When I was in Sweden last my mother gave me a large bag of wild garlic she picked for me, so back in London I made a batch of lovely pesto that I’ve been eating lately. The same day I made it I just had it with spaghetti and (more) grated parmesan as a light lunch. Delicious!
Wild garlic pesto, approx 250 ml pesto
ca 50-70 g wild garlic (about a bunch as stick as a small banana)
30 g almonds
40 g parmesan
1/2 lemon, juice only
mild oil, approx 100-150 ml
salt & pepper
Mix wild garlic, almonds, lemon juice and parmesan with a bit of oil to a paste in a food processor or with a stick blender. Keep adding oil until you have the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days.
Fika is one of my favourite Swedish words. It covers a whole range of foods that you can have with a cup of coffee or tea. Openfaced sandwiches. Cake. Biscuits. Cake and biscuits.
In my parents’ house we have a lot of fika . If you get up early you have fika in between breakfast and lunch, and for lunch, if you’re not having hot food, you can have fika again. Then you have afternoon fika and after-dinner fika.
Two weekends ago when I was in Malmö on the Sunday I had fika with my parents and we went to probably the cosiest café in town, Slottsträdgårdens café, located in the park near the castle (the museum). The grounds are wonderful right now with a tulip exhibition and flowering cherry trees.
You can either sit in a green house or outside; we did both as it was chilly when we got there but later when the sun came out it was nice to soak up some sun outside.
For the fika my mother and I both had the raspberry and rhubarb crumble with custard while my father had a cinnamon bun. We also had coffee and organic juices and iced tea. All very good!
Slottsträdgårdens kafé, Malmöhusvägen 8, 211 18 Malmö, Sweden
The weekend before last I went home to Southern Sweden for a wedding. It was my childhood friend Tobias who got hitched and it was so much fun seeing him and his Malin say I do and dance the night away with old friends. To make the most of a weekend at home I had brunch with my parents, my bestie Emma and her husband Claes the next day in Malmö.
We went to a restaurant in the West Harbour called Salt & Brygga. They have new owners and have recently started doing brunch we thought we’d check it out. Instead of a buffet (that’s the usual way for brunch in Sweden) it was table service and instead of a big menu they had a set thing on the menu. First vanilla yoghurt with homemade granola then a plate with an array of brunch items (like a smorgasbord on a plate).
We had scramled eggs and bacon, roasted new potatoes, sauerkraut, prawns, mozzarella salad, sausages, brie, melon and parma ham. And nice baguette on the side.
I prefer this to the buffet setup as you don’t have to queue and deal with other people’s mess, yet you get to sample different foods. It felt nice and fresh and the food was well cooked.
Salt & Brygga, Sundspromenaden 7, 211 16 Malmö, Sweden
When Maria and Daniel were visiting a few weekends ago, we did what we always do; go shopping on the Kings Road. By lunch time we were near Sloane Sq and I thought it would be great to go to Daylesford Organic as they loved the Notting Hill branch. But it was no longer there. Luckily there are plenty of other nice places around and we went to The Orange instead.
It was a lovely sunny day so we all wanted something light for lunch, like a salad. And so we did. Maria had the hot-smoked salmon salad with broad beans and pomegranate which she really enjoyed while Daniel and I went the more traditional route and had a Caesar salad each. And it was perfect. Crispy salad, not too much and not too little dressing, crispy pancetta and just enough croutons. Also juicy chicken breast and soft-boiled eggs. My only complaint would be that the eggs were a bit too cold, but that’s a minor details. Great cooking on the whole!
There may have been another reason for having salad for lunch as well; we had our eye set on a stop at The Hummingbird Bakery in the afternoon. Daniel had a carrot cake cupcake while Maria and I agreed that salted caramel was the way to go! Super sweet but yummy!
The Orange, 37-39 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NE
The Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3JP
Although this is a food blog, I quite often get the question of which bars to go to, so I thought I’d post a few favourites as and when I’ve been.
One favourite where I recently took my visiting friends from home, Daniel and Maria, is Bar Americain, part of Brasserie Zèdel by Piccadilly. Set in a lovely art deco bar it feels like you’re stepping back in time. Especially as the hostess greets you in a flapper dress and the bartenders and waiters wear bow ties. It’s just one of those comfortable not-quiet-but-not-too-loud bars that I like. It’s busy and buzzing but you can carry a conversation without shouting. And sit comfortably while you sip your cocktail.
Bar Américain, 20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED
I love a good lemon meringue pie. With a thin and crispy pie crust, a thick and sharp lemon fillinf and a light and fluffy meringue. I’m not so keen on the baked meringue; I want the fluffy Italian kind.
My mother is probably slightly to blame for my obsession as I have sampled plenty of lemon meringue pies with her, both in cafés and at home. And it’s also her trusted recipe I use for the filling and the crust. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Lemon meringue pie, serves 8
180 g plain flour
100 g softened butter
2 1/2 tbsp cream or water
350 ml water
240 g caster sugar
6 tbsp corn flour
2 lemons (zest and juice)
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
4 egg whites
120 g caster sugar
120 g caster sugar
100 ml water
Mix all the ingredients to the dough in a bowl or using a food processor. Press into a Ø 20 cm springform. Bake in a low oven at 180C, for approx 10-15 minutes or until golden and baked through. Leave to cool.
Add all the ingredients for the filling, apart from the butter, in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and stir continuously until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and mix in the butter. Leave to cool completely.
Make the meringue: Add egg whites and sugar to a clean bowl and beat for 10 minutes with an electric whisk. Meanwhile make the syrup by adding water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil (don’t stir). Remove when 118C (the boiling point for sugar). Add the hot syrup to the meringue and beat for a further 15 minutes, until you have a thick and glossy meringue.
Assemble: Remove the crust from the tin. Fill with the lemon filling, spreading it evenly. Spread the meringue on top and burn the edges with a brulee torch. Serve with lightly whipped cream.
So this is a little embarrassing. Even before I moved to London (so approximately eight years ago) my friend Harry told me about this amazing cinema. He really sold it to me then and yet, it took me until now to finally go. Pathetic.
But better late than never as they say, and The Electric is still going strong. I love the leather arm chairs, foot stools and cashmere blankets. And the bar that also serves food. It’s just fabulous. Don’t make my mistake – just go!
And no, this post is not sponsored in any way. This is just a great cinema.
Electric Cinema, 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ED