Gotland: going south


Our second full day on Gotland we wanted to cover as much of the remaining half of the island as we could. We drove south and the first stop was near Djupvik to try to get a glimpse of the two islands called Karlsöarna. The large one is barely visible to the left but the small one you can see very well to the right in the photo.


The coast here is gorgeous with wild flowers and clear water. It was too cold for a dip, sadly, but still enjoyable.


We got back into the car and drove further south, stopping when a photo opportunity presented itself (which it did quite often). The roads here are quite small so it’s easy to stop and get out with the camera.


Eventually we made our way down to Burgsvik and got out for a walk around the little harbour.


The local smokehouse had a food truck there, so we bought some lunch to take with us to our next stop.


Which was Hoburg, on the south-west corner of the island. There are large stone formations here, just by the waterfront. One of the large rocks is shaped like the face of a man and so the rock is called Hoburgsgubben (the old man from Hoburg).


I struggled to see it though, but apparently this is him, but from the wrong angle.


It was lovely to just walk around here, though. And grab one of the picnic tables and eat our lunch. We had smoked prawns (they are SO delicious!), aioli and fresh crusty bread from a bakery. So lovely!


Next we stopped at Folhammar to look at more raukar (the unusual stone formations local to Gotland). It’s so cool to see and so different to the part of Sweden where I grew up.



Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgette and feta


I snapped this picture as I was throwing this pasta together for lunch the next day, but I must say it exceeded my expectations so much I wish I had allowed myself time to take a nicer picture.

This is another dish where the sum is (much) greater than the individual parts; it’s just a simple dish that works. I love every bite of the slightly al dente pasta coated in fresh wild garlic pesto, the crunch from the raw thinly sliced baby courgettes, the bigger bits of tender-but-not-too-tender broccoli and the slightly melted pieces of tangy feta. I urge you to try it for your next picnic, barbecue or quick weekday supper.

Orzo pasta with wild garlic pesto, courgettes and feta, serves 2

200 ml orzo 

2-3 tbsp wild garlic pesto

1 baby courgette, thinly sliced

4 stems tenderstem broccoli 

100 g feta

a little olive oil if needed 

salt & pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the broccoli in boiling salted water and cook until a little tender but still al dente and cut each stem into four. Drain the pasta in a sieve and pour it back into the empty saucepan. Stir in the pesto and add a little olive oil if needed. Add the courgette slices and the broccoli. Mix together and season to taste. Add the crumbled feta and stir once more before serving. 

Picnic and opera at Jordberga Manor, Sweden


Mother and I enjoy more or less the same things; cooking, interior and antiques shopping, museums and exhibitions and theatre and opera. Father not as much. So when my visit home to Skåne coincided with an opera performance (in Swedish – a first for me) at Jordberga Manor a short drive from our summer house we made sure to book tickets. When booking said tickets the company suggested you could have a picnic in the park beforehand which we happily did.

In Swedish, Jordberga is called a slott, a castle, but it isn’t really a castle as it doesn’t have a moat (or towers) so in English it translates more to a manor house. Anyway, the grounds are really pretty with an English-inspired garden, a small lake and a large farm on the grounds. The place for the opera was an refurbished old stable mainly used for parties or Christmas markets nowadays.

When we arrived we walked down to the lake and put our blanket and picnic out. We had olives, cheeses, biscuits and hawthorn jam, prosciutto, ciabatta with a creamy salad of chicken, bacon and girolles and homemade ambrosia cake. All washed down with a decent bottle of rosé. We also brought along proper chinaware and glasses, although not as practical as plastic plates but a lot prettier.


I made the chicken salad from left over chicken and what I found in the fridge that would work well together. I find it very satisfying to use things up and this creamy salad with chicken, bacon and fried girolles was a great example or a successful fridge forage. I utterly loved this mixture and it will most certain become a picnic staple of mine.


Nice grounds to have picnic on, don’t you think?!


The opera, performed by Skånska Operan, a touring opera society and it was my first opera sung completely in Swedish. The ensamble was very skilled and we had a great time enjoying the Barber of Seville set in the 1940s.

Creamy salad with chicken, bacon and girolles – a sketch

Fry bacon in smaller pieces until crispy and let it drain on some kitchen towel. Leave to cool. Fry the girolles in butter and add some pressed garlic. Add salt and pepper and leave to cool. Dice the chicken and mix with the mushrooms and bacon. Mix 2/3 mayo with 1/3 creme fraiche, add dijon mustard, salt and pepper and add to the chicken mixture. Add some chopped parsley and serve with baguette or ciabatta. 

New York: Picnic from Bouchon Bakery and Magnolia Bakery

One day when walking around Rockefeller Plaza I noticed the Bouchon Bakery and got really excited. I absolutely adore Thomas Keller and his cookbooks.

So when we wanted to have picnic in Central Park on our second to last day in New York, we went here to buy sandwiches and to the famous Magnolia Bakery fpr cupcakes and cookies.

Some Sundays the roads in Centeral Park are closed for car traffic so it is perfect to go here then. And as you can see, we were not exactly alone.


The sandwiches from Bouchon Bakery were delicious! Sour dough ciabattas filled with a moist chicken salad with apple and cranberries. Such a great sarnie!

Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. Red Velvet at the top and German Chocolate cupcakes underneath. I have to say it is hard for me to write this, but I was sooo  very disappointed with these cupcakes. The actual cake was a bit dryish and not exactly full of flavour, and the red velvet frosting tasted artificial with an after taste of margarine. The German chocolate topping was nicer (sticky syrup and shredded coconut) but far from amazing.

I just don’t understand how the Magnolia Bakery can be so popular with ordinary bakes like this?! I expected something more along the lines of British Hummingbird Bakery, but these were not even close to being that good. I actually think Tesco make nice cupcakes than Magnolia Bakery…

We also had some cookies from the bakery and thankfully they were a lot better than the cupcakes. Well, the chocolate chip cookie was average too, but the brown sugar cookies (left) were very nice.

The first picnic of the year! (with recipes)

At the weekend we were spoilt with fantastic weather; blue skies, steady sunshine and not a cloud in sight. To celebrate this rare occasion Laura and I (and the rest of London) made our way to Hampstead Heath to picnic.

Since it was the first picnic of the year I went a little crazy with the food, because I was positively dying to try some new recipes.

I made some breakfast rolls with spelt, after this recipe (but substituted half the wheat flour for spelt flour), and made two spreads to go with them. One I have made before and it consists of chopped fried aubergine, red onions, dill and caviar. But not being able to find any caviar, I used some finely grated parmesan for saltiness which worked well. The next spread is a simple egg salad flavoured with dijon mustard, but with the nice addition of avocado, that I found on a Swedish food blog (called Tre tjejer i köket [Three girls in the kitchen]). Really yummy!

On Miss Meister’s blog I found a recipe for white beans with a tarragon dijon dressing. Absolutely lovely!

We also had some Pimm’s and snacked on strawberries, grapes and marinated olives. For dessert I had made some Key lime melt aways, that I found on the Smitten Kitchen blog.

Egg salad with avocado

Translated from Elin’s recipe.

4 hardboiled eggs, cold and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sourcream
1 tsp dijon mustard
season with salt and pepper
finely chopped salad onions (optional)

Butter beans with tarragon dijon dressing, serves 2-4
Translated and adapted from Åsa’s recipe.

1 tin butter beans
a few centimeters finely chopped leek (I used spring onions)
1-2 tskp fennel seeds
1 tsp tarragon dijon mustard (or 1 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon + 1 tsp ordinary dijon mustard)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
olive oil
black pepper (optional)
dried tarragon (optional)

Rinse the beans and drain. Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan. Remove to a plate and leave to cool. Wash and chop the leek, then start with the dressing. Combine vinegar and dijon then add the oil in a fine trickle while whisking to form an emulsion. Once the dressing has thickened, season to taste. Add the beans and leek followed by the fennel seeds.

Key lime melt aways, 1 batch

After Smitten Kitchen’s/Martha Stewart’s recipe.

170 g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
Grated zest of 4 tiny or 2 large key limes
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp plain flour (a.k.a. 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined. Roll dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 175C. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, just three or four minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.