Kent: Michelin star luncheon at The Sportsman


This Michelin star restaurant has been on my to-eat-list (yes, I have one of those…) for quite some time and I was thrilled when my Kent-based friends Helen and Pete suggested we go there for lunch together. We booked it several months before and finally went in May this year (sorry it’s taken me forever to do the write up!).


Quite unlike most other one star places The Sportsman is really relaxed and rustic. You place your order at the bar (while looking at the daily changing menu noted down on the black board next to it) and go sit down.


The food takes a similar approach and is really well prepared out of the best ingredients but with a rustic no-fuss approach. Which people love! Especially chefs, who vote this as their favourite restaurant year after year.


I obviously like the approach too, and from the get-go it’s pure perfection. The three different types of bread are all very good, the olives are of the buttery kind and the butter is just heavenly. A good start.


Pete and Helen are just as excited as I am, although they’ve been here before and Pete and I can’t resist the oysters, which were served two ways and both delicious!



It was only also Pete and I who ordered starters, but we shared them at the table. The terrine with mustard, pickles, grilled sourdough and crispy scratchings was so nice. Everything was just perfectly executed.


My tomato, burrata and pesto may look simple, but it was perfectly put together and had the best pesto I’ve ever tasted.


Helen had the beef and Yorkshire pudding which was pure perfection as well. Just look at that plate.


My pork was incredibly tender and was served with a deliciously fluffy mash and a mustard jus. Just perfect.


Pete had cod, again cooked to perfection, with asparagus and a delicious chorizo sauce. It’s classic food, but still with a few twists.


I was quite full after my pork but would not turn down pudding in a place like this and so ordered the rhubarb soufflé with rhubarb ripple ice cream. It’s was amazingly good. Strong but subtle flavours and the softest soufflé!



Helen’s warm chocolate mousse with with salted caramel and milk sorbet was equally dreamy and although familiar flavours, the fun texture is a great addition.


The whole lunch was really relaxed and cosy, with two well-behaved children, and such a treat! Afterwards we went out into the sunshine and down the beach to look for sea shells and fossils. Such a wonderful day – and lunch!

The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent CT5 4BP

London: Scandi lunch at Aster


The building works near Victoria station has been going on for years, but now some parts of the development are finally ready. The rest is still a building site but the whole Nova area is brand new and quite exciting. There’s a Shake Shack (yum!), Franco Manca (yes, please!) and lots more restaurants to explore. The Scandinavian one was the first one I tried out, with my dear friends Gaby and Rowena for lunch one weekend.

Aster, as the restaurant is called, has a very nice interior (like all D&D London restaurants) and has a café area, restaurant area, bar and deli.


We had lunch in the café area but it still felt restauranty enough for a lunch.


With lots of familiar items on the menu it was difficult to choose but we got there in the end.


Gaby had the meatballs with potato mash, cream sauce and lingonberries. Really nice and I got a small case of food envy (even though my homemade meatballs are really nice too!).


I went for the smørrebrød (open-faced Danish sandwiches). One with pork belly, apple sauce and lovely crackling on rye.


And one with prawns and mayonnaise. The pork sandwich was lovely and ticked all the boxes but I was disappointed with the prawn sandwich. It tasted nice, but I would have expected at least the double amount of prawns. Smørrebrød always have more toppings than bread but here that wasn’t the case.


Rowena had the Aster Caeser salad with prawns, smoked vendace and rye croutons, but it arrived without the fish on the plate (!) and we had to ask for it. Then it took quite a while until the complete salad arrived and it was also smaller in size than the first one.


The food was nice though (not wow – but nice) so we had pudding as well. Rowena had the apple cake with custard above which was really nice.


And Gaby and I had a cinnamon bun each which was amazing. Still warm, buttery and lovely. We also spied people around us having afternoon tea which looked great so definitely want to go back and try that.

There are definitely a few tweaks to be done here, both when it comes to food and service (it was rather slow and wobbly) but hopefully it was all teething problems and it’s fixed now.

Aster restaurant, 150 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5LB

Pork belly, Jerusalem artichoke purée and creamy black trumpets

In a way it has been liberating food wise to move to the UK. It might sound silly, but in the UK everyone eats. In Sweden not so much.

Maybe it is because the world’s perception of Swedish people as blond, slim and beautiful that Swedish girls in general don’t eat much. They are all very conscious about what they eat and unless it is low-carb, low-fat the food is merely pushed around the plate instead of put in the mouth.

This is a generalisation of course, but for a foodie, this environment felt rather hostile. Moving to the UK almost four years ago, I could not believe it when the really slim women in my office had a sandwich and a packet of crisps for lunch. I mean bread? Crisps? And they still stayed slim. Was that even possible? Of course it was. In the UK people ate the way we did when I was young; everything in moderation. And it works.

But you can imagine that if people don’t want bread for lunch they certainly wouldn’t eat crackling. In Sweden a few years ago it seemed that it was only chicken breasts and salmon fillets that people ate. Some still do, and I am sick and tired of both. But foodies eat differently, thank God, and restaurants with the same philosophy as St John are opening up everywhere in Sweden and it seems more OK to actually eat there now. Or maybe I just don’t care anymore.

Pork belly, Jerusalem artichoke purée and creamy black trumpets, serves 2

2 slices pork belly


a few sprigs thyme

300 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

3 tbsp salted butter

1 handfull dried black trumpets, soaked in water

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove

a splash of dry white wine

50 ml cream

1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

salt, white pepper

Preheat the oven to 125C. Place the pork belly slices in a buttered dish. Rub salt into the crackling and add some salt all over. Place the thyme on the meat. Let it cook for at least two hours or until tender.

Cut the artichokes in equal pieces, cover with water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until soft. Turn the oven up to 250C and cook the meat for another 10 minutes until the crackling crisps up.

Squeeze the water from the mushrooms and chop roughly. Fry in the butter on high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and let some evaporate. Add the cream and stock and let it thicken.

Purée the artichokes with the butter, season ieth salt and pepper.  

Perfect pork belly

Crackling. One of my favourite English words actually. I just think it describes exactly what a crackling is. You totally get that it is something crispy that cracks, but it still sounds appealing.

And crackling certainly is appealing. I LOVE that British people in general fight over the crakling when they eat pork belly for Sunday lunch. In Sweden animal fat has been taboo for a while, but it is coming back now. And in Denmark you can buy cracklings in bags, just like crisps, with different seasonings. Love it!

I have cooked pork belly a few times now, as it was totally new to me when I moved here, it has been a bit trial an error. I have learnt though, that the key is to cook the meat slowly on low heat for a few hours, then turn the heat up to crisp up the crackling even further. Then it helps to let the meat rest for a while before serving and fighting over the crackling.

Porkbelly with roasted root vegetables, broccoli and a creamy sauce.

The perfect porkbelly, serves 2

ca 400 g porkbelly

salt, herb salt or ground herbs (like sage, oregano, parsley)

white pepper

Heat up the oven to 125C. Cut lines in the fat  in a check pattern if this is not done already. Rub with plenty of salt and the herbs. Make sure it goes down in the cracks. Season the meat all around. Cover a roasting tin with tin foil and place the meat, fat up in it. Place in oven and cook for 2-3 hours. When the meat is really tender, turn the heat up to 180C for 10 minutes to crisp up the crackling even more. Let the meat rest, covered in tin foil, for a few minutes before serving.