Copenhagen: dinner at Bæst

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As you know I like to eat, and when I once a year have my day with friends (who luckily also likes their food) in Copenhagen, we make the most of it. Which is why we could fit in tacos for lunch (followed by some smørrebrød because why not?!), fika at our favourite place, wine and cheese pre-dinner at this nice little spot and then still had room for dinner. The August heat and the walking helped though.

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Bæst, our dinner spot for the evening was recommended by Daniel and all three of us loved it. It was laid back and cosy, and obviously a popular spot because it filled up as we sat there.

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The menu reflects the casual atmosphere and has the emphasis is on good local organic produce and sharing plates. Just what we like!

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The grilled courgette and kale salad what we started with was really nice. It had texture, a nice charred flavour on the courgette and acidity and freshness as well. It’s the kind of vegetable dish that makes you feel good.

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Next up we had a huge plate of chicken wings, covered in a herb-y finger-licking sauce. Delicious! And a lot fresher on the palate than regular buffalo wings (which I love, but this version was more interesting).

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After that we were ready for the main event; the pizzas!

Cooked in a 500C (!) oven these blistery, still soft but cooked just enough pizzas are to die for.

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Especially the classic margherita. With a delicious tomato sauce, their own (!) mozzarella and basil.

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I mean, look at this. Pizza perfection.

Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgette and feta

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I snapped this picture as I was throwing this pasta together for lunch the next day, but I must say it exceeded my expectations so much I wish I had allowed myself time to take a nicer picture.

This is another dish where the sum is (much) greater than the individual parts; it’s just a simple dish that works. I love every bite of the slightly al dente pasta coated in fresh wild garlic pesto, the crunch from the raw thinly sliced baby courgettes, the bigger bits of tender-but-not-too-tender broccoli and the slightly melted pieces of tangy feta. I urge you to try it for your next picnic, barbecue or quick weekday supper.

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgettes and feta, serves 2

200 ml orzo 

2-3 tbsp wild garlic pesto

1 baby courgette, thinly sliced

4 stems tenderstem broccoli 

100 g feta

a little olive oil if needed 

salt & pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the broccoli in boiling salted water and cook until a little tender but still al dente and cut each stem into four. Drain the pasta in a sieve and pour it back into the empty saucepan. Stir in the pesto and add a little olive oil if needed. Add the courgette slices and the broccoli. Mix together and season to taste. Add the crumbled feta and stir once more before serving. 

Mushrooms, courgette and feta in pitta bread

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The most satisfying way for me to cook is to look in the quite empty fridge and forage a few ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal. It is definitely a challenge but this is usually when I come up with some really good dishes I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

I really despise food waste and am trying my best not to throw produce away so that’s the main purpose of fridge foraging but I like the fact that I can turn this into something really delicious too.

This dish came about when I had some sad looking mushrooms lying about in the fridge together with some spring onions and an opened packet of feta. Together with some courgette, aleppo pepper and garlic in a toasted pitta it turned out to be a great dish. Lots of umami and tang from the feta combined with a bit of heat. A perfect weekday supper.

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Mushrooms, courgette, spring onions and feta in pitta, serves 1

about 8 chestnut mushrooms, washed and sliced

1/2 medium courgette, thinly sliced

4 spring onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2-1 tsp aleppo pepper or similar (a pinch of cayenne pepper works well)

2-3 tbsp crumbled feta

oil for frying

salt, black pepper

toasted pitta to serve

Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them brown then add the spring onions and courgettes and fry for another five minutes. Add garlic and aleppo pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cumbled feta. Serve with toasted pitta. 

Warm salad of bulgur wheat, courgette, spinach and feta

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When I made this salad for lunch this week my expectations were quite low. I used up some veggies I had laying around the fridge and thought I would have an alright lunch, but nothing more.

Although this salad is so simple and easy, it turned out really satisfying. I was actually quite surprised! Never underestimate the power of simple ingredients.

Warm salad of bulgur wheat, courgette, spinach and feta, serves 2

400 ml bulgur wheat, cooked according to the instructions of the packet

1 courgette

olive oil and butter for frying

200 g fresh baby spinach

150 g feta

1/2 lemon, juice only

2 tbsp nice extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of salt, black pepper

Cut the courgette in half lenghtways and slice it. Fry in oil and butter until soft and golden brown. Remove from pan. Add the spinach to the pan and stir until it wilts. Squeeze it to remove excess liquid and place with the courgette.

Heat up the bulgur if needed and mix in the vegetables, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the crumbled feta and season. 

Mezze: Baked aubergine with pomegranate and stuffed courgettes

As always when I go on holiday, i filled my bags with groceries when I was on my way home from Syria. Soon thereafter I bought the fabulous cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and he uses alot of the things I brought back in his recipes. Perfect or what?!

These two recipes from Plenty don’t require any strange ingredients though, and I highly recommend you trying them. I utterly adored the aubergine dish, but my boyfriend fell in love with the courgettes. I have followed the recipes, but have veganised them where needed. You find the stuffed courgette recipe here in which I omitted the currants. It is from Ottolenghi’s culumn The New Vegetarian on the Guardian’s website, where many of the recipes in Plenty are from.

And below you find my adapted recipe for the baked aubergines with pomegranate.

Baked aubergine with pomegranate, serves 4 or 6 as a buffet

2 medium aubergines

olive oil

thyme

150 ml soy cream

1 garlic clove

juice from 1/2 lemon

salt

pepper

pomegranate seeds

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and place them skin down in a greased roasting tray. Cut a diaond pattern in the flesh with a knife, being carfel not to pierce the skin. Brush with olive oil a few times, so it gets soaked up by the aubergine. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and a few thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C for 40 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Mix the soy cream wuth garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Pour it over the aubergines just before serving and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.