I’m in Liverpool visiting my Swedish friend Karin and even though it is cold and windy here, it was sunny all day yesterday so we made sure to sit outside for lunch and soak up the sunshine.
Ribs, chicken wings, calamari and prawn toast.
The autumn has come to London. The city is rainy and grey and everyone has the post-holiday blues.
I am however happy! Because tonight we’re having a few friends over for a Swedish crayfish party. I love crayfish, and am so pleased I get to introduce this tradition to my English friends.
Yesterday I made the obligatory Västerbotten cheese quiche, and aioli to dip the tails in. I also made a savoury cheesecake and chocolate mousse for dessert and the table is set with little red crayfish knives, silly hats and matching napkins. And of course the snaps is being chilled. Can’t wait!
Skål (cheers) and have a nice long weekend!
In Sweden we call pickled cucumber pressgurka and it is very easy to make. I love it with paté on a sandwich, but it is great with meatballs, boiled potatoes and creamy gravy as well.
Pickled cucumber – pressgurka
1 tsp salt
75 ml granulated sugar
acetic acid solution (in Swedish ättika, mix 1 part acetic acid with 6-7 parts water)
1 tbsp water
Thinly slice the cucumber. This is easily done with a cheese slicer or potato peeler. Put the cucumber in a jar and pour in the salt and sugar, next add the acetic acid solution and water. Stir and make sure the salt and sugar dissolves. Throw in the parsley and stir again. Put on the lid and leave in fridge until the next day. Use within a week.
I think I had my first crush on Daim instead of a boy. We used to eat lots of daim bars at home when I was a child, and I loved them, but I didn’t have a crush on daim until I met daim icecream! OMG, it was sooo good! I still love it and everything with daim in it, and at the moment I might have a small crush on these cookies. They are so lovely I just can’t stop eating them.
Daim cookies, about 20
2 daim bars
300 ml plain flour
100 ml granulated sugar
1 tbsp syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150 g softened butter
Chop the daim. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, add the daim last. Shape into a roll, about 5 cm in diameter. Dress in parchment paper and leave in the fridge for an hour. Cut the roll into 5 mm thick slices, place on parchment paper on a baking tray. Bake in 200 degree oven for 8 minutes.
Before I moved to England I had never encountered madeleines, despite being on holiday in France, but since I moved here I enjoy them quite often. Of course I would like to make my own instead of buying them, that is much more satisfactory, so I have begun the quest of the perfect madeleines.
This first recipe I tried, is from a Swedish TV chef called Leila, and it is pretty good. The cakes are very tasty and moist but taste eggier than I think madeleines should, and less buttery. It could also do with a stronger vanilla flavour and I used less lemon zest than the recipe and I think that worked well.
So, pretty good but not perfect. The quest continues…
75 g softened butter
75 ml granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 lemon, the zest
150 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Whip butter, sugars and lemon zest with an electric whisk until creamy. Pour in the eggs and stir. Mix flour and baking powder and fold it into the batter. Grease the madeleine moulds and divide the batter. Bake in 175 degree oven for 10 minutes in the middle of the oven.
I’ve been longing to make peanut butter cookies for quite a while, and finally yesterday I had the whole day at home and I was baking away. I found this recipe on a Swedish blog called Söta saker (Sweet things) and they are really tasty. Brittle and with a deep peanut flavour.
Peanut butter cookies, 25 or so
275 ml plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
100 ml granulated sugar
100 ml brown sugar
100 g softened butter
100 ml smooth peanutbutter
1 tsp vanilla sugar
Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and peanut butter. Whisk in the egg. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt and add it to the batter, stir. Roll small balls of the mixture, put on a baking tray covered with baking parchment, flatten the balls slightly with a fork. Bake in 190-200 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Yesterday Gaby and I went to Fernandez & Leluu’s supperclub, and it was a very interesting evening. Either of us hadn’t been where they live before, and we misjudged how long the bus would take and was slightly late. So embarrasing, but they waited for us, which was really sweet. When we rang the bell a girl called Mia opened the door, and it turned out she was Swedish too. She was also our waitress for the evening and really sweet. When we approached our table with other supperclub ‘virgins’ we were greeted by a bunch of friendly people. Only one person at our table of 12 or so had been there before, five times! In the room we were about 25 people sat around 4 different tables, and everyone was outgoing and seemed to enjoy themselves. It was people of all ages and nationalities with one thing in common – they all love food! One lady was there to see what it was like because she was thinking of setting one up herself, one man was in the UK for business and had read about the supperclub in his newspaper in the US and decided to go, and around one table it was a group of eight friends and co-workers who decided to go together.
As one woman said, at a supperclub the food and the company is equaly important where as if you go to a restaurant you are there only for the food. I would say that it is worth going for the food alone, but meeting nice people with the same interest as you makes it a very different experience to a restaurant visit. It is more informal and much more sociable.
Both Gaby and I expected good food, since this is a very popular supperclub, but this was over our expectations. it was several courses, all very well executed and with amazing flavours. As the guy next to me pointed out: “there is no salt and pepper on the table – because you don’t need it”. We started off with a mackarel pate on endives with garlic foccacia, and it was wonderful. I really want the recipe for the bread! Next course was parma ham with ripe melon and king prawns with a lovely herb mayonnaise, I think this course most people could make, but simple is good when you have good produce. Next (I think, I am so afraid I will forget one of the many courses) was black squid risotto and it was superb. Full of flavours and not too rich, definitely one of my favourites. Next was marinated tuna cubes with chips and wasabi mayo. The tuna was amazing, very tender and rich in flavour and the wasabi mayo was lovely too, I don’t think chips was the best complement to it, but it was a fun take on fish and chips. Next was an octopus carpaccio, and lots of it, with small capers, and it was absolutely delicious. I would never come up with the idea myself to make it, but will definitely try it. Perfect inbetween courses or as tapas. Next was another of my favourites, slowroasted lamb with potato salad. The potato salad was quite ordinary, similar to the one I make, but the lamb, OMG it was lovely! It was crunchy and tender and tasted absolutely amazing!
By this point it was quite late for us, as we had to trek home and go to work the next day. Most other people in the room and certainly at our table had had quite a lot of wine, and Gaby and I wish we had too. We felt really really sober compared to some of the others, singing, shouting etc. So next time we will go at the weekend and make sure we bring lots of nice wines! We were the first ones to leave, but eat the dessert quickly, and I’m glad we didn’t miss it. It was pannacotta with vodka and orange with berries on top and it was really good. I think pannacotta in general is a bit boring and playing it safe when it comes to dessert, but this one was really good. As Gaby pointed out, the vodka really takes the edge of it, so it doesn’t feel as creamy.
We managed to sneak upstairs into the large kitchen and say hello and goodbye to the hosts, and it was lovely to meet them! I certainly hope they keep up the good work because both Gaby and I are coming back!
Thank you so much, we had a lovely time!
I received my much awaited (since yesterday) parcels today, containing cake decoration supplies, and really want to start baking at once.
Isn’t it cute?! I really like the penguin cookie cutter and can’t wait to use the sparkles.
I will for the first time tonight go to a supperclub, something I was totally unaware even existed a couple of months ago. But I am so looking forward to it! I am going with my foodie friend Gaby and I hope we will have a great evening together with other foodies.
For those of you who haven’t heard about this phenomenon, I would describe it as a restaurant in someone’s house. Some foodies open up their private home for other foodies to come and eat there at communal tables, paying for the food and bringing drinks themselves. It seems like a very sociable food experience!
We are going to Fernandez & Leluu tonight, one of the most popular supperclubs in London at the moment. It is all very secretive; we received an email yesterday with the address, which of course needs to remain a secret as this is their private home and we won’t find out exactly what is on the menu until we arrive tonight.
You will get a thorough description of the evening tomorrow.