Summer salads

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The scorchio weather that has reigned in London for the past few days has been amazing and is a true testament to the impact good weather has on mood and food. My local cafes are offering up the most delicious salads and plates of fresh seafood to entice the sun-loving clientele here in south-west London. So lucky to be part of a community that cares about quality, organic produce, great menus and happy staff. Here are a few of my local favorites in case you are finding yourself in my neck of the woods:

Green Swede Favorites

The Victoria Pub

Nestled in the leafy part of East Sheen village, this pub is sort of part of the furniture for anyone who’s got children in the local school. Whether you come in the morning with your laptop to do work whilst having one of their amazing coffees or hang out for lunch enjoying one of their lovely salads o this place is always welcoming and friendly. Particularly loved this Asian squid salad with bean shoots, edamame, chilli and peanuts. Gorgeously fresh and crunchy this will be a favorite for a while…

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Bhuti

Spa and wellness, vegan cafe, yoga and meditation centre located in central Richmond. Love, love, love this place and will choose to come here for a daily special salad or soup with a large glass of green juice. Their chefs do wonderful recipes and are very friendly and informative. Top place!

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Stockholm

On the slopes of East Sheen you’ll find Goran and Majvor’s lovely Swedish restaurant serving up super fresh daily specials and home-made cakes. With birch clad walls and shelves filled with Swedish delicacies this cosy, authentic restaurant will transport you back to Scandinavia in an instant. The super friendly staff will explain the menu and recommend local specialties such as Skagenrora, a super delicious and home-made dill and seafood concoction which is served on toast. A classic summer dish that brings emotive memories to any Swede living abroad.

The Robin Craft Cafe

Love this tiny cafe with a small outside space in the back.  Great coffees with different milks should you not want dairy. Their daily specials include Asian salads, spring rolls and gluten-free cakes. A lovely place to hang out and watch the world go on the slopes of East Sheen.

Yuma Sushi

Small sushi cafe in the heart of Richmond in one of the lovely alleys leading to Richmond Green. This place makes handmade sushi and salads as well as daily specials which are super fresh. Lovely seafood and seaweed salads as well as soups. Take away is a good option if weather is good – bring a blanket and sit on Richmond Green and enjoy people watching.

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Happy sunbathing! xx

Japanese Green Bean Salad

 

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This is a celebratory post in honour of the humble salad. Where I grew up, salads were certainly not what they are today. I have memories of bare leaves, mostly iceberg, thick dressings (think Rhode island or blue cheese) and the content of a can of sweet corn and button mushrooms, perhaps a few bits of cucumber too. Or the classic potato salad with more mayo than potato, with added bacon bits from a package. Sweden, where I grew up, was not known for its vegetable culture, that’s for sure.

These days, however, the salad is fast becoming a main event. Traditional pubs are now offering ‘super salads’ on their menu, which really are packed with super greens, seeds and nuts. And salad is a loose term. Leaves are no longer mandatory, instead all kinds of vegetables suffice – green beans, lentils, watercress, rocket, radish, chickpeas, lambs lettuce, beetroot, kale nuts, seeds and so on can be called a ‘salad’. For those tolerating dairy, feta, halloumi, goats cheese and mozzarella can be fab additions too. And what a lovely concept it is, to play with flavours, dressings, leaves, pulses and seeds until you find combinations that are uniquely your own. No rules!

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At a recent BBQ, the meat was a side and instead salads, all varieties, took centre stage at the table. It was a beautiful, varied spread. What are your favorite? I’d love to hear it. Currently, mine is a Japanese green bean salad with sesame dressing (see top). I could eat this every day at every meal. It goes with fish and meats but works beautifully on its own too.

Japanese Bean Salad with Sesame Dressing

Large packet of fine green beans, washed and topped

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1-2 tsp sugar/stevia/agave (depending on the sweetness you require)

Steam the green beans until just tender – you don’t want to overdo it. Put aside and cool slightly. In the meantime add sesame seeds to a small dry frying pan and toast until golden. Grind most of the toasted sesame seeds (not all) with a pestle until almost crushed and the aroma released. Mix tamari/soy with the sugar and add the sesame mixture and pour over the green beans. It may look like the dressing will not go far but keep turning the beans with a pair of tongs and eventually the beans will be beautifully coated in the dark, sweet soy mixture. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on top of the bean salad and serve immediately. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. Happy Wednesday! X