Recipe: whole grilled turbot with olive oil, lemon and butter

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I spent almost a whole week in Norfolk with my boyfriend’s family at the end of August. We had gorgeous weather (hello heatwave!) and such a lovely time.

And it must have been the nice weather and the proximity to the sea that inspired one of his sisters to barbecue a whole fish. And not just any fish, but a large (huge!) turbot! It was a nice size for the amount of people to feed but it did look ridiculous on the little coal barbecue we insisted on using.

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Despite the poor optics it actually worked really well grilling the big fish and the actual cooking time was only approx 30 minutes. The hardest part was turning it over and making a secure tin foil parcel that size to hold all the butter!

I do hope we can inspire you to try new (and perhaps a little crazy) things! And I think any white fish would work well with this treatment; I mean lemon, olive oil and butter are pretty universal when it comes to fish – just adjust the cooking time.

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Whole grilled turbot with olive oil, lemon and butter, serves 8

1 whole turbot, gutted  (not sure how much it weighed but as you can see it was big!)

100-200 ml olive oil

salt, pepper

1 lemon, juice only

250 g butter

To serve:

chopped parsley

Rub or brush both sides of the fish with plenty of olive oil so it won’t stick to the barbecue. Season well on both sides. Grill each side for about 5 minutes then remove from the barbecue. Make a large foil packet to hold the fish and add plenty of dollops of butter on each side of the fish. Squeeze plenty of lemon juice on both sides as well and season well (again! – a large fish needs plenty of seasoning).  Close the foil package and put it on the barbecue and cover with a lid. Cook for approx 20 minutes (until the fish is flaky and comes off the bone). Scatter with chopped parsley. 

Recipe: creamy risotto with scallops, browned butter and saffron foam

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For me, cooking is mostly relaxing. Instead of yoga for me. And even though I’m a good cook and super efficient under pressure (before a party when I’ve taken too much on for example) it’s less fun to cook under those conditions.

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And if cooking in general is my yoga, then making a risotto is mindfulness. Just standing by the stove stirring slowly and adding another ladle of stock and then stirring some more… it relaxes me.

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I like a creamy and saucy risotto, preferably with some interesting flavour combinations on top. This combination of pan-fried scallops, saffron foam and brown butter might seem daunting to make, and yes, maybe it’s not for beginners, but if you already know how to make a risotto is pretty easy to add the ingredients for the foam to a saucepan while simultaneously cooking scallops and making browned butter, as each of these elements are simple. Just don’t let yourself get stressed. Also, all these things benefit from resting. You can take the risotto off the heat and let it sit for a while without losing heat, after you’ve fried the scallops they like to rest for a few minutes. The browned butter doesn’t need any attention once it’s done and the saffron foam can be re-heated.

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Creamy risotto with scallops, browned butter and saffron foam, serves 2 (with some leftovers)

2 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp neutral oil for frying

2 tbsp soffritto (equal parts (finely chopped with a stick blender or food processor) onions, carrots and celery – I usually make a big batch and freeze it in small portions) 

1 small shallots, finely chopped

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped 

200 g carnaroli rice

150 ml dry white wine

approx 1 l vegetable stock

30 g butter

plenty grated  parmesan

salt and pepper

Saffron foam:

100 ml cream

1 tsp saffron powder or strands + 1 tbsp water 

1 tbsp dry white wine

a little corner of a stock cube (vegetable) crumbled in

salt and pepper

Topping:

6 large scallops, cleaned + butter for frying

2 tbsp browned butter

lemon zest

a little lemon juice

chopped parsley 

Add butter and oil to a large saucepan on medium heat and add the soffritto. Fry for a minute or so, then add the shallots and garlic and fry without browning. Add the rice and stir well so it can soak up all the butter. Add the wine and let some evaporate before adding a ladle of stock. Stir until the rice has absorbed most of the stock, then add another ladle and repeat until the rice is cooked (takes approx 15-20 minutes) and you’ve used up all the stock. As I prefer my risotto quite saucy so I don’t let all the stock from the last ladle absorb into the rice.  Lower the heat and mix in butter and plenty of parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and put aside. 

Mix water and saffron in a little bowl. Add all the other ingredients for the foam to a non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the saffron mixture when dissolved and mix well. Season to taste and set aside. 

Add large knob of butter to a frying pan on medium-high heat. Dry the scallops with kitchen roll and fry them until golden, approx 2 minutes on each side (they should be cooked on both sides but still opaque in the middle). Season and set aside. 

Divide the risotto between low bowls and top with the scallops. Foam up the cream mixture with a stick blender and spoon the foam over the scallops and risotto. Spoon on some browned butter. Finish off with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley. 

Recipe: weeknight almost poke bowl

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If you read my weeklies you know I partly live on poke bowl. Both take away ones but most often my homemade almost-poke-bowl. Until now I’ve linked to this post, because the idea is roughly the same but the presentation is different, so I thought it was about time my probably most-cooked dish gets its own post.

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In my opinion (and probably most peoples’) a proper poke bowl, consists of sushi rice and raw fish with various toppings. But as sushi rice takes a long time to make and raw fish isn’t readily available I’ve reworked the dish so it’s easy to do on a weeknight. (Puritans, look away now.)

Enter basmati rice (jasmin rice would work too, but avoid long grain) that you can literally just add to a pan of water and boil. Much simpler than sushi rice. And frozen raw prawns. I heat them, from the freezer, in some oil in a frying pan and they turn pink (i.e.) cooked in seconds. Add to that what vegetables I have at hand, but I would pick up avocado, coriander and cucumber on the way home as for the those are the most important ones. I always have a jar of mayo and one of gochujang in the fridge. Mix the two together and add some salt and you’re ready to go.

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Weeknight almost poke bowl, serves 1

1 portion basmati rice, cooked according to the instructions on the box 

80 g frozen raw prawns 

1 tbsp oil for frying 

1 tsp lime zest 

salt and pepper

1/2 avokado, diced or sliced

5 cm cucumber, diced

chopped coriander

other vegetables such as radishes, spring onions and tomatoes, chopped 

50 ml Hellman’s mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Gochujang (Korean chilli sauce)

a pinch of  salt 

1 lime wedge

Mix mayonnaise and Gochujang, season with salt and put aside. Heat up a small frying pan on medium-high heat and fry the prawns (straight from the freezer) in the oil until they turn pink (doesn’t take long). Remove from the heat and add the lime zest. Add salt and pepper. 

Drain the rice and add it to a bowl. Add the vegetables, prawns and gochujang mayo. Lastly add the coriander, squeeze over some lime juice and sprinkle with salt. 

Recipe: shrimp rolls

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I sometimes wish I could summer in Cape Cod every year, partly because it’s a gorgeous part of the world, but mainly because of the seafood.

When I was there three years ago I had lobster rolls and baked oysters and clam bakes galore!

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And although I LOVE lobster rolls, it somehow feels a bit frivolous making them in Northern Europe where it isn’t as abundant as on the East Coast of the US. So I usually save lobster for special occasions, either just served with garlic butter or perhaps a’la Thermidor.

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Instead I prefer to use prawns* (cold-water ones) that we do have in abundance in the seas around us prepared the same way (which is actually also common in the States, lobster isn’t readily available everywhere there either) – which is my new weekend favourite. I made it one Saturday night as an easy to prepare supper after a day out and about, because it really is speedy and easy to make, but still elevated enough for the weekend.

*But the term shrimp roll sounds better somehow. 

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Shrimp rolls, serves 2 as a main course

I’m not a fan of celery, which is often an ingredient in lobster and shrimp rolls, so here I have substituted it with small pieces of cucumber for crunch.

4 brioche hotdog buns

1-2 tbsp butter

300 g peeled cold water prawns, peeled

1 batch mayonnaise

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 tbsp dill, finely chopped

1-2 tsp paprika powder

1/4 lemon, the juice

5 cm cucumber, peeled and diced small

To serve:

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped 

1 tsk paprika powder

2 lemon wedges

potato wedges

ketchup and mayonnaise for the potatoes (or another dip of your choice) 

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Drain the prawns in a colander or sieve. Make the mayonnaise and add paprika powder and lemon juice. Mix in the cucumber, prawns, chives and dill. Add salt and pepper. 

Divide the butter between the hotdog buns and spread it out in the cut. Toast the buns in the oven until golden, approx ca 3-5 minuter. 

Fill the buns with the prawn mixture. Top with paprika powder and chopped chives. Serve with potato wedges, lemon wedges, ketchup and mayonnaise.

 

Recipe: oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic

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I love oysters; both au naturelle and cooked. So you can only imagine that I felt like I was in heaven when I visited Cape Cod a few summers ago. I don’t think I ate anything other than seafood while I was there!

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When cooking oysters at home, I think the au gratin concept is the best approach, as it’s easy, quick and seriously delicious!

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This recipe with Swedish Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic is perfect for spring (and you can of course substitute the Swedish cheese with parmesan or even cheddar) and we followed it up with asparagus (some harvested in our own garden!) and hollandaise sauce as well as prawns (cooked and smoked), homemade mayonnaise and wild garlic bread. It was quite the feast and such a treat to enjoy it with my parents! As we don’t see each other all that often we try to make it special when we are together.

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Oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic, serves 3 as a starter

With two more courses two oysters each was the perfect amount, but if you’re having a light main course I would recommend three oysters per person.

6 fresh oysters 

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese

1/2 – 1 tsp Dijon mustard

approx 6 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

salt, black pepper

To serve:

nice bread

Open the oysters with an oyster knife and discard the top shell. Cut loose the oysters but keep on the shells and place in an ovenproof dish. Mix cream and mustard in a bowl and add cheese and most of wild garlic. Season well. Spoon the mixture over the oysters, enough to cover them and sprinkle some more wild garlic on top. Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven (225C) until bubbly and a little brown, approx 3-5 minutes. Serve with baguette or crusty bread to soak up the juices. 

Recipe: crispy rice paper with salmon, avocado and spicy mayo

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This is a new favourite starter of mine! I just adore the combination of crunchy fried rice paper (which is much more delicate here than in a prawn cracker) and smooth raw fish and the fresh toppings. Such a lovely mouthful with lots of subtle flavours coming together. And it pairs perfectly with a glass or two of bubbles, if you need an excuse to open a bottle.

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A note on raw fishÖ Most fish we buy in the supermarkets as fresh have been frozen in transport killing off any bacteria. But if you’re worried ask the people at the fish counter for sushi fish so they know you’re going to eat it raw.

Or, buy a nice piece of salmon and freeze it for 48 hours, and defrost it slowly in the fridge and you won’t even notice it’s been frozen but you know you’re safe from bacteria.

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Crispy rice paper with salmon, avocado and spicy mayo, serves 2

2 sheets rice paper 

500 ml neutral oil 

80 g raw salmon

1/4 cucumber, peeled and cut into small triangles 

1/2 avokado, thinly sliced

100 ml mayonnaise, homemade or Hellman’s

1/2-1 tsp gochujang or 1-2 tsp soy sauce

fresh coriander, finely chopped

1/2 red onion, pickled 

Pour oil into a large saucepan, approx 2,5 cm high. Heat it to 180C. Fry one rice paper at the time and let it puff up. It takes approximately 5 seconds. Remove with tongs and drain on kitchen roll. Let the oil cool before you dispose of it. 

Cut the fresh salmon (or freeze it for 48 hrs and slowly defrost it, to kill off any bacteria) in 2 mm thin slices. Mix mayonnaise with gochujang (or soy sauce for a milder flavour). 

Break each puffed up rice paper in approx 5 pieces, most important is that the pieces are big enough to hold the toppings. Start adding the toppings first avocado, then salmon, followed by cucumber and radishes. Pipe or spoon on the mayonnaise (I put it in a small ziplock bag and made a tiny whole in one corner for piping). You can make both mayos and do half and half too. Top with pickled red onions and chopped coriander. Serve with napkins!

Recipe: open crab lasagne with white wine and tomatoes

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Sometimes recipes, or recipe ideas – to be more exact, pop into my head without any context (or warning) at all. But then I do think about food an awful lot… This open crab lasagne happened just like that. I was thinking of what I could cook for the weekend and suddenly this idea formed of an open crab lasagne.

And it turned out really well! The white wine, cream and tomatoes compliment the crab beautifully without overpowering the seafood. I really wanted this dish to taste of fresh crab, although in a ‘pasta with a creamy sauce’ kind of setting. And I find it genius using lasagne sheets like this (obviously not my idea in the first place), as it puts the focus on the crab and not the pasta. I hope you enjoy this little dish of mine as much as I did!

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Open crab lasagne with white wine and tomatoes, serves 2

4 lasagne sheets 

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp neutral oil 

approx 120 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half 

50 ml white wine

150 ml double cream

1/4 vegetable stock cube

100 g fresh crab meat (white and brown)

1/2 lime, zest only

dill, finely chopped + extra for serving 

parsley, finely chopped

salt & pepper

dried edible flowers for serving (optional)

Boil the lasagne sheets until soft in salted water. Heat up a non-stick frying pan, add butter and oil and when melted the tomatoes. Let them caramelise and soften for approx 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it boil for a minute or two. Add the cream and the stock cube and stir. Let it thicken for a few minutes. Add lime zest and season to taste. Add half the crab meat and all the herbs (apart from the garnish).

Place two low bowls or plates near the stove. Take one lasagne sheet at the time and place it in the frying pan to coat it with sauce. Move it to the bowls/plates and place one, a bit folded over, on each plate. Add a spoonful more of sauce on each plate. Place the second sauce-covered lasagne sheet in the bowls slightly overlapping the first one. Add more sauce and divide the crab meat. Decorate with dill and dried flowers.