Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns

On our second day in Denmark, we had our hearts set on trying out the traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, so we scouted the city in search of Copenhagen best Smørrebrød.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Word on the street is that they’re to be found at Aamanns, a modern Danish open sandwich deli and restaurant.

So off to the western-most part of Copenhagen we trotted… to discover one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever set foot in!

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + WhiskyCopenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Miles away from your usual British ‘deli’, simply decorated yet refined and elegant, Aamanns is a textbook example of brilliant Nordic design.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

The natural, no-nonsense decor mirrors the restaurant’s philosophy of good, simple Danish cuisine perfectly.

If at night, the menu is more elaborate, at lunchtime, Aamanns is all about Smørrebrød, the traditional open sandwich on rye bread.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Starting things off the traditional way with Fried herring with smoke, elderflower vinegar, smoked cheese, radishes and hay ash.

A modern take on the classic, this first taste of Smørrebrød highlighted Aamanns’ beautiful, malty sourdough rye bread perfectly.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Cold smoked salmon and summer salad with dill, pickled cucumber, chives and wheat croutons was a more usual combination for our non-Nordic palates.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

A bit of a Nordic take on a lox & cream cheese bagel if you will, only far lighter and much more delicate than the New York original!

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

New potatoes with pepper mayonnaise, weeds, chives, leek ash and crisps.

With soft potatoes, crumbly rye bread, creamy mayo, crunchy pickled onion & crispy fried potato bits, the easy-to-overlook vegetarian option was an textural masterpiece, and also a very strong choice taste-wise (if you like celery, that is…).

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + WhiskyCopenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least, a much less vegetarian-friendly option: Beef Tartare with blackberries, tarragon emulsion, shallots and rye crumb.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

A little bit of a Franco-Nordic fusion, and a very successful one at that! And what a beauty!

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + WhiskyCopenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

The same could be sayed about dessert, a Strawberry eclair with vanilla cream and strawberry granita.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

The chou itself was okay, but the vibrant granite and the light-as-air vanilla cream were what truly made the dish.

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

… and made me struggle not to lick the plate clean!

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

All finished off the Danish way with a few cups of excellent strong black coffee.

All in all, muck to loaf at Aamans, which explains its popularity with locals and visitors alike, so make sure you book ahead as it’d really be a shame for you to miss out on the best (Copenhagen) thing since sliced bread!

AamannsØster Farimagsgade 10, 2100 København

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Copenhagen's best Smørrebrød at Aamanns | Cake + Whisky

Copenhagen best Smørrebrød at Aamanns

Geist, Copenhagen

One of the things I was most looking forward to trying in Copenhagen was the New Nordic cuisine the country has become famous for following the ‘Noma revolution’.

The trend has now extended far beyond Rene Redzepi acclaimed restaurant and many great little places have started focusing on slow, locally-sourced food & imaginative combinations of flavours.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

If you failed to secure a table at Noma, your next best option to experience this new way of gourmet thinking is Geist.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + WhiskyCreative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + WhiskyCreative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Minutes away from the ever-crowded harbour, at the back of a quiet courtyard, lined with dark wood, low lighting and gorgeous vintage glasses, Geist is an absolute gem of a restaurant.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + WhiskyCreative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

It’s busy and intimate, elegant and cosy, trendy and relaxed.

A whole world of oxymores, that shouldn’t work and yet, somehow, do.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

The menu, a sort of ‘a la carte’ tasting menu, works much in the same way.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

And choosing proved much easier with a couple of cocktails at hand.

Front: Lemon in lemon in lemon, a refreshing combination of gin, lemon juice, orange blossom water and other citrusy bits).

Back: Mezcal sour, a Mexican-inspired, smokey take on a classic.

Both perfectly mixed, very creative and very much at the image of the food to come.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Starting with Grilled avocado with green almonds and curry.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Creamy avocado, crunchy green almonds & the exotic yet subtle taste of curry powder…

Such a simple combination, yet one I had never tried before but will not make the mistake of forgetting now that I have!

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Beautiful, wafer-thin Tartar of Norway lobster with yuzu and hibiscus.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Silver onions with tamari, ginger, lime and sesame.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Crunchy, Asian-inspired, slightly pickle-y, they made for the perfect bridge-dish between the light, fresh options that preceeded and the deeper, more savoury ones to come.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

The first of which was the very essence of surf & turf: Scallops and chicken wings with browned butter.

Sweet and soft atop crunchy & umami and finger-licking good!

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

The last savoury dish was a bit more of a traditional one: Carrots with young pigeon and mustard.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Perfectly cooked, game-y pigeon breast, topped with a honey-mustard sauce and served alongside some sweet pickled carrots and roasted legs as a little snack on the side.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Needless to say, those disappeared before I was even done taking pictures of the food!

…and the rest didn’t last long either, which is just as well as it allowed us to move onto the best part of the meal.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m rather partial to pudding, but Geist took things to a whole new level of sweets’ paradise with some madly brilliant dishes.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Salted wasabi cream toffee.

Unexpected, challenging, and very much the sort of dish that makes your brain work as much as your tastebuds.

At first, you get hit by the powerful, almost mustard-y taste of wasabi and you go ‘na-ah, this really wasn’t meant to be’. But the next second, the sweet, creamy, slightly salted caramel takes the lead and before you know it, you’re going back for more…

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

The same was also true for our second dessert, Vanilla ice cream with blueberries and black olives.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Even though this time, the experience sort of went backward; things start in a much less aggressive way with the familiar notes of vanilla, followed by the slight acidity of the blueberries and right at the end a subtle yet unmistakable richness of black olives.

A beautiful combination indeed.

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

In true Danish fashion, we ended things up with coffee…

Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + WhiskyCreative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

… and some lemon cotton candy! Best petit four ever? I (and my inner 5-year-old) sure think so!

Absolutely wondaneful from the beginning ’til the end & definitely one for the Copenhagen bucket list!

Geist, Kongens Nytorv 8, 1050 København, Denmark

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Creative Danish Cuisine at Geist, Copenhagen | Cake + Whisky

Geist, Copenhagen

Autumnal Quinoa Salad

If I’m not all that happy to wave the Summer goodbye, I must admit there are things about Autumn I’m rather excited about.

Besides the fact that my workplace will FINALLY be turning the AC off and I won’t have to wear cashmere to avoid catching a cold in the middle of a heatwave, that is.

Butternut, Feta & Quinoa Salad | Cake + Whisky

Top of my list is the comeback of all sorts of winter squash onto the list of seasonal fruit & veggies!

Butternut, Feta & Quinoa Salad | Cake + Whisky

I love squashes & pumpkins of all kinds, and couldn’t help but pick up one of the first butternuts of the season at my local farmers’ market last week.

It almost ended up into my favourite soup, but a bit of fridge foraging later and this beautiful Autumnal Quinoa Salad was born…

Easy to make, healthy & super tasty, it’s the perfect dish for a light Autumn dinner or a colourful, vitamin-packed lunch!

Warm Butternut & Quinoa Salad | Cake + Whisky

Autumnal Quinoa Salad with Butternut, Feta & Pine Nuts (serves 2)

Ingredients: 

  • 200g quinoa (I got this pretty mixed-coloured one from Waitrose)
  • 300g butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 50g crumbled feta
  • 20g pine nuts
  • sea salt, cracked black pepper, oregano

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (gas mark 6).

2. In a bowl, mix the slices of butternut with the olive oil, a pinch of salt, some black pepper and a generous pinch of oregano. Spread onto an oven-safe dish and bake for 35-45 minutes (or until the edges start caramelising).

3. Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil, then throw in the quinoa and cook for about 20min, then drain.

4. In a dry pan, fry the pine nut kernels until golden.

5. Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl or pile them up onto two plates, top with a little more oregano and serve immediately.

This dish can also be eaten cold, which makes it a brilliant packed lunch option as well!

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Autumnal Quinoa Salad | Cake + Whisky

Autumnal Quinoa Salad

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Having spend a bit too much money in recent trips to Paris & Copenhagen (more on that coming this week on Cake + Whisky!), I decided to put myself on a spending ban for a little while.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

But looking’s not spending, and the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is the perfect excuse to indulge in a spot of window shopping.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Returning for its seventh year, the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project is an annual showcase of innovative architectural shop window display.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Some of Regent Street’s leading retailers, including Liberty, Kiel’s and Kate Spade, have collaborated with RIBA’s finest emerging and established RIBA Chartered architects to create a series of stunning windows with an architectural twist.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

This year’s windows reflect the versatility and ingenuity of the architects in creating new and fresh designs that build on each brand’s history and vision.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Liberty’s windows, designed by Architecture Social Club, tells a modern tale of the store’s founder’s story.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a play on the brand’s iconic floral patterns and a plethora of details, it’s one of the most stunning displays I’ve seen in years. and definitely worth taking a detour when you’re next in the area!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With a special appearance of Sir Arthur himself, his marble bust having been moved from its usual pedestal for the occasion!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Kate Spade’s display, imagined by Design Haus Liberty, is a play on the iconic golden dots & black and white stripes present in many of the brand’s collections.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

The perfect playful-yet-sophisticated background for the brand’s newest baby, the Cameron Street Byrdie bag!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Down the street, architecture firm Bureau de Change pays hommage to suit-and-shirt specialist brand Charles Tyrwhitt’s craftmanship.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Including wooden replicas of the brand’s patterns, the window is a salute to its expertise and width of product, ranging from shirts, to suits, ties, and even shoes!

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Across the street, Kiehl’s window is a work of love & patience.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

Dozens of handmade china ‘petals’, assembled to ressemble a quinoa husk (quinoa being the active ingredient in Kiehl’s new Night Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate).

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

A unique collaboration, and a lot of work indeed, but the result’s well worth the effort.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

And that from every possible angle…

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

And it would be rude not to pop in & say Hi to Mr Bones (and possibly try this revolutionary quinoa elixir for yourself when you’re at it!)

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

With ten unique windows blending contemporary architecture, innovative art & design practices, the RIBA Regent Street Window Project is a showcase for some of London’s finest emerging architects.

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + WhiskyRIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

RIBA Regent Street Windows installations will be on display from Monday, 5th September for a three week period until Sunday, 25th September, so that leaves you plenty of time to plan your own Christmas-window-shopping before Christmas tour!

Double brownie points if you manage to get some actual Christmas shopping done while you’re at it!

Visit architecture.com/windows for the full programme of events and a free walking map to download

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RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016 | Cake + Whisky

RIBA Regent Street Windows Project 2016

Jen Café, Chinatown

If you make abstraction of the tourists flocking to the area every day to take pictures in front of the majestic gates, Chinatown is one of London’s most intriguing area.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Home to a very close-circled community of Chinese immigrants, it’s a place like no other.

And an excellent spot for some of the city’s cheapest and most satisfying food.

Of course, not every place is good. Most of the restaurants in the area are really just tourist traps to be honest, but there are some real gems to be found if you know where to look.

You know how it goes… You dim sum, you loose some!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Ignore the ‘all you can eat’ buffets lining up Gerrard Street and head straight for Jen Café instead.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + WhiskyJen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

If you come early enough, you’ll be able to catch the house speciality, Beijing dumplings, being hand-folded in the restaurant’s window.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

And while I could have stood there all day, looking at the dough being cut, rolled, stuffed and folded into rows and rows of delicious little bundles of joy, I truly recommend you only do that for a while before getting a seat.

With only a handful of table & a strong popularity with those in the know, Jen Café fills up quickly!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Don’t spend too much time pondering the (many) options on the menu either.

The Beijing dumplings is what Jen Café’s known for, and they’re definitely what you should get!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Juicy, fragrant little parcels of pork mince with lemongrass & ginger wrapped in the thinest sheet of soft dough, they’re comfort food at its very best (especially when topped with a generous spoonful of chilli oil!).

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

And at £5 a plate (which will leave you pretty full if, like me, you’re a rather petite eater), it truly is one of the best value meals to be found in London.

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

But then, that’d mean you’d miss out on the pan-fried dumplings, and that would be a bit of a shame…

So better make sure you take a dumpling partner-in-crime with you!

Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Plus good company will only improve the warm feeling you’ll get from munching on dumplings, sipping on bubble tea & watching in awe as skilled cooks folded dozen after dozen of dumplings.

So if you’re ever looking for the spot in Chinatown to satisfy your dumplings cravings, Jen Café is the place.

Handmade, traditional, fresh and such good value, it’s all that and dim sum!

Jen Café4-8 Newport Pl, London WC2H 7JP

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Jen Café, Chinatown, London | Cake + Whisky

Jen Café, Chinatown

Blackberry Friands

The Summer-girl-at-heart side of me might be in full denial right now, but the truth is, Autumn is right around the corner.

You can feel it in the way the night comes back a little bit earlier with every day that passes, in the first squashes of the season popping up on the market stalls, and, more importantly, in the blackberry bushes bending under the weight of berries.

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Now, I’ve already confessed my (sort of wild) love of foraging, and as a result, blackberries have been gathering in my fridge over the past few weeks…

… only one thing to do. And that is, of course, cake! #whatelse

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Just as I was pondering what to do with all those berries, I remembered the delightful, light as a cloud little bundles of joy Chef Luc Morbihan baked for us as a part of our Lobster Masterclass in Saint Malo.

Blackberry friands it was, then!

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

The rich, nutty flavour of almonds and hazelnut butter balances the tanginess of the berries perfectly and makes it the perfect treat any time of the day!

Make a batch this weekend, I’m sure you’ll find them berry good!

Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Blackberry Friands (serves 6) – adapted from Michelin-starred chef Luc Morbihan’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50g of almond powder
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • 45g of plain white flour
  • 110g of egg white (about 3 medium eggs)
  • 75g of butter
  • a handful of blackberries

1. In a big bowl, combine the almond powder, caster sugar and flour.

2. Add the egg white.

3. Cook the butter in a really hot pan until it turns brown and smells nutty, then add it to the batter. Mix gently, then set aside for at least an hour in the fridge.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Butter the moulds, pour the batter into them, then pop some fruit on top of each of them.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (until the edges turn golden). Serve warm or cold, with a coulis or some ice cream.

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Blackberry Friands | Cake + Whisky

Blackberry Friands