Peruvian food at Ceviche, Soho

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Still going through the posts from last year, this is definitely a review I want to share with you:

My flatmate Daisy and I wanted a fun Soho dinner after work one day in the autumn and decided on Ceviche which be both really wanted to try.

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We started off with fantastic pisco sours, and then had wine with the food. Only to have some more cocktails after dinner – I’m not a huge cocktail fun but these were great, especially those pisco sours.

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Food-wise we started with cheese puffs with quince, chilli and sour cream. I remember them being crunchy and nice, the sweet and the sour taking the edge off the fried stuff.

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Obviously we had ceviche in the place called ceviche and this one with seabass, chilli, red onions and sweet potato crisps was seriously good!

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These crispy parcels with pork, spices (more chilli) and coriander were also really nice. The texture of the pork was stringy and soft, just like pulled pork.

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One of my favourites was our second ceviche, with razor clams with chilli and borage. So delicious!

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I also really liked these skewers with extremely tender octopus and fiery chorizo, with coriander mash underneath. Amazing!

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The token vegetable dish was the grilled asparagus with chilli mayo. It worked well with our dishes and was really nice on its own too.

I must say I really enjoyed out visit here and can’t wait to go back. The busy atmosphere, the loudness and the very many tables crammed into the restaurant area together with the excellent food and drink just transports you to South America for the night. Another pisco sour, please!

Ceviche Soho, 17 Frith Street, London W1D 4RG

Winter Pavlova

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I made this lovely Winter version of Pavlova before Christmas, and if I had had time to post it before the holiday season I would have aptly named it Christmas Pavlova, but, as it’s now February, I think Winter Pavlova is more fitting. Clementines are still in season so nothing’s stopping you to make it right away. Or why not try it with blood oranges?

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Scandelights’ Winter Pavlova, serves 10

Clementine curd:

50 g butter

1 egg

100 ml caster sugar (80 g)

3 small clementines (or 2 larger ones)

Meringue:

140 g egg whites (4)

220 g caster sugar

8 g / 1 tbsp corn flour

4 g  / 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Decoration:

3 dl whipping or double cream

1 packet pomegranate seeds

4 clementines, cut into fillets (i.e. the wedges without the membranes) 

Clementine curd:

Zest the clementines and squeeze out the juice. Place in a saucepan with the butter and half the sugar. Heat up until the butter and sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Beat egg and remaining sugar pale and fluffy and add to the saucepan. Let the mixture thicken on low heat while stirring. It must not boil. Leave to cool. Store in the fridge. 

Meringue:

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by bit while beating until stiff peaks. Add corn flour and vinegar and fold it in with a spatula. 

Divide the meringue in two, shaping two circles on two parchment clad baking trays. 

Bake in the middle of the oven, for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the cooling oven with the door open until the oven has cooled down. 

Assembling:

Lightly whip the cream and cut the clementines into fillets (peel it, keep it whole and place a knife on either side of each membrane, cutting out membrane-free wedges). Place one meringue round on a cake plate. Spread with clementine curd. Spread with whipped cream and place the other meringue round on top. Spread with whipped cream and decorate with clementine fillets and pomegranate seeds. 

Danish sandwiches at Copenhagen Airport

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When I go home to visit my family and friends in Sweden, I actually fly to Denmark as Copenhagen airport is the closest international airport. The train to Sweden takes only 12 minutes (over that famous bridge) so it’s very easy to get there.

I find myself spending a fair bit of time at this airport and although I have always liked certain things about it (the dark wooden floors, the hand luggage trolley and the shopping) the food selection has never been that great. This has changed in the last couple of years though and on my last visit, in January, I noticed that the well-known smørrebrød restaurant Aamann’s had opened a sandwich bar here that I just had to try.

I love the elaborate open-faced Danish sandwiches (smørrebrød) with more topping than bread and this one with steak tartar, tarragon mayo, capers, crispy onions, pickled red onions and cornichons was wonderful! It was also so filling I only managed the one (I will have to try the other ones another time) and very good value for money too at only DKK 65.

There are more places worth visiting for food at Copenhagen airport; Lagkagehuset and Joe and the juice have been around for a while now but I saw that Gorm’s pizza opened recently as well. It’s come a long way since the awful (and overpriced) sandwiches from a few years ago when the only safe option was a hot dog.

 

Nigella’s sumptuous chocolate cake

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I have had a complicated relationship with Nigella through the years. It was definitely because of her and Jamie Oliver I started cooking as a teenager, but as I got better at both cooking and baking I also got a bit disappointed with some of Nigella’s recipes. Sometimes they seem to promise more than they delivered, but then some recipes are so great I still use them 15 years later.

With her new cookbook and series, both named Simply Nigella, I am back in awe of her. I want to try all the recipes, love like the style of cooking (and baking) and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been great.

This cake seemed absolutely delicious and easy to make on her show, and it certainly is a treat, plus it’s vegan – so a good recipe to have in your repertoire. Mine wasn’t entirely vegan though, I must confess. As I couldn’t find any coconut butter in my supermarket I used regular butter in the icing, which worked just as well would you prefer to make it non-vegan.

It is probably the most moist chocolate cake I’ve ever made and I will certainly make it again and again.

Nigella’s dark and sumptuous chocolate cake, serves 10-12

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

For the icing:

60 ml cold water

75 coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)

50 soft dark sugar

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

1 ½ tbsp cocoa

150 dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake:

225 plain flour

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

75 cocoa

300 soft dark brown sugar

375 ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle

75 g (90 ml) coconut oil 

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and pop in a baking sheet. Then start with the icing: put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan to allow the chocolate to sink.  Leave for a minute, then whisk until you have a glossy icing, and leave to cool.

Line the bottom of your springform cake tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, bicarb, salt (and instant espresso) and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.

Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done.

Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.

Give the icing a good stir with a spatula and  pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed. Decorate (Nigella used chopped pistachios and rose petals while I went for snowflake sprinkles) and leave for 30 minutes until serving. 

 

Bo Drake, Soho

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Before Christmas the girls and I managed to fit in a dinner in Soho and we decided we wanted to try Bo Drake, a Korean restaurant in Soho. When we arrived, thinking we had booked a table but it was for another evening, the staff luckily managed to seat us at the communal table.

After some prosecco we decided to order a few different dishes to share, some from the special’s board and some from the a’la carte menu.

First up were the specials: wagyu beef sliders with truffle mayo (yum!), cheddar and red onion jelly in brioche buns (above) and  lobster baos with squid ink. Both were utterly amazing!

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We also had some sweet potato fries with kimchi island (a spin on Thousand Island that really worked), and the fries were really good. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Which isn’t that easy to do with sweet potatoes.

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We also had aubergine in miso which was soft, sweet and sticky. I just love aubergine in Asian cooking!

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We also shared a bo ssäm; pulled pork with a bit of heat served with lettuce leaves, kimchi and dips. It’s messy but fun to make the little parcels and the flavours of the meat were really nice.

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The last dish of the evening was the smoked bobo chicken with a sticky glaze, sesame seeds, spring onions and spicy mayo. Also very nice!

The food at Bo Drake was great and I would happily go back. Initially the service was good but as the restaurant got busier it became quite slow, leaving a little room for improvement but I otherwise like this cosy place a lot.

Bo Drake, 6 Greek St, London W1D 4DE

Proper guacamole

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My go-to guacamole recipe has always been my own concoction from when I was younger and tacos became the staple Friday dinner for all Swedish families. It’s very nice (my best friend can testify to that), but as it contains creme fraiche it’s far from a proper guacamole. So a few weeks ago when I found the best tortilla chips ever in my local Whole Foods (oh, how I love saying that!) I thought it was about time to try a slightly more authentic version of guacamole.

And the result was amazing! It’s so easy to make, and quite healthy (if you don’t count the tortilla chips) and it has become my new obsession.

Proper guacamole, serves 4

2 perfectly ripe medium Hass avocados, 

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

1 bunch coriander

Tabasco (the red one)

1 lime

Worchestershire sauce

salt, black pepper

Spoon the avocados into a bowl and mush up with a fork. Add the chopped tomatoes and onions. Add lime juice (start with the juice from half a lime, add more to taste), a few drops of Tabasco and Worchestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper and mix well.  Chop the coriander and add to the guacemole. Check the seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve with tortilla chips or with any Mexican or Tex Mex dish. 

New Year’s Eve luncheon

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I know a lot of people think NYE is a real anti-climax, but I really enjoy celebrating it. Any excuse to dress up and drink champagne works for me!

Growing up, my parents and their friends made it special, always making it an occasion. Us children got to play with each others new toys (one NYE turned into Super Mario tournament), but also celebrate with the grown-ups, cheering with alcohol free cider instead of champagne, watching the fire works through the windows (to this day I still don’t like to go outside in the cold on the stroke of midnight), and watch the speech and the countdown on Swedish Television. It felt magical and that’s the feeling I carry with me now on New Year’s Eves with friends.

Nowadays the food make it special, and we really enjoy the Kalix roe, lobster and fillet of beef, but we have also realised that it’s really nice to do something on the day. So we prep as much as we can the day (or days, depending on the ambition) before NYE, so that we have the day free to hang out together until it’s time to get ready and cook dinner.

 

 

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This year, we thought a lunch in Malmö would be ideal. We went to Copenhagen last year for lunch and although lovely it felt a little rushed. But, it turned out, no restaurants in Malmö were open for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s un-Swedish to go out for lunch before a big evening celebration, who knows?! Luckily, after a lot of googling, we did find ONE restaurant open for lunch so we quickly booked a table and enjoyed a nice French lunch.

La Bonne Vie is a cosy French restaurant in the middle of town, just on Davidshalls Torg, and when we arrived for a late-ish lunch the restaurant was full up. And, just like us, most guests were drinking bubbly.

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The lunch menu was classic French with a few Swedish touches and very affordable. Emma and I both had the Toast Skagen with a very generous portion of prawns with mayonnaise and dill on butter-fried bread. Delicious!

Claes had the moules frites and also received a very generous portion of mussels, nice crispy fries and rouille.

We had a lovely lunch and will certainly be back this year too. Thank you for staying open!

La Bonne Vie, Davidshallstorg 7, Malmö, Sweden