Growing up in the countryside in the south of Sweden I didn’t realise how lucky I was to grow up in such an idyllic place. Fast forward to present time living in a big city, where getting fresh herbs and locally grown vegetables can be quite tricky at times.
So my first night in Sweden this summer I cooked us a fairly standard summer meal of pork fillet, salad and potatoes. Normally I would cook the meat on the barbecue to get that charred flavour, but due to the first barbecue ban in my life time (even in your own garden – it was that dry) I had to make do with the stove and oven. And sitting outside in the sunshine it was still a lovely meal.
Mainly because of the sauce I literally threw together on the spot. It’s a simple cold sauce with mainly creme fraiche and a little mayonnaise as a base (us Swedes make sauces like this ALL the time), but what made it so nice was the mix (and quantity) of fresh herbs from the garden. An absolute treat for this city girl and something I used to take for granted when I lived at home.
Garlic and herb sauce, serves 3-4
300 ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Acacia honey
3/4 small garlic clove, finely chopped
approx 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley
salt and pepper
Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise. Then add mustard, honey, garlic and herbs and leave for a while for the flavours to develop before serving. Season to taste.
I must admit I feel slightly stressed that it’s already the middle of July. In less than two weeks I go home to Sweden for two weeks and I have quite a lot to do before then, but the main reason I’m stressed is that I don’t want this lovely summer to end! It’s been so lovely and I want it to continue forever.
I’m really looking forward to my weeks in Sweden but London is lovely too at the moment. Last week was busy but fun and one of the highlight was definitely the RAF fly-over on Tuesday to mark their hundred year anniversary. Wow!
In the evening I met up with the girls at Chick ‘n’ Sours for nachos (probably the best ever), fried chicken, cocktails and of course a proper catch-up. It was much needed and so lovely!
On Thursday I was invited to Shakespeare’s The Tempest at an outdoor theatre in Covent Garden. Always nice with some culture!
And before the theatre we had a quick meal at cosy Polpo nearby. Love those meatballs!
Friday I had a (much needed) night in, with face masks, scented candles and a not great but fine rom-com.
The weekend was all about sport, apart from the Saturday evening which was all about Tim (the birthday boy) and the barbecue him and Laura had arranged. We had Pimm’s and snacks in the garden, followed by a barbecue complete with burgers and two types of sausages and finished off with proper American s’mores. Yum! When it got dark we ventured inside for board games and champagne.
Sunday started with a lie-in (yes!) followed by a whole afternoon in a lovely beer garden watching both the Wimbledon final and the World Cup final.
It was nice and relaxing with a glass of rosé in hand. Afterwards we went for a little walk, then headed back for homemade club sandwiches and the last episode of Billions. Can’t wait for the next season to start!
You may be surprised to learn that I did more than eat my way through Seville?! In between meals I walked a lots and did some proper sightseeing. Although I usually skip some of the usual tourist attractions (at least if they involve a long queue) but enjoy the smaller, less crowded ones.
Like this Andalusian palace built in the 1500s – Casa de Pilatos. It’s a vision of statues, mosaics and general grandeur.
Most walls are tiled like these, with small tiles making up lovely patterns in greens, blues and yellows.
Amazing details everywhere.
The gardens are just as grand, with low cut ledges framing the trees.
And the most amazing bougainvillas in bloom.
Look at the details outside too. Not a petal out of place.
Casa de Pilatos, Pl. de Pilatos, 1, 41003 Sevilla, Spain
On the Saturday morning of our Stockholm weekend, we travelled (by metro and bus) to a lovely nursery called Zetas trädgård, near Kungens Kurva. My keen gardener mother was very excited to come here, but dad and I could also see the appeal. It’s a beautiful nursery, an oasis, with lots of plants and decorative things to buy. Plus a lovely café with seating both inside and outside serving still warm cinnamon buns straight from the oven, nice sandwiches and soups. That’s where we hung out while mum walked around looking at plants!
Dad and I first shared a cinnamon bun and had a hot chocolate each and then we had lunch with mum a bit later.
The ham and avokado crème on rye was really nice, just like the sourdoug baguette with local washed-rind cheese and fig jam.
A lovely spot for a café, don’t you think?!
We had a lovely few hours here, and although we were mainly for my mother’s sake I still had a great time, and even found two nice vases to buy.
Zetas Finsmakarens Trädgård, Blombacken 2, 141 70 Segeltorp (Kungens Kurva), Stockholm
On Sunday father kindly picked me up from my best friend’s house and on the way home we did what most Swedish people do on weekend mornings; stopped at a bakery to buy fresh bread rolls.
Once we got home we had fika with the rolls, lots of different toppings, coffee, tea and orange juice, on the terrace. Then I went for a wander in my mother’s garden (well, it belongs to both my parents of course, but it is my mother’s domain) checking out the tomatoes and grapes in the greenhouse, the cherry and sour cherry trees and the wild strawberry plants.
Later on we enjoyed a lovely three course lunch, again on the terrace, with some rosé before it was time for me to head to the airport.
The lunch was wonderful, starting with a simple girolle toast with the first girolles of the season, picked by my aunt Pavla in the woods nearby. Then barbecued meat skewers with chicken, pork tenderloin and bacon and a lovely summery salad with new potatoes, grilled pears and blue cheese. Pudding was as simple as can be; vanilla icecream with freshly picked strawberries and wild strawberries from the garden. Absolutely wonderful!
Then it was time to say goodbye and go the airport, but I’ll be back in three weeks time. Can’t wait!