January 31, 2011

On my last night in Stockholm my super duper big sister and fellow food lover had this idea - that every chef should eat in a Michelin star restaurant at least once in their lifetime.  And wouldn’t you know it but I happen to be a chef, so we had no choice really; it had been decided for us.

We went to FrantzĂ©n/Lindeberg.  A small restaurant that only seats 18 people and has had 2 Michelin stars awarded. Make sure you check out their website as I won’t be able to do it justice, it’s enough to make you cry it’s so moving.

They only do a set menu and we had the 12 course menu, it was fantastic!  I can’t say enough about it, really a once in a life time experience.  Their approach to food and the way it is eaten really is extra-ordinary and each mouthful so thoughtfully put together to give you maximum flavour and texture.  To give you an idea of what we ate I will tell you about some of the courses, but I won’t include each one as you might die of boredom or start chewing on your keyboard .  Either one is not good.

Carrot Macaroon with Creamy Liver Filling
Crispy Squash with garlic, parmesan cream and truffles
Minute smoked marrow bone served with a pot of onion puree and greens
Horse Tartar! (yes, really) with aioli and caviar – then to add insult to injury they grated dried foie gras over it.  That was a little out there, but it was tasty I have to say.
French pigeon with pistachios, glazed carrots and veg purees
French Toast with onion, truffles and served with truffle consommé

Potato Cake w Caviar and Duck Heart and Puree 

Monk fish with 31 ingredients

One of the desserts - mini swiss rolls with dipping sauces
One of the desserts was a little Citron pot.  It had vanilla buttermilk, meringue, lemon curd and lemon jelly all served  in a little pot much like a trifle.  Another dessert was “Chocolate Party” which consisted of salted caramel ice-cream, chocolate ganache (Equadorian chocolate), crispy chocolate pieces, brownie squares and roasted chocolate oil.  Oh my goodness!

All their produce is grown in their own gardens to ensure quality and they give you the name and number of the boat they catch the fish on.  Their menu is seasonal so that makes everything a little more special as you will never get to have the same menu twice.

And so, I am home now.  Working a bit and trying to get to the gym and trying to get all sorts of things up and running really.  My posts won’t be as exciting now that I am back to real life but I hope you will come back and check up on what I am up to from time to time.


January 28, 2011

More food!

I find drinking champagne during the week and eating at Michelin star restaurants really suits me.
I suspect I might be getting a bit spoilt here, luckily I am being shipped off home soon so I will come back to earth with a bump.
Watch this space for the full scoop on the eating I did tonight - if you dare!


January 26, 2011

Look what a little bird brought me...

from Berlin!

Aprikosen Torte
Bron had a day meeting in Berlin and she brought back a big something for me!  The three of us nearly polished the thing off in about 10 mins.  So delicious!  Hopefully it wont be long until I am shopping for baked goods there myself.

It was a beautifully sunny day in Stockholm today.  I walked the Nike to work for Bron and then ambled around the city - nothing I like better than wandering around a foreign city and just seeing where you land up. You can stumble onto the most spectacular things this way.  I found a park on top of a hill that was completely empty of people and full of glittering snow and sunshine. I also had such a breathtaking view of the city skyline with all the snow covered rooftops. Tonight I am making supper for us and a few guests so I spent some time shopping for that this afternoon.  Its a bit of a guessing game really with all the labels in a foreign language.  I know a few words but not enough to know what everything is so its a bit of gamble.  I think I got all the right stuff though so kudos to me!   

Yesterday it was snowing when I woke up and it was really amazing to see.  I walked the Nike out in the falling snow and there is nothing quite like walking out in fresh snow with a cheeky dog who bites your bum if the walk gets to boring. It was only a little bit of snow compared to what they usually get here but it was enough for me.  It was quite warm too so it was easy to enjoy it.  We ran a bit and played a lot with sticks and frozen ice so that kept the bum biting to a minimum, thankfully.  

View towards the city from the hall window

Around the corner from Bron's place

Snow falling on trees
Tomorrow is my last day here and then I am back home on Saturday.  Hopefully see you all soon for a good catch up. I know a couple of you are of out of the country for a bit when I get back but I would love to see every one of you when I get back so - y'know, call me!


January 24, 2011

A Lazy Weekend

After all the excitement of last weeks adventures we needed a laid back weekend in the sunny and warm climate of Stockholm.  Last week also saw us shopping (i so lurve ikea, h&m and january sales!) and eating.  Really, what more is there in life?
This weekend we slept late, walked the Nike in the Queens garden and joined the weekend crowds in their shopping (yes, more - and I am not sorry!)  I was a little sick on Sunday so I slept all day and surfaced in time for supper.
I have had some demands from high up (my mom) for more pics, so here you go mom!  

A smug smile after eating the best almond pastry EVER! (and half brons pain au chocolat)

New scarf

Castle, Lisa and the Nike

Saturday supper

Words fail me.....

Cheese course - Manchego and Spanish blue

Exciting stuff yes?  
Hopefully see you all soon!


January 21, 2011

This speaks to me.

It's the summer version of an art installation here on Djurgarden, the island on which Bron lives.  At the moment its white on white because of all the snow, so its more difficult to make out, but it reads "This is a corner of a larger field".

So much comfort in such few simple words.  I like it. 


January 20, 2011

Picture it,

Jukkasjarvi, January 2011.  Its -28C, around 10pm. Helena and I are out walking on the frozen lake.  And a little dream of mine comes true!  We get treated to a spectacular show of the elusive Northern Lights!!
And no, I didn't take any pictures.  I just stood still and watched.  Here is a pic off the internet that gives you an idea of what they were like.

Our night in the Ice Hotel room of -5C was happily event free.  It was cold in the room but warm in the sleeping bag.  I slept better once I figured out that you can make the face hole in the sleeping bag smaller.  Much more comfy and considerably less draughty.  The toilet break at 3:30am was an experience as I had to walk through the hotel (-5C) and then outside (-20C) to get to the Dressing Room area in the warm section of the hotel - JUST IN MY THERMAL UNDIES!   Think camping but in the arctic circle.  In the morning we were woken with a cup of hot ligonberry juice. Yummo!

And then at lunch time the Bron arrived.  O happy days!

Off to the snowmobiles!  What an adventure. For 2 hours we snowmobiled over frozen lakes and through fairy tale forests which have been untouched for years.  "Into the wilderness" as our guide put it.  All in the dark with a full moon.  The snow was all sparkly and thigh deep.   It was so cold on the home stretch that Helena literally started to freeze.  Put it this way, its around -28C and then you are on a snowmobile going around 55km out on a lake which is frozen solid.  We were only 400km from the Russian border - I got a real kick out of that.
A frozen Helena - note the icicles on her eyelashes and frozen hair!

Snow suit up!

Waiting for our guide - its 4pm

Moi! (its blurry coz our hands were frozen!)

Into the sauna to thaw ourselves out and then out for dinner - I had elk with a lovely french wine which Hans chose for us - I was tempted to try the "Game bird of the night"  but Elk seemed more exotic.

Game bird of the night, stealing glances....

I willl leave you with some more pics of the Ice Hotel.  Thanks Bron for a lovely time in the Swedish Wilderness. 

Sun rising over the hotel at 12

Entrance to Ice Village

Full moon over Ice Hotel at 3pm

Ice Hotel Entrance

Little Cabin where we spent our second night

Ice Hotel Chapel

Themometer outside our cabin just before we left at -27C


January 19, 2011

Party Frocks

Lots to report but very little energy to do it!  Last 2 days in the north of Sweden have been nothing short of fantastic and I have lots to share but.....I am more than a little tired.  So I will give you some more party pics (as promised) and leave you all in suspense for my news of the trip until tomorrow.
A big thank you to my "fans" and followers, especially for all the kind comments.  I have had some very positive feedback and know many of you await my next update with baited breath.  Its nice of you and I am feeling the love.  Thanks.

"Get the party started....."

Lisa and Hans

The Goils
The new Bond.

Dr Blofledt, new Bond Girl and another Bond


One of the wannabe Bond Girls

Bond Girls get custom pieces made

James Bond and Bond Girl

Can you tell the Opera serenade was moving?

January 17, 2011

A picture's worth a thousand words.....

Today I arrived in Jukkasjarva, the town which has the Ice Hotel.  Lots of beautiful things to see including the amazing Ice Hotel itself.  Tonight we spend the night one of the ice rooms, on a bed of ice and reindeer skin.  Tomorrow night we are in one of the warm chalets.  I think both will be special in their own way.  The cold room is -5C.  We did a tour called "How to survive the night in the Ice Hotel".  Very informative, apparently other than the sleeping bag you should only have 1 layer on. 1!.  I am going along with what they say but if I am cold I am going back to the dressing room to pile on the layers.  There are only 2 hours of daylight between 12-2 so its dark and pretty with lights most of the time.

Oh my the Layers!  I have never worn as many layers of clothes as I have today, and I can still feel the cold.  And its only -15C.  Last week it was almost -30C!!!
This evening on our way home from dinner we walked through the town.  I was wearing:
1 pair woolen hiking socks
1 pair "special" wool ski socks that go up to the knee
1 pair tights
1 pair jeans
Special boots that are super thick and durable and have a fleece and special insulating layer
1 vest, 1 t-shirt, 1 fleece body warmer, 1 fleece full layer, 1 wool jersey  aaannnnd
1 pair wool gloves, 1 pair fleece gloves, 1 pair mitten liners and 1 pair suede/leather mittens the size of plates
1 very hectic and heavy snow suit
then to top it off a beanie and balaclava and scarf.
Needless to say taking pics or blowing your frozen nose take ages and much adjustment.  My nails hurt from all the taking on and off of gloves.
But its been an amazing experience so far.  The very sad thing is Bron was sick this morning so she stayed behind in Stockholm and Hans, Helena and I are forging on alone.  Its been lovely, but we miss her.

Enough words, here are some much promised pics :)
Just as a side note - all these pics are of the "Art" rooms, ours is more basic but still ice and snow.

Side view of Ice Hotel 

Cute....during waking hours.  Not so much if you bump awake up at 4am.

This one is my favoute - Its called "Bubble Suite"

Chapel - they have up to 4 weddings a day during the season

Hans in the choir stall of the Chapel

Altar of the Chapel

Traditional Swedish window dressing

This one is called "Frigid-Dare" Thats food you see :)

Reception Hall

A house on the way home from dinner - can you see all the snow layers there?

Gift Shop

More from me soon xoxoxoxoxo