BBQ, theatre and a(nother) lovely weekend!

sb1.jpg

I’m enjoying my summer so much right now, and my holiday hasn’t even started yet. Must be a good sign for the next few weeks!

IMG_1544.jpg

Monday I had a cheeky after work drink with a colleague, which was much needed. Not the drink in itself but catching up outside of the office.

Tuesday was less indulgent; instead I cooked a simple supper at home, did some chores and tidied up.

IMG_1606.jpg
Wednesday a friend had us round for a barbecue which was lots of fun and really yummy! Loving all the summer evenings spent in friend’s gardens sipping rosé and chatting away.

IMG_1626.jpg

IMG_1634.jpg

On Thursday we first had burgers at Bleecker’s pop-up on the Southbank (love their burgers) before going to National Theatre to see Julie, a modern adaptation of Strindberg’s classic play. It was such a good play and Vanessa Kirby was AMAZING as Julie. Never have 1 hr 25 minutes gone by so fast!

IMG_1698.JPG

The weekend started with an impromptu dinner at The Orange with friends on Friday night, followed by a lie-in the next morning.

IMG_1703.jpg

IMG_1717.jpg

After a late breakfast we walked around Battersea Park and had lunch in the beer garden at The Prince Albert.

IMG_1710.jpg

IMG_1736.jpg

Then we went for another stroll and had an ice cream before leaving the park.

IMG_1780.jpg

In the evening I made some sharing food (caprese, parma parcels with figs and rocket, saucisson, cheese and bread) and we started two new TV series. First The Handmaid’s Tale which was brilliant but so hard to watch I couldn’t watch two episodes in a row, so instead we started on Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, which also was very good.

IMG_1828.jpg

Yesterday I had another lie-in to make up for the late weeknights, and had a rather chilled out day. For supper I made a slow cooked pasta bolognese with garlic bread and afterwards we saw Incredibles 2 in the cinema!

Advertisements

Recipe: bleak roe pizza

IMG_3336.JPG

Bleak roe, i.e. Swedish caviar, is a treasured ingredient in Sweden and something I can really long for. We eat it with devotion and save it for special occasions. I always make sure I have some, for emergencies, in my London freezer, and try to eat it regularly when I go home to Sweden to visit. Luckily we’re more or less feasting the whole time I come home as my parents and I are so happy to be together.

IMG_3341.JPG

My only “problem” with bleak roe, is that I under no circumstances want to mess it up. Therefore I often serve it like a ‘toast‘ with butterfried bread, creme fraiche or smetana and chopped red onions. Because, as we now, less is sometimes more.

But it’s equally lovely as a topping for crisps (it’s the perfect snack to accompany a glass of champagne) or served with crispy rösti as a starter.

When I was last home in May, we decided to branch out to pizza. A pizza bianco though as the tomato would rival the bleak roe too much. And, as you can probably guess, it was wonderful! I used a recipe from a restaurant in Stockholm famous for their bleak roe pizza (or löjromspizza as it’s called in Swedish) but made a few minor changes to it (because I simply can’t help myself).

IMG_3339.JPG

Bleak roe pizza, serves 4-6 as a starter (2 as a main course)

Translated from and adapted after Taverna Brillo’s recipe.

Pizza dough:

250 ml water

1 tbsp olive oil 

390 g 00 flour 

1 tsp dried yeast

2 tsp sea salt

Topping:

8 tbsp creme fraiche flavoured with a little lemon

100 g buffalo mozzarella 

100 g coarsely grated mature präst cheese or cheddar

80 g Kalix bleak roe

100 g creme fraiche

finely chopped red onions

finely chopped chives

dill

lemon

Ina  mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add salt, olive oil and flour. Knead the dough by hand for 15 minutes (or in a machine for 10 minutes). Divide into two, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, approx 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and shape into round pizzas. Place on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Heat the oven to 250°C.

Spread 4 tbsp creme fraiche onto each pizza and divide the mozzarella (in chunks or slices) and präst/cheddar cheese. Bake in a low oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top with bleak roe, creme fraiche, onions, chives, dill and lemon. 

Recipe: proper spaghetti carbonara

 

IMG_0573a.jpg

Recipes are not protected by copyright law, probably as they are evolving all the time. And as much as I like to keep to tradition when it comes to certain dishes I love to experiment with others.

When it comes to pasta there is no reason to always stick to the traditional recipes, but I think it’s good to try to master them first.

Growing up in Sweden in the 1980s and 1990s, we had a lot of traditional Scandinavian dishes, usually including meat and potatoes. Italian dishes then, when the world seemed a bigger place, were often (very) bastardised versions of the real thing, and therefore not of great inspiration to me. Because I only had the school dinner version of lasagne to sample I thought for a long time I didn’t like the dish. But it turned out it was just that terrible (yes, terrible) version I didn’t like. It was the same with ravioli (and other non-Italian dishes); my reference points were bad. Whereas everything my mother (or grandmothers) cooked was always delicious, but more Scandinavian in heritage.

Now my relationship with Italian food is quite different. I have been to Italy a few times and tried the real thing, and also cooked proper Italian dishes at home. And the emulsion of water and Parmesan keeps fascinating me. First of all, it’s DELICIOUS, but also, once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult at all as this recipe proves. And once and for all, you do not need cream to make a creamy carbonara, just a little patience and using the method below. But I must admit I added one tablespoon of it during my first attempt, although it’s not needed. As always Gennaro Contaldo’s recipes are spot on. Grazie.

Spaghetti Carbonara, serves 2

Adapted from Gennaro Contaldo’s for Jamie Oliver recipe.

3 large free-range egg yolks

40g Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

150g good quality pancetta, diced

200g dried good quality spaghetti

1 clove of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

black pepper

Put the egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in the Parmesan, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.

Fry the pancetta in a little oil over medium-high heat. Peel the garlic and crush it and add it to the pan for flavour – remove if it browns or when finished cooking. Reserve some cooking water and drain the pasta and add it to the pancetta pan. Toss well over the heat so it really soaks up all that lovely flavour, then remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pasta back to the spaghetti pan, season and add a splash of the cooking water, then pour in the egg mixture (the pan will help to cook the egg gently, rather than scrambling it). Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s lovely and glossy. Serve with a grating of Parmesan and extra pepper. 

Recipe: wild garlic fritters

IMG_3354.JPG

Wild garlic season is almost over now, but luckily there were a few leaves left when I was in Sweden last and I used them wisely by trying a completely new recipe!

IMG_3363.JPG

As you may know by now, I love fritters and have a few recipes on the blog already, but when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit I couldn’t resist trying it. Wild garlic is my favourite flavour in spring (together with asparagus and rhubarb) as it’s less pungent than garlic. It seems fresher somehow. But it also reminds me of my childhood, of going for walks in the woods and sensing that onion-y smell when they were first in season, and later spotting the pretty white flowers.

IMG_3371.JPG

The fritters turned out really well, even though I tweaked the recipe a bit, and both my parents gave them the thumbs up. I thought the fritters needed a sidekick and served my parmesan crème alongside them. Yum!

Wild garlic fritters, serves 4 as a starter

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

a bunch of wild garlic, approx 8 cm in diameter

135 g plain flour

120 g potato flour or rice flour

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

100-200 ml sparkling water 

approx 200-300 ml vegetable oil for frying 

lemon wedges to serve 

Rinse the wild garlic and pat dry with kitchen towel. Remove the coarse part of the stems. Cut into 1 cm long pieces and put to the side. 

Mix flour, potato flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the sparkling water until you have a batter that isn’t too thick or too thin. Add the wild garlic and mix well. 

Pour the oil into a high-sided frying pan until it is about 1 cm deep. Heat on medium-high heat until warm enough for deep-frying (it’s ready when a small piece of bread comes out golden). 

Add spoonfuls of the batter to the hot pan and fry until gold first one one side and then the other. Drain on kitchen towel. Serve with lemon wedges and parmesan crème. 

 

 

 

Recipe: fabulous lemon spaghetti

pas1.jpg

Right now we have normal Spring weather in London (as one would expect in May), but when I made this lemony pasta for the book club girls we had summer temperatures in April (!). If it hadn’t been so windy, I would have liked to eat outside but indoors had to do.

pas4.jpg

Because of the nice weather I wanted to make something summery, but more filling than a salad, so when my colleague suggested this River Café recipe I had a hunch it would be perfect.

pas6.jpg

And it was!

Looking at the ingredients list it might seem like a heavy dish but the acidity from the lemon makes it appear as light as air (well almost). It’s so fresh and really tastes of summer. So much so that it’s easy to dream of Mediterranean holidays…

But back to London and reality. The pasta went down a treat (everybody had seconds) and Mary-Louise even asked for the recipe. She has since reported back that she made it twice in one weekend and that it works just as well with the pasta shape bucatini. Thank you M-L!

pas2.jpg

Lemon spaghetti with Parmesan and basil, serves 6

Adapted from River Café’s recipe.

250 g spaghetti

juice of 3-4 lemons, preferably Amalfi lemons

150 ml olive oil

150 g Parmesan, freshly grated

2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped

finely grated lemon zest 

Cook the spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan; it will melt into the mixture, making it thick and creamy. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the spaghetti and shake the pan so that each strand of pasta is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and some grated lemon zest.

 

Recipe: Bao buns with pork belly, spicy mayo and peanuts

IMG_8582.JPG

Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, Bao London should be very flattered that I attempted to make my own version of their amazing pork bao buns.

No, it’s nowhere near as good as theirs, but that was never the goal, instead it’s a very nice homemade version of the real thing. And for being a first attempt I think i did pretty well!

bao3.jpg

The recipe I used for the dough, is actually from Bao but I used regular plain flour rather than bleached so the buns look a little dull compared to the ones you see in restaurants or Asian supermarkets. I also added more flour as couldn’t shape mine otherwise, but I will publish the recipe I used rather than my version of it, but if you have the same problem as I did, then it works to add more flour.

bao1.jpg

I steamed the buns in a regular bamboo steamer with parchment paper at the bottom. So easy!

bao7

The finished buns looked pretty good!

bao4.jpg

While making the buns this pork belly was cooking in the oven. So yum!

bao6.jpg

And here you see my condiments (clockwise from top left); quick-pickled cucumber, chopped coriander, hot mayo, chopped spring onions and chopped peanuts.

IMG_8596.JPG

I made a second version with leftover bulgogi chicken and used the mayo, coriander and spring onions for that one, and for the pork bao I used the mayo, pickled cucumber, peanuts and coriander. Both were really yummy but I must say the pork one was my favourite!

IMG_8572.JPG

Bao buns, makes around 20 (you need 2-3 per person)

Adapted from Bao London’s recipe.

500 g plain flour – bleached if you can find it in Chinese supermarkets (it gives that brilliant white colour)
2 tsp yeast
145 ml warm water
2 pinches salt
50g sugar
15 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
145 ml milk

Mix flour, yeast and warm water together in a bowl. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until it comes together as one.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes – it will be sticky but gradually become more elastic.

Break off 40 g dough and give it a quick knead, forcing it into an oval shape. Roll it out until around 2-3 mm thick and brush one side with vegetable oil.

Fold one side over the other and press down gently so it forms an oyster shell shape. Place on parchment paper in a warm bamboo steamer and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Steam for 15 minutes – the bun will rise and puff up but will be easy to break open.

Pork belly

1 pork belly 

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 125C. Place the pork in a buttered dish. Massage the salt into the rind and season the meat all over. Put in the oven and cook for two hours or until the meat is very tender.

Turn the heat up to 250C and cook the meat for another 10 minutes until the crackling is nice and crispy.

Spicy mayo

100 ml Hellman’s mayo

2-3 tsp Gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

a pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. 

Pickled cucumber

1/2 cucumber

1 tsp salt

75 ml caster sugar

acetic acid solution, also called sweet vinegar (1 part acetic acid  + 6-7 parts water)

1 tbsp water

Thinly slice the cucumber. This is easily done with a cheese slicer or potato peeler. Put the cucumber in a jar or bowl and pour in the salt and sugar, next add the acetic acid solution and water. Stir and make sure the salt and sugar dissolves. 

Bao buns with pork belly, spicy mayo and peanuts

bao buns, as above

pork belly, as above – cut into slices

spicy mayo, as above

pickled cucumber, as above

salted peanuts, finely chopped

coriander, finely chopped

Open the buns and spread some mayo onto the bottom half. Place two slices of pork belly on top, add a dollop of mayo and pickled cucumber. Scatter with chopped peanuts and coriander. 

Bao buns with bulgogi chicken, spicy mayo and spring onions

bao buns, as above

bulgogi chicken

spicy mayo, as above

spring onions, thinly sliced

coriander, finely chopped

Open the buns and spread some mayo onto the bottom half. Place two -three pieces of chicken on top, add a dollop of mayo and scatter with spring onions and coriander. 

 

Recipe: Kale quiche with almond slivers and mature cheese

IMG_0890.JPG

Already in November I celebrated Christmas the Scandi way with the book club. It’s a nice little tradition and this year we outdid ourselves with carol singing! It was so much fun and the perfect way for me to get into the Christmas spirit.

We started the evening with the loveliest mushrooms salad on crostini, plenty of prosecco and my epic Christmas playlist.

IMG_0902.JPG

Then we moved on to the main meal of Jansson’s frestelse (grated potato baked with onions, anchovies and cream), two types of meatballs, a salad with pear and walnuts and this kale and almond quiche with Swedish Herrgård cheese.

But the pièce de résistance was Mary-Louise’s pecan and almond pie for pudding. So lovely and timed well as it was around Thanksgiving!

IMG_0904.JPG

Kale and almond quiche with Herrgård cheese, serves 8-10

Pastry:

120 g softened butter

300 ml plain flour

1/2 beaten egg

Filling:

500 g kale, trimmed, rinsed and parboiled

50 g almond slivers

200 ml matured Herrgård cheese, grated (matured cheddar works as well) 

3 eggs

100 ml cream

200 ml milk

salt and pepper

Pinch the pastry together and coat a pie dish with it. Use a fork to make small holes in the pastry. Pre-bake it for 10 minutes in 180C. Leave to cool.

Squeeze the water out of the kale and chop it. Add salt and pepper to the kale and place in the the tin. Scatter with almond slivers and add the cheese.  

Beat eggs, cream and milk. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Pour into the tin and press the filling down so it’s all covered with the egg mixture. Bake in 180C for about 40 mins (until set and golden brown).