Tag Archives: mad

Broccoli, leek & potato soup – easy, cheap and healthy winter food

I made this soup the other day without any recipe and surprised myself by how yummy it turned out (my cooking intuition is non-existent). The magic ingredient must have been the yoghurt as it added just the right amount of tartness/acidity to the vegetables.

If you want to give this hearty winter soup a try, here’s how I made it. All measurements are very approximate, so feel free to improvise:

Ingredients (4 pers.)

  • Butter & olive oil for frying
  • 4-5 leeks, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped (use the stem as well)
  • 1/2-1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 300 ml single cream (or milk)
  • 400 ml yoghurt naturel (add a bit at a time, as you might want to use less)
  • a few drops of avocado oil for decoration

How to do it:

  • Heat up the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the leeks with the chopped garlic until soft.
  • Add the potatoes and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli. Add a bit of salt and pepper + cayenne pepper.
  • Add the chicken stock and a bit of water until the vegetables are covered and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and blend it (I just used a hand blender directly in the pan and left a few vegetable lumps for added texture).
  • Put back on the stove. Add more stock/water if consistency is too thick, then add cream and yoghurt.
  • Add salt and pepper (and maybe a stock cube) to taste.
  • Serve with cheese sandwiches or whatever rocks your boat.

BON APPETIT!

pssssst! In the mood for more soup? Head for my butternut soup recipe.

The perfect breakfast

Tadaaa, may I present to you the yummiest (and healthiest) breakfast I’ve had in a while:

Sam has been off work this week and this morning I woke up to this bowl of goodness. Porridge with yoghurt, fruit and pecans. Omnomnomnomnom.

I know whipping this together is not exactly rocket science, but here goes: You just make a normal porridge (1 cup oats per 4 cups of water + a pinch of salt, boil for around 20 min) and pour it into the bowls.

Then add a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt. I always prefer to eat my porridge with a bit of yoghurt as it makes it more “fresh” and less stodgy.

Add whatever fruits you want. We used bananas, blueberries and strawberries. Add nuts for a bit of crunch, we used pecans (which are even more yummy if you roast them first).

Last, but not least: pour some maple syrup on top and you’re ready to go 🙂

Lennies Snack Bar – A very special place

My most memorable dining experience in London has nothing to do with Michelin stars, fancy wines & waiters…

Lennies Snack Bar in East London (just next to Shoreditch Church)  is like no other Thai restaurant I’ve ever been too. Its life and soul is owner Irene who is the most welcoming host anyone can imagine. Eating at her restaurant is like coming home or visiting your favourite eccentric aunt.

Irene does all the cooking herself and will often sit at her customer’s tables and chat for a while, ask you how you’ve been or tell about her jet lag, her long life in London or the next party she’s planning to attend, dressed like Dolly Parton.

There is a varied menu to choose from, but we normally let Irene decide for us. We just tell her what kind of food we’re interested in and she’ll conjure up a wonderful mix of Thai curries, noodle dishes, fish etc. A lot of the vegetables come from her own allotment.

This is a BYO place, meaning you have to bring your own drinks. You don’t even pay extra for that and you rarely end up paying more than £ 10 per person for the food.

I really can’t recommend this place enough, I just love everything about it: from the kitschy cosy interior with red checkered table cloths, string lights and paintings of naked women to the fresh and well-prepared food. Hell, I even love the dodgy toilets.

But mainly I love this place because of Irene and her knack for creating the warmest and most welcoming atmosphere in East London.

Lennies Snack Bar, 6 Calvert Avenue,  London E2 7JP.
Tel: 020 7739 3628 ‎ (it’s a good idea to book ahead)


Pho – cheap & modern Vietnamese street food

The cooler autumn weather is screaming for hot steaming soups. When travelling in Vietnam many years ago we fell in love with Pho, the clear soup with noodles and beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga), which is served with lime, fresh chili and Vietnamese greens.  In Vietnam they serve it at most street stalls, often for breakfast. Very delicious.

Back in Denmark we had to travel half-way through Copenhagen to find a Vietnamese restaurant. And the only modern one, Nhà Hàng, is ridiculously expensive as is has almost doubled its prices since it opened. That’s just not right.

Back to London, where there are quite a few Vietnamese restaurants, most of them in East London. We mainly eat out in Soho where Sam works and luckily Pho, a small chain of smart-looking restaurants serving cheap Vietnamese street food, decided to open another shop smack in the middle of Wardour Street.

We tried it a few days ago and their phos were just lovely. (Warning to purists: This IS a modernised version of Vietnamese, meaning trendy young waiters, cosy contemporary interior and not always 100% authentic food combinations.)

We both had the Pho Bo Dac Biet (with steak, brisket and meatballs). It was easily the best meatballs I’ve had in a pho soup; dark meaty and succulent and not chewy at all. I would have liked a bit more greens to garnish the soup and the stock was not mind-blowing, just very good. Pho also gets an extra point for putting a lot of sauces on the tables (two different chili sauces, fish sauce & hoisin sauce). That way you can mix your own perfect taste combination.

Prices are low: soups cost between 6.95 – 8.45 pounds. See the whole menu here.

Pho, 163-165 Wardour Street, London (plus 4 more locations)

Read about another of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants, Song Que Café in East London.

Healthy purple potato haze

Yesterday I wanted to make “bangers & mash“. Weirdly enough I’d been craving  sausages ever since watching The Apprentice the day before, where the two teams were on a ridiculous sausage-making mission. So off I went to Sainsbury’s and what was the first thing I saw: purple potatoes!

Sam had been telling me about how these potatoes, originally from the high reaches of the Andes, are even more healthy than ordinary potatoes (10 x more antioxidants) and how they make some really yummy mash. So the timing couldn’t be better as they’ve just started selling these purple little buggers at Sainsbury’s. They’re called Purple Majesty potatoes and are grown by Albert Bartlett.

Down in my trolley they went together with some savoy cabbage. After the supermarket I headed for our brilliant local butcher, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, and bought some Cumberland sausages and ended up making this dish:

These potatoes are really, really easy to make, as they contain a lot of starch. Just make the mash like you normally would, for me that meant adding salt, pepper, butter and milk.

The savoy cabbage side dish is just delicious, healthy and easy to make: chop up the cabbage, put it in a sauce-pan with a bit of butter/olive oil, a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a sprinkling of salt and vinegar. Let it simmer under a lid for around 45 min. or until it becomes as soft as you prefer.

Serve with mustard and ketchup.

Bon appetit!

Bonus info for parents: I bet even the pickiest of children will happily sink their fork into this purple tower…

Favourite café – Vicki’s

Photo: Mette Bassett

Berlin og København er kendt for dem, London knap så meget. Måske er det de tusindevis af hyggelige pubber og restauranter i alle prisklasser, der gør det, men det kan være svært at finde en afslappet, hjemlig café med masser af salater og lette retter på menuen. Heldigvis ligger der en 5 minutter fra, hvor vi bor.

Vicki’s er måske ikke stedet, man slår sig ned i flere timer med sin laptop, i hvert fald ikke i weekenden, hvor der er travlt. Men man kigger gerne forbi igen og igen for at gå ombord i en af deres mange lækre retter, der oftest er gavmildt proppet med godter fra den store salatmontre indenfor. Min absolutte favorit er “fishcake with a selection of salads”, hvor “fishcaken” er tun rørt op med cremefraiche og krydderurter, som derefter ovnbages.

De ultralækre salater serveres også med kyllingebryst eller en hamburger. Er det dagen derpå, så forsvinder tømmermænd med et trylleslag efter en club sandwich med kylling, bacon og avocado eller en grum omgang “english breakfast”. Priser omkring 9-10 pund.

Året igennem er der udeservering og Vicky’s holder også aften-åbent. Her må man endda tage sin egen vin med (mod et mindre beløb).

Vicky’s, 28 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1ST

English: Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of cosy pubs and cheap restaurants, but it can be really hard to locate a relaxed and homely café in London that focuses on salad-based dishes.

Vicki's chicken burger w. fat parmesan chips. Photo: Mette Bassett

Luckily we have one 5 minutes from where we live. Vicki’s is a tiny “eaterie” with a selection of some of the yummiest salads I’ve ever had. It is located on a small shopping street in Maida Vale, just next to the horrible chain “Cafe Rouge”.

You can get their selection of salads with: the legendary fishcakes which are my absolute favorite (oven-baked tuna mixed w. creme fraiche, herbs etc) or served with chicken breast or with a hamburger if you’re in that mood. Prices around 9-10 pounds.

If you’re hungover there’s no  better cure than their ol’ mean english breakfast or a club sandwich with bacon and lots of avocado. Vicki’s has more tables outside than inside and has recently opened for the evening as well. They don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own, making an evening meal really affordable.

Vicky’s, 28 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1ST

Fishcakes w. salads. Photo: Mette Bassett

Spinatlasagne med hytteost – spinach lasagne with cottage cheese

Foto: Mette Bassett

En af favorit-retterne her i huset. Den er supernem at lave, sund, lækker og billig og et dejligt let alternativ til kedelig kødlasagne.

English: One of our favourite home-made recipes around here. It’s so easy to make, healthy and cheap and a nice lighter alternative to meat lasagne. (Scroll down for recipe in English)

Spinatlasagne med hytteost  (4 pers.) :

Det skal du bruge:

  • 1-2 poser frosset helbladet spinat
  • 1-2 hakkede løg
  • Hakket hvidløg (så meget du har lyst til)
  • 3  små bægre hytteost (300 g i hver)
  • Lasagneplader
  • Salt, peber, muskatnød, evt. chili.

Mornay sauce:
(Da jeg boede i DK brugte jeg bare den fra Karolines Køkken. Hvis du vil lave den selv, så gør du sådan:)

  • Ca. 50 g smør
  • Et par spiseskefulde mel
  • En kop varm mælk
  • En kop revet parmesan
  • En kop anden ost, fx. gruyere
  • Lidt salt og muskatnød

(Smelt smørret i en gryde og pisk melet i. Tilsæt den varme mælk under omrøring. Lad den hvide sauce koge op, så den får en passende tykkelse. Tilsæt osten til sidst. Og evt. lidt salt og muskatnød.)

Photo: Mette Bassett

Sådan gør du:

Steg den frosne spinat sammen med de hakkede løg og hvidløg. Tilsæt salt, peber og muskatnød undervejs (og chili hvis du vil have en stærk version).

Sluk for varmen, når spinaten og løgene er varmet igennem og det meste af den overskydende væske er fordampet. Bland hytteosten i. Smag igen blandingen til med salt, peber etc.

Find et passende fad og start med et lag spinat/hytteost-blanding plus et par skefulde ostesauce og derefter skiftevis plader og spinatblanding. Slut af med spinatblanding og en omgang ostesauce.

Bag i en 190 grader varm ovn i ca. 40 minutter eller indtil lasagnepladerne er bløde. NB: dæk lasagnen med alufolie, så overfladen ikke bliver brændt.

Server med salat og evt brød. Smager også dejligt som tilbehør til f.eks. laks. Velbekomme!

Spinach lasagne with cottage cheese (4 pers.)

This is what you need:

  • 1-2 big bags of frozen whole leaf spinach
  • 1-2 chopped onions
  • Chopped garlic (as much as you feel like)
  • 3 small tubs (3 x 300 g) of cottage cheese
  • Lasagna pasta
  • Salt, peber, nutmeg, dried chili (if you want)

Mornay sauce:

  • 50 g butter
  • 2 table spoons sauce flour
  • A cup of warm milk
  • 1 cup of parmesan
  • 1 cup of other cheese (e.g. gruyere)
  • Salt, nutmeg

(Warm op the butter and stir rapidly while mixing in the flour. Add the warm milk and bring the sauce to the boiling point, until it thickens. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, a bit of salt and nutmeg.)

This is how you do it:

Fry the frozen spinach with the chopped onions and garlic and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and chili to taste. Turn off the heat when the mixture is heated through and the excess liquid has evaporated. Mix with the cottage cheese and taste if it needs more seasoning.

Photo: Mette Bassett

Find a suitable dish and start with a layer of spinach/cottage cheese mixture and a bit of cheesesauce. Layer with the lasagna pasta and finish it off with a layer of spinach-mixture and cheesesauce.

Put in the oven at 190 degrees celsius for around 40 minutes (or until the lasagna pasta has softened). NB: cover the lasagne with alufoil so that the surface doesn’t get burned.

Serve with a salad or bread or with a piece of salmon.

Bon appetit!

Photo: Mette Bassett

Glem ikke at nippe til et glas hvidvin, mens du kokkererer 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to sip a glass of white while cooking 🙂

Photo: Mette Bassett