Spring is here!

img_8819.jpg

Spring. Oh, how I love thee. If I feel tired and gloomy during the cold and dark winter months, I now feel awake again. It’s easier to get out of bed in the morning and being outside, even if it’s just walking to the tube, is a pleasure not torture. On Saturday I just walked around town for two hours because the sun was out and it was spring in the air.

Lots of the spring flowers are in full bloom, and the first British asparagus has arrived in some shops together with the wild garlic. This, my dear readers, is my favourite time of year. I love summer and warmer temperatures, but now before summer is here, we have it all in front of us and it feels like the best present ever. Then we blink and it’s September, but I really want to try and enjoy the little things every day between now and then. The taste of all the fresh produce; the asparagus, the jersey royals, the first British strawberries and so on. Sitting in the sun having a coffee or an ice cream, walking to work and hearing the birds chirping. All of that makes me so very happy.

And one of my favourite dishes this time of year, is a real celebration of spring. It’s fresh and simple but full of spring flavours. I’m talking about fresh local asparagus, homemade wild garlic mayonnaise that’s just divine and to top it all off, a drizzle of a nice olive or rapeseed oil and a scattering of parmesan shavings. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy SPRING!!

My Stockholm weekend in pictures

IMG_3344.JPG

I spent the first May bank holiday weekend in sunny Stockholm with my parents. It was lovely to see them and do Stockholm with them. Since they live in the south of Sweden (where I grew up) they have Copenhagen around the corner so visits to the Swedish capital don’t occur very often.

IMG_3347.JPG

I arrived late on the Friday night so our weekend started on the Saturday morning with a lovely hotel breakfast before we headed out to a nursery called Zetas trädgård. My mum is very into gardening so she was the one who wanted to go, but my dad and I enjoyed the beautiful surroundings too and especially the lovely café.  In the afternoon we came back into the town centre and did some shopping before we had dinner in the old town.

IMG_3383.JPG

The restaurant we went to is a very classic Swedish one, called Den Gyldene Freden, and one my dad had been to before and really liked. The food was lovely and it was fun to be in a restaurant were everybody were drinking snaps. Old school!

IMG_3404.JPG

After dinner I met up with my friend Carina for drinks at Tweed, also in the old town and we had a lovely evening catching up over cocktails. Such a great bar!

IMG_3457.JPG

On the Sunday we walked around the city in the sunshine and made sure to see the cherry blossom in Kungsträdgården. It’s such a lovely sight and a must-see this time of year.

IMG_3459.JPG
IMG_3489.JPG

We then walked to Gamla Stan (old town) and did some sightseeing.

IMG_3534.JPG

We happened to be at the Royal Palace at the time for the changing of the guards, so by chance we were proper tourists!

IMG_3551.JPG

IMG_3553.JPG

That afternoon I met up with my friends Mirja and Linus in the afternoon for fika and ice cream outside. So lovely!
IMG_3581.JPG

On the Sunday night we went to a great restaurant I have wanted to try for ages; Rolfs Kök. And it was even better than I expected it to be!

IMG_3623.JPG

The bank holiday Monday we took the ferry to Djurgården and walked around.

IMG_3644.JPG

We had a nice walk around the island and stopped at the café at Rosendal for some rosé and fika. It was nice and warm and lovely to sit outside in the sunshine.

IMG_3688.JPG

We took the tram back to the town centre for some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. I like the mixture of nature, water and city life Stockholm has to offer. It really is quite relaxing to go here for a city break!

Fried gnocchi with wild garlic pesto and cherry tomatoes

2015-05-24 19.16.45-1

I received evidence from my mother last week that the wild garlic season has started in Sweden, and therefore probably in the UK as well. Hurrah!

I love these oniony garlicky green leaves so much, I keep a bundle of blanched ones in the freezer at all times. It feels comforting that I can make wild garlic mayo all year round. Or wild garlic pesto. It’s fab with fried gnocchi (it gives them a bit more texture), fresh cherry tomatoes and plenty of grated parmesan.

2015-05-24 19.16.51

Fried gnocchi with wild garlic pesto and cherry tomatoes, serves 2

1 batch gnocchi 

1 batch wild garlic pesto

150 g cherry tomatoes

finely grated parmesan

Make the pesto and put it aside. Make the gnocchi and cook them. Then fry in butter until golden. Mix with plenty of the pesto. Cut the cherry the tomatoes in half and mix with the gnocchi. Season to taste. Add olive oil if you want a looser consistency. Top with plenty of grated parmesan.

Wild garlic pesto

rlp2

When I was in Sweden last my mother gave me a large bag of wild garlic she picked for me, so back in London I made a batch of lovely pesto that I’ve been eating lately. The same day I made it I just had it with spaghetti and (more) grated parmesan as a light lunch. Delicious!

IMG_1375

Wild garlic pesto, approx 250 ml pesto

ca 50-70 g wild garlic (about a bunch as stick as a small banana)

30 g almonds

40 g parmesan

1/2 lemon, juice only 

mild oil, approx 100-150 ml 

salt & pepper

Mix wild garlic, almonds, lemon juice and parmesan with a bit of oil to a paste in a food processor or with a stick blender. Keep adding oil until you have the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days. 

Best of: spring recipes

collage vår

It’s been wonderful to come back to spring weather in the UK, I didn’t expect the weather would change as much as it did the ten days I was away but I am very grateful. Let’s hope spring is finally here to stay!

So before I continue with my travel posts from Asia I would like to show you a few of my favourite spring recipes that I return to again and again.

Salmon tartar with cream cheese top –  this tartar is amazing and has been the starter of many dinner parties. The cream cheese top just adds that final touch!

Crab linguine with cream and white – I eat shellfish all year round but it tastes the best in spring and summer.

Purple sprouting with poached egg and tarragon crème – a perfect brunch dish that just oozes spring!

Lemon tart – I associate spring with lemon as I love the fresh flavours and citrus is the freshest of them all!

Vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb – melted rhubarb is a childhood favourite I love to incorporate into more grown-up dishes.

You can also have a look at last year’s spring recipes from the archives for even more inspiration! Hurrah – spring is actually here!

Cooking is my yoga (and a three course dinner)

dinner2

Sometimes I forget how much I love to cook. It’s true. When I have a busy work week and come home exhausted in the evenings and haven’t hatched a plan for what to cook for my evening meal I usually surrender to a cheese toastie or just toast with cheese and cucumber slices, which in my world does not constitute cooking.

On Friday I had promised to cook for my flatmate as it was one of those rare occasions when we were both spending a night in. Although I almost regretted my decision as I noticed how very tired I was when I was on the tube home.

But when I got home, put my pinny on and started prepping I got second wind. And it was so much fun! I wasn’t stressed because my flatmate Daisy was happily perched on the sofa in front of the TV with a glass of wine in hand and I let the cooking take its time. Because it’s usually the time aspect that is my downfall. I can be a bit of a time optimist and when I realise that I am running late I get stressed and become clumsy and a not-so-great cook. But when cooking without the time pressure I am truly happy. Cooking is my yoga. It relaxes me and keeps me sane.

What I cooked? My favourite spring time starter; steamed (British) asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise and Parmesan shavings (and some watercress) followed by caramelised pork fillet, an amazing mushroom crème, roasted new potatoes and steamed purple sprouting broccoli. To finish vanilla icecream, chewy meringues, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Eating it would make anyone happy, so lucky me who got to cook it too.

Brunch: purple sprouting, poached egg, dijon and tarragon crème, parmesan

IMG_6299

When spring has sprung my body just craves greens and other healthy things it wasn’t interested in much during the winter months.

That’s why I made this healthy brunch dish last weekend. The combination of broccoli, poached egg, a lovely crème with dijon mustard and tarragon and some salty parmesan certainly hit the spot on a sunny spring Sunday.

IMG_6322

Purple sprouting with poached egg, dijon and tarrgagon crème, parmesan, serves 1

4-6 stems purple sprouting broccoli

1 egg

50 ml creme fraiche

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

To serve: parmesan shavings, grassy olive oil

Combine creme fraiche, dijon mustard in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and set aside. Cook the broccoli in salted water for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and return to the dry pan to keep warm while poaching the egg.

Bring water to simmer in a sauce pan. Add a tsp of white wine vinegar. Crack the egg into a mug (or small bowl) and lower into the simmering water and pour out the egg. Let it simmer for 3 minutes (set a timer). Once done remove with a slotted spoon and put the egg into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Place the broccoli on a plate, place the poached egg on top. Drizzle with the crème, scatter parmesan shavings and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 

Best of: SPRING

spring collage

I’ve had the blog for quite a few years now and there are plenty of good recipes in the archives that I still cook from quite to time. In these very sporadic ‘best of’ posts I’d like to highlight a few seasonal favourites:

Sumac pannacotta with lemon jelly – nothing says spring like lemon for me and this pannacotta with sumac (which also has a citrus-y flavour) is divine

Mother’s wild garlic soup – this green and creamy soup is spring in a bowl

Asparagus with wild garlic mayonnaise and parmesan shavings – more wild garlic in this fab mayonnaise with asparagus, so delicious!

Key Lime Pie – another citrus favourite

Lavender chicken (with lemon, garlic and thyme) – I cook this chicken dish all year round but it works best in spring served with new potatoes

 

Spring weekend in London

photo 14

This past weekend we had wonderful weather in London. The sky was blue and the sun shining almost the whole time. I also had a friend from home visiting so we tried to make the most of the weekend and be outside as much as possible.

Linus arrived on Friday evening and I met up with him at Liverpool St after a few drinks and a chat with my friend Laura beforehand. We then went south to Fulham where I live and had dropped of Linus’ bag arond 10.30pm. We were, of course, hungry and tried the pub around the corner but the kitchen had closed, so we ventured to Wandsworth Bridge Road and Boma could happily serve us a burger. We were so happy! Even though I only live a few minutes away I hadn’t eaten here before, but I will definitely be back as the burger we had was delicious (and not just because we were famished).

When we woke up on Saturday I cooked us a proper breakfast before heading to Borough Market.photo 55

As you can see, we were not the only ones enjoying the market, but although it was crowded it was not so bad because of the nice weather. Everyone was happy and patient.

photo 25

We had lunch at the market and went to the Southwark Cathedral next door to sit down and enjoy it in the sunshine.

photo 35

Linus had an indian casserole while I had a caribbean wrap with fried prawns, salad, mayo and sweet chilli sauce. It was really nice and fresh but not very filling.

photo 53

But that was OK since our next stop (after a long walk along the Southbank from London bridge and across the Thames to Leicester Square) was Häagen-Dazs. I had there salted caramel ice cream for the first time and loved it (as I do with anything salted caramel).

photo 22

After some down time at home we headed into town again to meet up with Laura and two of Linus’ colleagues who happened to be in town for a training course. We had some drinks at Soho diner on the pavement watching the bustle of Soho before going to Quo Vadis for a lovely dinner (write-up to follow). We then went to Paramount for a last drink and to enjoy the view.

photo 11

On the Sunday we went to Hyde Park and just wandered around for a few hours. We had some lunch by the lake and enjoyed the wonderful weather.

photo 41

We also had time for some sightseeing while walking past the Prince Albert Memorial and Linus got a crash course of the Victorian Era.

photo 21

Before Linus had to head to the airport we had time for one last ice cream. Shame not to when the weather’s this gorgeous!

Rhubarb crumble

IMG_3927

When visiting my parents this past weekend it was (as usual) a lot of focus on food and seasonal produce.

My mother loves gardening and even though she doesn’t grow as much as she used to when I was younger, there is still plenty of fruit and vegetables to pick in the garden throughout the summer. Around this time of year it is only really the rhubarb that’s ready for picking, so that’s what we did.

And for me, there is nothing better than making a crumble out of the first fruit of the season, and this crumble recipe (a modified Delia-ism) is absolutely divine, especially when served still warm with either vanilla icecream or homemade raw custard (N.B. contains raw eggs so not suitable for everyone).

IMG_3933

Rhubarb crumble, serves 4

ca 250 g rhubarb, washed and cut into smaller pieces

100-120 g soft brown sugar (to balance the acid from the rhubarb)

Crumble:

100 g softened butter

200 g plain flour

135 g soft brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

Butter an ovenproof dish. Place the rhubarb pieces in the bottom. Scatter the sugar on top. Combine the ingredients for the crumble in a mixing bowl using a wooden fork. Pour on top of the rhubarb. Place in 175C oven for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the top golden brown.