Summer is here!

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FINALLY! It’s summer in London and I’m loving it. Plus it’s the World Cup and I’m of course supporting both Sweden and England. And soon Wimbledon starts too.

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London summers are always busy, probably because we try to embrace every outdoor eating and drinking opportunity we can find this time of year! And that’s exactly what I embraced the past week.

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On Tuesday it was lovely and sunny in the evening, so a friend and I had pre-dinner prosecco and snacks on the roof terrace. So lovely and something I hope to enjoy many more evenings this summer. As it was a work night and I hadn’t have much time to prep, I for once used shortcuts. Something I’m usually reluctant to do, but it was actually really nice to avoid the last minute scramble I usually have to endure to get a dinner going. Instead I turned to the supermarket for nibbles so all I did was take it out of it’s packaging, which meant I only had an easy main course and some whipping to do. Amazing!

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The main course was a proper Spaghetti Carbonara (will post the recipe soon) served with a simple green salad, and for pudding I made Eton Mess with store-bought meringues.

On Thursday two colleagues invited me along to a work event so it was networking, champagnes and canapés all evening (part of it outside!).

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On Friday I met up with Gaby and Rowena for an al fresco dinner at Ham Yard Hotel. So lovely. Eventually it got cold but then we moved inside to a comfortable table with a sofa.

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Saturday and Sunday were more relaxed; I could catch up on chores and sleep. Had time for face masks (very important), sunbathing on the roof terrace, watching the football and a nice long walk at dusk. Oh, and a trip to the cinema. I feel thoroughly recharged and ready for the next few busy weeks until I go home to Sweden at the end of July.

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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

Recipe: salmon en crôute

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When I had friends over for an al fresco luncheon at the summer house in August, this salmon en crôute was a great success. I have Gordon Ramsay to thank for the excellent recipe, although I tweaked it slightly, using puff pastry instead of shortcrust and doubled the recipe.

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I served the salmon with buttery amandine potatoes with peas and dill, provencale tomatoes and a lovely sauce I will tell you all about in another post. Everybody liked it, including the children!

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It was just the perfect summer’s day to sit outside sipping rosé and catching up with dear friends.

I did make too much salmon though, but that just meant I had lunch for the next day. And heated up in the oven (a microwave will make the pastry soggy) it was as good as the day before!

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Salmon en crôute, serves 4

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe.

I doubled the recipe and made two parcels, and also substituted the shortcrust pastry for puff as I like the buttery flakiness better.

1 side of salmon (as even as possible), about 900 g, skinned

a little olive oil

60 g butter, softened

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

generous handful of basil leaves, chopped

small handful of dill leaves

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1 roll puff pastry with butter

1 egg yolk, beaten

Check the salmon for pin bones, removing any that you find. 

Mix the softened butter with the lemon zest, basil, dill and some salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Pat the salmon fillets dry with kitchen paper, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the herb butter over one side and place the salmon with the buttery side down on the rolled out puff pastry. Spread the mustard on top and bring up the edges and tuck them in before folding the rest of the pastry over to form a neat parcel. Carefully turn the whole thing over so that the seam is underneath and place on a parchment lined baking tray.

Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Lightly score a herringbone or cross-hatch pattern using the back of a knife. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover loosely and chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C. 

Bake the salmon for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Rest the salmon for 5 minutes, then cut into portions.