Norfolk: pizza at The Jolly Sailors

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August in Norfolk is peak season, and the heat wave probably added to that. We’re talking car queues on every road leading to the beach, full car parks, looong ice cream queues, and packed beaches. So you can imagine that if you want a last minute reservation to a restaurant you have to be verrrry lucky.

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That’s why I really like places like The Jolly Sailors, where you don’t need to book (unless you’re a large group), can just show up on a whim, order a pizza and find yourself a table underneath vines and fairy lights.

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It’s rustic, semi-cosy, but also welcome to all. There’s an eclectic mix of guests and a large playground for the kiddos out back. And they make good pizzas (and offer takeaway too).

We had a very impromptu date night here on our last night, and as much as I love fancy restaurants and elaborate menus, sometimes a pizza in a beer garden with someone special is just the ticket.

The Jolly Sailors, Main Road, Brancaster Staithe PE31 8BJ

Norfolk: seafood dinner at The Hoste

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One of the evenings in Norfolk in August we all went out for dinner at The Hoste in Burnham Market. It was my first time there, but the others had all been before.

To start I just had to have the Norfolk oysters, as it’s such a treat to have fresh local seafood, and they did not disappoint. Lovely, almost buttery, oysters. So yummy!

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Most of us around the table had the Lobster Thermidor and fries as our main course and it was really nice. We had a really nice dinner here, but the service could have been a lot faster and more attentive, so I hope that improves.

But nice food and atmosphere!

The Hoste, The Green, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn PE31 8HD

Sweden: prawn sandwiches by the sea

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As you might have learnt from this blog, us Swedes LOVE seafood. I ate prawns every single Friday night through my childhood and I still love them. Like a lot.

So every chance I get to eat nice (cold water) prawns I take. Like when I was at home in Sweden in the summer and my parents suggested we try out the local café in Smyge (the most southern point in the country!) because their prawn sandwiches are talked about a lot and meant to be really good!

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So on my boyfriend’s last day visiting we had lunch there, in their cosy little garden a stone’s throw from the sea.

They offer prawn sandwiches in three different sizes and we all decided on medium as that looked pretty big to us. And what we received was the perfect specimens of a Swedish prawn sandwich. It had soft white bread that’s still sturdy enough to not go soggy, lettuce, a nice amount of mayonnaise and sliced boiled eggs and a small mountain of Atlantic prawns peeled by hand. And of course lemon, dill and tomato and cucumber slices as decoration.

So nice, and extremely filling! We only had a hot dog each for supper as we were too full to have something resembling a proper dinner. Great place!  Highly recommend. Especially when you can sit outside in the garden. Inside is quite rustic, but I can see it being cosy too.

Café Smyge, Smyge strandväg 4F, 231 78 Smygehamn, Sweden

Sweden: escaping the rain – lunch at Strandtugg

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I usually bang on about how great Swedish summers are to my London friends, and although that is completely true, we of course have some less glorious days too.

When the sky is dark and the clouds are brooding and you know the thunder and lightning are not far away. But the summer lover that I am, I refused to really believe the weather forecast and still met up with my childhood friend Henrik and his two children on the beach. Mainly because we didn’t really know what else to do!

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We managed a half an hour or so of playing in the sea and sand until the raindrops started to fall, in a rapid succession, so we packed our things and sprinted to the nearest place for shelter. Luckily the nearest place was a brand new (new for this year!) restaurant that were just about to start serving lunch. Perfect timing!

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So we installed ourselves at a table upstairs and had a lovely lunch as the storm continued outside.

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I had the weekly pasta which this particular week was tortellini with smoked salmon in a creamy sauce. It was nice-ish but nothing spectacular and I must admit I was a little disappointed and got a serious case of food envy when I saw Henrik’s Wallenbergare (basically a large meatball made with veal mince) with potato purée and lingonberries.

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He confirmed it was really good, and I know what to order next time. As we finished our lunch the storm had passed and the sun came out, so we did get that glorious sunny day after all. So we went for a walk and in search of ice cream!

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Apart from being a good place to shelter from thunder storms I could see myself sitting on the deck here drinking rosé and overlooking the beach on a balmy summer’s evening. Let’s make a plan for that next year!

Strandtugg, Östersjövägen 79, 236 36 Höllviken, Sweden

 

Sweden: pizza at Kronovalls Vinslott

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Most days I’m in Sweden I tend to socialise with friends and extended family. But I’m also trying to take some time for myself (as it is my holiday and I need to unwind just like everybody else) and to spend time with just my parents. They are so sweet and completely fit into my plans when I’m home, but just because they make it easy for me I don’t want to take them for granted. And I love spending time with them!

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So I was so happy we had a whole day (and evening) just to ourselves. The initial plan was to just hang our at home and on the beach and enjoy the lovely weather, but the weather turned so we had to come up with a plan B. At breakfast we decided to do a little roadtrip instead and although we had some ideas on where to go, we just decided to see where the day took us.

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As we drove east the weather got better (yes!) and we had such a lovely day exploring places not that far from home, but places I seldom have time to visit. Beautiful beaches and coastal villages, harbours and a few shops. And to end the trip we had dinner at the old stables at Kronovalls Vinslott, where they now serve delicious pizza. Overlooking the lovely mansion it was the perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Mamma and I had prosecco (pappa was driving) and we all had a lovely pizza each with tomato, parma ham, olives and rocket.

The menu here is very limited, but also very good. I so prefer a smaller well thought out menu than an incoherent longer one. They have one pizza, which is delicious, and a few other items on the menu. And of course, wine, soft drinks, ice cream, pastries etc. It’s sort of a hybrid of a café and a restaurant but it feels a bit more elevated because of the lovely surroundings. Highly recommend!

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Kronovalls Vinslott, 273 92 Skåne Tranås, Sweden

London: birthday dinner at The River Café

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It seems very fitting that the hottest day in the UK, probably ever, also happened to be my birthday. As my boyfriend will tell you, when it comes to body temperature and sun worshipping I have more in common with lizards and humans.

But even I was a little warm this day. At least indoors. The whole week it had been around 33C, sunny and humid and I think most people were hoping for a thunder storm to clear the air.

Of course I wasn’t, as I was hoping we could sit outside for dinner at The River Café, and luckily the birthday girl got her wish (after a quick downpour earlier in the evening but sans thunder and lightning) and we had the most wonderful evening on the beautiful terrace overlooking the Thames.

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It was a lovely balmy evening and we immediately ordered champagne and plenty of water while we browsed the menu and tried to decide what to order – because I honestly wanted to eat every single thing on the menu – but we settled on a nice selection.

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First we had the most wonderful fritto misto with scallops. The perfect starter for a hot day and we thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity and the perfection of it.

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As I can never ever resist pasta (or carbs of any kind) we shared two half portions of pasta; the buffalo ricotta ravioli of dreams and the most delicious girolle pasta.

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For the main course we shared the sirloin with various beets and rosemary potatoes. Wonderful flavours (although I would have expected the meat to be a bit more tender at a restaurant like this)!

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And of course we had to order the famous chocolate nemesis cake for pudding, but also had some roasted almond ice cream on the side.

Even though we shared everything we were so full after this feast of a meal! And it was just perfect for a low key, but still special, birthday celebration.

As much as the food is wonderful here (and it really is!), I think what makes this restaurant so wonderful is the combination of the food and the ambiance. You’re in a beautiful spot in London by the river surrounded by fun and interesting people all enjoying themselves, and I think that is part of the allure of some restaurants. They have ‘it’ even though as you break down each element they may not all be perfect, but together they work so very well.

The River Cafe, Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA

Market Harborough: a seriously good hot chocolate!

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On a grey day earlier this year I insisted on a little trip to Market Harborough when we were nearby for the weekend. We had a little walk around the quaint town, looking in a cookshop (I’m always drawn to those), some clothes shops and did some errands.

After a couple of hours it was tea time and we looked around for a nice local café, but we could only see the big chains which was not very appealing. But then we spotted a nice looking chocolate shop. And they had chairs in the window, and so must be serving something. Maybe hot chocolate?! Which was on my mind anyway since it was a cold and grey day.

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They were almost about to close but let us in anyway. We got to try different types of chocolate and choose which one we wanted for our hot chocolate. I opted for a milk chocolate while by boyfriend chose a darker one.

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We also got to choose a truffle each to go with the hot drink and then we sat down. We got a large cup of warm frothy skimmed milk (it goes better with the chocolate than whole milk they explained) which we added our chocolate buttons to and stirred until they had melted.

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I really liked that we got to do this ourselves (it felt like a lovely little ceremony, much like pouring tea through a tea strainer and adding milk and sugar) as it added to the anticipation of the drink, which (of course) was utterly delicious. Definitely one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had! The crunchy salted caramel truffle I got was lovely too and I can’t wait to come back here and stock up on both chocolate for drinking and some lovely truffles.

Cocoa Amore, 14 The Square, Market Harborough, LE16 7PA