Ah, summer is here!

How is it June already?! I so want to hit the pause button (at least the days that are sunny!) so the summer can last even longer. Summer is without a doubt my favourite time of year. Finally I can be outside without being cold and wear dresses (without tights!) every day.

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Last week was a bit uneventful on the social side (although much needed) so instead the weekend was a busy and fun one!

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It was gorgeous weather on Friday and after work I could enjoy the setting sun while playing crazy golf and sipping on rosé. Once it got darker we headed indoors and had lots of steak and red wine for dinner.

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Saturday started with my favourite past-time; a lie-in and scrambled eggs for breakfast, followed by quite a long walk in beautiful Richmond Park. We saw deer, swans, squirrels and the rather exotic parakeets that reside there.

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But the best part was the view from King Henry’s Mound, and the ice cream we got nearby!

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In the evening a friend invited us round for a BBQ and in typical British fashion we sat outside despite the light rain, which luckily didn’t last long. The menu was perfect burgers and sausages, salad and ice cold rosé followed by berries and ice cream.

 

Sunday was a day of chores and getting ready for the week ahead, and in the evening I finally started watching the third season of Broadchurch. SO good!

 

 

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Busy week and a long weekend in Sweden!

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Last week was short for me as I managed to take Friday off work. Such a treat! But it meant the work week was really busy. But in a good way. When you feel efficient and in control.

One evening I met up with my friend Malin who was in town from New York, and we had a lovely dinner and catch-up at Granger & Co in Chelsea.

On Thursday I had a quick drink at a colleague’s leaving do before going to the airport and the south of Sweden.

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I had a lovely four days there visiting my parents and it was just wonderful. The weather was amazing (like summer!) and we had barbecues and ate lots of berries and ice cream and just took it easy.

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It was such a needed break for me and good to catch up with my dear parents, as it’s been a while since we saw each other. There’s lots on Instagram from my weekend away but I will post some new recipes here soon to. Stay tuned…

 

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgette and feta

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I snapped this picture as I was throwing this pasta together for lunch the next day, but I must say it exceeded my expectations so much I wish I had allowed myself time to take a nicer picture.

This is another dish where the sum is (much) greater than the individual parts; it’s just a simple dish that works. I love every bite of the slightly al dente pasta coated in fresh wild garlic pesto, the crunch from the raw thinly sliced baby courgettes, the bigger bits of tender-but-not-too-tender broccoli and the slightly melted pieces of tangy feta. I urge you to try it for your next picnic, barbecue or quick weekday supper.

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgettes and feta, serves 2

200 ml orzo 

2-3 tbsp wild garlic pesto

1 baby courgette, thinly sliced

4 stems tenderstem broccoli 

100 g feta

a little olive oil if needed 

salt & pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the broccoli in boiling salted water and cook until a little tender but still al dente and cut each stem into four. Drain the pasta in a sieve and pour it back into the empty saucepan. Stir in the pesto and add a little olive oil if needed. Add the courgette slices and the broccoli. Mix together and season to taste. Add the crumbled feta and stir once more before serving. 

Fake Shack sauce

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I cooked (and ate!) a lot of nice food when I was back home in Sweden in August. But my family and I have a tendency to get a bit overboard sometimes. So one day we decided to not make an elaborate three course meal. Instead we had these yummy homemade burgers with a homemade version of the Shake Shack sauce. So good!

I first saw the Fake Shack sauce recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s wonderful blog and knew I just had to make it. And it hit the spot just as I thought it would. My parents liked it too and from now on this is definitely my go-to burger sauce.

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Fake Shack sauce, serves 4

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

60 ml mayonnaise (homemade or Hellman’s)

1 1/2 tsp juice from a pickle jar

1 1/2 tsp ketchup

1 tsp yellow mustard 

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Mix the ingredients, taste and adjust the flavour until you’re happy with the balance. Serve with burgers. 

Marinated chicken skewers with mint, chilli and lime

IMG_7951After bubbly and crostini we moved in to a rosé from Languedoc, barbecued chicken and vegetable skewers and my favourite potato salad with pears and blue cheese, asparagus and two cold sauces.

The chicken had marinated in the fridge for two days and really soaked up the flavours of chilli, mint and lime from the marinade. The vegetable skewers with peppers, red onion and mushrooms and a basic sweet chilli dressing were lovely too. IMG_7956The asparagus was just steamed, paired with a bit of butter and placed on top of some rocket. There were enough flavours in the potato salad and skewers not to over-complicate things. IMG_7967The dinner party went really and it was lovely to have the girls over. I just love cooking for others! 🙂

Marinated chicken skewers with mint, chilli and lime, serves 6

Adapted from Diana Henry’s recipe in A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious.

12 skinless chicken thigh fillets 

zest from 4 limes, juice from 6

2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

3 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tbsp fish sauce

6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tbsp chopped mint

3 tbsp olive oil

Remove fat and tendons from the chicken and cut into chunks. Place in a dish or bowl and season. Mix the ingredients to the marinade in a bowl and pour it over the chicken, mixing well so all the chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover with cling and refrigerate over night (at least). Soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes then thread the chickens onto them and barbecue. Serve with more lime juice and chopped mint.  

Barbecued bavette

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When Daniel, Maria and Otto came over for dinner when they were in London, I was pretty rushed with work and didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare their dinner.

To start we had some nibbles like Spanish ham, olives and marinated feta and for the maincourse I barbecued bavette. I picked up the meat in the local Whole Foods (thank you for opening a shop in my neighbourhood!) after work together with a chimichurri rub I massaged into the meat together with some oil, before putting it on the grill. We have a gas grill so it doesn’t get incredibly hot, but I barbecued it for approximately 10 minutes on each side and let it rest before slicing it and serving it with roasted new potatoes, Mexican corn salad, regular salad and guacemole.

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I prefer to make as much as possible from scratch when I cook so I’m not entirely proud of buying a ready-made rub. At least it didn’t have any dodgy ingredients in it and it tasted delicious and really lifted the meat. Next time I will attempt to make my own.

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For dessert we had homemade dulce de leche icecream I had made the week before together with some shop-bought chocolate chip cookies. Again, I would have preferred to make my own, but these cookies  from Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Range were really nice. So if I have to cheat I prefer to do it this way.

Dinner at The Big Easy, Covent Garden

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The Big Easy on Kings Road has been around for 20 odd years and only recently opened a more central sister restaurant in Covent Garden. My friend Gaby introduced me to the original restaurant and she was also the one suggesting we try out the new edition on one of our girl’s nights.

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The menu is quite very similar to the Kings Road restaurant but the restaurant itself is a lot bigger, more spacious and feels more modern. On the lower ground floor you can see the chefs hard at work in the kitchen and there is a bar area on each floor.

We started with some voodoo prawns (top picture) and delicious chicken wings to share since we know that the portions here are big here, huge in fact. Which of course fits well with the American BBQ food they serve.

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Gaby and Rowena had the ribs and although they had had them before they were surprised of the portion size. Six big, juicy (and very delicious) ribs each, as well as coleslaw, beans and a potato salad makes for quite a substantial meal…

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Laura and I chose the lobster roll which was really good but really filling as well. The filling had large chunks of lobster and was quite creamy (in a good way) and brioche roll was large and shaped like a loaf. With a side salad and chips we were stuffed!

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Instead of pudding (as they all seemed too heavy in our food coma state) we had some cocktails and milkshakes. Even the milkshake was too much for me but really yummy.

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I really like this place! As a restaurant it feels more up to date than the Kings Road branch mainly because it is a lot bigger and has a more modern look. It’s more fun on the weekend as it is buzzing with people and has a large capacity and the food is just as good as on the Kings Road.

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I definitely think it is a winning concept; not changing the menu trying to be too edgy but instead sticking to what you know.

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack, 12 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA