Fine dining in Trastevere, Rome


I’m not the type of person who counts Michelin stars but I do think the Michelin guide is a good guide to use and I often check out restaurants mentioned in it when I’m going travelling, especially when I want to go to a more up-scale restaurant. I did my research before Rome as well and the Michelin star restaurant I was most excited to try, Glass, was fully booked the one night I had in the city. Luckily my next choice,  Antico Arco in Trastevere had availability.

Despite having dinner here on my own on a Saturday night, I had a fabulous meal and really enjoyed the food, the ambiance and the service. I actually think I got the most attention from the staff, checking I was enjoying myself as often as they could.

My lovely meal started with an amuse bouche (pictured above) of crispy mackerel, courgette and a very light orange sauce. So delicious!


My choice of starter was a porcini mushroom mousse with yoghurt, poached egg yolk and blac truffle. So very good!


Next up was a pasta dish; ravioli with sea bass with a seafood bisque. The pasta itself was amazingly thin and delicious, the bisque nice and pungent and the seabass nice and soft, but it wasn’t really what I had expected texture wise.


For my maincourse I was choosing between three meat dishes and since one of the waiters recommended the steak tartare I went for that. It was the most decadent steak tartare I’ve ever seen; a ginormous portion of perfectly seasoned raw steak, topped with raw porcini mushrooms, black truffle and generous shavings of foie gras. It was delicious and very rich, and having had two courses already there was no way I would get close to even finish it.


I was so full after my lovely meal I declined pudding (no room) but the waiters still brough me a mini dessert of decaf tiramisu. It was heavenly but I couldn’t even finish that tiny portion. Instead I had a tea and a breather, and looking around the fellow guests I was wondering how they manage to finish their portions. I mean, to me, Roman portions were American sized.


Turns out they order differently to me. A couple near me had several mini plates of soup and pasta before having a main course each. I guess I’m too polite to even consider asking for tasting portions in a nice restaurant, but the next day I did so at lunch. And it turns out even a half portion of pasta is large, but at least I could finish it!

Antico Arco, Piazzale Aurelio, 7, 00152 Roma, Italy

Wonderful lunch in Rome (Armando al Pantheon)


Book! That’s my best tips for visiting Rome. Book everything you possibly can beforehand; taxi from the airport, tickets to all the sights and tables at sought after restaurants.

During my lunch at Armando al Pantheon, which is a small and cosy restaurant, I saw the maitre d’ send away at least ten people that hadn’t booked as not a single table was available for walk-ins. So I was extra pleased I had made a reservation (you can do it online so no hassle at all) because this was a restaurant I certainly didn’t want to miss.

I took the old adage When in Rome seriously and had antipasti, primi and secondi. And wine. Oh, what a lunch!


I started with bruschetta; one with lardo and walnut (nice!) and one with quail’s egg and truffle (wow!).


I then had the spaghetti alla carbonara (a typical roman pasta just like cacio de pepe), and Armando’s version was lovely. Not too creamy but with plenty of flavour and nice pieces of pancetta this was exactly what I thought proper Italian pasta was about. Only downside was the size of the portion – if I had finished it I wouldn’t have been able to eat anything else, so I ate about half and saved myself for the next dish.


It was one of the specials that I thought I might try if I could finish the pasta, but when the waiter told the table next to me about the specials I just could not not order the slow cooked veal with truffle. Although really full after the pasta, I almost felt less full after having had just meat, jus and truffle. The meat was very tender and the jus nice and light but with nice flavours.


Armando’s is, as you can see, small and cosy. So cosy I made friends with the people at the next table (we sat very close) who loved the place so much they’d come back six times during their two weeks in Rome. Armando al Pantheon, Salita dè Crescenzi, 31, 00186 Roma, Italy

More tapas: Croquetas de jamon


I really wanted to make croquetas de jamon (Spanish ham croquettes) when I made the other tapas dishes, but sadly didn’t have time. But that didn’t stop me. Instead I made them the day after when I had more time on my hands and served them appropriately as a starter snack with a nice bottle of cava.


It was the first time I made croquetas and it wasn’t difficult at all. Much easier than I expected actually, and lots of fun! But it does take a while to make them. About 45 minutes to make the bechamel, three hours to rest and then another 30 minutes to fry them. But it’s completely worth it.

I halved the recipe from the book Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy, making 12 instead of 24 croquetas, but they are quite large so you could easily make 16 from the recipe.

Croquetas de Jamon, makes 12-16

Adapted from Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy.

25 g butter

1/4 onion, finely chopped

35 g cured ham, preferably Spanish Jamon Iberico, chopped

400 ml whole milk

30 plain flour 

grated nutmeg

1 tsp salt

a pinch white pepper

1 egg


500 ml neutral oil for frying

Melt the butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and ham. Cook for a few minutes until the onion turns translucent but not coloured. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, bring the milk almost to the boil and set aside. 

Add the flour to the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until the flour has toasted a bit. Add the hot milk little by little, whisking all the time, to make a thick roux. Keep going until you have added all the milk and you have a smooth and silky bechamel. When it comes to the boil reduce the heat to low and add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, whisking to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Line the bottom of a baking tray with baking parchment and then pour the bechamel into the baking tray. Spread it out and then immediately place a layer of cling film directly on top, making sure the cling is touching the surface of the bechamel as this will stop a skin from forming. Transfer to the fridge and chill completely. 

After three hours the bechamel should be firm enough to handle. Peel off the cling film, turn the bechamel out on to a floured surface and carefully peel away the baking parchment. Sprinkle with more flour and use a knife to cut the bechamel into 12-16 equal squares. Dust hands with flour and roll the squares into balls between your hands.

Beat the egg in a bowl and pour the breadcrumbs out onto a plate. Dip each ball in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.

Heat up the oil in a large deep pan until it reaches 180C. Fry the croquetas in small batches until golden and crisp (takes about 1 1/2 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel before serving.

A Roman holiday


A few weekends ago I went to Rome for the first time and loved every second of it (apart from almost not finding a taxi late at night in the rain when I arrived, but I got there in the end).

Arriving to the hotel I went straight to bed and feel asleep to raindrops hitting the courtyard outside my room. Very soothing. Waking up to a beautiful day I had breakfast at the hotel (just before they stop serving it, that’s usually how I roll) and then walked along the Tiber to my first stop of the day; the frescos by Raphael and his contemporaries at Villa Farnesina. They were just amazing and a great start to my day.


I then crossed the Tiber to go back into the centre of Rome, via the little market on Campo de Fiori, that turned out to be a lot more touristy than expected, but the greengrocers still carried magnificent produce and I so wanted to buy large fresh porcini mushrooms and courgette flowers but as I didn’t have time to go back to the hotel before continuing my day I thought I could make my purchases the next day. Unfortunately I couldn’t, as all the best greengrocers seem to take Sundays off.

I then made a quick stop at the Pantheon as my lunch reservation was nearby.


After a fab lunch (review to follow) I walked back across the Tiber to visit the Vatican museum, where I had bought my ticket in advance, which I recommend anyone visiting Rome to do too. There is so much to see in the eternal city, queueing just feels like a waste of time.


Apart from the fact that you sometimes felt like a sheep ushered by a shepherd, I enjoyed the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel a lot.


Some things were pretty spectacular, like the exit (above).


Walking past St Peter’s Basilica I decided to join the (massive queue) and at least see if it was moving. Luckily it was, and as it’s free to go in you can’t book in advance. And it certainly was magnificent and absolutely worth a bit of a wait. The time didn’t feel wasted at all as I got to see the sun setting over the basilica and could take some nice photos in the twilight.


After a walk back to the hotel my feet were pretty sore (I walked 25 kilometres that day) and I decided to take a taxi to Antico Arco (review to follow) where I was having dinner.


The next day after breakfast I went to the Colosseum, again with a pre-booked ticket, and although heaving with people it was a lovely sight so see.


Afterwards I went to Foro Romano nearby, using the same ticket, and it was as wonderful to see.


Next on the list was Crypta Balbi and then lunch.


My last stop was Crypta dei cappuccini, a crypt for the Capuchin monks decorate with skulls and skeleton parts. It sounds macabre but I didn’t think it was; just very different and beautiful in a strange way.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pick up my bags and head to the airport. What a wonderful weekend.

PS. Sorry for the heading; couldn’t help myself.

Poached egg with girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts


My first attempt at cooking a 63C egg didn’t work too well, as I tried to multitask and wasn’t paying attention the whole time. Big mistake. Huge. So instead I poached eggs. And served it with butter-fried girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts. It was delicious but I still dream of perfecting that 63C egg and serve it with girolles. I mean, is there anything better than a runny egg yolk with garlicky mushrooms?! I don’t think so.

Listening to my favourite food podcast (in Swedish) I learnt a new way to toast nuts, in the oven. So much better than in a dry frying pan. It will change your life. I promise. All you need to remember is 150C for 15 minutes.


Poached egg with girolles, Västerbotten cheese and toasted hazelnuts, serves 2

2 fresh eggs

a splash of vinegar 

200 g girolles

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

salt, pepper

chopped parsley

2 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese (or comté)  

20 hazelnuts

Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Pour the nuts into an oven-proof tray and toast for 15 minutes. Clean the mushrooms and fry in butter with the garlic until golden brown. Add salt, pepper and parsley and put aside. 

Take a large saucepan and fill half of it with water from a just boiled kettle. Bring the water to a gentle simmer (it should not boil) and add the vinegar. Pour ice cold water into a bowl and have a slotted spoon at hand. Crack and egg into a mug or cup. With a spoon, create a whirl in the pan and lower the mug/cup with the egg into the water and pour it out. Repeat with a second egg and let them poach for 3 minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and place in the cold water for a few minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. 

Re-heat the mushrooms is needed. Divide them between to plates, leaving a hole in the middle for the egg. Scatter with grated cheese. Chop the nuts and scatter. Serve immediately. 

Dinner at my local


After a full on day at the Goodwood Revival we were cold and seriously hungry, and I was really pleased with myself for booking a table at my local pub for dinner. We went there straight from the train and after looking at the menu for two seconds we all settled for steak and ordered three hanger steak, red wine (for mum and me) and cider (for dad).

The hanger steak arrived quickly accompanied by shallot purée, amandine potatoes, girolles, carrots, spinach and jus. It was delicious and just the hearty type of food we craved!


After the maincourse we could relax a bit (I certainly know where my hunger panic comes from…) and ordered two puddings to share. One pretty-as-a-picture lemon meringue pie with lemon jelly and one cheesecake with plum icecream, ginger bread mousse, plums and blackberries. Both were delicious and perfectly executed.


I’m so pleased to have this amazing pub just around the corner. The pub bit is cozy and offers nice snacks and the restaurant bit is just as rustic but with really good food!

The Sands End, 135-137 Stephendale Rd, London SW6 2PR

Goodwood Revival 2015


The reason my parents came to visit in September, was of course to spend time with their beloved daughter (me) but also to go to Goodwood Revival, as my dad is a real car and motorcycle buff. The festival is an annual event spanning a whole weekend and on the racecourse cars and motorbikes from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s are competing. And it’s quite a sight as most people dress up in outfits from the same decades, matching the vehicles.


The area around the racecourse is almost like a little town with a pub, a time-appropriate Tesco etc.

IMG_9198We were only here for a day but we had a great time, watching races, having lunch, eating ice cream and just wandering around taking it all in.


The pub was, of course very popular!


There were several races on during the day, mainly sport cars (and some less sporty) but also one race with motorbikes from the 1950s and 1960s. It was fun to watch but felt very slow compared to modern day Moto GP.


Who would have thought racing was so much fun!? I certainly hadn’t but it was a good father-daughter bonding day and lots of fun!


I loved the fact that Goodwood was so accessible, you could walk underneath the racecourse to the other side where all the cars were parked, have a look at them, chat to the mechanics etc. Good fun! 

Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0PS