Burgers, theatre and a weekend in the country

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I’m so pleased I managed to do some more cooking last week, than in the recent weeks. Nothing life-altering but I feel so much better eating proper home cooked food. On Monday I made my go-to fast food supper of rosti with creme fraiche, lumpfish roe and chopped red onions. It’s quick and yummy and I even made some extra for lunch the next day.

 

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On Tuesday we went to the theatre, but as it was a long play we made sure to eat something beforehand. Luckily Bleecker on the Southbank is perfectly located for a pre-theatre burger, which also happens to be one of my favourites!

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The play we saw was The Lehman Trilogy at The National Theatre and it was OUTSTANDING! Amazing actors and amazing story! A must see!

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And as always when I walk from the office across the Thames to the Southbank I always stop on Hungerford Bridge to admire the view (and take a few snaps). London is such a beautiful city!

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The rest of the week I tried on dresses and packed for the weekend. As I like to be prepared I even brought backup dresses, but luckily I didn’t have to use them! But I also cooked and made enough of this pasta with spinach and nuts for two suppers. Really yummy!

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Friday night was a chilled out night in, with some yummy food. To stop me from becoming hangry while I was cooking the mains, we had some shop-bought blinis with smoked salmon, soured cream and chives to start. Then steak, roasted new potatoes, homemade bearnaise sauce and vegetables. And we watched some more Handmaid’s Tale and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

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On Saturday morning we left London for Somerset and enjoyed the beautiful countryside on the way there and stopped at a pub en route for a quick bite. Then it was party and dancing all night long followed by a lunch day before driving back to London and collapsing on the sofa in front of (more) Handmaid’s Tale and some yummy grilled cheese.

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Second week of holiday!

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My second week in Sweden I tried to take it a bit easier than the first. Try to wind down, not set an alarm and lower the pace. The first day that didn’t happen as I had invited eight adults and five children over for lunch, but I think I managed OK the rest of the week.

But back to the lunch. I skipped a starter so the children didn’t have to sit still for too long; instead everybody could mingle around with a glass of rosé in hand and snacking on these lovely crisps with browned butter, lemon juice and grated cheese.

For the main course I made chicken with lots of garlic and lemon, potato wedges, caramelised garlic sauce and a nice salad.

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And for pudding I let everybody put together their own pudding of soft meringue (everybody loves this one!), ice cream, lightly whipped cream, chocolate sauce. berries and figs.

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In the evening I had a simple supper consisting of Danish red pølse and all the trimmings. So yummy!!

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The next day I went to the beach in Skanör with friends and their three children.

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They brought a lovely picnic and there was a lot of swimming with the kids mixed with chatting to their parents. Such a lovely day that we finished off with a late lunch in the harbour nearby followed by ice cream.

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Wednesday I slept late and spent my time in the sun in the garden before going for dinner at a friend’s new house! They’d made salmon with salad, potato wedges, two sauces and nice bread and for pudding we had rhubarb pie with ice cream. A perfect summer’s evening.

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The next day was another quiet one, with some rain but also some time on the beach (yay!) before having dinner with my parents in the evening. I made lots of pizzas which I will blog about later.

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Friday started off the same way (not bad eh?! three lazy days in a row!) and finished with dinner at Badhytten with all the seafood!

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My last full day in Sweden I spent partly with my best friend, partly with my parents. Friends of the family came by for fika in the afternoon and in the evening my parents and I had something we never get tired off; fillet of beef with homemade bearnaise sauce. This was the first time we had dinner indoors as the weather turned, but I’m grateful for the sunny days I got!

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Sunday was my last day and my best friend and her family came over for lunch with my parents. I got lots of cuddles from my god daughter but we also had some lovely food. Mamma cooked arctic char with potatoes, mange tout, carrots and two sauces; one with caviar and this one with apple. The pudding was a huge success too (although dad would have liked a sweeter version) and I will blog all about it later.

Then off I went to the airport with a quick pit stop at my parents’ house where I hadn’t been all summer. Thank you, near and dear ones, for a lovely two weeks! ❤

Pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce

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It may seem a strange pizza topping, but I assure you it’s not. Most pizzerias in Sweden offer this and it’s probably the best hangover cure in the world, right up there with a kebab pizza. Yes, that’s also a thing in Sweden!

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You see, most pizzeras in Sweden are not authentic Italian ones but conveniently located in small towns, even villages and the go-to place for a takeaway. The menu is often eclectic and most have one called ‘pizzeria name’ + special, which is their take on the beef and bearnaise sauce pizza. It’s rarely you get nice beef though, it’s more similar to kebab meat but it’s still nice.

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Since bearnaise sauce on pizza is not a thing in the UK (sob), I made my own the other day. With proper rare fillet of beef. It was so delicious and I can’t wait to have it again. Because although the Swedish pizza with beef and bearnaise sauce have a special place in my heart and something I have to have at least once a year when I go home, this was SO much better.

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I was tempted to make my own bearnaise sauce to put on the pizza, but was afraid it might split on the hot pizza base so I decided to play it safe and use a store bought, more stable version.

Homemade pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce, per pizza

1 batch pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas, or halve it if you only want to make 1) 

Tomato sauce:

1 garliv clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 buffelo mozzarella

oregano

70 g fillet of beef

butter for frying

a few spoonfuls good quality bearnaise sauce (I imported mine from Sweden)

Make the dough. When it’s raising, make the tomato sauce: Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, some water and the tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Season to taste and put aside. 

Once the dough has risen, roll out a pizza. Spread with tomato sauce and distribute torn chunks of mozzarella on the pizza. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with orgeano. Bake in 225C oven for approx 10 minutes until cooked through. 

Season the beef and fry it in butter while the pizza is in the oven. It only needs 1-2 minutes per side. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then slice it thinly. 

Remove the pizza from the oven. Add the beef and bearnaise sauce. Serve immediately!  

Meat feast at Chop Shop

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It was thanks to Taste of London that I heard of Chop Shop in the first place. At the festival in June Caroline and I tried two dishes from Chop Shop and they were both really nice, so when a colleague suggested a meaty lunch (his favourite) it was the first place I suggested.

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I eat plenty of vegetarian meals when I cook for myself, so when I choose meat I want to make sure it’s of good quality. And it certainly was here at Chop Shop. Don’t let the type of food served here fool you; it’s all properly done from scratch.

To start our meal we had two starters to share, both typical fast food dishes but done very well. The sausage roll, with nothing in common with the ones sold in Greggs, was utterly delicious. The meat inside was very nicely seasoned and nice and soft, and the pastry was lovely too.

The chicken wings were some of the best I’ve had. The waitress told us the chilli sauce was very hot, so on her suggestion we had the barbecue sauce on them instead. Although delicious, I missed the heat that I associate with buffalo chicken wings. I guess I just have to come back and have the chilli sauce next time.

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For his main course Max had the burger (which I can’t wait to try next time), and he made purring sounds all the way through it, it was that good. Just look at it, it’s burger perfection.

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I had the hanger steak (so tender!), with rosemary fries and the most wonderful bearnaise sauce. Probably the best one I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

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I was so full after my steak I could barely muster the slow walk back to the office but Max still had room for pudding, and decided on this beast or a butterscotch pudding. It was also really nice, so top marks all round.

Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RF

A typical family dinner (for us anyway)

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My first evening in Sweden I just relaxed at home with my parents enjoying a lovely, yet still pretty low-key, dinner. We started off with little puff pastry quiches with girolles (love girolle season, especially as it coincides with crayfish season!) after my own recipe.

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We then had fillet of beef (we do like our meat) cooked differently for each of us (mine blue, dad’s rare, mum’s medium) served with lambs lettuce, tomato salad, roasted potatoes and homemade bearnaise sauce. SO nice!

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After a little break we finished off with an almost healthy pudding; fresh fruit and berries (blueberries, raspberries, melon, grapes and nectarines) with vanilla ice cream.

I never tire of steak and bearnaise sauce

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I could full well have a blue sirloin for breakfast, which you can here, but it feels a little too extravagant for everyday. However, I can get such steak and bearnaise cravings that I would whip up a batch of sauce just for me, which might sound a bit laborious, but I can assure you it is – if not completely normal – worth it.

Bearnaise sauce, serves 1

just about 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp dried tarragon

1 tbsp water

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

50 g butter, cold/at room temperature and cut into cubes 

Pour vinegar and tarragon into a non-stick (small) saucepan. Reduce on high heat and turn the fan on high (it has a strong smell). Be careful not to burn the tarragon. Once most of the liquid has evaporated remove from heat and add the water. This will soak up the flavours left in the pan. Leave to cool a little then add the egg yolk. Use low heat or a bain marie and add one butter cube and let it melt while whisking. It is important to whisk continuously. Add the cubes a few at the time, once melted add a few more and repeat until they have all melted. Take care while continuing whisking for the sauce to thicken. One thick and warm remove from heat but continue to whisk for a little while. Adjust the seasoning and serve. 

Dinner at Hawksmoor Guildhall

My summer was rather packed with fun things, and while busy having fun, I didn’t have time to update you about everything. Like going to Hawksmoor for the first time and loving it. 

Linus, a friend from home whom I have known since secondary school, came to visit during the Olympics. When trying to decide where to go for supper one evening, I asked him what type of food he would like. The answer came quicky: – Meat.

I have been wanting to go to Hawksmoor for ages and saw my chance, and managed to book a table for the following day. As most Londoners I expected London to be super busy during the Games, and thought it almost impossible to get a dinner reservation with short notice. This was not the case, however, when we got to the restaurant in the City on a Friday night it was far from full and the staff said that it was very quiet during the Olympics.

Once seated at our rustic dark wood table, both Linus and I couldn’t help but drool over the massive steak at the table next to us. It was a moment of ‘We’re having what he’s having’, after takling to the knowledgable waitress about the different cuts. Our neighbour had a Porterhouse steak, so we had one too, to share as it weighed in at 900 g.

We also had crispy delicious chips, the best bearnaise sauce I’ve ever had in a restaurant (and it was a generous portion too), fried portobello mushrooms and a bottle of red.

With that much meat we ate slowly to be able to really enjoy it and finish it.
We both really enjoyed this meal. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, the grub is really good, the meat amazing (so full of flavour) and the staff both knowledable, pleasant and a little laid back.

There are plenty of steak restaurants in London and without trying them all, I think I can say that Hawksmoor is definitely up there with the best ones!

Hawksmoor Guildhall
10 Basinghall Stree
London EC2V 5BQ