Straight forward.

Stuck for a supper idea this weekend?  Try this flavoursome combo.

A couple of fennel bulbs, olives, orange zest and juice.  Some chicken thighs.  A few crushed garlic cloves, a sprinkle of parsley, a little sea salt, and pepper and a swig of olive oil.  180 degrees in an oven for 20 mins.  Bish, bash, bosh, supper. 

Stockholm’s Café Culture: Greatest Hits

I’m back from a still very wintery Sweden to find London in full Spring.   It’s a relief to finally be able to put away my mittens, but the weather didn’t dampen Stockholm’s beauty or distract from the wide range of things to see and do. 

I often get asked by globe-trotting friends for tips on where to eat in Stockholm.  Now, I am by no means an expert not least because it seems that every time I go back the city has changed, with an array of new restaurants and cafés to kept me on my toes.   But here’s a list of a few of my all time favourites for a bite, a drink or a ‘fika’ (a glorious word describing the act of sitting down, having a cup of coffee and something sweet).  

Stockholm glimpsed from Djurgården

Rosendals Trädgård,  Djurgården

If you fancy a walk and some fresh air, the obvious choice is to head out to Djurgården.   Although this part of town houses many of the city’s museums, galleries and an amusement park, venture a bit further off the beaten track and you’ll have a haven of peace and quiet right in the middle of the city.

The best place to go for a coffee, a slice of cake or some lunch is by far Rosendals Trädgård. This cluster of buildings right by Rosendals Slott (a palace in minuscule) is actually a garden centre, shop, bakery and café.  They serve hearty lunches and a collection of gorgeous cakes.  They also published a wonderful cookbook in the 90’s which, remarkably, hasn’t dated a bit and remains one of the greats in Swedish cookbook publishing (and the Swedes buy more cookbooks than any other nation, so that’s quite something). 

Rosendals Trädgårdscafé
Rosendals Terrassen 12
Djurgården
115 21 Stockholm

Easter decor at Rosendals

Catching some winter sun
Hallon grottor (Raspberry jam biscuits)

 

The café at Rosendals

Gorgeous glass objects for sale in the shop- and a sign reminding you to clear away your dishes

Icicles on the walk back into town

Vigårda

This brand new fast-food restaurant opened in the new swish MOOD galleria last month.  Although Vigårda has the distinct whiff of a would-be franchise, I was nonetheless impressed by the concept.  You can only choose between slow-cooked pork, beef, chicken or cheese and veg, a selection of sides and dressings (curry and apple, mustard and ginger or lingonberry and black pepper to name a few).  Bread and crunchy salad are included, the service is quick but friendly, the restaurant design is gorgeous and the food is really rather tasty- if a bit messily presented. 

Vigårda Barbeque
Norrlandsgatan 13
111 43 Stockholm

Café String in SoFo

The rather ridiculously named SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) in Södermalm (or simply ‘Söder’- ‘South’ to the locals) is apparently home to enough second hand clothing shops and hipster cafés to merit a New York-style moniker.  In reality, you will need a map of the area and to do some preliminary research to find any signs of contemporary subculture, especially because all the streets look pretty much the same.

Café String is a bit of a hub in SoFo and although the coffee may not the best in the area, it is a great place to people watch.  So sit back with your Macbook or latest issue of Monocle and take in the passing world.  I recommend any of their fruit pies, served with lashings of vaniljsås- a kind of lighter take on custard.   I had a friend who lived around the corner for a while and so have many happy memories of wasted afternoons here. 

Café String
Nytorgsgatan 38
116 40 Stockholm

Blueberry pie drowning in custard and a latte.

Macbooks and geeky glasses at the ready

Café Saturnus

This café is slightly tucked away on a side street as you head out of the Östermalm’s main drag along Birger jarlsgatan.  Saturnus is a bit of an institution, serving as it does the largest cinnamon buns in town.  One will be more than enough for two of you at this Swedish take on a French brasserie.  Go when you are really hungry.  It also does an unmissable weekend brunch. 

Café Saturnus 
Eriksbergsgatan 6  
114 30 Stockholm

 Café Rival

Café Rival is a lively spot for a fika.  Part of the Rival complex which comprises a hotel, theatre, bar, restaurant and bakery, it is owned by none other than Benny Andersson himself.  Located on Mariatorget (Maria Square) in Söder, it is a perfect pit stop between perusing the little boutiques (don’t miss the Stockholm Tea Centre- pick up a bag of their Earl Grey Special, in fact, that may well be the best tip in this post) lined along ‘pucken’ (bump) on Hornsgatan before heading on to the buzzing Götagatan for a fashion fix.  Go for a coffee, treat or light lunch. 


Café Rival
Mariatorget 3
118 91 Stockholm

The walls are lined with photos of famous ‘Söder’ residents

 
Östermals Hallen- a foodie’s paradise 
A must-visit for anyone with even a remote interest in food,  Östermalmshallen (Östermalm’s food hall, basically a large covered market) is a veritable culinary mecca.  It has been stocking Stockholm’s fridges and pantries with delicacies since 1888.  You can find the very finest in meat, fish, seafood, fruit, veg, bread and cakes with prices to match (you’re in the posh bit of town now).  
An insider’s tip is to go to one of the several cafés or restaurants tucked into the market’s corners for a weekday lunch.  The specials usually hover somewhere around a tenner and include bread and butter, salad and a drink.  I love the classic Swedish ‘husmanskost’ dishes at Tysta Marie (‘Quiet Marie,’  although there’s nothing quiet about it so get there early).  

Östermalms Saluhall
Östermalmstorg
114 39 Stockholm
Roberts Coffee next to the main entrance does a mean cardamon bun

Fresh fruit and veg

Fresh fish and seafood at Lisa Elmqvist, which also has a restaurant in the market
Lunch special at Tysta Marie: fried herring, mash and lingonberries. 
 
Morfar Ginko/Pappa Ray Rays
Finally, a place to go for a drink.  Morfar Ginko (Grandpa Ginko) is, if I’ve understood it correctly, the bar whereas Pappa Ray Rays is the restaurant.  Anyway, it makes no difference as you can order a burger or some moules marinieres from the bar or enjoy a couple of cocktails at the restaurant.  The bar has live music, djs (a rather good and unobtrusive one was on the decks the night we went), a quiz and even ping pong tournaments.  In the summer, try to grab one of the tables that line the pavement.  Not far from Mariatorget, the bar at Hotel Rival makes a great precursor to an evening spent here. 
Morfar Ginko
Swedenborgsgatan 13
118 48 Stockholm

Other places worth a mention: 

Riddarbageriet, Mossebake theatre and bar (wonderful in the summer), Trädgården, Debaser for drinks and gigs, Cajsa Varg, Ejes Choklad, Granit and PUB for cooking and dining ware, the cafés at Fotografiska and Moderna Museet, Restaurang Grill, Smak på Restaurangen… and many, many more!

An easy dinner tip no. 3

So easy, I feel guilty mentioning it at all, but so good I couldn’t resist. A bit of a favorite in my flat.

Fish phobics, look away now.

Smoked mackerel, cream cheese, lemon juice, pepper and a dash of cayenne.

On hot buttered toast.

Fin.

A weekend in excess and an easy dinner tip no. 2


I’ve had a weekend of excessive brunching, including this rather amazing sausage thing, courtesy of the Salad Club, which also inspired me to make chili jam, following the Salad Club’s tips (I have been exploring quite a lot of food blogs of late!) It reduced down to something quite extraordinarily gooey and jammy, but so much so that it only made two jars. Instead of 4-5! And I don’t think that my two jars will last long either…

Anyway, only one cure for all this excess, thought I. Something light and salad-shaped on Sunday evening. But despite having the very best of intentions, I’m afraid, dear reader, I succumbed to this cheddar and cream-laden potato and leek gratin instead. I did serve it with a nice side salad, though. And then had cheese with the chili jam after. There’s also been a bit of a port theme in my flat at the moment. Ah well.

Leek and Potato Gratin.
A meal in itself or a perfect accompaniment.

You will need:

Two leeks (cleaned and chopped)
Two large baking potatoes (peeled and sliced into 2 cm thick slices)

Some breadcrumbs

Two garlic cloves

Some white wine, if you have some to hand (I did)

butter

Cheddar (a large handful, grated)

Single cream

Thyme

Salt, pepper

1. Crush your garlic and put in a pan with a bit of butter

2. Add leeks and fry till soft, don’t burn!

3. Par-boil your spud slices for a good 10 min. Arrange in an oven proof dish.

4. Add leeks.

5. Pour over cream, to your liking, but I would say you definitely need at least 200ml.

6. Season.

7. Add breadcrumbs and cheese.

8. Bake in a hot oven (200/gas mark 6) for half an hour until the top is golden and the potatoes are cooked through. Serve with salad, bread and ham perhaps.

An easy dinner tip no. 1

I went to visit my friend Fliss the other evening for a catchup and to see her new abode in Clapham, which was very nice.

She made me an amazingly tasty and simple salmon and lentil combo for dinner. It involved the following:

Boil up some lentils in a pan, then add a tablespoon of curry paste and some crushed garlic, mix well and leave to simmer. Add your salmon fillets on top and put a lid on. Leave for 10 min or so for it to cook through and for the curry to permeate the salmon. Remove the salmon and stir through some spinach. Serve.

Easy as pie… Actually, stay tuned for pie.