Barbecued bavette

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When Daniel, Maria and Otto came over for dinner when they were in London, I was pretty rushed with work and didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare their dinner.

To start we had some nibbles like Spanish ham, olives and marinated feta and for the maincourse I barbecued bavette. I picked up the meat in the local Whole Foods (thank you for opening a shop in my neighbourhood!) after work together with a chimichurri rub I massaged into the meat together with some oil, before putting it on the grill. We have a gas grill so it doesn’t get incredibly hot, but I barbecued it for approximately 10 minutes on each side and let it rest before slicing it and serving it with roasted new potatoes, Mexican corn salad, regular salad and guacemole.

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I prefer to make as much as possible from scratch when I cook so I’m not entirely proud of buying a ready-made rub. At least it didn’t have any dodgy ingredients in it and it tasted delicious and really lifted the meat. Next time I will attempt to make my own.

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For dessert we had homemade dulce de leche icecream I had made the week before together with some shop-bought chocolate chip cookies. Again, I would have preferred to make my own, but these cookies  from Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Range were really nice. So if I have to cheat I prefer to do it this way.

A weekend in Skåne, Sweden

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Last weekend I went home to Sweden to attend my friends Helena and Johan’s wedding. It was a great weekend and even the weather was great (mostly) and although it was a flying visit it was so worth being tired on Monday morning after a weekend like this.

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Apart from the fun wedding with the wedding ceremony, drinks reception, dinner and dancing I also got to spend time with my dear parents, enjoy my their garden – and the sunshine and have a nice Sunday lunch with them.

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We barbecued some steaks with Jack Daniel’s glaze and served them with roasted new potatoes, salad and bearnaise sauce (not homemade this time, I didn’t have the energy after dancing all night).

 

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And for pudding we had a real treat; homegrown wild strawberries with cream and a little sugar.

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It is now less than two months to go until I go home to Skåne in August for a whole ten days. The countdown has begun.

Midsummer

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Traditionally, if I was in Sweden today, I would most likely have the day off work and would have started the bypicking flowers from the fields; mainly cornflowers, poppies and cow parsley so I could tie myself a headband.

Then in the afternoon there would be cake, most likely a strawberry gateau. And in the evening there would be a smorgasbord of pickled herring, smoked salmon or gravadlax, new potatoes with dill, meatballs, sourcream and chives, maybe a matjes cheesecake and so on. To finish strawberries and cream.

Quite a lot of people have the traditional food for lunch and a barbecue in the evening, but although I’m not a huge fan of herring, that is not how I roll. There will of course also be plenty of snaps going around and we would sing snaps songs.

At some point during the afternoon or evening you would also dance around the may pole silly style singing children’s songs. And then party until really late as it is the shortest day of the year and the sun barely sets in Sweden.

This year, I’m in the UK and won’t really celebrate midsummer at all. Instead I’m going to an army ball in London, complete with chocolate fountains, fireworks and The Great Gatsby theme. Tomorrow and Sunday I have a hen do down in Kent where we will be glamping, playing silly games and drinking plenty of wine (I hope).

So regardless of what you’re up to, I wish you a Happy Midsummer!

Taste of London 2014

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Last night was the preview of my favourite festival (on until Sunday); Taste of London in Regents Park. The sun was shining, the barbecue smoke was thick and there were plenty of great food to sample.

I’m not sure how I managed to eat as much as I did, but I thoroughly enjoyed most of it so it was completely worth it.

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I started with Roka’s dumplings with black cod, crab and crayfish in a chilli dressing and they were great. The filling could have done with more seasoning because the dressing took over but it was still delicious.

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At Club Gascon I had the truffled crackling duck egg which was absolutely amazing! One of my favourite dishes of the evening. The egg was nice and creamy, the truffle cream underneath absolutely delicious and the crackling gave a good crunch.

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The clam chowder from Avenue was probably the poorest dish I tried. I liked the way it was served in a sourdough roll but it was completely under seasoned…

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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction served different tapas and were really good at inviting people to their stall. I had the most amazing Jamon Iberico – best I’ve ever tasted – with fluffly bread cushions and tomato oil. Simple but excellent produce!

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I had a Po Boy at Bar Boulud; a soft shell crab burger with Harissa mayo and cucumber and mint salad. It looked so nice random people stopped me and asked what it was and where it was from. Great flavours!

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Before it was time for Massimo Bottura to go on stage in the Taste Theatre I caught the last minutes of the chefs at Honey & Co cooking a three course meal. It looked fantastic so I’m dying to try the restaurant and have a look in their cookbook which is being released today.

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I also had a summer truffle risotto from Tartufo which was wonderfully creamy and tasted properly of truffle. I adore truffle and can’t wait to try this restaurant with plenty of truffle dishes on the menu. The tortellini was also very popular!

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I also love burrata and pappa al pomodoro and L’Anima’s version with anchovies was great. Maybe not as amazing as Zucca’s but very close.

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Then it was time for Massimo Bottura (three Michelin star chef and owner of Osteria Francescana) to take the stage. He explained how he came up with the two dishes he was cooking. That he likes to look in the past to create dishes for the future but that he doesn’t look at his grandmother’s cooking with nostalgia because then he would never change anything. Instead he takes the best from the past and creates it into something even better for the future. Massimo was absolutely charming and very passionate about his work – a joy to listen to!

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Him and his sous chef cooked two dishes. One with a sous vide Italian sausage with a biscuit and a zabaione with Lambrusco and a deconstructed lasagne with a ragu with bone marrow but no tomato, thin dried and burnt pasta and a bechamel foam. Four happy people got to sample each dish but sadly I wasn’t one of them.

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Monica Galetti was in the audience and got invited up to stage for some group pictures. Also Nuno Mendes was in the audience and he was one of the lucky ones who got to try the zabaione.

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Before the next thing on my list I had a green tea sundae from Bone Daddies/Flesh & Buns. It was quite good and served with berries, honeycomb and marshmallows. I really like that it wasn’t too sweet.

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I also tried sushi from Sake No Hana which I’ve been wanting to try and their spicy tuna roll was really nice and had a proper kick to it.

IMG_7407Then it was time to listen to Rene Redzepi from the world’s best restaurant at the moment; Noma in Copenhagen. He was also very passionate when he talked about fermentation for half an hour and was surprised time was up when he had finished. 
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The presenter at this Chef Skills Theatre was chef Valentine Warner but it was Rene who did most of the talking.

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We also got to try a real umami bomb that Rene had brought with him, then he showed a video of Lars making the liquid. It was blended grasshoppers that had been fermented for six months. And it was really delicious! Tasted like a very strong soy sauce with a real deep flavour.

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Rene also showed us mouldy rye bread, but with a good white mould. As we were all geeks in the audience he sent it around so we could smell and touch it.

What a great evening!

Marinated feta

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This, my friends, was super tasty. I love serving (and eating!) nibbles and when Maria, Daniel and Otto came over for dinner when they were in town we had this wonderful feta with jamon from Mallorca (thank you vacuum packaging), buttery olives (also from Mallorca) and some nice olive oil to dip the bread in. Apart from a delicious start to the meal, as we were all starving, it was also quite easy to simultaneously eat this and play run after Otto, the toddler.

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Marinated feta

1 whole proper feta (made form sheep’s milk) 

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olivolja

a few sprigs, rosemary

a few sprigs thyme

1/2 lemon, zest only, either use a grater or zester 

1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes pr Aleppo pepper

salt, black pepper

Place the feta in a shallow dish with edges. Add herbs, chilli, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Turn the feta so both sides are in contact with the aromatic oil. Leave for a few minutes for the flavours to develop before serving. 

 

To Skåne, Sweden!

blom4 I’m flying home to Skåne, Sweden tonight (well, technically I land in Denmark but a short jump across the bridge and I will be in Sweden) to attend my dear friends Helena and Johan’s wedding tomorrow. It will be lovely to share their special day with them, see some friends and spend time with my dear parents. And eat some of my mummy’s food. Needless to say I will be too tired to cook on Sunday after the wedding festivities the day before…

Have a nice weekend you too!

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Asparagus is probably my favourite vegetable, at least during the time it is in season. The rest of the year it is probably in second place behind the aubergine.

One reason I think I love asparagus so much is its compatibility with buttery sauces. If it didn’t work so well with hollandaise it probably wouldn’t be my favourite.

Last time I had asparagus and hollandaise I flavoured the sauce with chives and added some crispy pancetta to the plate. It was really delicious and a dish I will cook again and again. I had it as a starter but I would happily eat it for brunch too with an added poached egg.

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Asparagus with chives hollandaise and pancetta, serves 2

6-8 asparagus stems

6 thin slices pancetta

1 batch chives hollandaise (receipe below)

Break off the wooden part of the asparagus stems and cook in simmering water for 2-3 minutes. Drain. Fry the pancetta until crisp in a frying pan or in the oven. Make the sauce. Plate up and serve.

Chives hollandaise, serves 2-4

3egg yolks

150 g salted butter

1/2 – 1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and white pepper

1 bunch chives, chopped

Mix egg yolks and lemon juice in a non stick sauce pan (start off with only half a tbsp lemon juice if you don’t want the sauce too sharp, you can add more towards the end). Cut the butter into cubes and put one or two into the egg yolks, while whisking. Let all the butter melt before adding more butter cubes and repeat this until all the butter is used. The sauce will slowly thicken and when it is thick enough, remove it from heat, still stirring, season and add the chopped chives. Serve.

 

 

Dinner at The Sand’s End, Fulham

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On Thursday when Maria and Daniel had dropped their bags off at the hotel I took them to my local pub for dinner. Little Otto was awake a little in the beginning and although the pub didn’t have any high chairs it was no problem bringing him into the restaurant. After some bread Daniel took him for a walk and in the meantime Maria and I enjoyed some wine and delicious food.

My perfectly grilled plaice with clams, seaweed butter, fennel puré, samphire and pickled cucumber was utterly delicious. The flavours worked really well together and the seaweed butter was amazing.

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Both Maria and Daniel had the fried cornish cod (also perfectly cooked), ‘nduja risotto, salted almonds, aoili and pecorino. They absolutely loved it and the blurry picture above hardly does it justice, sorry about that!

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My main course was fantastic but not super filling and not in the mood for something sweet I decided on a starter instead. The foie gras and chicken liver parfait with a thin layer of white wine jelly served with toasted brioche was also delicious.

Daniel, also not completely full was in the mood for pudding and had the chocolate crémeux with caramel ice cream, olive oil and barley. Divine!

Last time I had dinner here was probably more than a year ago and I remember it being nice but nowhere near this good. Trust me, I will be back shortly to sample the rest of the menu… and maybe have that plaice again.

The Sand’s End, 135-137 Stephendale Road, London SW6 2PR

Fried halloumi with new potatoes, spinach and fried egg

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Maybe you’re beginning to sense a theme on the blog?! Food that’s quick to make when one’s busy, perhaps? Well that’s what my life looks like right now. If I cook at all at the moment it’s either for friends or a quick supper.

Work will hopefully slow down a little this week, but June is still horrendously packed (albeit with fun things). Last weekend I had Maria, Daniel and Otto visiting and this weekend I’m going to Sweden for a flying visit as one of my dear friends is getting married. And so it continues…

That’s why sometimes I cook food that’s ridiculously simple. One you don’t even need a recipe for. But it is still very tasty, filling and satisfying and definitely fresher than a takeaway.

How to (just in case):

Boil the new potatoes. Melt butter in a frying pan and fry the (drained) potatoes golden brown. Add spinach and let it wilt. Season. In a separate frying pan, fry an egg, remove and then fry a few slices of halloumi on high heat until golden brown. Serve. 

 

Spaghetti with courgette and smoked salmon

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When work is busy I usually cook pasta for dinner. It’s quick and easy yet satisfying. This version with creamy spaghetti, courgette and cold-smoked salmon feels fresh after a long day at the office. If you cook two portions it allows for a packed lunch for the following day too. Bonus.

Spaghetti with courgette and smoked salmon, serves 2

2 portions spaghetti (I prefer de Cecco)

120 g cold-smoked salmon

1/2 courgette, thinly sliced

50 ml white wine

a dash of concentrated fish stock

50 ml cream

chopped chives to serve

Cook the spaghetti al dente. Slice the salmon. Pour the wine into a small saucepan and let the alcohol evaporate and the liquid to reduce a little. Add cream and stock, let reduce a bit further and season. Add the courgette slices and let them soften in the liquid. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce and salmon. Serve with chives.