Great lunch at Hörte Brygga, Southern Sweden

IMG_5952.JPG

Living abroad, I sometimes find it hard to keep up with things both here in London and back home in Sweden. I miss out on parties, christenings and other gatherings. And restaurants, actually. It’s obviously just the food blogger in me who feels deprived of that, especially as I have all the great restaurants in London on my doorstep. But, when I left Malmö the area wasn’t this booming. So much has happened in the eight years I’ve lived abroad and it’s difficult trying to keep up with everything the few weeks I come home to visit.

That’s why it took me two whole years (yep, they opened already in 2014) to visit Hörte Brygga, by the little harbour in Hörte on road 9 between Trelleborg and Ystad. Basically everyone I know have been by now, including my parents’ friends. But that’s OK, this is definitely a place for everyone, not just foodies. The restaurant has a super relaxed and friendly atmosphere but at the same time the staff is thorough, efficient and keeps a high standard. (Yes, it ticks all the boxes).

I arrived here one windy day in August to have lunch with my parents. While we decided on what to have (the lunch option of smoked fish) and drink (wine for mummy and I, a soft drinks for daddy who was driving) and paid, the basket with the food was prepared and ready for us to take to the table straight away. Oh, how I love the Swedish efficiency!

 

IMG_5948.JPG

Unpacking our basket at the table inside it felt like having a picnic and we could examine everything we were having; three types of sauces, three types of pickled, the smoked fish (both cod and mackerel), bread and butter.

IMG_5951.JPG

Everything was very good and the food was smoked just right (i.e. not too much). We loved the sauces, and the pickled radish (?) cut through the fat and the smoked flavour of the fish perfectly.

We all really liked the place and can’t wait to go back. It’s a great concept and it’s executed very well. I can’t wait to come here for dinner one summer’s evening and sit outside watching the sea as I tuck into good food and wine with my friends.

Hörte Brygga, Hörte Hamn, Dybäck 465, 274 54 Skivarp, Sweden

Post-holiday Cobb salad with ranch dressing

IMG_6867

Hello dear readers, are you still there?

Sorry about my unplanned break; before the summer I just didn’t have time to update the blog, and then I was away for three weeks and have now been back in London for two weeks. I feel more rested and obviously have lots to tell you about, but I will start easy and share a yummy salad recipe and the best dressing recipe ever with you.

After having seen Cobb salads on almost every single  menu when I was in America, but never felt like it would satisfy my hunger after walking around all day, I couldn’t wait to make it when I got back to Blighty.  It’s a perfect salad to go for if you want something substantial; not just a few lettuce leaves. Make sure you enjoy it while the Indian summer is still here.

 

Cobb salad, serves 2

2 little gem, sliced

10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 avocado, cut into pieces

2 tbsp blue cheese of your choice (jag chose my favourite – Saint Agur)

2 chicken thigh fillets

4 slices streaky bacon

2 eggs

Trim the chicken thigh fillets, brown in butter in a frying pan, add salt and pepper and cook in the oven (15-20 minutes). Fry the bacon until crisp and drain on kitchen towel. Cook the eggs how you like them. Hardboiled are best for salads but I personally prefer a looser yolk (6-7 minutes). 

Slice the chicken, bacon and cube the (cool) eggs. 

Divide the salad between two plates or bowls. Add the toppings (it doesn’t have to be in neat rows but I quite like that). Serve with the dressing of your choice. Maybe ranch dressing? Recipe below. 

Ranch dressing, serves 6

Adapted from The Huffington Post recipe.

120 – 180 ml (1/2 – 3/4 cup) buttermilk

2-3 tbsp sour cream

1-2 tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s)

1 tsp finely chopped herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley and chives)

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

a few dashes Tabasco

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Or add all the ingredients to a jar and shake until smooth. 

Taste of London 2016

IMG_4509.JPG

The week before last, Taste of London, the restaurant festival I visit every year, was on in Regents Park. It was nice like always, but I was still a bit disappointed. Some of the restaurants were not as exciting as previous years and didn’t deliver amazing dishes. Previous years it’s been a higher standard on the whole, so I hope it gets better again last year. With that said, I still tried some great dishes, but also a few disappointments. Reviews below.

IMG_4508.JPG

Parmesan and polenta croquetas with truffle dip from Duck & Waffle: crispy, seriously cheesy, far too rich and not enough truffle flavour. Pretty dull actually.

IMG_4511.JPGIMG_4515.JPG

Fettuccine with broad beans, Grana Padana and black truffle from Sartoria: nice pasta and generously sprinkled covered with black truffle it still didn’t impress.

IMG_4517.JPG

Barbecued lamm cutlet from Roka: really nice!

IMG_4520.JPG

Grilled pork belly with miso marinade, also from Roka: very nice!

IMG_4521.JPG

Soft shell crab taco from Champor Champor: not very nice, but like the idea.

IMG_4528.JPG

Baked scallop with mustard, chilli and cheese, covered with puff pastry from Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen: nice and different! But very filling.

IMG_4541.JPG

Raw red prawns with black curry and coconut crème from Restaurant M: nice flavours but the curry slightly overpowered the lovely sweet prawns.
IMG_4553.JPG

Bao with duck from Chai Wu: alright but now wow.

IMG_4608.JPG

Hotdog with truffled mac ‘n cheese bites from Bubbledogs: nice hotdog but couldn’t really taste the truffle (oil).

IMG_4614.JPG

Lamm meatballs with sheep’s curd from Seacontainers: OK, but nothing spectacular.

IMG_4617.JPG

Fried chicken burger with Asian slaw from Chicks ‘n Sours: nice!

IMG_4620.JPG

48 hr short rib with lovely trimmings from Restaurant M: absolutely lovely and in a class of its own!

IMG_4628.JPG

Bacon and cheddar burger from Shake Shack: nice enough but it doesn’t beat their Shackburger.

IMG_4630.JPG

SASA roll from Sushisamba: really nice! I’ve had it lots of times already, but it’s still great!

Restaurant M was a nice acquaintance, and having had the (two) SASA rolls I can’t wait to go back to Sushisamba soon, but some of the other restaurants were a bit disappointing. Hope it gets better again next year.

Taste of London, Regent’s Park – annual restaurant festival

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce

IMG_1992

I’m a very seasonal person. Despite the mainly chilly weather at the moment I can’t face putting tights or warm jackets on. Because it is summer. Instead I layer up on my upper body but keep my legs bare (if I’m wearing a skirt or dress for work). I’m used to this approach but people in the office think I’m a little strange. Fair enough, I think.

But when it comes to food it’s harder. Sure, I incorporate as much asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, tomatoes and new potatoes into my diet as I possibly can, but instead of craving salads I still want warm filling food. So while this autumnal recipe of gnocchi with a lovely creamy butternut squash sauce with both cream and parmesan may suit the post-bikini season better it’s what I fancy eating right now. Until summer arrives. Then bring on the salads!

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, serves 2 

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme (sage works too!)

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, top with more grated parmesan and some thyme leaves. 

Breakfast at The Wolseley

IMG_3833.JPG

Despite having lived in London for 8 years now (yep, time flies) I haven’t had the pleasure to eat breakfast at The Wolseley until this year. Bad planning on my part, obviously. But at least I’ve been there for several lunches, dinners and afternoon tea. But there is something special about breakfast in this fabulous art deco space with perfect eggs and perfect service. If you fancy reading up on the subject (and get the recipes), I highly recommend A.A. Gill’s book Breakfast at The Wolseleyit’s very good.

IMG_3834.JPG

For me, this is the ultimate breakfast experience because it’s so different from having breakfast in your own kitchen. There are lots of waiters and they’re there to pour water, take your order, serve the food and fetch you whatever you want. Their attentive and efficient and together with the perfectly executed food it makes it such a special experience.

IMG_3842.JPG

IMG_3839.JPG

I had breakfast here with two of my best friends from Sweden when they were visiting. We needed some morning luxury and thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast here with Eggs Florentine (spinach, poached egg and hollandaise sauce on a toasted English muffin) and an excellent bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

IMG_3835.JPG

We also enjoyed cappuccinos and freshly squeezed orange juice, and to finish this lovely basket of pastries. My favourite was the plain croissant, wonderfully buttery and flaky. If you also need this breakfast experience in your live (you do), I urge you to book a table well in advance as it’s a very popular weekend treat.

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB

Churros with chocolate sauce

IMG_3825.JPG

The first time I tried churros was at the Malmö Festival as a child. For a week Sweden’s third largest city has a festival with lots of stalls, a square filled with food stalls from around the world, live music and much more. I haven’t been to it since I moved to the UK, but it was great fun as a child, and already then my favourite part of it was all the food. It’s where I had langos for the first time and I still think of the souvlaki my dad introduced me to.

IMG_3816.JPG

A while ago, I realised I had seen Nigella make her own churros on her Nigella Kitchen show and I decided I wanted to try it to. The first time I made it was when two of my girl friends from home came to visit. They’re used to being my guinea pigs but this recipe is so easy to make you don’t have to trial it first (unless you prefer to do it that way). I used Nigella’s recipe for the churros but made my own chocolate sauce and it was just amazingly good! The girls couldn’t stop talking about the churros for a whole week, which is very high praise!

IMG_3818.JPG

Churros with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

60 ml / 50 grams caster sugar (1/4 cup)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Churros:

190 ml  / 115 g plain flour  (2/3 cup + 2 tbsp)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp olive oil

237 ml (1 cup) freshly boiled water

473 ml (2 cups) vegetable oil

Chocolate sauce:

80-100 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

80-100 g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

100-150 ml single or whipping cream

Mix caster sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside. 

Mix flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Beat in the olive oil and water. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat up the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. When the oil seems hot, toss in a piece of bread, once it’s golden the oil is the right temperature. 

Melt the chocolate together with the cream in a non-stick saucepan on low to medium heat. Once all melted and combined set aside and let cool. Pour into four small bowls or ramekins to serve. 

Stir the churros dough and transfer it to a piping back fitted with a large star nozzle. Squeeze short lengths, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches, of dough into the hot oil, snipping them off with a pair of scissors as you go. Fry a few at the time and fish them put with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel. Once dry, toss the churros in the cinnamon sugar and serve with the chocolate sauce.

Meat feast at Zelman Meats, Soho

IMG_2374

The team behind the amazing meat restaurants Goodman (and Beast and Burger & Lobster) opened a new meat restaurant in the space where the fish restaurant Rex & Mariano (also owned by the same company) used to reside. In fact, they still use the Rex & Mariano crockery.

Zelman Meats (after the founder Mikhail Zelman) is a mid-market steak restaurant offering “All we do is beef, and we stick to what we know best” according to the website.

The menu is simple, with just a few starters, four different cuts of beef, sides and a few puddings. I like this simple no-fuss approach, which also makes the ambiance relaxed. It’s not white table cloths like Goodman, just good steak and sides in a relaxed restaurant.

IMG_2371

This is where to go to pig out on great steak, because the bill won’t be that bad and the meat is just as nice here as at Hawksmoor or Goodman. Take your date or a group of friends and just let your hair down. The staff is really friendly and relaxed but with a sincere passion for steak so they can guide you through the cuts and let you know what’s best served rare or medium.

IMG_2366

I came here with two colleagues for lunch, and as only one of us has a big appetite we ordered modestly to begin with, some delicious picanha and amazingly smoky and tender short rib. Once that was demolished we ordered more of the same and enjoyed it with crispy chips, salad and the two sauces on the menu. It was great and even the least meat eater out of the three of us (obviously not me) loved every bite!

Zelman Meats, 2 St Anne’s Court, London W1F 0AZ