Recipe: pizza bianco with pears and Saint Agur

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The last one of the pizzas I made in Sweden in the summer is this one with pears and my favourite blue cheese St Agur. It’s a very classic flavour combination that works really well on the bianco base. And I can assure you it was as yummy as it looks!

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But, as I always strive towards perfection, I do think it would be even nicer with some added crunch in the form of chopped walnuts and an extra hint of sweetness with a drizzle of Acacia honey. I tried to find both these ingredients in the beach house but as it’s not as well stocked as our regular kitchen I came out empty. As you can tell I didn’t really plan all the pizza toppings beforehand, but got carried away mid-baking.

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Pizza bianco with pears and Saint Agur, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Präst cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

2 pears, thinly sliced lenghtways

40 g Saint Agur, broken into smaller pieces

sea salt and black pepper

To serve:

chopped walnuts and a drizzle of acacia honey 

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Präst cheese. Add the pear slices and distribute the Saint Agur. Season. Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown. Remove from oven, add walnuts and honey and cut into slices. 

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Burgers, theatre and a weekend in the country

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I’m so pleased I managed to do some more cooking last week, than in the recent weeks. Nothing life-altering but I feel so much better eating proper home cooked food. On Monday I made my go-to fast food supper of rosti with creme fraiche, lumpfish roe and chopped red onions. It’s quick and yummy and I even made some extra for lunch the next day.

 

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On Tuesday we went to the theatre, but as it was a long play we made sure to eat something beforehand. Luckily Bleecker on the Southbank is perfectly located for a pre-theatre burger, which also happens to be one of my favourites!

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The play we saw was The Lehman Trilogy at The National Theatre and it was OUTSTANDING! Amazing actors and amazing story! A must see!

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And as always when I walk from the office across the Thames to the Southbank I always stop on Hungerford Bridge to admire the view (and take a few snaps). London is such a beautiful city!

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The rest of the week I tried on dresses and packed for the weekend. As I like to be prepared I even brought backup dresses, but luckily I didn’t have to use them! But I also cooked and made enough of this pasta with spinach and nuts for two suppers. Really yummy!

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Friday night was a chilled out night in, with some yummy food. To stop me from becoming hangry while I was cooking the mains, we had some shop-bought blinis with smoked salmon, soured cream and chives to start. Then steak, roasted new potatoes, homemade bearnaise sauce and vegetables. And we watched some more Handmaid’s Tale and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

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On Saturday morning we left London for Somerset and enjoyed the beautiful countryside on the way there and stopped at a pub en route for a quick bite. Then it was party and dancing all night long followed by a lunch day before driving back to London and collapsing on the sofa in front of (more) Handmaid’s Tale and some yummy grilled cheese.

Recipe: pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese

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For once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer. It’s been warm and sunny both here in London and in Sweden. I’ve still got a tan and I swam in the sea several times. Had al fresco meals and lots of rosé. One might think I’ve had enough of summer for now, but I would happily continue the summer for another few months. But, because we had a real summer I am also, at the same time, looking forward to autumn. To cosy nights in, lit candles, blankets, darker colours and heartier dinners. And red wine instead of rosé.

And just like the trench coat and the leather jacket are good transitional pieces in our wardrobes I feel this pizza is the ultimate transitional dinner dish.

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Mushrooms always get me excited about autumn and their earthy taste is just what I’d want right now. Before the soups and stews. And, luckily – this pizza goes well with both red and rosé!

Pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Västerbotten cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

200 g girolles

2-3 tbsp butter

a splash of oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

chopped parsley

sea salt and black pepper

finely grated Västerbotten cheese for serving

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Västerbotten cheese.  Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown.

In the meantime, fry the girolles in butter and oil on medium-high heat. When the mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic and fry until golden (but no longer). Remove the pan from the heat and season well. Add the chopped parsley. 

Remove the pizza from the oven, divide the mushrooms onto the pizza, top with finely grated cheddar and cut into slices. 

Recipe: Nigella’s slow roasted lemon and garlic chicken

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I’m a planner. Not all the time, but I like to plan ahead in several areas of my life. Especially when entertaining. So I had decided on a menu for the lunch I was hosting for a few friends in Sweden long before I even got to Sweden.

But the draught threw a spanner in the works. Three days before I was leaving for Sweden the government issued a BBQ ban in most areas and it was forbidden to barbecue even on your own property. All to prevent any more wild fires. Totally logical and something we all had to accept. But since my original lunch plan involved lighting the barbecue I had to think of something else to cook. I thought this would magically come to me as ideas so often do, but no.

So, in this moment of crisis (well not really, but I was starting to panic a little as my days were packed full of activities) I turned to my trusted cook book collection in the beach house and as usual they helped me out. This time it was a recipe in Nigella’s book Summer that saved me! This slow-roasted lemon and garlic chicken is summery (and delicious) enough to make you forget all about your beloved barbecue and appreciate a dish that basically cooks itself in the oven.

And if you don’t find butchering chickens as therapeutic as I do, I would suggest you either ask your butcher for help or buy a mixture of skin-on chicken breasts and chicken thighs.

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Nigella’s slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.
1 chicken cut into 10 pieces

1 bulb of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves

1 lemon, cut into chunky eighths

1 bunch fresh thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

75-100 ml white wine

salt and black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Put the chicken pieces in a roasting tin, season and add the oil. Toss the chicken pieces in the oil so they’re coated all over. Place skin side up. Add garlic cloves, lemon chunks and  thyme. Sprinkle over the white wine and put in the oven to cook for 2 hours. 

Turn up the oven to 200°C and cook the chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges. 

 

The daily grind and a barbecue!

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After the bank holiday weekend in Norfolk I tried to take it a bit easier and didn’t do an awful lot during the weekdays that week. It was back to the weekday routine with an Ocado shop and chores, but I needed that.

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On the Friday night I had a quiet night in and made the lovely spinach dip for dinner (we always have a full lunch at the office on Fridays so a snack is the perfect supper for me) and even posted a tutorial on Instagram, so do follow me there if you want more updates!

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On the Saturday it was nice and sunny so I grabbed my book and an ice lolly and spent the afternoon on the roof. I had no plans for the evening but that suddenly changed when texting with a friend who lives nearby and all of a sudden I changed and put makeup on and met her in town for dinner (review to come!) and the cinema. We saw the Mamma Mia! sequel which was actually a little better than I had expected, and a little less cringe.

Unfortunately I woke up sick the next day and had to stay in bed for several days, watching films and series and reading a bit when I wasn’t sleeping. I was so happy when I managed to drag myself to the office on the Thursday and took it easy in the evenings. But on Friday night I found myself with a little extra energy (yay!) and organised my wardrobe by putting away the most summery things and getting out the autumnal clothes. The weather is so unreliable at the moment I want to be prepared!

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Saturday I went to Richmond and my friends’ Great River Race and barbecue party! It was so nice socialising, eating lovely food and just hanging out. I contributed with the Mexican corn salad that went down really well. Then on Sunday I took it easy and I finally feel like I fully recovered from being ill. Yay!

Recipe: pizza bianco with prosciutto, figs and Cambozola

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Another pizza from our pizza making evening in Sweden and another hit all around. The combination of sweet and salty and creamy always works and this pizza with (mother’s homegrown!) figs, prosciutto and blue cheese was no exception!

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I realise blue cheese is sometimes an acquired taste, BUT don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I used cambozola here which is rather mild, and only a little of it as I didn’t want it to overpower the sweet and juicy figs – merely complement them!

Pizza bianco with prosciutto, figs and Cambozola, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Präst cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

3 slices prosciutto, torn into a few smaller pieces

2-3 figs, sliced lenghtways

40 g Cambozola, broken into smaller pieces

sea salt and black pepper

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Präst cheese. Add the ham and figs and distribute the Cambozola. Season. Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into slices. 

 

 

Quiet weeknights and a weekend away!

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Last week was just what the doctor ordered; quiet evenings followed by a weekend by the seaside.

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I can’t remember the last time I had four days in a row without plans in the evenings, and I fully enjoyed it. And realised I need to do less during the weeks. I was too tired to cook most days but made a big batch of pasta one night that lasted a few days.

Other than packing my bag for the weekend (not an easy task with a weather forecast promising everything from sunshine to rain and cold temperatures) I just watched TV, had early nights and took it easy.

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Then on Friday I finished work early and took the train to Norfolk. The weekend consisted of walks along the beach (we saw seals!!), some outings in the rain, nice food, some baking and just hanging out. So lovely and nice! And with Monday being a bank holiday the work week this week is a short one! 🙂