Recipe: garlic and herb sauce

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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.

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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.

 

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Recipe: blueberry galette

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My last day in Sweden for the summer was a Sunday in August and instead of just making it a travel day (i.e. boring!) I invited by best friend and her family to the summer house for a nice lunch with me and my parents.

As a group we get on so well and you wouldn’t think we weren’t all the same age! I love it and as it’s also stress-free inviting people over who you know so well it was the perfect ending to my two+ weeks in Sweden.

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As my best friend and her husband has a baby who now walks on her own but then was desperate to master the walking we decided against a sit down starter. Instead we had some cheese straws and wine standing up chatting and running after the little one. For the main course we had arctic char with boiled potatoes, vegetables and a sauce with lumpfish roe. Very traditionally Swedish!

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And for pudding I made this blueberry galette! It was an instant hit (Emma, bestie, sorry it’s taking me so long to write this up – but here you finally have the recipe!), although my dad would have liked it a little bit sweeter. I, on the other hand, like the fact that it’s not too sweet as you can really taste the freshness of the blueberries this way, and it doesn’t feel all that indulgent serving it with ice cream, but pouring cream or lightly whipped cream would work well too.

Blueberry galette, serves 4-6

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe

Dough:
205 g (385 ml) plain flour 
2 tsp caster sugar
115 g chilled salted butter, cut into pieces

Filling:
350 g blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp potato flour (or cornstarch)
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
60 ml caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp milk or cream

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the softened butter and either work with your fingers until you have a sandy consistency or pulse in a food processor until you reach that sandy texture. 

Add 4 tbsp cold water and mix into a dough. Add another tbsp if needed until the dough has formed. Shape into a disc, cover with cling and chill for an hour. 

Preheat oven to 190°C. Toss blueberries, potato flour, lemon juice and caster sugar in a large bowl.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 30 cm diameter. Carefully transfer the rolled out dough to a parchment-lined baking tray. Mound blueberries in the middle of the of the galette, leaving 5 cm as a border. Fold the edges over, overlapping slightly. Brush dough with milk/cream and sprinkle generously with caster sugar.

Bake until the crust is dark golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 45–50 minutes. Leave to cool before serving.

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

Recipe: pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese

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For once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer. It’s been warm and sunny both here in London and in Sweden. I’ve still got a tan and I swam in the sea several times. Had al fresco meals and lots of rosé. One might think I’ve had enough of summer for now, but I would happily continue the summer for another few months. But, because we had a real summer I am also, at the same time, looking forward to autumn. To cosy nights in, lit candles, blankets, darker colours and heartier dinners. And red wine instead of rosé.

And just like the trench coat and the leather jacket are good transitional pieces in our wardrobes I feel this pizza is the ultimate transitional dinner dish.

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Mushrooms always get me excited about autumn and their earthy taste is just what I’d want right now. Before the soups and stews. And, luckily – this pizza goes well with both red and rosé!

Pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese, 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 Västerbotten cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

200 g girolles

2-3 tbsp butter

a splash of oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

chopped parsley

sea salt and black pepper

finely grated Västerbotten cheese 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 Västerbotten cheese.  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.

In the meantime, fry the girolles in butter and oil on medium-high heat. When the mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic and fry until golden (but no longer). Remove the pan from the heat and season well. Add the chopped parsley. 

Remove the pizza from the oven, divide the mushrooms onto the pizza, top with finely grated cheddar and cut into slices. 

Recipe: Nigella’s slow roasted lemon and garlic chicken

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I’m a planner. Not all the time, but I like to plan ahead in several areas of my life. Especially when entertaining. So I had decided on a menu for the lunch I was hosting for a few friends in Sweden long before I even got to Sweden.

But the draught threw a spanner in the works. Three days before I was leaving for Sweden the government issued a BBQ ban in most areas and it was forbidden to barbecue even on your own property. All to prevent any more wild fires. Totally logical and something we all had to accept. But since my original lunch plan involved lighting the barbecue I had to think of something else to cook. I thought this would magically come to me as ideas so often do, but no.

So, in this moment of crisis (well not really, but I was starting to panic a little as my days were packed full of activities) I turned to my trusted cook book collection in the beach house and as usual they helped me out. This time it was a recipe in Nigella’s book Summer that saved me! This slow-roasted lemon and garlic chicken is summery (and delicious) enough to make you forget all about your beloved barbecue and appreciate a dish that basically cooks itself in the oven.

And if you don’t find butchering chickens as therapeutic as I do, I would suggest you either ask your butcher for help or buy a mixture of skin-on chicken breasts and chicken thighs.

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Nigella’s slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.
1 chicken cut into 10 pieces

1 bulb of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves

1 lemon, cut into chunky eighths

1 bunch fresh thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

75-100 ml white wine

salt and black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Put the chicken pieces in a roasting tin, season and add the oil. Toss the chicken pieces in the oil so they’re coated all over. Place skin side up. Add garlic cloves, lemon chunks and  thyme. Sprinkle over the white wine and put in the oven to cook for 2 hours. 

Turn up the oven to 200°C and cook the chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges. 

 

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