I spent the weekend in lovely Palma with 30C, clear blue skies and lounging by the pool mostly. My friend Laura had signed up for the half marathon and convinced me to keep her company for the weekend. And easy job, since I love Palma and wanted an excuse to go back. It’s such a pretty city, so before I start telling you about all the amazing pinxtos and tapas we had I thought I’d share some scenic photos with you.
A few weeks ago my Uni friend Lena was in town and suggested meeting up on a Monday night. We hadn’t seen each other since we were actually at Uni in Lund in Sweden, several years ago, so it was lovely to see her again!
We met after work looked in some shops on Regent Street and Carnaby Street and as we walked past Polpo on Beak Street, we thought why not go there for dinner! It was a 45 minute wait for a table which we spend in the basement bar having a drink and catching up.
We were starving when we sat down and followed the waiter’s suggestion of three dishes each. It was actually too much food for us, but we enjoyed sampling it all.
We wanted something green to balance all the heavy food and without a simple green leaf salad on the menu we settled for the fennel salad with almonds which was really fresh!
The cuttlefish risotto with ink was absolutely fantastic. The terrible picture (it was dark and I used my iPhone) doesn’t do it justice at all. That and the bruschetta were the highlights of the evening!
The meatballs made from pork and beef in tomato sauce were soft and full of flavour and a reoccurring dish on the menu.
The lamb stew with tomato was also nice, but not as nice as the other dishes.
Polpo describes itself as a Venetian bàcaro; a simple restaurant serving rustic, well-cooked food. And that’s exactly what they do! And they do it very well. It’s cosy, a bit noisy and a nice atmosphere and there are plenty branches to choose from all around London.
Polpo Soho, 41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
September was filled with weddings for me. Two were in Britain and one at home in Sweden. All the weddings were great fun and when in Sweden for the weekend I wanted to do as much as possible. I got to have lunch and get ready for the wedding with four friends that later stayed over and the day after the wedding I went for an Italian themed brunch very locally, at Idala Gård.
The farm is very rustic and the restaurant’s interior is a mixture of old Swedish farmhouse furniture and Italian accents and the food has the same mixture of Italian and local influences.
The wines are all Italian so ordered a lovely Gavi di Gavi before filling our plates at the buffet. The cold spread was amazing, lots of nice charkuterie, pasta salads, hot and cold smoked salmon, eggs, even crayfish (love!), crostinis with rocket crème, Insalata Caprese with lovely mozzarella and so on.
The cheeses were great too! I ate a lot but preferred the cold nibbly bits to the cooked more substantial food, but I can assure that was very nice too as my dad sampled it all. The only hot dish I tried was a lovely mash with pancetta and rosemary.
There were three puddings to choose from so we chose one each and tried them all. The chocolate torte was dense and very chocolatey like it should be, the pannacotta was very smooth and the tiramisu almost perfect!
Strangely I was positively surprised. Although I have been here before – at an amazing wedding with great food for example – I didn’t expect the brunch to be this good. Maybe perhaps because brunches in general aren’t. But I am very happy Idala Gård is at my parents’ doorstep, I will definitely visit soon again.
Idala Gård, 231 91 Trelleborg, Sweden
When I last baked for the office, this cake from the Swedish baking bible Swedish Cakes and Cookies, was very popular. I have a similar recipe on the blog already, that I must say I prefer, but it is always fun to try different recipes and make comparisons.
This is still a very nice cake, it’s smaller than the other recipe and especially the custard tastes different, almost lighter actually.
Zuleika cake, serves 10
From Sju Sorters Kakor (the Swedish version of Swedish Cakes and Cookies).
100 g almonds, ground
3 egg whites
100 ml / 80 g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
75 ml / 60 g caster sugar
200 ml double cream
50 g butter
35 g almond slivers
BUtter a regular cake tin. Beat the egg whites stiff. Mix the ground almonds and sugar in a bowl and fold in the stiff egg whites. Spread out the mixture in the tin. Bake in the bottom of the oven, 160C (fan oven) for 30 minutes. Leave to cool.
Mix egg yolks, sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan. Simmer until thick while stirring. Leave to cool a little. Pour over the base. Garnish with almond slivers. Best served really cold.
One of my dear American friends, Erin, moved back to her beloved US or A at the end of August. I was away most of that month and I missed her leaving do so to be able to say goodbye properly we squeezed in one last dinner with two more friends, before she left. Since we wanted to give Erin a proper send-off we booked a nice restaurant I have only been to once before, and the other girls not at all; Sushi Samba.
Last time I came here I had a great time and really enjoyed the evening although the level of the food was a bit inconsistent.
We started our meal with a nice bottle of Sancerre and some plantain crisps and dip what we all enjoyed.
The sashimi was lovely too. I had the same as last time; yellowtail sashimi with yuzu and black truffle oil, and it was just as nice this time.
Amy is not a fan of sushi so had some nice beef incredibly crispy calamari – both very good.
We also had some Peruvian corn as a side to share. The kernels are bigger, lighter in colour and a bit chewier than regular corn. The taste also differs; it’s slightly less sweet but still very nice.
I couldn’t help but order the Sasa rolls, a real favourite of mine. They come two per portion so you don’t have to be greedy like me and have one portion to yourself. They are delicious but one per person is totally enough as they are quite filling! But absolutely lovely! Erin loved them too.
The sushi came out last as it takes a while to make but it was definitely worth the wait. Last time here it was actually the sushi that was a bit disappointing but I clearly ordered the wrong thing or the chef was having a bad day, because the sushi we had this time was marvellous! My favourite was the Sushi Samba roll (left) but the Sao Paulo and Yoyogi rolls (all on the platter) were great too!
It literally was our last evening together (sob) so we asked our kind waiter to take a photo of us to remember it by. And then we couldn’t help ourselves and took some silly selfies in front of the amazing lit-up tree on the terrace.
Sushisamba, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
This place has been around for a while, I know, but my first visit was this summer. Amidst holidays, heavy work loads, birthdays etc. four girls managed to get together for some food and drinks. The place really look like a hardboiled PI’s office in the 30s in America and when stepping into Evans & Peel Detective Agency you’re greeted by a receptionist to whom you present your case. While you wait for the detective to do some background checks you’re welcome to wait in the bar/restaurant – the hidden room behind the reception.
The restaurant is dimly lit with candelabras on every table and the space gives off a prohibition era vibe. We started our evening with a bottle of prosecco, served in coupe glasses and then moved on to some food.
Two of the girls wanted to be healthy and thought salad and chips would even each other out whereas me and Amy couldn’t resist the sliders. We had three to share, a beef each, which was the best, and one chicken so share which was quite good too but not as good as the beef. We also had some chips (very good) and a creamy mac ‘n cheese (yum). The salad actually looked really good with crispy leaves and corn on the cob.
After dinner we settled on cocktails instead of pudding and we all had a different one. Mine was with elderflower and gin (I think), and it was delicious and not too sweet.
I really like this place; the 30s vibe goes through everything, the drinks are fun and different, the food good, the setting great and not to mention what a great idea it is!
Evans & Peel Detective Agency, 310c Earls Court Road W.8, London SW5 9BA
The pudding at the crayfish party was one of my favourite puddings; homemade crème brûlée. This one was flavoured with my homemade elderflower cordial and served with crispy biscotti (and some chocolates and Swedish pick ‘n mix) and went down a treat with ice-cold homemade limoncello.
Fläder crème brûlée, serves 4
300 ml double cream
150 ml elderflower cordial
50 ml caster sugar
6 egg yolks
some more caster sugar
Bring cream, cordial and sugar to the boil, Leave to cool a little. Beat the egg yolks lightly and add first some of the cream mixture and then the rest. Divide between pots/ramekins and bake in 100C fan oven until just set, about 35-40 minutes. Leave t cool completely and keep in the fridge until serving. Before serving cover the top with a thin layer of caster sugar and use a crème brûlée burner to create a crisp sugar layer on top. Serve immediately, decorated with a strawberry, and biscotti on the side.
Biscotti, makes about 20
Adapted from Delia’s recipe.
110 g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch salt
25 g ground almonds
50 g whole almonds (skin on)
75 g golden caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add ground and whole almonds and sugar. Mix thoroughly and add the egg. Mix with a wooden spoon/using your hands to a smooth dough. Place on a floured surface and roll into a 28 cm long roll. Place the roll on a lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes in 170C oven. Leave to cool completely.
Reduce the heat to 150C. Use a serrated knife to cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1 cm wide. Place on the lined baking tray and bake for another 30 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.