Pancake Day and Norfolk!

Looking back on the last week of February, one of my least favourite months usually, I realise what a lovely week and month it was. How lucky we were going about our ordinary lives, not thinking about illness and death (as much at least), not worrying about when we could see our loved ones. Oh, how I miss it. Will we get back there, has the world changed now, with no going back to the “before”? Or maybe, it will be better going forwards, because we will be so much more grateful for the things we used to take for granted? Only time will tell…

But back to the last week in February, when the Coronavirus still seemed far away. On the Monday I watched the film Judy about Judy Garland and loved Renée Zellweger in it.

Tuesday lunch looked a little like this! Love a fried egg on toast with ketchup. Yes, the ketchup is a must! In the afternoon I got lots of errands done, which is always such a nice feeling.

In the evening I got spoiled with pancakes, both savoury and sweet, for Pancake Day.

I don’t know how I did it, but I managed four (!) pancakes; two savoury (with ham, cheese and mushrooms) and two sweet ones.

One with just sugar and lemon.

And one with Nutella, whipped cream and berries. So yummy!

The following day was a regular work from home day, and in the evening I watched Boy Erased. Such a gripping story!

The following day I worked down in The New Forest and had a bagel I bought at the train station for lunch. So good!

Back in London that evening I met up with my friend Gaby for supper in Brixton. We had lovely food at the Tiger and Pig and afterwards we went to a bar nearby for a spritz each (mine had elderflower and lemon in it!) and doughnuts for pudding.

Such a lovely evening!

On Friday we drove north to stay with my boyfriend’s mother and arrived in time for supper.

We got lots of dog cuddles and went for a lovely walk the next day.

We stayed for a lovely supper and then drove to Norfolk in the night.

It was absolutely freezing when we got there so we made tea and drank it in bed under the covers.

The next day I made eggs and pancetta for breakfast.

And for lunch we had scampi and chips at the golf club.

It was cold but we managed a little walk on the near deserted beach. It’s so beautiful, especially at twilight.

Back home we had tea and biscuits in front of Pointless to warm up.

And for dinner I made us a roast chicken with lots of roasted vegetables (carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, broccoli), crumbled feta and tzatziki. So yummy!

Then we drove back to London later that evening. Love driving across Tower Bridge at night when it’s all lit up and beautiful.

Pasta, steak and regular life

As weird as it felt during lockdown to write my weeklies about regular life before we locked down, I now feel stronger than ever that it’s important to chronicle different periods in our life. I still have a few weeks from before lockdown to post about, and thereafter I will recap the lockdown time on a per month basis, because, apart from cooking and eating we didn’t do an awful lot. And now as lockdown is easing I will go back to my weeklies to show you what I get up to.

So, lets rewind and go back to a more happy and carefree time pre-lockdown, back in February.

As you know by now, Mondays are not my favourite, and this one was no exception. I was tired, did my work and had a mini deep-dish pizza with bearnaise sauce for supper. No energy to cook.

I had a bad cold and didn’t feel great, so lived out of my bed. Worked in bed, ate in bed, and huddled up in my duvet and a blanket. On Tuesday I made one of my favourite pastas for supper and ate it in bed.

I felt a little bit better come Wednesday and had yoghurt with blood oranges and honey for breakfast…

…and another comfort food favourite for supper; Swedish sausages with mash and crispy onions.

As always when I’ve been feeling poorly I gave my skin some extra attention and did two masks after each other. First The Ordinary AHA + BHA peeling solution to exfoliate and brighten and then the No7 hydration mask afterwards to put lots of moisture back in. Love this combination!

On the Friday I was still tired but well enough to go out for dinner locally near where my boyfriend lives. We went to the cute Italian and it was bliss to eat lasagne and drink red wine in candlelight.

On the Saturday we had friends in town so met them for drinks and dinner in the evening. First drinks at The Blind Spot followed by a lovely dinner at Hawksmoor Seven Dials.

We had the most amazing steak there, it was almost a religious experience it was so good. And it was one of those nights where the conversation just flowed and you forgot about time to suddenly realise it’s late and you’re almost alone in the restaurant.

Sunday was nice and relaxing with a lie-in, cheese toasties for lunch and rugby on the telly.

In the evening I made carbonara and we finished season two of Jack Ryan. As much as we loved the first season we were so disappointed by this second series. Such a shame as John Krasinski was great, but the storyline was just ridiculous. But we also watched Homeland which felt much more down to earth and balanced in comparison. So sad it’s the last season but also nice it’s still going strong until the end.

Nights in, dinner out, Valentine’s and a trip to the cinema

February’s second week was with hindsight really lovely. Like every pre-coronavirus week of my entire life. It gives you perspective, this pandemic…

Anyway, back to February this year. The Monday passed by quietly. I didn’t even document what I had for supper. So I will assume I worked and went to bed early, which is my preferred way to handle the start of the work week.

The next day I made broccoli cheese for lunch and went out for supper in the evening. My friend Amy and I decide to meet up somewhere on the tube line in between our homes, and I thought Parsons Green with its many pubs and restaurant was a safe bet.

We went to Megan’s near the station and had a lovely time even though the restaurant was quite quiet this Tuesday evening. I had halloumi and aubergine to start and a lovely chicken kebab as my main course.

Wednesday I worked from bed (I remember it being cold outside so under a blanket was the only place to be).

For lunch I had a toasted bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill. So lovely!

On Thursday evening I ordered a poke bowl for supper and watched TV in bed.

But on Friday night (also known as Valentine’s Day) I cooked properly! To start we had Toast Skagen because it’s easy yet delicious.

And for our main event I cooked Côte de boeuf with skin-on oven fries and bearnaise sauce. Yum!

And for pudding I made another crowd pleaser; heart shaped molten chocolate cakes with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce. So much yum!

The next morning I made our usual eggs and pancetta and topped the eggs with the leftover bearnaise sauce. A perfect start to the weekend!

In the afternoon we went to see Parasite in the cinema and we were blown away by how good it was. A must see if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. And before that we had Five Guys for lunch.

In the evening I made our favourite crab pasta for supper. So yummy!

On the Sunday we met up with two sets of friends and their kids in Pizza Express for late lunch/early supper and although completely chaotic (apparently only families with young children visit Pizza Express at this time) it was so lovely to see everyone and hang out.

Cinema, nights in and a lovely weekend!

The first week in February was a really nice one (every week pre COVID-19 seems pretty good right now though!). I mainly worked and chilled at home but was a bit sociable at the weekend. On the Monday I made egg salad for lunch that I ate on Finncrisp. So yummy!

In the evening I had burrata with tomatoes and pesto together with leftover crostini from the weekend. Also yum!

The next day I tried a new yoghurt for breakfast and it was absolutely delicious and the passionfruit flavour worked well with the leftover blueberries too!

In the evening I made my favourite noodles and topped them with crispy chilli flakes in oil. Love this simple dish!

On the Wednesday we went to the cinema to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood which was so lovely!

The next night I wasn’t in the mood to cook so ordered Shake Shake. It’s always a winner in my book!

On the Friday we had a quick supper before going to a concert, at a place in Brixton my friend Gaby recommended. The food was yummy and I will write the review soon!

On Saturday, a bit tired after the concert the night before we went over to some friends for lunch and got treated to roast chicken and a really yummy pasta salad! We even stayed for dinner and had a lovely day playing with the kids and catching up.

On the Sunday we just chilled and watched The Irishman. It’s long but really good! For supper we had a caprese salad with crispy baguette, followed by…

… pork fillet, dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and vegetables. Always yummy!

As it was a Sunday I made an apple crumble and raw custard for pudding. A real favourite!

A lady who lunches twice and a weekend in Norfolk

Any week that starts with a cooked breakfast on a Monday is a good week in my book, but looking back from where we are now, in the middle of a UK Coronavirus lockdown, this week at the end of January, beginning of February looks particularly good.

The rest of the day I worked as normal, and in the evening I ordered sushi from Sticks ‘n Sushi for dinner and watched a film I missed when it was on at the cinema; A Private War, based on the true events in journalist Marie Colvin’s life. So gripping!

Tuesday after work I met up with my friends Chris and Debs for dinner at a cosy pub. I had been picking up their post while they were away and they gave me really sweet gifts as a thank you. So nice to see them again too!

Wednesday night I ordered pizza for dinner. Sometimes when I have a lot of plans in a week I struggle to cook for myself on my nights off from socialising. Definitely I want to work on!

On Thursday my friend Ria officially became a UK citizen which we celebrated with bubbly and a nice lunch! I had chicken liver parfait with brioche to start…

… and for our main course all three of us had steak! Yum!

On Friday I had another lunch out, with a dear ex colleague. So much fun to have a proper lunch (we hardly did when we worked together) and it also gave me an opportunity to finally try Aquavit. Spoiler: it was great! Review to come.

In the evening I took the train to Norfolk for a weekend with my boyfriend there.

The next morning we had our usual breakfast and while my boyfriend went to a meeting I braved the cold, but sunny, outdoors for some pictures. Then we settled in front of the TV in the afternoon and watched the rugby.

In the evening I cooked for us. Easy but delicious dishes. First up bruschetta bar with burrata caprese. We used a supermarket burrata, which was surprisingly good!

For the main course I made the delicious shrimp rolls with oven fries. We had lots of brioche hot dog buns left over from the Christmas party so decided to use some up.

We were actually really full after the first two courses so watched some His Dark Materials before we had pudding. Vanilla pannacotta with blueberries in lemon sugar. Yum!

On the Sunday we went for a lovely, but quite cold, walk on the beach in Brancaster, working up the appetite for lunch.

At this lovely place! Review to come!

We were still really full in the evening so instead of another big meal I used up some leftover and made us tomato bruschetta and mini shrimp rolls. It was the perfect snack while watching the last episodes of His Dark Materials. Loved it!

Home cooking and lovely dinners out!

It already feels weird looking back at ‘normal weeks’ but I’ll continue like normal, hoping to provide you with some cooking inspiration, restaurants to try after all this or just a little escapism.

The fourth week of January this year was so normal it just passed by without much thought, but that’s what I long for now; normality. I guess we now have a new normal and we’ll just have to do the best we can to get through these difficult times together (in spirit).

I had my usual Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit (in this case kiwi fruit) for breakfast and on the Monday we both got a new dishwasher installed and a new sofa delivered.

On the Tuesday I made puff pastry pizza, which is such a great shortcut creating something yummy!

On Wednesday I saw an old colleague for lunch at Smith & Wollensky. We both had their excellent burgers! And in the evening I went to a leaving party for a dear friend.

Thursday I worked from the New Forest. I had cold puff pastry pizza for breakfast on the train (so yummy!) and an egg salad and bacon baguette and fruit from Pret for lunch.

Back in London in the evening I had a buffalo chicken wrap for dinner and it was so so good!

Friday I walked through central London in the evening, doing some errands on my wait to meet friends.

Two of us, that managed to get out of work at a decent time, had a drink before all three of us, Gaby, Ro and I, met up for dinner at a new for us spot.

Which was super chic and had really yummy food. Restaurant review to come!

On Saturday I pimped my scrambled eggs and they turned out so well I will give you the recipe soon! Love eggs for breakfast (or brunch it was probably after midday) at the weekend.

In the evening my boyfriend and I decided on an impromptu steak dinner out near his. We both had the ribeye, fries and bearnaise sauce. And some creamed spinach to share. Yum!

On the Sunday I made roast chicken for dinner. With broccoli cheese, roast parsnips and potato wedges with carrots, peppers and red onions. And gravy for my boy (I’m less of a fan but enjoy making it). Such a lovely week!

Cinema trips and taking it easy!

The third week in January started with a not so healthy, but very delicious, breakfast. This Nutella-ish spread on toast!

My friend Tobias gave it to me when I was home in Sweden for Christmas and it’s so good! Like a malted chocolate spread with crunch in. Addictive!

For dinner I had my “Friday night pasta” with browned butter, parmesan and truffle oil. Yum! Other than that I had a quiet night in watching TV.

Tuesday night was the same. The weather was terrible and after a sociable few weeks it was nice to hibernate. I had a cheese toastie for dinner, watching Netflix and cosying up inside with candles and tulips.

Wednesday I went for a walk at lunch time soaking up some sun. So nice!

And in the evening I met up with a friend for dinner. We tried a new restaurant and chatted away all evening. So lovely!

Thursday night we braved the rain, did some quick shopping and had Shake Shack before going to the cinema to see 1917 at the IMAX. It was amazing. Especially at the IMAX. I still think it should have won best picture at the Oscars, it was definitely THAT good!

Afterwards we went to Café Monico to sit down with some wine and talk through the film. Almost as important as going to see it!

Friday night I went to the cinema again, but this time on my own, to see The Gentlemen. Such a great film! Loved seeing Hugh Grant and Michelle Dockery in different roles to what we’re used to. And Matthew Mcconaughey was brilliant too!

Saturday I had a lie-in and spent most of the day reading.

But early afternoon I went to Curzon Victoria (such a lovely cinema!) to see Little Women. It was so lovely and loved the whole cast.

On my way home I picked up some goodies and had a baked camembert with baguette, salami and nocellara olives for supper.

Sunday I also took it as easy as I possibly good, but didn’t go to the cinema. Instead I read, watched TV and ordered Greek for supper. A much slower week (but still had some lovely nights out!) which was so needed.

Back in London, Birthday Celebrations and Some Cooking!

The second week of January – and the first week back in London for me – was back to business straight away. I was back at work on Monday, unpacked and tidied up in the evening, made myself some noodles and read a good book.

Tuesday was pretty much the same, while also doing errands, buying gifts and getting organised.

On the Wednesday it was my darling boyfriend’s birthday, so I took him out for a night on the town! First champagne (and a cheeky G&T!) at Sky Pod Bar, taking in the lovely view!

Followed by dinner (and more drinks) at Sushi Samba with more amazing views. Can you sense the theme?!

Thursday was head down working and putting things away at home. I always stock up on everything from cheese to body lotion to mouth wash when I’m in Sweden and it takes me a while to find space for all these extra items.

Friday night we had our usual burger before going to the cinema to see Cats. Not that we expected it to be good (it wasn’t!) but we wanted to make up our own mind. A little bit entertaining, but a total car crash of a film, but mostly it was just REALLY WEIRD! If you’ve seen it you’ll appreciate this little video – it’s spot on!

We stayed in on Saturday night and I cooked. Prawn cocktail in lettuce leaves (this recipe + avocado) followed by…

…homemade Dover sole a’la meunière which was absolutely delicious and so much fun to make! Will post the recipe soon.

For pudding we had Gino with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

On Sunday we had a lie-in and our favourite breakfast and then we decided to go for a refreshing walk on Wimbledon Common.

It was lovely to be outside and get some fresh air and check out the swans and the ducks in the pond. Little pleasures!

Absolutely starving we had a late lunch at The Ivy Café in Wimbledon Village before heading back.

For supper I made us a really nice chicken curry (will post the recipe soon) and we watched some TV before hitting the hay. Such a lovely weekend (and week)!

New Year’s Eve, pizza and dinner parties!

The first week of January actually started in December. That Monday we had a lie-in and after a bit of NYE prep we went to see some friends for dinner.

We had a lovely time playing with the children, eating lots of good food and catching up with the adults. To start we had charcuteries and nibbles in the kitchen while the chef prepared our main course.

Which was pizza! With lots of cheese and mushrooms. Delicious!

And for pudding we had the most luxurious saffron ice cream with crunchy oats on top. Yum!

Next day was New Year’s Eve and I spent the day with my best friend and my god daughter playing and chatting (but also working so didn’t get as much quality time as I would have liked) while the boys were out playing golf. Once they were back we opened up the champagne and gathered around the kitchen island eating canapés and chatting while I occasionally stirred a pot prepping the rest of our dinner.

We had three nibbles, quite substantial as we started early and had dinner late, to accommodate a little lady’s bed time. The girolle toasts were requested by all and will probably be a firm NYE nibble from now on, but we also had the fried rice paper with salmon and mini rosti with bleak roe. So yummy!

The starter was of course lobster, but prepared a bit differently so will post the recipe later.

The main course was also classic with fillet of beef, mushroom and cognac sauce, pommes Anna, broccoli and charred spring onions. Really nice, if I may say so myself!

The pudding was a new version of baked Alaska, with dulce de leche ice cream inside. Recipe to come!

The next morning we had a lie-in and then I cooked us all poached eggs with pancetta, basically forcing our favourite couple onto our hosts, but they loved it (as we thought they would).

When we got back home we unpacked (I basically brought half of mum’s kitchen with me), settled in for a film and hang out with my parents. Then we had some bubbles and Jamon Iberico by the fire before dinner.

Which was pizza! It’s basically tradition to eat pizza on New Year’s Day but I prefer to make my own instead of buying it. I made four different ones and we were so full afterwards we postponed pudding until an hour or so later.

Pudding was homemade ice cream, crispy oat biscuits and chocolate sauce. So yummy!

The following day we hosted a dinner party, and mum and I both cooked making it so easy. I had prepared the crostini we had with some bubbly when our guests arrived. We had the Finnish-Russian mushroom spread and the Öjeby toast – both delicious!

Mamma made the main course, we had wild duck with all the trimmings, which was delicious as usual but I forgot to take any pictures of it. I did photograph the crème brûlée I made for pudding though. We served some saucy raspberries with it. Love this pudding so much!

The next day it was time for my boyfriend to go back to London so we made the most of the day; going for a walk in the woods, playing with the cats and had a late lunch with my parents. Mamma had made her famous (they are seriously the best!!) meatballs and we ate so much it was nice we had a drive ahead of us to digest the food.

When I got back we had some leftover pizza for supper while watching our favourite Swedish game show!

On the Saturday I had a full day with just my parents. We went to the cinema and saw A Piece of My Heart which was actually quite sweet. And quite good!

Then we had alll the seafood for dinner. Oysters au gratin, smoked salmon, langoustines, smoked prawns, homemade mayo, garlic bread. All delicious!

My last day in Sweden I hang out with my parents, packed my bags and just tried to get stuff done. Then we had roast chicken for dinner, before going to the airport. Two weeks just flew by! But I have all the memories.

Christmas in Sweden, food galore and catching up with friends!

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The last week in December was quite a sociable one! I was home in Sweden trying to relax a bit, celebrate Christmas and catchup up with friends.

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The day before Christmas Eve is our “mini Christmas” at home. We decorated the tree, wrapped the last gifts and had Christmas food for dinner. But first a G&T and some crisps by the fire.

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For dinner we had a small selection of traditional Christmas dishes, basically our favourites. Meatballs, cooked ham, rye bread, Jansson’s temptation and “brown” (caramelised) cabbage.

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Look at our pretty tree!

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On Christmas Eve we had leftovers for lunch (and herring for my parents).

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But in the evening we prefer more regular dinner party food (but still with a nod towards tradition). Christmas food is so heavy once is enough for us.

Our starter was my homemade beetroot cured salmon with prawns, dill cream cheese and a honey mustard sauce on butter-fried bread. Delicious!

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Followed by slow cooked venison tjälknöl (cooked from frozen) with dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.

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For pudding we had both a cheeseboard and traditional rice pudding with lightly whipped cream folded in and berry sauce.

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And after that we had fruits and sweets. This day is all about eating…

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On Christmas Day we wanted something lighter and I assembled a little bruschetta bar with charcuterie, cured salmon, venison from the night before, cheeses and spreads.

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Boxing Day was a social day with fika at one set of friends, completely with homemade saffron buns, gingerbread and games with the kids.

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That was followed by dinner at another set of friends. We had prawns, eggs, quiches, salad and more.

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And ice cream for pudding! My friends are really spoiling me!

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The next day I hung out with my parents and in the evening we had leftovers. But first of course a G&T.

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Cured salmon toast with homemade mayonnaise.

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Venison, dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.

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On the Saturday I met some friends for fika at Slättarps Gård (how pretty?!)…

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…and in the evening I had dinner with friends. Once again being spoilt!

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Sunday was spent at home with my parents and we had pork fillet with potato wedges and homemade bearnaise sauce for dinner. Afterwards I went food shopping for new year’s eve and picked up the boy from the airport. Can’t believe how quickly a week went past!