Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rubber band in the food at Ostehuset

In the series "Gard is testing out places to eat in Stavanger" it is time to check out the place Ostehuset. Ostehuset is located in Klubbgaten in Stavanger (see the map on ) and it is a small and informal place. I think there are about 30-35 seats in the cafe. There is also a shop in the same room when you can buy cheese (hence the name of the place as ost is the Norwegian word for cheese ), different oils, bread etc.

I have been to Ostehuset a few times over the years and I like their big menu where they offer sandwiches, salads, small warm dishes, pizza etc. You can check out the menu on . They have even highlighted the dishes that are healthy :-) When I went there in March 2007 I ordered the pasta with chicken in a creamy tiger sauce...and Nikki when for chili con carne with mashed potatoes. My pasta dish was OK but as before it seems like it is served a bit too lukewarm for my likings...I keep on wondering if they don't heat it enough...or if it is left outside once it is done. There was lots of food in this dish...lots of chicken, pasta and pepper and I got really full.

Nikki took the chili con carne and this is a wonderful dish that we make at home from time to time. But at Ostehuset this dish was a disappointment. This must be the most boring chili con carne that I have ever tasted and we were joking that it should have been called con carne as there was no traces of chili. On top of the dish there was a bunch of ruccola (rocket) and when Nikki had eaten parts of it she found something that didn't belong there. In the salad they had forgotten to remove the rubber band that kept the rocket together and when inspecting it closer it didn't look like the rocket had been washed. We called the waitress and for a second it seemed like she was tempted to just pick it out of Nikki's food with her fingers. But Nikki said she wanted the rocket moved altogether and they took it back to the kitchen to do this.

So what is the conclusion? Ostehuset is a nice little place with a large menu. But it seems like the quality has gone a bit downhill over the last few years...lukewarm dishes and left rubber band in the food indicates that they are pushing the limits. We will probably go there again but I am a bit skeptic after the rubber band incident.

Regards Gard - trip reports and pictures

Thursday, March 8, 2007

What do U say?

I was thinking of changing the look of the blog these few weeks....finally today I decided, Nothing Venture - Nothing Gain! So I went right ahead and got this new template..... so whaddya think?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Early mornings sometimes begin with a groan on my side! Getting up.. well.. no option there!! but getting the Hubby to wake up (on time) for work is ... well.. what can I say??... how he loves to cling on (and on... and on..) to those 'last 5 minutes' of sleep! Making tea, cooking and packing his lunchbox and the 'tata' are the busiest moments of my day..the rest of it seems like a week end!!
After the 'busy hour' when tranquility has made its temporary nest in my home,I start my 'cleaning up' the 'unbelievable mess 2 people can make in just a short span of a few hours'. This done and having taken up loads of time (also leaving me wondering how fast it is to mess it up!!)I saunter into the kitchen, to clean up there. On some days that I feel I need to rearrange things a bit, I usually eat lunch at the time when people have their cup of tea, at such times I prefer something quick. I usually fall back on making a paratha. M is not really a roti person. Give him his daal-rice and he is content, but I like rotis , parathas, so today after cleaning up, arranging, re- arranging stuff I made Koki for my lunch and as an evening snack for M, when he comes home, famished, after work.

Koki, is a paratha made by Sindhis (a community in India), this is a great addition to lunch boxes. It can be eaten just as it is, or with yogurt or sauce or pickles. Apart from that it is easy to make!

All you need is:

2 cups Wheat flour (atta)
3 tbsp. Oil
1 Onion grated
2 Green chillies finely chopped (+/- to taste)
2 tbsp. Grated Raw mango OR 1 tbsp. Anardana powder (pomegranate seeds powdered)
1 tbsp. Sesame
1 tbsp.chopped Cilantro
1 pinch turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilly powder (+/- to taste)
Ghee/ Butter

Mix all the ingredients from Wheat Flour to red chilly pwd. and bind into a smooth dough.
Roll out parathas and shallow fry in ghee / butter.
There now, that's all that there is to it!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

JFI - BATATA, ALOO, POTATO, Pomme De Terre’.....

List of Potato items I consume regularly :
Potato bhaji,Sukha bhaji (with variations) ,Rassa bhaji,Pav bhaji,Chips,Fries and Burgers, Wedges, Alu paratha, Alu raita,Veges cooked with Potato, Samosa,Chaat items, Batata Wada
Potato sandwich,Tikkis...............

Have I forgotten anything else, must've... there are another 100 things that have skipped my mind!
I remember in my childhood, we used to have a 'summer holiday Bhatukli' (a session where I and my pint size friends would cook a meal). This was the REAL thing... each one of us would bring 1 potato each, half a cup of rice, daal and atta (wheat flour) , oil each, some sugar, enthusiastic mother's would sometimes give a bottle of pickle or jam. The menu was standard, rice and plain daal, potato subzi and pickle and puri (rotis were impossible, nobody wanted to study geography in the holidays!!) The vegetable was fixed too, had to be, age 6- 10 cannot do more!!
It was fun to have these cooking sessions, but unfortunately a HUGE problem for our Mum's!!! We usually held this activity in my home or any of my friend's whose Mother's were working for the obvious reason, no interference!
The world was shocked by the destruction caused by 'Katrina', the expression on their face was one I saw on my Mother's face all thru my childhood.... unfortunately the only help she got in cleaning up was from Dad, and that took so much time, that we always went out for dinner!
This childhood activity(not the going out for dinner!! :D) was probably what sparked my interest in cooking! Then came a time when I and my friends made patties (we could not make ragda) but the patties were easy to make. I liked them so much that the very same evening I made some more for my family... well, a lot more, come to think of it! I had no idea of 'andaaz' (sense of proportion) so I mixed everything, and finally the potato mixture was of a quantity that could probably have fed an army!!! My family, neighbors and my parents office friends got the benefit of my culinary (mis)adventures!
Years later I joined a cookery day-class and learnt a lot more. I still have those recipes and they are amazing! It was there, that I made my first successful Stuff Paratha!! That is my first contribution to JFI.

You need:

5 Potatoes
1 inch Ginger
2-3 green chilies
1 Tsp Cilantro
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Corriander powder
1/4 tsp Chaat powder
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (maida)
1 cup Wheat flour
1/4 tsp Ajwain (optional)
Ghee/oil to shallow fry

Boil, peel and mash potatoes.
Grind the ginger, chilly to a fine paste.
Add to mashed potatoes, add cilantro.
Add salt, cumin-corriander and chaat powder.
Mix the flours, add oil, salt,ajwain, water and knead into a dough.
Take a small portion of the dough.
Roll into a puri, add the stuffing (do not over fill /stuff)
Seal by bringing up the corners and make a ball.
Roll into a thickish paratha, shallow fry in ghee/oil.

I also made Aloo Tikkis. These are my absolute favs for an evening snack when we decide to have a few friends over . This is my 2nd. 'peshkash'

You need:

1/2 kg Potatoes ( roughly 6 med. size )
1 inch Ginger
6 flakes Garlic
2 Green chillies
1/4 cup Bread crumbs
Salt to taste
Fine Farina/ rawa/ sooji

8-10 Dates
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/2 green chilly
1 tsp Cilantro

Pressure cook the potatoes and dates (separately!).
Take the cooked dates (remove the seed) mix all ingredients listed under Chutney and grind to a paste. If you are using tamarind concentrate use about 1/4 tsp as it is strong)
Peel and mash the potatoes.
Grind to a paste ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Add the paste, bread crumbs , salt to the mashed potatoes.
Knead it to a firm dough.
Take a portion of this dough and make a ball of it. Flatten it on the palm and make a well of the potato mix.
Fill with the date chutney. Bring together the edges an seal.
Shape like a patty.
Pat the patty (!!) in the farina and shallow fry.
Serve hot with ketchup

Vaishali , is our hostess for this month's JFI... who by the way is going to have a tough time with the round up!! All the best to you,Vaishali!!! And many thanx for the wonderful choice of ingredient.