Norfolk: Dinner at Socius, Burnham Market

When we’re in Norfolk we often go back to a few tried and tested favourites when we eat out, as we tend to cook at home a lot and barbecue as much as the weather lets us.

But when we were up this summer we heard about this new restaurant that was supposed to be amazing! It seemed impossible to get a table, but when I looked online I found one for a Friday night in September that I booked immediately. So fun with a Norfolk date night and trying this new restaurant we’d heard so much about!

I liked what I saw as soon as we stepped into the Socius; an open kitchen with a bar counter, tables facing the show in the kitchen and a mezzanine floor with more tables upstairs. It was modern and airy; all I believe, to keep the focus on the marvellous food.

The menu consisted of small plates (love!) and some larger main courses. We chose a few different plates to start off with and they were all excellent. The bread and soft whipped butter that we had first was so good I knew we were in for a treat!

The tuna tartare with pickled ginger, spring onions and crispy wonton paper was a thing of beauty! It was hands down one of the best tuna tartares I have ever had. The fish melted in the mouth and the flavours were all complimentary but subtle so the tuna could really shine.

The next dish was heritage courgettes with almond gazpacho, mint and dill. I really wanted something fresh and this was so good! The almond gazpacho was more like a thick ajo blanco sauce in the bottom of the bowl so it coated every bite. Crispy croutons and almonds added texture and the leaves and herbs added another layer of freshness. I loved this!

Our third dish was chicken liver parfait with toast, apple and port. This was very good, but didn’t stand out as much as the other two dishes. I really liked that the toast was the same focaccia we had to start, but probably from the day before and toasted, so it was used up. The apple sauce had a well of reduced (?) port in the middle which was really lovely with the parfait.

Next we had the steak that we had heard so much about! Aged picanha steak with roasted tomatoes, reuben aioli and the house rubbed chips. First of all, the portion was huge so well done to anyone who manages to eat the whole thing themselves! We shared it and that was perfect after the other three plates we had. The steak itself was perfection; full of flavour and so tender! The reuben aioli was interesting and I liked the flavour but it was a bit too “bitty” in texture for my liking. The chips were nice and crispy and very good, but I actually think I would have preferred them without the spice rub, as I felt it together with the reuben aioli took focus away from the excellent steak. But I understand the desire to jazz things up a little and make it your own. And it was very good!

I wish we had had space for pudding but even my pudding monster of a boyfriend had to stop after the steak. But I can’t wait to try any of the good looking desserts (spied at the tables around us) next time.

We had SUCH a lovely evening here. The atmosphere was professional but relaxed and the restaurant was buzzing this Friday night in September after the summer season had ended. Apart from a lovely date night with amazing food, good bubbly and red wine we also bumped into friends and another couple my boyfriend knew. So fun!

And I found out, when I went to the ladies as they have a lovely photo wall outside it, that the restaurant isn’t quite as new as I intitially thought. It was opened in 2018 so it took me four years to discover it, but I’m so glad I finally did, as I look forward to going back many many times.

Socius, 11 Foundry Pl, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn PE31 8LG

Recipe: Baked Eggs with Spinach, Cream and Parmesan

An easy supper we come back to time and time again is these baked eggs with spinach, cream and parmesan. We tend to have all the ingredients at home most of the time, and as far as satisfying supper go, this is a great one.

It doesn’t take long to prepare, is easier than a shakshuka and super yummy! Perfect weeknight fodder, but it feels a little elevated with the cream and parmesan. Also great for brunch or lunch! Similar to oeufs en cocotte, but a little easier to throw together (no hot water!) and in a bigger dish so a bit more substantial.

Baked eggs with spinach, cream and parmesan, serves 2

2 large handfuls baby spinach, washed

1 tbsp butter

2-4 eggs

100 ml cream

grated parmesan

sea salt and black pepper

Add a little butter to a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the washed spinach and push it around until it has been wilted. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan squeeze the spinach to remove the excess water.

Butter two round gratin dishes with the remaining butter. Divide the spinach between the two dishes. Crack one or two eggs in each. Spoon cream into the dishes, some on top of the eggs. Grate a generous amount of parmesan into the dishes. Finish with a little salt and pepper.

Place in a 180C oven until the whites are almost set (cook for longer if you want them cooked through), approx 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe: Seriously Creamy Three Cheese Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni cheese wasn’t something I grew up with. We had pasta bolognese and mamma made a really nice creamy pasta sauce with ham, but macaroni cheese I have discovered myself as an adult. I’ve made baked versions and stovetop versions, and I’ve found them all delicious but a little bit stodgy.

But then I saw a post from Half baked harvest making a very creamy mac ‘n cheese on Instagram that looked great. So with her recipe as a guide (but with a few changes) I made this seriously creamy mac ‘n cheese which has now become my go-to! It’s so quick and easy and verrry comforting!

Seriously creamy three cheese mac ‘n cheese, serves 2

Inspired by Half baked harvest’s recipe.

200 g macaroni

50 ml milk or cream

60 g Philadelphia

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/2-1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp salted butter

250 ml grated cheddar

50 ml grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Cook the macaroni al dente in (take 2-3 minutes off the full cooking time on the packet) in a large non-stick saucepan in plenty of salted water on high heat. Reserve a mug of pasta water. Drain the pasta and transfer back into the pan and place it on medium-low heat. Add the milk/cream and Philadelphia, dijon mustard and garlic powder and stir until the Philadelphia has melted. Add the butter, cheddar and parmesan and stir until melted. If the sauce thickens too quickly add a splash of pasta water to loosen it. Just repeat if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little more mustard if needed. When lovely and creamy divide between bowls. Serve with a tangy salad.

Recipe: Vanilla Pannacotta with Fried Apples and Oat Crumble Topping

If you’ve read the blog for a while you know that pannacotta is one of my go-to puddings. Partly because it’s delicious (duh!) but mainly because it’s so easy to make in advance. You just take it out of the fridge, add toppings if any and off you go.

Many people seem a little scared of making it at home, but with good quality gelatine leaves (I like Dr Oetker’s) it really is super simple and doesn’t take long to make. But it does require some planning as it needs quite a few hours to set in the fridge. At least six (as it needs to cool down first) but I usually make it the day before or the morning of, for a dinner the same day.

This particular pannacotta recipe is an ode to autumn and apples and almost like a deconstructed crumble with a creamy element.

The apples are soft and sweet but with a little acidity and the crumble topping adds crunch and texture. I really enjoyed this and after a few attempts I got it just right.

Vanilla pannacotta with fried apples and oat crumble topping, serves 4

Pannacotta:

500 ml single cream

1 vanilla pod

50 ml caster sugar

2 gelatin leaves

Apples:

2 apples (local ones are best), washed, cored and diced

1 tbsp salted butter

1 tbsp golden syrup

1/4 lemon, the juice

tiny pinch of salt

Oat crumble:

150 ml jumbo oats

1 tbsp salted butter

1 tbsp caster sugar

Make the pannacotta well in advance: Cover the gelatin leaves with cold water in a bowl. Make a cut lengthways in the vanilla pod and add to a saucepan. Add sugar and cream. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for a few minutes while stirring. Remove from heat. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and add to the pan. Stir to dissolve. Divide between four small bowls or glasses, pouring through a sieve . Leave to cool then let them set in the fridge for at least 6 hours. 

Remove the pannacottas from the fridge as you prepare the toppings (or make the toppings before dinner and heat up in time for serving, in which case keep the pannacottas refrigerated). In one non-stick frying pan, add 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the apples and allow them to soften. Add the golden syrup when the apples are soft and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and a little salt. Set aside, covered.

In another non-stick saucepan, add 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the oats and toast the oat flakes until golden brown while stirring. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

Divide the apples between the pannacottas and top with the sugary oats.

Recipe: Chipotle Tomato Rice Stuffed Peppers

I came across a recipe for Mexican chipotle rice somewhere a while ago and loved it. I have since lost the recipe but make my own version of chipotle tomato rice and it’s so good to stuff peppers with.

I just love this combination of soft baked peppers, the smoky flavoursome rice and the melted cheddar on top. It’s really good with just a dollop of soured cream and salad but you can also take it one step further and serve it with guacamole (or why not guacamole, soured cream and salsa and some tortilla chips?).

I make this every time we get peppers in our Oddbox, which luckily is quite often! Any leftover rice is great in a chicken fajita bowl or with any protein together with soured cream and vegetables in a bowl. This truly is a weeknight favourite of mine!

Chipotle tomato rice stuffed peppers, serves 4

For the peppers:

4 medium bell peppers, any colour, washed

2 tbsp mild olive oil

salt and peppers

For the rice:

1 tbsp mild olive oil

1 small shallot or 1/2 onion, finely chopped

240 g basmati rice

1 tbsp tomato paste

2-3 tsp chipotle paste (or more if you want more spice and smoke)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

400 g tinned tomatoes

a full tin of water

1/2 stock cube

salt and pepper

200 ml grated cheddar

To serve:

salad

soured cream or guacamole

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Pour a little olive oil into an ovenproof dish and place the peppers in it, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the peppers in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the peppers are soft but hasn’t collapsed.

In the meantime, cook the rice by adding olive oil to a frying pan with edges or a large saucepan. Fry the onions or shallots on medium heat until softened. Add the rice and fry for a minute or so until translucent. Add the tomato paste and fry for a few minutes while swirling the rice around with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the tinned tomatoes and fill the empty tin with water and add that to the pot too. Add the chipotle, stock cube, spices, salt and pepper. Stir properly. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid for 10-12 minutes (or however long the rice needs to cook). Stir from time to time making sure it doesn’t get too dry. Adjust the heat accordingly or add water if needed. Once cooked season the rice to taste.

Remove the peppers from the oven and pour out any liquid pooled in the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the chipotle rice and scatter with grated cheddar. Put the tray back into the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with salad and a dollop of soured cream or guacamole.

Copenhagen – a mini guide

This summer was truly the best! Finally we could roam more freely again. I could see my friends and family in Sweden like I used to and do a few fun trips.

Two of them were to one of my favourite cities; Copenhagen! And when I shared about it on Instagram some followers requested a guide, so I thought I would share some favourite places with you.

One of the trips was a day trip (as it is so close to where my parents live in Sweden), so I only tried one hotel, but it was a good one!

Where to stay

My best friend Emma and I both had big birthdays this year (we’re the same age!) and our present to each other was two days together in Copenhagen. We decided to treat ourselves and stayed at Villa Copenhagen. It’s housed in the former post office building and has lovely rooms with Scandinavian design features and lovely high ceilings. On the top floor there is a roof terrace with a bar and a pool which we of course took advantage of. It was actually partly why we chose to stay at this hotel, because it had a pool.

Where to eat

I love eating in Copenhagen but many of my old favourites have closed paving the way for new ventures. We had a lovely dinner at Bottega Barlie. Every dish we tried was great but we both adored the curd cheese with herbs and sourdough. Great wines too!

We ate the best avocado toast EVER (and I don’t say this lightly) at Atelier September. A slice of toasted Danish rye bread topped with a whole avocado and lots of chives it was a true delight!

As usual, we went to Torvehallerne for pinxtos at Tapa del Toro on both trips. It’s one of my favourite places (I made a reel about it on Instagram) and such a nice stop. Afterwards an iced coffee (or hot if you prefer) at Coffee Collective is a must. The open faced sandwiches (smørrebrød) are great here too.

For dinner on our day trip we went back to an old favourite, Paté Paté and enjoyed a lovely selection of small plates. The food is good, but it’s the ambiance what makes it such a nice evening.

If you want pizza, do not miss Bæst which has the best pizzas and a lovely vermouth bar, Rudo, upstairs and they serve the most amazing bar snacks.

For fine dining I love both Marchal, a classic Michelinstarred restaurant with gorgeous food and Uformel, that has small plates and feels younger and more fun.

Where to drink

Aforementioned Rudo is a great place! But for something fancier Balthazar champagne bar is the way to go. Or why not try one of the very Danish wine bars with rickety seating on the pavement?! I really like Vinhanen.

What to see and do

Some things I love to do in Copenhagen are visit the art museums, like Statens Museum for Kunst or Carlsberg Ny Glyptotek with its impressive atrium. Shopping is lovely too, whether it’s wine at Kjær & Sommerfeldt, homeware at Illums Bolighus, Notre Dame or Hay House or clothes from by Malene Birger. A visit to Rosenborg Castle and its surrounding gardens is lovely too or a walk in the Botanisk Have (the Botanical Gardens). Or visit the famous Tivoli Gardens for rides and fun!

How to get around

Walking or cycling is by far the best way to experience Copenhagen. Use buses or taxis at night, but during the day it’s best to put on comfortable shoes and walk around.

Recipe: Courgette Orzo Pasta with Lemon and Mascarpone

November. How did we get here so quickly? It felt like August not long ago and the beginning of September just yesterday. We’ve been back in London fully for a while now and it feels good to not have to pack a bag for a while. To cosy up with candles and blankets at home.

This recipe is September for me, so I missed the cut-off, but with the milder temperatures we have now I think this still works. It’s absolutely delicious and a good way to use up any courgettes (I got some in my vegetable box only yesterday). It’s also a great way to make something comforting with vegetables (something I find hard).

Sometimes when I create a recipe it’s because I use what I have to hand. Other times I dream something up in my head and try to execute it. And most often, it’s a combination of the two.

In this case I had an idea of a creamy orzo pasta with courgette. With lemon, because it’s the obvious pairing and flavour enhancer. But the mascarpone part of the recipe came to me because I had half a packet left in the fridge and I needed to use it up. And it’s the ingredient what made this dish so lovely.

For me, the whole point of orzo is to create something a bit risotto like, but with pasta. It has a different, silkier texture than rice and feels lighter somehow. But the creaminess is important. And mascarpone offers that in the nicest possible way. For me this bowl of courgette and orzo tastes of summer slowly becoming autumn, the trees changing colour, of tanned legs in trousers instead of shorts, of the clearer fresher air that september brings.

Courgette orzo pasta with lemon and mascarpone, serves 2

200 g orzo

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 – 1 1/2 medium courgette, cut in half and sliced

1/2 lemon, zest and a little juice

1/2 packet mascarpone

grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Cook the orzo al dente in a saucepan. In a non-stick frying pan, heat upp the butter on medium heat and fry the shallots until soft. Don’t let them brown. Remove from the pan. Add the olive oil to the pan and turn the temperature up to medium-high. Add the courgette half moons and fry until soft and a little brown. Take the pan off the heat and add the onions back in. Lower the temperature to medium and place the pan back on the heat. Add the mascarpone and lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir until creamy. Reserve some of the pasta water in a mug and drain the orzo through a sieve. Add the pasta to the courgette mixture and add a little of the pasta water. Stir in a handful of grated parmesan and adjust the seasoning if needed. Spoon the pasta into bowls and sprinkle with some more grated parmesan before serving.

Recipe: Tomato Toast

Hello!

I feel like I finally have time to write on here again. This weekend was the paus button I so very much needed. I feel so lucky to have had such a lovely summer, but we have been on the move quite a lot (Norfolk, London, Sweden, Paris, Norfolk, London, Norfolk and now back in London again) and for some reason, writing blog posts is the first thing to go when I have a lot on. It takes a lot of time, and requires more writing than say Instagram, so although I love it it’s a bigger mountain to climb. But I’m here now and hope I will have time to tackle a lot of the back log this autumn. But if I go quiet on here, you can always pop over to Instagram where I pretty much post every day.

One recipe I really want to share with you before tomato season is truly over for this year, is this simple tomato toast. It’s barely a recipe; more an idea, and a call to really enjoy those last good tomatoes of the season. Because a simple recipe require the ingredients to be good quality. There is little point making this in January with imported tomatoes that have barely seen the sun.

But back to the recipe/idea. When I was little we had a weird and wonderful thing in Sweden; salmon mayonnaise. It came in a tube, was salmon pink and tasted heavenly. I don’t remember it tasting of salmon per se, but it had an umami flavour that paired so well with tomatoes. So I basically grew up eating a version of this open-faced sandwich. Salmon mayonnaise has since been continued in Sweden, but still exists in Finland, so there have been a few rare occasions I have been able to get hold of some.

But this tomato toast is just as good as my childhood version but with readily available ingredients.

It’s my favourite lunch from August to October and the flavours are so so good together I think anyone who likes tomatoes will love this!

Tomato toast, serves 2

2 slices good bread, toasted (flimsy white bread is discouraged here)

salted butter

2 tbsp Hellmann’s mayonnaise

3-4 ripe tomatoes, washed, dried and at room temperature, thinly sliced with a serrated knife

a small bunch chives, finely chopped

salt and pepper

Let the toasted bread cool a little before spreading a very thin layer of butter on top. Spread a thicker layer of mayonnaise on top. Arrange the tomato slices on the toasts, as closely together as possible. Sprinkle with chives, a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Recipe: Crab Tostadas with Avocado and Gochujang Mayonnaise

It all started with the Huevos Rancheros. That’s how I discovered the joy that is deep-fried corn tortillas. But be aware, not all corn tortillas are created equal. I bought some small ones from a popular brand recently and for some reason they don’t crisp up in the oil. Like, at all. No idea why, but if it doesn’t work once, don’t give up, just try different tortillas!

I hadn’t realised that it was so easy to make tostadas! The crispy fried tortillas are just utterly delicious and a great vehicle for various toppings. Last summer I was very much in the mood for the combination of crab meat, avocado and gochujang mayonnaise and they were a delight! I made them when we were in Norfolk and fresh local (delicious!) crab was readily available and we actually had them as a main course instead of a starter, but they would also be a great way to start off any tex-mex feast!

Crab Tostadas with Avocado and Gochujang Mayonnaise, serves 2

2 large corn tortillas

500 ml vegetable oil

100 ml crab meat

1 avocado, peeled and sliced

1 small bunch coriander

2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle

1/2 lime cut into 3 wedges

100 ml good quality mayonnaise

1-2 tsp gochujang paste

salt and pepper

Heat up the vegetable oil in a large frying pan with tall sides or a saucepan large enough to fit the corn tortillas. Heat the oil to 180C. Fry the tortillas one at the time in the oil until crispy and golden on both sides (turn if needed). It only takes a few minutes. Leave to drain on kitchen towel.

Mix the mayonnaise with the gochujang paste and a little salt in a bowl. Prepare the vegetables. Place your tostadas on plates and start layering. Start the the avocado, then crab, mayonnaise, spring onions and coriander. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Squeeze one of the lime wedges over both plates and serve with more lime.

Recipe: Chocolate Fondue

Even before my boyfriend and I lived together I would spend most weekends at his flat and obviously cook a lot in his kitchen. One day looking through the cupboards for something useful I spotted a chocolate fondue set, complete with chocolate and marshmallows. It had never been used but he knew it had been there a long time so I made sure to use fresh chocolate and marshmallows for our first chocolate fondue. I also added some crispy things like little waffles and wafer rolls to dip, and of course strawberries.

We’ve made it a few times since, and I thought it was the perfect pudding on Valentine’s Day with heart shaped marshmallows (yes, I’m a sucker for things like that)!

It’s actually vey easy to make the chocolate sauce, and as to what to dip – you decide, but I recommend a few different textures and flavours, and definitely something fruity and sharp to cut through all the sweetness. I have listed the dippers we had below and although I love them all I highly recommend the butter crisps.

Chocolate fondue, serves 4

150 g dark chocolate (approx 60% cacao), roughly chopped

50 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

125 ml single cream

a tiny pinch of sea salt

To dip:

strawberries, rinsed

marshmallows

Jules Destooper butter crisp waffles

wafer curls

Heat up the cream until almost boiling in a non-stick saucepan. Once hot, take it off the hob and add the chocolate. Leave it for a minute or so to melt before stirring well. Add the salt and mix again. Pour into a chocolate fondue pot and serve straight away with a selection of things to dip.