I hope you all spent the past few days indulging in ridiculous amounts of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and tasty roast lamb. If not, don’t worry, you still have one day left to catch up;-). And congratulations to everyone who successfully completed Lent yesterday – now go and do or eat whatever you have been painfully missing out on these past 46 days!
This year’s Easter has been, apart from spending some of the days surrounded by IV-drips, syringes and wounds, all dressed up in scrubs (yes – some people actually have to work on bank holidays), an unhealthy brunch crawl for me. Nothing wrong with brunching 4 days in a row is there?
For the final brunch of the lot I decided to bake something slightly different than your usual, with a Scandinavian touch – Cardamom Rolls. NOM! As I already mentioned in a previous post – Cardamom is the new Cinnamon. If I haven’t won you over yet, I’m sure baking these will. I’m also sure half of you have been invited to yet another an Easter brunch for today, said they would bring something and popped into M&S for some hot cross buns. If so – tut tut tut – freeze your bought buns and make these! Everyone will love them!!
Swedish Cardamom Rolls
One thing I missed extremely during my time in London was the winterly weekend getaways to the snowy Swiss alps I am used to from my childhood. Finally I have them back!! Since the season started I have spent every free day in the snow. The fresh mountain air and the relaxed ambiance are irreplaceable. There is no better way to finish off a long day on the slopes than with a piece of fresh cake and a cup of hot chocolate (with the obligatory generous splash of some sort of Alcohol, Amaretto in my case) – pure bliss. Here is a lemony classic I personally love – even if you think you are drowning the cake in lemon, use all of the lemon sirup to drizzle!
Lemon Drizzle Cake
The best meal of the day in my opinion is breakfast. I could eat breakfast food 24/7 – from cinnamon rolls to fresh bread with nutella to müsli with yoghurt to eggs with bacon to smoked salmon with avocado to pancakes….. Although if we are being honest, since the introduction of “brunch” almost anything classifies as breakfast food…. but that’s not the point;-). Nonetheless, it still remains epic. Especially lazy weekends – nothing beats sleeping in and waking up to the smell of bacon, eggs or whatever your loved one has fancied treating you with. Bearing that in mind, I thought I’d inspire you just in time for Sunday breakfast/brunch with a savoury turkish dish. Looks impressive and tastes just as good. Enjoy!
adapted from bbcgoodfood
I cannot believe 2 years have passed since my time in Cape Town. Crazy. Such great memories, lots of wine tasting, not so much hospital-work, lots of eating, beaching, exploring and more wine tasting. Best. Elective. Ever. My liver must not have been happy. To reminisce, a friend and I got together one evening this past week. We drank wine from the Peter Falke vineyard (in Stellenbosch), which she still had in her cellar from our trip, and made Koeksisters (finally, this had been our plan for the past two years but somehow…..2 years later there we were). Koeksisters are the unhealthiest but most rewarding small spiced balls of fried dough. The first time we ever tasted them was in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, from a small corner shop that sells fresh ones only once or twice a week, usually on a Sunday. They were delish.
A house in Bo Kaap
But just to clarify – there are two types of Koeksisters, the most common ones are shiny braided looking things drenched in syrup or honey, the ones we had in Bo-Kaap which are harder to find, (and tastier in my opinion) are of malay origin. An essential ingredient is ground cardamom, which I knew would be a challenge to find in Switzerland, so a while ago, with this plan on the back of my mind, I seized the opportunity at a local indian shop in Shepherd’s Bush :-). No excuses now – Koeksisters had to be made!! The recipe we used is from a b&b owner we met along the way, so no guarantee for its accuracy – I feel it is more a cross between the shiny braided version and the malay version. In any case, whatever it is we ended up with was tasty 🙂
It is fair to say that a friend and I have this slight obsession with baking and food. We wanted to join our forces and create something extraordinary…… No more needed to be said as our thoughts were clearly identical – we had to host an afternoon tea. Not just a boring old tea with some scones and clotted cream. We had to go all out. And we did – with the following result:
It was a raving success and boy, did we have a bit too much fun planning and preparing. We might even start making this an annual treat for our friends … I’m sure none of them would object.
Now, 7 recipes are a tad much for one post, so I thought I’d start with one of the winners: Lemon Tarts. Refreshingly light and perfect for a Summer Sunday. Admittedly also quite a bit of work with all the little cases and blind baking, but definitely worth it.
adapted from Mary Berry’s Tarte au Citron Recipe
Only a few weeks after having left London I was presenting with withdrawal symptoms. The only cure – book flights. There are a few things I have to do on each trip to LDN. Besides the obligatory dose of culture (this time round I saw The 39 Steps and went to a rather disappointing photography exhibition), being the crazy foodie I am, I always test a new restaurant. The most recent location choices were successful – for those of you who have already tasted their way through my previously posted secret list, I present you with a few more options worth trying:
The Shed – Notting Hill Gate, excellent british cuisine with a modern twist, but beware of the aubergine caviar…. seems like the chef has a slight garlic obsession
Banh Mi Bay – Vietnamese near Holborn, their vietnamese spring rolls are to die for
The Lodge Cafe – Hyde Park Corner, opened only 3 weeks ago in a former information office, nice sandwiches, salads, yoghurts, perfect for an afternoon in the park
Madison Rooftop Tapas & Cocktail Bar – great views of St.Pauls, I don’t know why I never came across this venue before
Moving on to today’s recipe. Pad Thai is an asian classic and unless you’re allergic to peanuts, you can’t go wrong with this dish. With a lack of good and affordable asian cuisine in my city, I took it upon myself to attempt making Pad Thai. It’s actually quite simple and sooooooo rewarding. Bean sprouts, scrambled eggs, peanuts and limes….. mhhmmmmm!
Pad Thai Gai
So, as I previously mentioned, I have recently started taking one ingredient and basing a menu around it. Reasoning behind this new approach is an open house I attended one evening at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. It was amazing and inspired me to up my game until I maybe one day decide to rob a bank of £30’000 for LCB’s educational fees. Until then I shall follow my own syllabus and teach myself the basics of classical cuisine. Today’s choice: Hazelnut. Why? NUTELLA, obviously! The best ever invented chocolate spread is based on hazelnuts. So….. anything made with hazelnuts must be good, right? With that in mind, I took a recipe from LCB for the main and once again attempted to be all master-chefy 🙂
P.S. For all you Nutella freaks – check this article out for inspiration on some crazy things you can do with Nutella. I’m tempted to try the Nutella, peanut butter and bacon sandwich….nom!
Sautéed Beef Fillet, Butternut Squash Purée and Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
taken from Le Cordon Bleu
One of the best things about the English is their love for brunches. Correction, their love for brunching out. On weekends, going out and queueing for the highest rated brunch spots in town with the aim of indulging in decadent creations is arguably the best way to start the end of the week. The standard orders include eggs, bacon, salmon, pancakes, muffins, hollandaise, sausages, avocado, the list goes on. Why not top it off with a reviving cocktail? After all, a meal without alcohol wouldn’t be typically British now would it.
Here is a simple recipe for a classic which cannot be omitted from any brunch menu. I didn’t make hollandaise because being Swiss and all, and growing up close to the Alsace where the asparagus (with hollandaise) season is something we rave about, hollandaise just didn’t seem right to include in a breakfast dish. But feel free to re-create with a saucy accompaniment.