Recipe: weeknight tortilla pizza

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I must admit I don’t particularly enjoy cooking for one. I think it’s because I put my energy into cooking for others. I enjoy that whole process; planning a menu, cooking it, presenting it and sharing it with loved ones. So when it’s just me I prefer something quick and simple. But something that tastes better than a ready meal!

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These tortilla pizzas actually fit that bill perfectly. Because when you buy a store-bought pizza, I always think it’s a bit dull. The dough is dry, the toppings lacking a bit in flavour and so on.

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Using a tortilla as the pizza base makes it less bread-y and heavy, and therefore perfect for a weeknight treat with a salad. To make sure I can always whip this up I keep homemade tomato sauce (so useful for other dishes as well) in portion packs in my freezer at all times, as well as tortillas. They defrost in seconds. And I always always have cheese in my fridge. And right there you have a margherita.

But I usually have ham, salami, mushrooms or something else laying around that I can put on the pizza to make it more substantial. It’s also a great way to fridge-forage and using up odd ends!

I honestly think this is the perfect weeknight supper for one. It’s warming, comforting and yummy but takes mere minutes to make!

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Tortilla pizza, per pizza

1 flour tortilla

2 tbsp tomato sauce (I make a batch and freeze it in portions) 

50 ml grated cheese or 1/2 mozzarella torn into pieces  

toppings of your choice such as ham, salami, fried mushrooms, vegetables, blur cheese, pineapple, chicken etc. 

1 tsp dried oregano

Spread tomato sauce onto the tortilla. Scatter with grated cheese. Add the toppings of your choice. Scatter with oregano. Bake in 200C for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

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!

 

 

Copenhagen: drinks at Rødder og Vin

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Back in August when the days were longer and the nights were balmy I had a whole day in Copenhagen with my friends Maria and Daniel, as per our age old tradition. It’s so nice to have a day with these two in one of my favourite cities (and “almost” capital growing up) just chatting and exploring new things.

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We concentrate on good food and drinks, but we always visit some shops and try to see a new area of this ever evolving city.

In the early evening when our legs were tired from all the walking and we needed a drink we went to the bar and wine shop Rødder og Vin for a much needed little break. The reason we stopped here was because we knew (thanks to Daniel’s research) that they sell cider from Fruktstereo here. Both Daniel and I grew up with one of the guys behind the cider brand so we want to support and try their products when we can, and in Copenhagen that’s quite easy.

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We took our ice cold bottle of Cider Maybe outside to a wobbly bench underneath some scaffolding and toasted to our friends. It was such a lovely start to the evening sitting there with a nice cold (and dry – this is NOT Kopparberg, rather the polar opposite to it!) cider enjoying the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen.

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When we had finished our drinks we got up and walked some more, to our dinner destination. So stay tuned for more Copenhagen tips!

Rødder og Vin, Ravnsborggade 10, 2200 København, Denmark

Rainy days, a facial and lots of yummy food!

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The second week of October was rather rainy, but I still had a (mostly) nice week with lots of nice food!

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On Monday I was craving toast with cheese and jam (a very Swedish thing!) so that’s what I had for breakfast.

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Apart from that I mainly had leftovers. Carrot cake left overs (yum!) and roast chicken and roast potatoes leftovers. Love not having to cook on a Monday. Getting up early(ier) and a full day of work is enough.

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On Tuesday I had my favourite mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado salad for lunch.

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And after an afternoon of work errands I treated myself to a poké bowl and watched a film I missed at the cinema; On the Basis of Sex about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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The next day I whipped up a quick pasta with mozzarella for lunch…

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…and in the evening we had Franco Manca pizzas in front of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Thursday I made tortilla pizza for lunch, did more errands and had drinks and nibbles with friends in the evening.

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Friday I worked from The New Forest the whole day, and it was so rainy I got completely soaked walking a mere 500 meters with and umbrella. Crazy! But after a quick change of clothes I was happy again and had bruschetta bar with burrata, tomatoes, pesto and Hamon Iberico for dinner. The best!

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On Saturday I braved the rain again after a nice long lie-in, and had a facial in Liberty.

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Back home I made buffalo chicken wings for dinner and just took it easy.

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On Sunday I had breakfast in bed and read for most of the day.

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It was still raining so I made sure to stay indoors. I watched the last ever episode of Elementary (sob) and tried to watch The Pursuit if Happyness but had to give up halfway through and instead watched Footloose. It was definitely better but not as good as I had expected it to be. Isn’t it funny how some films were considered good when they were made and don’t really work years later?!

London: Trinity years later

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Most of  you long time readers will remember that I used to eat at a restaurant local to me in Clapham when I lived around there; Trinity, A LOT several years ago. I loved that restaurant so much. I had the best ever risotto there and their bread is to die for. I’ve taken most friends there, my parents and have many happy food memories from this lovely place.

But as I moved a way from the area I got other good local restaurants to try out and I didn’t make it back. Then it was closed for refurbishment for a long time and a while ago now it opened up its doors again, with an additional more informal restaurant upstairs, and they got a Michelin star for the downstairs restaurant.

So pretty much everything has changed, but I was still very curious to go back and try the new Trinity (still with head chef and founder Adam Byatt at the helm) and see how it compared to the restaurant I forever keep in my memories.

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What I noticed first was how the space has changed. The address is the same and the building looks the same from outside but the layout inside is very different with an open kitchen and a more austere decor. It’s more modern and a little less cosy. But I definitely like the open kitchen!

The dining experience has changed too; from a semi upscale neighbourhood restaurant to more of a fine dining experience. But it’s still not stuffy, which I like, and the waiters are all lovely and relaxed while keeping it professional.

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We got two amuse bouche to start and they were both delicious! The little tartlets with pea and parmesan were utterly delicious and the little cigars with olives were nice too!

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The menu has changed too, from three courses to an optional four, but we asked if we could do three each (as I know how full you get here!) and stagger them as we were sharing everything. It was no problem at all, so we shared a first course, two second courses, two third courses and one pudding! That was the perfect amount for us (I was sooo full!) especially with all the added things like amuse bouches and petit fours. I could only take tiny bites of the last sweets which felt like a waste!

But back to the savoury dishes. The tuna tartare with apple and almonds was really lovely. The fish was just perfectly cooked and the mellow flavours accompanied it really well.

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Next we had pasta with langoustines and petit pit which was really nice, but it tasted completely different to how I had pictured it in my head. More earthy than light. But still nice.

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The warm Norfolk asparagus with smoked beurre blanc (we went here before the summer so it was totally seasonal!) however was the star of the show. Please put this back on the menu next year and I’ll be there! LOVED it! We both did.

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For the third course we had one of the specials which was the glazed lamb sweet breads with more petit poi and lardon. Really nice!

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But this was the winner! Wild sea trout with cucumber and white burgundy. Such delicate lovely flavours. Love!

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And for pudding we had another cracker; their salted caramel tart with salted caramel ice cream, because there is no such thing as too much salted caramel. And wow, it was AMAZING! Just perfect in every way.

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We also had a nice bottle of British wine which I think it’s worth telling you about. I love getting introduced to interesting wines in restaurant and this was was quite different but so lovely (and at a good price too!).

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Then the petit fours came pouring in and I had to take a little breather. We were so slow but also greedy and wanted to eat it all. Lovely little almond cakes.

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As well as macarons and truffles. So generous and although I’m sometimes too full to fully appreciate them I love these little extra touches. You feel so well looked after and it elevates the dinner a lot!

So the verdict? I like both old and new Trinity. I’m sure I will be nostalgic about old Trinity for quite a while, but I like this new version too. And I can’t wait to try the upstairs bit which might be similar to the old vibe as it’s supposed to me more casual. Only one way to find out! Race you there!

Trinity, 4 The Polygon, Clapham, London SW4 0JG

Recipe: Crema Catalana

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If you love a creme brûlée but don’t always have the patience to make it, then this is for you. This Spanish cousin of the creme brûlée is much easier to make as it doesn’t need the water bath oven time, but it still offers that caramelised lovely sugar on top of the vanilla crème.

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Crema Catalana, serves 6

100 ml (80 g) caster sugar 

300 ml cream 

1 tbsp corn flour

5 egg yolks

250 ml milk 

1 tsp vanilla 

1 pinch of sugar per bowl for serving 

Whisk ety yolks, corn flour and sugar until fluffy in a bowl. Bring milk, cream and vanilla almost to the boil. Remove from heat and pour little by little into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Pour the milk mixture back into the pan and let it thicken on low heat while stirring. Pour into bowls when it has thickened and leave to cool. Refrigerate until serving. 

Scatter the bowls with a little sugar and blow torch until golden (or in lieu of a blow torch use the grill on the oven to caramelise the sugar). Serve with berries. 

Recipe: pork fillet en croûte (v. 3) with mushroom crème

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This mushroom crème is EVERYTHING! I have used it in the past with meat both at a New Year’s Eve party and for more casual suppers and now I’ve incorporated it into a new recipe.

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It works SO well with the pork and puff pastry, and adds that lovely earthiness that mushrooms have to the dish, along with plenty of flavour and a bit of creaminess. Just love this so much. You can obviously use it in a Beef Wellington as well but there is just something about pork and mushrooms that work so well!

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Pork fillet en croûte with mushroom crèmeserves 2-4 (four as part of a three course meal, two as a stand alone dish)

1 large pork fillet (500g+)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp neutral oil

salt, black pepper

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

1 egg, beaten

Mushroom crème:

125 g chestnut mushrooms

1 handful dried ceps (porcini) in pieces 

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Cognac

50 ml double cream

salt, white pepper

Brown the pork fillet on all sides in the butter and oil and medium heat. Season well. Leave to cool completely.

Soak the ceps for a few minutes then squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop all the mushrooms roughly. Heat up a knob of butter in a frying pan/ on medium heat and add shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Fry slowly adding more butter if needed. Once the mushrooms have browned, add the mustard and Cognac and let the liquid evaporate. Add the cream and let the mixture thicken. Blend to a smooth paste using a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning. Leave to cool completely. 

Take the puff pastry from the fridge and roll it out. Spread out the mushroom crème but leave the edge without filling. Place the pork fillet on top of the puff pastry and roll into a parcel. Pinch together the edges to seal. Place on a parchment paper lined baking tray and decorate the top of the pastry with a small knife. Make two holes (chimneys) to let the steam out. Brush with beaten egg. Bake in a 200C oven until the pastry is golden brown and the meat almost cooked through, approx 12-15 minutes (or until the temperature of the meat is 62C). Rest for 5 minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve.