Seafood feast, Swedish caviar and girolle toast

IMG_8610In my family, we don’t need much of an excuse to have an extravagant dinner, but celebrating my belated birthday with my parents we went all out on the stuff we love – seafood.

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Girolles are usually in abundance in August, although the first little ‘shrooms can be found in the woods as early as June. In Sweden we worship girolles as their season coincide with the crayfish parties. The first ones I eat every late summer has to be served like this; fried in butter with garlic and parsley, served on bread also fried in butter (or at least toasted). So delicious!

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Then we went outside to the barbecue to grill some oysters. I love oysters regardless of how they are prepared but my parents prefer them warm.

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Simply place the opened shells on live coal until the juices start to bubble. Remove with a thick glove as they heat up quickly. Add lemon juice and tabasco and eat.

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After that exercise we had löjrom (Swedish caviar; vendace roe from Kalix) served in the classic manner with butter-fried toast, creme fraiche and chopped red onions.

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After that we got started on the seafood. We had smoked cold-water prawns, Swedish crayfish, langoustines and crab claws. All washed down with Taittinger Brut Réserve. Needless to say we did not need any pudding after all that…

Homemade pinxtos

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Mother and I made pinxtos for our guests at two separate occasions this summer. I often serve crostini or bruschetta at dinner parties and this is obviously similar. Only difference is that you usually don’t toast the bread for pinxtos (which we did) and the toothpick securing the toppings. In Spain you can serve almost anything on or as pinxtos, but most common are crab and mayonnaise, prawns with mayonnaise, baby eels, morcilla or jamon.

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Ours were pretty simple, like tomato (from my parents’ garden), basil (also from the garden), buffalo mozzarella and olive oil.

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Cold-smoked ham with grilled peppers in olive oil.

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And one with crayfish, dill and rosé pepper. At the second dinner party we varied ourselves with toast Öjeby, which also worked really well.

Crayfish pinxtos with dill and rosé pepper, makes about 8

8 slices baguette

olive oil

1 tub crayfish tails, drained 

100 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 tsp crushed rosé peppercorns 

chopped dill

salt, white pepper

lemon and dill to decorate

Place the bread slices on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool. Mix creme fraiche and mayo in a bowl. Chop the crayfish tails and add to the mixture. Then add in rosé pepper and dill. Season to taste. Divide between the baguette slices. Decorate with lemon and dill and serve immediately. 

Wonderful Skåne!

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I hope you don’t mind me paraphrasing Denmark’s slogan (Wondeful Denmark), but I find it suitable since Skåne (the most southern region in Sweden) was in fact Danish until 1658.  

Anyway, this part of Sweden is where I was born, and although I love London I love coming home to my dear Skåne too. Usually I spend time on the beach in the summer but the weather was just as bad as in the UK (grey, rainy and windy) so I had to occupy myself differently. It was a lot of lunch and fika and excursions to countryside shops and similar. 

Olof Viktors

One Saturday my parents and I drove to the beautiful Österlen, the eastern part of Skåne, where we had fika (coffee and pastries) at Olof Viktors, looked at boats in Skillinge Harbour and went to various antiques shops. We also stopped by Gunnarshögs Gård just before closing to buy some of their wonderful cold-pressed rapeseed oil. 

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One day I met up with a childhood friend at the fish restaurant Johan P, now also located at Malmö Central station, for a prawn sandwich on Danish rye bread. We were hoping to try Saltimporten Canteen, but we were too late to get a table. Next time. 

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Another day, when Carina and I were on our to the beach, we stopped at Märtas in Höllviken for a egg and prawn salad sandwich and enjoyed it outside in basking sunshine. Half an hour later when we reached the beach it was cloudy and cold again.

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The sandwich was great though, and the shop/café really cute. 

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My last Sunday in Skåne I went to the annual antiques fair at Katrinetorp, like most people. It was incredibly popular, probably partly because of the torrential rain. I bet IKEA was busy too! 

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For lunch I met up with my bestie Emma at the festival in town; Malmöfestivalen but it was an anticlimax walking around in the rain with soaked shoes. I quickly decided on a langos with sourcream, caviar and red onions while Emma had a chicken wrap. 

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Another day with seriously bad weather (I so picked the wrong week and a half to go) Therèse and I were about to have lunch at the harbour in Smygehamn, the most southern point in the country, but it was so windy we got a takeaway instead. At the fish smokery they have lovely individual sandwich cakes with seafood. They’re quite creamy but really good. 

As you can see I got my seafood sandwich fix during this trip, it’s something very Scandinavian that I can certainly miss in London, although there are a few places offering a decent prawn sandwich there too. 

 

Feta and pistachio dip

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Surprisingly I have actually managed to cook a little this summer, but only little and nothing too advanced. One thing I threw together was this easy feta and pistachio dip that went down a treat. The recipe is from the fabulous cookbook Persiana.

I also made some homemade flatbreads to scoop up the lovely dip with. Super easy and tasty – summer food at its best. 

Feta and pistachio dip, serves 

Recipe from Persiana

100 g shelled pistachios

75 ml olive oil

300 g feta cheese

1 handful dill, chopped

2 handfuls coriander, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 röd chilli, chopped

3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

zest from 1 lemon, juice from 1/2 lemon

sea salt to taste

Mix nuts and oil in a food processor for 30 seconds. Add feta, herbs, garlic, chilli, yoghurt and lemon zest and juice and mix for another minute. Season to taste with sea salt and serve.

 

 

A day in Copenhagen

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A day trip to Copenhagen with Maria, Daniel and toddler Otto during the summer feels like a well established tradition by now and I hope we keep it up for many years to come.

Despite heavy rain as soon as we stepped out of the car we had a great day in the Danish capital. Luckily that was the only shower that day. 

We started, like last year, with an early lunch at Wanna B and we can confirm that their burgers are still nice. Otto agrees and he especially liked the dressing. 

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After a walk and some shopping (mainly at Companys, & Other Stories, Cos, Hay and Notre Dame) we were in the mood for fika and wanted to sit down and found a nice café in the Main Library in the city centre near the pedestrian street (i.e. not the Black Diamond / Sorte Diamant) called Democratic Coffee Bar.

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Daniel the coffee connoisseur was very pleased with the coffee and Maria and I liked the Danish with cookie dough filling. My organic juice drink was really nice too.

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Then we headed to Copenhagen’s answer to Borough Market; Torvehallerne. Finally! It was my first visit here so we systematically hoovered the place from side to side so as to not miss anything. 

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There are plenty of nice shops selling pantry product as well as fresh produce, restaurants and take aways, Compared to Borough Market Torvehallerne feels very fresh and organised and it is a lot more spacious. But Borough Market is more well-stocked and offer more than one seller selling a similar product so you can compare and choose. 

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Luckily the weather turned and we had a sunny afternoon and evening. Perfect for a break and a glass of cava at the Cava Bar outside in between the two food halls. 

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We decided to get a takeaway since we had trouble choosing food and settled for a weird combination of smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwiches) and sushi for dinner.

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The smørrebrød from Hallernes Smørrebrød were really nice and pretty too! We had one with marinated salmon, one with plaice and remoulad, one with roast beef and fresh horseradish and one with eggs, prawns, cress and lemon zest. 

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The rolls from Sushi Lovers were all amazing and super fresh. I will definitely come back here both to shop and eat. Thanks for a lovely day, guys! 

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Wanna B, Kompagnistræde 4, 1208 København K, Denmark

Democratic Coffee Bar, Krystalgade 15, København, Denmark

Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K, Denmark

Hvar Town, Croatia

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The first week of my summer holidays was spent in sunny Croatia. We had one evening in Split and then stayed in Hvar town for the rest of the week. Gaby, Rowena and I had an amazing week with lots of sleep, lots of sunbathing, a bit of party and several nice meals. My ideal holiday.

We stayed jn Hvar Town the whole time and although it is small town there were plenty of restaurants to choose from so we never got bored.

Macondo

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Our first evening we tried Macondo, a fish restaurant with a great reputation. We tried the local dish marinated octopus which was really nice and then shared a platter of grilled seafood and a lobster pasta. The food was alright but not amazing so we were a little disappointed. But then again, maybe we just ordered the wrong things from the menu?!

Macondo, Groda, Hvar Town, Croatia

Zlatna Skoljka  (Golden Shell restaurant)

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This restaurant’s speciality is slow cooking and offered lots of stews. We started with a fish tartar (not sure which particular fish) to share and then Gaby and I had the fish stew with potatoes and shelfish. It is one of their signature dishes and it was nice in a homemade kind of way. Rowena had a beef stew (shortribs?) with dumplings that was very heavy. The meat was very tender melted in the mouth and although a hearty stew isn’t summer food for me it was nice and well cooked.

Zlatna Skoljka, Petra Hektorovića 8, 21450 Hvar, Croatia

Giaxa

Giaxa

Gaixa had a bit more oomph than the previous two restaurants. Gaby and Ro shared the swordfish carpaccio which was lovely and so was my ravioli with truffle sauce. The beef with gnoochi and truffle was utterly delicious while my swordfish with cauliflower mash was underseasoned a little underwhelming. But overall I really liked this place.

Giaxa, Trg Tv. Petra Hektorovića 3, 21450, Hvar, Croatia

Paradies Garden

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We sat outside in a cozy courtyard at Paradies Garden and could watch the boats in the harbour. The portions were huge but everything we tried was well-cooked and very nice; grilled fish, risotto, scallops and their signature dish – meat cooked on a hot stone. The table next to ours shared a huge seafood platter that looked great too!

Paradies Garden, Groda bb, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia

Restaurant Vartal

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Ro and Gaby noticed this place when out for a walk and thought the pizzas looked nice. So that’s what we had when we had dinner here the last night (and pasta). It is a no-fuss restaurant but the food was nice, the wine nice and it was very good value for money. Definitely the cheapest place we had dinner.

Restaurant Vartal, Fulgencija Careva 1, Hvar, Hvar Island, Croatia

Dinner at Dvor, Split, Croatia

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We arrived to Split quite late on a Friday night but we were determined to go to this lovely restaurant we discovered last year, even if it meant eating around 10.30pm. 

The ambiance was just as cosy as we had imagined it would be in the evening, sitting outside overlooking the beach underneath some trees. Last time we had lunch here which was also lovely, but in a different way. 

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The menu was similar to last time although some of the fun commentary was removed. We started with a board with various meats like saucisson and chorizo with pickles as well as an interesting salmon tartar with olive oil ‘snow’ on top to share which was plenty. 

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For the maincourse I actually chose the same delicious pasta as last time; spaghetti with prosciutto, rocket and truffle sauce. Gaby had a risotto with prawns and Rowena a very generous portion of grilles seabass. 

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We had a great meal and this was a fantastic start to our trip. The next day we took the catamaran to Hvar where we spent the rest of our week. Mainly in our respective sun loungers. 

Dvor, Put Firola 14, Split, Croatia