Nights in, dinners out and a weekend in Norfolk

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Last week started with three nights at home. So lovely and much needed. I went to bed early, read a good book and watched a new cosy series called New Amsterdam. Love a hospital drama!

On the Thursday night it was a friend’s birthday dinner at Joe’s Brasserie and we had such a fun night!

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IMG_5710.jpegOn Friday afternoon we drove up to Norfolk for the weekend. We had a date night dinner at cosy The White Horse and the next day we went for a long walk on the beach and met a seal.

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In the evening we had a friend staying over and we went to the local pub for dinner. The next day the boys played golf in the rain while I read indoors, and after their game we all had lunch together at the club house. In the afternoon we cosied up on the sofa and watched the last two episodes of True Detective season 3. Loved it! In the evening we drove back to London.

 

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Cinema, girl’s night and a sunny weekend!

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The week before last I went down to the New Forest for work on the Monday and as usual it was rainy and grey. Such a shame as it’s so beautiful there otherwise. In the evening I had leftover lasagne for dinner in front of True Detective. Perfect for a Monday night.

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On the Tuesday I did some errands and met up with old colleagues for drinks and nibbles at our usual place in the evening.

Wednesday was burger and cinema night. Saw Vice which was so so good!

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Thursday was a gorgeous day with blue skies and sunshine and I spent the day working in a café with the sun shining in from the window. Such a treat!

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In the evening I met up with two girl friends for wine, nibbles and a takeaway. So lovely to catch up!

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I cooked a lot at the weekend, and we saw both Roma (amazing film!) and the Oscars. And we enjoyed some sun of course!

London: meat and bone marrow at Pitt Cue

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London restaurants. There are seriously too many to visit, unless you’re a food critic, which sadly I’m not.

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I have so many restaurants on my list to try and it pains me when they close before I got to them. This happened with the very talked about Pitt Cue Co who brought BBQ to Soho back in the day.

But luckily they didn’t close for good, they opened a restaurant further east instead. One where you can book a table – which made it so much easier to go!

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The Soho restaurant was tiny and always had a long queue, which was the main reason I never went. I tried so many times but the waiting time was always around 2 hrs and that’s just too long when you’re hungry.

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The menu here looked great so it was rather tricky to decide on what to order, but I think we did a good job of it! Laura had the grilled aubergine with wild rice and almonds.

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And as you can see, she was very happy with it! Lovely dish!

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For me, the words ‘bone marrow’ jumped out at me and I just had to order the grilled sourdough and bone marrow.

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Look at that beauty! It was just gorgeous; pillowy, salty and full of flavour. Yum!

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For the main course Laura had the Aylesbury duck breast (cooked to perfection) with pickled endive and jus.

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I had the onglet with marinated tomato and it was just perfect! Love this cut of meat! It has so much flavour but is really tender at the same time.

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We also had some sweet potato to share, but half way through my steak I so regretted not ordering the bone marrow mash. (Mainly because I had already had the sourdough with bone marrow, but honestly that’s a silly reason when the food is this good. As somebody once said; you only regret the food you didn’t eat. So true!) So I gave in and ordered it and it was probably my best decision, like, ever. This mash (actually it’s more like a silky cloud of potato purée) is just heaven. The bone marrow on top is to-die-for delicious and I would have been so happy with just this for dinner (although the rest was delicious too!).

Moral of the story; do not not order a dish because you’re trying to be good or think there is such a thing as too much bone marrow. Order, eat and enjoy it and have salad the next day to balance it out.

Oh, and GO to Pitt Cue and eat all the deliciousness without queueing for a table!

Pitt Cue, The Avenue, 1 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YP

 

Cinema, theatre and a chilled weekend!

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The week before last spring came to London. It’s was 12C and sunny every day and it was such a treat after the cold spell we had a few weeks before.

I also – finally – finished watching True Detective season one, which I thought was great but uncomfortable to watch when I first started watching it. But I’m currently ploughing through season three so really wanted to finish it. I’m not good at watching scary and uncomfortable series and films on my own. I prefer to read about them, somehow that’s easier. But I’m watching season three together with my boyfriend which makes it so much easier. Maybe because afterwards we talk about other things and it doesn’t stay with me the way it would if I was on my own. But season three is less scary over all. But so good!

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On the Tuesday night we had a date night in Barnes with a pub dinner followed by Green Book at the nice cinema there, The Olympic.

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It has a nice bar, sofas (which we booked) with footstools, little tables for your snacks and blankets if you get cold. Love a cinema like that!

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Wednesday I stayed in and made myself a chicken burger with cheese and pickled pepper for dinner. (Sometimes I get weird cravings like that!)

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Thursday was Valentine’s Day and although we didn’t really meant to go out we ended up going to the theatre and saw Molière’s Tartuffe at the National Theatre. It had some great actors in it but was not a very good production. I don’t really like farcical comedy so it wasn’t really for me anyway, but still… It was the first week of it being put on though, so hopefully it will get a bit better. We just laughed at our first bad theatre experience (and we go a lot so it was bound to happen sometime!) and went home to enjoy a midnight feast of baked Vacherin Mont D’Or instead.

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During the weekend I both cooked and went out for dinner.

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And I made the most amazing cookies after Alison Roman’s recipe – the ones that almost broke the internet! Will post it later!

We also went for a nice walk and enjoyed the sunny weather as much as we could!

 

London: a night at the Opera (House)

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Having lived in London for more than ten years it was about time I visited the Royal Opera House. I have been to the opera and ballet in London before, just never at this venue, so when I got invited to see The Nutcracker in January I was absolutely thrilled. And it certainly was a magical evening.

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A party of four we arrived with plenty of time to enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants beforehand. 

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We toasted in champagne and then tucked into our starter. Mine was a lovely mushroom soup with a dollop of creme fraîche in the middle. The menu was as classic as the surroundings. (In a good way, in case that wasn’t obvious.)

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Next we tried the main course. I loved my generous portion of delicious smoked salmon with a side of creamy potato salad and all the trimmings (creme fraiche, chopped shallots, roe, horseradish, capers and bottarga). Such a treat!

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The restaurant was so efficient we had time to chat and sip wine before making our way into the theatre. I was mesmerised from the start and enjoyed every second.

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In the interval we made our way back to our table in the restaurant were puddings had magically appeared! My pineapple bavaroise was creamy and delicious and a perfect ending to the dinner.

After the second interval I reluctantly left this beautiful space and walked across the street for a night cap. I just wanted to savour the evening for as long as possible.

Royal Opera House, Bow St, London WC2E 9DD

London: amazing dinner at Hutong The Shard

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What a splendid evening! The birthday dinner (for somebody very dear to me) in The Shard was just as special as I had hoped.

From the moment we were through the metal detectors on the ground floor we were looked after really well! It was a quick lift ride up to the 32nd floor and up a flight of stairs and we had reached our dining spot; Hutong. The interior with dark wood, red lanterns and low lighting felt very cosy and inviting but as we were shown to our table what caught my eye the most was of course the incredible view.

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Hutong has a whole floor to itself so it’s a large restaurant, but it’s very cleverly divided into smaller sections. Not just a bar area and a restaurant area but smaller sections within those areas making it a very intimate dining experience. Out table was facing St Paul’s and after enjoying the breathtaking view for a moment or two (honestly I could look at it all day long) we turned the attention to the menu and our lovely waiter who came with a few good suggestions. The portions are very generous and with his help we didn’t over order.

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We started off with champagne and the dim sum platter. The dumplings were all lovely and nicely presented with their pastel colours. My favourite was the prawn and champagne dumpling but the others (cod; cabbage and mushrooms; prawn and XO sauce) were delicious too.

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The food was served very quickly so almost straight after the dim sum we got the next dish; their signature dish red lantern (I assume the name comes from the lantern like chillies that accompany the crab). The soft shell crab was fried to perfection offering that perfect mix of crunchy and soft with a subtle chilli kick to it. Absolutely delicious!!!

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Next we had lamb ribs off the bone. Another generous portion and deliciously prepared, although I had expected them to covered in a sticky glaze but it was more of a dry seasoning. Still delicious!

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The side dish we chose was egg fried rice with pickled vegetables. So moreish and delicious!

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This was the perfect amount for two people, although we couldn’t finish it all, it was nice with the variety of both meat and seafood and less wouldn’t have been enough. So make sure you come here hungry!

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After all that lovely food we took a break before pudding to drink wine, chat and of course, look at the amazing view some more.

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The Shard has 95 floors and although the restaurants are only on floors 32 and 33 the view is still spectacular.

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We could see Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and more. Just amazing!

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After our little break we had pudding; sesame dumplings with apple and cinnamon and a complimentary mango pudding for the birthday boy!

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After a nice long dinner we moved to the bar area to enjoy the slightly different view from there. And a nice drink.

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It’s simply impossible to leave – you just want to linger some more and take it all in.

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We sat down at one of the tables by the window and just enjoyed the scenery.

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The intrior is beautiful too, with all the lanterns and the dark colour scheme.

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I even lingered in the ladies room; taking in the view from there!

The whole evening was just amazing. Not just the view, but the food, service, wine and interior. The staff looked after us incredible well and made it feel like the special evening it was. Because this is not a place where you pop in for a quick bite; it’s a place for celebrations and special evenings!

33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY

Christmas party, drones and Sweden

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The last week in London before going home to Sweden for Christmas was probably the busiest week of all. Sometimes it seems impossible to plan things well no matter how hard you try.

So after a weekend in the country we drove back to London late on the Sunday night so I could be back for work on the Monday. That evening we cooked up a storm for the Christmas party the following evening. It’s not ideal to be away the weekend before hosting a party but we did best we could.

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The Tuesday Christmas party was great fun and it was lovely to see everybody before going home. Wednesday was then my last day at the office and it was a real scramble to finish everything off at work and pack for two plus weeks but somehow I managed. In the evening I went home to pack after work, with lovely company and champagne to make it more fun, before going out for dinner.

The next morning I was out the door early and although I had heard about the drones I made my way to Gatwick as my flight hadn’t been cancelled. But it was, halfway to the airport and so I turned around in my taxi while frantically booking a ticket for the following morning. When I came home I went straight to bed and slept for hours, but when the airport was still closed in the evening I decided to buy a ticket from Heathrow for the following afternoon. Lots of flights were full and the remaining tickets very expensive but I really wanted to go home which made it worth it.

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That third ticket (the flight from Gatwick in the morning was cancelled) got me to Sweden. Finally! A day and a half later than planned. I had to cancel plans with friends and rearrange things and although the last thing I needed it all went well in the end.

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It was lovely to get home to my parents and have dinner with them that evening.

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The following day (Saturday) I drove to Helsingborg to have lunch with a bunch of childhood friends and their families and it was a lovely reunion. On the Sunday I finally unpacked, wrapped gifts, had glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and gingerbread with friends of the family and in the evening we had some traditional Christmas food. Because I could see this drone thing dragging out and making it difficult for me to get home I think I appreciated this visit home more than usual. It’s so lovely to be surrounded by dear ones at Christmas.