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!  

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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

Hix, Soho

My friend Kristin, who I know from Uni back in Sweden, lives in London too, and we try to meet up once a month to catch up, enjoy good food and speak Swedish. The first time we met up we had oysters and pig’s trotters at Terroirs, so it is safe to say we’re both foodies.

My last week in London before going on holiday we had dinner at Hix, where we both enjoyed baked bone marrow.

We met straight after work and had time for a glass at Mark’s Bar in the basement at Hix before dining on the ground floor. The food is prepared in simple ways to enhance the fantastic produce. Seasonal food and local produce are definitely key words here.

I started off with a plate of girolles, just lightly fried in herb butter. The mushrooms were beautiful (and I should now, us Swedes take girolles seriously) and very enjoyable.

Kirstin chose sand eels with caper mayonnaise and received a huge plateful. I got to try them too, and they were definitely the best sand eels I’ve had.

Both Kristin and I chose hanger steak with baked bone marrow for mains. The meat was perfectly cooked (mine rare and Kristin’s medium-rare) and again the portions were huge. The bone marrow was mixed with a mustardy stuffing and baked in the bone and was absolutely wonderful. And a fun way to serve it too.

Although the portions were big we still ordered sides, which was totally unnecessary. I hardly touched my chips or Kristin her salad. We also got three sauces with the steak; a mint sauce, a hot mustardy sauce and both our favourites, the bearnaise sauce.

The food at Hix was delicious, but rather expensive. Absolutely worth it once in a while but when spending money in this price range I usually choose more complicated gourmet restaurants. This was my first time at Hix and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I prefer St John in this restaurqnt category, but it is definitely a good thing that such a restaurant exists in Soho,

Bonus: Mark Hix’s recipe of the main course we had; hanger steak with baked bone marrow.

Roast topside of beef with bearnaise sauce

My little autumn cooking project will be to master all kinds of roasts and casseroles, ans it is so much fun.

We had this for supper last Saturday and it was lovely. If we have steak I prefer mine blue, basically just turned in a hot pan, but I prefer a roast rare, as topside needs longer to cook. And this was cooked to perfection with my references. It was a little bloody, proper red meat and still tender and juicy.

I served it with bèarnaise sauce, which I love and the recipe below is both easy and makes the perfectly balanced sauce. In restaurants you often get a terrible vinegary runny sauce, and this it is counterpart. The sauce is thick and velvety, has enough vinegar to not be buttery, but not so much that it takes over. I’m salivating just thinking about it…

Further, I served potato wedges and purple sprouting with the meal and red wine is almost compulsory.

Roast topside of beef, serves 4

600-800 g topside of beef

salt, black pepper

butter and oil for frying

Trim the meat and pat it with plenty of salt and pepper. Brown it in a hot frying pan in the butter and oil until nice and brown on all sides. Place in an oven dish or put the pan (no plastic handles) straight in the oven. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Place it in a 150C oven for about 20 minutes or until the inner temperature is 43C. Remove the meat from the dish/frying pan and cover wuth tin foil. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving in slices.

Bèarnaise sauce 2.0, serves 2-4

2,5 tbsp white wine vinegar

1,75 tsp dried tarragon

2 tbsp water

3 egg yolks

150 g butter cold or at room temperature, cut into small cubes

Add the vinegar and tarragon to a nonstick saucepan. Reduce on high heat while stirring and the fan on full until most of the liquid has evaporated. Make sure not to burn the herbs. Remove from heat and add the water. Add the egg yolks and stir. Place the pan on low heat and stir until it starts to thicken slightly, add a butter cube and while stirring, watch it melt. Add another and repeat. Remember to stir/whisk all the time. After a few cubes you can a few at the time. Repeat until all the butter has melted. Let it thicken some more if needed, and remember that it will keep cooking even when you remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and white pepper if needed. Pour into a cold sauce bowl straight away and serve.