Updated: Gnocchi with Creamy Butternut Sauce, Browned Butter and Prosciutto Crumbs

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As I stated in my November post – I think this dish is perfect for this time of year. Obviously the pumpkin fits well as it’s in season, but the creamy sauce and fluffy gnocchi is also like a big autumnal hug in a bowl, that one most definitely need right now.

The original recipe is great for weeknight comfort, but cooking for my boyfriend on a Friday night I felt it could do with some jazzing up. So this is the elevated Friday night (or  dinner party) version for when you want to impress but still keep it fairly simple.

If you can’t be bothered with my whole ensemble of extras, and only want to jazz it up in a simple way then just add the prosciutto crumbs, because they have the biggest impact! And the thyme for some freshness!

And the sage is slightly redundant in itself, but it gives a subtle flavour to that glorious browned butter; you don’t need to put the sage on the plate.

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Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, browned butter and prosciutto crumbs, serves 2

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

grated nutmeg

a few thyme sprigs

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme 

4-6 sage leaves

50 g salted butter 

2 slices prosciutto

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Place the prosciutto slices on a parchment lined oven tray and bake until crispy for approx 5 mins in 200C. Let cool on kitchen towel. Chop coarsely and set aside. 

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the sage leaves. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen towel. Keep the butter on the hob until it’s browned. Remove from the hob when it smells nutty and has a brown (but not very dark brown) colour. 

Mix the gnocchi into the sauce and divide into bowls. Add the sage leaves (if using), drizzle with browned butter and scatter with prosciutto crumbs and thyme leaves. Serve with grated parmesan.   

Copenhagen: Vermouth and Heavenly Nibbles at Rudo

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Sometimes this whole “taking the day as it comes” approach doesn’t work out so well. Like when you arrive at Baest on a Saturday evening hoping for a table when the restaurant is clearly full. Of course we had to wait. And we happily did so, knowing what was in store at this wonderful pizza restaurant!

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We were told it would take an hour until our table was ready and the maitre ‘d suggested we check out their bar Rudo in the meantime.

Always happy to check out a good bar we walked upstairs to this cosy bar we completely failed to notice on our first visit.

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A vermouth bar! So we got persuaded to try something new, and both Maria and I (Daniel was driving and had to stick to soft drinks) were pleasantly surprised. I chose a white vermouth with citrus notes that I really liked while Maria settled on a red one. Both on the rocks and very refreshing on a balmy summer’s eve.

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Obviously hungry we also checked out the bar snacks menu and spotted something that made us jump for joy: burrata toast with truffle. I mean, sounds like heaven on a plate, right?!

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And, oh, it was too! Absolutely delicious and just as we were about to order our second one we were told our table downstairs was ready – only 40 minutes into our hour.

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So down the stairs we went and took up seats at a communal table outside, simultaneously checking out the menu and the food around us. And then we settled in for a real pizza feast!

Moral of the story: sometimes “taking the day as it comes” works out better than if you had planned it! (If we had booked Baest like last time we would have missed out on this lovely bar experience. And that burrata and truffle toast!)

Rudo, Guldbergsgade 29, 1st floor, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Theatre, Friends and Lots of Cooking!

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If I never had to visit a shop, especially a supermarket, ever again, I would be very happy! I love shopping online (especially groceries) and this week I tried a new service called Chop Chop where you can order up to 25 items from the supermarket and have them delivered within the hour. So good when it’s pouring down with rain or you don’t have time to go out.

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This was my first shop; cleaning products, kitchen roll and some fresh stuff for supper during the week. Such a great service! This is not sponsored – I’m just a very happy customer and wanted to spread the word. I first heard of Ocado Zoom but they don’t deliver in my area, only West London, but I discovered that both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have equivalent services. I love Waitrose in general but Sainsbury’s had a better selection of products for my area so that’s how I ended up using it.

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Monday supper: chicken thigh fillet, potato wedges, tzatziki and Greek-ish salad. I eat this year round – so yummy!

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For pudding I tried the dark Geisha chocolate I brought home from Sweden and loved it!

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Tuesday after work I went to see my friend Laura and her baby and cooked a three course meal for her and her mother who was visiting. We had prosecco and chatted and it was such a lovely evening! The first course was my favourite mushroom toast (but with mixed wild mushrooms instead of just girolles) and they loved it too.

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Next I made pasta carbonara with tagliatelle (that’s how I prefer it!) as a new mother needs her carbs.

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For pudding I made the simplest one I know; Gino with banana, kiwi and raspberries with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday I did some errands after work and just took it easy the rest.

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Thursday I had yoghurt with kiwi and honey for breakfast. Love kiwi fruit and they’re such a good source of vitamin C.

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For lunch I made a poke bowl, that I was supposed to make the night before but didn’t feel like it for some reason. I do love this though! So yummy!

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In the evening we had burgers and went to The National Theatre to see Hansard which was so so good. Amazing acting, great story and just wonderful all around. Highly recommend it!

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On Friday I had a feta wrap with tomatoes, avocado and spring onions (anything that needed to be used up basically). Love how literally ANYTHING in a wrap makes a meal. So useful!

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For dinner I made orecchiette with salsiccia, although I couldn’t actually find salsiccia so used sausage meat and added plenty of fennel seeds. It worked quite well but the real deal is definitely better.

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For pudding we had vanilla ice cream with wafers and homemade butterscotch sauce. So simple and so yummy!

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Saturday we had poached eggs and pancetta for breakfast followed by…

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… brioche French toast with berries. Love breakfast/brunch at the weekend!

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For dinner we had pan con tomate and a new burrata dish with girolles to start (will post the recipe soon!).

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And poussins with dauphinoise potatoes, jus and broccoli for our main course. So good, but no room left for pudding!

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I spent Sunday with friends in the countryside and made pork fillet with girolles when I came back and for pudding we had blackberry cake with lightly whipped cream.

Recipe: Puff Pastry Nibbles Two Ways

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Give me the choice of savoury and sweet and I will most often choose savoury. Starter over dessert and nibbles always. I love cocktail parties and its many canapés and it has happened that I on more than one occasion ordered a second starter when everybody else were having pudding.

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So it’s not that surprising that I am about to present not one but two different puff pastry snacks. They are a little large as a canapé but could be cut into smaller squares, but as an informal starter before a dinner party I think it works like this.

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The reason I made two different ones was because I wanted to play around a bit, and also, after having eaten the first very yummy version, I thought it might be easier to eat these if there were some kind of “glue” to hold the tomatoes in place. Enter the versatile parmesan créme.

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I actually thought one of these would outshine the other – but although similar the subtle differences matter and I cannot possibly choose. Try them both and see which is your favourite!

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Puff Pastry Slices with Speck, Tomatoes and Basil, makes 4-6

For the base:

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry

100 ml creme fraiche

a handful grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

2-3 slices speck or prosiutto

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

Cut the puff pastry into slices, approx 2,5 cm wide and 10 cm long. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. 

Spread Creme Fraiche evenly onto the puff. Scatter with grated cheese and season. Bake until golden and crispy in 200 C for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix the tomatoes with olive oil, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Once cool, place half a slice of speck on each puff pastry slice and top with the tomato mixture. Serve with napkins. 

Puff Pastry Slices with Prosciutto, Parmesan Crème and Tomatoes, makes 4-6

For the base:

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry

100 ml cream cheese

a handful grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

2-3 slices prosiutto

Parmesan crème:

100 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/4 lemon, the zest

salt and pepper

Tomato mixture:

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

Cut the puff pastry into slices, approx 2,5 cm wide and 10 cm long. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. 

Spread cream cheese evenly onto the puff. Scatter with grated cheese and season. Bake until golden and crispy in 200 C for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix the tomatoes with olive oil, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Mix the ingredients for the parmesan crème together in a separate bowl. Season to taste. 

Once cool, place half a slice of speck on each puff pastry slice. Place a dollop of parmesan crème on the ham and top with the tomato mixture. Serve with napkins. 

Copenhagen: A Second Lunch at the Food Market

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I never miss a food market when I’m travelling! Apart from in Barcelona when it was closed when we were nearby.

But when I find them open I always seek them out and make sure to pop in. It’s fun mingling with the locals, checking out the local produce and buy some culinary mementos to enjoy at home.

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Copenhagen’s food market Torvehallerne, is a very sleek version of the food markets you find in other cities. The two buildings are all glass and modern, and although you can buy fresh produce it’s also interspersed with restaurants.

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I think I’ve sampled them all, and one favourite we always come back to is Tapa del Toro with its many pinxtos to choose from.

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Although we had just enjoyed a lovely gourmet lunch we wanted a little taste of both the food market atmosphere and the lovely pinxtos. Because sitting here sipping cava and biting into baguette with Jamon Iberico while people watching and chatting to your friends is just such a big part of what we love about Copenhagen.

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When we finished we walked next door to a new interior shop Maria had discovered and had a look around enjoying the colour scheme and pretty things for sale.

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Only to return to Torvehallerne and The Coffee Collective for a coffee before our next shop. Maria and Daniel had espressos but I decided to try their iced latte, which turned out to be the best one I’ve ever had! I don’t usually have milk in my coffee but it works really well if it’s a strong iced latte like this one. I was always skipping with joy drinking this!

Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen: Gourmet Lunch at Restaurant 108!

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If booking a table at Noma seems too daunting or requires too much advanced planning, then Restaurant 108 is the next best thing. It’s a spin-off from Noma, and much more accessible. So accessible in fact that we rocked up for lunch one Saturday in August and they could fit us in without a reservation!

You see when I come home to Sweden I have hardly any time to myself to plan things like this, so this annual trip to Copenhagen with Maria and Daniel (aka the best tradition ever!) is all about spontaneity. We get in the car shortly before lunch time and decide there and then where we are going to go. Sometimes we call ahead but most of the time we just rock up and hope for the best. Luckily this works well in Copenhagen, where I feel people live more in the moment, than say London or Stockholm where you really have to book restaurants far in advance to not miss out.

And for us it just means the day is a very free-spirited one, with no time constraints or musts. We just go with the flow and we all love it!

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But back to our lovely lunch. We got seated straight away, at a wooden table by the windows where there was a nice breeze from the open windows and doors letting some air circulate on this warm summer’s day.

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We preferred to sit inside as this was fine dining and the sunshine would too quickly spoil the food, but there was a cute little terrace just outside over looking the cutest house boats on the canal, which we made sure to check out later.

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The interior here is just as airy and clean as one would expect from a Danish restaurant offering new Nordic cuisine, and it feels like an almost tranquil space. The tables are fairly far apart and there is space for the waiters to do their dance in between table with such finesse it’s a treat to see.

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Happy with our choice of restaurant (and that they had room for us!) we toasted with wine and beer and patted ourselves on the back.

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Then the bread and butter arrived and we congratulated ourselves once again but it was out of this world good. The bread was still warm from the oven with a nice crunchy crust but the inside was all pillowy and soft and airy. And the butter (or was it really soured cream? It was so light it was hard to tell!) with its lovely tanginess was the perfect pairing.

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Give me good bread and butter and I need nothing else to be happy!

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But we had ordered a few other things and it would be a shame not to taste them!

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My first plate of thinly sliced radish on top of smoked sturgeon looked very austere, but as you lifted up the radish slices you glimpsed the richness of what was inside. The smoked sturgeon yes, but also pumpkin seeds for texture and a rich but light sauce to bring it all together. Oh, such joy it was to eat this! Tender subtle flavours that just lingered in your mouth afterwards extending the experience.

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But the next course was even better! It was the most perfect lamb tartare I’ve tasted in my life (and I have eaten a few tartares to know what I’m talking about!) and it was just pure heaven. The meat was soft and light and full of flavour and the herbs and seasoning just added layers and layers of flavour and texture I tried to savour it for as long as possible.

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Meanwhile Maria ate this wonderful monk fish with herbs and flowers from the garden -probably the prettiest main course I’ve ever seen!

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But I was happy enjoying my tartare in slow motion, savouring every moment and every bite!

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As much as I loved the airy dining room, I also loved the rust coloured cosy loos, and just had to snap a selfie to remember this lunch by, because I think my face says it all; pure happiness and contentment!

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Then I stepped out in the sun on the terrace where my friends were waiting and we got back in the car searching for more food related adventures. Yes, much more to come, so stay tuned!

Restaurant 108, Strandgade 108, 1401 Copenhagen, Denmark

Nights in, dinners out and a country weekend!

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The third week in October wasn’t my best, at least not the beginning of the week when I wasn’t feeling well. But I worked from home, rested as much as I could and looked after myself. I even managed to cook a few easy things, like this taco salad I had for dinner on the Monday night. I also started a new series; City on a Hill which I thought was really good.

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Tuesday was pretty much the same but I used the leftover taco mince to make enchiladas for dinner. But the best thing was that I got my new iPhone!

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I felt a little bit better on Wednesday and had dinner with my friend Gaby as planned. We went to The Stokehouse near Victoria and I had a really nice shor trib while Gaby had lamb belly. Really good!

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On Thursday my friend Anna and her daughter came to visit so I had dinner with the at The Orange. We both had a really lovely pizza with mortadella, fior de latte and pistachios. Lovely evening!

The next day I took the train north for a weekend in the country. We had some train problems and were delayed but I arrived just in time for dinner.

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It was gorgeous autumn weather the next day and after a lovely lunch of baked potatoes, cheese and ham (and butter of course!) we all put our wellies on and went for a walk across the fields.

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It was so lovely to see the sheep and the pretty autumnal colours of the trees.

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When we got back we had tea and cake (that I had made) outside by the fire pit which was just lovely.

In the evening we had drinks and jamon Iberico (my favourite!) by the fire place indoors followed by a lovely dinner.

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On Sunday, after the rugby, we had a lovely lunch of roast chicken, roast potatoes, gravy and vegetables followed by apple crumble with cream and ice cream. So lovely!

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I stayed until the evening and spent most of the day reading by the fire or playing with the children.