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.

 

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Copenhagen: dinner at Bæst

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As you know I like to eat, and when I once a year have my day with friends (who luckily also likes their food) in Copenhagen, we make the most of it. Which is why we could fit in tacos for lunch (followed by some smørrebrød because why not?!), fika at our favourite place, wine and cheese pre-dinner at this nice little spot and then still had room for dinner. The August heat and the walking helped though.

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Bæst, our dinner spot for the evening was recommended by Daniel and all three of us loved it. It was laid back and cosy, and obviously a popular spot because it filled up as we sat there.

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The menu reflects the casual atmosphere and has the emphasis is on good local organic produce and sharing plates. Just what we like!

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The grilled courgette and kale salad what we started with was really nice. It had texture, a nice charred flavour on the courgette and acidity and freshness as well. It’s the kind of vegetable dish that makes you feel good.

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Next up we had a huge plate of chicken wings, covered in a herb-y finger-licking sauce. Delicious! And a lot fresher on the palate than regular buffalo wings (which I love, but this version was more interesting).

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After that we were ready for the main event; the pizzas!

Cooked in a 500C (!) oven these blistery, still soft but cooked just enough pizzas are to die for.

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Especially the classic margherita. With a delicious tomato sauce, their own (!) mozzarella and basil.

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I mean, look at this. Pizza perfection.

Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N

Recipe: blueberry galette

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My last day in Sweden for the summer was a Sunday in August and instead of just making it a travel day (i.e. boring!) I invited by best friend and her family to the summer house for a nice lunch with me and my parents.

As a group we get on so well and you wouldn’t think we weren’t all the same age! I love it and as it’s also stress-free inviting people over who you know so well it was the perfect ending to my two+ weeks in Sweden.

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As my best friend and her husband has a baby who now walks on her own but then was desperate to master the walking we decided against a sit down starter. Instead we had some cheese straws and wine standing up chatting and running after the little one. For the main course we had arctic char with boiled potatoes, vegetables and a sauce with lumpfish roe. Very traditionally Swedish!

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And for pudding I made this blueberry galette! It was an instant hit (Emma, bestie, sorry it’s taking me so long to write this up – but here you finally have the recipe!), although my dad would have liked it a little bit sweeter. I, on the other hand, like the fact that it’s not too sweet as you can really taste the freshness of the blueberries this way, and it doesn’t feel all that indulgent serving it with ice cream, but pouring cream or lightly whipped cream would work well too.

Blueberry galette, serves 4-6

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe

Dough:
205 g (385 ml) plain flour 
2 tsp caster sugar
115 g chilled salted butter, cut into pieces

Filling:
350 g blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp potato flour (or cornstarch)
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
60 ml caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp milk or cream

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the softened butter and either work with your fingers until you have a sandy consistency or pulse in a food processor until you reach that sandy texture. 

Add 4 tbsp cold water and mix into a dough. Add another tbsp if needed until the dough has formed. Shape into a disc, cover with cling and chill for an hour. 

Preheat oven to 190°C. Toss blueberries, potato flour, lemon juice and caster sugar in a large bowl.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 30 cm diameter. Carefully transfer the rolled out dough to a parchment-lined baking tray. Mound blueberries in the middle of the of the galette, leaving 5 cm as a border. Fold the edges over, overlapping slightly. Brush dough with milk/cream and sprinkle generously with caster sugar.

Bake until the crust is dark golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 45–50 minutes. Leave to cool before serving.

Copenhagen: wine and cheese at Vinhanen

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It’s difficult to explain the difference between Denmark and Sweden, or the difference between Stockholm and Copenhagen, especially as both countries and cities have different areas with different vibes, but overall I would say Denmark is just so much more relaxed.

Sitting like this, on a wobbly bench on the pavement outside a wine bar amongst parked bicycles drinking wine and using an old IKEA stool for a table is very Copenhagen. The bicycles are definitely a part of the scene and I like the no-fuss approach to basically everything.

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I actually can’t remember how we found this wine bar, but it was on our way to the restaurant where we had dinner after, and tired of shopping we just fancied a glass of something cold and some nibbles.

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And that’s exactly what we got at Vinhanen. Lovely cold wine (much needed in the August heat), crusty sourdough bread and yummy cheeses. The owner was lovely and chatty and we got to try the different wines so we got one we really liked. So nice!

In the store (you can also fill a bottle and take it away) they have big barrels of wine on tap, so you can order a bottle, a glass or a carafe. Clever!

Apart from the good booze and cheeses Vinhanen also offers a nice eclectic mix of people and fun people watching on the street. It’s the kind of place you want to hang out in all night. And that’s exactly what I intend to do next time.

Vinhanen, Baggesensgade 13, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Copenhagen: Hija de Sanchez

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When an ex-Noma chef opens a taco restaurant you just know it’s going to be good food. On my day trip to Copenhagen this summer with my usual Copenhagen travellers Maria and Daniel, we didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant but got to taste Hija de Sanchez’ tacos at our favourite lunch place; the food market called Torvehallerne.

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There are several restaurant stalls here, so you can sample a bit of this and a bit of that. But we went straight to Hija de Sanchez and ordered a plate each of tacos.

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And some cava. Because why not?!

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All three of the tacos were (of course) delicious! The one with cheese and avocado (queso fresco) was nice and fresh but I also really liked the one with fried runny egg and guacemole. And the barbecoa was the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a few…)!

Next time I really need to go the restaurant – can’t wait to sample the whole menu! Which I’m sure my travel companions are up for.

Hija de Sanchez, Taquería and market, Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen

Recipe: caramelised garlic sauce

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Once again I have Nigella to thank for the inspiration. In her book Simply Nigella she uses caramelised onions in a yoghurt sauce, and since then I’ve started using caramelised garlic in just anything I can think of.

The taste is sweet and humble and far from the fierce raw garlic you but into the oven, which means you can actually use a lot of it, so put a few extra garlic bulbs in the oven, just in case! They’re highly addictive, so you can thank me later!

PS. It goes really well with the chicken dish I posted the last week and potato wedges.

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Caramelised garlic sauce with creme fraiche, serves 10

2 large garlic bulbs

1 litre creme fraiche

100 ml Hellman’s mayonnaise

bunch of chives, chopped 

salt, white pepper

oregano and thyme flowers to decorate

Caramelise the garlics when you’re using the oven anyway – they take up little space and won’t make anything taste of garlic as they’re wrapped in tin foil.

Cut off approx 1/2 cm of the garlic bulb on the top so you can see the cloves. Wrap separately in tin foil and place in the oven until soft (just squeeze them to check if they’re ready). It doesn’t really matter what temperature the oven is at, everything between 150 – 220C works, just be aware the cooking time will differ. 

Leave to cool slightly. Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Unwrap the garlic bulbs and squeeze out the soft garlic paste and add to the sauce. Make sure you get every morsel. Mix well and adjust the seasoning. Leave for a little while before serving. Add the chives and herb flowers when ready to serve.  

Recipe: pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese

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For once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer. It’s been warm and sunny both here in London and in Sweden. I’ve still got a tan and I swam in the sea several times. Had al fresco meals and lots of rosé. One might think I’ve had enough of summer for now, but I would happily continue the summer for another few months. But, because we had a real summer I am also, at the same time, looking forward to autumn. To cosy nights in, lit candles, blankets, darker colours and heartier dinners. And red wine instead of rosé.

And just like the trench coat and the leather jacket are good transitional pieces in our wardrobes I feel this pizza is the ultimate transitional dinner dish.

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Mushrooms always get me excited about autumn and their earthy taste is just what I’d want right now. Before the soups and stews. And, luckily – this pizza goes well with both red and rosé!

Pizza bianco with butter-fried girolles and Västerbotten cheese, makes 1 pizza

1/4 pizza dough 

flour for rolling

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche

1/4 buffalo mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces

100 ml grated Västerbotten cheese (mature cheddar works too) 

200 g girolles

2-3 tbsp butter

a splash of oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

chopped parsley

sea salt and black pepper

finely grated Västerbotten cheese for serving

Roll out the dough with the help of a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the rolled out pizza base on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread out the creme fraiche on the pizza base. Divide the mozzarella and the grated Västerbotten cheese.  Bake in a 220C (200C fan) oven for 8-10 minutes, until the base is crisp, the cheese has melted and the whole thing is golden brown.

In the meantime, fry the girolles in butter and oil on medium-high heat. When the mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic and fry until golden (but no longer). Remove the pan from the heat and season well. Add the chopped parsley. 

Remove the pizza from the oven, divide the mushrooms onto the pizza, top with finely grated cheddar and cut into slices.