I spent almost a whole week in Norfolk with my boyfriend’s family at the end of August. We had gorgeous weather (hello heatwave!) and such a lovely time.
And it must have been the nice weather and the proximity to the sea that inspired one of his sisters to barbecue a whole fish. And not just any fish, but a large (huge!) turbot! It was a nice size for the amount of people to feed but it did look ridiculous on the little coal barbecue we insisted on using.
Despite the poor optics it actually worked really well grilling the big fish and the actual cooking time was only approx 30 minutes. The hardest part was turning it over and making a secure tin foil parcel that size to hold all the butter!
I do hope we can inspire you to try new (and perhaps a little crazy) things! And I think any white fish would work well with this treatment; I mean lemon, olive oil and butter are pretty universal when it comes to fish – just adjust the cooking time.
Whole grilled turbot with olive oil, lemon and butter, serves 8
1 whole turbot, gutted (not sure how much it weighed but as you can see it was big!)
100-200 ml olive oil
1 lemon, juice only
250 g butter
Rub or brush both sides of the fish with plenty of olive oil so it won’t stick to the barbecue. Season well on both sides. Grill each side for about 5 minutes then remove from the barbecue. Make a large foil packet to hold the fish and add plenty of dollops of butter on each side of the fish. Squeeze plenty of lemon juice on both sides as well and season well (again! – a large fish needs plenty of seasoning). Close the foil package and put it on the barbecue and cover with a lid. Cook for approx 20 minutes (until the fish is flaky and comes off the bone). Scatter with chopped parsley.
Growing up in the countryside in the south of Sweden I didn’t realise how lucky I was to grow up in such an idyllic place. Fast forward to present time living in a big city, where getting fresh herbs and locally grown vegetables can be quite tricky at times.
So my first night in Sweden this summer I cooked us a fairly standard summer meal of pork fillet, salad and potatoes. Normally I would cook the meat on the barbecue to get that charred flavour, but due to the first barbecue ban in my life time (even in your own garden – it was that dry) I had to make do with the stove and oven. And sitting outside in the sunshine it was still a lovely meal.
Mainly because of the sauce I literally threw together on the spot. It’s a simple cold sauce with mainly creme fraiche and a little mayonnaise as a base (us Swedes make sauces like this ALL the time), but what made it so nice was the mix (and quantity) of fresh herbs from the garden. An absolute treat for this city girl and something I used to take for granted when I lived at home.
Garlic and herb sauce, serves 3-4
300 ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Acacia honey
3/4 small garlic clove, finely chopped
approx 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley
salt and pepper
Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise. Then add mustard, honey, garlic and herbs and leave for a while for the flavours to develop before serving. Season to taste.
I’m enjoying my summer so much right now, and my holiday hasn’t even started yet. Must be a good sign for the next few weeks!
Monday I had a cheeky after work drink with a colleague, which was much needed. Not the drink in itself but catching up outside of the office.
Tuesday was less indulgent; instead I cooked a simple supper at home, did some chores and tidied up.
Wednesday a friend had us round for a barbecue which was lots of fun and really yummy! Loving all the summer evenings spent in friend’s gardens sipping rosé and chatting away.
On Thursday we first had burgers at Bleecker’s pop-up on the Southbank (love their burgers) before going to National Theatre to see Julie, a modern adaptation of Strindberg’s classic play. It was such a good play and Vanessa Kirby was AMAZING as Julie. Never have 1 hr 25 minutes gone by so fast!
The weekend started with an impromptu dinner at The Orange with friends on Friday night, followed by a lie-in the next morning.
After a late breakfast we walked around Battersea Park and had lunch in the beer garden at The Prince Albert.
Then we went for another stroll and had an ice cream before leaving the park.
In the evening I made some sharing food (caprese, parma parcels with figs and rocket, saucisson, cheese and bread) and we started two new TV series. First The Handmaid’s Tale which was brilliant but so hard to watch I couldn’t watch two episodes in a row, so instead we started on Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, which also was very good.
Yesterday I had another lie-in to make up for the late weeknights, and had a rather chilled out day. For supper I made a slow cooked pasta bolognese with garlic bread and afterwards we saw Incredibles 2 in the cinema!
I must admit I feel slightly stressed that it’s already the middle of July. In less than two weeks I go home to Sweden for two weeks and I have quite a lot to do before then, but the main reason I’m stressed is that I don’t want this lovely summer to end! It’s been so lovely and I want it to continue forever.
I’m really looking forward to my weeks in Sweden but London is lovely too at the moment. Last week was busy but fun and one of the highlight was definitely the RAF fly-over on Tuesday to mark their hundred year anniversary. Wow!
In the evening I met up with the girls at Chick ‘n’ Sours for nachos (probably the best ever), fried chicken, cocktails and of course a proper catch-up. It was much needed and so lovely!
On Thursday I was invited to Shakespeare’s The Tempest at an outdoor theatre in Covent Garden. Always nice with some culture!
And before the theatre we had a quick meal at cosy Polpo nearby. Love those meatballs!
Friday I had a (much needed) night in, with face masks, scented candles and a not great but fine rom-com.
The weekend was all about sport, apart from the Saturday evening which was all about Tim (the birthday boy) and the barbecue him and Laura had arranged. We had Pimm’s and snacks in the garden, followed by a barbecue complete with burgers and two types of sausages and finished off with proper American s’mores. Yum! When it got dark we ventured inside for board games and champagne.
Sunday started with a lie-in (yes!) followed by a whole afternoon in a lovely beer garden watching both the Wimbledon final and the World Cup final.
It was nice and relaxing with a glass of rosé in hand. Afterwards we went for a little walk, then headed back for homemade club sandwiches and the last episode of Billions. Can’t wait for the next season to start!
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.
Last week was a bit uneventful on the social side (although much needed) so instead the weekend was a busy and fun one!
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.
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.
But the best part was the view from King Henry’s Mound, and the ice cream we got nearby!
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
After 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. The 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. The 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.
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.
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.
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.