Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Snacking My Way Through London

It took me quite a while to digest my London experience (get it? "digest" as in eat, as in "Snacking my way through London"? Eigh? Okay, I'll leave you alone), but finally I'm done with the last crumbs from high tea, that leftover slab of pickled ginger from some pretty decent sushi and an early bakery breakfast. Let me break it down for you:
Top left: High Tea at The Wolseley. The price for a full Afternoon Tea was 19,75 £, which is pretty good for London standards as far as I know. The cakes were very delicate and light and the place itself was really worth a visit. Originally built as a showroom for cars it is furnished in an elegant art déco meets empire style with marble floors, black lacquer surfaces with gold detailing and dark wooden chairs. I can really recommend opting for the "separate" tea room looking onto the street as the large former showroom has terrible accoustics. Oh yeah, and you can spy on the passers by on the street;-)
Top right: Window display at a bakery in Hampstead. I am very sad to say that I only had an almond croissant here, because it was breakfast time and then the unwritten laws (by which I don't usually abide) of nourishment-before-sweets rule, which I guess doesn't really excuse the croissant so I'll just stop talking now.

Bottom left: Self service sushi bar called Wasabi on 58 Oxford St. This is a great pick for complementing the full high-street experience on Oxford St. When your shopper's has fallen to a low, just stop by this place, fill a box with your favourite individually packed sushi wonders and recharge. Note to other camera-junkies: Photography is not allowed here, something I only noticed after having taken 50 shots of the sushi selection.

Bottom right: Hot cross buns at the same bakery in Hampstead

Cooking For a Reception


On the occasion of my recent book release (the travel guide some of you might remember me chatting about last summer), I couldn't help but invite just about everyone I know on Earth to a reception. Much to my surprise the usual statistic of about 60 % yes-sayers didn't pull through and nearly everyone said yes yes yes. Lo and behold, T and I suddenly had about 50 people on our hands who, thanks to the weather gods, could do their small talking in the blooming court yard in front of our apartment. But what to do about the food, we wondered? We seriously loathe the usual cheese squares with tooth picks and carrot sticks really don't do the trick for us either. That's why we embarked on a nitty gritty journey through about 120 delicate nibbles-on-a-stick and for my part, about 80 tiny cakes. Above from the left are tiny luxury brownies, made on a recipe for the Italian Chocolate Cake also pictured here on my blog. And that's really a big part of my best trick: Many recipes for large cakes can be made into finger-size cakes or muffins without any big changes to the recipes except from the baking time. In this case I took a cake recipe that I usually bake in a round cake tray and poured the finished mixture in a large square baking tray with an adjustable metal frame around it to make it fit to the amount perfectly. After baking it I simply measured and divided it into equally sized "brownies" and that was it. The best part is that with our new freezer, I could bake the whole lot a week in advance and then freeze them. The flavour only gets better from setting for a while. Win-win, as I see it.
As for the cakes, the mini-muffins to the right (above), they are miniatures of the apple-maccaroon cake pictured here on my blog. The only difference is that I pipmed them up a bit using hard and slightly tangy plums instead of apples, because the marzipan-like flavour of the macaroons goes perfectly with the plumness of the fruit.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


...did I mention that my travel guide has finally been printed? Well, now I have. Mentioned it, that is. Though it's in Danish, there's plenty of self-explanatory and appetizing photos for the rest of you. Check it out here:

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Doing the Unmentionable: Serving Fruit Salad For Dessert

Those of you who know me, have probably noticed a certain stubbornness when it comes to desserts. For example T and I have a favourite mock-discussion on the topic of cheese and its, in my opinion false definition as a dessert. It is NOT and never will be a worthy substitute for a sweet treat after an enjoyable meal. And the same goes for fruit. Just plain fruit. What kind of dessert is that? Maybe that kind of thing flies in the tropics where you need something to quench your thirst rather than enhance it, but here, in the cold cold North, we need a good dessert to finish us off before enjoying that post-coital cigarette and early hibernation. So - when I asked my father the other day if he had any requests dessert-wise and he answered: "Something light, we're trying to keep it down you know. Maybe just some bitter chocolate..." I nearly felt like serving some of that un-comfortably dry 99% cocoa-"chocolate" that Lindt does and a glass of water to wash down the Sahara that follows. Well, almost. The point is, I decided on making a bowl of fruit salad that would satisfy his healthy diet as well as my own ambitions. This is how it turned out and I am happy to say, I had more than one portion of it myself:

Dessert Lover's Fruit Salad (serves 4)

Syrup (makes 100 ml. - can be doubled if you like your fruit soaked)
75 ml water
25 ml lime juice
100 grams white sugar (important for the colour)
Half a star anise

1 pink grape fruit, in fillets (see instructions below)
4 dark purple plums, thinly sliced
250 grams of fresh strawberries, sliced lengthways
10 leaves of basil, chopped
Chopped pistachios

Place the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and boil them together until the mixture reaches a runny thickness that resembles cordial - don't allow it to get too sticky. If it does, you can dilute it with a bit of water until you reach the right consistency. Remove the star anise and let it cool in the fridge for a couple of hours or over night. When the syrup has reached fridge temperature (about 5 degrees Celcius) start preparing the fruit. Clean the plums and strawberries and slice them thinly lenghtways. Peel the grape fruit and cut off the remaining skin with a sharp knife until the pulp is bared. Then proceed to slice the fruit towards the centre in each little section. If the sections are very wide, you can make two fillets from each compartment. The finished fillets should be long and flat as pictured above. As this is a very wasteful way of using a grape fruit, make sure you squeeze the remaining juice out of the fruit core and either drink it or pour it over the salad. When the fruit is done, mix it well with the chopped basil and pour a generous amount of syrup over it. Leave it to set for about 30 mins. so the basil can work its perfumed magic on the salad. Sprinkle with pistachios and serve cool, maybe even with a dewy glass of muscat.