Crab risotto

I went on a wild goose chase trying to get uncooked crabs for this dish. It seems it’s something people don’t ask for much around where I live, so I in the end had to get cooked one from my fishmongers. I would have steamed mine, to have sweeter meat, the ones I bought were boiled (I think boiling is the more common method). A word of warning thought, if you’re not used to handling crab, and taking the meat out yourself. It is pretty fiddly! Now, I could’ve also bought crab at the fishmongers, where the meat had already been taken out, served on the big back shell (this excludes the claws and legs). I, however wanted all the pieces of shell, for making the stock, to use it in the risotto.

Crab stock
1 large crab, all the shells once the meat has been removed
1 onion
1 celery stick
1 carrot
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsp sea salt
2 stalks of parsley
3 stalks of thyme
150ml brandy
2 litres water
1 tbsp tomato paste
Crab risotto
250g uncooked arborio risotto rice
150ml dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc)
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
black pepper
handful of chopped dill
meat from 1 whole crab
800ml stock (made from the shells)

1. Pull the claws and legs out of their joints. A good way to do this is twisting (rotating the whole joint) and pulling out at the same time.

2. Remove the meat from the crab shell. This can be fiddly and time consuming. Make sure you scoop out all the cavities of the mid-body, legs and claws. Also, there can be cartilage pieces inside bigger pieces of meat, holding the meat strands together, make sure to check and remove these.

3. Place the shells (including the mid-body carcass), onion, garlic, celery, peppercorns, carrot, bay leaves, parsley and thyme in a large pan with the splash of olive oil, and fry for about 5 minutes until it starts getting fragrant. Add the brandy, and bring to boil, until the mixture doesn’t smell of alcohol anymore. Add the water, salt and tomato paste. Bring to boil, and boil uncovered for about an hour.

4. Strain through a fine sieve. I would recommend using an additional piece of muslin, to leave all the muck behind, and getting a very nice, fine stock. When straining the stock through, you will need to keep scraping the bottom of the sieve with a wooden spoon, as the muck will collect at the bottom, stopping the liquid draining through.


5. Place the oil, butter and shallots in a pan, and fry for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, celery and bay leaves, and fry for 1 minute.

6. Tip all the rice in, and stir, to coat it all in the oil / butter mixture, for about 3-5 minutes. Add the white wine and let it bubble, stirring the rice.

7. Little by little, start adding the stock, stirring the rice until the liquid has disappeared, then adding more.


8. Once all the liquid has been used, stir all the crab meat in. Season to taste, and stir some cut dill in.


Easy oven grilled sea bass and vegetables

This kind of easy and quick one pan food is perfect for those long busy days, when you want your dinner to be ready super quickly, and without much effort. Sometimes I fry the fish skin side down in a frying pan first, for the crispy skin result, however this time I wanted to put the least possible amount of effort in, and grilling alone is also healthier than pan-frying it first.

serves 2
2 sea bass fillets
1 courgette / zucchini, chopped
2 -4 chestnut mushrooms, whole or quartered
1 medium to large leek, chopped to large pieces
6 cloves of garlic
vine tomatoes
1/2 pepper, chopped into large pieces
olive oil
black pepper

1. Place all ingredients on a oven tray lined with foil. Drizzle some olive oil all over the fish and vegetables, and season the fish with salt and pepper.


2. Preheat the grill to medium heat, and bake the fish and vegetables for about 15 minutes.


Rhubarb and strawberry tart

I’m more of a savory than a sweet kind of cook. I was inspired to make this sweet tart by the British Pie week, that’s been trending on Twitter. Before you get too confused though, the Finnish name for this kind of thing is a ‘pie’, which is why I thought of making it, before properly considering that in fact it’s more of a tart. I would however say pies and tarts are cousins, and I think this is a good enough entry to the pie week from me.  It’s very easy and simple to make, and you can easily change the filling ingredients to your taste.

150g butter
1 dl sugar
1 egg
2 dl plain flour
2 dl porridge oats
2 tsp baking powder
200g rhubarb (about 4 stalks, depending on size)
300g strawberries
1 tbsp sugar
2 dl crème fraiche
1 egg

1. Mix all the pastry ingredients together. Spread the mixture at the bottom and sides of your dish.


2. Chop the rhubarb and strawberries into small pieces. Pour over the pastry, to fill the tart / pie. Sprinkle the sugar on top.


3. Mix the egg with the crème fraiche. Pour the mixture over the strawberries and rhubarb.


4. Heat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. Place the tart into the preheated oven, and bake for 30 minutes.


Easy chicken and rice

This easy and cheap chicken and rice dish is perfect for the days when you have a lot to get on with around the house and don’t want to spend a long time preparing and cooking food. This is all cooked in the same oven casserole dish, and all the ingredients are put in together at the same time. Thee cooking juices from the chicken, together with the spices, make the rice really tasty, with hardly any effort.

serves 4
4 chicken legs
2 dl uncooked rice grains
1 dl frozen peas
1 dl frozen sweetcorn
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1/2 pepper
1/2 leek, cut into rings
4 dl water
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper

1. Spread the uncooked rice at the bottom of your oven casserole dish. Add the peas and sweetcorn, and the prepared carrot and leek.


2. Place the chicken legs on top, and generously sprinkle the spices over the casserole dish. Add the water, and cover with foil.


3. Heat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. I like my chicken to have crispy skin, so I bake it first, then finish it off with a grill setting. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, and turn the grill to high setting. Remove the foil, and grill for 15 minutes.

Stuffed cabbage rolls

When my husband heard the word cabbage mentioned in the same sentence as dinner, I could see he was quite sceptical. I’m glad he did actually enjoy the end result though, and has eaten the leftovers for separate meals since too. There are two variations of this very Finnish food. Stuffed cabbage leaf rolls, and a casserole, where the ingredients are layered in an oven casserole dish, and baked in the oven. The rolls require more work , and the casserole is easier to make. I normally make the casserole, but wanted to try the rolls this time. You would normally use white cabbage, however I wanted to try whether savoy cabbage would work. In terms of flavor it was absolutely fine, however I think white cabbage leaves will work better for the rolls as the savoy cabbage leaves are more fragile, therefore more difficult to use.

1 white cabbage
salt, 2 tsp per 1 litre of water, used for cooking the cabbage
250g mince beef
1 egg
1 tsp
a splash of
white pepper
1/2 dl uncooked
rice, cook in 2 dl water
cooking liquid of the cabbage
2 dl cooking liquid of the cabbage
2 dl beef stock
2 tbsp plain flour

1. Use a knife to cut out the hard core of the cabbage. Boil in salted water until the leaves soften. Take the cabbage out of the water and drain. remove the leaves on at a time, then let cool. Shred / finely chopped the small inside leaves, as they will be used in the stuffing. Keep the cooking liquid.


2. Cook the rice, rinse with cold water and let drain. Mix the cooked rice, raw mince beef, finely chopped cabbage, spices and egg together. Add 1/2-1 dl of the cooking liquid.


3. Put a bit of the stuffing on the cabbage leaves. Turn the end of the leaf over the stuffing, then the sides, and roll.

4. Melt some butter in a pan, and fry the cabbage rolls until browned. Add some cooking liquid to the pan, cover with a lid a let cook for about 30 minutes.


5. Measure the cooking liquid and beef stock in a pan. Mix the flour separately with additional 1/2 dl of the cooking liquid, and stir until fully mixed with no lumps. Pour into the pan. Cook, stirring. Check taste and season if necessary.

6. The cabbage rolls are typically served with lingonberry jam. On this occasion, however, I’ve served them with my father’s homemade rowan berry jam.


Restaurant review: Pétrus

This delightful restaurant in the heart of Knightsbridge in London is a place I would like to visit more frequently, but as my husband and I tend to often decide on the day we’d like to go out for a meal, it’s not possible because Pétrus is most of the time fully booked. We have visited several times however (we can occasionally also be more organized), and it is one of my favourite places. The place exudes sophistication, and even in a full restaurant you feel like you have privacy. You are well looked after, and for ladies; your handbag will get it’s own stool too. Pétrus is very worthy of it’s one Michelin star with their consistently good cooking, however it’s not the best restaurant I’ve recently been. The staff were very friendly and attentive, and The Head Chef spared us a generous amount of  time in the kitchen, which was very nice.

The Head Chef Larry Jayasekara has an impressive background, having worked at several three Michelin star restaurants. Having started his career at Pétrus back in 2004, he re-joined in 2015. He was also awarded with National Chef of the Year in 2016, amongst other accolades he’s achieved.

I hadn’t decided at first whether I was going to review our dining experience or not, and decided to do it after our Amuse Bouche, so I don’t have a picture of them. They were however nice and tasty.

The Tasting Menu itself started with lime, sour cream, olive oil and sherry. This was like a palate cleanser, very fresh and light.


The scallop dish with cauliflower, capers and raisins that came next was very tasty, and the scallop was cooked well, however we thought perhaps just on the borderline whether it was cooked enough. We also thought it would’ve been useful to have a small spoon to eat the cauliflower foam. The capers and raisins were somehow incorporated to the dish in a way that you didn’t notice them (there were no physical bits of these), so the flavours, saltiness of capers and sweetness of raisins, had been managed really well.


The next dish of chicken, foie gras and black truffle was a clever,  playful dish of a mini chicken pie. My husband loved it. I thought I couldn’t really taste the black truffle much. The dish was eaten by hand, which wasn’t a problem to us, however I could imagine some people might not like it.

The butter test was passed without problems. If you’ve not read any of my previous reviews, there are not many things I hate more than hard butter that’s really difficult to spread, in a nice restaurant. The butter should be nice a fluffy, and most of all, soft. The butter sets the tone from then forward to the whole meal. The bread had an interesting sour taste to it – and I don’t mean a sourdough. My husband said it reminded him of Guinness. He is a Guinness lover, and also loved the bread. I don’t drink Guinness, and thought the bread was nice, but didn’t love it as much.

Next dish of crab agnolotti (stuffed pasta, like ravioli) with sweetcorn puree and red wine jus was very tasty. For me the pasta might have been just a tad too al dente, however for my husband, it was perfect. The red wine jus had perfect balance, and didn’t overpower the other flavours.


I’ve tried sweetbread a couple of times in the past, and I was yet to come across a nice one. I don’t think it’s necessarily that I don’t like the sweetbread itself, but it just haven’t been cooked in a way that would’ve sold it to me. So I was really looking forward to trying it in a place like this. The flavour combinations on the menu for this dish looked interesting: curried sweetbread, almond, black tea. The sweetbread gets poached in milk first, then pan fried and served with almond gazpacho. The dish itself was hiding behind a lettuce leaf. My husband loved the dish. I also liked the sweetbread, I only found something on the plate a little bit too salty (my husband didn’t). The texture of the sweetbread was firmer than of those I’ve had in the past, which made me conclude my biggest issue in the past has been the texture. The black tea wasn’t really coming through on the dish.


The next dish of Skrei cod with Oscietra caviar and yuzu (Japanese / Korean citrus fruit) was lovely, the fish was perfectly cooked.


Pigeon is one of my favourite fine dining foods, so I was pleased to see the Anjou pigeon with avocado, pistachio and Madeira jus coming up on the menu next. The whole dish was wonderful. The turnip, onion and avocado were lovely and very tasty accompaniments to the perfectly cooked, rich dark, pink coloured pigeon, and the pistachio crumb worked well.


This dessert, jelly and ice cream, is a kind of a ‘blast from the past’ kind of dessert. I believe it was a very British, and popular, dessert back in the 80’s. I have seen the revival for the dish recently, as it  seems to have appeared on the menu in a few places. Of course, this comeback version has seen a refined makeover. The ginger bread ice cream tasted amazing, really lovely. In fact, my husband said it was the best ice cream he’s ever had. We didn’t really notice the jelly element, and in fact thought first this was an additional palate cleanser dish. There was caramelised pineapple and basil, and the ice cream. Because of the style of the plate, you had to use your finger to assist getting things on the spoon.


I thought the execution of the coconut parfait was very clever. It looked like you were being served a half a coconut, however the white inside was the coconut parfait, and the brown outer shell was dark chocolate, with additional small chocolate pieces on the outside of the shell, making it look like a real, hairy coconut. It was served with rice pudding and a coconut and lime sorbet. My husband came up with a very good description: the dish was like a really nice Bounty.


Rating: ★★★★☆

Yakitori chicken skewers

The good thing about being open to experimenting with all kinds of cooking and holding a pretty varied basic stock of ingredients is that your options are limitless, with little prior planning required. I often give my husband options he can choose from, from the basic ingredients (ie chicken). After choosing the main ingredient, he might sometimes say he’d like it a certain way. So today’s chicken became Japanese style food, which was different to what I had originally though for the particular meat, however  I’m now pleased I went for this option, as I’ve not cooked this in a while. I think people might be put off cooking foods from different cultures because it seems to be the unknown. Some might be concerned that there are difficult cooking techniques involved, as well as strange ingredients. I would say that often this doesn’t need to be the case. For example, with this dish, making of the yakitori sauce is very easy, with only a few ingredients involved.

500g chicken breast
6 chestnut mushrooms, cut in quarters (or if using small button mushrooms, 24)
1 red or green pepper
1 onion
Yakitori sauce
150ml soy sauce (I use half and half of light and dark)
90g sugar
1 1/2 tbsp sake (or replace by dry white wine)
1 tbsp plain flour

1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for half an hour.

2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a pan. Bring to boil. Stir continuously, keeping an eye on it. Lower the temperature, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring. This will reduce the sauce by about a third, and make it thicker and syrupy. Break any lumps of flour during cooking.

3. Cut the chicken and vegetables into chunks, and thread on the skewers. Pre-heat the grill. Brush the skewers generously with the yakitori sauce (also the underside), and grill for 5 minutes. Brush all over with the sauce again, and grill for another 5 minutes.


4. Strain the liquid (the sauce and some cooking juices) through a sieve back to the pan, bring to boil, and serve as a dipping sauce.