Recipe: Green Tortilla Pizza

You already know how much I like a tortilla pizza for a speedy weeknight supper, but last weekend I made some green ones (literally and figuratively!) for lunch and they were so good I immediately wanted to share the recipe. And write it down for my own sake too, as it really was a winning combination and such a satisfying lunch!

An added bonus is that I have finally found a good use for green peppers (my least favourite pepper) and they taste great here, so now you know what to do with all those green peppers that come in the mixed packets. For me, they’re always left after I have used the red, yellow and orange ones.

Green tortilla pizzas, serves 2

Two medium flour tortillas

2 tbsp creme fraiche

2 handfuls grated cheddar

1 small courgette, sliced

1 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips

2 spring onions, sliced

2 large handfuls fresh spinach

a drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

1 batch green tahini yoghurt dressing

Place the two tortillas on a baking tray. Spread the creme fraiche onto the tortilla and scatter with cheddar. Add a little salt and pepper before adding the vegetables with the spinach and spring onions on top. Add more salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 220C oven for 5-10 minutes. Add a few spoonfuls of green tahini yoghurt dressing to each pizza and serve.

Recipe: The Famous THE DIP!

We may not be entertaining very much at the moment, but I think we should all practice making this addictive dip until we can, so when the lockdown lifts and we’re free to see a few people again, we know what to make. Because I imagine that first little gathering will be a bit stressful and shaky for many of us, mainly because we will be so happy and eager to see our friends or family again but also because we’ll be out of practice cooking for more than our household.

So start with something simple, yet utterly delicious (i.e. this dip!) and stick to something you’ve made many times for the next dish. Because the last thing we want when we can finally see our friends again is to be stuck in the kitchen.

While you practice making it though, it will brighten your evenings at home. It’s the maximum dividend for a very small investment of labour. I love it with a selection of pitta chips (homemade or store-bought) and crudités.

The original recipe is by Alison Roman (of salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookie fame!) and as many of her amazing recipes, it broke the internet (hence the famous in the title of this post). I totally recommend buying her cookbooks for more of her incredible recipes – I just love her style of cooking!

Labneh dip with sizzled spring onions and chilli, aka The dip, serves 6

Adapted from Alison Roman’s recipe.

180 ml olive oil

4 spring onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (leaves and tender stems) or chives, plus more for garnish

sea salt

 freshly ground black pepper

475 ml labneh (or full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream)

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Heat the olive oil, spring onions, chilli flakes and coriander in a small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the scallions and red-pepper flakes start to visually and audibly sizzle and frizzle and turn the oil a bright, fiery orange. Remove from the heat, and let cool enough to taste without burning your mouth, then season with salt and pepper.

Combine the labneh and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl and swirl in the sizzled scallion mixture. Top with extra coriander, if you like.

Happy New Year!

I don’t think I have ever been so keen to see a year out the door as 2020. I think it’s safe to say it’s been a rough year for all of us and even worse for those affected by disease or loss. There is so much uncertainty at the moment but starting a new year feels promising. A year of vaccinations and strength so that we hopefully can resume some of our much missed activities later in the year.

Until then, I try to look back on 2020 with kindness and gratitude and making sure to remember the good times. Personally I’m still savouring my trip home to Sweden and the two and a half weeks of quality time I had with my parents after quarantining. It was the best way to see 2020 out and starting 2021, with them; my core family! As usual, we ate and drank really well and had a wonderful time. With some pictures from our party of three I wish you all a healthy and happy 2021!

As we find ourselves in another lockdown in the UK I will try to find time to finally write up the recipes from the last two lockdowns. I have cooked a lot while in Sweden too and want to share it all with you.

Thank you so much for your support! If you have any suggestions for future blog posts or recipes (other than my extensive back log), please let me know in the comments!

Cooking in lockdown

I received a comment and a request on my Swedish blog, to write about my cooking now, in lockdown. Something I of course have addressed on my instagram accounts, which are more ‘in the moment’ than the blog.

Courgette quesadillas with soured cream and guacamole

I completely understand it might not be of interest for you readers to read my reviews of restaurants from before lockdown, that are now shut. But the reason I have carried on ‘as normal’ (or as normally as I can right now) is because I think those good restaurants that I didn’t have time to write about before lockdown need to be mentioned. My blogs don’t have a huge following, but they are read by a few of you and if I could have some influence on where you spend your money when all this is over of course I want to contribute to that. To cast a limelight on restaurants I really like, large or small. Regardless of what kind of backing some restaurants had before lockdown, I think all business owners are now in the same boat; worrying if they can bounce back. If they can afford to take this hit or if it’s better to throw in the towel.

But I hear you; that’s the past, and the present is strange and can be tricky to navigate, especially when you’re forced (more or less, depending on where you live), to cook more at home, to come up with new dishes, while maybe not having access to all the food items you’re used to.

I feel quite equipped for this, strangely. Maybe because I taught myself how to cook when I lived away from home for the first time (with a patient mamma at the end of the phone guiding me when I got stuck), or because I made sure I would enjoy cooking for one after a breakup when I was around thirty, or because I loathe throwing food away and get immense satisfaction out of using up every single little morsel leftover; be it a quarter of an onion, a small piece of chicken or a little hunk of cheese. I use them all up and have come up with some interesting lunches over the years. And maybe also, because I love to cook for other people.

You see, the first three weeks of lockdown I utilised all my cooking for one tips, as I was alone in London making sure I didn’t develop the virus. At this point it was hard for people to get food in general so I relied on my freezer stash, my ability of using up food and coming up with good substitutions and to buy food where the regular person wouldn’t shop. I felt this was a small thing for me to do, but could mean that somebody else (maybe a whole family) could access that delivery slot or those groceries, because frankly they needed it more than I did. I waited for Natoora, one of my favourite vegetable and delicatessen shops, to open up their restaurant slots to the general public and bought lovely things like British asparagus, burrata and dolce latte. This might seem extravagant in a crisis, but my thinking was that I get more satisfaction out of these more luxury food items than the average person, I can afford it, and I don’t eat very much and can therefore stretch the produce quite far if I need to. And I wanted to support a wonderful business that with restaurants closing had a huge excess of food they needed to sell. Which I, of course, was oh so happy to take off their hands.

So I ate very well those three weeks. But I didn’t eat much meat, because they don’t sell it (other than in delicatessen products), and I made sure to buy some flour (any flour!) so that if I couldn’t get a delivery slot at least I could make bread, pasta or pizza. I wanted to avoid shops as at this point they were still crowded which scared me!

A new creation using up leftover bolognese sauce

Then after those three weeks, feeling safe enough I didn’t carry any nasties with me, I went out to the countryside to join my boyfriend and his mother, who were in the midst of moving house. So I put on my apron and started cooking for them. Which was very different than cooking for just myself. But very helpful to both them and me. I have invented new dishes (so satisfying), come up with different ways to cook something because of a lack of ingredients (also very satisfying) and although the food look (and taste) great it’s not as glamorous as instagram suggests of course (check out my stories to see failed experiments, substitutions and lots of leftovers). Yes, all the leftovers get eaten!! Sometimes reimagined as something else and sometimes just reheated as they are.

So in the coming weeks I will try to share some helpful recipes where I’ve had to think differently, using what I’ve had to hand. Being in the countryside has proved a lot easier when it comes to food though. Two small local shops carry necessities like eggs, milk and bread. And one of them is a greengrocer too! The village farm sells eggs like they always do, and we have managed to get slots to pick up food from supermarkets (some far away, but we could get slots) and since Ocado opened up more slots a couple of weeks ago I have used them too. So I realise we’re very lucky. But I hope most of you are too. That if you can’t go out somebody can deliver to you or a neighbour could do the shopping for you.

PS. Moving house in lockdown was really hard work, so I haven’t been able to post very much, but I hope I will have more time in the coming weeks.

Copenhagen: A Second Lunch at the Food Market

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I never miss a food market when I’m travelling! Apart from in Barcelona when it was closed when we were nearby.

But when I find them open I always seek them out and make sure to pop in. It’s fun mingling with the locals, checking out the local produce and buy some culinary mementos to enjoy at home.

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Copenhagen’s food market Torvehallerne, is a very sleek version of the food markets you find in other cities. The two buildings are all glass and modern, and although you can buy fresh produce it’s also interspersed with restaurants.

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I think I’ve sampled them all, and one favourite we always come back to is Tapa del Toro with its many pinxtos to choose from.

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Although we had just enjoyed a lovely gourmet lunch we wanted a little taste of both the food market atmosphere and the lovely pinxtos. Because sitting here sipping cava and biting into baguette with Jamon Iberico while people watching and chatting to your friends is just such a big part of what we love about Copenhagen.

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When we finished we walked next door to a new interior shop Maria had discovered and had a look around enjoying the colour scheme and pretty things for sale.

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Only to return to Torvehallerne and The Coffee Collective for a coffee before our next shop. Maria and Daniel had espressos but I decided to try their iced latte, which turned out to be the best one I’ve ever had! I don’t usually have milk in my coffee but it works really well if it’s a strong iced latte like this one. I was always skipping with joy drinking this!

Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 Copenhagen, Denmark

November already?!

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It’s November! Already?! October just sped past and now it’s time for one of my least favourite months. Why? Because it’s colder, darker, rainier and more depressing. BUT November is also leading the way to December and the holiday season, so I have learned that if I light as many candles as possible and concentrate on everything cosy and Christmassy then November isn’t quite so bad.

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And another good way of making November more bearable is through food. Warm hearty soups, some nice stews and a few sweets and it suddenly feels a lot better.

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So let’s start with the soups. A must in pumpkin season is of course this butternut squash soup with roasted garlic.

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Another lovely soup for this time of year is a real British classic; broccoli and stilton soup. So comforting!

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Obviously had to include my favourite soup; my best version of Jerusalem artichoke soup. It’s earthy, creamy and perfect for dinner parties and weeknights alike.

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Sweet potato soup with lemon grass is another lovely and warming soup you must try!

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And lastly we have the soup that is like a big warm hug in a bowl. Yes, it contains lots of melted cheese, but also healthy broccoli for balance. And it’s heaven!

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But we can’t survive November on soup alone. How about some pillowy gnocchi with the creamiest butternut sauce?! Delicious!

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And these venison patties with dauphinois potatoes and creamy mushroom sauce is the perfect Sunday dinner to impress your friends with, in a warming un-fussy way.

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Or make this slow-cooked lamb shank with herb polenta for ultimate comfort. Also perfect for a dinner party!

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And then we have the ultimate stew; Julia Child’s excellent boeuf bourguignon. So dreamy!

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For pudding what’s better than a Thanksgiving inspired pecan pie or pecan cheesecake?! Because nuts and caramel are the antidotes to dark November!

 

 

London: wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern!

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When my friend Therése came to visit in April we had a really lovely weekend with shopping, dinner in and amazing sushi out. And the last day we went all out with a trip to the V&A and the dreamy Dior exhibition followed by a wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern, that I will tell you all about now, and some beauty shopping in Liberty’s. Such a perfect girlie day!

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As we walked into Berners Tavern we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the dining room with its pretty chandeliers and amazing ceilings and picture covered walls, which felt both grand and relaxed at the same time.

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We sat down at our table and immediately admired the china (you may know I have a thing for blue and white china!) and were greeted by our lovely waiter explaining the menu in details with us.

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What I really like about an afternoon tea, is of course all the goodies, but also the ceremony around it; the nice china, the silverware, the pouring of the tea and just letting everything take its time.

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With the napkin in my lap I once again admired the china pattern when our kind waiter told me it was especially made for the restaurant, and the pattern is made up of the chandeliers in the ceiling that are originals from when the building was first built. Isn’t that amazing?! I love the attention to detail.

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Just as much attention to detail had been put into the sandwiches, scones and sweet treats for the afternoon tea. Such a stunning spread!

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The savoury spread from left to right; chicken and mushroom mini baguette; smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill sandwich and savoury scone with mild goat’s cheese and herbs. All delicious!!

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The scones were also perfect and came with and without raisins and we got individual silver pots of clotted cream and jam!

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The sweets were gorgeous too! From left to right; strawberry macaron with creamy ginger filling (my favourite!); chocolate and yuzu tart and a creamy raspberry and meringue cake.

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Just look how beautiful the sandwiches are close up! Love that the chefs take such care in the presentation.

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The same goes for the sweets; they were like little works of art! Our whole afternoon here was puree perfection from the service to the tea refills to the food and ambiance. Berners Tavern definitely have that little extra that makes it feel like a special place without being stuffy at all. We could just relax and chat away – which we do so well!

Berners Tavern, 10 Berners St, London W1T 3NP

Recipe: bruschetta with burrata

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I hardly think I’m the first person to think of this combination, but since I like to pair burrata with everything tomato-y here we are. And it’s a winner! I love the classic bruschetta but the burrata adds another dimension with its creaminess and makes the dish a little more sophisticated (but also more difficult to eat with dignity).

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I could start every dinner party, luncheon and gathering with this and some rosé from now until August and have happy guests – I’m sure of it. Or if you want to skip the bread, make a classic caprese salad (basically the same ingredients) but with burrata instead of mozzarella. That’s what I did with the leftovers and it was delicious too! But bruschetta is great for a crowd as you don’t need plates (although they are quite handy), just serve these with plenty of napkins!

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Hanna’s bruschetta with  burrata, serves 4-6 as a starter or as nibbles

1 large baguette

olive oil

1 garlic clove, cut in half 

4-5 vine tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped 

sea salt, black pepper 

2 small burrata or 1 large, at room temperature

Slice the baguette thinly on the diagonal. Place on a parchment covered baking tray. Drizzle with oil and rub the bread with the garlic. Toast the bread in a 200C oven until golden, approx 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes and place in a sieve or colander to remove the excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the garlic used for rubbing the bread and mix that in as well as the basil. Add oil, salt and pepper.

Remove the toasted bread from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Place on a plate or platter, top with the tomato mixture. Tear the burrata into smaller pieces and put some on each bruschetta. Drizzle with olive oil and top with black pepper. Serve immediately with plenty of napkins. 

Back in London and a weekend in the country

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I’ve been back in London for a little more than a week and my holiday in Sweden is already starting to feel like a distant memory. It’s funny how quickly one settles back into the groove.

Monday was mainly about catching up at work, but I felt up to speed by the end of the day, having caught up with my emails and paper work. When I got home I started to put all my things away from the trip. I always unpack my suitcases as soon as I get home, whatever time of night that is (I like to maximise my time away and often fly back late). I don’t know why but I find it so satisfying to unpack straight away, but I’ve done it for years! But of course I don’t put everything away immediately (that takes too long) so that’s what I did on Monday night. And laundry of course, even though I made sure to do laundry in Sweden too.

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Anyway, the next evening after work the book club girls came over for some nibbles and pizza on the roof terrace followed by pudding back in the flat as the sun had started to set. It was lovely catching up with them and decide on the new book to read (this one if you’re interested) and as all of us contribute to the dinner it’s never stressful to host.

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Wednesday I made pizzas and we watched The Handmaid’s Tale (OMG it’s so good – draining, but SO good). Thursday I packed for the weekend, had some more pizza and watched some more The Handmaid’s Tale.

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I had the day off on Friday which was wonderful so after a lie-in we drove up to Northamptonshire where we stayed over night. Friday night we had dinner and watched Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat at Kilworth House and the next day we just took it easy before going back to London in the evening.

Sunday I did some more chores, unpacked and made another pizza (with leftover dough that I froze on Wednesday). I think I need a break from pizza now actually…

Seville: modern tapas with exotic elements

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Some days in Seville were lovely and warm with 23C and sunshine. Those days were spent relaxing by the pool, enjoying the sun on my skin and a good book. So in the evening I would get ready for a stroll around town and a nice dinner.

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One such evening I made my way to El Pintón and was extremely lucky to snag a table outside without a reservation. After I got that table they turned away so many people. So make sure to book in advance.

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This place is different to the usual tapas bars around town. They do serve tapas at El Pintón but always at a table, so there is no busy bar area to hang out in. Instead it’s a civilised affair with only table service.

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A concept I was perfectly happy with. Just like I was happy to watch the world go by while sipping an excellent glass of cava.

But I had food too, of course. First a lovely egg dish with truffle. A combination I love. Add to that some crunch and a smooth potato créme. Mmm…

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Next up was the calamari sandwich with lemon aioli. Simple but lovely! And the squid was the most tender I’ve ever had.

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My last dish here (I wish I could have had more, but the portions were rather generous as you can see) was a recommendation from my friendly waiter; presa Ibérica tataki with sweet potato purée and pistachio sauce. The meat was exquisite and so so tender and the sweet but mellow flavours worked so well with the pork.

This; dining on excellent food al fresco, is partly what holidays are about for me. Pure joy!

El Pintón, Calle Francos 42, 41004 Sevilla, Spain