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.

 

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Christmas party, steak lunch and a country weekend

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The second week of December was very busy and great fun! The office Christmas party was on the Monday night, at Smith & Wollensky as usual, and really nice.

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And then the rest of the week followed in a similar pattern.

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On the Tuesday it was one of my colleague’s birthday so a group of girls went out for a nice lunch with steak and champagne at Flatiron. Wednesday night started with work drinks and after that I went to a lovely event at Tate Britain.

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Thursday night was calmer and spent at home packing for the weekend. Because on Friday night we had a Christmas dinner in London (with turkey!) and afterwards we drove to the countryside to spend the weekend there.

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It was Christmas carols in the village church, lovely dinners and time sat in front of the fire and on the Sunday we went out for a lovely dinner with entertainment before driving back to London again.

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The week was pretty full on (avoid parties on Mondays if you can, is my advice) but great fun, and although it’s tiring I try to prepare myself that the three weeks in December that I spend in London and the UK are always full on like this.

London: wonderful sushi at Sushi Atelier

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When it comes to sushi restaurants, by best source is my colleague Matt. He introduced me to Yashin ages ago and earlier this year he suggested Sushi Atelier in Marylebone.

My first impression of the restaurant was that it was quite Nordic in its interior with a lot of light wood (birch perhaps?) and not much else. Like the interior was taking a step back so guests could concentrate fully on the food experience.  The food presentation was also rather simple, but in a good way; most of the time less really is more.

 

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We ordered a few different dishes, but I couldn’t resist ordering a classic salmon and avocado roll. I love them and this one was definitely among the best I’ve had.

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The nigiri was amazing as well. Especially the butterfish with truffle, but they were all delicious.

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The rainbow roll was another favourite and almost a work of art!

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But my absolute favourite was the California roll, with crab, avocado, tobiko and Japanese mayo.

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I came here with my friend Therese when she was visiting, but a dear male friend of mine came along as well and since he doesn’t love sushi as much as Therese and I do, we also ordered this more meaty dish. And I suppose we should be really grateful to him for coming along as this dish was utterly amazing and I’m not sure we would have ordered it if it was just us girls.

This divine thing was Iberico pork served on a piping hot cast iron plate with the lovely sauce still bubbling away. It had it all; amazing flavour, lots and lots of umami, wonderful meat and sweet mushrooms. Loved it! And it was really nice to finish off the sushi with something different. Yum! Top marks all round!

Sushi Atelier, 114 Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6PA

London: tapas at Rambla, Soho

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The summer is always really hectic for me, especially since I go home to Sweden for two weeks in August, and that’s why this blog post is so late; I’ve been playing catch-up since then.

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The last week in July is also extra busy because it’s both my own and my dear friend Gaby’s birthdays that week. Just before I go home!

The Friday night was Gaby’s night (and her actual birthday) so after doing my last errands for my trip it was so lovely to arrive to Rambla in Soho and have a nice dinner with the girls!

Rambla is a fairly new tapas restaurant in London, with mainly Catalan food and we were all very excited to try it!

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We started with bubbles – always appropriate when there’s a birthday to celebrate! The cava was really nice, so I recommend you all to think of something to celebrate when you go here. IMG_2096.jpg

Then we ordered a bunch of dishes for all five of us to share around the table. First off were the classic padron pappers. They never disappoint with their saltiness!

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Next we had these delicious croquetas with spinach and pine nut. Yum!

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And chorizo! It was all about the classics to start.

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Then we feasted on crispy fried artichokes with saffron aioli and the most tender octopus with fried garlic and herb sauce. Delicious! I so love to eat this way; picking from plates, trying little bites of everything while chatting away with friends sipping cava.

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One of the favourites of the evening was this hearty and cheesy (yum!) oxtail canelones with navat cheese and caramelised onions. Drool!

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The birthday girl divided it evenly, although I think most of us would happily have had one each. But it was too rich. Especially since we had more yummy cheese to eat…

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This whole baked Navat cheese with crudités and bread to dip was divine too! We were scraping the bottom of the dish in the end, never letting a morsel of good cheese go to waste.

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The classic patatas bravas arrived late as an after thought (I think they forgot them to be honest) but we happily mucnhed our way through these lovely crisp potato bites.

The food here is excellent (especially the octopus and the oxtail canalones!) but the service was a bit of a let down. Some things were forgotten and we had to keep reminding the waiters. After two bottles of cava they didn’t have any more cold ones so we had to swap to rosé cava instead. It’s all little things, but things you expect to run smoothly, and since it was a birthday celebration it was very unfortunate.

With this in mind I’ll still highly recommend Rambla – the food is worth it! – and hopefully they’ve sorted out these kinks by now. Race you to the baked cheese?!

Rambla, 64 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QG

Taking it easy

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I was ill again last week. So typical. So I stayed in bed Monday and Tuesday but felt better on Wednesday and could go to work. So the rest of the week I just took it easy after work, to rest as much as possible. I really don’t want to get ill again between now and Christmas (or on my Christmas break!), too much to do!

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The weekend was quiet as well, which was nice. On my lunch break on Friday I went to Whole Foods to buy some nice things for the weekend. Love it there and it’s a treat to go now when I don’t have one close to me anymore.

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I bought mussels that I cooked that night with white wine, cream and potatoes. So yummy!

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On Saturday we slept until noon, had poached eggs for breakfast and then went for a walk around Wimbledon Common. It air was crisp but the sun was out and it was perfect weather for an autumnal walk.

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When we got backed we watched a bit of the tennis and some rugby before going for a drink at the local pub followed by dinner nearby.

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Sunday treated me to another lie-in and then I pottered around, making pudding for supper and prepping ahead. For dinner I made a lovely pasta dish I will post about later, and lemon posset for pudding. Then we cuddled up on the sofa watching The Handmaid’s Tale and when I couldn’t take it anymore, an episode of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

The next month will be busy, but I hope I can squeeze in another cosy weekend without plans. Sleeping until one wake up naturally is just the best!

Not the best week but at least the weekend was nice

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This past week wasn’t much fun, I must admit. On Monday I had to go home from work and then spent most of the week in bed with some kind of tummy virus. I was still exhausted towards the end of the week but managed to drag myself to the office for a few hours on Thursday before going home to bed again. I really don’t like being ill (but who does!?) and for me the worst part is not having any energy at all, and having to cancel plans. Last week I had to cancel both a book club gathering and a dear friend’s birthday celebrations, which pains me so much.

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Friday I managed almost a full day in the office and afterwards we went out for a quick bite to eat (I was too tired to cook) before going to the cinema to see Bohemian Rhapsody. Which was absolutely brilliant. I loved it so much and Rami Malek was excellent as Freddie Mercury! A must see!

Saturday I rested as much as I could during the day so I could go to a friend’s surprise birthday party in the evening. It was great fun to see her very surprised face when she realised she wasn’t having a date night with her husband but drinks and dinner with a large group of friends instead!

Sunday was a quiet affair with takeaway burgers, The Handmaid’s Tale and a good film. We saw The Founder about the McDonald’s empire and it was really good! A nice relaxing ending to a not so nice week.

London: amazing pasta at Sorella

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Some restaurants just has that little bit extra, that you can’t quite put your finger on, but that makes you like a place straight away. It’s a bit like clicking with someone on a first date; you can’t really pinpoint what you like about the person, but there’s something.

That’s the feeling I (and I think my dinner companion too) got when we walked into Sorella in Clapham. Something about the ambience felt nice, the staff was friendly and the food amazing.

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The menu consists of snacks and sharing plates as well as a few main courses, that are also perfect for sharing. To start off with we ordered some bread (much needed when you’re verging on hangry) and a starter to share.

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The restaurant made ricotta with the softest pea purée and a flavoursome oil was a delicious start. Smooth, soft and subtle but still with lots of flavour.

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Then we moved on to what we came here for; the pastas. The tagliatelle with a slow-cooked ragu was heavenly.

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But it was soon overshadowed by the dreamy linguine with morels cheese and heaps of truffle. IMG_6469.jpg

I still of dream of this dish, that’s how magnificently delicious it was. I hope this stays on the menu forever.

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After the pasta we had a little breather before getting started on the main course.

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We had perfectly cooked cod with Swiss chard and a lovely jus.

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And on the side the crispiest potatoes I’ve ever come across. Wonderful!

But what really stayed me were the pasta dishes. It’s hand to heart some of the best I’ve had.

Race you back?!

Sorella, 148 Clapham Manor St, London SW4 6BX