Swedish Tosca cake

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This Swedish classic – the Tosca cake – always proves popular, regardless the occasion. My friends enjoyed it at a picnic in the park and my colleagues love it when I make it for the office.

And who can resist a sponge topped with almond brittle, it’s soft, crunchy and wonderfully sweet and sticky.

Tosca cake, serves 8-10

Cake:

100 g salted butter

2 eggs

200 ml plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

50 ml milk or cream

Topping:

100 g salted butter

100 ml caster sugar

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp milk

100 g chopped almonds

Butter a springform. Melt the butter for the cake and let it cool. Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy and add flour and baking powder mixed together, butter and milk/cream. Pour into the springform and bake for 20-25 minutes in 175 C oven, at the bottom of the oven.

Meanwhile make the topping; put all the ingredients in a pan, heat it up while stirring carefully until everything has blended together and thickened. Pour the mixture on the cake and move it up to the middle of the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes or until it is golden and crispy.

Crumbly chocolate cookies

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These little darlings were very popular in the office a little while ago when I brought them in. In Swedish the name of these translates to ‘dreams’, but I have no idea why, but they certainly are dreamily delicious…. :)

Crumbly chocolate cookies, makes about 24

Translated from Karin’s recipe.

100 g salted butter

300 ml (240 g)caster sugar

100 ml rapeseed oil or other neutral oil

400 ml (240 ml) plain flour

100 ml (40 g) kakao

1 pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baker’s ammonia / ammounium carbonate – this may be difficult to find in the UK supermarkets, but available on Amazon. It cannot be substituted in this recipe. 

Beat butter and sugar pale and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and the oil and mix. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and roll the dough into balls, approx the size of a dessert spoon. Bake in 175C for 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray before moving them. Leave to cool completely then transfer to an airtight container. 

Lunch at Barrafina, Covent Garden

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Barrafina, one of London’s best tapas restaurants, have opened a second restaurant conveniently located two minutes away from my office and with more seating than in the original restaurant on Soho’s Frith Street.

The new restaurant also consists of a tapas bar with full view into the kitchen behind it so you interact with the chefs during your meal. I love that set up and the fact that this new restaurant is more spacious so if you’re waiting for a table you’re still comfortable.

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I went here with two colleagues and we all had some input on what to order so it is a real mix. The first dish to arrive were the crab croquetas which were very nice!

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The pan con tomato was also really nice and not too wet.

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But the star of the show was definitely one of the day’s specials; langoustines with tarragon butter. They were absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection!

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We also had the classix tortilla, which might not look very special but it is the best one I’ve ever had (including those in Spain). It was filled with plenty of caramelised onions and wonderfully creamy.

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Grilled asparagus with Romesco sauce and pecorino was another delight.

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As well as the incredibly simple yet perfectly executed salad of various tomatoes, fennel and avocado.

The food is simply prepared here but the produce is so good it would be wrong to serve it any other way!

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide Street, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ

Rice noodles with crab, lime and coriander

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Sometimes I can really crave crab and when I do I find the packets of fresh crab meat in the super market especially handy. Of course a freshly cooked whole crab is nicer but it takes quite a lot of time to pick out the meat, so for a weekday I really like the packets.

This dish with vermicelli rice noodles, crab and butter to carry the flavours of chilli, lime and coriander turned out really well and feels light and fresh. Perfect summer grub if you ask me!

Rice noodles with crab, lime and coriander, serves 1-2

2 nests of vermicelli rice noodles

50 g salted butter

5 cm leek, the white part

1/2 red chilli

1 lime, zest and juice

1 handfull coriander, chopped

100 g white and brown crab meat

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Slice the leek and finely chop the chilli. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add leek, chilli and lime zest and fry for a few minutes without browning. Add the coriander and crab meat and stir. Season. Drain the noodles and add to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir and add the lime juice. 

 

Dinner at the Providores, Marylebone

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A little while ago Jess, Laura and I had a nice dinner at The Providores on Marylebone High Street, a restaurant that has been on my ‘To Eat’ list quite a while and now finally I got to try it. Restaurateur Peter Gordon who runs The Providores (and the Tapa Room on the ground floor as well as Kopapa in Covent Garden) is from New Zealand and therefore the menu is (in my Northern European context) quite eclectic with lots of Asian influences.

We all had three courses each, all savoury as I (and I guess the other ladies too) find it more exciting than sweets. Laura’s first course was the crab and coconut laksa with quail’s eggs and coriander (above) which she really enjoyed!

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Jess had the dahl tempura inari pocket (basically a tempura parcel) with aubergine, spinach and ginger dressing which was also a delight.

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My twice baked blue cheese soufflé with almond dukkah was rather large for a first course, but nice and airy in texture.

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Both Jess and I then had the pan-fried scallops with celeriac puré, fennel, apple and radish salad and yuzu and Manuka honey dressing. Great flavours and my favourite dish of the evening!

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While we enjoyed the scallops Laura had the seared yellowtail tuna with papaya, carrot, coriander, lime and chilli dressing and toasted nori sauce. Another great dish!

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She (and Jess to I think…) then had the pan-fried gild-head bream with clams, coconut, tofu, aubergine, curry and coriander which also was lovely.

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The smoked eel with samphire, sesam and nori salad, chilli furikake and ponzu tapioca I had as my last course was really nice although I was sceptic to the tapioca pearls to begin with, but they were nice and added little burts of flavour. prov1

It was such a lovely evening that we ended up closing the restaurant and the High Street was empty by the time we stepped outside.

We really enjoyed the food and I like the concept of having more than one starter and although all dishes weren’t amazing they were all executed and interesting in their composition. The Providores is well worth a visit!

The Providores and Tapa Room,109 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4RX 

Henley Regatta

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Two weekends ago my friend Laura and I went to Henley to watch the rowing regatta on the Sunday. I’ve been twice before but only on the big party day; the Saturday.

The Sunday was more chilled and civilised which was really nice. We had lunch, some wine, enjoyed the sun and watching the rowing finals.

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We also got to see Gloriana, the royal barge The Queen got for her Diamond Jubilee two years ago. It’s quite epic!

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Thanks Laura for a lovely day out!

Elderflower parfait cake with berries and oat crisps

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This elderflower parfait has featured on the blog before, but it was such a success at my last dinner party I had to post it again.

Actually, I dare say this is the perfect summer pudding! Perfect for your guests because it is delicious, refreshing, has different textures and simply tastes of summer. And perfect for you because apart from washing the berries you can make everything ahead. Plus you will get standing ovations and plenty of compliments.

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Elderflowerparfait cake, serves 8-10

6 egg yolks

200 ml caster sugar

600 ml whipping cream or double cream

130 ml concentrated elderflower cordial (only a guideline as different concentrations for different cordials)

Beat the yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy in a mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl whip the cream. Fold the cream into the egg mixture. Add the elderflower and stir to combine. Pour into a clingfilm lined springform. Cover with more cling and freeze for at least four hours. Place on a cake plate and top with berries before serving. 

Oat crisps, makes about 50

300 ml oats

200 ml granulated sugar

50 ml syrup

150 g melted butter

50 ml cream

150 ml plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine all the ingredients and place dollops the size of a teaspoon on parchment paper on a baking tray quite far apart, they expand a lot in the oven. I only placed 9 on each sheet and that worked perfectly. Bake in 175 C oven for 8 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.