Nights in, The Crown and a lot of cooking!

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The third week of November feels like forever ago, but it was a nice week (apart from one blip) and I cooked a lot!

The Monday was pretty blah though. I worked, had leftovers for dinner and went to bed early.

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The next day I went to The New Forest with work and had a Pret breakfast on the train. Sadly this brioche egg muffin seemed nicer than it was.

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After a full day away I came home and started watching the third season of The Crown

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… while eating chocolate chip cookies I made at the weekend.

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The next day I had grilled cheese for lunch because of a sudden melted cheese craving (love melted cheese!).

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And for dinner I had crisps and dip in front of The Crown. Please don’t judge. And love that series! It’s still great even with a whole new cast!

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Thursday I had a healthier lunch of burrata and avocado. Yum!

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And in the evening I met up with Laura at a cosy pub. We had dinner and wine and a proper catch up. So lovely!

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But I didn’t feel to well the next day. Not hungover, more like something I ate didn’t agree with me. So I was pretty miserable and tired and couldn’t eat the whole day.

But managed to cook in the evening (with some help). First I made puff pastry bites with browned butter, chopped red onions, herbs, creme fraiche and salmon roe (recipe to follow!).

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Next we had a lovely beef and ginger stir-fry with rice and sesame broccoli (recipe to follow!).

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After a lie-in the next morning I felt lots better and cooked us two courses for brunch. Both oeufs en cocotte with pancetta…

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…and American pancakes with blueberries, lightly whipped cream and maple syrup! So yummy!

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In the afternoon we went looking at motorcycle helmets and gear and stopped by Krispy Kreme on the way home, so we had doughnuts and tea in the afternoon.

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In the evening I made puff pastry nibbles yet again, but this time with cheese, speck, philadelphia and chives (recipe to follow!).

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I also made us Presa Iberico with crispy potatoes, aioli, romesco sauce and padron peppers. Sooo yum! (Recipe to follow!).

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The next morning my boyfriend had to get up early for work so I stayed in bed and had avocado toast for breakfast.

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I spent the day prepping dinner, reading and drinking hot chocolate.

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And in the evening we had whipped browned butter (recipe to follow) with baguette and fennel salami.

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And pork belly slices with potato purée, carrots, wilted spinach and a creamy sauce. We also tried a failed pudding attempt which I won’t post until it’s successful!

 

Recipe: spaghetti carbonara with girolles

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As we’re bang in the middle of the mushroom season (and it looks like a great mushroom year this year, judging from the bounty my foraging friends present) I thought it appropriate with a little homage to the lovely girolle. Which also happens to be one of my favourite mushrooms!

I think mushrooms and pasta go well together, and I have several great recipes on the blog already, but as I learned to perfect a proper carbonara I couldn’t help but experiment with it too. You see, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that the addition of girolles to the creaminess and saltiness of a carbonara would work really well, and so I tried it out on my favourite guinea pigs; my best friend, her husband and my boyfriend.

As I really wanted the girolles to take center stage I was afraid the salty pancetta would take over, but with the double amount of girolles compared to pancetta in weight, it worked really well. I also fried the mushrooms separately to the pancetta, adding plenty of butter, garlic and seasoning to really make them hold their own.

Hope you like my little experiment as much as I do. For me, this is just the perfect Friday night pasta, especially in autumn, obviously paired with a large glass of smooth red wine and great company.

Spaghetti carbonara with girolles, serve 4

6 egg yolks 

80 g parmesan + extra for serving

175 g good quality pancetta, diced

350 g fresh girolles, washed and patted dry

2 tbsp butter

400 g dried good quality spaghetti 

2 garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and black pepper

Put the egg yolks. in a bowl and grate the parmesan into the bowl. Add some pepper and mix thoroughly with a fork. Put to the side. Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente. 

Fry the mushrooms in butter and a little oil on medium-high heat. Finely chop a garlic clove and add it to the pan. Season well. Pour the mushrooms into a bowl and leave to cool a little. Fry the pancetta in oil on medium-high heat. Peel a garlic clove, crush it with the palm of your hand and add to the pan – remove it if it browns or when the pancetta is cooked. Drain the cooked pancetta on kitchen towel. 

Fill a mug or small jug with pasta cooking  water and drain the pasta. Mix the spaghetti with the pancetta and mushrooms and remove from heat. Pour everything back into the pasta pan, add some pepper and some of the pasta cooking water. Add the egg and parmesan mixture and mix well. Add more pasta water if the mixture is too dry. Divide into bowls and serve with grated parmesan and black pepper. 

Recipe: classic Moules Marinère my way (with or without potato)

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If I lived closer to a good fishmonger or a supermarket with a good fish counter, this could easily become a Friday tradition; buying a net of juicy mussels, cooking them the classic way with wine and cream, open a nice bottle of white wine to go with them and eat them with some nice crusty bread.

And if I wanted to make the supper a bit more substantial – I would just add potato. I know the potato part isn’t all that classic, but it’s a really nice way to make the mussels more into a main course. And since I use the same recipe I’m basically giving you a two for one here.

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Classic Moules Marinère, serves 2

1 kg fresh mussels

2 small shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil 

100 ml dry white wine

300 ml double cream

(3 firm potatoes, peeled and diced)

chopped parsley for serving

Rinse the mussels to get rid of any grit. Remove the beards and throw away any mussels that are broken or don’t close if tapping them. 

Add butter and oil to a large pan and put on medium heat. Fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes without browning. Add the wine and let it bubble a little. Add the cream and stir. Add the mussels and cook with the lid on for a few minutes until the mussels have opened their shells. Season to taste. Scatter with freshly chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread for dipping. 

If you want to add the potato; cook the diced potato in salted water until soft when piercing with a knife. Drain and add to the mussels before serving.

 

Cinema and a lot of cooking (yes!)

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The first week in February was not too busy for me, and that was great since I had to battle a cold. But apart from resting a bit to get rid of said cold and working of course, I also managed to get back into the cooking groove.

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When I’m out a few nights a week I feel it tricky to figure out what to cook the nights I stay in. But when I stay in more I really get into it. I made a nice omelet one day, my go to poke bowl (same ingredients as in this recipe) and pulled pork in brioche buns with aioli.

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I also got a bunch of tulips that lasted surprisingly long and I just love the fact that spring is here and with it TULIP SEASON!

On the Wednesday we went to the cinema to see Can You Ever Forgive Me and although it wasn’t amazing I liked it. Interesting true story and great acting.

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I cooked even more at the weekend. We stayed in every night so I planned it all in advance and ordered everything from Ocado. Much more inspiring than just popping into the small neighbourhood supermarket only to find out that they’re out of stock of the chicken you wanted.

 

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If you want to follow my day to day life a bit more you can follow @scandelights on Instagram as well. As blogging takes a lot of time, I find my instagram account a great compliment of what I eat and do on a more daily basis. Hope to see you there too!

 

 

Recipe: broccoli cheddar soup

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I love broccoli! Which you can see in the archives here at Scandelights. And luckily broccoli is one of those rare vegetables that both taste nice AND is good for you. Hurrah!

This soup, however, might be more good for the soul than the waist, as it has a hefty amount of cheese in it. But, isn’t that what we need this time of year?! Something warm and comforting in a bowl, that’s both delicious and nutritious (thanks to the broccoli).

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Broccoli cheddar soup, serves 4-6

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

4 tbsp butter

1 small onion, finely chopped 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

60 ml plain flour

120 ml milk

120 ml cream

950 ml vegetable or chicken stock (from a good quality cube is fine) 

1 bay leaf

salt and black pepper

565 g broccoli, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

225 g grated mature cheddar + extra for garnish

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the milk and cream until smooth. Add the stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the pan and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning if needed, but keep in mind the cheese will add some salt as well. Mix the soup with a stick blender to your desired texture. Back on the stove, add cheese and whisk until melted, about 1 minute.

Serve in bowls, garnished with grated cheddar. Serve with crusty bread. 

Taking it easy

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I was ill again last week. So typical. So I stayed in bed Monday and Tuesday but felt better on Wednesday and could go to work. So the rest of the week I just took it easy after work, to rest as much as possible. I really don’t want to get ill again between now and Christmas (or on my Christmas break!), too much to do!

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The weekend was quiet as well, which was nice. On my lunch break on Friday I went to Whole Foods to buy some nice things for the weekend. Love it there and it’s a treat to go now when I don’t have one close to me anymore.

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I bought mussels that I cooked that night with white wine, cream and potatoes. So yummy!

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On Saturday we slept until noon, had poached eggs for breakfast and then went for a walk around Wimbledon Common. It air was crisp but the sun was out and it was perfect weather for an autumnal walk.

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When we got backed we watched a bit of the tennis and some rugby before going for a drink at the local pub followed by dinner nearby.

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Sunday treated me to another lie-in and then I pottered around, making pudding for supper and prepping ahead. For dinner I made a lovely pasta dish I will post about later, and lemon posset for pudding. Then we cuddled up on the sofa watching The Handmaid’s Tale and when I couldn’t take it anymore, an episode of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

The next month will be busy, but I hope I can squeeze in another cosy weekend without plans. Sleeping until one wake up naturally is just the best!

Recipe: tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and mushrooms

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I made this pasta with prawns, mushrooms and tomatoes back in Sweden in August for my parents and I for supper and we all really enjoyed it.

It feels fresh and light although it has cream in it and the prawns work so well with both tomatoes and mushrooms.

And it’s actually the tomatoes that steal the show for me! Look out for those little bursts of juicy sweet tomato that comes with almost every bite. I had the luxury of using my mother’s homegrown cherry tomatoes in different colours (they were delicious!) but any small tomatoes in season will work just as well (I’ve made this dish a few times since August using store-bought on-the-vine British cherry tomatoes).

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Tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and button mushrooms, serves 3-4

500 g fresh tagliatelle

1-2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

plenty of butter and neutral oil for frying

200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

50 ml dry white wine

150 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

300 ml double cream

1/2 stock cube (fish or vegetable) 

400 g frozen Atlantic shell-on prawns, defrosted and peeled (or approx 250 g fresh ones) 

approx 2 tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper

chopped parsley

Fry onions and garlic in butter and oil on medium heat without browning. Remove from pan. Add more butter and oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms on medium-high heat until golden brown. Season and remove from pan. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the tomatoes and let them cook on medium geat for a few minutes. Add the wine and let some evaporate before adding cream and stock cube (no water). Stir and let the sauce thicken. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper (the sugar will balance the acidity from the tomatoes). You want the sauce to have depth and taste a lot as the pasta will dilute the flavours. Cook the pasta in a large pot and drain.  

Take the sauce off the heat and add the prawns. Stir and add the pasta. Mix properly so every strand of pasta is coated with sauce. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Top with chopped parsley and serve immediately.