London: amazing sushi at Dinings SW3

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When my childhood friend Therése comes to visit she always prepares a list of what she would like to do, see and eat. As we both like to plan I thoroughly embrace it and it makes hosting so much easier!

One thing on her list is always the same; sushi. So I book a different restaurant each time. Last year we went to Sushi Atelier and this year we went to Dinings SW3 that’s been on my list forever (well, since it opened).

Dinings SW3 feels very established in a cosy mews near Walton Street and it definitely has that South Ken vibe. It’s on the swankier side, but I love that!

The menu is extensive and although the tasting menu looked amazing we preferred to choose our own dishes. We thought we had ordered a the perfect amount of food, but some of the maki rolls were a lot bigger than we anticipated so in the end it was a bit too much but we almost finished everything. We both struggle to leave good sushi, even if we’re beyond full.

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The first thing we ordered was the tar tar chips with scallops. We only had one each but next time I will order more of these. They’re so pretty and delicious!

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I love miso soup and couldn’t resist this one with lobster, tomato and chives. And to no one’s surprise it is definitely the best miso soup I’ve eaten.

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Next we had a steamed bun slider with tempura prawn each – also really nice, but probably my least favourite out of our spread.

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Then we moved on to the sushi. Wow! The nigiri with avocado and jalapeño mayonnaise was just amazing. And the semi-fatty tuna was equally mind blowing.

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The grilled miso aubergine was delicious too but almost too much to share between two. It was exactly how I expected it to be; soft and sticky with a caramelised flavour too it. So lovely!

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The salmon maki was another favourite, it just tasted so pure. I can’t describe it any other way.

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The next two maki rolls were the big ones. The first one with tempera prawns was amazing but rather filling.

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And the double crab roll was so impressive with snow crab in the roll and deep fried soft shell crab on top. It was huge and so good but we did struggle to finish it.

At this point the table next to us received the lobster maki and I got a small case of food envy, but it was good in a way, because now I know what to order on my next visit!

Dinings SW3, Lennox Gardens Mews, London SW3 2JH

Recipe: green pea soup with creme fraîche and bleak roe

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I know, green pea soup is nothing new. But, it’s really delicious (and nutritious!) and made even more delicious topped with creme fraîche and bleak roe.

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Mamma had this at a restaurant and told me how the combination really works, so obviously I took her word for it and tried it too!

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And now, I hope you take my word for it too. Because it really does work and makes this lovely soup even more dinner party worthy than it was before.

A note on bleak roe. I realise it’s a fairly Swedish ingredient, but any nice of fish roe or caviar would work here. It’s that slightly salty tang that works so well with the creaminess of the soup.

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Green pea soup with creme fraîche and bleak roe, serves 2

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp neutral oil

300 g frozen petit pois

water to cover

a dash of concentrated vegetable or chicken stock

100 ml cream

approx 3 tbsp dry white wine

To serve:

2 tbsp full fat creme fraiche

2 tbsp bleak roe

Heat up a sauce pan and add oil. Add the onions and fry on medium heat without browning. Add the frozen peas to the pan and just about cover them with water. Bring to the boil and let it boil for a minute or two. Drain but keep the water on the side. Blitz the peas with about two small ladles of the water until you have a too-thick soup. Pour it back into the pan, add cream, wine and stock and bring to the boil again. Add more liquid if the soup is too thick. Season. With two spoons shape eggs of the creme fraîche and place in bowls. Do the same with bleak roe and place on top. Place on the table and pour in the soup.

Dinner out, nights in and a weekend in the country!

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Last Monday was a regular work day. Monday is definitely not my favourite day of the week but this one was made better with burrata left overs for lunch.

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For dinner I made an omelette with ham, cheese and mushroom. Such a great way to clear out the fridge and get a healthy supper at the same time!

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The rest of the evening I took it easy reading the book club book.

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Tuesday was a busy work day and I had to run for my dinner date with my friend Lotta visiting from Sweden. We had a lovely catch up at Temper Covent Garden and we sat outside even though it was a bit cold. So Swedish of us, haha.

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Wednesday evening I took it easy at home and read Reese Witherspoons book Whiskey in a Teacup. Such a sweet book!

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The next day I packed for the weekend, had a poke bowl for dinner and I got completely hooked on Station 19 (a spin-off to Greys Anatomy that I discovered that night). Love easy watching series!

On Friday we ordered pizza from our favourite Franco Manca before we drove north to Northamptonshire. On Saturday we did a lot of gardening during the day and in the evening we were invited to a dinner party.

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Sunday we did some more gardening and then sat in front of the fire in the evening before driving back to London late in the evening to avoid the worst of the traffic.

 

Recipe: oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic

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I love oysters; both au naturelle and cooked. So you can only imagine that I felt like I was in heaven when I visited Cape Cod a few summers ago. I don’t think I ate anything other than seafood while I was there!

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When cooking oysters at home, I think the au gratin concept is the best approach, as it’s easy, quick and seriously delicious!

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This recipe with Swedish Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic is perfect for spring (and you can of course substitute the Swedish cheese with parmesan or even cheddar) and we followed it up with asparagus (some harvested in our own garden!) and hollandaise sauce as well as prawns (cooked and smoked), homemade mayonnaise and wild garlic bread. It was quite the feast and such a treat to enjoy it with my parents! As we don’t see each other all that often we try to make it special when we are together.

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Oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic, serves 3 as a starter

With two more courses two oysters each was the perfect amount, but if you’re having a light main course I would recommend three oysters per person.

6 fresh oysters 

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese

1/2 – 1 tsp Dijon mustard

approx 6 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

salt, black pepper

To serve:

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Open the oysters with an oyster knife and discard the top shell. Cut loose the oysters but keep on the shells and place in an ovenproof dish. Mix cream and mustard in a bowl and add cheese and most of wild garlic. Season well. Spoon the mixture over the oysters, enough to cover them and sprinkle some more wild garlic on top. Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven (225C) until bubbly and a little brown, approx 3-5 minutes. Serve with baguette or crusty bread to soak up the juices. 

Short week, cinema and Sunday roast

 

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I love short work weeks! Last week was short because of the early May bank holiday. And it was so nice to have an extra day in Northamptonshire. In the evening I made spaghetti carbonara for dinner before going back to London late that evening.

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Tuesday was a regular work day and in the evening I just took it easy at home. the next evening I met up with friends and ex colleagues for drinks, snacks and a catch up.

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On the Thursday I worked in the New Forest all day and was too tired to cook when I got home so ordered takeaway for dinner.

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The Friday was also chilled out; after work I made broccoli cheese for dinner and then I went to the cinema (haven’t been for ages) and saw Long Shot.

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On the Saturday I had a lovely lie-in, did some chores at home and stayed in all day because it was raining so hard. The weather got better in the evening so I went up to the roof terrace to get some air. I had cheese and charcuterie for dinner and had a TV night. First I watched one episode of Tin Star (it’s sooo good but very intense) followed by Darkest Hour.

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On Sunday the weather was better so we had a Sunday roast and rosé at a cosy pub before hitting the driving range. In the evening I cooked supper and we caught up on Billions (love that series!).

 

London: Hoppers (finally!)

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I almost went to Sri Lanka on holiday with two girl friends a few years ago. But the plan fell through for various reasons and I ended up going on a lovely trip to Cambodia and Vietnam with another friend instead.

But since almost booking that holiday the dream of Sri Lanka has stayed with me, so I was super excited when Hoppers open the first (at least that I’ve heard of) Sri Lankan restaurant in London.

I tried to go there multiple times but as the Soho outfit was tiny and the place seriously popular the waiting time was always too long for hangry me.

But since they recently opened a second restaurant, still in Central London, but not bang in the hustle and bustle of Soho, where you can BOOK tables I’ve finally been. Yay!

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In cold January I met up with my former flatmate and now friend Daisy for supper here. The restaurant was warm and cosy inside (especially compared to the sub-zero temperatures outside) and although we weren’t rushed the food arrived more or less at the same time so we felt a bit hurried to eat it and leave so they could have the table back. I get it – they’re still hugely popular and of course they want to be accommodating but it would have been nice if it was a little more chilled.

Anyway, we had lots of nice, but quite heave dishes! But while we were choosing from the menu we also enjoyed a really nice gin cocktail and plantain chips.

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First up we had the mutton rolls which were crispy and stuffed with lovely meat. Loved these!

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Next we had the really rather spicy calamari but it was also lovely and crispy!

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Our third dish was what I’ve been most eager to try; their bone marrow roti. Which turned out to be a bone marrow curry (so much yes!!) and the flakiest roti I’ve ever had. Just amazing! And so so filling. (This is where we started to realise that we had probably ordered too much…)

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We also shared two larger dishes, a seafood kari and pork ribs. The curry was again quite spicy but nice but the pork was more interesting with it’s multiple layers of flavours.

We were SO full after this meal and yet we didn’t finish most of the dishes. They were all quite rich as well (which I hadn’t expected!) so will definitely order less next time. Or order a few dishes, eat those and see if we could eat some more.

I will definitely come back for the bone marrow roti (loved that!!) but totally forgot to order the hoppers (which the restaurant is named after) and can’t wait to try one next time. They almost look like a bowl made of thin thin (almost see-through) rice flour dough and it often has an egg or something else in the bottom of it. They look really impressive!

Hoppers, 77 Wigmore Street, London W1U 1QE

Brunswick House and a long weekend in Northamptonshire

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The end of April, beginning of May the weather was all sorts again. But we’ll persevere and hope summer is around the corner.

The Monday that week was a typical Monday with work and a quiet night in. The fridge was still empty (apart from all the Swedish food I brought back but sadly I couldn’t make up a supper from cinnamon buns, cheese and fish roe) so I ordered a poke bowl. If I don’t order a burger I usually order this, as it’s something I would cook myself when I have the ingredients.

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On Tuesday we went up to the roof terrace of my building for a gin and tonic while watching the sun set over London. Afterwards we walked over the river to dinner at beautiful Brunswick House. We had the house cured pancetta and bread to start followed by the gorgeous côte de boeuf to share.

Wednesday evening I packed by weekend bag again while watching The Rookie. I’m quite liking this new Nathan Fillion series. The next evening we drove north to Northamptonshire where we had a nice dinner of steak and dauphinoise potatoes on arrival.

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I worked remotely on the Friday (which made the weekend – because it was a bank holiday weekend – seem really long!) and in the evening we drove to Market Harborough to have a look around and we found this chocolatier with the most amazing hot chocolate, I will tell you more about later. In the evening I made potato salad with asparagus and wild garlic pesto that we ate with grilled chicken.

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Saturday we did some gardening (we were here to help with that!) and I made asparagus with hollandaise sauce followed by lamb shank with potato mash and peas for dinner,  which we ate in front of the fire and afterwards we watched The Greatest Showman.

We did more gardening on the Sunday and in the evening we went out for dinner but it wasn’t very good so I didn’t take a single picture (!). We still had a lovely evening and watched Billions and drank wine when we got back.