Gotland: north, east and Fårö

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Our first full day on Gotland we wanted to discover as much as possible and decided to head north and east (the next day we went south and west) and our first stop was the Lummelunda Cave, one of Scandinavia’s biggest caves.

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It’s pretty touristy, but well worth a visit as it’s both pretty cool to see, but it’s also interesting to hear how the cave was discovered. I remember visiting when I was four years old, and although it was probably more amazing experiencing the cave as a child it was still nice to come back as an adult and experience it in a different way.

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After the cave experience we took the car ferry to Fårö where the nature is absolutely amazing. The island is barren and stony, but also eerie and pretty. And there’s sheep (and sheep huts) almost everywhere (Fårö translates as Sheep Island). 

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We found the most amazing café here, just by following a sign I thought looked promising, that I would recommend everyone to visit, but we also stopped for fika at the famous and more traditional Sylvis Döttrar bakery. Reviews to follow.

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After that we drove back to Gotland and headed east to Furillen, a former limestone quarry that’s extremely beautiful. The restaurant was closed unfortunately, but it was worth stopping here for the nature alone.

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We covered quite a lot of the island just driving around (and stopping when we saw a good photo opportunity).

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Although Gotland is small there are things to see and do (and eat!) just about everywhere, so it’s good to be selective. The Gotland Guide from the ferry over is great to use and we kept one in the car the whole time.

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Recipe: creamy apple and dill sauce for fish

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The type of cooking I love the most is when you have a few simple ingredients that you add the together, and the result is so much more than the some of its parts. It’s like magic, really!

This excites me to no end and I love sharing those recipes with you readers.

The recipe below may sound simple, and it so is – if it didn’t involve a knife anyone could do it blindfolded – but the reward is grand. It’s the perfect recipe to remember for those light summer lunches in the summer when you’d rather sip rosé with your friends than cook (see evidence below).

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Creamy apple and dill sauce for fish, serves 4

150 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnise

3 apples, cut into small cubes

plenty of chopped dill

salt and ground white pepper

Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise, then add the apple cubes and dill. Stir together and season to taste. Serve with fish. 

Visby: dinner at Donners Brasserie

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We arrived Visby in the afternoon, having been up since 5am, so we were quite happy just walking around the town for a bit (taking some photos) and then have an early no-fuss dinner.

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We ended up at Donners Brasserie and sat outside people-watching (so much fun when most people were dressed in medieval attire). You could tell it was the end of the season as none of the restaurants were full up but at least we were not alone dining here.

The menu was quite simple and although the smoked prawns for a starter appealed we were all hungry starving and went straight for the main course.

Mother had arctic char with potatoes baked in tin foil and served with a coriander mayo. Not ground-breaking but it was cooked well.

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I had the steak with bearnaise sauce and fries. The meat was slightly over-cooked but still nice.

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Father had the largest portion (so generous!) of lamb racks I’ve ever seen, with sautéed vegetables and a potato salad.

The food was nice, and not very elaborate but I can see it appealing to the crowds in the summer. It was all fresh and cooked well just lacking a bit of oomph.

Donners Brasserie, Donners plats 3, 621 57 Visby, Sweden 

Sweden: The medieval city of Visby, Gotland

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Gotland is the largest island in Sweden and a real summer island. I imagine it’s pretty much only locals here during the rest of the year, but during the summer the tourists come invading – both Swedish and from abroad –  and they’re joined by summer guests making the city all buzzing with parties and people milling about.

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Visby, the only city on the island, is the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia and hosts an annual medieval festival in the summer. The city dates back to around 900 AD, which you see traces of all over town.

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The city wall is the most prominent feature, but there are also lots of church ruins, a medieval cathedral and lots of houses dating back to that time. It feels like even the cobbled streets tell a story of olden times. So much heritage!

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We, my parents and I, were here during the medieval festival (by coincidence) and it was great fun walking around the city seeing people dressed in medieval outfits – some more elaborate than others.

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Visby has a modern side too though, with a nice harbour, lots of restaurants and shops and a nice botanical garden.

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They also have these super cute sheep cast from cement scattered all over town which are modelled after the local Gotland variety gute sheep.

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Stay tuned for more posts about this lovely island!

Sweden: dinner by the beach at Badhytten

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My first night in Sweden was sunny and glorious and I spent it the best way possible: with dear friends having dinner at the beach.

This restaurant, bar and nightclub is our favourite place to go in the summer as the setting is beautiful and the place has a fun atmosphere. In recent years it’s been rebuilt, so although the charm from when I was younger is gone it feels a lot more modern and grownup in it’s current design.

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We all enjoyed our meal here, it’s not a place where you come just for the food, but combined with the decent wine list, helpful waiters and lovely atmosphere it’s a lovely place.

For the starter, we all ordered exactly the same, the Scandinavian classic Toast Skagen. It’s essentially prawns in mayonnaise and dill served on toast. Here the toast was brioche  (nice!) and it was nicely presented with a ribbon of cucumber holding the prawns in place. Extra plus for the generous size!

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For our main courses two had the cod loin with pea purée, new potatoes and carrots, two steak and fries with bearnaise sauce and one fish stew.

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We were all pleased with our choices, and although the menu is very similar to last year, it’s consistent. My only remark was that my steak was rather overcooked, but still nice.

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After the two courses each we were far too full to have pudding, so instead we moved to the lounge area of the restaurant to finish our wine and have teas and coffees. Then later on we hit the bar and dance floor upstairs!

Badhytten, Skanörs hamn, 239 30 Skanör, Sweden

Swedish summer

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What happened?! It’s been over a month since I got back to London after my lovely holiday in Sweden and it’s been NON-STOP, until now. I finally feel like I can breathe a little now. In this past month I’ve had a cold for three weeks (sigh), moved house and been really busy with work.

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So sorry for the delay in sharing this post with you; the first little glimpse of my lovely two and a bit weeks in Sweden in August. I have lots more to share with you so STAY TUNED!

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My time at home was mainly spent in Skåne, in the South, where I’m from, in my parents’ summer house. But I met up with friends, had people over for lunch and dinners, went to the opera, and the beach, went to Copenhagen for a day, had as much ice cream as I could and indulged in all the things I miss when I’m in London.

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Like Swedish pizza, a real guilty pleasure of mine. It’s greasy, messy and wonderful the two times per year when I eat it.

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As usual there was lots of seafood too, and champagne and burgers on the barbecue. And strawberries, which is unusual for August but so yummy!

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Some evenings we took a nice long stroll along the beach, taking in the wonderful nature.

Thanks for a lovely break, Sweden!

 

Cape Cod: Spanky’s Clam Shack in Hyannis

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The second day in Cape Cod, we managed to catch the boat to Nantucket and explored the pretty island for the day (top tip: book your ferry in advance!). When we arrived back into Hyannis, we headed straight for dinner, eager to eat at a more socially acceptable time than the evening before.

We went o Spanky’s Clam Shack, which seemed like the place to eat in this little town, and joined the queue at the bar. I’m really not a fan of waiting or queuing in general but when I can sit at a bar and sip a drink (in this case frozen strawberry daiquiri) I really don’t mind.

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When we were shown to the table (after only a ten minute wait) we got snacks straight away, like they could sense our hunger. I really liked the crab dip and crackers, although the presentation could have been improved on. But this is one busy restaurant so I can see why they like plastic bowls and wrapped crackers.

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We got our starters quickly too. Sinead got another mountain of crispy calamari with a tomato chilli dip.

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I tried something completely new for me; a stuffed quahog (no, not a Family Guy reference, it’s the actual name of the clam). It’s a huge clam filled with breadcrumbs, butter and herbs, and I really liked it. But it’s quite compact and therefore really filling.

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While we were munching on our starters we saw lobster after lobster leaving the kitchen.

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We got the main courses while we were still eating our starters (we had already sent them back once so felt bad if we did it again). But considering the size of the starters it would have been nice with a pause in between courses.

Anyway, Sinead’s chicken with kale and fries was really nice.

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But I think my clam bake was even better. The lobster was huge and perfectly cooked and the corn was the best I’ve ever had. I also had a plate full of a local type of clam and as I hadn’t come across them before I got a lesson in how you peel and eat them from our lovely waitress (it required removing them from the shell, pull of a membrane and then soak them in stock for quite a while to remove the sand). It’s always fun to try new things, and the clams were quite nice but I prefer the regular sweet ones. I also got a baked potato which I barely touched as the lobster, corn and clams were more than enough for me.

I really liked this place, but be prepared for big huge portions and a quick pace.

Spanky’s Clam Shack, 138 Ocean St., Hyannis, MA 02632