London: New York dumplings at Red Farm

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One Saturday night with no plans, my friend and I after a few texts suddenly had made dinner plans; to meed about 40 minutes later in Covent Garden. Even though I like to plan ahead most of the time, I find it so refreshing to make plans last minute. Especially when I live in a city like London with lots to offer.

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My friend Ro suggested a new place, that still was in it’s soft-launch place, as she’d been to the New York restaurant and loved it. Always keen to try new things I thought that was a great idea and was really happy when we got a table on arrival (although now that they’re properly open I would recommend making a reservation beforehand).

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Located next to another New York satellite, Balthazar, I definitely think Red Farm is here to stay. I really liked their concept of yummy but fun food and wish more restaurants would be creative in that way.

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Like these pork and crab soup dumpling size XXL that comes with a straw! It’s a genius way of eating it, first drinking the soup and then eating the dumpling. So yummy! My only criticism was that the dumpling spoons were a little bit small for that dumpling size.

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Their most iconic dish though, is probably this one; Pac Man shrimp dumplings complete with different coloured ghosts! So fun and very well executed.

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One of the best dishes was this starter though; the marinated and grilled pork belly. It had sweetness, lots of umami and a nice crunch. So moreish!!

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The scallion pancakes with smoked bacon were also really nice, but a little rich.

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Another favourite was the wide rice noodles with roast duck. Again full of umami (seems to be their thing) and lots of earthy flavours. We also had some broccoli on the side, and although nice, it’s not really the vegetables you come here for – it’s the rich satisfying umami dishes, perfect for the autumn ahead!

Red Farm, 9 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ

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Work, meat and a weekend in the country

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Last week was pretty quiet. The first three days of the week I worked a lot (and late) and so didn’t really have time for much else.

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Not even cooking, but I had pasta leftover from the weekend and made nice sandwiches for lunch.

But Thursday night I met my friend Laura for dinner in the city and tried a place I’ve been meaning to try for a really long time. It was a lovely meaty dinner, that I can’t wait to tell you more about later.

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On Friday we left London for some countryside air and it was so lovely to get away for the weekend. On the Saturday we braved the rain and went to the literary festival at Althorp, then back to a cosy night in by the fire. We also watched a really sweet film; Victoria and Abdul, with the amazing Judy Dench in the lead.

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Sunday the weather was lovely and we went for a really nice walk. Love putting on wellies, breathing some fresh air and say hello to the sheep in the fields.

Boring work week but a nice weekend!

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I was battling a cold most of last week so didn’t get up to much at all. Apart from work I just tried to rest as much as possible. I even had the same thing for supper four days in a week due to lack of imagination, working taste buds and energy. But this always comforts me!

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I felt a lot better by Friday and so could go out for dinner and drinks at some favourite haunts; Bar Americain, Zelman Meats and Kettner’s Townhouse).

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On Saturday I did some pampering at home and watched a lot of golf on TV, met some friends for drinks and had a quiet night in with dinner (bleak roe toast and crab pasta) and a movie. But it was rather disappointing. Great cast but the book is so much better!

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Sunday had more golf in store, but also more nice food (crab toasts and soft meringue with ice cream and berries) and three episodes of Handmaid’s Tale.

 

 

 

 

Copenhagen: wine and cheese at Vinhanen

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It’s difficult to explain the difference between Denmark and Sweden, or the difference between Stockholm and Copenhagen, especially as both countries and cities have different areas with different vibes, but overall I would say Denmark is just so much more relaxed.

Sitting like this, on a wobbly bench on the pavement outside a wine bar amongst parked bicycles drinking wine and using an old IKEA stool for a table is very Copenhagen. The bicycles are definitely a part of the scene and I like the no-fuss approach to basically everything.

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I actually can’t remember how we found this wine bar, but it was on our way to the restaurant where we had dinner after, and tired of shopping we just fancied a glass of something cold and some nibbles.

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And that’s exactly what we got at Vinhanen. Lovely cold wine (much needed in the August heat), crusty sourdough bread and yummy cheeses. The owner was lovely and chatty and we got to try the different wines so we got one we really liked. So nice!

In the store (you can also fill a bottle and take it away) they have big barrels of wine on tap, so you can order a bottle, a glass or a carafe. Clever!

Apart from the good booze and cheeses Vinhanen also offers a nice eclectic mix of people and fun people watching on the street. It’s the kind of place you want to hang out in all night. And that’s exactly what I intend to do next time.

Vinhanen, Baggesensgade 13, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

A very quiet week…

Last week was a lot quieter than I had planned, but I got ill again (typical this time of year) and had to cancel those plans. Oh well…

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Monday I took it easy at home in the evening, did some laundry and made broccoli cheese for supper. Although it’s really a side dish I like to eat it as it is, with maybe some ham and a piece of toast on the side. Love it!

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Tuesday I felt rubbish so after work I went straight to bed and had scrambled eggs in my PJs for dinner before falling asleep early.

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On Wednesday I had a little bit more energy so managed a burger and cinema after work. Although BlacKkKlansman was a hard film to watch (because of the subject) I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

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Thursday I just stayed in and watched BBC’s new series Bodyguard (that everybody’s talking about) and so far so good. Friday was again another quiet night in, I watched One Day and made the yummy spinach dip for supper.

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The weekend continued in the same way; watching TV, sleeping lots and more cancelled plans. But I managed to do a bit of cooking as I didn’t have the energy to go out and wasn’t in the mood for a greasy takeaway. Always something!

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. 

Copenhagen: Hija de Sanchez

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When an ex-Noma chef opens a taco restaurant you just know it’s going to be good food. On my day trip to Copenhagen this summer with my usual Copenhagen travellers Maria and Daniel, we didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant but got to taste Hija de Sanchez’ tacos at our favourite lunch place; the food market called Torvehallerne.

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There are several restaurant stalls here, so you can sample a bit of this and a bit of that. But we went straight to Hija de Sanchez and ordered a plate each of tacos.

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And some cava. Because why not?!

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All three of the tacos were (of course) delicious! The one with cheese and avocado (queso fresco) was nice and fresh but I also really liked the one with fried runny egg and guacemole. And the barbecoa was the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a few…)!

Next time I really need to go the restaurant – can’t wait to sample the whole menu! Which I’m sure my travel companions are up for.

Hija de Sanchez, Taquería and market, Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen