New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair, with a visitor from London, my best friend and her husband and daughter. The guys played golf during the day and as soon as they got back we had wine, champagne and nibbles and chatted away until the little one went to bed. That’s when we tucked into our three course dinner, cooked by me. For a full report, click here.
The following day we had a lie-in and breakfast with our hosts before going back to my parents’ house in the afternoon. We watched a film in the afternoon (which feels so indulgent!) and in the evening I made pizza for us all.
The next day we cosied up on the sofa in front of another film and braved the cold for a very short (but beautiful walk) before having another nice dinner with my parents.
After dropping my guest off by the train to the airport I toured around seeing friends. First lunch with one friend outside of Malmö, then tea and a catch-up with another friend in Lund and finally dinner with an old school friend and his family in the evening; also in Lund.
The next few days I spent time with mamma and pappa. We had lots of lovely food, like lobster Thermidor one evening.
The next day mamma and I (but mainly mamma) made English scones that we had with tea, clotted cream that I’d brought with me from London and mamma’s raspberry jam.
In the evening we had dinner with lots of little bits; which we all love. It was ham and truffle salami left over from the pizza night, spicy chorizo, olive, cheese, bread and two different patées.
The Sunday was my last day in Sweden and to make sure we could have dinner together in the evening I had booked a late flight. I quite like flying late, making the most of the day.
I’m very fond of New Year’s Eve and have been since I was a child. It always felt like a special night and think it still does today. I like to dress up, eat and drink well and spend it with dear ones.
This year it was just four of us and a little toddler, but it was a lovely evening. The boys played golf while Emma and I cooked and played with the little one and as soon as the boys were back we got some nibbles and wine out. Then we continued with champagne and more nibbles until my goddaughter was asleep.
I had made three types of nibbles; crisps with smetana, bleak roe, chopped red onions and dill, Toast Lingstrom and my girolle toasts 2.0. I love all of these snacks and they were substantial enough to keep us going for a while. The champagne we had was delicious too and definitely one I will buy again: Pol Roger Brut Vintage, 2009.
After the nibbles we sat down for a three-course meal. First lobster with garlic butter, browned butter and lemon.
Followed by fillet of beef with garlic butter, potato terrine with cheese and herbs, green beans, tenderstem broccoli and red wine jus.
And for pudding we had a well-loved classic; churros with cinnamon sugar, chocolate sauce and three minute ice cream.
After a hectic month with late evenings at work and a lot of social engagements I really enjoyed slowing down for Christmas. In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and this year we went to my uncle’s house for a big Christmas dinner.
Christmas Day was a quiet one at home; reading cookbooks and eating sweets. We had cod and the best sauce for fish for dinner, followed by ice cream with caramel sauce.
I spent Boxing Day with my best friend. We met up around lunch time for some sale shopping followed by fika and in the evening we had fish tacos for supper. The next day I met another friend for dinner in Malmö (review to come) and we had a lovely time.
On the Friday I met up with another friend, in Höllviken this time, at our favourite place. After a prawn sandwich and a nice catch-up I went to the hairdresser and did some food shopping for New Year’s Eve.
Saturday was full on with three social visits after each other. But I got quality time with everyone and for that I’m so grateful. It’s quite tricky to get to see everybody because of different work schedules, family engagements and of course, flu season throwing a few spanners in the works. But I managed quite well this time. Didn’t get to see everyone but I will be back in the summer again.
The last day of the week I spent at home, but not so leisurely as I had a lot to get done before my guest from London was arriving in the evening. Lots of tidying and preparations for New Year’s eve. Mamma and I also made a really nice dinner; venison (will post the recipe) followed by tarte tatin. So yummy!
I find myself in Putney more and more lately, and Home SW15 has after only a few visits become a firm favourite of mine in that area.
We had brunch here one Sunday morning and although I was beyond hangry when I arrived I immediately like the space. It’s airy, nicely decorated and felt very welcoming. I also really liked the brunch menu.
I was tempted by every single item but considering my hangry status I went for something I know I always like; Eggs Benedict. Here there was a slight twist with ham hock instead of ham, which I liked as it made the dish more substantial and it really worked well with the hollandaise and poached eggs. My brunch companion had the blueberry pancake with Greek yoghurt and honey and it was really lovely as well!
Another time we came for dinner and I had the most delicious shrimp burger (giving Bill Granger a run for his money) with a spicy mayo while my dinner companion had a really delicious pie.
We’ve been here a few more times and I really like this place. So much so that I wish it was near my flat and not my second London home. But maybe they could open another branch?!
Home SW15, 146 Upper Richmond Rd, London SW15 2SW
The last week in London before going home to Sweden for Christmas was probably the busiest week of all. Sometimes it seems impossible to plan things well no matter how hard you try.
So after a weekend in the country we drove back to London late on the Sunday night so I could be back for work on the Monday. That evening we cooked up a storm for the Christmas party the following evening. It’s not ideal to be away the weekend before hosting a party but we did best we could.
The Tuesday Christmas party was great fun and it was lovely to see everybody before going home. Wednesday was then my last day at the office and it was a real scramble to finish everything off at work and pack for two plus weeks but somehow I managed. In the evening I went home to pack after work, with lovely company and champagne to make it more fun, before going out for dinner.
The next morning I was out the door early and although I had heard about the drones I made my way to Gatwick as my flight hadn’t been cancelled. But it was, halfway to the airport and so I turned around in my taxi while frantically booking a ticket for the following morning. When I came home I went straight to bed and slept for hours, but when the airport was still closed in the evening I decided to buy a ticket from Heathrow for the following afternoon. Lots of flights were full and the remaining tickets very expensive but I really wanted to go home which made it worth it.
That third ticket (the flight from Gatwick in the morning was cancelled) got me to Sweden. Finally! A day and a half later than planned. I had to cancel plans with friends and rearrange things and although the last thing I needed it all went well in the end.
It was lovely to get home to my parents and have dinner with them that evening.
The following day (Saturday) I drove to Helsingborg to have lunch with a bunch of childhood friends and their families and it was a lovely reunion. On the Sunday I finally unpacked, wrapped gifts, had glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and gingerbread with friends of the family and in the evening we had some traditional Christmas food. Because I could see this drone thing dragging out and making it difficult for me to get home I think I appreciated this visit home more than usual. It’s so lovely to be surrounded by dear ones at Christmas.
In Sweden anything with saffron is considered Christnassy and festive, and that’s the reasoning for making this chewy saffron and white chocolate cake for the book club Christmas dinner.
It’s very yummy without being too sweet and although quite pretty it would have been even prettier with the intended icing. I was convinced I had icing sugar at home but there was none in the cupboard, so I served it plain and that worked well too. I had creme fraiche on the side (that was intended for the frosting) but lightly whipped cream works well too.
Saffron and white chocolate cake, serves 10
Translated from and adapted after Ica’s recipe.
150 g white chocolate
150 g butter
1/2 g saffran
160 g caster sugar
60 g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla
200 ml crème fraiche
50 ml icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter and flour a 24 diameter springform. Melt chocolate and butter in a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Add the saffron and leave to cool/dissolve a for a few minutes.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowla and add to the melted chocolate. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the springform and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Leave to cool.
Beat crème fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth and quite set and spread ut onto the cake. Add pomegranate seeds.
The second week of December was very busy and great fun! The office Christmas party was on the Monday night, at Smith & Wollensky as usual, and really nice.
And then the rest of the week followed in a similar pattern.
On the Tuesday it was one of my colleague’s birthday so a group of girls went out for a nice lunch with steak and champagne at Flatiron. Wednesday night started with work drinks and after that I went to a lovely event at Tate Britain.
Thursday night was calmer and spent at home packing for the weekend. Because on Friday night we had a Christmas dinner in London (with turkey!) and afterwards we drove to the countryside to spend the weekend there.
It was Christmas carols in the village church, lovely dinners and time sat in front of the fire and on the Sunday we went out for a lovely dinner with entertainment before driving back to London again.
The week was pretty full on (avoid parties on Mondays if you can, is my advice) but great fun, and although it’s tiring I try to prepare myself that the three weeks in December that I spend in London and the UK are always full on like this.