Seville: amazing Plaza de España, and more tapas

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I had seen photos of Plaza de España before I went to Seville myself, but was still taken aback by its beauty when I went there to see it for myself. Wow, is all I can say. Wow!

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If you, like me, have a penchant for blue and white tiles, beautiful buildings and pretty fountains, you simply must visit. It’s breathtaking. And so much larger than I expected.

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And if you come here during twilight it’s just magical.

 

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It’s so pretty I found myself walking around spell-bound for well over an hour. Plaza de España, which was built for a world fair in 1929, isn’t particular old in the grand scheme of things but still has an almost majestic quality.

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And as it’s such a large open space you can just walk around here and take in the beauty whatever time you like, instead of keeping track of opening hours. Which I learned the hard way when I tried to visit the Real Alcazar. Since when do things close early in Spain?! Oh well, next time.

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All this walking of course made me hungry, so I walked to a restaurant nearby that I had read about; La Azotea. It’s actually a chain with several restaurants around the city, but it doesn’t feel very chain-like at all. In fact, the Santa Cruz location I went to felt like a neighbourhood restaurant. The waiters knew many of the customers which created a lovely atmosphere.

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I had Jamon Iberico. Because, why not?! It’s delicious and I could easily eat it every day.

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I also had an amazing gazpacho, apparently the cold vegetable soup originates in Seville. It was very refreshing after walking around Plaza de España.

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I also had can con tomate which here was served in bite-size pieces. So yummy!

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And last I had some lomo; cured Iberico tenderloin. So delicious!!

Plaza de España, Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

La Azotea, Calle Mateos Gago, 8, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

 

 

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Friends, sunshine and Michelin star lunch

Last week was quite busy work wise so I took it so I didn’t book that much in during the week.

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On Monday I made Jerusalem artichoke soup and had a chilled evening.

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Tuesday I made steak sandwiches and finally finished the last season of Homeland. I’m so far behind on series at the moment, but slowly catching up. Tackling Billions next.

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I also found British strawberries in Waitrose so had to have that for pudding, with pouring cream and sugar. So yummy!!

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On Thursday Ro and I went to Photo London to check out some cool (and some weird) photographs, and afterwards we had steak frites in Côte Brasserie.

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Friday after work I went straight to my friend Anna’s in Surrey and was spoilt rotten with lots of lovely food. We had fish pie, lasagne, asparagus with a little vinegar (new for me and totally yummy) and the most lovely salad. The next day I woke up to asparagus omelette and lovely coffee in Moomin mugs!

 

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On Saturday I managed to combine sunbathing with watching the royal wedding for a little while before heading out again for drinks.

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Sunday I took the train to Kent and had lunch with my friends there at a lovely Michelin star restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. It was amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all about it in a different post.

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The weather was lovely so I managed to take in some of the lovely seaside and countryside as well before heading back to London for dinner with a friend. More weekends like this, please!

Recipe: fabulous lemon spaghetti

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Right now we have normal Spring weather in London (as one would expect in May), but when I made this lemony pasta for the book club girls we had summer temperatures in April (!). If it hadn’t been so windy, I would have liked to eat outside but indoors had to do.

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Because of the nice weather I wanted to make something summery, but more filling than a salad, so when my colleague suggested this River Café recipe I had a hunch it would be perfect.

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And it was!

Looking at the ingredients list it might seem like a heavy dish but the acidity from the lemon makes it appear as light as air (well almost). It’s so fresh and really tastes of summer. So much so that it’s easy to dream of Mediterranean holidays…

But back to London and reality. The pasta went down a treat (everybody had seconds) and Mary-Louise even asked for the recipe. She has since reported back that she made it twice in one weekend and that it works just as well with the pasta shape bucatini. Thank you M-L!

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Lemon spaghetti with Parmesan and basil, serves 6

Adapted from River Café’s recipe.

250 g spaghetti

juice of 3-4 lemons, preferably Amalfi lemons

150 ml olive oil

150 g Parmesan, freshly grated

2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped

finely grated lemon zest 

Cook the spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan; it will melt into the mixture, making it thick and creamy. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the spaghetti and shake the pan so that each strand of pasta is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and some grated lemon zest.

 

Seville: amazing gourmet tapas!

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If I had to choose one favourite meal in Seville, it would be a tough decision, but I think this lunch at Eslava would be my choice.

I had lots of fabulous food during my week in Spain, but the combination of gourmet tapas, great service and the atmosphere here made this lunch very special.

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The restaurant was packed when I arrived, and I thought I was early, but a nice flirty waiter (my favourite kind) found me a spot inside the tapas bar, perfect for people (and food) watching.

No sooner had I ordered a glass of wine until it arrived with a bowl of olives. I love that! I feel that Spaniards must easily get hungry too; as you’re always presented with bread and/or olives as soon as you sit down at a table.

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As you can see it was busy indeed, and a long queue that I managed to jump thanks to my waiter.

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My first dish was the award-winning slow cooked egg yolk on boletus soufflé with caramalised wine sauce and it was AMAZING!

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This is not a tapas for sharing – order one each!

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The next special dish on the menu is this cigar with brie and cuttlefish – a very strange combination of flavours but it totally works!

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After the first two must-have plates I felt I had to choose the next dish very carefully as it would most likely be my last here. (Sometimes I curse my inability to eat lots at one time; I’m more of a eat often but smaller portions type of girl.)

The courgette Charlotte with a garlicky sauce was just the thing to finish off my meal. More subtle than the previous dishes it still held its own and was very satisfying. Definitely one for sharing though as very filling.

I left the restaurant very content and ready to take in another day walking around the beautiful city. But as I’m writing this, I’m already dying to go back for another meal!

Eslava, Calle Eslava, 3, 41002 Sevilla, Spain

Theatre, cinema and a chilled weekend

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Last week was a short work week, as the Monday was a bank holiday, but it felt longer somehow. Why is that always the case after a long weekend!?

As I was tired I stayed in on Tuesday, unpacked the last bits from the weekend and just took it easy.

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But on Wednesday I went to the National Theatre (about time after having lived in London for ten years…) to see Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It was very dramatic and very, very good!

Before the play we had dinner at one of the restaurants in the theatre. Very convenient, rather than rushing from place to place and nice food.

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Thursday was another quiet evening at home, and I enjoyed every second. Friday I went to the cinema and saw The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was cute and very British (about half the cast were previously in Downton Abbey) but not amazing, much as I expected.

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Saturday and Sunday were very chilled, and as the weather was rubbish I thoroughly enjoyed staying indoors with scented candles, nice food and binge watching Madam Secretary. Sometimes I really crave some down time and that’s exactly what I needed this weekend. Now I feel ready to tackle another busy week!

Seville: classic tapas

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For me, it’s just as important exploring the classics as the contemporary, regardless of field. It applies to books, music and of course gastronomy.

Some of the restaurants I tried in Seville are modern and fun, although still with it’s roots in the classic stuff, and even though I absolutely adore that style of cooking I sometimes prefer something old school with less fuss.

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Casa Placido isn’t particularly fancy but instead it has tonnes of charm and classic good food. The dark wooden furniture and the tiled walls are ageless and makes you feel at home in an instant.

I sat down and ordered an excellent glass of Albarino, but I feel I probably should have dipped my toe in the many sherries on offer. Next time. The plate of Jamon Iberico was very generous and the excellent ham went down a treat.

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The tortilla serving was even more generous and very nice too!

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There were lots of other nice things on the menu, but this was what I was craving; simple classic food. A nice contrast to the more elaborate dinners I enjoyed elsewhere in the city.

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Casa Plácido,  Calle Mesón del Moro, 5, 41004 Sevilla, Spain

Bank holiday weekend in Stockholm!

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The beginning of last week was pretty rubbish; I was ill and the weather was horrible in London.

I felt better on Tuesday and saw The Ferryman play after work. It was really amazing! Before the theatre we had a quick burger at Café Monico next door.

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Wednesday I met up with a friend at Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden, where neither of us had been before. We had some lovely champagne and a charcuterie and cheese board.

Thursday I packed for the bank holiday weekend in Stockholm as we left straight after work on Friday. Dinner was on board a plane but I made up for it the following days with lots of nice food!

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My friend Carina hosted a lovely brunch on the Saturday, with eggs and bacon, salmon and BBQ followed by rosé and fika on the balcony. After brunch we walked around town taking in the beauty of it. Stockholm is definitely prettiest in the sunshine, with the sun reflections in the water.

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We saw the cherry blossoms in Kungsträdgården, walked around Gamla Stan (Old Town), past City Hall and back towards Vasastan.

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In the evening we had a lovely dinner at Hillenberg and then a drink and awesome people-watching at Riche.

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On Sunday we had brunch at Mr Cake, and it was just as fabulous as I had imagined it to be! (Full post to come).

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After brunch we went out to Täby, one of the suburbs and stayed with my friend Linus and his family. We had fika in the woods, a lovely dinner and lots of quality time.

On Monday it was lunch at my fave Rolfs Kök and then drinks with Carina at Tranan before heading to the airport!

Such a lovely weekend, with great company, good food and the best weather!