Bank holiday weekend in Stockholm!

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The beginning of last week was pretty rubbish; I was ill and the weather was horrible in London.

I felt better on Tuesday and saw The Ferryman play after work. It was really amazing! Before the theatre we had a quick burger at Café Monico next door.

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Wednesday I met up with a friend at Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden, where neither of us had been before. We had some lovely champagne and a charcuterie and cheese board.

Thursday I packed for the bank holiday weekend in Stockholm as we left straight after work on Friday. Dinner was on board a plane but I made up for it the following days with lots of nice food!

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My friend Carina hosted a lovely brunch on the Saturday, with eggs and bacon, salmon and BBQ followed by rosé and fika on the balcony. After brunch we walked around town taking in the beauty of it. Stockholm is definitely prettiest in the sunshine, with the sun reflections in the water.

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We saw the cherry blossoms in Kungsträdgården, walked around Gamla Stan (Old Town), past City Hall and back towards Vasastan.

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In the evening we had a lovely dinner at Hillenberg and then a drink and awesome people-watching at Riche.

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On Sunday we had brunch at Mr Cake, and it was just as fabulous as I had imagined it to be! (Full post to come).

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After brunch we went out to Täby, one of the suburbs and stayed with my friend Linus and his family. We had fika in the woods, a lovely dinner and lots of quality time.

On Monday it was lunch at my fave Rolfs Kök and then drinks with Carina at Tranan before heading to the airport!

Such a lovely weekend, with great company, good food and the best weather!

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Recipe: Shakshuka with yoghurt and feta

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At the brunch in December I introduced my friends to shakshuka, which they all loved. It’s such a great brunch dish if there is several of you as you can make the tomato sauce ahead and then cooked the eggs in the oven. If I make a smaller portion for lunch or dinner I cook it in a frying pan on the hob and cover the pan with a lid, as it’s quicker than heating up the oven.

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My version of shakshuka has the usual base of peppers, onions and tomatoes as well as tinned tomatoes to make it saucy. After baking the eggs in the oven I add the toppings; Greek yoghurt, crumbled feta and chilli flakes. If I made this just for myself I would have added some Tabasco as well, but here I left it on the side so everyone could help themselves if they wanted more of a kick.

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Bacon isn’t really necessary with this egg dish, but it works so well at brunch (and with the mushroom omelette) I thought it was a nice addition.

Scandelight’s shakshuka, serves 4-6

1 shallots, chopped

1 small garlic clove, chopped

2 bell peppers (of any colour), chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 large tin (400 g) tinned chopped tomatoes

30 ml water

salt, black pepper

a pinch of sugar

6 medium eggs

200 ml full-fat Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 lemon

chilli flakes

1/2 packet feta 

Pour a little oil in a large frying pan or saucepan. Fry the garlic and onions until golden (not brown). Remove from the pan. Fry the peppers until soft and add the fresh tomatoes. Add the garlic and onions and stir on medium heat until nice and soft. Add the tinned tomatoes and water and stir occasionally. Season to taste with plenty of salt, black pepper and sugar if needed. Let the mixture thicken. 

If using a frying pan, make six “holes” in the mixture and crack an egg in each. Cover with a lid and cook until the whites are set.

If using an oven, transfer the tomato mixture to an oven-proof dish and pre-heat the oven to 180C. Make “holes” in the tomato mixture and crack an egg in each hole. Bake until the whites are set. 

In the meantime, mix yoghurt with salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste and olive oil. 

When the eggs are cooked, remove from the hob or oven and add dollops of yoghurt to the pan/dish. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and chilli flakes. Serve with some nice bread. 

Trying something new…

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At the moment I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed by life in general. My weekends are booking up so fasssst I feel I’ve lost control over my diary and that this year will be over before I know it! So, to maybe gain some control over at least the blog, I want to take some time to update it on a more regular basis and to do that in an easier way, I will mix recipes and restaurant reviews with posts about my every day life.

I love cooking as much as before, but when life is hectic I don’t always allow myself to take the time to cook something exciting for dinner, instead I fall back on some of my tried and tested recipes that I know are quick and satisfying. So boring, I know, but right now that works for me.

The days when I have time to cook for friends or experiment in the kitchen I cherish it, but I don’t want to feel like I have to cook just to fill this blog (well there is a back log of recipes coming your way so don’t fear!), instead I need something that’s easy to write about every week.

It will be a mixture of what I do (and eat!), want to cook if I have the time etc. A little bit more personal but also (a lot) more regular.

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This week for example, I had a yuzu mojito (yum!), chicken bao and ramen at Shoryu, and although lovely, and such a nice catch-up with my friend Laura, I still prefer Bone Daddies for ramen. So it’s pretty exciting news that they’ve opened a branch near Victoria!

It’s in fact next door to Rail House Café where I had an impromptu brunch (eggs benedict, chips and prosecco) on Saturday. This new development by Victoria is so convenient for me, I often meet up with friends there. It’s usually busy, but not so busy that you always have to book in advance, which is great for those impromptu get-togethers.

See you next week!

PS. For more behind the scenes, check out my Instagram.

Recipe: chocolate cake with white chocolate truffle

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The last couple of years I’ve had a standing brunch around Christmas time for some of my Swedish friends and their families. As their brood is getting bigger brunch seemed like the ideal concept; there is something for everyone and you don’t have to sit down to eat at the same time.

Sadly, this brunch in December will probably have to be the last one as there’s now too many of us and apart from cooking for a large amount of people there is quite a lot of furniture carrying required to make it happen. But we’ll see, maybe I can work out a way to make it easier… Any ideas welcome!

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The concept has been more or less the same every year; people arrive at midday, and I provide both savoury (always eggs, bacon, different types of bread with toppings such as cheeses, jams, paté, ham etc. – we love our open-faced sandwiches in Sweden as you know) and sweet (usually two types of cake) dishes, and we eat and chat and eat and chat and play with the children.

This year I substituted the usual brunch eggs with my take on shakshuka (recipe to follow) and mum made an large omelette with creamed mushrooms on top as well.

Although people always love the savoury element I seem to have gathered a group of friends with very sweet teeth so I always try my best to come up with something super yummy on the sweet side.

This year I was quite pleased with my efforts of serving madeleines (best recipe ever!) straight from the oven and just lightly dusted with icing sugar. And although people liked them, this chocolate cake was the star of the show: chocolate cake with pieces of white chocolate dispersed like little surprises, covered with a white chocolate truffle and colourful smarties (although you can of course decorate it however you like). The texture is quite dense and chewy (in a good way – just don’t expect a fluffy cake) and rather filling, so one cake could probably feed 10-12 people, but as my friends love sweets I thought it safer to count 8-10 people per cake.

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It’s (sadly) not my own concoction at all, but I know I can always trust fabulous Annika and her reliable recipes.

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Chocolate cake with white chocolate truffle, serves 8-10

Translated from and adapted after Annika’s recipe.

The cake itself (without the truffle) freezes well and can be made ahead of time. Defrost slowly and add the truffle and decorations a few hours before serving so it has time to set.

2 eggs

240 g golden caster sugar 

2 tbsp vanilla sugar or 4 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt

100 g melted butter

4 tbsp cocoa

90 g plain flour

100 g white chocolate, broken into 1 cm large pieces

Truffle:

150 g white chocolate

50 ml double cream

Pre-heat the oven to 175 C. Line the bottom of a springform with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the edges of the tin. 

Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy. Stir in the melted butter. Sieve cocoa and flour and fold into the batter. Pour the butter into the tin and press down the chocolate pieces.

Bake in a low oven for 35 minutes. Leave to cool and cover the tin and let it set overnight. 

Truffle:

Heat up the cream in a saucepan. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the warm cream. Mix slowly until smooth. Leave to set, then spread it onto the cake. Keep in the fridge until just before serving. Decorate with smarties or other sweets, sprinkles, chopped nuts etc. Serve with lightly whipped cream. 

London: relaxed brunch at Rail House Café

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Another restaurant to open in the new development by Victoria is, Riding House Café, cleverly calling this branch Rail House Café.

I love the original restaurant on Great Titchfield Street, as much for it’s wooden interior and cosiness as for the food. This new restaurant is all modern with large glass windows but is still cosy in the same way.

I came here a while ago with my friend Daisy for brunch one Sunday and it was so lovely I would happily go back every weekend. The interior is really relaxed with sofas as well as proper tables, inviting you to take it easy and not rush. We had coffee and a proper brunch dish each. Daisy went for an avocado toast with additional poached eggs and crispy bacon, whereas I chose a version of Eggs Benedict but with crab cakes instead of ham.

Both dishes were really well executed and lovely, and really substantial. Such a great brunch spot!

Rail House Café, 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, London Victoria SW1E 5DJ

 

Barcelona: brunch at Milk and Catedral de Barcelona

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Only five minutes’ walk from our hotel was this cute place serving some of the best brunch in the city. I found this out via Time Out and I was certainly not the only one as we were met with a long queue, but it moved quickly and about 15 minutes later we sat down to eat.

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It’s a cosy place with a lot of tables and a few seats at the bar. It was packed and buzzing; nice atmosphere for a Sunday brunch before exploring more of Barcelona.

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The service was really quick, so we got our cappuccinos, and my freshly squeeze orange juice almost directly after we ordered them.

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And soon after that our food arrived. Emma had the Greek yoghurt with fruit salad and granola which was really nice and fresh. Extra points for serving the yoghurt in another bowl.

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I was craving eggs and had the scrambled eggs with morcilla and gruyère on toast.

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We also got a bread basket just to make sure we had enough carbs for our long day walking around the city.

Milk, Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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After brunch we headed to La Pedrera, via Catedral de Barcelona. We both like “ticking” things off along the way. Efficient sightseeing – that’s us!

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The Cathedral is rather breathtaking and definitely worth a little detour.

Catedral de Barcelona, Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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I also enjoy looking at pretty old buildings, and especially Barcelona offers a lot of nice facades.

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Some more traditional, and some in the iconic modernista style.

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Like Palau de la Música Catalana; a pretty concert hall with pillars, angels and painted walls.

Palau de la Música Catalana, C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

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I think I prefer the simpler styles though, like these more traditional facades with shutters and balconies. So pretty!

Dublin: brunch at Dillinger’s

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For Halloween last year I went to Dublin for the weekend to visit my friend Sinead and the city was bustling to say the least; in part because of Halloween but it was also the Dublin Marathon that weekend and of course there was a big rugby game on (like most weekends in Ireland).

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I arrived late on the Friday night so we only had time to catch up over a bottle of wine, but spent the next day out on the town. We started with a delicious brunch at Dillinger’s in the cosy Ranelagh area.

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The place was packed when we arrived but we got a nice table (can’t remember if you can book or not) and started to read to menu. For a brunch menu, this was one of the best I’ve seen; I wanted to eat everything!  In the end I decided on the hash brown with guacemole, poached egg and smoked salmon while Sinead had the waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup. Both dishes were really nice (just a tad too big for us).

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We also had bellinis drink (appropriate when on holiday) and coffee.

Our lovely Saturday continued with some shopping, both in Ranelagh and central Dublin, and some drinks outside before going home to change and then on to dinner.

Dillinger’s, 47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland