29 March 2012

Light lunch

At the weekend we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the nearest possible restaurant to our house. Campania on Columbia Road is open for breakfast and lunch every day and they serve wonderful, simple Italian dishes and good wines to go with them. We chose a fennel and anchovy salad, some grilled aubergine with amazing buffalo mozzarella and a small salami platter. Perfect flavours for such a lovely spring day.

And these days this is one of the best places I know for people watching. Looking out of the large window facing the street is like watching a big screen, with young interesting looking people constantly strolling by. Fashion girls with clumpy shoes and tiny hotpants, vintage loving men with carefully managed hair styles, a proper old style punk, a very beautiful and famous young actress with rocker boyfriend in tow. A very nice way to spend an afternoon.

28 March 2012

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake

A little bit of coffee added to the cocoa gives this a grown up flavour. It is lovely with some double cream as a dessert. The key is to leave it to be slightly gooey inside - I am not going to lie and pretend I am perfect here, I actually overcooked mine a bit and it was a touch too dry. It still tasted pretty yummy though!

2 Eggs
100 g Butter
250 g Sugar
115 g Plain Flour
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
50 g Dark Chocolate
1 tsp Ground Coffee
1 tsp Baking Powder
A handful of Chopped Hazelnuts
A pinch of Sea Salt

Chop the hazelnuts roughly making sure to leave some larger pieces for nice crunch and texture. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the chocolate and leave on a low heat until liquid. Whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Combine the dry ingredients, then add them to egg mixture. Stir in the melted butter and chopped hazelnuts. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

26 March 2012

Queen of Sweden

Happy gardener.

At last she is in the ground! This rose - my first one ever - was a birthday gift from my sister in law. It arrived one day in a very large box from David Austin. Over the winter the rose has been sitting in it's pot, but now it is finally in it's place. Behind it there will be sweet peas climbing on a bamboo cane, and in front there is Verbena Bonariensis. The bees will be happy. The variety has the wonderful name 'Queen of Sweden' and it will have pale pink double flowers. I will look forward to those.

I think this has to be one of the loveliest present ever. How exciting to open the front door and receive such a delivery! 

25 March 2012

Let's go for a walk around the neighbourhood

On the nicest day of the year so far, there was only thing to do - go for a walk and feel the happy vibes. Incredible what a bit of sunshine can do to everyone's moods.

Breakfast in the sunshine.

White cherry blossom.

Coffee in an alleyway. And in the background, a photoshoot going on.

Wonderful flowering Camellia.

A little too early still to start drinking, but within an hour there will be people enjoying their first glass of rose of the season at this wine bar.

Pink cherry blossom.

Church book sale.

Another Camellia, red this time.

Two gentlemen enjoying a bottle of prosecco on the pavement.

24 March 2012

Happy weekend!

What a nice way to start the weekend. Hotel style breakfast, but in out own house. Why go out when you can stay in? Birds singing like crazy outside. Spring is here for sure - although today it actually feels/sounds/smells like summer.

I am pretty good at making scrambled eggs and have more than once been asked how I do it. My method is very easy going and not so precise as I don't measure anything, but it always works. Crack two eggs per person straight into a non stick frying pan (less washing up than mixing everything in a bowl first - easy going, see!).  Break the egg yolks up and stir a little bit. Add a good knob of butter and quite a bit of milk. A pinch of sea salt can go in now or half way through. Put onto a medium heat and as soon as it starts cooking, keep moving everything around making sure to scrape any cooked bits off the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat while the eggs are still slightly runny, otherwise they will overcook. Add plenty off freshly ground pepper. Done!

23 March 2012

15 minutes flat

The parsnips add a lovely bit of sweetness to this dish, and is a really good contrast to the hint of chilli heat. This is another way to use up leftover Chicken from a roast, and it can easily be done from scratch in 15 minutes.

Leftover Chicken
Savoy Cabbage
Dried Chili
Pine Nuts
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper


22 March 2012

Sunday feeling

Sleeping until waking up. Crunchy tulips fresh from the market. Lunch with friends, a game of scrabble, a nice long walk in the sunshine. Winding down with a good glass of wine, wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. Some quality TV before going to bed early. Must be Sunday.

21 March 2012

Friday night treat

Sometimes a burger and chips is the best thing in the world. On Friday evening, we said Happy Weekend and clinked our beer bottles at Byron. At this place, burgers is all they do - and they do it so well. Hits the spot every time.

And the best things is that the Hoxton Square branch is on the way home from work so we can stop by, leave early and be home in time for Gardener's World. My idea of a perfect Friday night.

20 March 2012


Was this the last fire of the year? Maybe. On Thursday it was 19 degrees outside. But on Sunday evening, after a brisk walk, it was still nice to hear the crackle and feel the warmth from the fire.

19 March 2012

South Bank Saturday

View of the South Bank from Waterloo Bridge.

On Saturday we got on the 26 bus and went to the South Bank. Every time I cross the river I still get an amazing feeling and the thought that this is London and I live here still makes me so excited after 11 years. There is something about the views you get from the bridges, with so many landmarks in view at the same time.

We had a nice coffee and carrot cake at Canteen, wandered around for a bit then walked back across the bridge. The funny looking boat on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall is an art installation called A Room for London, and people can apply to get to stay the night there. Not surprisingly it has been so popular that it is fully booked, but what a fun idea - wish I had known about it sooner!

Stopped by at Somerset House to have a look at Out of Sync, an installation of 10,000 ceramic flowers by Fernando Casasempere. And on the way home I had to stop to take a picture of this glorious flowering magnolia tree. 

18 March 2012

A good read

For years now I have been a member of the best Swedish book club in London. Once a month we meet up for discussions over some food and a few glasses of wine. Having a book as a starting point for a conversation means that quite quickly, you begin to talk about important, big things and personal opinions which otherwise perhaps you wouldn't share as much. So we have got to know each other really well, and apart from making me read more Swedish books, I have gained some great friendships.

This week, I went to the first meeting of a new English book club, which got off to a great start thanks to the wonderful book we read. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes won the Booker Prize last year, and it is a beautiful story about history and memory, youth and ageing. A very good read.

Birthday lunch


Last Saturday it was my sister's birthday and we celebrated with a lovely lunch at Gothenburg's new pride, Clarion Hotel Post. The building has been out of use for years but now it is full of people who want to sample the cosmopolitan atmosphere. No Scandi Minimalism here, instead it is all velvet curtains and furniture by Moooi and B&B Italia.

We really enjoyed our food and when everyone else was ordering one of these towers of sweets, of course we couldn't resist. 

15 March 2012


There is something particularly beautiful about this, the very last moments before the tulips have to be thrown out - makes you feel like you have look extra hard at them before they go.

It is crazy to think that soon I will be photographing real, growing flowers in my own garden. It still looks like one big sorry heap of dead stuff, but in only a matter of weeks there will be things happening out there. This weekend I am going to venture out for the first time this year to clear up and survey things. It is actually pretty late to do this, mid March already, but I don't ever want to feel guilt or stress about my garden since it is meant to be a fun and relaxing thing, so I'm not going to worry and look forward to getting my hands muddy on Saturday.

A strange, misty morning today. Apparently it is going to be 18 degrees outside later. I will celebrate by wearing shoes with no socks.

13 March 2012

Cod and Leek soup with Chorizo and Rye Bread croutons

Hearty, comforting and quick to make. Most of the time I think fish is best left quite natural with only subtle flavours added, but occasionally it is nice to use some more gutsy ingredients too. Chorizo is the best thing to always have in the fridge - it is so useful both as a main ingredient and like in this recipe, for spice and texture.

Fish Stock
White Wine
Chorizo for cooking
Dark Rye Bread
Lemon Zest
Flat leaf Parsley
Salt and Pepper

A nice glass of white wine to go with it, some good company too and I would be very happy.

12 March 2012

Home again

We are back home after a lovely weekend in Sweden with two very important birthday celebrations. It is amazing to be able to go just for a few days. Lucky I didn't move to New Zealand or somewhere similarly far away. 

Then, at the end of the weekend, it is always a bit sad to leave but also so nice to get home and sleep in our own bed.

10 March 2012


View towards Marble Arch from Oxford Circus at 5.35 pm.

Who would have thought Oxford Street could look so beautiful?

8 March 2012

Made in England

The other day I made a mad lunchtime dash to Shepherd Market in Mayfair to visit the Bill Amberg shop. For beautiful understated leather goods Made in England, this is the place to go. What I bought is a birthday gift so it will have to be a secret for a little while at least.