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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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!

Malmö: tapas at Escama

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That Friday night in Malmö was lovely and balmy and when we arrived to Escama for dinner the outside area was of course packed. I had booked a table but the outside area was first come first serve. A shame, but I get it. So we put our names on the list and and sat down at the bar.

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And we divided our dinner into two sittings; nibbles inside at the bar and more substantial dishes outside once we got our table.

We started with some excellent jamon iberico (tapa negra) and Monte Enebro cheese. Real classics. Especially the cheese section was a little unimaginative. Nice cheeses but a very standard selection. Luckily the ham made up for it!

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It took a good while until we got seated outside, but we nibbled, drank cold Albarino and talked.

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When we sat down outside we got a different waiter, and it was like somebody had forgotten to “hand us over”. We got no attention and had to flag waiters down several times to order, ask for side plates and so on. Really not fun when we were finally going to order the main part of the meal.

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We had the tuna tartar which I was a little disappointed with. It was literally just chopped tuna with a little seasoning. Some crunch, more flavour and a nice emulsion would have been nice!

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But the entrecôte steak that we’d seen our table neighbours inside enjoy was amazing! I would come back to have one of those to myself. Easy! We both enjoyed that VERY much, so they do know their meat here. The patatas bravas were also nice, although on the spicy side, but I quite like that.

All in all, we had a nice but very long (due to the lack of service at the end) dinner with some varied service. But the jamon iberico and the steak were so good that all is forgiven!

Escama, Fersens väg 4, 211 42 Malmö, Sweden

Recipe: burrata with figs and prosciutto

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Fresh figs everyday. A Mediterranean dream or reality in the south of Sweden? The latter. I know people think we have polar bears walking the streets (not true!) but Sweden in the summer is often warmer (and less humid) than the UK, at least in the south where I’m from. And in my parents’ garden we have peach trees and fig trees bearing fruit each year.

The two weeks I was in Sweden earlier this month we had fresh figs every day. So many in face we had to come up with various ideas of how to eat them. This starter was one of the winners and it’s a simple assembly job with no actual cooking required. Perfect for a summer lunch or to start off a more casual dinner party. (Yes, it goes perfectly with rosé.).

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Burrata with figs and prosciutto, serves 2-3 as a starter

1 burrata

4-6 fresh figs, washed and cut into quarters

6 slices prosciutto or other cured ham

2 handfuls rocket or mixed salad leaves

nice olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt & black pepper

Take the burrata out o the fridge a good hour before you need it so it’s not fridge cold. Take a serving plate and cover the base with rocket leaves. Place the burrata whole in the middle of the plate and arrange the ham sliced and fig quarters around it. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season well. 

Recipe: pizza bianco with potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions

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One night in Sweden this happened; pizza night. With the BBQ ban in full swing mamma and I find it so hard to think of summery things to cook, so one night we settled on pizza. Mainly because of one GREAT idea for topping (I promise I will blog about it soon!), and that spiralled into four lovely pizzas.

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This one with a white base (bianco), potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions was amazing. The combination of flavours really work and the smell that filled the house was delicious too. A must try, despite double carbs. It’s SO worth it!

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Pizza bianco with potatoes, rosemary and pickled red onions, 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) 

4-5 boiled but not overdone potatoes, cooled and cut into 1-2 mm slices

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

sea salt and black pepper

pickled red onions (using the below recipe) 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 Präst cheese. Add the potato slices and scatter with rosemary. 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 the pickled red onions and cut into slices. 

Pickled red onions, a small jar

2 red onions, peeled, cut into half and sliced thinly into half moons 

1 part matättika (already diluted acetic acid)  to 4 parts water 

3 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix one part matättika with 4 parts water so you have enough to cover the onions (approx 200 ml depending on the size of the jar). Add 2-3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and stir util it has dissolved. Leave for at least 30 minutes before serving. Keeps for five days in the fridge if covered. 

 

Back in London and a weekend in the country

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I’ve been back in London for a little more than a week and my holiday in Sweden is already starting to feel like a distant memory. It’s funny how quickly one settles back into the groove.

Monday was mainly about catching up at work, but I felt up to speed by the end of the day, having caught up with my emails and paper work. When I got home I started to put all my things away from the trip. I always unpack my suitcases as soon as I get home, whatever time of night that is (I like to maximise my time away and often fly back late). I don’t know why but I find it so satisfying to unpack straight away, but I’ve done it for years! But of course I don’t put everything away immediately (that takes too long) so that’s what I did on Monday night. And laundry of course, even though I made sure to do laundry in Sweden too.

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Anyway, the next evening after work the book club girls came over for some nibbles and pizza on the roof terrace followed by pudding back in the flat as the sun had started to set. It was lovely catching up with them and decide on the new book to read (this one if you’re interested) and as all of us contribute to the dinner it’s never stressful to host.

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Wednesday I made pizzas and we watched The Handmaid’s Tale (OMG it’s so good – draining, but SO good). Thursday I packed for the weekend, had some more pizza and watched some more The Handmaid’s Tale.

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I had the day off on Friday which was wonderful so after a lie-in we drove up to Northamptonshire where we stayed over night. Friday night we had dinner and watched Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat at Kilworth House and the next day we just took it easy before going back to London in the evening.

Sunday I did some more chores, unpacked and made another pizza (with leftover dough that I froze on Wednesday). I think I need a break from pizza now actually…

Reminder: Västerbotten cheese quiche

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In Sweden crayfish season is in full swing, and I wanted to remind you all that one of the most important things for a crayfish party (apart from the crayfish and snaps) is this Västerbotten cheese quiche. You can buy the cheese from Ocado (love their Swedish shop!) but you could also substitute it for a sharp cheddar if you prefer.

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We had a little crayfish party when I was home in Sweden and I love this non-holiday more than some actual holidays. The crayfish are just delicious, but we went all out with both fresh and smoked prawns (they’re delicious!) as well.

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And yes, we had snaps (Linie Aquavit, pictured above) and silly hats.

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Bread and cheese is also needed to soak up the alcohol (snaps is strong!) and maybe some homemade mayonnaise for dipping.  And don’t forget the finger bowls – this is a very messy (but really fun!) affair!

Skål!

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Västerbotten cheese quiche, serves 6

Dough:

120 g softened butter

300 ml plain flour

1/2 beaten egg

Filling:

250 g grated Västerbotten cheese (or a sharp cheddar will do)

2 egg yolks

2 eggs

200 ml cream

salt

Topping:

100 g girolles

2 tbsp salted butter

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

salt, pepper

chopped parsley

Mix the ingredients together for the dough and press it out in a quiche dish. Use a fork to pierce the dough all over. Pre-bake the dough for 10 mins at 175 C.

Mix the grated cheese with the cream, eggs and yolks and pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for another 20 mins.

Fry the girolles in butter on medium-high heat until almost done. Add the shallots and garlic and fry until golden. Season well and add the parsley. Place on top of the quiche just before serving.