Blini buffet

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As I’ve mentioned before, I set up a little blini station for the drinks party before Christmas, a concept I will definitely use again.

It was the first time ever I made blinis and although time-consuming (the batter need to rise twice and then you have the fry them all) it was so much fun and I love these little Russian pancakes.

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I also made some vegan pancakes and some glutenfree ones as well as vegan toppings (marinated beetroot with horseradish and aubergine caviar). The general toppings were very classic; gravadlax (cured salmon), creme fraiche, caviar (not the fancy kind) and chopped red onions.

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This was all set up on a table so people could help themselves in between canapés as well as in the beginning when I was busy greeting the guests.

Blinis, makes about 80-90 (at least)

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe from the book The Hors D’oeuvres Handbook

2 tsp dry yeast

350 ml warm water

350 ml plain flour 

350 ml buckwheat flour

3 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites 

5 tbsp melted butter 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp caster sugar

350 ml warm milk

Mix yeast and water in a large mixing bowl. Place in a warm place until the mixture is creamy and foamy, about 10 minutes. 

Slowly add the flower to the mixture. Whisk to combine and remove any lumps. Cover the bowl with cling and put it in a warm place to rise, about 1 hour. 

In a separate bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of the butter, salt, sugar and milk. Whisk to combine and remove lumps. Use a spatula to stir in the buckwheat mixture into the risen mixture. Combine well. Cover with cling and set in a warm place to rise by about half, and bubbly, about 1 hour. 

Beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff but not dry. Fold gently into the batter. 

Heat a frying pan och blini pan over medium heat and brush with some of the butter. Pour 1 teaspoon of butter per blini into the pan; try to fit as many as your pan can fit, leaving space between them (I cooked four at the time). Cook until the bottom turns golden and bubbles appear on top, about 45 seconds. Flip and cook until golden and cooked through, about 30 seconds more. Repeat with the remaining batter.Stack the blinis as they’re ready.

They can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days but are best freshly prepared. They do not freeze well. 

Serve with creme fraiche, lumpfish caviar, chopped red onions. 

Gravadlax

300 g salmon fillet

1 tbsp sea salt

1/2 tbsp caster sugar 

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Freeze the fish if fresh and defrost it (to remove any bacteria). Mix sugar, salt and dill and pat into the fish all over. Place in a shallow dish and cover with clingfilm. Place something heavy on top. Place in the fridge for 48 hours. 

Remove the liquid and pat the fish dry. Slice thinly and serve. 

Aubergine caviar 

Adapted from miscellaneous recipes (especially one by Gordon Ramsay) found on the web.

1 aubergine

1 garlic clove, sliced

olive oil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

Cut the aubergine in half lenghtwise and make cuts in a check pattern into the ‘flesh’. Place the garlic pieces in the cuts and pat the aubergine with oil. Add the dried herbs and put the aubergine back together and wrap the whole thing in tin foil. Bake in 200C oven until soft all the way through, approx 30-40 minutes. 

Remove the foil and scrape out the inside of the aubergine onto a chopping board. Chop t up with a knife, transfer to a bowl, season and add more oil if needed. Serve cold.

Marinated raw beetroots with grated horseradish

4-5 fresh beetroots

1/2 lemon, the juice

2-3 tsp mild olive oil

salt, white pepper

fresh horseradish

Peel the beetroots (use plastic gloves) and slice thinly with a mandolin or cheese slicer. Place in a bowl and add the lemon juice and oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add grated horseradish before serving. 

Glutenfree pancakes

Adapted from Doves Farm’s recipe.

200 g glutenfritt mjöl från Doves Farm

2 eggs

1 tbsp sunflower oil

500 ml milk

Add flour and egg to a mixing bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine. Leave to rest for a bit and whisk again before making the pancakes. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and pour in 1 tbsp batter per pancake. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, then flip and cook until golden on that side too. Repeat with the remaining batter. 

Vegan pancakes 

250 ml plain flour

2 tbsp baking powder 

1 pinch salt

250 ml soy milk

2 tbsp mild oil 

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add soy milk and oil and whisk to a smooth batter. Heat up a splash of oil in a frying pan, add a tbsp of the batter per pancake and fry until golden brown at the bottom. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. 

Dinner at Honest Burger, Camden

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After a night in a Camden pub celebrating my friend Amy’s birthday the birthday girl craved a good burger and a few of us were quick to join her at Honest Burger. In my quest to find London’s best burger I’ve heard great things about Honest Burger and was very excited to try it!

The Camden branch was almost empty when we got there, as it was late and they were about to close, but we were greeted and served immediately. I chose the cheeseburger with cheddar which – like all their burgers – came with delicious rosemary salted fries. The burger was really nice with a great relish, wonderful brioche bun and a really good patty! It gets a high score but in my very subjective competition, Soho Diner is still number one.

Honest Burger, Unit 34a, Camden Lock Place London NW1 8AF

 

Pre-Christmas drinks (and nibbles)

IMG_9132The month of December was busy to say the least. So much so that I didn’t have time to update you on the blog on what I was up to.

One Sunday I had a bunch of friends over for drinks and canapés, some Christmas themed, some not. Some of my friends have dietary requirements that I catered for and it was a bit of a challenge to cater for a vegan, a coeliac and pregnant ladies all at the same time, but I seemed to pull it off!

We started with prosecco (and alcohol free alternatives) and savoury canapés. One one table I had made a little blini buffet that my guests could help themselves to whenever they liked. That way I wasn’t too stressed sending out trays of canapés. At the blini station I had proper homemade blinis, glutenfree pancakes and vegan pancakes as well as lots of toppings (cured salmon, creme fraiche, caviar (not the fancy stuff), chopped onions, aubergine ‘caviar’ and marinated beetroot).

IMG_9141The first savoury canapé was these rolls with cream cheese, sunblush tomatoes and basil. So easy to make ahead of time.

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Next up was baked aubergine with saffron yoghurt and pomegranate seeds.

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Vegan truffled mushrooms on crostinis – recipe to follow later.

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And lastly, warming pots with Jansson’s temptation, a classic Swedish Christmas dish consisting of grated potatoes and onions, anchovies, cream and breadcrumbs on top. I love that all mu non-Swedish friends adore this. Most of my guests had two each!

IMG_9163In the transition from savoury to sweet I replaced the blini station with gingerbread (regular, vegan and gluten free ones) with Stilton, sweets, chewy chocolate cake (including a vegan and gluten free one that didn’t turn out very well). Jenny brought some vegan mince pies with filo pastry that were put out too, they were delicious! And of course, we had some homemade glögg (sweet mulled wine) with the gingerbread.

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Lastly I brought out rice pudding the way we eat it on Christmas Eve; cold and mixed with whipped cream. I served it with defrosted berries mixed with some icing sugar.

I had so much fun at this gathering, and I hope my friends did too! Preparing most of it ahead of time meant I could mingle and drink prosecco like every body else.

Dinner at Bistrot Bruno Loubet, Clerkenwell

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It’s not often I go out to eat on Sundays, but when you’re friend works in the restaurant herself, there isn’t much choice, but looking for a place to go I realised most restaurants are closed for dinner on Sundays. Not surprisingly as Sunday lunches are a big deal in Britain, but still disappointing.

Luckily there are nice restaurants open, and we went to Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell. As the name suggests the food served here is French bistro cuisine, which we very much enjoyed. There aren’t any twists or much innovation here – but in a good way. Instead the food is traditional and very well executed. It is not easy cooking simple food well!

Helen started the meal with the rillette which was quite plain, i.e. no twists, but still very good.

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I chose the pig’s head and got this wonderful big croquette and a sauce with eggs, capers, mayonnaise and herbs. Very good!

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We both had the bavette with chips, salad and bearnaise sauce for our mains and it was very good. In fact one of the better bearnaise sauces I’ve had in a restaurant! It was thick, not too acidic and lovely!

Bistrot Bruno Loubet, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ

Baked Alaska with oat crisps, raspberries and passion fruit

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Two New Year’s Eves in a row I’ve made the same fabulous dessert and even though i love it, it’s fun to change things up a little, so this New Year’s Eve I decided to make a Baked Alaska. The base is oat crisps, as well as the decoration and the centre is homemade vanilla ice cream topped with passion fruit and wrapped in Italian meringue. Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and half a passion fruit to serve. It was delicious and looked just as impressive as I had pictured in my head.

Baked Alaska with raspberries and passion fruit, serves 4

1 batch oat crisps 

1 batch vanilla ice cream 

Italian meringue:

4 egg whites

150 ml caster sugar

Syrup:

150 ml caster sugar

100 ml water

Raspberry coulis:

1 litre frozen raspberries 

a little sugar (to taste)

100 ml water

1 tbsp potato flour 

To decorate:

1 punnet fresh raspberries 

4 passion fruits

Make the oat crisps using the link above. These can be made a few day in advance, just store in an airtight container. Use a dessert spoon to measure the oat crisps for the base and half a teaspoon for the small decorative oat crisps. Still bake them for the same amount of time. 

Make the ice cream and divide between four ramekins lined with cling film, freeze until needed.  

Make the raspberry coulis: place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, sieve to remove the kernels and leave to cool. Can also be made ahead of time. 

Montage:

Make the Italian meringue: Add the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and beat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the water and sugar for the syrup to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the (very) hot syrup into the meringue mixture and beat for another 15 minutes until you have a thick, glossy meringue.

Place a large oat crisp on each plate. Remove the ice cream from the ramekins and cling and place on top of the oat crisps. Scrape out the seeds from half a passion fruit on top of each ice cream block. Cover the whole lot (apart from the base) with the meringue using a spatula. Use a cream brulee torch to torch the meringue until golden brown. Decorate the plate with the raspberry coulis and fresh fruit. Top each dessert with a small oat crisp and maybe a sparkler. Serve immediately.

Lunch at Marchal, Copenhagen

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I have a long list of Copenhagen restaurants I want to try, but they were all closed for lunch on New Year’s Eve. But that was lucky in a way because that made us discover Marchal, the one Michelin-starred restaurant in Hotel d’Angleterre.

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The lunch menu was really nice, but a little tricky to figure out which dishes were starters and which were main courses, but I think we did alright. Claes and I had poached oysters with potato and root vegetable balls, crispy potato, horseradish sauce and dill oil. Such a great dish – subtle flavours in absolute harmony.

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Emma had a chicken salad with crispy chicken skin and loved every bite.

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And Linus had confit pork breast with onions, apples and jus. Also really, really nice!

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The portions were not very big, but still felt quite substantial so it was perfect to follow it up with two plates of cheese (with fried rye bread, figs and strawberry conserve) to share. It was a fine balance to eat enough to feel full and content but not too full as we had a quite large dinner planned for the evening.

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We had a nice Sancerre with our dinner, recommended by the sommelier, and I must say the service was really good over all.

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Marchal offered exactly what we wanted for our New Year’s Eve luncheon; some flair and big city buzz but still a relaxed ambiance. And of course wonderful food! We’ll be back.

Marchal, Hotel d’Angleterre, 34, Kongens Nytorv, 1050 København K, Denmark

New Year’s Eve 2014

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New Year’s Eve was just as great as we’d hoped. Our little gang (Emma, Claes, Linus and me) started with lunch at Marchal in Copenhagen (review to come), walked around the city and stopped for cava at a bar before taking the train back to Sweden. After a change of clothes we were ready for the evening festivities.

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We started with my favourite champagne (Pol Roger Brut Réserve), gougères (recipe to follow later) as well as butter-fried bread, Kalix caviar (Swedish bleak roe), creme fraiche and chopped red onions. A real Scandi classic that we never get tired of!

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We then continued on the ‘simple yet delicious’ theme with fresh lobsters with garlic and parsley butter and baguette and Les Sétilles, Bourgogne 2012 to drink.

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The main course was a bit more complex, but I had prepped most of it in advance. Fillet of beef with potato parcels, Jerusalem artichoke purée, oyster mushrooms, steamed carrots and red wine jusBrolio Chianti Classico 2012 to drink.

And here somewhere we lost track of time and realised 30 minutes before midnight that we would not have time for pudding beforehand, so instead we went outside to watch the fire work display organised by Malmö town, which was really nice! To toast in the new year we had Charles de Fère Brut Mérite; a nice French sprarkling.

IMG_9611Back in the flat again I made my way into the kitchen and made a baked Alaska with crispy oats, passionfruit and raspberries that went down really well around 1am! (Recipe to follow).