First week of holiday!

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My holiday was rather busy, but that’s what it’s like when you’re living abroad; lots of family and friends to catch up with and you’re constantly behind on that front, however hard you try, as there simply isn’t enough time. My strategy this time was to start off busy and try to wind down a little towards the end, as I need to sleep and relax as well. And for once I think it worked. To say I feel refreshed might be pushing it, but I feel less tired than when I left London, which is the whole point of a holiday, isn’t it?!

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But since I had a 7am flight on the Saturday I took that day to relax and really feel that I was on holiday. It was pure bliss to arrive at the beach house, change into a bikini and a cover up, have an glassbåt ice cream in the sun and just try to switch off a little.

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I also walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the water and breathe the fresh air. And in the evening I enjoyed some bubbly and a nice homecooked dinner (pork fillet with lemon and herbs, new potatoes, tomato salad and a cold garlic and herb sauce).

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The next day I went to Helsingborg for lunch with friends and got to see both the hosts’ lovely new house and meet other friends’ little baby for the first time. For lunch we had a lovely poke bowl with sesame marinated tuna and ice cream for pudding. It was so nice to sit in the garden catching up with dear childhood friends like that. The afternoon went by in a flash!

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On the Monday I went to Copenhagen for the day with two friends, and we’ve been doing it for so long it’s a tradition we do everything to keep every summer.

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We started off with tacos and smørrebrød for lunch at Torvehallerne, had fika at our favourite café and in the evening wine and cheese at one place before dinner at another. It was a perfect day chatting away with friends, looking in a few shops and just enjoying what this lovely city has to offer!

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The next day I didn’t have many plans so started with a lie-in and a late breakfast in the garden. I did a few errands and sunbathed a bit and had dinner with my parents in the evening before a visitor from London arrived late that night as the flight was delayed.

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So the next morning another lie-in was in order followed by a cooked breakfast outside. By the way, poached eggs on toast with tabasco is delicious!

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We continued the day driving around the south coast, checking out the beaches and eating ice cream.

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And in the evening we had a crayfish party complete with Västerbotten cheese quiche, fresh and smoked prawns, snaps and silly hats!

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The following day my visitor played golf in Falsterbo while I spent the day with by best friend and my god daughter before meeting up with the golfers for lunch. Afterwards we went to Badhytten for a drink followed by a quick swim in the sea.

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Then I was put to work making burgers (with fake shack sauce) for us all. So yum!

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Friday was my visitor’s last full day in Sweden so we made the most of it spending most of it on the beach and after a late lunch we made our way into Malmö for drinks, dinner and some more drinks.

The next day we had time for a long breakfast and a swim before my visitor had to leave for the airport and I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and had dinner with mamma and pappa in the evening.

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The next day (Sunday) we drove to the southeastern part of Skåne to have lunch with two of my cousins and my auntie. We had hot smoked salmon with new potatoes, soft boiled eggs, asparagus and a cold dill sauce. Very Swedish and so yummy!

It was a lovely week and as you can see I got to see and do a lot and catch up with many of my friends!

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BBQ, theatre and a(nother) lovely weekend!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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The weekend started with an impromptu dinner at The Orange with friends on Friday night, followed by a lie-in the next morning.

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After a late breakfast we walked around Battersea Park and had lunch in the beer garden at The Prince Albert.

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Then we went for another stroll and had an ice cream before leaving the park.

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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.

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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!

London: Champagne + Fromage, Covent Garden

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Having lived in London for 10 years now (eek!) I have accepted the fact that I will never ever feel up to date on restaurants regardless of how hard I try. There are simply too many restaurants opening and changing for me to keep up. Especially since I want to go back to my favourites from time to time too.

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So I love when my friends suggest a new place to try. I had completely missed the arrival of these cute French Champagne + Fromage spots all over town, but luckily my friend Mary-Lou had spotted one so that’s where we went one evening.

We arrived without a reservation (big mistake) but although the place was packed the staff eventually managed to find us a table. That’s great service!

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Other than that the concept is pretty clear; this is where you drink champagne (we tried a lovely Blancs de Blanc that was the wine of the month) and eat cheese. We had a cheese and charcuterie board with lots of bread which was lovely, but there are also some lovely cooked food on offer. The table next to us sampled about half the menu and it all looked amazing!

Champagne + Fromage, 22 Wellington St, London WC2E 7DD

 

Summer in April!!

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The past week was just glorious with blue skies, 25+C degrees and SUNSHINE! It’s sadly over now but it was wonderful as long as it lasted.

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On Tuesday it was my turn to host the book group and I thought a summery lemon pasta (I will post the recipe soon) would be appropriate. It went down a treat together with a simple leafy salad and wild garlic bread. Marie-Louise brought a bottle of lovely champagne as well, so it was a rather festive Tuesday!

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The next day was sunny and hot, so after work I took the river boat down the Thames and had the first glass of rosé of the season, overlooking the river.

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On Friday a group of us had a lovely girlie evening at Gordon’s Wine Bar (where Laura expertly managed to get us a table as soon as we arrived!) with rosé, cheese and lots of chatting. So lovely!

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The rest of the weekend was fairly quiet with lie-ins, pizza and champagne on Saturday night and a lovely pub lunch in the sunshine on Sunday.

 

Seville: lunch at the city’s oldest tapas bar

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My first day in Seville had an early start; I was had checked in at my hotel mid-morning, so after a little rest I set out exploring the city. It was sunny but not that warm, so I walked around taking in some of the sights on my way to lunch. And what better place to start, than from the beginning, with the city’s oldest tapas bar. It’s been around since 1670 and had as much charm as I had hoped.

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It’s quite dark inside El Rinconcillo, especially compared to the sunshine outside, and packed with people trying to order at the bar or grab a table along the sides. Everyone’s talking, eating and having a good time.

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I placed myself strategically behind two people at the bar that looked they were about to leave, and took their spot when they did. Then I ordered a glass of white wine while I studied the menu (the English version as I don’t speak Spanish). I started with some lomo (cured tenderloin from the acorn-fed Pata Negra pigs) and Spanish cheese. And bread, which you receive immediately. And my favourite; Jamón croquetas.

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I also made sure to look around and see what other people ordered. The locals always order the best dishes, and here I could see that the favourites were fried battered cod that looked absolutely delicious, but as I hadn’t fully recovered from my illness earlier in the week I avoided fried food as much as I could. But another very popular dish caught my attention: the espinacas y garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas).  The spinach was wilted and soft and tasted amazing with a hint of picante. Yum!

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When it was time to pay the tab was scribbled down with chalk straight on the bar counter so it was a quick process to settle the bill. And they accept cards, which is great.

While enjoying my lunch and soaking up the atmosphere I also made friends with my bar neighbours on each side and chatted to them about the food and the city. What I loved most about this place was the ambience and that it feels very authentic even though tourists come here too. It feels like a real Seville institution and is a MUST on your itinerary if you’re visiting. You will not be disappointed.

El Rinconcillo, Calle Gerona, 40, 41003 Sevilla, Spain 

All the food; both home cooking and eating out!

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Last week was rather full on, but in the best possible way! Monday I mainly prepped for the day after when I had my friends Gaby and Ro over for dinner after work. For once I wasn’t rushed and it was such a nice feeling. We started with nibbles; obviously Jamon Iberico and saucisson from Spain, nice olives and my homemade dill hummus with pitta chips.

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Then I served trout fillets with dilly new potatoes and a lovely sauce for fish and finished the dinner off with dulce de leche pannacotta. Gaby also brought a selection of canelés from Babelle that were amazing!

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My childhood friend Therése arrived from Sweden on Thursday evening and we had dinner together at mine while chatting away. I made a selection of tapas including the Jamon Iberico and saucisson, Nocellara olives (our favourite!), Manchego and Ossau Iraty cheese, padron peppers, calamari and my asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise.

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On Friday we met after work and had a speedy but delicious dinner at Barrafina Drury Lane before going to the theatre around the corner to see 42nd Street.

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Saturday was lovely and sunny, so we put our sunglasses on and went shopping in Chelsea where we also had lunch. A pit stop at home to change and we were off to dinner. We had amazing sushi that I will tell you all about later and finished the evening with champagne at Kettner’s Townhouse.

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Therése’s last full day here we went back to an old favourite for lunch; La Fromagerie in Marylebone. The food, the cheese and the ambience is just a winning combination.

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In the evening I made us a nice chicken salad and we had ice cream and chocolate chip cookies for pudding. It was such a lovely weekend and I’m so grateful my friends make the effort to visit me while living abroad!

 

 

Recipe: baked feta with tomatoes

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I love feta. That salty tangy cheese is just heaven for me. But it wasn’t until recently I discovered how nice it is baked. Silly really, since I have baked plenty of camembert and brie in my day.

The feta doesn’t become as runny as those two types of cheeses though, but as it gets warm it becomes creamer and is simply delicious like this; baked with a splash of olive oil, some dried (or fresh) oregano and chilli flakes and some juicy cherry tomatoes.

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It works as a light supper, lunch or as a starter. Or why not serve it with olives, charcuterie and a salad?! And bread. You definitely need bread with this. I had flatbread but tortilla chips, pitta or a crusty baguette will work just as well.

Baked feta with cherry tomatoes, oregano and chilli flakes, serves 2

Inspiration from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

1 feta

200 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp chilli flakes

black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the feta in a small oven-proof dish. Add the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, chilli flakes and black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until warm and soft. Serve with flatbread or tortilla chips.