A salty anchovy dish on a cold winter´s day...

Every year, when December rolls over into January I feel like celebrating.

After a whole month of feasts, dinner, friends and family, playing dress up at fancy evening parties, and perhaps with a bit too much bubbles. The brand new year gets kicked off with fireworks that light up the sky in a sparkly interpretation on the rainbow, and I secretly feel excited for what is perhaps the dullest month of the year.

January, filled with quiet days, rain, fog as thick as a home spun tweed, January feel like an abrupt hand break from the lovely December party that was filled with laughter, delicious food and the anticipation of both Christmas and New Year´s eve.

So every year, I decide to make January a months of celebrations, of celebrating the everyday, the way life is suddenly back to normal, with its rocking back and forth like a steady tide with routines and everyday tasks like doing the laundry, pottering in the garden, walking the ever excited Mr Whiskey in the afternoon, and perhaps contemplating mowing the lawn that is now turning into a jungle...

This is January, quiet, steady and grey, and the kitchen is the perfect refuge from what may on the outside seem like a month not worth spending too much time on.

If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that I've recently made a move to a home in the countryside, now, I did live in the countryside before as well, in a charming little thatched cottage, but I needed a home,with a larger garden for my vegetables to grow, for Mr Whiskey to roam free, and a slightly bigger kitchen for my many cooking endeavours.

So one day, in autumn I spotted this lovely home nestled on the outskirts of a forest, just a mere 7 min from where I used to live, but instead of waking up to the chatter of people on their way to the market in town, I would fall asleep to Mr Owl outside my bedroom window, and wake up to the ever so chatty birds in my garden.

And so it happened, that amidst travels to Venice, Milano and Ireland, I made plenty a phone call to my real estate broker in England, sobbed a bit from a balcony of a renaissance palace in Venice overlooking the grand canal, when I almost lost the house to someone else, and jumped of sheer joy when it was finally mine, after what felt like an eternity with uncertainty.

So here i am now, in my new home in the english countryside.

I don´t really do any detox, as many do in January... I simply reach for local cider instead of bubbles to accompany supper, and keep myself warm throughout the day with cups of fresh ginger and lemon tea with a humble spoonful of honey in.

Boxes of fresh and seasonal vegetables are dropped off on my doorstep that I eagerly rummage through each week to see what may be steamed, sautéed, baked or roasted for dinner that week, and this week it´s the unassuming potato, or spud, as the brits calls it.

This starchy little oval shaped root vegetable, is perfect as a side or as a main ingredient this time of the year.

My mother and father came to visit my new home last week, and we talked food, family recipes, wandered nostalgically down memory lane, and my beloved mother recalled a favourite potato dish that is perfectly salty and heartwarming this time of year, that originates in Sweden, where our family hails from.

Jansons fristelse, or "Janson´s temptation" may sound more like a naughty and sweet dessert, rather than a salty baked potato dish, but bear with me.

This dish is just as lovely as a wee starter served in individual ramekins, as it is served for lunch on a Sunday with a side of local cider and fresh crusty bread from your neighbour baker...

This is just the kind of Scandinavian comfort food that I've longed for, as a wee celebratory Sunday lunch for my new home here in the english countryside, and here´s my version of it.

Buon Appetito!

Jansons´s Fristelse


8 Medium size potatoes 

2 medium yellow onions

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (as this dish is quite salty as it is)

2,5 dl double cream

A pinch of Nutmeg

A gentle sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan

Ocean salt

Freshly ground pepper

Anchovies to decorate generously on top of the dish.



Preheat the oven to 200 C

Peel the potato and then shred them on a grater.

Cut the onions in half, then cut think half rings.

Heat a medium sauce pan, and gently soften the onions in a little know of butter.

Butter a medium sized baking dish.


Cover the bottom of the baking dish in one layer of grated potatoes.

Add another thin layer of onions.

Season gently with sea salt, but you can be more generous with the pepper.

Add a few small butter knobs.

Then repeat the above steps, potatoes, onions, season, butter and then potatoes again on top.

Mix  a the pinch of nutmeg in with the double cream and pour over the dish, grate a thin payer or parmesan cheese,  before covering the top with anchovies in a pattern you like.

Put in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are completely soft, and the top has a light golden crust.


Serve warm with a wee side salad of your choice and a chilled bottle of local cider.

Sultry dark chocolate cake with blackberries...

I live in a sleepy town that if you were´t specifically headed for it, you could easily miss it. Not even the train has a station here, and even though there are buses that connect us with the outside world, the shire is quite the quaint and peaceful little place, where time seems to stand still, and non us really mind at all.

If anything, living in a place where the world seem a million miles away, and where time has a distinct slower beat, only makes me treasure this tiny part of the world even more.

One cold and foggy autumn on the brink of winter´s day about two years ago, I arrived by taxi as the day drifted into evening, and the car came to a stop outside a wee thatched cottage, on the outskirts of town.

My heart skipped a beat, and I instantly knew this was my new home.

I felt I belonged there inside those thick stone walls, that weary yet strong hands had built over 200 years earlier.

So I began unpacking my new life, lit the grand fireplace on most evening to stay warm, and went for long wanders in the surrounding hills to introduce myself to this new land, and home.

I must admit, that even if my wanders were filled with stunning vistas of green rolling hills, history filled wonky cottages, and fern and moss overgrown forests, I quickly adapted to the afternoon tea ritual so promptly followed by many of this towns inhabitants. And began snuggling up inside teahouses around town, more often than not.

I´d wile the afternoon hours away with a pot of tea and a slice of cake. With each sip I felt like my mind and heart settled in more and more, and with each sweet bite, my palate developed a pinch for this newfound cake and scone world.

Afternoon tea is possible my favourite ritual, and I take it quite seriously, stopping the world with an hour of pure cake and tea heaven each day, where letters are written and books are read.

This is my hour, my hour to reflect, and to breathe.

Outside stack of wood are now piled high to keep the old fireplace going all winter long, sending comforting smoke signals to all the other cottages in the shire, letting them know I´m home.

It´s one of the most comforting things in the world, knowing that even if the heat of the summer has left, and cooler winds sweep across the landscape outside, fireplaces all across town are lit up at night to keep us toasty and warm, much like a cup of tea does during the day...

a cup of tea upon arrival at a country house is a thing which I, as a rule, in particularly enjoy. I like crawling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere or leisured coziness
— P.G. Woodhouse

Although I definitely have my favourite cake or two, that I enjoy more often than not with my afternoon tea, there something to be said about a little seasonal change to my cake indulgence.

The hedges all over town are humbled to the point of breaking under the weight of the luscious and ripe blackberries that, at this time of the year, can be used in pretty much every meal of the day.

I sprinkle them on my warm porridge in the morning, make crumble and jam for the afternoon, and sauces for supper, but when made into a ganache, it instantly become best friends with chocolate.

Both so dark and sultry in colour and taste, they are practically begging to be mixed, folded and slathered in layers on top of each other, and that is precisely what I did for the cake inspired by this time of the year.

The recipe is an adapted version of Nigella Lawson´s "Devil Chocolate cake" and not that any of her recipes need to be altered one bit, I still took the liberty to tweak it here and there, and add my blackberry and balsamic ganache into the mix. 

And please don't be intimidated by the seemingly long ingredients list, theres a lot of the same ingredients in both the cake and the frosting, and you probably have most of it in your pantry already...


Sultry chocolate cake with blackberry ganache




60g Organic cocoa powder

100g Dark muscovado sugar

2,5 dl Boiling water

125g Salted butter and some for greasing

150g Caster sugar

225g All purpose flour

½ tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

One handful of ripe blackberries for decoration

2 tsp Vanilla syrup

2 Organic free range eggs, room temperature



125 boiling water

20g dark muscovado sugar

150g salted butter

200 g milk chocolate

100 g dark chocolate

Pinch of freshly ground pepper


Blackberry Ganache

3dl blackberries

    6 tbsp sugar

    4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    3 tbsp lemon juice



Begin with making the frosting and the ganache so that they have time to cool while you bake the cake.

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.

For the frosting:

In a pan on medium heat melt the butter in the water, and then add the chocolate, breaking it into bite size pieces so they melt faster.

Swirl the pan around while the chocolate melts, then drip in the vanilla syrup and with great gusto mix it all together to a luscious and glossy mixture, before setting it aside to cool.

For the ganache:

In a saucepan over low heat combine the blackberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Let it simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes, then set it aside to cool.

I like to mash the blackberries at bit with the back of a spoon at this point to really combine it all and make it into one syrupy and soft sauce.

Once cooled it´s ready to be used.

For the cake:

Mix together in a bowl the cocoa powder and muscovado sugar with the boiling water. 

I like to sift the cocoa as I mix it in so as to avoid lumps in the batter.

In another bowl mix room temperature butter with sugar to a fluffy almost white mixture, feel free to ue and hand mixer as your arms will ache for days attempting this with bare muscle power.

Then whisk in one egg at the time.

I like mixing the flour and baking soda and baking powder together first and then sifting and folding it into the sugar and butter batter, so as to keep as much fluff as possible.

Then fold in the cocoa mixture folding to keep the air in.

Set aside.

Grease two cake tins with butter making sure you cover every nook, before dividing the batter between the two cake tins.

Pop them in the middle of the oven, till a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 min depending on the oven.

Let the cake tins rest on a rack for 5 min before removing the cakes, and leaving them for another 10 min to cool down.

On a serving tray plonk the first cake down, then slather on the first chocolate frosting layer, keeping enough to cover the top and sides of the cake once you´ve put the top layer on.

Follow up by generously spreading on top of the frosting, a layer of blackberry ganache. 

Plonk the top layer of cake on, and get down with the frosting, decorating the cake as beautiful or rustic as you want with the remaining chocolate frosting, before adding a handful of fresh blackberries to the top like a wee seasonal crown.

Sprinkle over a careful dusting of cocoa powder, and serve with a warm cup of tea, or a cooling glass of slow gin, as shown in the firs picture..


Norwegian "Rømmegrøt", a delighfully smooth sour cream porridge...

The season has changed, the leaves are beginning to blush ever so slightly, and the temperature has cooled enough for me to begin ligthing the fireplace, and I couldn't be happier.

If I was a season, I´d be autumn.

My tweed jackets are all dusted and hanging on little hooks above the wellies in the hallway, which one of course can never get enough of, wellies or tweed, I mean this is England after all.

Almost every morning at this time of the year opens its daily chapter with a dash of fog, the kind that brings a blanket of cool and magic over the green rolling landscape.

Now, don't get me wrong, the sun makes me ever so delighted, as its rays gently caress my cheeks and warm my back, but the fog brings with it that dash of fairytale, that perhaps the sun never quite does in the same way.

Besides, as the temperatures cool down, the warmth in the cottage is cracked up, fireplace roaring, something baking in the oven and bubbling away on the stove.

Chimneys all over the countryside let out little puffs of smoke as fireplace after fireplace is being put back into use after a long season of slumber.

Autumn is all about comfort food, and I long for porridges and stews from my childhood, especially this one type of sour cream silky smooth porridge my beloved mother would make.

Now it´s traditionally a summer dish, served with slices of salt cured meat and flatbread with butter, but on a day like today, where the trees are shaking nervously as the seasons pass from one to another, not knowing whether they should hold on tight to their leaves or let them go with the wind, I too feel like letting go slightly, at least as far as tradition is concerned, and snuggle up in front of the fireplace with a bowl of my mother´s famous sour cream porridge.

It may sound a bit odd, and trust me, every time I make this abroad for friends, they always have a look of someone a bit concerned that I perhaps got double cream mixed up with sour cream,  not being a native english speaker and all...but I can assure you it´s sour cream we´re looking for when shopping for ingredients to make this porridge.

It´s such a silky savoury treat, quick to make make, but it does require a little time hovering over the stove stirring the porridge into smooth perfection, no lumps in sight. 

I suggest light the fireplace, put on your favourite cooking in the kitchen soundtrack, and take this opportunity to stir as your chance to ponder what to have for dessert.

While stirring, don't be disappointed if you eagerly have a taste of the porridge, and it tastes a bit sad. It all comes together in the end, trust me, and the porridge need to boil for the flour to melt away its dusty flavour, the salt is an important bridge ingredient, but what really makes the porridge come alive is when the sugar and cinnamon is generously sprinkled on top each bowl of porridge, and a golden butter eye melt ever so seductingly in the middle, creating little steams of yellow goodness to adorn the top layer as you serve it.

As they say, the devil is in the details...;)

"Norwegian Rømme grøt"

(serves 4-6 people)



3 dl Sour cream

3,5 dl all purpose flour

6 dl whole milk

2ts ocean salt

Salted butter





tirring is the key word here, and I cannot emphasise this enough, stir the whole time, and when you do you´ll have the smoothest porridge, just the way my mother makes it on the stove in her Norwegian fjord island kitchen

Pour the sorcery in to a large pan and heat is slowly while stirring constantly over medium to low heat.

ou don't want it to boil as the butter will separate and your porridge will become oily.

Aftern a minute as the sour cream has "melted" in the pan, sprinkle in 2 dl of the flour just a little bit at the time and mix evenly before adding more.

At this point your porridge should be quite thick, so here you can begin interchanging adding a bit of milk, mix till smooth and then some more flour till smooth, all until its all mixed in.

Add the salt.

Keep stirring:) 

Allow the porridge to come to a boil and let it boil for a 2-3 minutes.

It should now have a silky smooth and quite thick consistency and is ready to serve.

Ladle up a bowl for each of your dinner guests, hover this is just as great for a comfort lunch as well.

Sprinkel generously over each bowl of porridge cinnamon and sugar, and put a dollop of salted butter in the middle.

he butter eye melt ever so slowly creating little salty yellow streets that mixes to teasingly with the warm cinnamon and sugar, and it is in this moment the porridge come s alive.

Traditionally served with "rød saft" which is a type of red strawberry lemonade.

Happy porridge making!

Roast chicken with plums on a foggy summer´s day...

In the middle of summer, on a muggy kinda of day, where the fog lays like a thick blanket, I always feel like lighting the fireplace in my wee cottage, even it it´s in the middle of summer. And I´ll admit, for days like this, I long a bit for autumn...

Not that I want summer to give heed for a cooler autumn, but I yearn for a reason to curl up inside with a blanket, a good book, with the fireplace crackling like a tender love song from a friend in the distance, and a comforting meal roasting in the oven.

Foggy days are the best days to go shopping in my village for ingredients to cook up that comforting meal, simply because its all so magical with its thatched cottages, cobblestoned streets, old churches and old school pubs.

My greengrocer´s lovely boutique, is always filled to the brim with fresh produce, both from local farmers and a wee bit more far flung places like Spain and Italy, and he always, almost intuitively knows what I´m looking for, or perhaps he takes the opportunity to slightly guide my impressionable soul towards the produce he wants sold...either way, as I entered he held up a basket with ripe and juicy red plums, that I, of course, simply couldn't resist.

"Let´s have 10 plums", I suggested, and he simply looked at me with his hands resting on his hips, "alright let´s have 20 plums", I said shyly smiling, before he got in there with both hands and happily filled my shopping tote up with these deliciously red little treats.

Of course these juicy round fruits taste like heaven, but I also adore their deep ruby like colour, that makes the sauce that I had in mind for my comfort meal that day, more like a sweet deep purple, the yummiest colour.

This is one of the many reasons I adore living in the countryside. The fresh produce, the small shops and their owners that now you by name, and the space, the green rolling hills in which I daily find such inspiration, are the perfect backdrop for my cooking.

Down through narrow streets I made my way, and payed my local butcher, who kindly gave me a few marrow bones for the Mr Whiskey, and a plump free range and organic chicken to roast up, a visit. He is such a character, and I remember well the very first time I stepped inside his shop when I first moved to the countryside.

I don't remember what I was planning on cooking that day, but he came to with a big piece of meat, took one good look at me as he placed it on the scale and said... "You would know what to do with this piece of meat would you, my love..?"

I had to smile.

Perhaps he mistook my look of sheer joy at the sight of the fine piece of meat for bewilderment at what to do with it...so I just smiled, which usually keeps my mouth out of trouble...

Foggy days are ever so magical.

On foggy summer days, which simply are some of my favourite days, as the air is warm and the landscape is wrapped in the lovelies veil of a fairytale, nothing really beats nestling up inside a wee tea room or local pub for a warming little afternoon tea with cake.

It´s become a ritual really, to have cake on the first day of the week, foggy or not, to sort of start it off on the right kinda foot, if you know what I mean...

Those lovely little rituals that breaks up the everyday filled with routines and chores, are like sprinkles on a cake. 

So which a bursting tote, filled to the brim with plums, chicken, herbs and potatoes, I walked passed the old church in my village and took a seat by the window at a local pub for a warm afternoon tea, with a guilt free side of the loveliest sticky toffee pudding you have ever tasted...i simply must persuade the cook to share the recipe with me. 

But that is for another day...


Plum roast chicken with basil and lemon

(for 4 people)

Prep time: 15 min

Cooking time: ca 1 hour and 10 min


One free range organic chicken of ca 500g

About 6 medium sized red or purple plums.

A handful of fresh basil

1 Lemon

4 cloves of garlic

ca 75g of unsalted butter



A dash of fresh chives (optional)

Ocean salt 

Freshly ground pepper



Preheat the oven to 200 C

I usually don't rinse the chicken in cold water, put rather pat it dry with a kitchen towel. 

I also make sure to take it out of the fridge about 30 min before I´ll begin preparing it in order for the chicken to rest before hitting the oven. At this time I also take out the needed butter for it to soften a bit.

After about 30 min I gently stuff with my fingers, butter that is at room temperature, right underneath the skin on the back of the chicken.

(If you´re uncertain how to do this, go here to watch a tutorial, however feel free to butter first and season after, I find that is much less of a mess.)

Butter a medium sized pie dish with ca 3 cm edge, but you can use any roasting tray as long as there are about 3cm walls/edges to your tray to keep all the juices in, as you roast the chicken and the plums.

I usually butter the tray first and then put the whole chicken in with its backside up.

Feel free not to butter the dish, I however, I am quite the butter fiend, and I find that is simply makes the chicken more delicious...

When you´ve gently stuffed the butter underneath the chicken skin and evenly massaged it out to cover the whole back and legs, I do the same on the outside of the chicken.

I gently massage butter at room temperature all over its back, and crooks and crannies, leaving some butter knobs in little folds and nooks, before generously seasoning with ocean salt and freshly ground pepper.

Slice up a lemon into four wedges, and leave two in the carcass with a handful of fresh basil, and a few gently crushed garlic cloves with the skin on.

Around the chicken arrange the pitted and halved plums.

With the back of your hand or a knife, gently crush a few more garlic cloves with their skin on, and tuck in with the plums.

Your chicken is now ready to roast!

Roast it for about 45 min in the middle of the oven on 200 c before lowering the heat to 180 c for the remaining 30 min.

Total time in the oven is about: 1 hour and 15 min, or until the chicken has a deep and golden glow.

The plums will bubble away, and lovingly mix in with the juices from the chicken as it roasts. Every ingredients will caramelise, melt, bubble and create the most aromatic sauce for which to serve with your chicken later.

All you need to do now is to put yourself a lovely red, perhaps a Melbac, enjoy some slices of a great Italian salami, and set the table.

I usually serve this chicken with new potatoes with the skin on, scrubbed and washed, then boiled in salt water for about 20 min.

When ready bash them a few times in the pot with the lid on, butter a wee baking tray, and throw them in with a generous know of butter, and season with salt. Put in the oven for about 5 min with your chicken.

Serve warm with some fresh chives finely cut on top.


Ps: If you only are one or two people, roast this chicken up anyway, and make a lovely plum and basil  chicken ragu with pappardelle with the left overs, recipe coming up next.


Wild Garlic and an ode to the rain...

People often wonder why I moved to England, seeing as I´m born in Norway.

With eyes wide open they cannot seem to understand the words coming out of my mouth when I say I fell in love with the green rolling hills, the fog and the rain...


They utter completely bewildered.

Precisely, I say with a wry smile...

You see, that is mostly right, I do with all my heart adore the sound of rain, the smell after it has poured down for hours, the feeling of coolness in the air as it gently drizzles from the sky, and the wet mist that like beautiful Egyptian cotton softly rests on the green landscape below.

I  grew up in Norway, spent my teenage years travelling and living in Switzerland, France and Tokyo. Studied fashion design in Milano, then spent some time in Stockholm before spreading my wings and moving to the Dominican Republic in the caribbean. I studied Middle eastern studies, arabic hebrew and international relations in Malta and in the Us, before ending my "world tour" in San Francisco before returning to Norway, and wondering where I would fit in in this wonderfully big and beautiful world.

And so, while thinking of all the places I´d lived, I one day saw this little whitewashed cottage safely tucked inside a white picket fence, with a thatched roof and a hobbit entrance... and I knew this was my home...

I simply fell in love...

Have you ever had that very same feeling, that you just "know", and when you do there´s no need to ask any more questions, so you simply act... you sign the contract, get the keys and move in, trusting that time will answer all the why´s...

As the rain falls from the english sky, from gentle drizzle to wild storms that threaten to pull up by the root the ancient trees around my cottage, I feel more and more at home in this wet and foggy part of the world. 

It´s like it just fits, like a fine glove in the perfect size for your hands, or a shoe that doesn't knead your feet into a sore lump by the end of a wander in the woods, but rather hugs them and brings warmth and comfort with every step.

Theres also something to be said about the utter bliss of snuggling up inside when the clouds turn bleak and grey.

To simply sit there with a cup of tea or rather in the evening, a little glass of wine, waiting for the clouds to deliver as promised the refreshing rain, that encourages every garden to become a jungle in a matter of days.

I often celebrate these evening, and always feel like a treat is in order.

I´m partial to a cake with my afternoon tea, however with that glass of wine in the evening, it´s savoury treat I crave.

At 15 and 16 years of age, I spent my summers in Switzerland working on my german, where at every breakfast I would wander down to a table set for one with jams, honey, bread, tea and cheeses, one of the cheese was the classic Boursin with garlic and herbs.

The first few days I stuck to my bread with butter and honey, but then one day I reached across the table and had my very first encounter with the savoury cheese that instantly brought back memories of my beloved mother´s garden in Norway filled to the brim with her love for herbs.


Perhaps it was my young impressionable soul, or perhaps it was love at first bite, the very same way, I fell in love with my cottage, but ever since,  when feeling like a treat, I reach for that Boursin cheese in the store and carry it home the way one would with something a wee bit precious.

These days, ever since the wild garlic blossomed and filled the forest with that distinctive fragrance of garlic, I´ve cooked with it like there was no tomorrow, and in a moment of decadence, I reached for the cheese, a handful of wild garlic, created a savoury treat to go with that very glass of white cooling in the fridge.

It´s a savoury madeleine of sorts, with hints of the forest that goes perfectly well with a white wine with some sweet notes and on the not too dry side of things.

So when it rains, theres no need to go blue, just get baking, light the fire and lean back with that glass of wine.

And now that I´ve found my home in the green english countryside, if you pass by on a particularly grey evening, my thatched cottage will be the one with little smoke puffs coming out of the chimney, like smoke from the old steam trains, and with a warm glow from the fireplace beaming from its windows.

Savory wild garlic Madeleines


 45g of  all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

75g Boursin garlic and herbs or boursin pepper for a bit more bite.

50g freshly grated Gruyere

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh wild garlic (or chives)

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

A tiny bit of milk if the dough is too dry.




Preheat your oven to 425℉.

Butter your madeleine pan even if it's already labeled as nonstick.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, keeping the Gruyere and wild garlic till it´s all blended well, then add and combine till you have a smooth and creamy dough.

With two spoons, spoon the batter onto the madeleine molds and bake in the center rack of your oven for about 10-12 minutes or until firm and golden.

Beware they go from light golden, which is what you want, to dark brown in seconds, so keep an eye out.

Remove from oven when done, and cool them for a few minutes before serving on a rack.

Serve warm with a glass of wine.

                A opinions, stories and recipes above are my own, made in collaboration with Boursin.                 To enter their competition in winning a dinner for two at the Le Gavroche, click here.

                A opinions, stories and recipes above are my own, made in collaboration with Boursin.

                To enter their competition in winning a dinner for two at the Le Gavroche, click here.

Bon appetito!

A Tuscan artist villa, and prosecco for breakfast...

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my beloved Italy.

Ever since I studied Fashion design in Milano at the age of 19, and Art History and Caravaggio in Rome a few years later. It´s become my second home that I return to again and again.

This time around a wee trip to Tuscany, or paradise, either name fits, at least that´s what our driver told us as he skilfully manoeuvred the car through quaint little mountaintop villages and ridge lines, before turning onto an unassuming pathway of sorts, that eventually led us to the most charming retreat.

I´m not much of a resort traveller, I enjoy the more private and intimate, perhaps with a dash of old school history and with a bit of soul.

So I was pleasantly surprised at how tucked away and intimate it felt to stay at the lovely Villa Lena in the heart of Tuscany. A lovely hotel with soul.

Now, this place isn't just another Tuscan Villa, and perhaps that´s why I felt so at home there, as their main villa, a family house of sorts was filled to the brim with creatives, artists in residence that stay for a number of weeks or months to create, freely, from the heart however they feel inspired too.

They all have studios down a sandy path and to the right of an olive grove, but they all live together like one big family in the old villa.

So as a guest at the hotelI, with a beautiful room above the converted old stable, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative buzz that practically filled the air we breathed. 

In the gentle heat of a Tuscan spring on the verge of summer, I got up early and went to bed late, wandering slowly through the villa, and its surroundings, taking it all in, breathing deep and recharging.

Early one morning after an enchanting house concert the night before by one of the artists in residence the musician..... I raised with the sun, and accompanied only by a few birds singing in "Italian", I ended up taking a seat in the villa´s organic garden dreaming of my own garden, that one day hopefully will look a little like this one.

Beautifully laid-back, yet organised,  and filled to he brim with fresh vegetables that my mind translated into little dishes, the ones casually spread out on a table with drink before dinner with friends on a warm summers day...

And luckily, I found a kindred spirit that morning.

In chic leather sandals, that I secretly coveted, Alexis Delaney, the chef in residence from New York, greeted me warmly and walked me through the villa´s garden, talked about the slow food movement, and we may or may not have bonded over our love fore the brilliant Alice Waters and breton striped tops.

As the sun rose and morning began nibbling on noon, she heard my belly rumble a bit, as I had skipped breakfast for a wee hike to the top of the mountain on the estate that morning, and was indeed ripe for a nibble or two.

I followed her around the garden and we picked the loveliest butter yellow zucchini flowers, ready to be deep fried and dipped in an anchovy mayonnaise with a naughty little side of Prosecco.

I could only but smile as here was a woman after mine own heart

So after a few skilful minutes in the Villa´s restaurant kitchen over a refreshing pitcher of mint and cucumber water, Alexi mixed together a Prosecco batter for the zucchini flowers.

«Remember», she told me and lifted her gaze from the batter mixing, «without a bit of fizz, the batter doesn't get as airy and crisp».

I took mental notes, and thought to myself that a quality bottle of a local Prosecco was as good of a fizz as any.

With a bottle of the remaining Prosecco. some glasses, and the fried treat in hand we made our way to the villa´s backyard «family» table, took a seat and talked food like there was no tomorrow.

Luckily Alexis was willing to share her recipe with me, so here it is, in my case breakfast, but probably more suited as a wee apritivo snack, a starter or as a treat on its own eaten in the garden with dear friends as the sun sets.

It´s always such a treat to meet people and especially women who follow their own dreams, who keep walking and who make their dreams come true, without sounding too cheesy, one deep fried zucchini flower at a time, or in the owner of Villa Lena´s case, one artist in residence at the time.

What I think inspires me the most in addition to their vision, is their passionate faith in their dreams, the diligent and patient work in making  their dreams come true, and to never give up.

As I sit here in my wee english cottage writing this post, I feel excited about the future and ready to leap, once again, out of that comfort zone and into the unknown… 

Here´s to following ones dreams!

Don't forget to serve up the remaining precious drops of Prosecco with the zucchini flowers.

Chin, chin..!

Fried Zucchini Blossoms:


Vegetable oil for frying

Up to 2 dozen Zucchini blossoms, ideally with tiny zucchini attached

80 g flour 

60 g rice flour

325 ml prosecco 

sea salt 


Gently wash blossoms and baby zucchini in a bowl of water and remove to a towel to dry. Fill a pot with vegetable oil no higher than halfway, or you run the risk of boiling over. Heat the oil until a deep fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Prepare batter by whisking both flours and prosecco until just barely combined. Do not over mix. Working in batches of four or five, dip blossoms in batter until evenly coated and lay them in the oil. Avoid over crowding the pan. After a minute, flip the blossoms once with a slotted spoon, fry another minute, and remove to a paper towel. They should take no more than 2-3 minutes, and should be a golden brown. Season liberally with good sea salt and enjoy as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Serve with anchovy mayonnaise and a small glass of prosecco! 


Anchovy Mayonnaise:


1 egg yolk 

1 T lemon juice

3/4 c. vegetable oil 

1/4 c. olive oil 

1 clove garlic 

4 anchovy filets 

salt to taste 


Whisk egg yolk and lemon juice until light in color. Very slowly, drop by drop, stream in first the vegetable oil and then the olive oil. Pound the clove of garlic and the anchovy filets in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Whisk into the mayonnaise, let stand for one minute and then check the seasoning, adding a pinch of salt if needed.