Posts from August 2011

Don't Forget Your Bank Card Pin When Visiting Copenhagen, You Will Be Out of Luck

I should have remembered that most Bank Cards (debit Cards) in Europe have a chip in them, smart cards.

Most American ones don't.

It turns out to be a problem when you visit Copenhagen and you forget your pin.

It happened to me as I took a card I do not use too often.

I have not been able to use it at all.

To stay with money matters, note that banks are closed on week-ends.


Thanks god my stay is covered and Wonderful Copenhagen was wonderful enough to drop a Copenhagen Card at my hotel good for 3 days of free access to public transportation, discounts on museums, attractions and restaurants as well as some freebies.

Of course you can always rent a bike, very popular and safe in this city.

Off to Carlsberg Museum now (it's 10:30 am here) for more of Nordic Feed...

A day of thunderstorms

(* Girls on bikes photo by Wonderful Copenhagen)

Boingo Paid WiFi felt Like Visit to Dentist, More So at Charles de Gaulle than Newark Liberty

This morning, I was in between flights after arriving from Newark Airport and waiting for slightly delayed connecting segment to Copenhagen.

I signed up for 24H service with Boingo yesterday at Newark Liberty and could not log in at Charles de Gaulle.


The CDG free 15 minutes option offers crawling speed.

Boingo does not even give you the option to reset password via e-mail.

The online WiFi service I used aboard Virgin America on my way to San Francisco worked wonders.

Boingo is no bang for the buck so far.

I hope it works better in other locations.

Gob It, Irish Coffee Gobs with Bushmills & Baileys Irish Cream Filling, Recipe from Gobba Gobba Hey

There's more to Philadelphia than Philly Cheesesteak.

Steven Gdula proves it with Gobba Gobba Hey! (August 31, 2011, Bloomsbury Publishing).

Here's a taste:

Irish Coffee Gobs with Bushmills & Baileys Irish Cream Filling

This recipe came about when I was asked to come up with a signature coffee-flavored gob for a new
coffeehouse in San Francisco. In my first attempt, I used brewed coffee in the batter, but dark hypno-swirls of java could be seen on top of the baked gobs. Also, it didn’t provide the welcoming roasted flavor I wanted. I found the solution in the form of espresso powder.
The pairing of the seductively sweet Baileys Irish Cream with the bite of Bushmills Irish Whiskey in
the filling definitely makes this an adult indulgence.
I’ve baked these for several parties, and they’re always a hit, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. I like
to think of this gob as coffee, dessert, and an after-dinner drink—all in one delicious confection

For the batter:

4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons espresso powder, such as King Arthur
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar, sifted
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut in ½-inch cubes
2 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream

For the Filling:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut in ½-inch cubes
12 tablespoons cream cheese,cut in ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
1 to 2 tablespoons Bushmills Irish Whiskey
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three 8-by-13-inch cookie sheets with
parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder,
baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients until
they’re evenly distributed.
3. In another large bowl, cream the sugar and butter with a mixer on
medium speed. Add the egg yolks to the creamed ingredients, and mix on
medium. Then add the egg whites and vanilla, and mix on medium-high until
the mixture looks like dense pudding.
4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the egg
mixture, mixing on medium speed after each addition. Then add the sour
cream, and mix well.
5. Using a tablespoon or pastry bag, drop 1½-inch rounds of batter on the
prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between each round. Bake them
approximately 8 minutes, or until the gob domes have risen. Remove the
gobs to a wire rack to cool.

1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium
2. Add the vanilla, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of Baileys,
2 tablespoons of Bushmills, and the confectioners’ sugar, and beat
on medium-high; scrape the bowl with a spatula to reincorporate the
ingredients if necessary. Taste and add another teaspoon of lemon juice or
tablespoon of Baileys or Bushmills if you like.
3. To frost the gobs, flip the baked gob domes over on a cookie sheet and
match up pairs of similarly shaped domes. Add 1 tablespoon of filling to
the flat side of an overturned dome, and then place another dome on top,
sandwich-style. Allow the completed the gobs to fully set by refrigerating
them on a baking sheet for at least 1 hour. Wrap the gobs in plastic wrap to
prevent them from drying out.

(*Reprinted from GOBBA GOBBA HEY, copyright 2011 by Steven Gdula, with the permission of Bloomsbury publishing.)

Late Minute Plans, Leaving for Copenhagen to cover 'Nordic Feed' on Thursday Evening

Late minute plans are fun.

They are also stressful.

On Monday morning, I heard that someone might be ready to make my trip to Copenhagen as in Denmark (and my stay) possible to cover Nordic Feed (August 26-28, 2011)

On Wednesday for a while things looked wobbly like they might not happen.

It was only a moment of doubt.

I am heading for Copenhagen on Thursday evening.

Once i get there I will scout both Nordic Feed and Copenhagen Cooking. They intersect at times.


An interview with Camilla Plum is also planned.

I hope I can get a first hand look at Noma.

Will I have time to hear echoes of Spain with Tour de Tapas in Ørestad?


(* Orestad photo courtesy of

Secret Eat and Meet Club, New Friends Table, Paris Supper Club

Adding a vintage touch to the Supper Clubs scene, here comes New Friends Table, a secret eat and meet club in ever changing themes and locations around Paris.

If you like classic black and white postcards, you may want to visit their site just for that.


Life imitating food memorabilia like Cool, classic lunch. White plates, damask tablecloth and lipstick (above).

(* Photo from New Friends Table site)

197 Pounds of Food Thrown Away Per Person, American Wasteland, In Paperback

Statistics available when Jonathan Bloom was writing American Wasteland showed that even though America represents 5 percent of planet population yet on average each American throws away 197 pounds of food per year. It adds up to 100 billion pounds of trash for the whole country.

I failed to write about American Wasteland when it was published in 2010. I can make up for that oversight as it is Now available in Paperback (published August 2011).

Is waste caused by our tendency to buy many things in size large.

Huge portions in some restaurants with 'doggy bags' for leftovers are one example.

Another reason highlighted by the author is our obsession with picture perfect produce which means that slight blemishes and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables get discarded.

Jonathan Bloom also sees bulk shopping at superstores as creating waste.


If you are already conscious of your wasteful ways, feeling guilty about it and ready for an action plan, here are a few steps Jonathan suggests:

-Take realistic look at how many times you will eat at home during the week, then plan your menu

- When shopping, make a list and stick to it, avoid buying things you don't need just because they're on display.

-Shop for produce last, it will loose freshness that compromises its shelf life while you shop

-Eat before you shop, if you're not hungry, you'll fall victim to fewer impulse buys.

-Avoid the temptation of 2 for 1 deal-if you need 1, buy 1.

I barely scratched the surface as to what the book has to offer.

Obviously, there will always be things in our fridge ready to go to waste.

Before they go bad, head for the nearest food pantry and feed someone who needs it.

At $16 (full price) and much less on sale, paperback of American Wasteland (Lifelong Books-Da Capo) is worth the investment both for your wallet and for the planet.

I am a recovering food waster for Green Day #191

Previously: Light Up Bike Night Ride with Pedal Powered Hub Dynamo by Project Aura

Toast August with Summer Berry Vodka Recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen

Gifting can be fun, when it is not about how much you spent or what label or designer graces your pick.

If edible treats are your favorite choice, Gifts from the Kitchen (September 2011, U.S edition, Kyle Books) by Annie Rigg offers 100 homemade present ideas for each season and occasion.

To start with, toast August with her Summer Berry Vodka recipe.

Summer Berry Vodka

Serve this berry-infused vodka in cocktails or ice cold in little shot glasses. You could also try adding a dash to Champagne as an alternative Kir Royale.

MAK E S ABOUT 3 1/4 c u p s

3/4 cup raspberries

3/4 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered

pared zest of 1 organic lemon

scant cup superfine sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved

1 x 25fl oz (750ml) bottle of good-quality vodka

Summer_berry_vodka (2)

Place the raspberries, strawberries, lemon zest, and superfine sugar in a large bowl and lightly crush with the back of a wooden spoon or fork. Add the vanilla bean, mix well, and leave to one side for about 2 hours, until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit starts to become really juicy.

Spoon the contents of the bowl into a large sterilized mason jar (see page 168) and pour in the vodka. Mix well and chill for 1 week or until needed (up to about a month).

Strain the vodka through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, and decant into pretty sterilized bottles.

It will keep, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 months.

For a number of years, Annie Rigg cooked on the road for the likes of Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd.

(* Recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen by Annie Rigg reproduced courtesy of Kyle Books, Photos by Catherine Gratwicke, all rights reserved)

Tomato Mozzarella Mille Feuille by Jean-Michel Simmeray

Summer and tomatoes are like twins you cannot separate them.


With his layered take on Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Jean-Michel Simmeray offers us a Tomato Millefeuille of sorts.

Jean-Michel suggests that Claire Kozlowski snapshot of his creation deserves as much credit as the dish itself.

Monday Night Music from Kenya, Neema Ntalel 'Dawn' Album Launch

I don't think Neema Ntalel would have caught my attention if I had not connected with Mark Kaigwa via my Saturday feature 10 Do's and Don'ts to which he contributed His take on Nairobi, Kenya.

She crowdfunded her sophomore album 'Dawn' and is sharing her excitement over her 'Dawn' album launch party.


Her honest take on where she stands and what she is trying to accomplish is refreshing.


Retro Drive to Vacations, My Cool Campervan introduces us to Inga and Friends

Maybe it's due to summer and vacations.

I have noticed a renewed interest in my interview on My Cool Caravan with Chris Haddon, one of its authors.

Chris along with his My Cool Caravan co-authorJane Field-Lewis followed their Caravan hit with My Cool Campervan (May 2011) published by Pavillion.


"When people think of campervans they almost always recall the iconic VW T2 however, there is a world of forgotten campervans out there: the iconic Bedford CA, the classic Commer, the vintage Dodge, the converted Citroën H Van, the big American RV and a distinctive world of individual conversions to campers.

Jane and photographer Tina Hillier’s 3500-mile trip to locate the campervan owners and their proud memories, was a delightful journey of experiencing the joys of outdoor life, idle conversations, map reading and stumbling upon delightful new places. They met proud campervan owners who shared their memories of family holidays under candy-striped pop-top roofs, of ice creams in long road trips, of sunny days and simple pleasures."


The Volkswagen (VW) vehicle is Campaccino Coffee Company mobile shop. Richard Johnson, food journalist and founder of British Street Food Awards used a campervan to take his research on the road.

I kinda fell for larger than life Inga (top photo) which must give you more room to roam than the VW.

I can see myself following their lead to visit some of the spots I have mentioned over the years.


My Cool Campervan is available in all good bookshops and via Anova Books online.

I am not sure how widely available the book is outside the UK.

Bon voyage!

(* My Cool Campervan by Jane Field-Lewis and Chris Haddon, published by Pavilion. Photography by Tina Hillier...illustrations courtesy of publisher, all rights reserved)