Passion fruit & lime marinated tuna

The days are finally getting a little bit longer and brighter, and I’m loving it. It’s not that I don’t like autumn or winter (I love them!), but after December and if there’s a decided lack of snow, my interest tends to wane a little…it’s not even that I long for warmer temperatures, I just prefer to come home and not have it be so pitch black my brain thinks it may as well be the middle of the night!

This dish was created when we were having an abundance of gorgeous tuna — whether we went to the farm shop halls or the local supermarket’s fish counter, slabs of tuna steaks were waiting for us, and often at a much cheaper price than usual. So I mean, we had to buy it then, right…?

And as much as I love a grilled piece of tuna steak, there’s something so amazingly fresh about tuna that it sometimes seems a shame to do anything to it. It’s probably why my family and I love sashimi so much — when you have a piece of fish this good, why try and change anything about it?

So here we have it; a dish that’s a bit of a ceviche and a bit of sashimi combined together. The passion fruit part is a little fussy, but goes wonderfully with the tuna to cut through its richness. It’s pretty handy for serving at a party or gathering, since you can pre-slice the fish and arrange on a plate, and make the dressing, and keep both in the fridge before plating up just before serving.

Feeds 4 as a starter. Read More

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Trip to Naples, FL, USA – Dec 2014.

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You may well have noticed I’ve been AWOL for a while. I have to admit, in amidst everything going on, I completely forgot to check my posting schedule. Oooops. However, part of that blip in posting has been due to being away for quite a while in Naples, Florida, just a few hours away from Tampa and on the opposite coast from Miami.

In case you were interested in catching up on all the good food I ate (there was SO much), I sincerely recommend checking out my instagram (there’s a link to the right that should help, and my username would be emmasarahax), and scrolling a little bit down to see all the delicious plates.

And, man, I get the hype about Florida now.

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I mean, it’s just gorgeous. Blue sea, blue skies, so green, and errr….gators? Great times. But to get back to things, it’s such a beautiful state, full of good food and good sceneries. I totally see why it’s a retirement haven. So in amongst all the outlet shopping and lazing like a gator on the beach, I did have some killer food. Those chicken, avocado, three cheese, salsa and veg quesadillas? Killer.

This lobster roll?

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Fab. Enough lobster to feed an army. I’ll tentatively say I get the love for lobster rolls now. It’s pretty damn good.

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We stayed right by the beach in Naples, but most of the place is just so lush and green. I’m totally in love.

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And to have a quick glance at some other things I ate, here’s a few other snaps (but like I said, instagram’s gonna be the best catch-up around for my trip. Just scroll down a little until you hit mid-Dec–you’ll be able to tell by the palm trees!)

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A fantastic dulce de leche sponge cake. So fluffy!

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Some brown-rice sushi from the Whole Foods Store for breakfast in bed. This was just a normal store in Naples, but it kicks the butts off the ones in London for sure! I wonder what the giant flagship ones would be like…

So all in all, I’m a bit like this gator right now…can’t…move…after…eating. Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and have a wonderful New Years!

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Review; Lunch at Tokyo Diner at the högtorgshallen plus Bonus Snails

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I’ve walked past this place a few times. I’ve seen the gorgeous plates of sushi served to guests at this small little booth-type place, tucked into one corner of the Högtorgshallen at the top floor. There’s about maybe eight high tables with bar stools, and some more seating right at the bar in front of the chefs. Because it was sushi, and it was in the centre of Stockholm–not to mention in the Högtorgshallen, a fancy type of saluhall (a food hall for non-Swedes).

However, this time, my friends and I went for lunch after a hot morning of shopping in town, deciding what the heck, we didn’t need a lot — we were just craving some good, light fish and we thought this place looked so good. Turns out, it wasn’t that expensive–not cheap, but for the quality and the portions (plus bearing in mind, you know, the cost of Sweden) it was fine with us.

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One friend chose these wonderful pulled pork tacos, with spiced mayo and fennel salad, for about 150 SEK. The pulled pork was amaaazing, us two others snuck a bite each, and ended up in taco heaven. The spice was pretty strong, but it suited the overall dish. Not for the faint-hearted, but it was honestly delicious. For meat lovers ending up at a sushi place! 😛

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My other friend chose Chirashi sushi (about 156 SEK, I think?) — bites of fish, like sashimi, over a bed of sushi rice, served with squid salad and seaweed salad. There was white fish pieces (monkfish and seabass, I believe), salmon, tuna, prawns, scallop, and lojrom. It was so beautiful, and seemed to taste pretty good too, because it was gone quickly. He and I were both served miso soup first for our choice.

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And mine? I chose the sashimi platter, something I usually don’t do, but I’m glad I made the exception. I chose the small plate for 165 SEK, but next time, I’ll choose the big one, even if it is 265 SEK (we saw one couple order it, I’m pretty sure I was catching flies!)–nonetheless, I was super pleased with my choice. Beautiful morsels of fish; tuna with a thick soy dress, slightly smoked salmon, normal salmon fillet pieces with mashed ginger, monkfish with black salt, thin slivers of sea bass, sweet prawn tails, and a cut scallop stuffed with lojrom. Mine also came with squid salad, and seaweed salad, as well as some thin strands of beetroot. Seriously, all of it was so good.

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It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I’ll dither between the thick chunks of monkfish with the salt, and the scallop stuffed with lojrom. Both were so tender and fresh. If you’re looking for sushi, and don’t want to have the fanciness of RaKultur in Stockholm, but want something a bit better than the average Chinese-Japanese-Thai-Indian-Sushi mess of a place (I kind of love them, but they have their place 😛 ), try Tokyo Diner. Just a note; the food places upstairs close at 6pm, so lunch here is best, unless you embrace being a Swede and eat super early!

When I got back home, I was still comfortably full from our lunch, and decided to buy some snails for a quick and easy dinner.

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A shed load of parsley-garlic butter, and we’re good to go. Happy weekend, everyone!

Review; Dinner at Boqueria, Stockholm

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Food, like most things in Sweden, is expensive, as I’ve said before. However, dad, I and my friend decided to treat ourselves for one night, and me, being the organised neurotic leader when it comes to all things food, knew where we were going. Sorry, guys, you can choose next time.

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First up, some cockatils; the Boqueria mocktail with lime and mint (like a mock mojito, my fav!) because I was a numpty and forgot my ID, though non-alcoholic is my preferred drink…and my friend with her Sangria. I wrinkle my nose because I don’t like wine, but I guess that makes me biased…

Anyway, to more pressing matters. The place is a tapas bar, something I’d hunted out on the internet as being a popular place for locals. We arrived early when it opened for dinner at 5, taking a drink in the bar before the kitchens properly opened and we could be seated. The heat made us sit inside, though the locals seemed to prefer inside, at least when we were there. The place is large inside, and also includes a torg market, a type of coffee place inside the shopping centre the restaurant opens up into. They serve lunch too, from a smaller, more compact menu. The menu consists of tapas, or a few dishes such as paella at a much higher price, though for larger groups.

The place is so huge, and when we walked past the next day at around seven, people were queuing and the place was noisy as heck. We hadn’t booked, but because we arrived so early, we were allowed a small table at the window for an hour and a half. At 7 when we walked past, the place was mobbed, so depending on the time you want to eat, booking is advisable!

The dishes come as they’re made, in quite a quick succession, so at some points, you have four dishes on the table, and then, all of a sudden, only one. I guess it’s made for sharing, really.

We chose 3 tapas each, intending to share, but to start, a charcuterie board between us.

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So, a board of pata negra, Cecine de leon, Chorizo, Salchichon, and a selection of olives (225 SEK). The two first meats were my favourites, though all of the meats were fantastic in their own rights.

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Review; Dinner at Skansen, Öland

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I have spent what seems like almost half my life down south in Sweden, on an island just off its coast, connected by one long bridge; namely, Öland. We own, or did own, a summer house there, from before my own birth (in fact, when my mother was about my age now, I believe). We have just sold it, moving on to other adventures, and it feels a little like the end of an era. It’s somewhat bitter-sweet, but I think I have been weaned off the place gradually, which makes it easier; once, we would spend endless weeks there–at least five or six, and that was making it a minimum–whilst with the years coming on, we spent perhaps maximum two weeks at a time, making the place more of a problem, then a delightful retreat that it once was.

In all that time, I had never been to Skansen; a hotel, restaurant and spa. It’s probably the fanciest place (that I know of) on the island, and I had never even set foot into the place. Even my parents agreed this was somewhat tragic, so, on the last night with the 3 of us together on the island, we had dinner. Oh man, what a dinner. It was pricey (as most things are in Sweden!), but the return was so worth it.

Above pictured is mum’s starter; a beautiful carpaccio of tuna with aioli and pickled ginger. I adore those colours, and felt a little jealous! The pieces of fish were amazing, and rather generous too, though the sauce could have packed more of a punch, even with those large chunks of pickled ginger, we all thought.

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This was my chosen starter; duck breast with apple, pea shoots, blue cheese, currents and spring onion. It was lovely, but you had to make sure to get a little piece of everything together to make the flavours work at their best, which, given the variety, was a bit of a struggle. Nonetheless, I think I managed okay 😉

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And dad chose the pata negra, a Spanish cured ham, with mozzarella and tomatoes. This was very good, I don’t even have anything else to say!

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For main, I surprised everyone, including myself, and chose the lamb back, with risotto, pesto, and wine-marinated pears. SO GOOD. Ignore my feelings on lamb for a second, this was amazing. I asked for rare, to raw side, because I am such a carnivore at heart, and I had to restrain myself from shredding it between my teeth within seconds. Every single element together was amazing, and that risotto (not even a fan of risotto at times! I wonder almost why I chose it from the menu…but I’m glad I did) was so intensely creamy, I wonder what on earth they did with it…cheese? I’ve done that before, can’t say it turned out like this!

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Mum went for the venison back cut, with mojo-rojo potatoes and saffron butter, and grilled vegetables. I remember mum loving this, but they were a bit generous with the butter considering its intensity in taste! But better, I suppose, for the guest that there’s too much rather than too little…

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And father surprised absolutely no one by choosing the risotto on its own. I can’t say I understand why he didn’t choose the same as me since the risotto was the same, but he would have gotten the meat too — but oh well, no regrets. He was in his own little heaven.

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Finally, I was stuffed, as were my parents. However, the dessert menu had a licorice and chocolate cake, served with raspberry mousse and salted caramel sauce. The combination in the cake intrigued me; I’m a true Sweden, I quite like licorice 😉 And boy was this good; the aniseed flavour was subtle, present in the background, and was heavenly with the caramel. The mousse was so creamy it was like a sinful dessert good enough on its own. So, no regrets for me either!

All in all, a delightful last evening on an island of my childhood.