Balance (for once)!

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Last week was actually pretty balanced. (Not often I can say that!) And it’s definitely I want to aim for in the future.

After work on Monday it took me ages to get home because of really bad traffic, so I had frankfurters and mash for supper. Not very exciting but perfect when you’re starving!

Tuesday was also quiet; I did laundry (which I actually love doing) and pottered at home. Wednesday was cinema night with the usual burgers before. The film we saw was Widows which I really enjoyed, despite the opening scene, ahem. Viola Davis was great, I loved the way it was filmed and the story was interesting and a bit unusual.

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On Thursday I went to an event at Fortnum & Mason (aka heaven!) and had lots of nice food, drank champagne, mingled around and looked at their Christmas display. It was (of course) lovely and it really put me in the Christmas spirit.

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I might have done a little shopping as well but didn’t go crazy with the ornaments, but it was tempting.

The weekend was super quiet, which was much needed. I slept in, finished two books (!), watched TV and cosied up inside with scented candles.

Yep – that’s what balance looks like for me. A few days out doing fun things, a few doing chores and a few for relaxing. More of that, please!

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Recipe: tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and mushrooms

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I made this pasta with prawns, mushrooms and tomatoes back in Sweden in August for my parents and I for supper and we all really enjoyed it.

It feels fresh and light although it has cream in it and the prawns work so well with both tomatoes and mushrooms.

And it’s actually the tomatoes that steal the show for me! Look out for those little bursts of juicy sweet tomato that comes with almost every bite. I had the luxury of using my mother’s homegrown cherry tomatoes in different colours (they were delicious!) but any small tomatoes in season will work just as well (I’ve made this dish a few times since August using store-bought on-the-vine British cherry tomatoes).

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Tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and button mushrooms, serves 3-4

500 g fresh tagliatelle

1-2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

plenty of butter and neutral oil for frying

200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

50 ml dry white wine

150 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

300 ml double cream

1/2 stock cube (fish or vegetable) 

400 g frozen Atlantic shell-on prawns, defrosted and peeled (or approx 250 g fresh ones) 

approx 2 tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper

chopped parsley

Fry onions and garlic in butter and oil on medium heat without browning. Remove from pan. Add more butter and oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms on medium-high heat until golden brown. Season and remove from pan. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the tomatoes and let them cook on medium geat for a few minutes. Add the wine and let some evaporate before adding cream and stock cube (no water). Stir and let the sauce thicken. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper (the sugar will balance the acidity from the tomatoes). You want the sauce to have depth and taste a lot as the pasta will dilute the flavours. Cook the pasta in a large pot and drain.  

Take the sauce off the heat and add the prawns. Stir and add the pasta. Mix properly so every strand of pasta is coated with sauce. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Top with chopped parsley and serve immediately.  

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

Cooking, series and a lovely weekend!

Hello,

And sorry for the silence. I’ve spent most of this week in bed being poorly but am finally on the mend. And since I’m behind with my weekly “report” I thought it best to write it up straight away. So, here’s what I got up to last week…

I had a quiet week without too much socialising and I noticed how much more energy I had in the evenings when I just went home to cook (which I did every night) and watched a few episodes of a series or read my book, than when I’m out for dinner and drinks several times a week.

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Cooking wise it was quite simple meals, proper weekday grub, which was nice. I made a batch of tomato sauce on Monday for supper that same evening and the night after (love planning ahead like that!). Half of the tomato sauce was used for shakshuka (isn’t it just the best supper dish?!) with onions and carrots and topped with creme fraiche and feta. Similar recipe here.

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On Tuesday I spiced up the rest of the tomato sauce and used it to make enchiladas. Yum! Wednesday I cooked a new recipe but I want to photograph it again before I put it on the blog, so stay tuned.

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Thursday I had a sudden craving for dauphinoise potatoes and so made a small gratin and ate it with some roasted chicken from the freezer and steamed broccoli.

I continued to watch The Truth of the Harry Quebert Affair (not many episodes left now!) but also started watching Killing Eve on the BBC which is really good!

Friday night we went out for a pub supper before seeing First Man at the cinema. Great film – highly recommend it!

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On Saturday I met up with my foodie friend Anna and her daughter, visiting from Sweden, for some shopping and a lovely afternoon tea at Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone. In the evening I went for drinks before cooking a late pasta supper at home.

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Sunday we had a lie-in and a nice cooked breakfast at home before going for a pub lunch and a walk by the river. It was freezing so afterwards we cosied up on the sofa watching Murder on the Orient Express (which wasn’t that great but had an amazing cast) followed by some more of  The Handmaid’s Tale. For dinner I made this chicken gratin and for pudding we had vanilla ice cream, homemade raspberry coulis and  crushed biscuits, for a bit of crunch.

Apart from the sudden cold weather it was a good week!

Kent: Michelin star luncheon at The Sportsman

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This Michelin star restaurant has been on my to-eat-list (yes, I have one of those…) for quite some time and I was thrilled when my Kent-based friends Helen and Pete suggested we go there for lunch together. We booked it several months before and finally went in May this year (sorry it’s taken me forever to do the write up!).

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Quite unlike most other one star places The Sportsman is really relaxed and rustic. You place your order at the bar (while looking at the daily changing menu noted down on the black board next to it) and go sit down.

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The food takes a similar approach and is really well prepared out of the best ingredients but with a rustic no-fuss approach. Which people love! Especially chefs, who vote this as their favourite restaurant year after year.

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I obviously like the approach too, and from the get-go it’s pure perfection. The three different types of bread are all very good, the olives are of the buttery kind and the butter is just heavenly. A good start.

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Pete and Helen are just as excited as I am, although they’ve been here before and Pete and I can’t resist the oysters, which were served two ways and both delicious!

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It was only also Pete and I who ordered starters, but we shared them at the table. The terrine with mustard, pickles, grilled sourdough and crispy scratchings was so nice. Everything was just perfectly executed.

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My tomato, burrata and pesto may look simple, but it was perfectly put together and had the best pesto I’ve ever tasted.

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Helen had the beef and Yorkshire pudding which was pure perfection as well. Just look at that plate.

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My pork was incredibly tender and was served with a deliciously fluffy mash and a mustard jus. Just perfect.

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Pete had cod, again cooked to perfection, with asparagus and a delicious chorizo sauce. It’s classic food, but still with a few twists.

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I was quite full after my pork but would not turn down pudding in a place like this and so ordered the rhubarb soufflé with rhubarb ripple ice cream. It’s was amazingly good. Strong but subtle flavours and the softest soufflé!

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Helen’s warm chocolate mousse with with salted caramel and milk sorbet was equally dreamy and although familiar flavours, the fun texture is a great addition.

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The whole lunch was really relaxed and cosy, with two well-behaved children, and such a treat! Afterwards we went out into the sunshine and down the beach to look for sea shells and fossils. Such a wonderful day – and lunch!

The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent CT5 4BP

Recipe: garlic and herb sauce

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Growing up in the countryside in the south of Sweden I didn’t realise how lucky I was to grow up in such an idyllic place. Fast forward to present time living in a big city, where getting fresh herbs and locally grown vegetables can be quite tricky at times.

So my first night in Sweden this summer I cooked us a fairly standard summer meal of pork fillet, salad and potatoes. Normally I would cook the meat on the barbecue to get that charred flavour, but due to the first barbecue ban in my life time (even in your own garden – it was that dry) I had to make do with the stove and oven. And sitting outside in the sunshine it was still a lovely meal.

Mainly because of the sauce I literally threw together on the spot. It’s a simple cold sauce with mainly creme fraiche and a little mayonnaise as a base (us Swedes make sauces like this ALL the time), but what made it so nice was the mix (and quantity) of fresh herbs from the garden. An absolute treat for this city girl and something I used to take for granted when I lived at home.

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Garlic and herb sauce, serves 3-4

300 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Acacia honey

3/4 small garlic clove, finely chopped

approx 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley 

salt and pepper

Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise. Then add mustard, honey, garlic and herbs and leave for a while for the flavours to develop before serving. Season to taste.