Remembering the land of mountains and fjords

This time last year, I was busy travelling. This year sees a lack of that. I miss it so much, I have to write about it to trick myself into thinking that I just came back from the most beautiful country I have visited so far.  So let me briefly tell you about my first trip to a Scandinavian country last summer. I was in Stavanger, Norway to visit my lovely friend Linn, the talented artist. If everything goes to plan, I hope to visit her again soon but next time, there will be a gallery. Fingers crossed!!

Was greeted with this gorgeous scenery the day I arrive. Amazing Åmøy!


Okay, those amazing shots above is just a brief introduction to the country. That is the beautiful island of Åmøy, off Stavanger. It is a lovely island, with everything there is for a relaxing holiday; rocky mountains, sparkly blue sea, green fields and clear blue sky.

Some BBQ her family prepared. Have you noticed the view off the patio!?


I do envy the Norwegians for being blessed with the most wonderful nature, and freshest seafood!

The whitewashed houses in the old town


You must be wondering why I have not written anything about Stavanger, the town itself. Well, here it is. It's a lovely town with the port, fish market and whitewashed houses and cobblestone paths in the old town. There were stretches of cool cafes with great views. It's quite an arty town too, I would say. I've been to quite a few art cafes that were pretty cool. Maybe cause Linn's and artist so we tend to go to arty places. The Scandinavian homewares are so simple and elegant, I would go back to shop for pretty things for my new home (in the future), hopefully soon.

The playground outside the Petroleum Museum


The children seem to enjoy themselves playing here. It is also a very well expressed ground with some cool graffiti. The big round orange balls are great to sit or walk on, as some kids would do. I did a little of both *wink*.

Happy horses with new shoes


Another day with an extensive breakfast! What more would you ask for to start your day? It’s the perfect breakfast, out in the sun near the stables where we waited for the ‘horse pedicurist’. That is what I call her. It is quite a tough and tiring job changing shoes and filing the nails of a horse. And three horses consecutively! Although lucky her and us too, mama Linn made fresh chilled berry smoothies. The berries were from the garden!!

Eir and Stella


Eir, the adorable horse I’ve been helping groom during my stay. She is so greedy she would eat any visible grass along the way. And she's a farter too! Lol... Pooot pooot pooott!!! Haha.


A breathtaking view on top of the hill, just a short walk away. How lovely it is to grow up here. It'll be the perfect spot to get away to clear your mind.


The white building used to be the power plant


The art exhibition and outdoor library


Our short visit to Flørli, that got us almost stranded in at the fjord the next day. But we got back alright. The first sign of people living there was 9,000 B.C. Some time around 1700, they built a hydroelectric plant which is now turned into an art resident. There are 4,444 oldest wooden steps in the world that goes up along the pipelines. I made it to 1,000. Not bad for someone who has not been doing any forms of exercise other than walking. Probably the very delicious fish soup we had just before the hike, helped energise me.


The oldest wooden steps (total of 4,444)  I attempted climbing


The sweet prawns we bought before heading to Florli


Look at our late dinner!! That is more than a kilo of prawns, with some bread, lemon, mayo and a bottle of chilled Riesling we bought from town just before we got the ferry to the fjord. We were sat in the cabin peeling the prawns, chomping our way through with a great view. It was a very chilling night indeed.



The morning we were greeted with BREAKFAST in Florli! A proper breakfast with bread, cheese, egg, salami, ham, cucumber, tomato, jam, butter, orange juice n tea! When we were almost done feeling satisfied, the lady from the café brought us warm waffles!! Waffles with a combination of 5 hearts! Doesn’t that put a smile on you :)

One of my favourite shots; picking cherries


I miss Norway! Thanks to Linn and family, especially her mum for being such a great host, making my stay a wonderful and memorable one. xx

Four hour sunday lunch at Viajante

What better way to spend a slow and relaxing Sunday afternoon lunching with the girls! Even better, we were at Viajante! The food and service were impeccable from start till finish. Nuno Mendes even came personally to present the food to us, with a humble smile. We all agreed that his messy yet artistic hair suits him very well. Aaa-aa-aa.. the creative vibe that completes with his brilliant art of food. His success is down to his passion, creativity in pairing ingredients and the eye for details, a perfectionist.

We had the three course lunch which is more than enough food for us, with the complimentary amuse bouche and yummy in-betweens. I  highly recommend it. You will see for yourself from the pictures below. I know you will be salivating after the first picture.  Enjoy!!

Nibbles ~ Thai explosion, Lobster croquette, Puffed amaranth with sorrel

Amuse bouche ~ Cured Arctic char with barley tea and radishes

Very light japanese inspired dish.

Bread & butter ~ Brown sugar bacon butter, Potato bread, Paprika brioche, Pork fat emulsion and pine nut 

We were happily spreading slabs of fat on the soft and fluffy bread :)

Starter ~ Yuzu crab with herbal broth and shimeji mushroom

A very beautiful and elegant starter. Flavours were well balanced.

Main ~ Roast beef skirt with girolles, turnips and yeast

Pre-dessert ~ Frozen marzipan with celery and lime

This is definitely a good palette cleanser. The component I liked most about this pre-dessert was the green granita that worked very well with the almond frozen marzipan. It was light and refreshing. Even the colour had a serene feel to it. It had a good ratio of the earthy, leafy yet distinctive smell and taste of celery, plus the slight sharp acidity of the lime. Might even try recreating a simplified version of this granita soon.

Dessert ~ Beetroot with dark chocolate and creme fraiche

This dessert is fantastic; the earthy beetroot and bitter sweet dark chocolate are made for each other, and the creme fraiche that comes in at the end gives it an extra finishing touch. Even the little green leaves and flower had their purpose of enhancing the dessert.

Petit fours ~ Mushroom chocolate truffle with coconut marshmallows

Who would think of adding mushroom in a chocolate truffle? Yet again, we still get confused with truffle the fungus and truffle the chocolate. Maybe that is the irony of it all.

We left the restaurant, full and satisfied. Who cares about the waistline. Eat and worry later.

VIAJANTE

Town Hall Hotel
Patriot Square, Bethnal Green
London, E2 9NF

Tel + 44 (0) 20 7871 0461

Viajante on Urbanspoon


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Kaya cream pie with love

The first time I heard about Mikey Perillo is a news feed from Tastespotting facebook page inviting all food bloggers to commemorate him by making Peanut butter pie. It was his favourite. Jennifer Perillo, a food writer, editor and a mother, lost her husband to a heart attack. I cannot imagine losing someone I love so dearly in such an unexpected way. It is devastating and I wish Jennie well.


Let us take this opportunity to reflect. Think about our loved ones and let them know how you feel when you are able to, before it is all too late. The last thing you want to do is take them for granted and regret it later. So to all my friends and family, although I don't say this very often, every single one of you have touched my lives and enhanced it in many different ways. I really appreciate having you by me all this while.  You are always close to my heart.

I hope you enjoy this Kaya Cream Pie, inspired by peanut butter pie. I would like to dedicate this pie to all my friends and family and to everyone that I have encountered with, including you, the very few readers of my post.

Kaya cream pie slice

Kaya Cream Pie


For the Pie Base:


  • 150g digestive
  • 90g butter (melted)
  • 40g instant white coffee powder (I used 1 instant packet of the Old Town white coffee)

For the Kaya Cream Filling:


  • 250ml double cream
  • 50g butter
  • 200g homemade kaya
  • 200g cream cheese

Method:


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Add the digestive biscuits into a food processor and pulse it until finely crushed.
  2. Mix the crushed digestive, white coffee powder and butter until well blended.
  3. Compress the base mixture on to a 9" pie base.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When ready, cool and refrigerate.
  5. Next, whip the double cream until soft peak. Refrigerate to keep cool.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar. Blend in kaya until well mixed.
  7. Then mix in the cream cheese until soft and creamy.
  8. Fold in the cream cheese mixture onto the whipped double cream.
  9. Pour the mixture into the pie base and chill for 4 hours or over night to set.

July just disappeared

It has been a while since my last post, and it is now August! I can't believe how time flies. The last I remembered was June, filled with interesting events, museums, drinks, parties, Wimbledon and concerts. But July seem to sail by so quickly it seem to have just disappeared. I guess that's good? But not everything vanished from my memory. My last minute and the only summer holiday has been the highlight of July. It was pretty spontaneous cause the flight was booked literally a week ahead. And where did I go? It's not Nice, not Barcelona nor it is Sardinia. It was Szczecin in Poland! Yes I know, you probably haven't heard of this city and anyone going to Poland for the first time like me, would have gone to Warsaw or Krakow which would have been more exciting. But I was visiting, so there's a very good reason for me to be there. On the plus side, it's a beautiful city with history and great salsa parties.

Google street view of Szczecin at night. This is the beautiful Chrobry Embankment (Waly Chrobrego).

A picture taken from under the tree on the Chrobry Embankment

Maiden's Tower (also known as The Tower of Seven Coats) of early 14th century

St James' Cathedral

Before signing off, I would like to share the recipe of a simple yet delicious cake I made which left M's mum and granny with one word each; SUPER and 'dobre'. Here is the recipe of the 'Yogurt and brown sugar cake' from one of my favourite blogger. Aran served her cake with seven spice ice cream but if you deem it too much effort, spread some kaya on it. I think it will match perfectly. Try it and let me know.

The very simple yet delicious 'Yogurt and Brown Sugar Cake'. As I have not taken a photo of the cake, I've shared this photo taken by Aran of Canelle et Vanille.