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!

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Recipe: rhubarb parfait

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The base recipe for this parfait I’ve known since childhood, so full credit for it goes to mamma. It’s delicious on its own, and so much easier to make than ice cream. And it’s infinitely adaptable.

I’ve made it with elderflower before, and when I was at home in Sweden at the end of May mamma and I came up with this rhubarb version together. We wanted to keep the fresh acidity from the rhubarb while still keeping the sweetness of the custard-tasting parfait and I think we managed to do just that. It’s sweet but not too sweet with a hint of acidity for balance and freshness.

Rhubarb parfait, serves 4

3 egg yolks

80 g caster sugar

300 ml whipping or double cream

Rhubarb filling:

300-400 g rhubarb 

approx 2 tbsp caster sugar

Rinse and slice the rhubarb. Mix with sugar and place in a pyrex dish. Place in a 180C oven and bake for approx 20 minutes until the rhubarb has softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool completely.  

Beat egg yolkd and sugar until fluffy in a mixing bowl. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and add to the egg mixture.

Line a bread tin with cling film and place a 1 cm wide line of rhubarb compote in the middle of the tin lenghtways. Mix the rest of the rhubarb with the cream mixture and pour into the bread tin. Cover with cling and put in the freezer for at least 5 hours, but preferably over night. Serve with oat thins, berries, more rhubarb, whipped cream or as is.

 

 

Heatwave!

London has been warm lately, even by my standards, but I do love it – apart from the humidity!

I had another quite busy week but with a few relaxing evenings to myself to balance it out. Every year I get baffled by how busy the summer is but it’s a lot of fun!

Anyway, Monday I had a relaxing evening after work, mainly to recover from the fun weekend in the country (and catch up on those chores). I had toast for dinner, because I have those days too. It was too hot to cook and having cooked so much over the weekend I just needed a break.

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Tuesday I met up with my Swedish food blogger friend Malin who was in town with her daughter Ella. They were eating as much Asian food as they could as they both love it, and so we had dim sum at Yauatcha Soho for dinner. We had a lovely dinner and I just love the food there. It’s consistently very very good. After dinner we ran across the road to a really dodgy pub to watch the extra time and penalty shoot out between Colombia and England and after England had won people were singing and dancing in the streets of Soho.

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Wednesday the weather was a little cooler, but it was still lovely to have a drink on the roof terrace before heading to Shake Shack for burgers and cheesy fries. Then we went for a walk and finished the evening with an episode of Billions.

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I had another quiet night on Thursday and made a lovely salad for dinner. And on Friday I was invited to the Roger Waters concert in Hyde Park in the evening, which was really hot and really good fun!

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On Saturday I watched Sweden lose to my second team, England, (who deserved to win) and in the evening it was more football, with Russia v. Croatia. I also cooked (!) despite the heat and made a Quiche Lorraine, that we had with a nice salad and cold rosé. And ice cream for pudding. Ice cream and ice lollies are the best in the heat!

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Sunday was a lazy day with a lie-in until noon, some chores at home and a nice afternoon in the sun on the roof terrace with the latest issue of Vogue; the best ‘me time’.

Onto the next week…

Recipe: bleak roe pizza

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Bleak roe, i.e. Swedish caviar, is a treasured ingredient in Sweden and something I can really long for. We eat it with devotion and save it for special occasions. I always make sure I have some, for emergencies, in my London freezer, and try to eat it regularly when I go home to Sweden to visit. Luckily we’re more or less feasting the whole time I come home as my parents and I are so happy to be together.

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My only “problem” with bleak roe, is that I under no circumstances want to mess it up. Therefore I often serve it like a ‘toast‘ with butterfried bread, creme fraiche or smetana and chopped red onions. Because, as we now, less is sometimes more.

But it’s equally lovely as a topping for crisps (it’s the perfect snack to accompany a glass of champagne) or served with crispy rösti as a starter.

When I was last home in May, we decided to branch out to pizza. A pizza bianco though as the tomato would rival the bleak roe too much. And, as you can probably guess, it was wonderful! I used a recipe from a restaurant in Stockholm famous for their bleak roe pizza (or löjromspizza as it’s called in Swedish) but made a few minor changes to it (because I simply can’t help myself).

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Bleak roe pizza, serves 4-6 as a starter (2 as a main course)

Translated from and adapted after Taverna Brillo’s recipe.

Pizza dough:

250 ml water

1 tbsp olive oil 

390 g 00 flour 

1 tsp dried yeast

2 tsp sea salt

Topping:

8 tbsp creme fraiche flavoured with a little lemon

100 g buffalo mozzarella 

100 g coarsely grated mature präst cheese or cheddar

80 g Kalix bleak roe

100 g creme fraiche

finely chopped red onions

finely chopped chives

dill

lemon

Ina  mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add salt, olive oil and flour. Knead the dough by hand for 15 minutes (or in a machine for 10 minutes). Divide into two, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, approx 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and shape into round pizzas. Place on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Heat the oven to 250°C.

Spread 4 tbsp creme fraiche onto each pizza and divide the mozzarella (in chunks or slices) and präst/cheddar cheese. Bake in a low oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top with bleak roe, creme fraiche, onions, chives, dill and lemon. 

Full on!

Last week went by so quickly, but was filled with fun things! Apart from maybe the baking I did on Monday night. A warm flat due to the lovely British summer gets HOT with the oven on for hours. But the cake turned out great, luckily! And I had ice lollies to cool me down.

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Apart from that I’ve just been enjoying the sunshine (I seldom get too warm) and made the most of it. Wednesday evening was spent in the setting sun in a beer garden sipping rosé with one eye on the Brazil game and then pizza afterwards.

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For the England-Belgium game on the Thursday we had rosé in another pub and delicious burgers. Afterwards we enjoyed the beer garden till closing as it was such a lovely evening.

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Friday I went down to Surrey for the weekend where some friends were having a party and I was cooking. It was a great party on Saturday with games in and out of the pool, lots of prosecco, nibbles and a proper dinner in the evening.

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I stayed over that night too and enjoyed the pool a bit more on the Sunday before heading back to London and going to the cinema to see Ocean’s Eight.

Such a great week all around – loving the weather and hoping it’s here to stay!

Recipe: proper spaghetti carbonara

 

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Recipes are not protected by copyright law, probably as they are evolving all the time. And as much as I like to keep to tradition when it comes to certain dishes I love to experiment with others.

When it comes to pasta there is no reason to always stick to the traditional recipes, but I think it’s good to try to master them first.

Growing up in Sweden in the 1980s and 1990s, we had a lot of traditional Scandinavian dishes, usually including meat and potatoes. Italian dishes then, when the world seemed a bigger place, were often (very) bastardised versions of the real thing, and therefore not of great inspiration to me. Because I only had the school dinner version of lasagne to sample I thought for a long time I didn’t like the dish. But it turned out it was just that terrible (yes, terrible) version I didn’t like. It was the same with ravioli (and other non-Italian dishes); my reference points were bad. Whereas everything my mother (or grandmothers) cooked was always delicious, but more Scandinavian in heritage.

Now my relationship with Italian food is quite different. I have been to Italy a few times and tried the real thing, and also cooked proper Italian dishes at home. And the emulsion of water and Parmesan keeps fascinating me. First of all, it’s DELICIOUS, but also, once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult at all as this recipe proves. And once and for all, you do not need cream to make a creamy carbonara, just a little patience and using the method below. But I must admit I added one tablespoon of it during my first attempt, although it’s not needed. As always Gennaro Contaldo’s recipes are spot on. Grazie.

Spaghetti Carbonara, serves 2

Adapted from Gennaro Contaldo’s for Jamie Oliver recipe.

3 large free-range egg yolks

40g Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

150g good quality pancetta, diced

200g dried good quality spaghetti

1 clove of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

black pepper

Put the egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in the Parmesan, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.

Fry the pancetta in a little oil over medium-high heat. Peel the garlic and crush it and add it to the pan for flavour – remove if it browns or when finished cooking. Reserve some cooking water and drain the pasta and add it to the pancetta pan. Toss well over the heat so it really soaks up all that lovely flavour, then remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pasta back to the spaghetti pan, season and add a splash of the cooking water, then pour in the egg mixture (the pan will help to cook the egg gently, rather than scrambling it). Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s lovely and glossy. Serve with a grating of Parmesan and extra pepper. 

Book Club, Street Party and a relaxing weekend

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The summer weather seems to have disappeared, but that’s completely normal for midsummer, which is later this week.

Sadly I won’t be celebrating it, but I’m meeting up with friends so it will still be a nice day. There are of course midsummer celebrations in London, but celebrating with lots of people in Hyde Park doesn’t appeal to me.

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Monday last week was a quiet one (that’s how I like my Monday’s – the shock of getting up early and going to the office is enough for me) and I made a yummy pasta with cream, sherry and last year’s girolles (picked by my auntie) from the freezer. So yummy and a perfect start to the week!

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Tuesday we met up with the book club at Marie-Lou’s and she has prepared a feast as usual. It was lovely to meet up and discuss the book and catch up!

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On Wednesday I went to the Motcomb Street Party which was lots of fun with entertainment, charity auction, food stalls and flowing prosecco. All the food stalls looked good but I decided on a brioche bun with roast beef and creamed horseradish. Really yummy!

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The rest of the work week was quieter; on Friday I watched the Portugal-Spain game at home and just chilled out. Saturday I met up with Laura in Surbiton for a walk along the river, lovely lunch and a cheeky ice cream. So nice to catch up!

The remainder of the weekend was unplanned which was just lovely. I can’t remember the last time I could catch up on sleep like this, binge on TV series and just chill. Such a treat!