CFR Notes – Making Rookie Mistakes and Getting Away With It

d8-30-11-2016-15-13-07So, there we were, in good time – a colleague and me – in Madrid Bajaras airport, Terminal 2, with an hour and some until we should fly home. The trip back was Plan B, so to speak – we had a Lufthansa flight cancelled due to the ongoing strikes and the travel agency had done its wizardry and got us booked home on Norwegian, direct. Fine! Lufthansa had done as well as possible under the circumstances and given us plenty of advance warning that the cancellation would occur.

But flying Norwegian left us in a no-status situation, in frequent-flyer terms, so we bought some lunch and sat down and had a struggle with the regular wifi in the airport. Apparently, terminal 4 is a lot nicer – I’ll have to say that T2 is nothing worth writing home about.

We discussed a bit when boarding would be – and then I got up to find the “aseos” and, on my way back, checked the screen to verify that the gate that TripIt had informed me about was still valid. It was – but it also informed me that the flight was boarding! Uaks.

2016-12-01-10-42-50The root cause of our mistake, I think, was that Norwegian states departure time on the boarding cards, unlike most everyone else who seems to be more user-oriented and puts boarding time there.
Hey, Norwegian: Your boarding card stands out enough by being so red – I see no need for you to differentiate also on standard information-giving…😉

Turned out, we were sitting at gate D-sixtysomething and our plane was boarding at C31. Now, C31 was 6-7-8 min quite fast walking away – and that is a fair bit of time when you have seen the “boarding” flash on the monitors…! So, as a result, the monitor at the gate did say “last call” when we came around the corner there.

Next issue: My passport? At the time of writing, in seat 8C onboard D8 6112, I do very much hope that my theory holds up* and it is in the inner pocket of my suit jacket, which is bundle wrapped and cinched down in my carry-on bag. The nice lady at the gate let me through on my driver’s license🙂

On board, overhead bin space was of course very scarce as we boarded so late. My bag got stashed four rows behind me – and my colleague’s finally found a place way down at the back somewhere. Yes, it’ll mean a bit of hassle once we are back on the ground and have to disembark. But at least our mistakes didn’t get us left behind!

  • Update: It did…!
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Monday Motorway Music™, November 28 – Elsewhere Once Again

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A photo from the “first frost” series I did recently. Of course, ever since it’s been warmer than that and windy etc etc – but I still think it’s a nice shot!

Last Monday, I was travelling – Nantes, France. The second half of last week, I spent in Moscow, Russia. And as this posts online, I am in Madrid, Spain. It’s a little wild. After that, I’ll have a couple of weeks “grounded” and then just one more bit of travel before Christmas and all that.

I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
Rigtige mænd – TV-2
In The Mood – John Lee Hooker & Bonnie Raitt
Jailhouse Rock – Blues Brothers
Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Photo by me.
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(Monday) Motorway Music™, November 15 – Yet Another Monday Slipped By…

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It’s been a tough last couple of weeks. And as not to sink into whining, that’s about what I am going to say about that. Other than – yep, did realise it was Monday yesterday. And I duly did make a list of music in the morning. And by evening, when I could have found some time to write something up, the sofa jumped on my back and the newest novel by Arne Dahl crept into my hands.

And there went any chance of writing…😉

The photo above is from last week sometime – the first touch of frost on the lawn this year and the first touch of sun that morning. Quite poetic moment, actually, when I think about it.

Backwards – Lars H.U.G. & Lisa Ekdahl
Drop Dead Beautiful – Six Was Nine
Du er så smuk og dejlig – Shit & Chanel
Love and Treachery – Madeleine Peyroux
The Night We Called It A Day – Diana Krall
Drive – The Cars
Love Hurts – Nazareth
Who Will Comfort Me – Melody Gardot
The Nightfly – Donald Fagen

Photo by me.
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Cobblestone Cooking Music XXXI – Stirfried Chicken with Not Quite Spaghetti. And A Classic Danish Dessert.

 

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This critter doesn’t look a lot like spaghetti, I’ll grant you. But it’s called a spaghetti squash – because once it’s baked in the oven, I am supposedly pulling a fork through it – and it’ll turn up as long, noodle-like thingies (if I am sufficiently touched by His Noodly Appendage, of course…)

  • Leonard Cohen, Slow
  • Sinne Eeg, Waiting for Dawn

Spaghetti squashes (that does look odd in plural – squashi?😉 ) are hard! Cutting one in half requires a long, sharp knife, a decent amount of brute force and a lot of being careful with that axe knife, Eugene!

Once it’s cut in halves, take out the seeds and the stringy gunk that holds them, brush some oil over all of it and bake for a good half hour at 200°C until you can quite easily poke a fork down through the flesh all the way to the peel.

  • Bonnie Tyler, It’s A Heartache
  • Styx, Clair de Lune / Ballerina

Add grated cheese, butter if you will, parsley and finely chopped garlic and, with a fork, pull the flesh longitudinally so that you scoop it out and spaghettitize it at the same time.

img_0373It’s quite easy – at least if your ambition does not run to very long strands – except for trying to hold on to a 180-200°C warm half large squash… So I ended up with something that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike spaghetti…

As for the chicken (breast), I cut it into smaller pieces and marinated it for an hour-ish in soy sauce, oil, garlic and ginger and then stir-fried it along with celery, spring onion and sugar snaps.

  • Fleetwood Mac, You Make Loving Fun
  • Katie Melua, On The Road Again

Serve quickly as soon as both things are done.

And to follow, a classic and also seasonal dessert: Old-fahioned “apple cake” (it doesn’t even remotely have anything to do with cake, but that’s what it’s called).

Peel apples – we have Belle de Boskoop, which is a superior apple for cooking and desserts. De-core ’em and cut them into cubes. Gently boil them with just a tad of water and, if you feel like it, maybe half a pod of vanilla (remember to pluck it out afterwards).

  • Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music, Jealous Guy
  • Supertramp, Goodbye Stranger

When the apples are mushy but not completely an even mush yet, take them off the heat and stir in an appropriate amount of cane (or regular) sugar. Leave to cool. If you get it started late, as I did, it comes in handy that it’s -3°C outside…

On a small pan, heat a bit of butter until it’s stopped foaming, then add “rasp” (Danish for fine wheat breadcrumbs – we buy it ready-made), mixed with 1/3 sugar by weight. Leave on middle heat, while stirring, until it gets light brown and caramelized. Cool off, maybe stir a little once in a while – as it sometimes can self-attach to a rather large and very dry cookie and you want it as a granulate.

  • REO Speedwagon, Keep On Loving You
  • Al Jarreau/David Sanborn/Bob James, Since I Fell For You

img_0374In a presentable bowl of the right size, layer apple and breadcrumbs – start with apple, end with breadcrumbs (which is in fine layers between thicker layers of apple). On top goes whipped cream and the whole thing is decorated with dollops of apple or (any red berry) jelly.

Could well be served with a ruby port – or even a calvados, of course. Not that we did either today.

Happy cooking!

Photo by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, November 7 – A Light for Darker Times

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In my hemisphere and this far towards the pole of it, we’re heading towards the very dark part of the year. Hence, when I found this photo in the digital vault – shot sometime last summer – I thought it’d be a good idea to put that up for sharing.

And, probably also a little bit because today would have been my Dad’s birthday.

Wind of Change – Scorpions
Un-break My Hearth – Toni Braxton
I Can’t Make You Love Me – Sanne Salomonsen
Please Don’t Leave Me – Pretty Maids
For Crying Out Loud – Meat Loaf
Why (Solo performance) – Annie Lennox

Photo by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, October 31 – All You Get Today Is A Picture

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Photo by me.
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Autum Forest

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Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, October 24 – Just Another Autumn Monday

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Autum reflections in a car roof

The weather this Monday is slightly better than the photo suggests – I snapped that Friday where it was a good deal more miserable.

Other than that, I guess no news is good news. And if I really scramble to think of something it might be along the lines that I am grounded, travelwise, until early November.

Not because anyone has told me to stay at home or that I am not going to be allowed to travel. But merely because my passport is out of my hands until then – because it’s being fitted with a visa for a travel at the other end of November…!

I of course could go around in the Nordic countries if I would – the Nordic Passport Convention allows me to and has been in force, apparently, since 1957 (with Iceland added in ’65). And, truth be told, I have once done a trip to and from Italy along with my family while my passport was, also, at an embassy. True to Schengen intentions, I didn’t even have my passport out of the bag going there. On our way back, we were asked for them at the checkin in FCO – so the lady got three passports and one driver license. She looked a bit at me and then, in a very Italian way, accepted my smiling explanation that “I was going home after all”…

Careless Whisper – Wham!
Poor Man’s Moody Blues – Barclay James Harvest
A Case Of You – Diana Krall
AD1928/Rockin’ the Paradise – Styx
You’re So Vain – Carole King

Photo by me.

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Cobblestone Cooking Music XXX – ’tis That Time of Year

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Tarte Tatin

Note: Those three Xs in the title? It’s just a number!😉

And before you go all “We don’t want to hear *beeeep* about Christmas before Halloween” – the season I refer to is the apple season. And MAN, do we have apples this year…!

So, with friends of the house coming for dinner, the theme was “apples”…

  • Madeleine Peyroux, Dance Me To The End Of Love
  • Sanne Salomonsen, Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer

Starter: A simple salad – finely cut pointy cabbage, finely cubed apple, very finely cubed ginger. Add some dried cranberries and some hazelnuts, toss with a vinaigrette on apple cider vinegar.

Main course: Roast beef. Ahhh, these cuts in English? Probably sirloin-ish, done as a whole piece and not as steaks. Looks like this.

There is an art to do this. First, salt and sear all over on a pan at full blast. The, put it into a cast iron pot or skillet, add water, onion, whole black pepper corn, a few juniper berries. Use a thermometer! Cook until the center temperature is 55°C – take up, cover lightly and let rest. It’ll easily be half an hour before you’re ready to eat. Fine!

  • Diana Krall, Crazy
  • Rufus Wainwright, Halleluja

Pour the stock from the skillet through a sieve, before serving add some cream and let it get to boiling. Adjust taste to your liking.

Sides? An apple “risotto” – in “” as it was done with bulgur. Boil as instructed and in the mean time cube two apples, slice up an onion, fry these two thing together. Add some white wine and then a bit of chicken stock. Mix in the bulgur and mix in grated Grana Padano and toss in some thinly sliced red onion and some mange tout is you have (I didn’t).

  • Sinne Eeg, Down on West Fuxing Lu
  • Sanne Salomonsen, New York Minute

And pickled apples: split a courgettes (squash / zucchini) and take out the seeds and cube it. Cube a large apple, too. Also cube to red onions and fry them without browning in oil along with some curry (I used green curry). Add the courgette & apple, fry for a few minutes and add a bit of water, white wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Serve rather quickly.

  • Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger
  • Sinne Eeg, Don’t Be So Blue

Now here is where the test comes as to whether you read it all before diving into the kitchen… The day before (at least), make a vanilla parfait with a touch of calvados: Whisk egg yolks with sugar and vanilla to a light frothy mass. In the meantime, bring a 50:50 mix of milk and cream to a boil with the rest of the vanilla pods. Whisk into the egg stuff and let it go back on the heat – but do not let it come to a boil again! (Max 83°C for those in on the details).

  • Larry Carlton, Blues For TJ
  • Elton John, Candle In The Wind

Drop into the ice machine and when it’s properly cold and mixed, transfer to a container and let it freeze until the next day.

Dessert, then. Make a sweet shortcrust pastry dough (if my translation tools serves me well – here’s an example). Peel, decore and cut 3-5 apples into about 8 wedges each, and mix them with some cane sugar. Butter on the pan, arrange the apple wedges there and let them fry for some time until apple juice and sugar starts to become thicker and caramelise a bit.

  • ABBA, Take A Chance On Me
  • Dinah Washington, What A Difference A Day Made

Roll out the pastry, cover the apples and tuck it nicely down along the edges. I poked a few holes in the dough with a sharp knife to let steam get out. Put the pan in the oven at 200°C and bake until done and golden. Take out – remember that that pan is warm! – and turn out on a suitable platter (put the platter on top and flip around then remove the pan). Et voila – tarte tatin.

  • Rickie Lee Jones, Chuck E’s In Love
  • Robbie Williams (feat. Nicole Kidman), Somethin’ Stupid

The whose thing – all of the above – was done from something after five in the afternoon until just after seven. Basically, a three course dinner in a little less than two hours, maybe actually nearer one and a half. (Note: not everything happened in the order written here – you have to optimise your time spending -the tarte tatin, for instance, went in rather early so I could do a lot of the other stuff while that was in the oven…) Not too bad – and came out well, according to the guests🙂

And as to apples – these dishes were all done with Belle de Boskoop. A very good apple for cooking, baking and doing desserts!

Happy cooking!

Photo by me.
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Monday (Motorway) Music™, October 17 – It Could Be Rotterdam…

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..or anywhere. No, in fact not. And due apologies to Beautiful South.

I’m, in fact, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands – at a conference. And the conference center is the next door building to the hotel. Even the dinner I am going to tonight is no more than a 10-15 min walk away. So there are absolutely no motorways involved.

The picture set above is collected over the last two days – Rotterdam is actually a rather photogenic place and the weather, especially yesterday, has been very pleasant.

The music list, in lieu of what was in the car, represents this morning’s “shower and general getting ready to face the day” list, then:

Don’t Bring Me Down – ELO
Summertime Blues – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Girl Can Rock – Hilary Duff
Tired Man – The Blue Junction
Livin’ Thing – ELO
Hey Joe (live) – Jimi Hendrix

Photos by me.

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