Skybar, Malmö, Sweden

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Finally Malmö has a bar with a view. Sure, Malmö is a pretty small city (although the third largest in Sweden) but it has some impressive landmarks that are a real treat to view from above.

Skybar is located in the same hotel as Eatery Social, on the 24th floor, so after our taco dinner we took the lift upstairs to take in the view.

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We were there a Monday evening and it was buzzing, which made us wish the bar was a bit bigger. But what’s there is good; the view, the cocktails, the service and the ambiance.

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But it’s worth coming here for the view alone. It’s pretty great. So good that they’ve printed a funny hash tag to the loo window.

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Sky Bar, Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live, Dag Hammarskjölds torg 2,
211 18 Malmö

Griddled aubergine with feta, chilli and mint

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I have quite a large cookbook collection in London (too big for my book case anyhow) so I have to keep some cookbooks in Sweden as well. The ones with easy, summery recipes I keep in the summer house and I just love flicking through Summer by Nigella every time I’m there. This summer I finally tried these lovely aubergine rolls with feta, chilli and mint. They are incredibly easy to make, and utterly delicious to eat.

Griddled aubergine with feta, chilli and mint, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

2 large aubergines (each cut thinly lengthwise into about 10 slices)

4 tablespoons olive oil

250 grams feta cheese

1 large red chilli (finely chopped & deseeded or not depending how hot you require it)

1 bunch fresh mint (finely chopped – save some for sprinkling over)

juice of 1 lemon

black pepper

Preheat the barbecue or griddle to a high heat.

Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with the oil, and cook them for about 2 minutes each side until golden and tender.

Crumble the feta into a bowl and stir in the chilli, mint and lemon juice and grind in some black pepper. You don’t need salt, as the feta is salty enough. Pile the end third of each warm aubergine slice with a heaped teaspoon of the feta mixture and roll each slice up as you go to form a soft, stuffed bundle.

Place join side down on a plate, and sprinkle with a little more mint.

Dinner at Eatery Social, Malmö, Sweden

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Malmö has changed a lot lately. For the better, I might add. The area near the Central station which was all bare before now hosts the new addition Malmö Live; a cluster of three modern looking buildings just by the river containing a new four star hotel, a conference centre and a new concert hall.

I really wanted to try the restaurants, both from patron chef Marcus Samuelsson. Eatery Social is the larger fun one on the ground floor serving tacos and the likes.  Kitchen & Table is more formal (and a lot smaller) and shares the top floor with the popular sky bar. But even though I visited the hotel twice, I went Eatery Social both times, so Kitchen & Table will have to wait.

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Javing been twice to a restaurant in the space of two weeks I feel I can certainly give a fair review. The first evening I was here with Emma and Claes and we started the evening with a mojito each in the outside bar. Good cocktails!

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We were all extremely hungry and soon ventured inside to find our table and order something quickly. We agreed on the nachos with chorizo and it was so delicious we order another two plates of it.

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We also shared a quesadilla la nina, which I thought was quite bland. After that it was all about the tacos.

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The scallops and mango ones were good but the mango took over a bit too much. The chicken and refried beans taco was actually not nice at all, but the flank steak taco was delicious!

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We were still a bit peckish (I said we were hungry!) after all that and ordered a serving of crispy sweet potato fries with spicy mayo. es8

Finishing the meal we decided to share two puddings; the churros with chocolate crème and cream cheese ice cream and an ice cream cone with three flavours (coffee, coconut and berry sorbet). Sadly none of them were amazing but we all liked the coffee ice cream and the churros.

I may sound very critical of the place, but I’m not. For the type of restaurant and what you pay it’s a nice place. OK, I would be really happy if the reworked the chicken taco but some other dishes were really nice; like the nachos with chorizo and the flank steak tacos.

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The second time I came here was a busy Friday night and we were a table of 14, something I don’t recommend. We had all pre-ordered the food but it arrived bit by bit so we couldn’t all eat at the same time and ordering drinks was confusing too. This time Emma, Claes and I shared our favourite dishes from our last visit (chorizo nachos, flank steak tacos, sweet potato fries) and were really happy with the food. But some of the other dishes, like the seabass for two looked really nice as well.

All in all I think this is a great place. It’s not fancy but fun, bustling and good value for money.

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Eatery Social Taqueria, Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live, Dag Hammarskjölds torg 2, 211 18 Malmö

Girolles pasta

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Before I left for Sweden my mother emailed me and asked how many girolles I wanted when I got there. ‘How many is there?’, I asked. ‘I bought three kilos’, mother said. ‘Well, could I have one kilo, please?!’

A whole KILOGRAM of my favourite mushroom – I feel rich! But before I went home I needed to make space in the freezer for my treasure and used up the last of the girolles from last year making this gorgeous pasta.

 

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Fettucine with browned butter, girolles, garlic, parsley and parmesan, serves 2

2 balls of De Cecco fettucine (my favourite dried pasta brand)

50 g salted butter

150 g girolles

1 small garlic clove

butter for frying

a bunch chopped parsley

salt and pepper

parmesan

Cook the pasta al dente. Brown the butter in a large saucepan (it splatters a bit); put on medium heat until it smells nutty and the butter underneath the from has a nice brown colour. Remove from heat. 

Fry the girolles in butter on medium heat. Add the chopped garlic towards the end. Season and scatter with parsley. 

Drain the pasta and mix with a few tablespoons of the browned butter (avoid the sediment on the bottom) and mix in with the girolles. Adjust the seasoning and add more butter if you like. Scatter with grated parmesan and serve. 

Seafood feast!

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No, this is not what we eat every day in Sweden but I so wish it was! My first evening at the summer house (a Saturday) my parents and I had a proper seafood feast to celebrate being together again and my birthday the week before.

We love girolles almost as much as we love seafood and as they’re in season we started off with a proper girolle toast (fry the bread in butter, fry the girolles in more butter with garlic, add parsley) and bubbly and then got serious about the seafood. We had langoustines with garlic butter, fresh Swedish crayfish (such a treat!), crab claws and smoked prawns. Smoked prawns may sound weird but they are oh so delicious!

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It was such a wonderful meal with amazing seafood, great company and the accompaniment of bread, cheese and home made mayonnaise.

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Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 – 1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

ca 200 ml neutral oil (I used rapeseed oil) 

1 lemon, juice only

salt, white pepper

Mix the egg yolk with mustard and vinegar. Beat the egg mixture while adding the oil drop by drop. When the mixture has thickened you can add the oil in a thin spurt. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Anchovies puff pastry rolls

The third nibble for the party was these anchovies puff pastry rolls that everybody raved about. Thank goodness!, as I hadn’t tested the recipe beforehand.The whole reason I made these was to honour the host who is a serious anchovy lover. Luckily the others liked them too.

The recipe is courtesy of Swedish chef Leila Lindholm, with a few changes; I used puff pastry instead of pizza dough to get a crispy flaky snack. And it really worked.

(Picture courtesy of TV4/Recept.nu; I was to slow to photograph these.)

Anchovies puff pastry rolls, makes about 40

2 rolls ready made butter puff pastry 

200 g softened salted butter

4 garlic cloves

4-6 anchovies fillets, finely chopped

2 tbsp honey

plenty of grated parmesan 

a large bunch of fresh oregano, chopped 

a large bunch of rosemary, chopped 

a little black pepper 

Mix all the ingredients apart from the puff in a bowl. Roll out the pastry and spread a thick even layer of butter on top. Roll into a tight roll from the long edge and cut into 1 cm thick rolls. Place on parchment paper on a tray and bake for 200C until golden and crisp, approx 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Dinner at Bodega 1900, Barcelona, Spain

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In June (where does the TIME go?!) Carina and I met up in Barcelona for a weekend of sunshine. It was fabulous hanging out on the beach in 30C, sipping Sangria and eating tapas.

Before I went I had quizzed my Spanish colleague about restaurants and got some recommendations from a friend of his. The one that jumped out at me was Ferran Adria’s (famous for El Bulli) casual tapas place,  Bodega 1900.

Bodega 1900 is quite a humble place; it’s not decorated in a fancy way and it’s not expensive, it’s just really nice tapas the Ferran Adria way.

We ordered some of the very traditional tapas dishes (above) and it was all nice but I have had better jamon and pan con tomate elsewhere and was a bit surprised. The patatas bravas were also just good, but didn’t wow us. But bear with me, because then things changed.

The jamon croquetas for example were fabulous and absolutely perfect.
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And once we tried some of the more innovative dishes, like the calamari hot dog recommended by our waitress, we were blown away. It was so so good!

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And these skewers of Iberico pork were the most delicious pork I’ve ever eating. I’m salivating now just looking at the picture.

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We also had these, pretty-as-a-picture pinxtos with seafood (left to right: snow crab; glazed salmon with horseradish and tuna with peppers.) And they were absolutely amazing. Next time I go to Barcelona I’ll definitely pop back in.

Bodega 1900, C/ Tamarit nº 91, 08015 Barcelona, Spain