London: a night at the Opera (House)

APC_1856.jpeg

Having lived in London for more than ten years it was about time I visited the Royal Opera House. I have been to the opera and ballet in London before, just never at this venue, so when I got invited to see The Nutcracker in January I was absolutely thrilled. And it certainly was a magical evening.

APC_1869

A party of four we arrived with plenty of time to enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants beforehand. 

APC_1857.jpeg

We toasted in champagne and then tucked into our starter. Mine was a lovely mushroom soup with a dollop of creme fraîche in the middle. The menu was as classic as the surroundings. (In a good way, in case that wasn’t obvious.)

APC_1858.jpeg

Next we tried the main course. I loved my generous portion of delicious smoked salmon with a side of creamy potato salad and all the trimmings (creme fraiche, chopped shallots, roe, horseradish, capers and bottarga). Such a treat!

APC_1863.jpeg

The restaurant was so efficient we had time to chat and sip wine before making our way into the theatre. I was mesmerised from the start and enjoyed every second.

APC_1868.jpeg

In the interval we made our way back to our table in the restaurant were puddings had magically appeared! My pineapple bavaroise was creamy and delicious and a perfect ending to the dinner.

After the second interval I reluctantly left this beautiful space and walked across the street for a night cap. I just wanted to savour the evening for as long as possible.

Royal Opera House, Bow St, London WC2E 9DD

Advertisements

Recipe: blood orange salad with biscotti

IMG_9409.jpeg

After a freezing few weeks London is heating up. I’m sure we will get another bout of cold weather at some point, but I’m making the most of the warmer weather (right now it’s 12C and sunny!) when I can.

The promise of spring always makes me excited for the produce we’re about to receive. Mamma have actually picked wild garlic at home in (the south of) Sweden already and I can’t wait for asparagus season.

IMG_9417.jpeg

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as we have another season to enjoy right now; blood orange season. It’s short and sweet (quite literally) and I love these ruby oranges so much. Because when they’re in season they’re always juicy and full of sweetness, unlike regular oranges out there. Same with the texture; they’re more delicate somehow. And absolutely delicious as they are. Which is why I served them sliced with a little vanilla, lightly whipped cream and store-bought biscotti. Simple as can be!

IMG_9418.jpeg

Blood orange salad with biscotti, serves 2

3 blood oranges – at room temperature

1 clementine or 1/2 blood orange, the juice

1/2 tsp icing sugar

a small pinch of vanilla 

fresh mint to serve

Serve with:

biscotti

lightly whipped cream

Wash the blood oranges and well and dry them. Cut away the “top” and “bottom” (I know, oranges are round  but I mean the ends where the indentations are). Then continue to cut away the rest of the skin and the white bits too. Slice the oranges from top to bottom. Arrange the orange slices on a plate. Mix the citrus juice with icing sugar and vanilla and drizzle it over the plate. Decorate with mint. Serve with biscotti and lightly whipped cream. 

Cinema, dim sum and a quiet weekend

IMG_3684.jpeg

It was winter in London towards the end of January. It snowed and it was biting cold, especially at night, so I stayed indoors as much as I could.

On the Tuesday I went down to The New Forest for work and the train was actually warm which was nice.

Wednesday was movie night with a burger and Mary Queen of Scots at the cinema. I liked it (very pretty scenery) but wasn’t blown away.

IMG_3375.jpeg

APC_2186.jpeg

On Thursday night I met up with my friend Laura for some warming dim sum at Yauatcha. So yummy and nice!

APC_2200.jpeg

The weekend was nice and relaxing. On the Friday night I ordered sushi and watched  Roman Holiday. Saturday I had a lie-in and went out for some shopping and errands. It wasn’t as cold anymore and so nice to be outside! On the Sunday I made nachos, watched the new episode of Suits and read my book in candle light. Love lighting candles when it’s dark outside!

Recipe: mushroom toast with brie and rosemary

IMG_9396.jpg

Mushrooms. Is there anything better than mushrooms fried in butter?! With garlic of course. Well, this sourdough toast with both mushrooms and gooey melted brie is certainly a contender.

It’s definitely for the colder parts of the year, but it’s sooo good! The perfect little evening indulgence on a cold and windy day.

IMG_9384.jpg

Mushroom toast with brie and rosemary, serves 1

1 slice white sourdough bread

1 tbsp salted butter for frying

6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

a small handful dried forest mushroom (I had a mixture of black trumpet, porcini and chantarelles)

1 tbsp butter + 1 msk oil for frying

1/2 (or 1 small) garlic clove, finely chopped

1-2 tsp chopped rosemary

1 large slice ripe brie (I used Sainsbury’s Somerset brie which is surprisingly good and ripe) 

Garnish:

1 sprig rosemary

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water. Fry the sourdough in butter on medium heat until golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen towel.

Squeeze the excess water out of the no-longer-dry mushrooms. Fry together with the fresh mushrooms in butter and oil on medium-high heat until nicely browned. Add the garlic and rosemary. Fry for a minute or so. Add salt and pepper. 

Place the fried sourdough on a parchment paper covered oven tray. Top with the fried mushrooms and put the slice of brie on top. Place in the top of the oven in 200C, until the cheese has melted, approx 5 mins.  

Plate and garnish with a sprig of rosemary. 

 

Cinema, truffle pasta and a royal outing

APC_2010.jpeg

The fourth week in January my social life had calmed down a little but work was really busy!

It snowed on the Tuesday but luckily it didn’t settle, but it was a cold day and it definitely felt wintery. We went to the cinema to see The Favourite which I really enjoyed. Olivia Colman was amazing in it! Before the cinema I cooked one of my favourite pasta dishes but used squid ink tagliatelle instead of regular pasta. So yummy!

The rest of the week consisted of full-on work day and early nights in. Friday as well, I was so tired and it was bliss to have dinner cooked for me. We stayed in watching Jack Ryan and thereafter the really good (but gritty) film You Were Never Really Here.

APC_2027.jpeg

The next morning we had a lie-in and a big breakfast, visited some friends with kids and in the evening we went out for dinner to Sorella.

APC_2067.jpeg

I was craving their truffle pasta and although different (because the seasons have changed) from last time, it did not disappoint. We had other yummy dishes as well, like charred leeks with egg yolk and sword fish.

APC_2074.jpeg

APC_2103.jpegAPC_2123.jpeg

The next day was suuuper cold but I still walked around Windsor Castle. It was raining sideways, really windy and cold but I still had a nice few hours there. I saw Meghan’s wedding dress and a bit inside but most of the visit one walked around outside.

APC_2155.jpeg

When I got back to London I was in desperate need of some warming comforting food and made roast chicken and dauphinoise potatoes, which really hit the spot!

APC_2158.jpeg

For pudding we had homemade brownies and ice cream, which of course wasn’t that warming but definitely comforting!

Tacos, theatre and Sri Lankan food

IMG_2755.jpeg

The third week in January was another socially busy one. Monday night I met up with my dear friends Gaby and Ro for tacos and a catchup.

APC_1899.jpeg

IMG_2561.jpeg

We met at Breddos Kingly Street and ordered up a storm; different types of tacos, tuna tostadas, crab quesadilla, queso and of course guacemole and tortilla chips.

IMG_2599.jpegAPC_1910.jpeg

Tuesday was theatre night and we started with an early supper at Terrace, one of the two restaurants in the National Theatre.

IMG_2601.jpegIMG_2970.jpeg

A few small plates to share and a glass of Prosecco later it was time for…

APC_1915.jpeg

…Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes (!!) in the lead as Mark Antony. It really was a pinch me moment and I loved every second of it!

IMG_2664.jpeg

Wednesday I went down to The New Forest with work. Although it was a grey and rainy day seeing the animals walking around freely was like seeing sunshine. Love the nature there!

IMG_2726.jpeg

Thursday night I went for drinks with colleagues at Frog by Adam Handling where we tried lots of the snacks like crispy frog legs with dip, crab and kimchi bites and cheesy doughnuts. Yum!

APC_1951.jpegAPC_1958.jpeg

Friday night I met up with my friend Daisy for dinner at Hoppers. I’ve been meaning to go for absolute ages and the queue always puts me off, but now that they have opened a second branch near Bond Street it’s much easier to get a table. Yay!

APC_1969.jpeg

The work week was rather intense so all I wanted to do at the weekend was to take it easy. I slept late, made nice breakfasts, cosied up with scented candles and Netflix. It was absolutely heaven and so needed!

London: amazing dinner at Hutong The Shard

APC_1773.jpeg

What a splendid evening! The birthday dinner (for somebody very dear to me) in The Shard was just as special as I had hoped.

From the moment we were through the metal detectors on the ground floor we were looked after really well! It was a quick lift ride up to the 32nd floor and up a flight of stairs and we had reached our dining spot; Hutong. The interior with dark wood, red lanterns and low lighting felt very cosy and inviting but as we were shown to our table what caught my eye the most was of course the incredible view.

APC_1804.jpeg

Hutong has a whole floor to itself so it’s a large restaurant, but it’s very cleverly divided into smaller sections. Not just a bar area and a restaurant area but smaller sections within those areas making it a very intimate dining experience. Out table was facing St Paul’s and after enjoying the breathtaking view for a moment or two (honestly I could look at it all day long) we turned the attention to the menu and our lovely waiter who came with a few good suggestions. The portions are very generous and with his help we didn’t over order.

APC_1778.jpeg

We started off with champagne and the dim sum platter. The dumplings were all lovely and nicely presented with their pastel colours. My favourite was the prawn and champagne dumpling but the others (cod; cabbage and mushrooms; prawn and XO sauce) were delicious too.

APC_1782.jpeg

The food was served very quickly so almost straight after the dim sum we got the next dish; their signature dish red lantern (I assume the name comes from the lantern like chillies that accompany the crab). The soft shell crab was fried to perfection offering that perfect mix of crunchy and soft with a subtle chilli kick to it. Absolutely delicious!!!

APC_1788.jpeg

Next we had lamb ribs off the bone. Another generous portion and deliciously prepared, although I had expected them to covered in a sticky glaze but it was more of a dry seasoning. Still delicious!

APC_1790.jpeg

The side dish we chose was egg fried rice with pickled vegetables. So moreish and delicious!

APC_1792.jpeg

This was the perfect amount for two people, although we couldn’t finish it all, it was nice with the variety of both meat and seafood and less wouldn’t have been enough. So make sure you come here hungry!

APC_1794.jpeg

After all that lovely food we took a break before pudding to drink wine, chat and of course, look at the amazing view some more.

APC_1796.jpeg

The Shard has 95 floors and although the restaurants are only on floors 32 and 33 the view is still spectacular.

APC_1813.jpeg

We could see Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and more. Just amazing!

APC_1805.jpeg

After our little break we had pudding; sesame dumplings with apple and cinnamon and a complimentary mango pudding for the birthday boy!

APC_1814.jpeg

After a nice long dinner we moved to the bar area to enjoy the slightly different view from there. And a nice drink.

APC_1834.jpeg

It’s simply impossible to leave – you just want to linger some more and take it all in.

APC_1833.jpeg

We sat down at one of the tables by the window and just enjoyed the scenery.

APC_1828.jpeg

The intrior is beautiful too, with all the lanterns and the dark colour scheme.

APC_1831.jpeg

I even lingered in the ladies room; taking in the view from there!

The whole evening was just amazing. Not just the view, but the food, service, wine and interior. The staff looked after us incredible well and made it feel like the special evening it was. Because this is not a place where you pop in for a quick bite; it’s a place for celebrations and special evenings!

33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY