Recipe: Aubergine Pizza Toast

This recipe is the culmination of my struggle to come up with yummy ways to eat aubergine for my boyfriend who doesn’t particular like aubergine. I struggle to understand why as it’s one of my favourite vegetables, but I accepted the challenge and after having tested a few different dishes (layered melanzane parmigiana – edible, but not great according to him; quick aubergine and courgette lasagne – better!; non-layered melanzane – he thought this was a lot better than the layered version and something I can make again (hurrah!); fried aubergine with lumpfish roe and dill for canapés – this was a no go) I somehow came up with this aubergine pizza toast. I obviously liked it and luckily the boyfriend did too!

There are no complaints when I cook aubergine this way, so since its inception I have made it many many times! It’s perfect for lunch or dinner together with a green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (trust me on this, the balsamic goes SO well with this!) but I have no doubt I will adapt them into canapès some time soon, as they would be perfect pre-supper and are vegetarian!

Aubergine pizza toast, serves 2

I often roast the aubergine the day before, refrigerate and heat up again (either in the oven or in the microwave) just before assembling the toasts.

1 aubergine, peeled and cut into 1, 5 cm cubes

1 tbsp mild olive oil

salt and pepper

4 pieces sourdough or seeded bread

olive oil

1 garlic clove, cut in half

1-2 tsp dried oregano

4-5 tbsp tomato sauce

1 ball (125 g) buffalo mozzarella, sliced

grated parmesan

To serve:

good olive oil, to drizzle

salt and pepper

8 basil leaves, if you have

green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan. Place the diced aubergine in an ovenproof dish drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle with more oil. Add salt and pepper. Stir until evenly coated and roast in the oven for approx 15 minutes or until soft and a little dark around the edges.

Place the bread on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven to toast until golden brown, approx 5-10 minutes. Rub the garlic, cut side down, over the bread slices. Divide the cooked aubergine between the bread slices. Scatter with oregano. Spoon the tomato sauce on top. Divide the mozzarella and grate the parmesan over the toasts. Put the tray in the oven until the mozzarella is melted and bubbly.

Transfer the toasts to plates (two per plate) and add the finishing touches; , basil, a drizzle of good olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Serve with a green salad, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Recipe: Meat Fondue

When I was little (in the late 1980s, early 1990s) fondues seemed the height of fashion. I remember my parents once taking me to a restaurant to eat meat fondue when I was really little and it was so exciting! We also used to eat fondues at home and still do, as we all love it.

In Sweden it’s quite popular with a broth fondue (you cook the meat in the broth) but in my family we have always preferred oil.

My first ten years in London I didn’t eat a single meat fondue here (although you can in some places) but I of course had it with my parents when I went home to visit. Meat fondues are just not that popular here; it’s the cheese fondue that has found traction here. In fact, if you just say fondue in Sweden you mean the meat version, but if you say it here in the UK people will presume you’re talking about cheese!

But then I met my boyfriend, who had, not just one, but two cast iron fondue pots in his cupboard and grew up eating meat fondues too. With oil. So last year in lockdown we had a few fondue nights. I learned how to make cheese fondue (more on that later) and merged both of our meat fondue traditions into one.

It was so much fun (it’s a great date night or small dinner party activity) and so yummy! This year I might do a fondue for Valentin’e Day or maybe even two (a meat one AND a chocolate one). We’ll see.

Our Meat Fondue, serves 2

Meat: We decided on three types of meat; beef, pork and chicken, and I went for the fillet in all three cases. About 100 g of each type of meat per person, which is quite a lot, but we managed.

Potatoes and vegetables: I definitely prefer warm potatoes, so made potato wedges, but fries or chips would work too. I’m used to having just a salad but thought it would be fun to cook vegetables in the fondue pot as well. We had mushrooms, broccoli and peppers. The broccoli was our favourite!

Sauces: I made homemade bearnaise sauce and a sweet chilli creme fraiche sauce to go with the chicken and pork. Both delicious!

Fondue pot, fuel and oil: We used one fondue pot for two people, but for four people I would recommend two pots if you have, as it gets crowded otherwise and the meat doesn’t cook as fast. I ordered gel fuel from Amazon which worked so well and felt easier to handle than liquid fuel. It also didn’t smell very much. Most important with oil is that it’s one that can take high temperatures, like vegetable oil, warm pressed rapeseed oil or groundnut oil. I also heat it up properly on the stove first and then transfer it to the fondue pot, so it’s warm to begin with. I recommend three forks (or maybe even four) per person, with two it’s a bit too slow, especially if you cook the vegetables too.

Recipe: Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnuts, Rocket, Prosciutto and Tomato Crème

One of the best discoveries of last year was how easy it was to roast a whole head of cauliflower at home. I’ve had it in restaurants but it’s SO easy and delicious to make at home.

I have a very complicated relationship with cauliflower as I love the taste of it, but my stomach struggle with the high insoluble fibre content. But as I tried it again a few times last year, I discovered I could eat it if I made sure not to eat too much or eat other things high in fibre on the same day. So yay, I found a way to eat it again!

And last week I came up with this combination of how to eat it and it was so so good. I like the different textures and flavours and the tomato crème just brings it all together.

As you can see from the pictures, we also had some potatoes with it, because we needed carbs, and they totally worked, but didn’t really add much, so if you want more carbs with it I would suggest some good crusty sourdough bread on the side instead.

Whole roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts, rocket, prosciutto and tomato crème, serves 4 (as a large starter or smaller main course)

1 large head of cauliflower

75 g salted butter

salt and pepper

handful of hazelnuts

Tomato crème:

200 ml full fat creme fraiche

2 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp slow-roasted tomatoes in oil

To serve:

8 prosciutto slices

rocket

Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan. Place the whole head of cauliflower in a large ovenproof dish with sides. Place the butter on top of the cauliflower and place in the hot oven for 45-60 minutes. The cauliflower should have a nice brown colour and feel soft when pierced with a pairing knife. Spoon the melted butter over the cauliflower a few times while it cooks.

Place the hazelnuts on a small oven-proof tray and roast for the last 5-10 minutes the cauliflower is in the oven. Shake a few times while cooking, make sure they don’t burn.

For the tomato crème: Mix the slow-roasted tomatoes in a small blender or chop finely. Mix with the creme fraiche and mayonnaise in a bowl. Add salt and pepper.

To assemble: Place two slices of prosciutto on each plate. Cut up the cauliflower (I usually slice it) and arrange on the plates. Drizzle with the browned butter from the dish. Chop up the nuts and sprinkle over the cauliflower. Add rocket and tomato crème. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe: Omelette Tortilla Wrap

I posted this speedy lunch on my instagram stories a few days ago, and have already had several requests for the recipe, so here it comes!

However, I can’t take credit for creating it. It was my blogg friend Kim who shared it on her instagram and it looked so good I saved it and tried it last week. It’s infinitely adaptable and such a yummy and quick lunch! (I had fried peppers, cheese and rocket in mine but Kim had kale, ham and cheese, so just pick some toppings you like but I suggest cheese is one of them). It’s so so yummy and a perfect speedy lunch!

Omelette Tortilla Wrap, makes 1

1 large egg

1 tbsp cream or water

salt and pepper

knob of butter

1 medium or large flour tortilla

Filling:

fried peppers

a small handful rocket

grated cheddar

Beat the egg and cream in a small bowl. Add a little salt and pepper. Heat up a medium sized frying pan on medium heat and add the butter to the pan. Once it’s hot, add the egg mixture and cook for a minute or so moving it about gently with a spatula. Remove from heat and add your toppings. Place the tortilla bread on top and fry for another 30 seconds to a minute. Place a dinner plate on top of the frying pan and turn it upside down. Slide the omelette with the bread side down into the frying pan and fry it for a minute or two until gently golden brown. Remove and place on a chopping board. Roll it into a roll and cut in half. Serve with salad.

Two weeks in Sweden!

“Dig where you stand” is a popular saying in Sweden, and that’s how I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing on here after my very much unplanned (and rather long) hiatus.

So I thought I would start by looking back at my two weeks in Sweden. Show you what I got up to, and more importantly, ate!

My first supper in Sweden was a simple one, but I had craved proper (smoked) Swedish sausages for a long time, so sausages with buns and mamma’s homemade mash was perfect!

Christmas 2020, when I was in Sweden for a month (first isolating then staying with my parents) my parents and I ate so much we tried to dial it down this time, with some regular food in between the celebration dinners. And we felt much better for it! Case in point: homemade Jerusalem artichoke soup with crispy prosciutto crumbs and mamma’s homemade bread.

But we also indulged in the foods we love, like bleak roe toast and prawns! And pudding!

Our tree this year was probably the best we’ve ever had! So tall and handsome (and a lot bigger than our little London tree!).

I introduced my mamma to mince pies as I made them for the first time (on request) for our mini Christmas party in London. It’s not something I love, but this recipe with frangipane is excellent and they’re fun to make. I made them both regular size (here) and canapé sized for the party.

We had our traditional Christmas food on the 23rd, which we in Sweden call Lillejul (it translates to little Christmas) and it’s a day we’ve always celebrated in some ways. We usually see friends for glögg and when I was little we celebrated the 23rd with the same family friends every year and us children got to open a few presents (that we gave each other) early! It was really special. But these days we eat the traditional Christmas food (our favourites) that evening and have more a more festive dinner on Christmas Eve. It just suits us better.

We actually had a white Christmas this year! (Not a common thing in southern Sweden at all). It was really beautiful actually. This is the view from my bedroom and I just love it.

We opened our stockings (we only do it for fun, it’s not actually a Swedish tradition) before we had eggs, herring and other Christmassy things for lunch.

In the evening we had some nibbles and pink champagne to start off the evening.

Our Christmas Eve table!

This year we celebrated Christmas with fillet of beef, Hasselbacks potatoes (they’re Swedish you know) and homemade bearnaise sauce and for a little Christmas touch, brussels sprouts with butter and bacon.

Our pudding was very traditional, ris a’la Malta, which is basically a rice porridge (a bit looser than a rice pudding) served cold and with lots of lightly whipped cream mixed in. It’s delicious but SO heavy, I can only manage a small bowl.

Christmas Day was gorgeous so we drove to the beach for a lovely walk.

And by the time we came back home the sun was setting and the views were beautiful.

I made very decadent hot cocoas for pappa and I when we got back. With milk, real chocolate, whipped cream a plenty and marshmallows. So yummy!

We had turbot for dinner, cooked whole in the oven, with potatoes, the most delicious sauce, peas and mange tout.

One of the days after Christmas we used the leftovers to make Danish smørrebrød. It’s basically an open-faced sandwich with a small piece of bread and a lot of toppings (so you can eat more than one). It was so yummy and a genius idea as Christmas leftovers are always a bit tricky to use up (at least for us).

I had a lot of lovely family time but also met up with some friends. Sadly not as many as I had planned due to illnesses (Covid and others) but I was grateful for the ones I got to see. I had a few lovely walks (and fika) in the woods with friends, and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before. It’s so lovely to walk and talk (I always struggle to exercise when I’m home as most of my time is spent socialising and eating with friends and family), get fresh air, look at the scenery and such an easy way to see a friend. No need to book anything, dress up etc. Hope to do this more even post-pandemic!

Happy New Year!

Hello! Hope you’re all well and have a lovely break over Christmas and New Year!

I had two lovely weeks in Sweden over Christmas and really enjoyed a slightly slower pace than I have managed there before. I had more dinners at home with my dear parents than I usually do, and loved it. Every year is trial and error as I try to work out the best way of seeing my friends, spending time with family AND having some time to relax after a busy autumn. I definitely haven’t cracked it yet, but this trip was more restoring than usual, which is great.

As I got back to London I quickly repacked to go to Norfolk for New Year’s Eve. It was so lovely with a little break; no snow, and walks by the beach.

This week has mainly been about getting back into the work groove, pack away our Christmas decorations and tick things off the to-do list.

I hope you all got off to a lovely start of the year. Have you got any new year’s resolutions. I haven’t other than that I will try to write on here more regularly. I have so many recipes to post but have lacked both the time and inspiration to write, but I hope that will change.

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Loaf Cake with Chocolate Icing

As you probably know by now, tea time has become a very sacred ritual for us, mainly because my boyfriend is British and loves (!!) his cup of tea in the late afternoon early evening. And as we all know (right?), tea and cake go very well together. I grew up with tea and cake most evenings after supper so I obviously like it too. Sometimes we have biscuits but loaf cakes are a favourite because one can easily eat just a slice and pick it up with one’s hands.

This cake is my regular chocolate cake recipe scaled down to a loaf tin size, with added chocolate chunks and an icing, so more tried and tested than groundbreaking Because the batter is quite thin all the chocolate sinks to the bottom while baking, but I quite like that. The top is crunchy and has the icing and the bottom is soft but hides all the chocolate pieces.

My favourite thing about this cake though is that it lasts. It doesn’t get dry after two days, so there is no rush to eat it, just enjoy it when you want a slice. I would say it lasts well for up to a week, but it will probably get eaten much sooner than that! It also freezes well. Such a good cake!

Triple chocolate loaf cake with chocolate icing, serves 6-8

400 ml caster sugar

330 ml plain flour

4 tbsp cocoa

2,5 tsp vanilla sugar

2,5 tsp baking powder

135 g melted butter

3 eggs

200 ml recently boiled water

40 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

40 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Icing:

100 ml icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp cocoa, sifted

1-2 tbsp water

Mix the dry ingredients. Add eggs, butter and water, stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate. Pour into a greased loaf tin, lined with parchment paper. Bake in a low oven, 175 C for 35-45 minutes. Leave to cool.

Mix the ingredients for the icing in a bowl and spread onto the cake while it’s still warm but has cooled down a little.

Recipe: Huevos Rancheros

Deep-frying corn tortillas until cripsy has been a revelation. I suppose it’s the same as the hard shells you can buy at the supermarket, but it tastes so much better!

That fried corn tortilla is the base for huevos rancheros, a dish I wasn’t sure I would like, but I absolutely adore it. I do cheat with store-bought refried beans, because the M&S ones are really good and comes in a small tin perfect for two portions of huevos rancheros. The other toppings are of course optional but I think there should be avocado, soured cream, some kind of salsa or tomatoes, a fried egg obviously, grated cheese and plenty of coriander and lime.

I could never eat this for breakfast (it is a breakfast dish!); it’s much too filling, but it would be great for brunch or for supper, which is how we’ve eaten it.

Huevos rancheros, serves 2

Inspiration from Matrepubliken.

2 corn tortillas

200 ml vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 small tin refried beans (I buy from M&S) or homemade

Toppings:

1 avocado, sliced

soured cream

salsa

grated cheese

2 lime wedges

coriander

Heat up the oil in a deep frying pan until 170C. Place one tortilla at the time in the oil and fry until crispy and golden, approx 30 seconds. Turn it around so it’s golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen towel.

In a separate frying pan fry the eggs on high heat. Heat up the beans. Place the crispy tortillas on plates. Add a fried egg to each, divide the beans and follow with the toppings, salt and pepper. Eat while it’s warm.

Recipe: Creamy Langoustine Pasta with Garlic Butter Langoustines on the Shell

This summer, which I mainly spent in Norfolk, was heaven. Apart from the weather. But we had lots of barbecues and ate a lot of lovely local seafood.

But one day at the fishmongers, while also buying local crab, I couldn’t resist the beautiful looking Scottish langoustines. And that night I turned them into this stunning pasta dish with wine, tomatoes, cream and of course lots of langoustine meat.

I was quite generous with three each; half of the meat went into the sauce and the other half I kept in their shells, covered with garlic and parsley butter and put under the grill before placing them on top of the silky pasta. It was creamy, buttery and pure heaven to eat.

If I had had more time I would have made a quick stock from the shells to use in the pasta sauce but it wasn’t actually needed. Instead I put them in the freezer and made langoustine soup a few days later using a quick stock, a splash of wine and cream. Delicious!

Creamy langoustine pasta with garlic butter langoustines on the shell, serves 2

6 langoustines

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp butter

100 g cherry tomatoes, washed and halved

a small pinch of sugar

3 tbsp dry white wine

150 ml cream

salt and pepper

250 g spaghetti

4 tbsp salted butter, softened

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Start with the langoustines. Cut them all in half lengthways and get rid of the vein. Keep six halves in their shells but take the meat out of two of the claws, keep four as they are. Pick all the meat out of the remaining six half and cut into 1 cm pieces. Set aside.

Cook the pasta al dente according to the packet. Then start the sauce by placing a large frying pan on medium heat and add the butter. Cook the onions for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the wine and let it bubble away. Add sugar. Then add the cream and let it thicken slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix together the butter with garlic and parsley. Place the six langoustines halves shell on in an oven-proof dish. Spread with plenty of butter and place under a hot grill (250C) until bubbling and hot, it only takes a minute or two.

Heat up the sauce, add the langoustine meat, the drained pasta and a splash of pasta water and cook for a minute or so in the sauce while moving the pasta around the whole time. Once it is coating every strand of pasta in a satisfying manner, divide the pasta between two bowls. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then place the shell on langoustine halves on top, three in each bowl. Add two claws to each bowl and serve.

Recipe: Spaghetti with Buttery Tomato Sauce and Burrata

I take inspiration from all around me and my cooking philosophy (and perhaps generally in life too) is that everything can be improved upon. So even though I thought my regular tomato sauce could hold is own, I was intrigued when I saw Swedish food writer Sofia Wood add butter and honey to her tomato sauce on Instagram.

Not long after I saw that I made this spaghetti with tomato sauce and burrata and the butter, honey and lemon juice really improved my already quite good tomato sauce. The butter just makes it more mellow (in the best possible way) while also adding depth. I highly recommend trying this at home! The honey is less controversial as I always add sugar to my tomato sauce to take away sharpness, but honey works really well and you don’t have to be scared you added too much like you can with sugar. Lastly, the lemon juice added back a bit of sharpness after having removed some with adding butter and honey, but it adds a different kind of sharpness than the tomatoes have naturally – it’s fresher!

So with all these little tweaks my tomato sauce was taken to the next level and it was SO good paired with creamy burrata, olive oil and basil that I urge you, yes URGE you, to try it too!

Spaghetti with buttery tomato sauce and burrata, serves 2

1 burrata, 200 g

300 g spaghetti

1 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

400 g passata

50 ml water

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp salted butter

1-2 tsp lemon juice

1 small bunch basil, finely chopped

salt and pepper

Topping:

torn basil

extra virgin olive oil

grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Take the burrata out of the fridge. Add the oil to a large sauce pan on medium heat. Fry the garlic for a few minutes but don’t let it get too brown. Add the passata and water and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add honey and butter to the sauce and let it melt while stirring. Add the lemon juice and basil and season well to taste.

Add the drained spaghetti to the sauce and a little pasta water if needed. Continue to cook the pasta in the sauce while moving the pasta around in the pan with tongs until each strand of spaghetti is evenly coated with tomato sauce. Remove from heat and divide between bowls.

Tear the burrata in two and divide between bowls. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter with basil and add extra salt and pepper. Finish it off with a generous scattering of grated parmesan.