Month: May 2015

Eating in Montreal – Le Gros Jambon

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food / travel

In old Montreal, near Notre-Dame,  there is a small diner called Le Gros Jambon – with the same owners as L’ Original around the corner. We have eaten there a number of times, over the past few years, mostly for brunch. Sadly, the diner has recently closed for renovations, and will open up again shortly as L’Orignal Canteen and Catering. The space is a true diner – no tables here, just good old-fashioned bar-stools (it seats about 20). It […]

A window into the enigma of Iceland

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travel

Before the global financial crisis, and subsequent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, Iceland was something of an unknown entity. Every now and then you would hear something about it. The 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, whaling, the use of geothermal energy to heat their homes, and maybe something about the Viking heritage – or how Icelanders don’t really have family names. Iceland is Nordic, but not Scandinavian. When you first see Iceland, you think that the primeval lava fields have always been this […]

Visiting Iceland (part 10) – whale watching

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travel

The last day in Iceland we went whale watching. Or what I like to call “waiting for whales”. There are many different whale watching companies, all offer similar trips out into Faxaflói Bay. According to ice Whale, the Icelandic Whale Watching Association, there are 23 types of whale in the waters around Iceland. We took a trip with Life of Whales on the boat Andrea, the biggest whale watching boat in Iceland. Just like on Gilligans […]

Visiting Iceland (part 9) – the Southern Peninsula

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travel

On the last day with the car,the Southern Peninsula, or Suðurnes. First we drove to the Blue Lagoon. The road from Reykjavik south is strewn with volcanic lava fields, very little vegetation apart from moss. It is hard to imagine taking a stroll across these desolate fields. But this region is rich in geothermal wonders. My wife and daughter went to relax in the soothing waters. I spent some time doing some photography. The sad thing is, […]

Visiting Iceland (part 8) – north of Reykjavik

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travel

Day 4 we drove north of Reykjavik, to what is known as the Vesturland, or Western region. The road tends to hug the coastline along the first part of the journey, with the mountains towering to the right as we head north. First stop – Álafoss Wool Store in the small town of Mosfellsbær. The store is situated in an industrial building which once housed wool processing machinery, next to a waterfall named Álafoss, on the Varmá river. […]

The fonts of Iceland

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travel

There are some interesting pieces of architecture in Reykjavik, however there isn’t really the sense of the “oldness” conveyed by some European cities. Few homes are made of wood, largely because of the lack of lumber, and also because of volcanic ash, and now many houses are made of concrete or metal. One of the more intriguing things about Iceland is the fonts used on the older buildings. They have almost an art-deco feel to them.

Visiting Iceland (part 7) – the Golden Circle

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travel

Iceland is a land of seismic activity, steam, and volcanoes, reminiscent of Mordor. On the third day in Iceland we drove around the Golden Circle, one of the quintessential series of sights, to the south-east of Reykjavik. First stop was Þingvellir, a place of cultural and geological significance, and the centre of Icelandic culture. After Iceland’s settlement in 870 AD, a formal government structure was set up and the general assembly, or Alþingi met for the […]

Cooking with Quince

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cooking / food

Quince can be turned into a number of things: a clear jelly, a jam, a sauce, or a leather. Quince must be cooked with sugar – without it the quince won’t taste as good as it smells. The general rule is an equal amount of sugar as fruit. Making quince jam is not that hard, but it takes time and patience. First cut the quince into chucks, and then put them, skin intact, into a pot with some water. […]

Making Ebelskiver – Danish filled pancakes

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cooking / food / recipe

The Danish have pancakes too, Æbleskiver, except instead of being flat, these traditional pancakes are in the shape of a sphere with a doughnut-like texture. They are cooked on a stove-top with special pans containing seven semi-spherical indentations. Sometimes they are filled with jam –  strawberry, raspberry or lingonberry, or simply dipped in sugar. Æbleskiver is Danish for “apple slices”, and are a classic Danish dessert primarily served during Christmas. Ingredients 2 cups (315g) all purpose flour […]

First attempt at making Gelato

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cooking / food

I’ve wanted to try my hand at making ice cream, and specifically Gelato for a while now. The problem has been finding a cookbook that provided some good recipes – recipes that are simple. So a while back I came across a book, Gelato, by Adriano Di Petrillo (owner of Dri Dri Gelato in London). So I made some chocolate gelato this past weekend. The end result was an exceptional chocolate gelato. Some chocolate gelato recipes use either unsweetened […]