Full on!

Last week went by so quickly, but was filled with fun things! Apart from maybe the baking I did on Monday night. A warm flat due to the lovely British summer gets HOT with the oven on for hours. But the cake turned out great, luckily! And I had ice lollies to cool me down.

ed1.jpg

Apart from that I’ve just been enjoying the sunshine (I seldom get too warm) and made the most of it. Wednesday evening was spent in the setting sun in a beer garden sipping rosé with one eye on the Brazil game and then pizza afterwards.

ed2.jpg

For the England-Belgium game on the Thursday we had rosé in another pub and delicious burgers. Afterwards we enjoyed the beer garden till closing as it was such a lovely evening.

ed4.jpg

Friday I went down to Surrey for the weekend where some friends were having a party and I was cooking. It was a great party on Saturday with games in and out of the pool, lots of prosecco, nibbles and a proper dinner in the evening.

ed5.jpg

I stayed over that night too and enjoyed the pool a bit more on the Sunday before heading back to London and going to the cinema to see Ocean’s Eight.

Such a great week all around – loving the weather and hoping it’s here to stay!

Advertisements

Quiet weekends are the best!

we.jpg

Last week was a short work week but it felt extremely long to me. Maybe because I didn’t get up to much in between working, laundry and other chores. I did get my hair cut though – that head massage is amazing after a long day at the office.

But the weekend more than made up for the rather boring work week; I spent it in the picturesque British countryside and it was so relaxing. I enjoyed the sun, lovely company, good food and managed to really switch off (not my phone, but I didn’t look at it all that much). And I finally found some time to read. The book we’re reading for book club now is so good I need to find some time to read it every night until it’s finished. If you haven’t read it already (it was published in 1992), I highly recommend Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

 

Recipe: cheese toastie with Maroilles

I don’t know if it was because I’d just seen Nigella make a brie, parma ham and fig toastie on her latest TV show or just the fact that I am perpetually in the mood for a cheese toastie, but as it happens two weekends ago, I knew just how I would use the Maroilles cheese a French colleague had given me the same week. In return he got a nice piece of Swedish Herrgård cheese, matured for 18 months. But back to the Maroilles.

When talking to French people, food as a conversation topic is never far away. And that’s how I found out that this Maroilles cheese, from the area of Picardy, is both delicious and probably the smelliest cheese in the world. To me that’s more intriguing than off-putting and I was super excited when I tried it. Similar to Reblochon, it’s a washed rind cheese with a lot of flavour, but it’s much creamier, and dare I say, delicious.

This cheese toastie is utterly simple to make, but very rewarding when you bite into the crisp bread with melted cheese oozing out on the sides.

Maroilles cheese toastie, per toastie

2 slices Poilâne bread

salted butter

2 thick slices of Maroilles cheese

Butter the two Poilane slices on one side. Place the cheese on one of the buttered surfaces and spread them it out so it covers the whole bread slice. Place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down (i.e. touching the cheese). Press the sandwich together. 

Now, melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat (3-4 out of 6) and place the sandwich in the pan. You don’t want the butter to burn so if unsure lower the heat. You want the sandwich to be golden on both sides and the cheese to melt inside so it takes a few minutes on each side.

Fry until golden brown on one side, pressing down with a spatula. Turn the sandwich and fry the other side. Once crisp and golden and the cheese has started to ooze out on the sides remove from pan and place on kitchen roll to remove excess butter. Pat the top of the sandwich with kitchen roll too, then cut into half and serve. Yu-um. 

PS. This is what I love the most about food; it brings people together. My colleague thought the Herrgård was a nice addition to his cheese board, with otherwise only French cheeses I presume, and I got to try a cheese I had never heard of until he boasted about the best produce from his region in France. Merci!

Visiting home and wild garlic fever!

IMG_2757.JPG

After four days in Italy, I had six days back home in the south of Sweden. I tried to keep it low key and just spend time with the family, and as usual we enjoyed some wonderful food together.

Spring had arrived in Sweden too, even if it was a little behind the Italian version. But the wood anemones flowered and the wild garlic was ready to eat, so I was pretty happy!

The evening I came home my mum and I (dad doesn’t like wine as much as we do) shared a lovely bottle of  Crèmant from Alsace, to celebrate we were together again!

IMG_2789.JPG

Another evening we enjoyed a cheese board with my Italian favourite Erborinato, Brie de Maux and Saint Albray. We also had some biscuits, pear slices, honey, rose hip jam and port. So yummy!

IMG_2873.JPG

I also picked wild garlic in the woods, as you can see it’s easy to forage; it’s everywhere!

IMG_2882.JPG

I also picked some wood anemones. It’s a spring ritual for me.

IMG_2905.JPG

We also cooked with wild garlic and one evening we had this great dish as a starter; asparagus (that I bought in Italy) with wild garlic mayo, parmesan and rapeseed oil.

IMG_2913.JPG

Afterwards we had cod loin cooked in the oven with wine and dill, potato purée, peas and carrots. And browned butter. Just. Amazing.

IMG_2942.JPG

One day we did a road trip to Höganäs and also stopped in Mölle by the sea to enjoy the view and the sunshine.

IMG_2970.JPG

In Höganäs we found an amazing fishmonger who sold fresh Swedish bleak roe so we of course had to buy some.

IMG_2973.JPG

We had it with rösti, creme fraiche and chopped red onions as a starter that evening.

IMG_3015.JPG

The rest of our dinner that night was a bunch of nibbles: leftover asparagus and wild garlic mayo, serrano ham, smoked prawns, some smoked mussels, tomatoes and wild garlic bread.

IMG_3023.JPG

One night we had friends over for a dinner of tried and tested recipes. We started the evening with champagne and Nigella’s prawn cocktail in lettuce leaves. Love this!

IMG_3036.JPG

The main course was fillet of beef with hasselback potatoes, broccoli, carrots and two sauces: bearnaise and peppercorn. Delicious!

IMG_3043.JPG

After a breather we enjoyed a rhubarb crumble with mum’s homemade custard. Such a wonderful evening!

IMG_3049.JPG

My last evening in Sweden was on a Sunday, and for dinner we had wild garlic soup to start.

IMG_3060.JPG

Followed by wonderfully tender pheasant with cream sauce, boiled potatoes, jelly, broccoli and carrots.

Thank you, Sweden, for a lovely time!

Eataly, our saviour

IMG_2705.JPG

Our last day in Italy wasn’t fun at all food wise. It started fine with a nice breakfast at the hotel in Ravenna and we had a good drive back to Bologna as well, but then it went downhill from there. Sob.

We really wanted to have lunch at Casa Minghetti (the cute bar and restaurant where we had a pre-dinner drink on the Saturday), but they were closed. So we then walked to a restaurant Caroline got recommended by a friend, that according to Google was open, only to find another closed door. Most places were open the other holiday days, but for some reason everything was closed on Easter Monday.

So we walked back to the centre of town to find only a handful of restaurants open for business, serving the same amount of people as the other days when everything was open which of course resulted in full restaurants and massive queues. By this point we were both hangry and about to cry. So we had to decide between a shorter queue for a lighter meal (it seemes less popular) or longer queue for proper cooked food. In desperation we chose the former and went to Eataly (they have a restaurant in New York too, that you may have heard of) as they had lots of tables and a fairly short queue. We weren’t really in the mood for cheese and charkuterie, but as we sat down with it in front of us it was heaven. The mortadella was actually the best one I had during the whole trip!

IMG_2709.JPG

The charkuteries from left to right (top pic): mortadella, serrano, pancetta and salami and the cheese from left to right (above pic) were: a nice hard cheese I don’t know the name of, mozzarella, parmesan and dolcelatte.

After lunch our plan was to buy food we wanted to take home with us. We had eyed up courgette flowers at every greengrocer since our first day here but as they wilt quickly we wanted to buy them fresh on our last day. That back-fired as most the food shops were closed as well. What was going on?! In the end I managed to find parmesan, ricotta, salsiccia, erborinato cheese and asparagus to take home, but it was a real mission. Still quite happy with our efforts we drove to the airport only to find out that our flight was two hours delayed. No probs, we read magazines and enjoyed a glass of wine in the lounge. But there was no food, so after consulting an online map of the airport we thought we’d have dinner at one of the two restaurants after security.

Again, things back-fired. There was only one restaurant and one cafeteria after security but the restaurant was closed and the café didn’t really sell anything edible apart from two scary looking sandwiches, ice cream and snacks so we had another glass of wine and some parmesan snacks for dinner. Now, it’s almost funny how we could have such a bad food day in Italy of all places. But in the moment it wasn’t funny at all. I’ve never been so happy to come back to Heathrow and see an open M&S late at night!

The rest of our trip was absolutely fab, and luckily both Caroline and I react the same way to not getting fed, so at least we were in it together.

Eataly, Via Degli Orefici 19, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Italy in spring

IMG_7550.JPG

For Easter my friend Caroline and I went to Italy, to enjoy glorious spring weather and eat copious amounts of pasta. That’s our type of holiday.

IMG_7556.JPGIMG_7564.JPG

We spent most of the time in Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region, but we also drove to Modena, Cierva and Ravenna. Driving in Italy was an, ehum, experience but we got into it after a while.

IMG_7587.JPGIMG_7584.JPG

It was lovely to see all the fresh produce at the greengrocers. Bright red tomatoes, asparagus and courgette flowers made the mouth water, and strawberries were in season too!

IMG_7591.JPGIMG_7592.JPGIMG_7593.JPG

We of course enjoyed pasta, cheese and charkuteries as well. And fish and seafood.

IMG_7599.JPGIMG_7601.JPGIMG_7604.JPG

Just a change of scenery and pace was lovely, but also to enjoy some sunshine and be able to sit outside was amazing. I’m such a spring and summertime person I feel I came alive again!

IMG_7640.JPGIMG_7632.JPG

I have plenty to tell you about the restaurants we went too, so hope you’re up for a few posts on Italy!

IMG_7687.JPGIMG_7683.JPG

New Year’s Eve 2014

IMG_9547

New Year’s Eve was just as great as we’d hoped. Our little gang (Emma, Claes, Linus and me) started with lunch at Marchal in Copenhagen (review to come), walked around the city and stopped for cava at a bar before taking the train back to Sweden. After a change of clothes we were ready for the evening festivities.

IMG_9567

We started with my favourite champagne (Pol Roger Brut Réserve), gougères (recipe to follow later) as well as butter-fried bread, Kalix caviar (Swedish bleak roe), creme fraiche and chopped red onions. A real Scandi classic that we never get tired of!

IMG_9590

We then continued on the ‘simple yet delicious’ theme with fresh lobsters with garlic and parsley butter and baguette and Les Sétilles, Bourgogne 2012 to drink.

IMG_9596

The main course was a bit more complex, but I had prepped most of it in advance. Fillet of beef with potato parcels, Jerusalem artichoke purée, oyster mushrooms, steamed carrots and red wine jusBrolio Chianti Classico 2012 to drink.

And here somewhere we lost track of time and realised 30 minutes before midnight that we would not have time for pudding beforehand, so instead we went outside to watch the fire work display organised by Malmö town, which was really nice! To toast in the new year we had Charles de Fère Brut Mérite; a nice French sprarkling.

IMG_9611Back in the flat again I made my way into the kitchen and made a baked Alaska with crispy oats, passionfruit and raspberries that went down really well around 1am! (Recipe to follow).