The evening when mum and dad arrived we of course cooked them dinner. Their flight was slightly delayed so while I went to meet them at Paddington, Christopher prepared dinner; the cider chicken in creamy sauce.
Mum and dad’s suitcases were full of gifts for us; Easter eggs, Swedish sweets (cars and chocolate), nice blue towels for the bathroom, venison mince and wild ducks. And a few things I had asked them to bring; Swedish hard cheese (gräddost), some spices and Heinz chilli sauce which is not sold in the UK.
For dessert I had prepared a Key Lime Pie the day before, after a Hummingbird Bakery recipe. It was lovely and fresh! Only change I made was to halve the recipe, as there were only four of us. There were still half a pie left which I brought to work the next day. They liked it so much they’ve asked me to make more.
Key Lime Pie (halved recipe), serves 6
250 g digestives
100 g melted butter
4 egg yolks
1 can (397 g) condensed milk
2,5 limes, juice and zest
2 dl whipping cream
Crumble the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Press into a pie dish evenly, either using your hands or the back of a spoon. Pre-bake the case for 20 minutes in 175C. Leave to cool.
Lower the temperature to 150C. Mix egg yolks, condensed milk, zest and juice in a bowl. it thickens naturally. Pour it into the pie crust and bake for about 40 minutes until the filling has set. Leave to cool and refridgerate for a few hours. Whip the cream and spread it on top of the pie just before serving. Decorate with some more lime zest.
The New Forest is a National Park not far from Southampton, and even though I have friends in the area and a colleague who has a house there, I didn’t know what to expect from our visit there.
We drove over a cattle grid and had entered the park and the leafy trees disappeared and were substituted with a moor full of yellow flowering bushes (cytisus I think), and wild horses a plenty. Although the leafy trees returned further in.
Yes, wild horses. I had no idea horses (and cows and donkeys(!)) were running wild in Britain. Then I would have gone there sooner!
The area also has a few marinas and a cute town called Lymington. But The New Forest is mainly known for the main attraction: Beaulieu.
Beaulieu is a nice old village and home to Britain’s largest motor museum, and of course my dad wanted to come here.
The museum is in a large park which belongs to the manor and abbey in Beaulieu and you can visit all the different attractions on the same ticket.
Bath has been on my to-visit-list for a while, and after being there for a few hours I would like to go back for a weekend. The city is beautiful, old and cosy and there is plenty to see and do.
We went in to the cathedral very briefly because we noticed they had a sermon on and let tourists walk aroun at the same time. I am not exactly religious, but it felt wrong walking around taking pictures when a vicar talked to the few people seated in the benches. Right next to the cathedral are the Roman baths that Bath is known for. It was incredible to see, and the hot spring is still there. The museum seemed newly refurbished and was very educational and well-planned.
We also had coffee and pastries, had a quick look around the shop in the Jane Austen museum and had a look at the Circus, which is three houses built in a circle, and the Royal Crescent which is a crescent-shaped street. Very pretty!
The English vineyard Chapel Down is situated among rapeseed fields in the southwest corner of England – Kent. At the vineyard they sell their wines as well as other local products, i.e. cider, preserves and crackers.
They also provided maps of the grounds so we could go for a walk around the vines and the herb garden before we left to find our b&b, get changed and come back again for supper at their restaurant: Richard Phillips at Chapel Down.
The restaurant is on the first floor (above the shop) with its own entrance. It had a cosy feel to it and a band played music all through the evening. You could choose between the simpler music menu or the a’la carte. We chose the latter since the music menu seemed a bit dull in comparison.
Christopher chose their amazing platter as a starter with charcuteries, baked brie (have to try this at home), chutneys and pickles.
Mum and dad both tried the crab and crayfish tian with deepfried cauliflower and enjoyed it very much.
I chose mixed mushrooms on toasted brioche with a fried duck’s egg, and apart from the seasoning it was very nice. I desperately needed salt and it tasted a lot better when I adjusted the seasoning.
Dad opted for the beef with blue cheese dauphinoise potatoes which was lovely. Christopher went for the rabbit which was nice but a little dry while mother and I chose fish; seabass with herb gnocchi and asparagus.
It was nice but didn’t feel like a dish, it was more different things that didn’t really come together. And we needed sauce. Fish needs sauce.
Edit: My friend Gaby commented: What about the wine? And rightly so. Christopher had the red Trinity which was really nice and complemented his rabbit. Mother and I went for the white Bacchus Reserve and found it a bit unusual. It seemed like it was slightly sparkling in itself I still haven’t made up my mind if I liked it or not. We bought a bottle of the Bacchus (not Bacchus Reserve) and when we have opened it, I will let you know how that is in comparison.
We’re back in London now and mum and dad are on the plane back to Southern Sweden (although they land in Denmark..). We have really enjoyed our mini break and it has been lovely to explore the UK together. The weather has been fantastic; clear blue sky, warming sunshine and over 25C most days. Love it!
We started our tour in Kent, where the first stop was cosy Royal Tunbridge Wells before we continued to Tenterden and Chapel Down (will write about it separetly). On the second day we went to beautiful Sissinghurst, a garden my mother has talked about for at least ten years. She was as happy as a child at Christmas when we were there, and it sure was a beautiful garden.
My tummy is extremely sensitive to too much fiber (or the wrong kind). It can be a hassle, but it is lovely to be pain-free after several years of constant pain. I have had to give up a few things I love, like coleslaw, because cabbage just don’t work. But there are good substitutes. Like this two-root slaw from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday. It is as nice as coleslaw but is made with celeriac and carrots and no onion. As usual I had difficulties sticking to the recipe, but I only added a bit of creme fraiche and omitted the caraway seeds.
Together with baby back ribs and potato wedges, this was a great weekday meal.
Two-root slaw, adapted after Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe
3 large carrots
1/2 celeriac (ca 400g)
4 tbsp mayo (homemade or Hellman’s)
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tsp English mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper
(roasted caraway seeds)
Peel and grate the root vegetables. Mix all the ingredientsfor the dressing in a bowl and add the vegetables bit by bit and incorporate them.
I really like fresh filled pasta such as ravioli and tortellini, but I always end up disappointed when I buy some from the supermarket. However, Italian brands found in delicatessens are great. We found this lovely mushroom tortellini at Partridge’s and together with some fried pancetta, freshly grated parmesan and some truffle oil it is an instant hit. So simple, yet lovely!
It was dad’s birthday yesterday and today we’re leaving London for the countryside for five days. We’re starting off in Kent, driving down to the New Forest, along the coast in Dorset, up towards Somerset, through to Buckinghamshire and back to London via Heathrow on Monday.
The weather forecast looks excellent with 20-25C and sunshine, so I am sure we will have a great time. I love the English countryside, it is so picturesque.
Today is a big day; my father’s 70th birthday!
And yesterday my parents arrived in London. Today we’re going to Greenwich, enjoying a boat trip on the Thames and a trip to the Maritime museum. In the evening my parents will enjoy Trinity’s fabulous food for the first time (have lost count how many times we’ve been there though) and from tomorrow we’re driving around the countryside for five days.
It will be lovely to have them here, and I hope pappa (dad in Swedish) will enjoy his birthday! Grattis! (Happy birthday in Swedish)