Work, meat and a weekend in the country

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Last week was pretty quiet. The first three days of the week I worked a lot (and late) and so didn’t really have time for much else.

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Not even cooking, but I had pasta leftover from the weekend and made nice sandwiches for lunch.

But Thursday night I met my friend Laura for dinner in the city and tried a place I’ve been meaning to try for a really long time. It was a lovely meaty dinner, that I can’t wait to tell you more about later.

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On Friday we left London for some countryside air and it was so lovely to get away for the weekend. On the Saturday we braved the rain and went to the literary festival at Althorp, then back to a cosy night in by the fire. We also watched a really sweet film; Victoria and Abdul, with the amazing Judy Dench in the lead.

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Sunday the weather was lovely and we went for a really nice walk. Love putting on wellies, breathing some fresh air and say hello to the sheep in the fields.

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Quiet weeknights and a weekend away!

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Last week was just what the doctor ordered; quiet evenings followed by a weekend by the seaside.

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I can’t remember the last time I had four days in a row without plans in the evenings, and I fully enjoyed it. And realised I need to do less during the weeks. I was too tired to cook most days but made a big batch of pasta one night that lasted a few days.

Other than packing my bag for the weekend (not an easy task with a weather forecast promising everything from sunshine to rain and cold temperatures) I just watched TV, had early nights and took it easy.

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Then on Friday I finished work early and took the train to Norfolk. The weekend consisted of walks along the beach (we saw seals!!), some outings in the rain, nice food, some baking and just hanging out. So lovely and nice! And with Monday being a bank holiday the work week this week is a short one! 🙂

Stockholm: fika at Mr Cake

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On the top of my to-do-list for the long weekend in Stockholm was, of course, fika. And not just anywhere, but at a recently opened café by Roy Fares, incorporating American pastries with Swedish fika.

It’s a concept that totally works, and it’s nice to find things like American pancakes on the menu, as well as deliciously looking doughnuts and more traditional Swedish buns.

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We came here on the Sunday morning, rather late as I’d had to work a bit, and after a chaotic few hours it was so nice to sit in the sunshine and enjoy our (very) late breakfast. We had some bread rolls with ham and cheese, American pancakes with maple syrup (so yum), smoothie, juice and of course some sweet pastries.

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The piece de resistance here is definitely the red velvet croissant. And it’s utterly amazing. Imagine flaky pastry filled with the cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cake. It’s butterly, sweet (but not too sweet), flaky and creamy all at the same time. Yum, yum, yum!

We also shared a rhubarb and strawberry custard bun with crumble on top that was lovely, but nothing could beat the hybrid croissant of dreams. This place is a must for anyone visiting Stockholm.

Mr Cake, Rådmansgatan 12a, 114 25 Stockholm, Sweden

 

Stockholm: dinner at Hillenberg

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Saturday night in a sunny Stockholm. After a long day walking around the beautiful city we had a little breather in my friend’s flat before we got ready for a night on the town. It was actually a relief for my tired feet to swap my flats to heels, and taking a taxi to the restaurant obviously helped too.

Hillenberg, the restaurant I had booked, is the more relaxed one of Niklas Ekstedt’s (quite the frequent guest on Saturday Kitchen in the UK) two restaurants and I was super excited to try his cooking.

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On arrival we were shown to our table (with a sofa each to sit on) and started to study the menu. The service was a little slow at times, but that meant I had enough time to translate the menu and plenty of time to ponder it too.

Although I would have liked to try many things, I couldn’t resist the classic Toast Skagen, which I expected would come with a little twist. And indeed it did, as it was a deconstructed version. It was really lovely and I especially liked the dill dust on the side. Amazing mayonnaise too. Yum!

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My dinner companion had the nettle soup with äggost (a type of curdled cheese) and trout roe. Delicious!

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I was really indecisive when it came to my main course and so let our waiter influence me to try the monkfish bourguignon. It was really delicious and the “meaty” fish worked well with the powerful flavours. But the highlight was almost the velvety potato puré that was served alongside it. So rich, but beautiful!

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My dinner date had the lamb and was presented a very generous portion with lamb rack, artichokes and aubergine. Really lovely as well!

Unsurprisingly, we were too full to even be tempted by pudding. Instead we sat back (loved those sofas!) and finished our bottle of wine and just enjoyed life. Very content we weren’t completely finished with our night out and so walked around the corner to Riche for another glass of wine and lots of people watching.

Hillenberg, Humlegårdsgatan 14, 114 46 Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm highlights

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Unless you’ve been to Scandinavia in the summer, I don’t think you could understand how magical the summer is there.

Of course, summer in Britain is gorgeous too, but in Scandinavia summer is what everybody lives for. The dark and cold (and frankly, rather miserable) winter months are so depressing that summer is the goal; the light at the end of the tunnel.

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It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. So to experience the gorgeousness of Swedish summer already in the beginning of May was such a treat, I don’t think I can explain the elevation I felt.

Stockholm is a pretty city all year round, but in summer it really comes to life and is more beautiful than ever.

So the highlights I am about to share with you, are in majority linked to this beautiful summer weather. We didn’t see the point of being indoors in a museum when the sun was shining. Alas, there are many many more great things to do in Stockholm, especially in other seasons, this is just a selection.

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Brunch with friends

On the Saturday dear friends of mine invited us over for a delicious brunch in their home, and afterwards we sat in the sun on their balcony, sipping rosé and eating a crumble with strawberries and ice cream. Such a wonderful start to our weekend!

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Exploring Gamla Stan (Old Town)

I’ve been to Stockholm many times before but as it’s my capital I have not explored it the way I have London. Therefore it was great fun seeing the city through a non-Swede’s eyes. We found beautiful churches and statues I had never heard of, and obviously checked out the palace and Storkyrkan as well.

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Fika!

We do eat a lot of fika in Sweden and it’s so easy to walk to a bakery, order something yummy and sit in the sun to enjoy it. We had amazing cinnamon buns at Fabrique, who also have a café in London.

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Exploring the city by foot

Stockholm is perfect for walking or cycling and it’s by far the best way to explore the city. When we felt we “knew” the way pretty well we went on detours to explore some more.

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Visiting friends in the suburbs

An old friend of mine has recently moved to Täby with his family, so we went to visit them and it was so cosy and serene outside of the city. I would recommend visiting Zetas Trädgård (a beautiful nursery with a café) for a similar experience.

Djurgården

This beautiful island is easy to get to by tram or boat and is Stockholm’s equivalent to Richmond Park. The nature is beautiful and you can go for amazing walks here. There is a beautiful nursery with a café/restaurant; Rosendals Trädgård, as well as the fairground Gröna Lund and several museums.

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Good restaurants

We had lunch at Rolfs Kök and nibbles and wine at Tranan.

I have a few more great places to tell you about, in more detail, so stay tuned!

 

Busy week and a long weekend in Sweden!

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Last week was short for me as I managed to take Friday off work. Such a treat! But it meant the work week was really busy. But in a good way. When you feel efficient and in control.

One evening I met up with my friend Malin who was in town from New York, and we had a lovely dinner and catch-up at Granger & Co in Chelsea.

On Thursday I had a quick drink at a colleague’s leaving do before going to the airport and the south of Sweden.

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I had a lovely four days there visiting my parents and it was just wonderful. The weather was amazing (like summer!) and we had barbecues and ate lots of berries and ice cream and just took it easy.

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It was such a needed break for me and good to catch up with my dear parents, as it’s been a while since we saw each other. There’s lots on Instagram from my weekend away but I will post some new recipes here soon to. Stay tuned…

 

Snow in London and a weekend in Sweden

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It snowed in London last week and everything came to a grinding halt like it always does. Although there is a slight improvement year to year. At least they don’t cancel ALL the buses anymore. But some more salt and grit on the pavements wouldn’t go amiss.

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Once it settled it was rather pretty (I must admit) but I’m so glad it’s all melted again.

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As it was freezing as well, I made some soup to warm me up one night. I used to make soup all the time and I must get back into it; it’s so warming and delicious and takes only minutes to make!

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I also went to the cinema and saw Phantom Thread and managed to celebrate a friend’s birthday despite the snow disruptions. But the best part of the week was my weekend in Sweden. a) Because I actually got there – which wasn’t certain at all because of the snow, and b) because I was the godmother at the christening of my best friend’s baby girl. It was such a special moment that I will treasure forever.

Because there was a lot of snow in Sweden too I just stayed in with my parents for the rest of the weekend which was lovely. We had a lovely dinner on Saturday night and just enjoyed having quality time together!