Recipe: weeknight puff pastry pizza

As much as I love to make and eat proper Italian pizzas, it’s usually not something I make on a weeknight for just myself. But to avoid buying the inferior supermarket pizzas I often make tortilla pizzas or use store-bought puff pastry as my pizza base.

I have posted a recipe for puff pastry pizza here before, but that was a weekend version with brown butter and salmon roe. The weeknight version is much less refined, but just as yummy.

If you want to use a tomato base, then please make your own tomato sauce instead of using a store-bought jar. You will taste the difference I promise. I used a white base of creme fraiche (cream cheese works well too) instead, which is definitely the quickest option unless you already have tomato sauce to hand.

Weeknight puff pastry pizza, serves 2

1 roll store-bought all butter puff pastry

3-4 tbsp full fat creme fraiche

2-3 handfuls grated cheddar

salt and pepper

8-10 slices of salami (or whatever topping you like)

Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper and roll out your puff pastry. Spread an even layer of creme fraiche on top. Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add the salami or other topping and bake in a 200C oven (220C without fan) for approx 10-15 minutes. The top should be golden and the pastry cooked through. Divide into two. Any leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in a low oven (not microwave).

Recipe: Lobster with Beurre Blanc and Cucumber

When we sat down for our three course dinner on New Year’s Eve we enjoyed all the classics. Starting with lobster. As I could only find already cooked lobsters (and they were slightly overcooked in my opinion) the last thing I wanted was to heat it up again and cook it further, so instead I made a beurre blanc with cucumber and chives which I poured over the lobster. We also had some bleak roe left from the nibbles so I added that as a final touch.

It was really delicious and definitely a good way of making an already cooked lobster a bit more exciting without cooking it further! Now that I’ve learned how to make beurre blanc (it was so much easier than I thought) I will definitely make it often.

Lobster with beurre blanc and cucumber, serves 4

2 lobsters, already cooked, halved and prepared

1/2 cucumber

1 1/2 shallots, chopped 

200 ml white wine

200g salted butter, cut into cubes

1/4-1/2 lemon, the juice only 

black pepper

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

To serve:

4 spoonfuls bleak roe

Peel the cucumber roughly. Cut in half lengthways and remove the seeds with a spoon or knife. Cut in half again lengthways and chop into 4 mm wide pieces. Set aside.

Put the onion and wine in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil until the liquid has reduced to half. Remove from the heat and add the butter cubes and whisk until you have a silky sauce. Add some lemon juice and black pepper. Pour the sauce through a sieve and add the chives and cucumber. 

Place the lobster halves on plates and spoon the sauce over and around the lobster. Top with the bleak roe.

A lady who lunches twice and a weekend in Norfolk

Any week that starts with a cooked breakfast on a Monday is a good week in my book, but looking back from where we are now, in the middle of a UK Coronavirus lockdown, this week at the end of January, beginning of February looks particularly good.

The rest of the day I worked as normal, and in the evening I ordered sushi from Sticks ‘n Sushi for dinner and watched a film I missed when it was on at the cinema; A Private War, based on the true events in journalist Marie Colvin’s life. So gripping!

Tuesday after work I met up with my friends Chris and Debs for dinner at a cosy pub. I had been picking up their post while they were away and they gave me really sweet gifts as a thank you. So nice to see them again too!

Wednesday night I ordered pizza for dinner. Sometimes when I have a lot of plans in a week I struggle to cook for myself on my nights off from socialising. Definitely I want to work on!

On Thursday my friend Ria officially became a UK citizen which we celebrated with bubbly and a nice lunch! I had chicken liver parfait with brioche to start…

… and for our main course all three of us had steak! Yum!

On Friday I had another lunch out, with a dear ex colleague. So much fun to have a proper lunch (we hardly did when we worked together) and it also gave me an opportunity to finally try Aquavit. Spoiler: it was great! Review to come.

In the evening I took the train to Norfolk for a weekend with my boyfriend there.

The next morning we had our usual breakfast and while my boyfriend went to a meeting I braved the cold, but sunny, outdoors for some pictures. Then we settled in front of the TV in the afternoon and watched the rugby.

In the evening I cooked for us. Easy but delicious dishes. First up bruschetta bar with burrata caprese. We used a supermarket burrata, which was surprisingly good!

For the main course I made the delicious shrimp rolls with oven fries. We had lots of brioche hot dog buns left over from the Christmas party so decided to use some up.

We were actually really full after the first two courses so watched some His Dark Materials before we had pudding. Vanilla pannacotta with blueberries in lemon sugar. Yum!

On the Sunday we went for a lovely, but quite cold, walk on the beach in Brancaster, working up the appetite for lunch.

At this lovely place! Review to come!

We were still really full in the evening so instead of another big meal I used up some leftover and made us tomato bruschetta and mini shrimp rolls. It was the perfect snack while watching the last episodes of His Dark Materials. Loved it!

Aloha April!

It’s definitely a little strange, welcoming a new month while in lockdown. But I’m happy it’s spring. It would have been so much worse dealing with this during the darker months. Even though only people with gardens can be outside as much as they want, it still makes me happy to see blue skies and flowering trees from inside the flat or on my walks.

And as spring has sprung, so has the produce. Asparagus is now in season, just like jersey royals, nettles, early strawberries from France, artichokes, spinach and broccoli. And it makes me so happy! I know food shopping isn’t as easy as it used to be, but if you manage to put your hands on some fresh seasonal produce, I hope you can find inspiration here. And even if you can’t, I still hope these suggestions can provide a momentary distraction or some inspiration for the future.

I am most excited about the arrival of the asparagus, so let’s start there.

This pizza with asparagus and wild garlic pesto is lovely as a main course or even as a starter. It literally tastes of spring!

This asparagus starter with wild garlic mayonnaise and parmesan has become one of my signature dishes, and I will never tire of it. It’s super simple to make but still makes an impression.

For a more hearty dish, this asparagus risotto is lovely and although filling it feels light!

Moving on to artichokes, best enjoyed freshly boiled with butter!

Another favourite ingredient is the humble new potato. In Sweden these are celebrated at midsummer but in the UK they come much earlier. And although I love them freshly cooked with just butter and dill (or cold with a little butter) they are so versatile! Serve them with asparagus, in a potato salad with wild garlic pesto. Divine with any barbecued meats or a roast chicken.

This new potato salad with pears and blue cheese is really different but so gorgeous!

Fresh spinach is also in season, and I love to eat it wilted with fluffy gnocchi and a creamy stilton sauce.

Or with baked eggs and mushroom in this delicious brunch dish!

Last but not least, British broccoli is here too. And I love it served with a poached egg and a delicious sauce. Perfect for brunch, lunch or as a starter!

These broccoli parmesan fritters is another fun way to eat broccoli. It’s delicious but also a great way to get little ones to eat their greens. Perfect for lunch!

Hope you all have a lovely April!

Updated: The Best Chicken Satay

I already have a chicken satay recipe up on the blog, but the last time I made it I thought it was a little bit lacking, so with inspiration from Rosie’s version I sort of amalgamated the two into what I think is the perfect chicken satay.

The marinade, the cooking method and of course THE SAUCE all really matter here, and this is how I think it’s best enjoyed. I added the chillies after cooking so everyone can adjust the hotness they want, but don’t worry, the meat is still full of flavour! I highly recommend the tangy cucumber and radish salad and the sesame broccoli too – they both add another dimension (and some lightness) to the dish.

The Best Chicken Satay, serves 4

600 g chicken thigh filletsdiced into smaller pieces (2 cm x 2 cm or so)

8 garlic cloves, chopped

6 tsp ground coriander

4 tsp honey

1 tbsp black pepper (no, it is not a typo)

2 tsp salt

240 ml soy sauce

180 ml olive oil

wooden skewers soaked in water for an hour

To serve:

bunch fresh coriander, chopped

1 lime, cut into wedges

1-2 red chillies, chopped

Dice the chicken. Mix the ingredients for the marinade and pour into a bowl or a shallow dish. Add the chicken and make sure every piece is coated with the marinade. Leave it for at least 3-4 hours but preferably overnight in the fridge, covered by cling. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and place on an oven rack with a tin foil covered baking tray underneath (to catch the juices). Place the tray under the grill turned on medium-high. Grill the chicken for 10 minutes until nice and browned. Take it out, turn the skewers over and cook for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the rice (I prefer basmati), make the sauce and prepare the vegetables.

Satay sauce, serves 4

400 g coconut milk

8 tbsp smooth or chunky peanut butter

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 lime, the juice

salt and pepper

Bring the coconut milk to the boil. Add the peanut butter and let it cook for a few minutes. Add sweet chilli and lime juice until it is perfectly balanced. Season with salt and pepper.

Sesame broccoli, serves 4

2 packets tenderstem broccoli (approx 300 g)   

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

4 tsp sesame seeds 

1/2-1 lemon or lime, the juice 

salt and pepper 

Trim the dry ends of the broccoli. Place in a large frying pan and almost cover with boiling water. Add salt and cook for about a minute on high heat. Drain and return to the hot pan. Add sesame oil and squeeze with lemon. Toss and add sesame seeds and season.

Cucumber and radish salad, serves 4

1 cucumber

1 small bag/bunch of radishes

1/2 lime, the juice

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp mild olive oil

salt and pepper

Slice both vegetables thinly and place in a bowl. Add lime juice and oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Recipe: Fried Prinskorv in Brioche Buns with Truffle Mayonnaise and Crispy Onions

One of the more substantial canapés at the Christmas party were these yummy little hotdogs! Fried mini pork sausages (prinskorv in Swedish, we use them mainly for special occasions, like holidays) served in pillowy brioche buns with truffle mayonnaise and crispy onions! They’re so good! But if you don’t like truffle, just flavour the mayonnaise differently or use ketchup instead.

But I highly recommend trying to use these sausages. They’re similar to frankfurters in the way that they are smoked but so much better. I got mine from Scandinavian Kitchen but I believe Ocado (in normal times) also carry similar sausages.

Fried prinskorv in brioche buns with truffle mayonnaise and crispy onions, makes 8

Translated from and adapted after Jessica Frej’s recipe.

8 prinskorv (or 4 regular sized sausages – preferably smoked ones)

4 brioche hot dog buns, cut in half

150 ml Hellman’s mayonnaise

3 tsp good quality truffle oil

approx 100 ml crispy onions

salt and pepper

more truffle oil for serving

Fry the sausages in a frying pan or in the oven. Mix mayonnaise with truffle oil, salt and pepper. Place a sausage in each (halved) brioche bun. Top with a tbsp mayonnaise and some crispy onions. Add a few drops of oil on top and serve.

Home cooking and lovely dinners out!

It already feels weird looking back at ‘normal weeks’ but I’ll continue like normal, hoping to provide you with some cooking inspiration, restaurants to try after all this or just a little escapism.

The fourth week of January this year was so normal it just passed by without much thought, but that’s what I long for now; normality. I guess we now have a new normal and we’ll just have to do the best we can to get through these difficult times together (in spirit).

I had my usual Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit (in this case kiwi fruit) for breakfast and on the Monday we both got a new dishwasher installed and a new sofa delivered.

On the Tuesday I made puff pastry pizza, which is such a great shortcut creating something yummy!

On Wednesday I saw an old colleague for lunch at Smith & Wollensky. We both had their excellent burgers! And in the evening I went to a leaving party for a dear friend.

Thursday I worked from the New Forest. I had cold puff pastry pizza for breakfast on the train (so yummy!) and an egg salad and bacon baguette and fruit from Pret for lunch.

Back in London in the evening I had a buffalo chicken wrap for dinner and it was so so good!

Friday I walked through central London in the evening, doing some errands on my wait to meet friends.

Two of us, that managed to get out of work at a decent time, had a drink before all three of us, Gaby, Ro and I, met up for dinner at a new for us spot.

Which was super chic and had really yummy food. Restaurant review to come!

On Saturday I pimped my scrambled eggs and they turned out so well I will give you the recipe soon! Love eggs for breakfast (or brunch it was probably after midday) at the weekend.

In the evening my boyfriend and I decided on an impromptu steak dinner out near his. We both had the ribeye, fries and bearnaise sauce. And some creamed spinach to share. Yum!

On the Sunday I made roast chicken for dinner. With broccoli cheese, roast parsnips and potato wedges with carrots, peppers and red onions. And gravy for my boy (I’m less of a fan but enjoy making it). Such a lovely week!