Second week of holiday!

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My second week in Sweden I tried to take it a bit easier than the first. Try to wind down, not set an alarm and lower the pace. The first day that didn’t happen as I had invited eight adults and five children over for lunch, but I think I managed OK the rest of the week.

But back to the lunch. I skipped a starter so the children didn’t have to sit still for too long; instead everybody could mingle around with a glass of rosé in hand and snacking on these lovely crisps with browned butter, lemon juice and grated cheese.

For the main course I made chicken with lots of garlic and lemon, potato wedges, caramelised garlic sauce and a nice salad.

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And for pudding I let everybody put together their own pudding of soft meringue (everybody loves this one!), ice cream, lightly whipped cream, chocolate sauce. berries and figs.

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In the evening I had a simple supper consisting of Danish red pølse and all the trimmings. So yummy!!

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The next day I went to the beach in Skanör with friends and their three children.

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They brought a lovely picnic and there was a lot of swimming with the kids mixed with chatting to their parents. Such a lovely day that we finished off with a late lunch in the harbour nearby followed by ice cream.

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Wednesday I slept late and spent my time in the sun in the garden before going for dinner at a friend’s new house! They’d made salmon with salad, potato wedges, two sauces and nice bread and for pudding we had rhubarb pie with ice cream. A perfect summer’s evening.

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The next day was another quiet one, with some rain but also some time on the beach (yay!) before having dinner with my parents in the evening. I made lots of pizzas which I will blog about later.

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Friday started off the same way (not bad eh?! three lazy days in a row!) and finished with dinner at Badhytten with all the seafood!

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My last full day in Sweden I spent partly with my best friend, partly with my parents. Friends of the family came by for fika in the afternoon and in the evening my parents and I had something we never get tired off; fillet of beef with homemade bearnaise sauce. This was the first time we had dinner indoors as the weather turned, but I’m grateful for the sunny days I got!

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Sunday was my last day and my best friend and her family came over for lunch with my parents. I got lots of cuddles from my god daughter but we also had some lovely food. Mamma cooked arctic char with potatoes, mange tout, carrots and two sauces; one with caviar and this one with apple. The pudding was a huge success too (although dad would have liked a sweeter version) and I will blog all about it later.

Then off I went to the airport with a quick pit stop at my parents’ house where I hadn’t been all summer. Thank you, near and dear ones, for a lovely two weeks! ❤

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Recipe: Beef Rydberg (a Swedish classic)

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Typically when I buy fillet of beef to make a steak sandwich or a pizza with steak and bearnaise sauce, I get some steak leftover. A first world problem I know, but this is the best way I know to use up those bits of steak. (Please note that only fillet of steak will do here as you want small tender uniform pieces.)

Beef Rydberg is a real classic Swedish restaurant dish served with fried onions and potatoes, a dijon crème and plenty of grated horseradish. It’s both hearty and sophisticated somehow and very comforting during the colder months.

Beef Rydberg, serves 2

ca 300 g fillet of beef, cut into (not too small) cubes

1 yellow onion or banana shallot, finely chopped 

400 g firm potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

butter for frying (and a little oil) 

salt and black pepper

Dijon crème:

100 ml thick creme fraiche

2-3 tsp dijon mustard (to taste)

1 tsp runny honey

salt, white pepper

To serve:

fresh grated horseradish 

chopped parsley

Mix the dijon crème and keep it cold. Bring water to the boil in a saucepan, add salt and the potato cubes and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, fry the onions until soft in plenty of butter on a low-medium heat, without browning. Remove the onions and fry the drained potatoes in butter. Add salt, pepper and a little sugar abd fry until golden on the outside and soft inside (pierce with a knife to check). 

Pour the sauce into a little bowl or an empty egg shell, chop the parsley and keep the the onions and potatoes warm in separate pans while you fry the steak on high heat in butter and oil for approx 2 minutes (you don’t want the meat well done and it cooks quickly when it’s cut up like this). Rest the meat for a few minutes, then plate up. Scatter with parsley and serve with plenty of grated horseradish. 

Pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce

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It may seem a strange pizza topping, but I assure you it’s not. Most pizzerias in Sweden offer this and it’s probably the best hangover cure in the world, right up there with a kebab pizza. Yes, that’s also a thing in Sweden!

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You see, most pizzeras in Sweden are not authentic Italian ones but conveniently located in small towns, even villages and the go-to place for a takeaway. The menu is often eclectic and most have one called ‘pizzeria name’ + special, which is their take on the beef and bearnaise sauce pizza. It’s rarely you get nice beef though, it’s more similar to kebab meat but it’s still nice.

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Since bearnaise sauce on pizza is not a thing in the UK (sob), I made my own the other day. With proper rare fillet of beef. It was so delicious and I can’t wait to have it again. Because although the Swedish pizza with beef and bearnaise sauce have a special place in my heart and something I have to have at least once a year when I go home, this was SO much better.

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I was tempted to make my own bearnaise sauce to put on the pizza, but was afraid it might split on the hot pizza base so I decided to play it safe and use a store bought, more stable version.

Homemade pizza with fillet of beef and bearnaise sauce, per pizza

1 batch pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas, or halve it if you only want to make 1) 

Tomato sauce:

1 garliv clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 can (400 g) chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 buffelo mozzarella

oregano

70 g fillet of beef

butter for frying

a few spoonfuls good quality bearnaise sauce (I imported mine from Sweden)

Make the dough. When it’s raising, make the tomato sauce: Fry the garlic in the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the chopped tomatoes, some water and the tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Season to taste and put aside. 

Once the dough has risen, roll out a pizza. Spread with tomato sauce and distribute torn chunks of mozzarella on the pizza. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with orgeano. Bake in 225C oven for approx 10 minutes until cooked through. 

Season the beef and fry it in butter while the pizza is in the oven. It only needs 1-2 minutes per side. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then slice it thinly. 

Remove the pizza from the oven. Add the beef and bearnaise sauce. Serve immediately!  

Classic food at The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras

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When I meet up with my friend Helen there is always nice food involved, but as we usually meet on Sunday evenings (due to very different work schedules) there are a limited number of restaurants to choose from (most are open for Sunday lunch but not dinner).

Last time we met up in London we decided to have dinner at Marcus Wareing’s The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras Station. It’s a nice grande restaurant with a classic British and European menu.

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We started with rosé champagne in the bar; we see each other so seldom every time is worth celebrating!

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The bar is nice and cosy but the restaurant is a large room with plenty of ceiling height and a bar in the middle of the room. It was surprisingly busy this Sunday evening which contributed to the nice atmosphere.

We began our meal with a starter each. I had the Dorset crab with carrots, kohlrabi and cashews. A really fresh dish and very pretty on the plate.

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Helen had the foie gras with figs, smoked almonds and crisp bread. Also very nice and pretty as a picture.

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For the main course neither of us could resist the fillet of beef with truffle sauce (yum!) and chips. Absolutely delicious!

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I have no idea how we had room for pudding, but we just couldn’t resist the chocolate praline tarte with vanilla ice cream. Yes, it was amazing!

We had a wonderful evening and the food was both elegant and perfectly cooked. Just what you expect from both Marcus Wareing and the beautiful St Pancras station. The service could have been a bit sharper, but all in all it was a great dinner.

The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR

 

 

 

 

New Years Eve 2015

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New Year’s Eve. A bit like Marmite – some people hate it, some people like it. I’m definitely in the latter category. I like all the cosiness Christmas brings, but I’m not a fan of the stodgy food that we traditionally eat in Scandinavia, so New Year’s is for me the perfect opportunity to cook and eat food I really like. Food worthy to end the year.

The last few years I’ve spent the evening with my closest friends and we have worked out the perfect New Year’s Eve menu, for us at least.

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We start off with champagne, Swedish Kalix (bleak) roe, butter-fried bread, creme fraiche and chopped red onion., with champagne. It’s the most simple thing – yet incredibly delicious (and very Scandi!).

Next we have lobster, usually with melted garlic butter, and this year I opted for caramelised garlic butter – another simple and delicious dish!

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For mains we usually have fillet of beef, with potatoes and greens. This year the beef fillet was served with mini Pommes Anna (made in a muffin tin), mange tout and a mushroom sauce with Dijon mustard.

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For pudding we had individual chocolate pavlovas with chocolate crème and creme fraiche (whipped cream would be better but I forgot it), decorated with daim and Noblesse chocolate thins. A jug of chocolate sauce was put on the table so everyone could help themselves.

Lobster with caramelized garlic butter, serve 4

2 lobsters, cooked 

1 whole garlic

100 g salted butter, at room temperature

a bunch of parsley 

1 slice of lemon, cut into 4

4 slices of baguette

The day before (or at least a few hours ahead of) serving: Wrap the garlic in tin foil and bake for 40 mins in 180C oven (until soft). Leave to cool.

Mix the butter with as much caramelized garlic you like. It’s sweeter and not as strong as fresh garlic, so I thought 5 cloves was a good amount. Chop the parsley and mix in. Add pepper too. Roll into a roll and cover with cling. Place in the fridge to set. 

To serve: Cut the lobsters in half lengthways, remove the gooey bits in the head and the bowel string. Rinse the shell with the meat still inside. Crack the claws and get the meat out. Place in the shells and place the shells in an ovenproof dish. Cut the butter into thick slices and distribute on the lobster halves. Place in 180C oven for approx 10 mins until the lobsters are hot and the butter has melted. Serve immediately with a piece of lemon and a slice of baguette. 

Mini Pommes Anna with thyme, serve 4

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

850 g potato of a firm variety (Maris Piper works well)

100 g butter

a bunch of fresh thyme 

salt, black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C . Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush 8-10 wholes in the muffin tin all over with butter. Line bottoms with parchment-paper rounds. Arrange 1-2 small thyme sprigs in center of each round. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup.

 

Add chopped thyme and garlic to remaining butter in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

 

Using food processor, moulinex or mandoline, slice potatoes crosswise into very thin rounds , placing them in a large bowl as you work. Pour herb butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.

 

Divide potato slices among muffin cups, layering overlapping slices to create a circular pattern. Lightly press center of each to make compact. Drizzle any remaining butter and seasoning from bowl over.

 

Cover muffin pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife and are golden brown, about 35 minutes.
Remove foil; invert a rimmed baking sheet over pan. Turn, lightly tapping on counter, releasing potatoes onto sheet. Rearrange any slices that may have fallen out. Discard parchment.
Individual chocolate pavlovas, served 4

Translated from and Adapted after Roy Fares’ recipe.

Chocolate crème:

50 g dark chocolate

30 g (3) egg yolks

37,5 g caster sugar

15 g maizena corn starch

1/2 tsp vanilla

175 ml milk

10 g butter

Pavlovas:

37,5 g dark chocolate

70 g (2) egg whites

110 g caster sugar

4 g maizena corn starch

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar 

Chocolate sauce:

50 ml caster sugar

50 ml cocoa

50 ml cream

15 g butter

To decorate:

300 ml lightly whipped cream

1/2 packet daim balls (or a chocolate bar, chopped)

12 Noblesse chocolate thins or similar 

4 sparklers

Chocolate cream: Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Mix egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and vanilla in another bowl. Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan and mix it into the egg yolk mixture (little by little as to not scramble the eggs). Pour the egg yolk milk mixture into the saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Cook for another 2 minutes, on low heat, to get rid of the corn starch flavour. Pour the custard over the chocolate, add the butter and mix until the chocolate has melted. Cover with cling and place in fridge until cold. 

Pavlovas: Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl, melt either over boiling water or in the microwave. Pre-heat oven to 150C. 

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by it while beating until stiff and glossy. Add the corn flour and vinegar and mix carefully with a spatula. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and create a marbled effect by folding the mixture 2-3 times with a spatula. Divide the meringue mixture into four small rounds on a lined baking tray. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven while cooling. Let the meringue discs cool completely. 

Chocolate sauce: Mix sugar, cocoa and cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Assembling: Place a meringue disc on each plate. Fill up with the crème and top with whipped cream. Decorate with daim, noblesse and sparklers. Heat up the sauce and serve it in a jug on the side.  

 

 

 

A typical family dinner (for us anyway)

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My first evening in Sweden I just relaxed at home with my parents enjoying a lovely, yet still pretty low-key, dinner. We started off with little puff pastry quiches with girolles (love girolle season, especially as it coincides with crayfish season!) after my own recipe.

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We then had fillet of beef (we do like our meat) cooked differently for each of us (mine blue, dad’s rare, mum’s medium) served with lambs lettuce, tomato salad, roasted potatoes and homemade bearnaise sauce. SO nice!

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After a little break we finished off with an almost healthy pudding; fresh fruit and berries (blueberries, raspberries, melon, grapes and nectarines) with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday supper at home in Sweden

A few weekends ago, I went home to my beloved Skåne, to meet food bloggers and see my parents. The Sunday was the 40th (!) wedding anniversary of my parents and we celebrated it quite low-key with good food and wine at home.

To start we had fried scallops in saffron sauce. Mother had found these big and juicy scallops which we fried rapidly on very high heat to caramelize. The sauce is almost a soup and absolutely wonderful. Some raw chopped shallots gives texture and some heat.

As a maincourse we had a really nice fillet steak, cooked in three different ways to accomodate everyone. Served with baked potato rounds, a mushroom sauce with cognac and dijon mustard and steamed vegetables.

In apple season, tarte tatin is wonderful. I have tried quite a few diffrent versions, but the best one I have come across is this recipe courtesy of brilliant Rick Stein. It suggests cognac but this time we used armagnac which worked just as well. (Even better, according to mother).