Using a rolling-pin, roll it out flat to about 4″ round circle.

    You may need more flour as you are rolling the dough, keep the counter dusted and a small pile of flour nearby for easy access.

  6. Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling, pinch and pleat all the way around. and give the top a twist. Repeat with the rest until you have made all the dumplings. Make sure that you cover any dough that you aren’t currently using and cover the dumplings with a towel to prevent drying.

    MiniMes production of dumplings, for a 10-year-old I think she did a good job..
STEAMING THE DUMPLINGS
  1. Place the dumplings on pieces of lettuce leaves in a bamboo steamer, leaving 1 1/2″ space between each dumpling. Steam for about 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough. Serve them hot in the bamboo steamer.

For dipping sauce scroll down.

MiniMe even colored some with food coloring
DIPPING SAUCE
2-3 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Fresh finely chopped chili to your liking
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl with the ginger. Serve it with Xiao Long Bao dumplings

Custy white bread

This white bread recipe is versatile and can be used for any crusty bread, and specially baguette. I love baguette, my youngest daughter and I went to Paris last year just to eat baguette. We were watching Paul Hollywood’s city bakes were he broke a baguette in two, when we heard the crunch we looked at each other and we both had the I want that look. We hopped on a plane and off we went.

I am not an expert baker, but I have found  my way to make them to my liking. This recipe is not unique in any way, there is one way to make basic white bread, flour, water, yeast and salt, I also add a bit of butter. Why? It just works for me. As I mentioned earlier this recipe is suitable for baguette, rolls and loaves.

I also have to mention that making these breads, the dough dictates my timetable, there is no one hour this or on hour that. The yeast works the way it wants, proofing time is a bit shorter during the summers than the winters.  I usually make the dough late in the evening before I go to bed, and let it proof over night. This summer this is impossible, we have had tropical weather.

This recipe makes 4 foot long baguette,  1 loaf or 12-16 rolls

1, 5 liters  flour
0,5 liters cold water
2 teaspoon salt
1 pk instant dry yeast
50 g butter, room temperature

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and knead until the dough     or use a bread machine or a stand mixer.

If you make this late in the evening(11 PM) let this proof over night in a cool place, but not in the fridge. Remember to cover the bowl with plastic wrap or something similar.

The next day, early in the morning, punch the dough down roll it in to a ball and cover it again and let it proof until double the size.

Next step is to punch it down again and knead lightly, this time you divide the dough into the amounts you want depending on what you wt and make the shape you want.

Place the loaf, baguette or rolls on a baking paper lined tray and let the proof a last time. I usually go back to bed and sleepfor 2-3 hours.

Pre heat the oven to 180-200 C, depending on your oven. In the hot oven place a tray with boiling water, this will give the baguette that lovely crust. Bake for about 20 minutes for baguette or rolls, and about 40 minutes for loaves.

 

Filipino food the next new trend?

What do you know about Filipino food, I believe it is the forgotten little sibling of the South East Asian cuisine. The reputation it has now, you might say that it is more of a distant cousin. Many have tried it, but they just know it is Filipino.

Pancit canton, click on the picture for the recipe

The palate of Filipino cuisine is entirely its own, relying on acids and sweetness perhaps more than any other cuisine. It in this cuisine that flavors don’t blend together so much as sit atop one another, lifting each up into an addictive symphony of tangy, salty, sweet and sometimes bitter. The dishes range from very simple food to complex meals.  Dishes like fried salted dried fish or crispy anchovies, crispy golden slices of spam sandwiched between white bread with fried egg to lechón, kaldereta, kare kare, puchero,  pinakbet sinigang, and many more. Our cuisine is as diverse as there are ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines, and are closely related to the Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. You might say it is the original fusion. The Filipino cooking style has evolved from their pre colonial dishes to a mixed of flavours from Spain, India, China, Japan, America and the Pacific Islands.

Analiza Gonzales, Kare kare, Fiipino, Ox tail, Peanut, Beef and peanut stew
Kare-kare, beef and peanut stew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Renown chefs like  Andrew Zimmerman and the late Anthony Bourdain has booth predicted that Filipino cuisine is going to be the next new trend.  Actually they said it to be the next American food trend. No matter, when it is popular there, the rest of the world is soon to follow.

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He pointed out that Filipinos “were able to assimilate and Americanize very easily and very quickly.”

“I think Filipinos embraced America and were embraced by America in a way that other cultures might not have been,” said Bourdain. “I think Filipinos in America maybe underrated their own food. They used to be mocked for balut.

Kaldereta, Spanish inspired dish. Click on the picture for the recipe

I did not grow up in America, but in Norway, and I think Bourdain is right, we assimilate and learn the new culture quickly. I have not seen or heard of a Filipino town yet, but we do group together at party’s and other happy events. I think he also is right about underrating our own food, and until lately I have, but it is not because of the balut.  And yes, some of the dishes will easily take root than others. Kare kare is one of them in my mind.

Our food is so similar to the rest of Asia, but yet different. One might say that the different cuisines have been Filipinized the way the different cuisines from around the world has been adjusted to the palates of the people of the country it has been introduced to. I have eaten gyros in California, Norway, Germany, Greece, Hong kong and South Korea, there have been slight differences but the one that was far from the others was the one in South Korea. And no, I have not tried gyros in the Philippines.

Chicken bbq, marinade made with banana ketchup, Click on the picture for the recipe

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated,” “ascendant” and a “work in progress.” He said that western palates are ready for it: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others,” he told CNN.

He particularly likes sisig, which is made from the snout, jowl, ear and tongue of a pig, which he believes will lead the charge in Filipino cuisine’s rising international recognition.

“I think sisig is perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole,” he said, adding that he thinks the dish is “casual, accessible, exactly what you need after a few beers.

“I think it’s the most likely to convince people abroad who have had no exposure to Filipino food to maybe look further and investigate further beyond sisig. I think that’s the one that’s gonna hook them.”

I personally belive that Filipino cuisine has already won the hearts of many, as I wrote earlier, they just do not know it is Filipino.

Lecon Cebuano, Lecho, Pork, Filipino, filipinsk
Lechon Cebuano, click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino cuisine is pork heavy, but a natural abundance of seafood and tropical fruit has given rise to dishes that are light without being bland. We often use pineapple in our marinades and mango is often eaten as a side dish with bagoong, an umami-rich fermented krill condiment native to the Philippines. Or tilapia sinigang, a delicate soup for which whitefish is poached in sour tamarind broth alongside fresh greens like water spinach and bok choy.

Sinigang, Filipino, Filipinsk, Tamarind. Salmon
Sinigang, tamarind based soup. Click on the picture to get the recipe

Do you know of any Filipino dishes or have you tried any?

I have a few favorites, Sinigang is one of them wich is similar to Malayan Singgang Serai. Sinigang is also one of my childrens favorites. In Norwgian we used to call it(I still do) “got a suppe” When my oldest son was about two he could not say “Det var en god suppe”. He was trying to tell me that the soup was yummy. The sinigang in the picture above has been norwgianized, I have used salmon.

As in many Asian countries, Filipino food is also free of dairy or gluten, making it suitable for a many diets and health regimens. The reliance on vinegar as a condiment renders Western sauces full of sodium and fat redundant. This in itself should be seen as a welcome addition to any table.

 

Mung bean strew. Click on the picture for the recipe

Filipino meals are traditionally eaten family style, allowing the cuisine to slide seamlessly into the trend of sharing plates and communal dining. At a fiesta in the Philippines you would often see meals decked on banana leaves covering the whole table, and we eat with a fork and spoon or with our hands.

Tosilog, tocino, sinagag(garlic fried rice) and Itlog(egg). Clik on the picture to get to the recipe.

Writing this I can not say that Norway have many Filipino restaurants to boost of. I have been to one in Oslo, but sad to say it will just be that one visit. I might be just picky or maybe it was their quality of cooking and menu, too many other Asian dishes. Having said this there are a lot of successful Filipino chefs and restauranteurs in Norway. Chefs and restaurants that get great revues, but none cook or serve Filipino food, only at home.

Filipino mussel soup. Click on the picture for the recipe

Last Filipino independence day celebration in Oslo there was one stand serving really nice barbequed beef, but unfortunately open to the public this one day or through catering. The people behind this stand have started up a bakery that makes Filipino buns and breads, Bread’n butter So far it is made to order, but this coming fall they will open a shop in Oslo. I will get back to this later.

Champorado, rice porridge with chocolate, came about after trade with Mexico. Click on the picture for the recipe.

Looking at the different pictures I have posted, many of you might say “I have tried that”. Did you know they were Filipino? As I have written earlier they are similar to Asian cuisine, but yet different.

I hope I have caught your curiosity and would like to try more Filipino food. If you click HERE you will find the rest of my Filipino recipes

Palitaw, sticky rice treat with coconut and sugar, click on the picture for the recipe

 

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Ardbeg Grooves

Say hello to Ardbeg Grooves. The most GROOVY that has happened since 1969 comes from the small village of Ardbeg on the Scottish island of Islay. This year’s limited edition is a celebration of the hippie era of the 60’s.

An homage to the 60’s and the hippies they say, hmmm. I try to imagine a Scottish hippie as I take a sip, but in my head I keep hearing Austin Powers saying “groovy baby”, while getting a mental picture of his crooked smile. The character is neither Scottish or hippie, but he does represent the psychedelic 60’s. I shake my head to get rid of this image, he is to funky and playful. Swirling the whiskey in my glass close to my face I smell leather and pine with a hint of smoke and ocean spray another image pops up in my mind, Jamie Fraser from the TV series Outlander, Laird James MacKenzie Fraser, Imagine him with flowers in his hair…, colorful pants and unbuttoned leather vest…. Yeah, that would be groovy baby.

The combination of malted barley, pure water from its own water source, and a huge dedication and passion has resulted in an exciting and intense whiskey.

For this 2018 limited edition, Ardbeg has experimented with an unusual type of oak barrels. Unlike most other whiskeys stored in old bourbon casks, Ardbeg Grooves has been stored in double-burned oak casks with which wine has been added. The result is a more smokey, intense and a groovy experience.

This Ardbeg has an intense aroma of smoked cinnamon and paprika, leather, pine, with a hint of bonfire and ocean spray. There are also small hints of lavender, white pepper and fresh flowers mixed with coriander and mint.

When you taste it you get a heavy mouthfeel with salted toffee, vanilla popcorn, salted fruits with a touch of smoked meat and seaweed, and also smoked apples and pears..

Very OsloPhoto: Haakon Hoseth@

At the press release I went to they served a few drinks with Ardbeg and this was one of my favorites.

Peated Whiskey Sour

4 cl Ardbeg An Oa
4 cl lemon
2 cl sugar
2 dasher angostura
1.5 cl egg white

Reverse dry shakes, double traces and server in a cool coupette glass.

Cool a coupette glass.
Pour all the ingredients in a shaker.
Shake the ingredients with ice.
Remove the ice, and shake again.
Double trains over the cooled coupette glass.

Bibimbap, korean mixed rice

Bibimbap from Tintin Sushi at Lysaker right outside Oslo, so not made by me, but eaten by me 🙂

Mix some veggies, meat and rice, and bibbedi boobedi bap you have the ultimate korean comfort food bibimbap(비빔밥)

Mixed rice, picture from my Norwegian blog Lizas matverden

Quirky as this dish might sound, bibimbap was listed at number 40 on the World’s 50 most delicious foods by a readers’ poll compiled by CNN Travel in 2011. The name litterlally means mixed rice, bibim-mix, bap-cooked rice. It is said that this dish was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year to get rid of all the leftover side dishes from the previous year. It is also thought to have been eaten by farmers during farming season as it was the easiest way to make food for a large number of people. Another version is that it originates from the traditional practice of mixing all the food offerings made at an ancestral rite (jesa) in a bowl before partaking in eating it. This made me think of an episode when a few ex-pat friends of mine went on a meditation trip to a Korean temple when I used to live in South Korea. The story goes that they did partake in such a rite and shared the ritual food. Unfortunately one of the ladies on this trip(not one of my friends), a picky eater refused to eat her portion of the food. This resulted in that her portion had to be shared amongst the others, so no food would go to waste. The ex-pat ladies did not have to partake in this, but the monks at the temple diligently ate the rest. When told this story, my reaction was, whaaat, she refused bibimbap. No matter the origines of this dish, I agree that this is a really nice dish.

Bibimbap made by me a long time ago.

If I do not make this myself, my go to place is a restaurant a just outside Oslo called Tintin Sushi, as they say on their own page, a hidden gem under the train station at Lysaker, they serve Japanese and Korean food. Not that many Korean restaurants in Norway and I am still waiting for a really good korean bbq place to open up.

This dish is quite easy to make, this can be made all vegetarian or with any kind of meat you like. I made this from how remember bibimbab from my time in south Korea, with a few changes. As happy and wealthy Norway has become, there are still a lot of ingredients that are hard to come by in this lovely country.

Ingredients, serves 4

  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • 12 ounces fresh bean sprouts
  • 8 ounces of spinach
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ pound beef, I used rib-eye
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 eggs, I scrambled the egg, but you can serve it fried or raw.
  • salt
  • strips of kim (roasted seaweed, in japanese it is called nori)
  • Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang), this is now available in Norway at some Asian stores.
  1. Cook the rice
  2. Thinly slice the meat and marinate i with garlic, soy sauce, honey or sugar, sesame oil and add sesame seeds.
  3. Quickly blanche the bean sprouts and spinach separately and drain
  4. Cut the vegetables in to match stick sized pieces and add a pinch of salt to them. Quickly saute the vegetables with a tiny bit of oil. You do not want them to get scorched.
  5. Saute the meat or if you use really fresh meat, you can use it raw.
  6. Scramble the eggs or fry them.
  7. Cut the kim into strips.
  8. Divide the rice into four bowls and add the rest of the ingredients on top of the rice with a dollop of the Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang).

Serve and enjoy.

 

Paris by Liza et Vie part three

As the song goes, sweets for my sweets and sugar for my honey…. Last day sugar overload, we got our fill and some more.

Did I mention in my previous post(part 1, part 2) that this trip to Paris was a spur of the moment thing? Well it was and we planned to eat at Paul Hollywoods city bakes places. Sometimes though plans change and w wanted to be a little impulsive and found other interesting places on the net, what we did not anticipate was that some of these places was closed  or being renovated. Our last day I really wanted to try Frenchie to Go, but unfortunately this place was closed for the summer, and did not know until a closed door and a written note greeted us that late morning. Not knowing where to go and with no plans we walked around haphazardly  to see if we found anything interesting.

We walked towards the city center and walked by so many street side cafe and found one where we could get some food with a little substance. Paris is so wast, so when it comes to where to go and eat, you have so many choices. I recommend that you search the internet to find nice place or just walk around. If you are on a budget or not, food from around the world, vegan or if you have any specific diet you like to keep to, you will always find something.

After our brunch we wandered back to a place that had caught our eye, it was dainty and girlishly pink. Café Puchkine a Franco Russo café and tea salon.  What also made us notice this place was the poster outside of their deserts, they looked colorful.

We order two of their Les Coups Glacée, Coup Mont Blanc with chestnut and vanilla ice cream with blueberry sauce covered with Chantilly cream and garnished candied chestnuts and meringue kisses. She ordered the Coup de l’enfant “Puchkine”, vanilla ice cream, strawberry and raspberry sorbet covered with Chantilly cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and meringue bits. The desserts were lovely as ice cream usually is, unfortunately not as colorful as the ones we saw on the poster, ours were served in solid bowls not glass as in the poster. The most memorable part of this visit was that I ordered a cappuccino for me and a cold beverage for MiniMe. This place did not have the usual selection of sodas, but they did have apple juice, lemonade and a variety of bottled water, we ordered lemonade without any question. While we waited, I walked over to the counter to look at what else this place had to offer, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that our beverage was being served, then I heard  “Mom look, I’m drinking gold”.  “My lemonade has gold in it, tiny bit of golden flakes”. That is lovely was my answer but in my head ,WHA-AT! Whoops, what is this little snack going to cost me was my next thought.  Oh well as the younger generation says YOLO. I relaxed and the bill did not turn out that bad, the lemonade cost 7,20 euros not that horrible.

If you love èclairs We recommend you try L’Èclaire de Gènie, colorful glazed choux puff pastries filled with sweet and tart fillings. We tried the crispy raspberry, lemon coconut, apricot and salty butterscotch, treat we brought back to the hotel to enjoy later.

Last but not least and since the store was in our vicinity actually on the same street as the places mentioned above, we also visited Pâtisserie Stohrer, the oldest bakery in Paris. This was also one of the places that Paul Hollywood showed in his program. While eating our late first meal of the day MiniMe pointed to a store across the street and said: “Mom look, it is the bakery Paul Hollywood went to, It says Stohrer on it. Yay, we found one more”. We picked up some more èclairs, classic flavours this time chocolate and vanilla and a couple of croissants.

This concludes our little trip, I feel that we got to eat a lot and se a few things in a short period of time, Tuesday evening till early Saturday afternoon. The most important part is that we had good Mother and daughter time and our suitcases were twice as heavy as when we came. Yes we did some shopping too, what do you expect when two girls go to Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

Paris by Liza et Vie part two

What, is this where we are staying? What not to do when booking a trip, where to brunch, where to snack, and a bit of sightseeing and shopping.

In Paris by Liza et Vie part one I wrote that we were heading back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep, did that happen, no no no. The hotel walls was so paper-thin and guests coming back late at night sounded like they were going to stomp into our room. Guests checking out stomping down the stairs, and banging their luggage against the wall on their way down to the reception desk. It was like this every night and every morning. To get enough rest we slept in and our day did not start untill noon. My fault, this was a last-minute thing and I looked for a cheap bargain on Expedia, I found a Hotel close to one of the places we wanted to visit Boulangerie Raphäelle. The pictures of the rooms looked decent and we were just going to sleep there. To make life a little easier I booked a car to pick us up at the airport and to pick us up at the hotel on the day of departure. When the driver stopped outside our hotel and told us that this was our stop, I was a little shocked, it was a dingy and littered street. What did I really expect our trip was 400 euros per person for round trip ticket and four night. Next trip I think I have to do some more reasearch and maybe ask around. My past trips to Paris I never really booked anything my self, I left that to my better half and yes I was spoilt. Oh well, I am now an experience richer. Know where you are going before you book a trip.

The third day of our stay we went to Eggs & co in the St. Germain de Prés area for brunch, this is also a recommended place to enjoy a nice plate of Eggs Benedict.  A small two-story cafe with a low ceiling. We ordered two of the brunch specials, a main course served with a hot beverage and orange juice followed by a pancakes with a click of butter served with a fresh fruit salad. The brunch specials were from 20 euros and up, maybe not the cheapest brunch, but you got a lot of food, and you won’t leave hungry, this was our main meal that day. MiniMe is not very fond of gravy on her food, she ordered scrambled egg with bacon. Her scrambled egg came in a bowl with the bacon mixed in, it was almost like a porridge. My first thought was, oh oh, will she eat this, she did and she ate a lot. When asked if we wanted tea or coffee, the waitress saw that MiniMe hesitated and asked if she wanted hot chocolate instead. I call that observant and super service. I give this place a thumbs up. We had to pay down stairs at the counter and along one of the walls there were three jars with sweets. The lady behind the counter saw MiniMe looking in that direction and told me that she could help herself to the sweets. This place was even a hit with my little pride and joy.

Leaving Eggs & co. we walked around the, did some shopping. and then MiniMe tugged on me and said “Mom I need to use the rest room”. Where to go? We found Poilâne, as I understand it also a reputable boulangeri, but not one of the ones Paul Hollywood visited. We went in to tne café next door,  also called Poilâne. We went in and asked for the rest room and ordered some snacks. I felt that I had to order something, previously at other places people did not look to happy when you asked if you could borrow their rest rooms. The waitress told me that she could just use the fasilleties and that we did not have to order anything, that was very kind of her but we ordered a few things anyway. A flan and cappuchino for me and a fresh fruit salad and barley infussed apple juice for MiniMe.

Poilâne opened in 1932, at that time there used to be 5 bakeries on Rue du Cherche-midi and now it is only one. I guess that the young baker from Normandy managed to convince the Parisians that his traditional French sourdough bread was a contender to the baguette that everybody loved and prefered. There was a dual advantage to Poilânes four pound loaves: they kept longer and could be cut into large slices. The bakery continued to bake this bread using stone-ground flour, sea salt from Guérande and a wood-fired oven.  As you can see from the picture below, you can buy slices of their famous bread. They weigh the amount you want wrap in a bag and you leave them with only what you need.

I was so tired after the brunch, shopping and snacks, we had hardly slept the past few days because of the noise in and around the hotel we were staying, when we walked passed a church, I looked longingly towards the entrance. I wanted to go in and pretend to pray so I could doze off a little, we didn’t. I told MiniMe a little jokingly about this idea and she looked at me shockingly and said “But mummy what if we fall of the pews, no that it is a bad idea”. Ha ha ha, I don’t think falling off the pews would be the worst part.

On instagram the past years I have seen a lot of posts of delicate macaroons from Ladurée, and when we walked by  a store in this area, we went in. I had to try some and compare them to the ones I knew from Pascal and Sebastien Bruno in Oslo. What I really wanted was to sit down and rest, but I could not  eat another morsel so we just bought a little box with six macaroons to enjoy later. With all the treats we had eaten the past days and hardly any vegetables I saw a oppurtunity to fill up with some vitamines and minerals and finally sit down and rest at the Juice Lab on 11 Rue Jacob in St. Germain. Fresh cold pressed juice from fruit and vegetables that has become very popular these past few years, a nice way to fill up on your 5 a day.

A little rested after our pit stop at Juice Lab we  walked towards the Louvre. It was the same here as the other historical buildings, the lines were long and when I asked her if she wanted to go in and see Mona Lisa, she said “Nah, I just did a project about that painting at school, I have seen it many times”. I probably should have said something about how many paintings we could count running around inside the museum within a time period, that would probably made her want to go in. She much rather go to Sephora to do some shopping, she had been googling things she wanted to buy with her vacation pocket-money. The children always get some extra pocket-money from some family members before they go on holiday, it is for ice cream, souvenirs etc.

She made me buy products we could pamper us with that evening  while we ate the rest of our snacks we bought that day. Who wouldn’t run towards the candy colored wall with Sephora mask products. I did find something else at this store, but that is for another time.

This concludes our day three in Paris, hope you enjoyed reading about it

 

Paris by Liza et Vie part 1

Listen to that crunch, MiniMe and I were watching Paul Hollywood break a baguette in two and jab his chubby fingers into the soft white center and tell us that this is how a baguette should sound, look and feel like. With little over a week left of our summer vacation we booked a trip for two to Paris. We were going to enjoy lazy mornings, strolling over to a bakery and pick up a baguette or some croissants, maybe some coffee and juice, find a bench in a park and just enjoy the late morning and watch people pass by, and maybe some sightseeing.

R: In front of Sacre Coeur    R: Two drenched cats on top of the Eiffel tower

Did we follow Paul Hollywood’s Paris recommendation? We tried, we did find some of the boulangeries and pâtisseries he went to on his TV program. But the trigger for our trip the Boulangeri Raphäelle with their wonderful artisanal baguette was unfortunately closed. We were a little bummed out, I had even booked a hotel just a block away so we could stroll over in the mornings. Oh no worries, there are plenty of bakeries in Paris, besides this place got their reputation back in 2013 and they came in second for the best baguette in Paris. The only problem was that almost every place we wanted to visit was miles away except for one, so after a night’s rest our trip stared there at Sacre Coeur, a place MiniMes father and a friend got maced and mugged 27 years ago, the muggers took their wallet, camera, passport and any valuable they had on them.

MiniMe: Mom, do you think it is safe to go there?

Me: If you stick to me and not wonder about so you wouldn’t get lost in the crowd, I think it is going to be fine.

Me thinking: If everything goes to somewhere very hot, I will not be able to do much, but I’ll try.

On our way to Sacre Coeur we walked by Boulangeri Raphäel and at that time not knowing that it was closed, we were hungry and I was salivating thinking about crunchy baguette with a soft doughy center. I had it all planned out, find a spot outside the church, enjoy the sun while eating our breakfast looking at all the people who also had taken the trip to the hill that day and observing the vast city scape. We  left the red boulangerie store front empty handed and started to walk up the hill, we got to the top and the place was packed with people and I would have shown you pictures, but unfortunately I lost my camera my last day i Paris.  History almost repeating it self and fortunately without the pain of being maced and the hassle of being mugged. All the pictures in this post are taken with my phone. Well situated outside the church were two hungry miserable little ants on top of a hill. What to do next, our stomachs growling as we looked at the line at the church entrance  and decided that if you have seen the inside of one, you have seen the inside of many. So we did the selfie thing and took some pictures with my camera before we hurried away to find something to eat and heading to our next destination Notre Dame.

R: On one of the bridges on the Seine   L: Taking a little rest outside Notre Dame

That was not as easy as it might sound hurrying down the steps and into Rue de Steinkirque, the first thing that met us was a corner Crêperie, but she didn’t want pancakes. I was hungry and could have eaten anything, but she had her mind set on a baguette. I guess the apple do not fall far from the tree, she is like me that way. When we have set our minds on something rally bad that is what we want.  Another thing that got in the way was all the little tourist shop, and being girls we wander in and out to find something to buy. We found a cute raspberry colored beret that MiniMe looked really cute in, it accentuated her outfit and made her look  a little french, but of course that picture too was on my camera. Finally we reached the Seine and had to take a selfie, he he he.  This area was bustling with people and law enforcement.

MiniMe: Mom, there sure are a lot of police here. Do you think they are here to protect us from terrorist?
Me thinking: Anything special happening today?
Me: Sure, with all those people in uniform no one will dare to do anything bad.
Me thinking: Hopefully not.

When we got to the famous cathedral Notre Dame the line was not any shorter than back at Sacre Coeur. Bad planning on my part and again we have already seen many churches on our many travels so we just sat there nibbling on our baguettes that we had bought along the way, and looking at the people and the huge structure. Besides we went to Paris to eat and not really sightseeing,

We walked halfway back to the hotel and decided to hop on the metro to take us back, right outside the station we found Brasserie Barbés, famished and tired we went in and ordered our first real meal in Paris, mussels and cockles with fries and baked chicken with vegetables. It was decent meal, a tummy filler.

This area looked like a shadier part of Paris. MiniMe was clutching my hand when ever we were in this area and since this was our metro stop we were here quite often. One thing that caught our attention on this trip was that so many streets and corners smelled like urinals, A big historic city like this, doesn’t the people of Paris have more pride in their city that they want it to look better and at least smell better?

The next day was going to be the start of our planned eating tour and our first stop was supposed to be Benedicts for brunch, a place I have been told is one of the better places in Paris to eat Eggs Benedict. Well, about 1/3 of our walk we made a wrong turn, and thinking we were close to the city center we walked by a vegetarian Southern Indian restaurant Chennai Dosa. I have alway wanted to try a dosa, so our wrong turn worked out for the best, besides I think we were a few hours away from Benedicts by now, since this place was close to Gare du Nord. Looking at the pictures in the window and on the menu I saw the big rolls of dosa, the same as the ones Andrew Zimmern had in one of his programs. We ordered the one stuffed with potato and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that our dosa wasn’t rolled but folded into a triangle. Thinking oh well it would probably taste the same, but the experience will be different, I had really been looking for a rolled one. At the end it did not really matter, we did not have anything to compare it with, we enjoyed the crunchy pancake with soft spicy potato filing. The dosa came with different condiments an a small portion of soup, what kind do not ask, we do not remember. And since this was the first time eating this we just broke off pieces and dipped them in the condiments and soup, we had a little trouble with the soup and had to ask for spoons. I googled the place and found out that it was a chain of restaurants that started in London. But we did not care, we finally had us some dosas. tummies filled and happy. The best part, our dosas cost less than 5 euros each,

MiniMe: Mom
Me: Yes
MiniMe: Weren’t we supposed to eat at those places Paul Hollywood showed in his program?
Me: Yes sweetie, but mummy took a wrong turn and ended up here.
MiniMe: Thats okay, but next place is going to be one of those places rigt? That is why we are here right?
Me: Yes, lets find Fauchon

R: Cover of the menu L: The four pastries we chose

I turned on the GPS on my phone this time to make sure we did not get lost, but the walk from Gare du Nord to Fauchon on 30 Place de la Madeleine was still quite a walk,  while heading in the right direction we hopped on the metro half way through. My plan for this trip was that we should walk to most of the places we wanted to visit, to get some exercise away all the treats we woul devoure. Looking up some of the distances on google maps it seemed feasible. but it felt like we were walking for hours.

When we got to Faucon it was different from we had imagined, MiniMe with an eye for details as all children commented on that.

Fauchon was founded in 1886 in Paris, it is a French gourmet food and delicatessen company and supposedly considered a major reference in contemporary French gourmet food. I googled the place when we got home I found out that there were 76 outlets in around twenty countries in 2016.  A little bought and paid for Mr. Paul Hollywood. We had set our hearts and eyes on the lovely colorful éclairs we saw on TV, but ended up sitting down for a late lunch instead and was promised that what treats they had in the store they also served in the cafe, they would bring out a large tray so we could pick out the ones we wanted.

We ordered creamy risotto with a nice heap of truffles for me and a toasted croque monsieur for MiniMe. It was nice and filling and the prices for lunch was about the same price as the restaurant we had dinner at the day before.  Quality wise it was a much better than the day before, but it wasn’t wow it is best we have eaten. It was not like the risotto the children and I had at a street side restaurant in Hiroshima, Japan in 2009, We still talk about it today. Next the pièce de résistance, the dessert. We could not decide or choose one, we got two each to share, that way we could try as many as possible. MiniMe was a little disappointed, the eclair with Mona Lisas eyes printed on chocolate was not among our choices. Two pictures up you can see a picture of the pastries we chose, top left and clockwise: strawberry cake, vanilla mille feuil, bisou bisou and a mont blanc. I let MiniMe try them first ans she started with the pink lips, bisou -bisou

Me: What do you think?
MiniMe: It is nice, like bløtkake( a Norwegian cream cake)
Me: Thats it?
MiniMe: Yeah.
Me: What about all the other elements?

Bisou-bisous description is: Crispy crumble, caramelized almonds, vanilla biscuit flour rice, raspberries compote, Madagascar vanilla whipped ganache-tea “mélange FAUCHON”.

MiniMe: Oh that, raspberries as you cream cake, maybe a litt cruch and vanilla, a very nice looking and tasting cream cake.

Ha ha ha, just like her mum short and to the point, we are not suited to be food critics.

Nice presentation and nice service, but for us the food was average and the dessert over average. Not very memorable except for maybe their black and flamingo pink theme with white pineapple decor.

Paid our bill and headed towards our next destination or where our feet would take us. To walk off the calories we devoured. We headed towards Place de la Concorde , standing close to Jardin de Tuileries we looked towards the Arc de triumph standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel tower and The Louvre. The gardens were closest so we went in and strolled towards the first pond and sat down in two of the seats that sourrounded it. Just taking in the scenery and letting the food and impressions sink in. Paris is a monumental City, vast and full of history. Just the old part of Paris is bigger than the city I grew up in, Oslo the capital of Norway. 12 million people live in Paris and in all of Norway there are a little over 5 million people, quite a difference.

L: My youngest Paris August 2017      R: My three oldest Paris July 2002

MiniMe wanted to see the Eiffel tower and go all the way to the top. As usual there was a long line, but this time we patiently stood in line and yes my patience was stretched to the fullest. What is it with some people, they almost stand on top of you and keep bumping into you, do they think that the line will go any faster. We could have booked tickets on-line and get priority and skip the que, but we didn’t since we did not know when to go and what time.  If you are going to Paris plan ahead. The area arround the Eiffel tower was a lot different from when we visited with the older children. Back in 2002 everything was open and no fences to be seen. This time we had to go through security control before entering the grounds where the tower stood, and after a long wait, another security before the elevator going up. Thing has definitely changed the past years. Even outside some places was fenced off, the pictures above was taken 15 years apart and almost at the same spot.

This trip up the tower was not as bad as my first trip, this time we were in the top lift and looking out the bottom lift blocked the view down, so I didn’t back away this time.  If you have some fear of heights the best place to stand is in the top lift carriage or far away from the window. After some waiting we did get to the top with some drama while waiting for the second elevator, some people think it is their given right to cut in front of you. An indian couple and a easter european family of 3. I could live with that, but now no more selfies sending one in front of me to take the picture and once a head of me the other in their company followed through, some people have some nerve.  It probably did not make it any better that while we were waiting heaven opened up and it started pouring down.  It was windy up there so by the time we got to the top we were blow dried a bit.  A little positive thinking and our spirits were up again, as you can see from one of the top pictures. If you ever go to Paris I would say that the Eiffel tower is one of the places to go, on a nice, sunny and cloud free day you can see over 60 km in all directions. If you are up for it you can take the stairs up to the first and second level, about 600 steps in total, there are stairs to the top level too, but it is usually accessible only by lift. We explored the tower by taking the stairs down from the second level. Explored the first level before running down to find a place to eat dinner. The towers restaurant was not open for tourist this evening, there was a private event going on.

Our last stop that day ended up in the Latin quarter. We were trying to find a metro station and walked back to Pont Alexandre III, hopped on a bus and headed towards the St. Michel station, we wanted to go to the hotel and go to sleep. Our walk from the bus stop to the metro station took us through an area in the Latin quarter filled with café and restaurants a typical tourist place with  big signs with cheap menus and people trying to lure you in. A three course meal was as low as 10 euros. MiniMe and I thought that this could be okay to try, we were a bit hungry, and she wanted Spaghetti Bolognese. Walking around reading the signs we found a place called Cafe Colbert, her meal, pancake with cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese and two scoops of ice cream was 10 euros and mine, onion soup, slices of duck breast with fries and creme brulée I think was 16 euros. This was a good bargain, but you do get what you pay for. It was during this meal we saw what had happened in Barcelona, the TV on the wall by the bar was on. Why do people have to behave like this? This gave us some food for thought.

Next stop the hotel for a good nights sleep.

 

 

Chanterelle Tikka Masala

If you want a meaty vegetarian Tikka masala, chanterelle is the way to go.

Finding yellow trumpets in the forest tells you that it is fall and cooler season is on its way. I do not know about you, but I find it satisfying to go foraging. It does not have to be much, just enough to make a few dishes and to preserve and maybe dry some for later use. Chanterelle mushrooms grow wild in forests, you can find the yellow trumpets on the ground around conifers and broadleaf trees, and they thrive in cool, damp climates.

Chanterelle have a very meaty texture and rich flavor, which makes them a satisfying alternative to meat-based dishes. They contain all the essential amino acids and have a high vitamin A content, so they are an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans

When I make indian food I allow myself to cheat a bit, I use ready-made pastes to make it easier for me.

This time I tried out a brand found in Norway, Masala magic because I found that they have a date and tamarind chutney. When I lived in Hong kong and pregnant with my youngest son I craved Butter chicken from Jo jo’s Indian and I would alway get complimentary papadams with date and tamarind chutney, mint sauce and raita. This is the only place I have been served this sweet and tart condiment. These papadams are baked in the oven and not fried, it is the first time I tried that. I guess you can use other types of brands, just remember to taste as you go.

You need:

600 g chanterelle
100 g cashews
50 g salted cashews
3 tablespoons Tikka masala paste
1 dl sour cream
1-2 dl cream
Fresh coriander

Vegan tikka masala, Vegetarian, Chanterelles, Indian

Prepare rice, I used plain basmati rice, but if you want spiced rice there are many nice recipes out there on the web. At the bottom of this page I have posted a recipe from Masala magic called Matar Polaw/rice with peas 

Cut or shred the mushrooms, saute them and the raw nuts with tikka masala paste for 3-4 minutes, untill the nuts are nice and toasty
Add the sour cream and mix well.
Lastly add the cream and cook until everything is cooked through and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Sprinkle chopped fresh coriander and the salted cashew nuts and serve.

Matar Polaw

4 tablespoons ghee or 8 tablespoon oil
1 bay leaf
3 cm cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pods
1 teaspoon ground cumin
100 gr onions
200 g of frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 dl basmati rice
8 dl water

Rinse the rice a few times untill the water is clear and soak it in double amount of water.

Open the cardamom pods and finely chop the onion

Heat up the ghee / oil in a pot, add spices and onions. Saute the onion until it changes color.

Add the water the rice has been soaked in and boil. Add peas, salt, garam masala and rice. Cook the rice on medium heat untill it boils and turn the heat down to low heat put the lid on and leave it for 5-8 minutes.