New Year’s Eve luncheon

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I know a lot of people think NYE is a real anti-climax, but I really enjoy celebrating it. Any excuse to dress up and drink champagne works for me!

Growing up, my parents and their friends made it special, always making it an occasion. Us children got to play with each others new toys (one NYE turned into Super Mario tournament), but also celebrate with the grown-ups, cheering with alcohol free cider instead of champagne, watching the fire works through the windows (to this day I still don’t like to go outside in the cold on the stroke of midnight), and watch the speech and the countdown on Swedish Television. It felt magical and that’s the feeling I carry with me now on New Year’s Eves with friends.

Nowadays the food make it special, and we really enjoy the Kalix roe, lobster and fillet of beef, but we have also realised that it’s really nice to do something on the day. So we prep as much as we can the day (or days, depending on the ambition) before NYE, so that we have the day free to hang out together until it’s time to get ready and cook dinner.

 

 

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This year, we thought a lunch in Malmö would be ideal. We went to Copenhagen last year for lunch and although lovely it felt a little rushed. But, it turned out, no restaurants in Malmö were open for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s un-Swedish to go out for lunch before a big evening celebration, who knows?! Luckily, after a lot of googling, we did find ONE restaurant open for lunch so we quickly booked a table and enjoyed a nice French lunch.

La Bonne Vie is a cosy French restaurant in the middle of town, just on Davidshalls Torg, and when we arrived for a late-ish lunch the restaurant was full up. And, just like us, most guests were drinking bubbly.

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The lunch menu was classic French with a few Swedish touches and very affordable. Emma and I both had the Toast Skagen with a very generous portion of prawns with mayonnaise and dill on butter-fried bread. Delicious!

Claes had the moules frites and also received a very generous portion of mussels, nice crispy fries and rouille.

We had a lovely lunch and will certainly be back this year too. Thank you for staying open!

La Bonne Vie, Davidshallstorg 7, Malmö, Sweden

Chicken liver mousse with white wine and rosemary

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I like some DIY action when I host parties, like the blini table I had one year, and the crostinis with different spreads in jars in December.

Not surprisingly, my friends loved the smoked salmon spread (this is like the essence of Scandinavia, Hanna – oh yes!), whereas I prefer the deeper, more complex flavours of the chicken liver mousse. But when my friends had overcome the hurdle of the brown dull colour and tasted it, they also really enjoyed it!

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Chicken liver mousse with white wine and rosemary 

400 g chicken liver (approx 375 g with tendons removed)

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

100 ml dry white wine

4 anchovies from a tin

100 ml homemade chicken stock

50-100 ml cream

 

Remove all tendons and chop the liver coarsely. Fry the onion until soft in butter and oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary, making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the wine and let some of it evaporate. Add the anchovies and let them melt. Turn up the heat and add the liver and fry until cooked through. Add the stock and let some evaporate but still keeping a good amount of liquid in the pan. 

Mix until smooth in a food processor. Add the cream little by little until desired consistency. Push through a fine sieve. Leave to cool and refrigerate. 

Rocky road with honeycomb

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Rocky Road is one of those simple recipes where the sum of the parts are greater than you expect it to be. Every single thing that goes into rocky road is nice in it’s own way, but together you have these amazing crunchy, soft, sweet and salty clusters that are just to die for.

I altered the recipe I normally use when I made it in December for my Christmas drinks party and, I must say, the addition of honeycomb was just genius. I love honeycomb as it is, but I often find it a bit too sweet, so here where the buttery sweetness gets to mingle with salted nuts and semi-bitter chocolate it really comes together.

I usually use Scandinavian Dumle toffees (which you can now buy from Ocado) but they were sold out so I opted for Reisen instead. They’re a bit harder (so be careful of your teeth) but not as sweet, which worked well with the other ingredients.

Rocky road with honeycomb, makes 20-25

100 g marshmallows, cut in 4

135 g Riesen toffees, cut in 2

150 g roasted and salted peanuts

1/2 batch honeycomb, in pieces

200 g dark chocolate

100 g milk chocolate

snowflake sprinkles and edible glitter  

Line a square 20 x 20 cm tin with parchment paper. Melt both types of chocolate together in a bain marie. In a bowl, mix marshmallors, Riesen, peanuts and honeycomb. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well, making sure everything is coated with chocolate. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and smooth it out. Scatter with sprinkles and glitter and leave to cool. Let it set in the fridge. Cut into cubes and serve. Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.  

Burgers at Patty & Bun

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There are plenty of burger places (joints sounds so American!) in London, it seems we just can’t get enough of it. And although I have a few favourites I never want to miss out on a good burger.

My friend Ro took me to Patty & Bun by Liverpool Street station one Sunday and although this place is a chain (albeit a small one), the burgers are really good.

The few times I’ve eaten here I’ve always had the same burger, Ari Gold, served with cheese and an amazing chilli mayo. The burgers are seriously messy to eat but very good. The bun is a brioche-style bun, that I prefer, and the fries are skin-on, also a plus in my book!

Patty & Bun, 22/23 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7PD 

Pecan pie

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I made this Thanksgiving pie the year before last and lots of times before then, but haven’t found the time (in the busy period between Thanksgiving and Christmas) to blog about it. So here it is, in January, but it’s still worth making it – apart from being a Thanksgiving staple dessert it’s also a wonderful winter pie.

The recipe is courtesy of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (the bakery’s first, and in my opinion also the best, cookbook).

Pecan pie, serves 10-12

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Pie crust:

260 g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

110g (unsalted) butter

Grease a 23cm pie dish. Put the flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. )

Add 1 tbsp water and beat until well-mixed. Add a second tbsp water and beat until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface and line the pie dish, trimming the edges. No need to blind bake. 

Filling:

200 g caster sugar

250 ml dark corn syrup (golden syrup works well)

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

60 unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 tsp vanilla 

100 g shelled pecans + extra for decoration

Save the 10-12 nicest pecans for decoration. Chop the rest.

Preheat the oven to 170C. 

Add sugar, syrup and salt in a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the warm (not hot) sugar mixture and stir it in swiftly (to avoid scrambling the eggs). Add butter and vanilla and stir until the butter has melted and been incorporated. 

Place the chopped pecans in the pie case and pour in the sugar mixture. Arrange the saved pecans carefully on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a dark golden colour and slightly crunchy on top. Leave to cool and serve while it’s slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

 

Kale soup with pork quenelles

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This, dear fellow foodies, is old-fashioned Swedish peasant food. In a good way. Perfect for this cold time of year this soup is warming and nourishing and so are the pork quenelles, which are basically meatballs cooked in stock instead of pan-fried.

Please note that the quenelles takes longer to make than the soup, so do start with these. If you think the quenelles are strange or you don’t eat meat, garnish your soup with medium-boiled eggs instead. Cut them in half and put them in the soup – it’s also delicious and another common way to eat the soup.

Kale soup, serves 4

Adapted from Hannu Sarenström’s recipe in the book Vinterkalas.

ca 375 g chopped fresh kale

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

100 ml cream

salt, black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the flour and add the stock little by little while stirring. Add the kale and let simmer for 10 minutes. Mix with a stick  blender and add the cream. Bring to the boil and season to taste. 

Pork quenelles, serves 4-6

500 g pork mince

1 egg

100 ml breadcrumbs

1-2 tbsp water

salt, white pepper

1 onion, finely chopped

1,5 litre chicken stock (from a cube is fine)

Break the egg into a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs. Add salt (more than you think) and white pepper. Let the mixture swell for a few minutes. If the mixture is thick add 1-2 tbsp water to loosen it. Stir in the chopped onions and the mince. Mix well and roll the mince into 2 cm thick balls. Rinse your hands in between rolling to make it easier. 

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and let it simmer. Add the quenelles and let them simmer for approx 15 minutes (check with a knife that they’re cooked through, i.e. not pink in the middle). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the soup bowls. Fill up with kale soup and serve. 

Revisiting Kurobuta, Chelsea

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A Saturday a looong time ago now, Caroline and I met up for dinner in Chelsea. We hadn’t booked anywhere but wanted Japanese and when we tried Kurobuta they luckily had space for us at the communal table.

I’d only been to Kurobuta once before this, when it was still a pop-up at a different location on the Kings Road, but the permanent space is so much better. The ambiance feels more restaurant-y and the food is just as good – if not even better!

A group at our communal table were eating the tempura prawns when we arrived, they looked really good so it was the first thing we ordered. They were nice and crispy on the outside but the prawn within was still nice and juicy and the onions and chilli worked well with the prawns and the delicious mayo. The fried white shreds underneath the prawns were not that nice, but at least it looked nice!

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Our next dish was these a-ma-zing wagyu beef sliders with steamed buns, crispy onion, pickled cucumber and umami mayo. Sooo good and my favourite dish this evening!

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The wellowtail sashimi was nice but a little too wet for my liking as it was resting in a pool of yuzu and soy.

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Also the maki roll with spicy tuna was a bit of a let down. It was lacking a bit in flavour and all the spice came from the sauce on top, not from the roll itself..

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But we absolutely loved the grilled miso chicken! Nice charred flavour from the grill and it was perfectly cooked.

Despite not finding all the dishes perfect, I do really enjoy coming here. The food is always good and some dishes are excellent. And compared tp many other restaurants offering Japanese small dishes or Asian fusion this is one of the better! Just promise me you try the Wagyu slider, and you’ll see what I mean!

Kurobuta, 312 Kings Road, London SW3 5UH