An alternative name for this post could well be “We came, we ate, we listened/chatted/enjoyed!”, as this pretty much sums up my experience of meeting for the first time both the couple behind the incomparable Green Kitchen Stories, David and Luise, and Sara, the bento design queen of London (known in blog & Instagram circles as shisodelicious).
After leaving baby Oliver in capable hands (thanks mama!) and making hasty dash for the subway, I had time to gather my thoughts and check my email on the train. I happened to receive some amazing news, right as my train approached Mariatorget and, four stations later, I was still in mild shock and operating on a heightened level of emotion as I stepped out of the subway station and onto Sveavägen. Having very recently dined at Urban Deli Sveavägen with some girlfriends, I knew the layout and went to find Sara who had texted me “table by the window”. After meeting, hugging, expressing disbelief in meeting and getting thoroughly engrossed in conversation immediately, we realised the event was already kicking off in an adjacent area of the dining room. We grabbed a little table for two (and I can recommend the booth-style seats for leisurely meals and long conversations!), and looked on happily as David and gorgeously radiant, heavily pregnant Luise served up three smoothies from their latest book offering, Green Kitchen Smoothies.
One of the three we tasted was the Smoothie with Fennel & Super Berries (page 47 of the book), there was a refreshing green smoothie (Grönt och Gott) and one featuring passionfruit known as Tropicalia (which I later recreated at home, as pictured below), quite possibly my favourite on account of the taste nostalgia factor. People mingled and chatted casually, returning to the smoothie station at leisure to taste test the next concoction, flick through the book (which was available to purchase at a special price) or grab an appetiser of farinata with roasted grape and ricotta.
After all attendees had made their way to the dining tables, David and Luise did a short presentation about who they are, their food philosophy and what they have been working on project-wise. Aspects of what they shared I could relate to very much, both as a mother of three and also as someone who co-parents a family in which all members eat slightly differently. Their focus on real food and bio-individuality resonates strongly with me and it was great to hear their balanced perspective on things both wellness and family-related.
The first course of tacos with lentils and strawberries was light, refreshing and tasty without being heavy on spice. As one of those unfortunate souls who cannot abide coriander in most instances, I found myself pleasantly surprised that the coriander element to the dish did nothing to spoil the eating experience for me. We bemoaned the terrible food photography lighting conditions, but were too pleased with everything else to take the matter seriously. In fact we laughed, imagining ourselves in Instagram capture parody mode. Somewhere around this point in the evening, Sara and I delved into conversational subject matter that literally had me in tears (mostly of gratitude). Right on mascara-smudged cue, David popped by for a friendly chat. He was seated with us as our main courses of creamy polenta, mushrooms and artichoke arrived. He expressed surprised amusement at the cheese portion sizes (on the generous side, to be sure!) and talked with us about his collaborative involvement with the Urban Deli group and the interesting lessons he and Luise have learned about catering restaurant/deli-style as a result.
Our conversation was relaxed and interesting. David touched on the recent humanitarian assignment he found himself on when in Turkey recently, meeting with war-affected families and photo documenting the lives of Syrian refugees as part of an initiative by The United Nations World Food Programme and the European Commission. He was still emotionally landing (after having just physically landed back in Sweden) and remarked with a sincere and reflective expression that it was “… hard to care about avocado toast when you’ve just experienced such things”.
Wishing us bon appétit, David left us to tuck into our main courses and joined some other diners at a neighbouring table. I particularly enjoyed the mushroom component to the main course dish and the texture of the polenta and, as delicious as it all was, I couldn’t possibly manage the amount of cheese that came with it (which, David assured us, was intended to be rather more modest and unassuming).
Coffee was offered and then a light dessert of individual apple pie parfaits was served. Comprised of sautéed apple, granola-esque crumble and vanilla spiked yogurt smoothie, it was a lovely sweet – but not-too-sweet – way to round off the meal. Books were signed, thank you’s were said and more chats were had with both David and Luise. Sara and I stayed a little while longer, grateful for the opportunity to speak to each other in person (as opposed to via Instagram DM) and then we parted on Sveavägen, me to head home to my little tribe and Sara to visit with her mother before jetting back to the UK the following day.
Here’s hoping that in the not-too-distant future there will be a Green Kitchen publicly serving up wholesome veggie delights and, in the meantime, I am sure everyone reading this joins me in wishing Luise a wonderful birth experience and the entire family all the best as they welcome the lovely new arrival.
And if you happen to be headed London-way, keep an eye out for Sara’s foodie happenings. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch her alongside some rather illustrious collaborators (including Bettina’s Kitchen) at pop-up food events about town.
❤ from decidedly autumnal Stockholm,
*Tips: The recipe for Tropicalia (that I recreated as pictured above) can be found page 50 of Green Kitchen Smoothies and the Apple Pie in a Jar that was our dessert can be found on page 135.