If you’ve followed me for a while you probably already know that a) I love nibbles, and b) I don’t like to waste food.
So when I emptied my London cupboards before going to the countryside in lockdown, I encountered a packet of breadsticks (probably from a Christmas party more than a year earlier, but if sealed these things don’t really go off) that I thought would be good for a little nibble.
About six week later I still hadn’t figured out what to do with it. Usually I have it with taramasalata but I didn’t think the others would be too happy with this suggestion, so I consulted the internet. (Honestly, a lockdown without the internet would have been so scary!). And I found a recipe so easy and yummy I made it twice in two weeks.
It’s just an assembly job really, but it looks impressive and is utterly delicious with a pre-dinner glass of white wine.
Prosciuttowrapped grissini with pesto cream cheese dip, serves 8
I was so pleased to get hold of some of my favourite foods during lockdown; British asparagus and burrata. So grateful Natoora opened up their restaurant delivery slots to the public. Because during this period I have lived for food. I took it upon myself to cook every night, make cakes and make sure we could enjoy nice food even though we couldn’t go out to restaurant. So yes, I’ve eaten very well during lockdown, but I have also been mindful, stretching food to go longer, and have mixed expensive foods with very economical dishes.
The best quality asparagus and burrata wouldn’t feel so special if we ate it every day, but you also want to make sure you make the most out of the short asparagus season.
I’m very pleased with this simple dish – which is more an assembly job than proper cooking. And that’s how to best enjoy the freshest of produce, in the simplest of ways. Asparagus with hollandaise or wild garlic mayo are two of my favourite ways to eat it, and now I have a third way: this!
Asparagus with burrata, wild garlic oil and lemon, serves 3
9 asparagus stems (preferably nice and thick)
125 g burrata, at room temperature
1 large handful wild garlic leaves, washed
100 ml vegetable oil
1/2 lemon, the zest
sea salt flakes and black pepper
Trim the wooden ends off the asparagus. Blanch them quickly in boiling water. Drain and fry with a tiny amount of oil in the pan until they’ve browned a little. Mix the wild garlic leaves with oil using a stick blender.
Divide the asparagus among the plates. Divide the burrata. Drizzle with wild garlic oil (approx 1 tbsp per plate). Add lemon zest and plenty of salt and pepper and serve immediately.
As the tomato season is almost here (hurrah!) this post might be slightly redundant, but the tomato season is short and if you can’t get hold of really good tomatoes just yet, then this is a great way to get them to taste more.
I would make this dish with really good tomatoes too though, especially on a colder overcast summer’s day when all you need is something summery and warming.
Although you let the tomatoes cool a little after they’ve been roasted to sweet perfection in the oven I like them to be warm enough to make the mozzarella melt a little, so you can scoop it all up on some crusty bread.
125 g good quality buffalo mozzarella, at room temperature, torn into large pieces
Preheat oven to 180C. Toss tomatoes, garlic, thyme and oil in a rimmed oven-proof dish and season with a little salt. Spread out in a single layer and roast until tomatoes are bursting and lightly browned, 40-45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Arrange mozzarella on a platter and spoon warm tomato mixture with juices over. Sprinkle with salt and peppar. Drizzle with more oil if needed. Serve with crusty (preferably still warm) bread.
I cooked with courgette a lot during lockdown, as it’s such an inexpensive versatile vegetable. And it turns out, it really works in bulking out your quesadillas.
I made the first version, with fried courgette and coriander, served with soured cream and guacamole, when I was alone in London and liked them so much I made a similar version for lunch a few weeks later.
But this time I also added some ham, spring onions and fresh coriander, simply because I had it to hand, and served the quesadillas with a yummy sauce with creme fraiche and basil I made up on the spot, and lime wedges on the side.
Both versions are equally delicious so why not try both and see which you like better?!
Also, a note on frying quesadillas. For an every day lunch I prefer to fry them in a dry pan, as I think the addition of butter is then too much. But if you make quesadillas as nibbles for a party, when you eat much less of them, they’re wonderful fried in butter (and drained on kitchen towel to stay crispy!).
Courgette and coriander quesadillas with guacamole, serves 1
2 tortilla breads, either corn or flour
1 small courgette, cut in half lengthways and sliced
Fry the courgette until soft and golden in the oil on medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the coriander and chilli flakes towards the end of cooking. Season well and set aside.
Place one tortilla bread on a flat surface and scatter half of the grated cheese on top. Add the fried courgettes and top with remaining cheese. Place the other tortilla bread on top and press down to flatten with your hands.
Heat up a clean frying pan on medium heat and add the quesadilla. Fry until side until golden brown while pressing down with a spatula. It only takes a few minutes! Flip the quesadilla over and fry the other side golden brown. Make sure the cheese inside has melted otherwise lower the heat and fry for a bit longer, making sure it doesn’t burn. Remove to a chopping board and cut into six triangles. Serve immediately with guacamole, soured cream and a little hot sauce.
Courgette, coriander and ham quesadillas, serves 3
6 tortilla breads, either corn or flour
1 1/2 medium courgettes, cut in half lengthways and sliced
1-2 tbsp olive oil for frying
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
3 spring onions, chopped
2 slices cooked ham, chopped
200 g grated cheddar
3 lime wedges
creamy basil sauce (recipe below)
Fry the courgette until soft and golden in the oil on medium heat for approximately 5-10 minutes. Season well and set aside.
Place three tortilla breads on a flat surface and divide half of the grated cheese between them. Add the fried courgettes, coriander, spring onions and ham and top with the remaining cheese. Place the other tortilla breads on top and press down to flatten with your hands.
Heat up a clean frying pan on medium heat and add a quesadilla. Fry until side until golden brown while pressing down with a spatula. It only takes a few minutes! Flip the quesadilla over and fry the other side golden brown. Make sure the cheese inside has melted otherwise lower the heat and fry for a bit longer, making sure it doesn’t burn. Repeat with the other two quesadillas. Remove to a chopping board and cut into six triangles. Serve immediately with lime wedges and the basil sauce(recipe below).
Creamy basil and lime sauce, serve 4
200 ml soured cream
finely grated zest from 1/2 lime
2 tbsp roughly chopped basil
salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients together with a bowl. Season to taste.
This was our starter on Christmas Eve. Not traditional but still with a nod to Christmas. And most important of all; it was so yummy!
It was my first time curing salmon with beetroot but I love the ombre effect and will definitely do it again. The beetroot doesn’t add any flavour – only the intense and lovely colour! But do wear gloves when handling it as the colour can stain your hands easily. And of course, cover your clothes with an apron.
Beetroot cured salmon toast with dill cream cheese and prawns, per toast
1 slice soft white bread
1 tbsp salted butter
2 slices beetroot cured salmon (recipe below)
5 peeled Atlantic prawns
1 tbsp dill cream cheese (recipe below)
1 slice lemon
1 dill sprig
honey mustard sauce mixed with creme fraiche
Fry the bread slice in butter on low-medium meat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen towel. Cut off the crusts with a serrated bread knife.Place 1 msk dill cream cheese on the bread and arrange the salmon slices around it. Add the prawns and decorate with a lemon slice and dill. Serve with the sauce on the side.
Beetroot cured salmon
600 g salmon fillet
3 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 beetroots, peeled and coarsely grated (use gloves)
Cure the salmon 48 hours before you intend to eat it. Place the salmon in a deep glass or china dish. Mix salt, sugar, grated beetroot and dill in a bowl and pat into the top of the fish. Cover with clingfilm and place something heavy on top of the salmon and place in the fridge for 48 hours.
Once cured, pour away the water and scrape off the beetroot. Rinse quickly in cold water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut into thin slices.
Dill cream cheese
180 g (small packet) full fat Philadelphia
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 lemon, the juice
salt and pepper
Mix Philadelphia with dill and lemon juice in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix again.
When we were tired of heavy Christmas food on Christmas Day (we celebrate on Christmas Eve in Sweden) I threw together this Winter Edition Bruschetta Bar with various goodies we had at home.
A mix of reinvented leftovers, charcuterie and cheese. We had thinly sliced venison with remoulade and crispy onions, sun blush tomato cream cheese spread, olives, pata negra ham, homemade mayonnaise, saucisson, cured salmon and dill cream cheese. As well as cheeses, crackers and sliced pear.
It was the perfect antidote to heavy Christmas food as well as a really good way of using up leftovers. In summer I love tomatoes and burrata for the bruschetta bar, but in winter I think a spread such as this is better (tomatoes are a bit dull in winter), so I hope this could serve as some inspiration.
You know how sometimes the bread and butter in a restaurant can be so incredibly good that it puts you in a great mood straight away?! Because you know that if they care that much about the bread and the butter the rest of the dishes will have gotten as much care and attention and you’re in for something truly special.
Oh, how I wish I could recreate that moment at home! But I don’t have the time (or knowledge) to experiment with butter and I’m no Paul Hollywood when it comes to bread making.
So what to do? Use the power of browned butter to your advantage!
Make sure you use good quality butter and buy some really nice bread to go with it. And maybe some Italian fennel salami too, like I did. And you’ll have that restaurant moment in your own home!
200 g unsalted good quality butter, at room temperature
sea salt flakes
Brown 100 g butter in a large saucepan. Pour it into a bowl to cool down and set. Whip the browned butter with the remaining butter with an electric whisk until really fluffy approx 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, mix and serve with nice bread.
Puff pastry pizza seems to be trending in my native Sweden and inspired by Swedish foodie Tuvessonskan I thought I would give it a try too!
A adapted her recipe slightly but kept the idea of spreading a browned butter mixture over store-bought puff pastry, scatter with grated cheddar and bake it before adding the rest of the (very Scandinavian) toppings.
I love the classic combination of creme frachie, chopped red onions and fish roe and it works great on puff pastry too, especially when enhanced further with herbs and lemon.
Puff pastry pizza with browned butter, creme fraiche, red onions, salmon roe and herbs, serves 4 as nibbles or a starter
Brown the butter 30 minutes in advance. Leave to cool in room temperature. Mix the cooled butter with philadelphia and creme fraîche in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the puff (leaving the edges bare if you like) and scatter with the cheddar. Bake in 200C fan or 220 C without fan until the puff is golden and the cheese has melted. Leave to cool.
One the baked puff is cooled, spoon or pipe the creme fraîche onto it, then the salmon roe. Scatter with red onions and herbs. Season and finish by squeezing a bit of lemon juice over it. Cut into pieces (either cut in four and serve as a starter on plates or cut into small bites and serve on a tray or platter).
Even though I obviously think about other things too (work, skincare, loved ones) food is on my mind a lot. I don’t actively think about it all the time but sometimes thoughts about food are idling in the background until they need my attention.
And it was one of those idling thoughts that led to the discovery of the best topping for my favourite soup!
I have used prosciutto crumbs a lot lately (because they’re so so delicious!!) and suddenly it hit me that maybe they would work as topping for my creamy Jerusalem artichoke too? And yes, they did!
They’re not as salty as bacon (tried that but it didn’t work for me), yet offer a nice texture (unlike fried mushrooms – tried that too!) and they accompany my already favourite topping of chopped shallots perfectly.
Soooo, let me introduce you to my newly perfected Jerusalem soup recipe – with that wonderful new topping! Hope you like it too!
Jerusalem artichoke soup 3.0, serves 4 as a starter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
750 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into similar sized pieces
1/2 good-quality stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
100 ml double cream
salt and pepper
3 slices prosciutto
1 shallots, finely chopped
Fry the onions until soft in the butter without browning. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and fry for a minute. Cover with boiling water. Add salt and the stock cube and bring to the boil. Once the Jerusalem artichokes are soft, drain half the cooking liquid but keep it aside. Purée the Jerusalem artichokes and remaning water (adding more of the cooking water if needed) until you have a thick soup. Add the cream to the soup and bring it to the boil again. Season to taste.
While the soup is underway, pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the prosciutto slices on a baking parchment covered tray and let them crisp up in the oven for approx 5 minutes. Leave to cool and chop it into crumbs.
Divide the soup between four bowls. Add chopped shallots and prosciutto crumbs.
As you may already know, I’m a HUGE burrata fan (which my archives can attest to!) and I eat it as often as possible during summer when there are plenty of tomatoes around because it pairs so well with the creamy pillowy cheese. But tomato season is sadly over and as a result there has definitely been less burrata in my life because I just haven’t found that perfect autumnal pairing for it. Until now.
And it’s all thanks to Instagram and this post from Tuvessonskan! The slightly garlicky girolles and the nuttiness of the brown butter works so well with the creaminess of the burrata while the dill and lemon adds freshness. Do not forget the lemon; it balances the butter perfectly!
Burrata with girolles, dill and browned butter, serves 2
1 small burrata
1 baguette (or crostini)
150 g fresh girolles
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil for frying
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
50 g salted butter
plenty of fresh dill
salt and peppar
Remove the burrata from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you need it. Fry the mushrooms in oil an butter. Add the garlic towards the end. Season and put aside.
Brown the butter in a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Wait for it to foam up a lot and turn brown (but not dark) and smell nutty. Remove from heat.
Place the burrata in a shallow bowl or something with an edge. Arrange the girolles around the burrata. Spoon over the browned butter. Squeeze some lemon over the whole thing. Scatter with plenty of chopped dill. Season one last time and serve with bread.