Summer longings

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The summer has paused (once again) here in London and I sincerely hope my two weeks in Sweden in August will make up for the lack of summer I’ve experienced so far. *crossing fingers*

Luckily, one can help summer along a little by cooking the most summery of recipes. If it tastes like summer IT IS summer, right?!

Noodles with fried squid, lime and mint tastes very fresh and reminds me of balmy nights. What better summer smell is there than the one of charcoal and meat juices?! This marinaded pork fillet with lemon and herbs is utterly delicious! And the easiest (and best) of summer puds is of course the humble mess. For a late lazy lunch with friends (and rosé!) this halloumi salad is easy to whip up.

Happy (make your own) summer!

 

Chocolate meringue cake

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Chocolate in any shape or form is always a crowd pleaser (especially amongst the chocoholics I work with!) and as predicted this cake was no exception. The bottom of the cake is fairly heavy and dense, with delicate meringue on top – a great combination. It’s best served together with some lightly whipped cream.

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Chocolate meringue cake, serves 10

Adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe.

240 g dark chocolate, chopped

180 g unsalted butter, chopped

2 eggs

4 eggs extra, separated

90 g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

50 g plain flour, sifted

½ tsp baking powder, sifted

40 g ground almonds

220 g caster sugar

1 tsp white vinegar

3 tsp cornflour, sifted

25 g cocoa, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Dinner at Bibendum, Chelsea

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Spring has been fairly busy (how is it almost July already?!) But it’s been a nice time; as I’ve had weekends away and friends visiting. At the latest visit we went to a real classic London restaurant in Chelsea that I have wanted to try for a while; Bibendum. I’m a big fan of Simon Hopkinson’s cooking style (he is one of the owners and used to be the head chef here).

The food is still very much of the same style; classic British and French dishes all cooked very well. Some dishes are simple and some are technically challenging but all the produce is top quality regardless. I like the mix of sophistication on the plate and smart casual laid-back ambiance in the restaurant.

2015-05-30 20.50.52We had a nice long meal and almost all three of us had three courses. To start Mirja and I were very happy with out choice of scallop and crab lasagne with beurre blanc and chives. Delicious!
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Linus had the jamon iberico and cantaloupe and received a nice big portion. Amazing ham!

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For her maincourse Mirja had the chicken supreme with creamed spinach and jus with fries on the side. It was (again) a very generous portion – and really nice!

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Linus and I had the pork’s cheek (super tender) with jus, asparagus, broad beand and peas.

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And creamy mash on the side. It was a great dish and all three of us needed a little breather before pudding.

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Linus had the most chocolaty chocolate fondant (it was pure perfection) with chocolate sauce, caramel ice cream and honeycomb.

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I couldn’t wait to try Queen of Puddings (my first time), here made with gooseberries and it was just as nice as I had expected. Mirja felt rather defeated after her chicken but shared our puddings.

We had a lovely evening here and thoroughly enjoyed everything that was put in front of us, from the olives and parmesan biscuits to bread, starter, main and pudding. And wine! I honestly can’t wait to go back!

Bibendum, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD

Taste of London 2015, Regents Park

IMG_6242It’s time for my favourite festival again and I visited Taste of London last night after work with my fellow foodie Caroline. It was a lovely evening with sunshine (!) and lots of good food.

My favourite over-all restaurant was Club Gascon, they had some fun and different dishes executed to perfection. Plus the head chef was there handing out food and chatting away with the customers.

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My favourite dish from Club Gascon was this sweetbread popcorn dish with iced Worchestershire sauce. The sweetbreads were delicious and the iced sauce cut through the richness perfectly.

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Another fab dish was this tartine of foie gras and glazed strawberries. Fun and different, this combination worked really well as the strawberries weren’t too sweet.

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Caroline tried their prawn burger primavera which was really nice too. It didn’t taste that much of prawns though, but was all in all a nice burger!

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At Clove Club we couldn’t resist the buttermilk fried chicken with pine salt. Very tender and juicy chicken with perfect seasoning. Yum!

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Roka had a nice selection of dishes and the one we both went for was this teriyaki eel sushi in a choux bun with avocado. Very nice!

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We also went back to an old favourite; the SushiSamba sasa roll which I love. It’s just such a great combination of textures and flavours.

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Chop Shop were also serving up some inspiring (and nicely presented) dishes.

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I had the short rib with smoked cream corn and some crunchy corn bits and it was fantastic!

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Caroline had their very tender hanger steak with dijon and parmesan sauce which was equally fantastic!

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Caroline tried Modern Pantry’s crunchy prawns with pineapple ketchup but it wasn’t a dish that wowed us. But they won the gold medal for another dish called ‘mince & tatties’.

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One of the trends seemed to be steamed buns because they were everywhere and I couldn’t resist one. The BBQ pork belly one with peanut soy sauce I had from Kurobuta was nice but not wow either, maybe the demand was too high for the kitchen to be at the top of their game.

We were very full after having eaten all of this and although I would have been happy to go back another day and eat some more, I only wished I had had room for one more dish and that was Duck & Waffle’s iconic ‘duck & waffle’ dish with waffle, duck leg and fried egg. Another time.

Taste of London 2015, Regents Park is on until Sunday 21st June.

New potato salad with asparagus and wild garlic pesto

IMG_1431It’s not peak season for wild garlic anymore (sob) but I have been slightly too busy lately to be able to post on the blog regularly. I’m hoping to redeem myself with this delicious (and super easy) recipe and higher posting frequency going forward.

If you don’t happen to stumble on some fresh wild garlic in an usually shady part of the woods you can use blanched frozen wild garlic too, or bookmark the recipe for next year.

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New potato salad with grilled asparagus and wild garlic pesto, serves 4

450 g new potatoes

200 g asparagus

1 batch wild garlic pesto

salt, black pepper

Make the pesto. Boil the new potatoes in salted water. Drain and leave while you fry the asparagus on a griddle pan until semi-soft. Cut each stalk into 3-4 pieces and cut the potatoes into chunks. Toss with pesto in a bowl and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with various barbecued meats or this lovely pork fillet.  

Sharing menu at Chotto Matte, Soho

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When my food blogger colleague Malin was in town with her friend Jenny we met up twice. Once on a Monday for some prosecco and nibbles and then on their last evening in town for dinner. We had a great time eating our way through Chotto Matte’s sharing menu and catching up.

Without much knowledge of Peruvian food I think Chotto Matte makes a good job of combining it with Japanese. Most dishes we had were really nice although there was a little room for improvement on some. The sharing menus are great way to try a few different dishes (including some of their signature dishes) and they’re great value for money too.

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After deciding on the wine (very important!) we got to try the first dish; tostaditas with beef, smoked aji planka, shiitake and yuzu. Very yummy!

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Soon after (the table was never empty) we received the seabass cheviche with sweet potato, Peruvian corn (they were more floury than usual), coriander and citrus sauce. Apart from the corn I really liked this dish; subtle flavours and nicely balanced. The seabass was delicious!

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The gyozas with pork, prawns and cassava on a bed of sweet potato purée were a favourite amongst us all – delicious!

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The spring rolls with shiitake and prawns and a ponzu salsa were nice too, but nothing special. 2015-05-13 20.44.52

We really enjoyed the very tender miso chicken – it was just scrumptious! Nice barbecue flavour.

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This octopus was very tender and nice but the purple potato purée didn’t add much to the dish, sadly.

2015-05-13 21.11.26And the maki rolls with tuna were nice, but I preferred the hot food.
2015-05-13 21.44.52For pudding we received a selection of sweets, and all very good! The small pots of lemon grass creme brulee and chocolate mousse with honeycomb were just the right size and the mochis fresh and light.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and the buzzing atmosphere! I will certainly come back for the miso chicken!

Chotto Matte, 11 – 13 Frith Street, London W1D 4RB

Easy raspberry and white chocolate muffins

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These not too sweet yet delicious muffins with white chocolate I made by request from a colleague for the office cakes at the end of May, and they went down very well.

The recipe was a total gamble – I googled recipes and liked the look of this one from Mumsnet and it could not be easier to make. Just mix it all in a bowl and add the chocolate and berries at the end. Perfect to whip up when pressed for time or a good recipe to bake with children.

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Easy raspberry and white chocolate muffins, makes12

From Mumsnet’s recipe.

250 g self-raising flour

100 g caster sugar

1 egg

250 ml milk

2 tsp baking powder

90 ml vegetable oil

150 g raspberries

150 g chopped white chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 180C  and line a muffin tray with large paper cases. Place all ingredients apart from the chocolate and berries in a bowl and mix. Fold in the berries and chocolate with a spatula and divide between the cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.