It was the start of a new day. I have this problem, had it for years and not yet found a way to solve it, sleep, I can’t, it takes me hours, i have an overactive brain, could be ADHD I have been told but when I was a youngster such things didn’t exist, or at least had not been discovered.
I was watching the light show at 02:00 the previous evening and had managed to get some light rest but I was excited, it was a new day and we had a lot happening on our first full day at Kitchen On the Edge Of the World.
As we settled down to breakfast there was a lot of discussion about the previous evenings light show, which was amazing. The breakfast menu at Holmen provides some recognisable options including local Bacon and Eggs and some more local delights such as Waffles with Brunost, the local Goats Cheese Whey that is boiled down to provide a brown Cheese which is both sweet and savoury, it’s extremely nice, especially when served with Gooseberry Jam, Sour Cream and berries. It was my intention to avoid anything that looked ‘british’ and experience the Norwegian way as much as possible.
Richard Bertinet is a friend of mine, I hope he doesn’t mind me saying as I actually haven’t been to his cookery school since before Covid, but having met him 10 times prior we know each other enough to joke with each other and play tomfoolery! My 1st session of the day is with some other guests and Richard, learning (in my case re-learning) how to make bread the traditional way, it takes a lot of effort to really do it properly.
I won’t describe the method, get his book(s) or go on one of his awesome courses at his Bath Cookery School. It was great fun, he is a brilliant Teacher and everyone had great fun trying to master the process of getting air into the dough mix, Flour, Salt, Yeast and Water, nothing more, nothing less the results are yummy.
Imagine the picture above was your classroom, it was a stunning location, a tad cold but we had gas heaters providing enough warmth to not feel cold or hot, so just right for working our dough. Once we completed the dough making session we went into the main kitchen were there is a wood fired oven, some previously prepared dough had risen and was ready for shaping and baking, which is exactly what we did next. Fougasse all sorts of different forms as well as a flat bread, smothered in garlic butter one of the Holmen chefs had prepared for us, the results were crunchy, fluffy, garlicky, buttery and delicious. We made enough to go with the lunch that was to follow later.
The next session was all about Cod, and more importantly how to make the most of this regal and majestic beast of a fish, one of my favourites when not overcooked to destruction! With the help of the lovely and extremely hospitable Holmen owner Ingunn, our chef Val Warner took us through the process of breaking down the fish to extract as many different parts as possible, explaining their use in a number of different dishes, it was really enlightening to see how much is unnecessarily wasted, which is tragic considering how much can actually be used.
Let’s go Arctic fishing, hell yes….. After lunch we had our fishing trip and after making sure we had enough warm layers on, we donned flotation suits which also acted as an insulating layer, and set off in metal ribs out into the cold (very), to see if the sea was going to provide us with some jewels in the form of fish. Our skipper Daniel was young but well travelled and experienced using a sonar to try and find elusive shoals of fish.
After some searching we found an couple of spots and the bites started, I fish in the UK, but have not managed a trip for some time, my fishing budding being of an age now where its just not possible for him to venture out onto the sea, the delight in getting a rod tip bending was the start of a few hours of cold weather sea fishing the likes I had never experienced before. In the end my tally was 5 Coley, they all went back into the sea for another day, it was a thoroughly enjoyable, but a very cold experience.
Nick Strangeway is a God, the master of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. His knowledge is beyond reproach and we were going to be treated to a masterclass, all about Punch and Cocktails, it was absolutely fascinating and delivered with some comedy and amusement we all laughed as he provided some accurately corrected history about how drinks had developed from time immemorial. Nick was to provide us with treats during various meals over the days, they have all been glorious so far with unique blends and flavours to tickle all taste buds.
It was Ricks night to delight food wise, and boy did that happen the food was so delicious, subtle, punchy, flavourful I will say no more other than having eaten as his Seafood Restaurant, St Petrocs Bistro and attended a 2 day Seafood Class at his Cookery School he can still cook the most tasty food, it was sublime. As the night before we were treated to some more of natures fireworks and this particular shot of the mountain ‘on-fire’ is one of my favourite. Thanks Rick for bringing seafood to the attention of the British public all those years ago, and being such a lovely bloke, joining in the conversation, signing stuff and providing such lovely stories which will remain forever at Holmen 🙂
……………..Until Next Time…………L8ers……………