Pancetta salad with blue cheese dressing

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I love a good salad in the summer but I want it quite substantial. Just vegetables usually doesn’t cut it for me. I saw Lotta at Två små kök present a similar salad on Instagram and craved a similar version immediately.

Instead of Lotta’s bacon I used pancetta that I prefer to bacon in general cooking. But for breakfast bacon is always the winner.

Pancetta salad with blue cheese dressing, serves 1

1-2 handfuls mixed salad leaves

5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 avocado, cut into pieces

4-5 thin slices pancetta

a good chunk of mild blue cheese, such as gorgonzola

100 ml creme fraiche or soured cream

1 tbsp mayo

Fry the pancetta in the oven until crisp; 10 minuted at 200C.

Mush up the cheese with a fork in a bowl and stir in the soured cream or creme fraiche. Add the mayo and try to get rid of any lumps. Season. 

Place lettuce, tomato and avocado on a plate. Chop the pancetta and scatter over the salad and drizzle with plenty of dressing. 

Elderflower cheesecake

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With inspiration from Swedish blog Matrepubliken I decided to use up some of my homemade cordial and make an elderflower cheesecake for the office. As you may know by now my colleagues are terribly retro and love cheesecake so I try to come up with new seasonal flavours once in a while. This one is not too sweet and actually feels quite light.

Elderflower cheesecake, serves 8

200 g digestives

75 g salted butter, melted

400 g Philadelphia

2 eggs

2 gelatin leaves

50 ml milk

250 ml concentrated elderflower cordial (after taste)

Crumble the biscuits in a food processor and mix in the butter. Flatten on the base of a springform and bake for 10 minutes in 175C oven. Lower the temperature to 150C. 

Beat Philadelphia and the eggs until smooth. Soak the gelatin. Heat up the milk, squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and add it to the milk. Stir to dissolve. 

Add the elderflower cordial and the milk mixture to the cheese mixture. Mix well and pour it onto the base and bake for 20-30 minutes until just set in 150C oven. Leave to cool. 

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs

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That weekend in the countryside the maincourse was a buffet with plenty of options. We had sausages and burgers from Waitrose as well as chicken drumsticks with sweet chilli marinade and marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs.

For the sausages and burgers we had buns, mustard, ketchup, mayo, sliced tomatoes, onions and pickles.

The other trimmings were a regular salad with avocado and spring onions, couscous salad with grilled peppers and chickpeas, bean salad with Dijon and feta, classic potato salad (with parsley instead of dill) and slaw.

Marinated pork fillet with lemon and herbs, serves 6-8

2 pork fillets/tenderloins approx 400 g each

150-200 ml mild olive oil

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tsp honey

1 garlic clove

5-8 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

5 sprigs rosemary, chopped

Trim the meat of any fat/tendons and cut into 1 inch thich slices. Flatten them a bit. Season the meat. 

Mix the marinade and cover the meat (either in ziplock bags or a ceramic tray/bowl. Leave to marinate in the fridge at least over night or for 48 hours. Barbecue. 

Leaving on a jetplane…

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3, 2, 1 – today I go on holiday and I am incredibly excited! First I’m spending one week in Croatia soaking up some sun with friends and then I’m off to Sweden for a ten days to spend time with family and friends.

Please do pop in during the time I’m away as the blog will still be updated a few times a week. And I might send you a post card!

See you later, friends!

My bruschetta

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When I fed the troops (well at least 17 people…) I thought it best to serve platters with nibbles instead of a sit down starter so people could still carry on playing football or swimming in the pool.

Apart from my (new and improved) recipe on bruschetta that I will share with you I also made some salmon rolls with horseradish that went down a treat and puff pastry sticks with blue cheese, walnuts and honey.

When it comes to bruschetta (and pan con tomato) I find it very disappointing when the bread is too wet and soggy. I know some people prefer this but I prefer my bread a bit crispier which is why my bruschetta is like a tomato-topped crostini. I don’t cook the tomato mixture either as I think nothing can beat fresh sweet tomatoes with a hint of garlic, olive oil and salt and fragrant basil.

Hanna’s bruschetta, serves 6-8 as nibbles or a starter

1 baguette

olive oil

1 garlic clove

4-5 vine tomatoes (get the best tomatoes you can find)

1 handful fresh basil

sea salt, black pepper

Slice the baguette thinly a bit on the diagonal. Place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub with the cut side down on all the bread slices infusing them with a mild garlic flavour. Bake on 200C oven until golden and crispy, approx 10 min.

Chop the tomatoes and place in a sieve on top of a bowl. Once all the liquid has disappeared transfer to a clean bowl and add the other half of the garlic clove, pressed. Chop the basil and add that too as well as some olive oil. Add sea salt and a little black pepper. Top the bread slices with the mixture once cool. Serve immediately. 

A lovely weekend (with BBQ) in the country

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The weekend before last a friend invited a group of us down to a very nice house in the country. Luckily the weather was good so we could enjoy the pool and play football on the lawn as well as drink wine and eat a lot. What more could one ask for?!

It was one of those wonderful weekends that fill you up with energy, although I have to admit I was a little tired when I got back to London because I took care of the cooking. It was good fun though and I don’t think there was any risk of anyone going hungry.

As we were lounging outside most of the day I thought it best with nibbles instead of a proper started and served three different ones; salmon rolls with horseradish, puff pastry straws with blue cheese, walnuts and honey and my take on bruschetta.

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Then it was time for the big event – the BBQ. I had prepped drumsticks and pork fillet and we also grilled sausages and beef burgers. There were of course a lot of different salads and condiments; potato salad, bean salad with feta, slaw, salad with avocado and spring onions, couscous salad and ketchup, mayo, pickled, mustard, cheese, sliced onions and tomatoes.

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After a proper break we finished the meal with Swedish mud cake, vanilla icecream, butterscotch sauce and berries.

Everybody seem to enjoy themselves and the food and it was good fun prepping it all too! Recipes will follow in separate posts.

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.