Feel Good Friday – 30 March 2012

Three things that put a smile on my face this week:

Beating DD10 at Club Penguin card Jitsu… ;o)

We have a new family ‘sport” – darts!


Skinny dipping at the beach where the sand is no longer ‘crunchy’ underfoot because of frost but – wait for it – very, very, very slightly warm! 🙂

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Menu plan nr.101 – Thursday 29 March 2012

Can I have a drumroll, please?  I’m proud to report – and quite staggered to discover – that this is my 101th menu plan.   Woo hoo!  Three cheers for Flylady!  I guess I’ve finally got that Flylady habit down pat?!  A celebration is most certainly in order but, as I try not to drink alcohol from Sunday to Thursday, I shall patiently wait until tomorrow night to have an extra glass of red wine! ;o)

Menu planning…it all started with a shiny sink and a purple Flylady rag! 😀

Anyway, y’all know how this menu plan works – our grocery bill came to Danish kr. 1153 (roughly UK £129 or US $205.  Here’s what we’re eating at Casa Copenhagen this week:

*  Pea, garlic and parmesan bruschetta (Nigella Lawson recipe) and Chicken Nacho Grills with guacamole and a mixed green salad, Marcipan Cake (Nigella Lawson) – on a night that we had Danish family over for dinner 🙂

Pea bruschetta

*  Readymade pizza (from Ikea) or takeaway and icecream – on a night that DH is away and the kids and I are having a cosy night in with a Dr. Who marathon… 🙂

*  A Greek-inspired rice salad that I tossed together – prawn, red onion, olive, fresh basil, tomato, dried oregano and feta cheese

*  Leftover night (I always make sure to make too much of the Chicken Nacho Grills, so that there are leftovers…)

Pasta med kødsovs/spaghetti bolognese/pasta with meatsauce – because poor DS12 has just had a brace fitted and can’t eat anything too hard! ;o)

*  Pork chops – will probably do them with Krista’s Glazed Pork Chops recipe (children love them – me too!) and serve them with egg noodles and homemade raw carrot/red cabbage/coriander slaw

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! 🙂

Counting down to (Danish) Easter


[This post is also published over at www.blogs.denmark.dk – the official website of
Denmark run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

School closes on Friday for Easter break and my kids, as they say in Danish, kan ikke få armene ned!” (can’t get their arms down).  I’ve seen lots of large chocolate eggs in the Danish shops but haven’t yet got over the price of them got round to buying any yet.  (Yes, yes, we’ve been eating mini marcipan ones for the last fortnight but, hey, they don’t count…)

But this weekend we need to get busy making Gækkebreve – Secret Snowdrop Letters – an important part of Danish Easter.  Don’t know what they are?  Here’s an old post I wrote about them.  Watch and learn! 🙂

You’ll need:

  • white and coloured paper
  • glue or a gluestick
  • a pair of scissors

Choose a coloured piece of paper for
your paper ‘doily’.  Fold it in half, then in half again.  Draw a rough shape and
cut out.  If you’ve never done this kind of thing before, keep it simple!  The
Danes are world-famous for their intricate papercutting. Hans Christian Andersen
(you know, the one who wrote all those fairytales) was an expert.  I’ve only
lived here for 10 years, so I’m still learning…

Open up up the paper and you should
have something that looks like this.

Stick it on to a plain white piece of
paper.  I used a gluestick.  And it’s fine if it isn’t perfectly stuck
down all over – it just gives it an even better 3d effect 😉

Then you write a little poem on

Henne bag ved havens hæk, fandt jeg denne

Hej, min hvide lille ven, nu er turen din

Du skal gå til min ven, hviske så kan han

han må gætte prikke små, for et påskeæg at

. .

But if your family and friends aren’t
Danish, you’ll probably want one in English, right?  Here you are:

Snowdrop, snowdrop, snowdrop fine,

Omen true of hope divine,

From the heart of winter bring

Thy delightful hope of spring.

Guess my name I humbly beg.

Your reward: An Easter-Egg.

Let these puzzling dots proclaim

Every letter in my name

. .

As you can see, you don’t sign your
name.  You draw a large dot for every letter of your name.  If the person who
receives the letter guesses who it comes from, you have to give
them an Easter egg.  But if they can’t guess, they have to give
you an Easter egg.  Ha!  So disguise your handwriting and be creative.  I
put in three dots for M.U.M.! 😉

The final touch is to pick a snowdrop from your
garden (or draw one if you can’t find any near you!), add it to the letter and
send to a friend.

Good luck!

Hope you have a wonderful ………!

(Danish) Family Fun

My DDSIL (dear Danish sister-in-law) is visiting for a few days – hot on the heels of my dear Danish brother-in-law, who was here with his posse of five folks at the weekend.

Guest bedroom ready, sunshine streaming in, waiting for the next guests

So we’re busy eating good food…

These are yummy and a cinch to make –

Nigella Lawson’s pea and parmesan bruschetta

Clothes shopping…

Eating more good food…

Marcipan cake (Nigella Lawson – again) decorated by DD10

Drinking gin and tonic…

More good food…

A prawn/red onion/feta/basil/tomato/oregano/olive and rice salad

And generally having a good time.  So good, in fact, that I don’t have time to write a proper blogpost today… ;o)

So see you all tomorrow!

Have a terrific Tuesday – we are! 🙂

Join the Garden Party! (26 March 2012)

If you’ve been reading my Monday posts, you’ll know that I garden the Flylady way – in 15 minute chunks and using routines.  I set myself two goals for last week: to mow the lawn and clean the wooden deck.  (It motivates me to mention them here on the blog because then I can’t chicken out…)  So how did I get on?

Well, the Danish Weather Gods decided to smile down upon us on Friday.  No more frost (fingers crossed…) and hopefully higher temperatures for the rest of the spring.  So I was finally able to get out and do some ‘lawnmothering’.  A term I’ve coined for us mothers who don’t rely on our better halves for heavy horticultural assistance, but get out and get on with the job ourselves! ;o)

First session of 15 minutes on the timer and one third of the lawn is done – yay! 🙂

Spurred on by my success with the ‘lawnmothering’ – and after a 15 minute rest with a cuppa outside in the sunshine – I decided to move right on to cleaning the wooden deck.  Gosh, I had forgotten just how much fun it is to stand and hose things down!  I didn’t get all perfectionistic – I just scrubbed the green algæ and bird poo off with a brush and washed it (and all my troubles and cares) away.  Just remember to put on your welly boots before you start…

No more bird poo – hooray!

Chairs and tables got the same treatment.  So we are company ready for, not one but two, sets of Danish family visiting this week.

And my goals for the coming week?  My main task is to weed the stone borders around the house.  The snowdrops, tulips and daffodil clumps can stay.  But the grass weeds – which are shimmying their way over from the lawn – need to take a hike.  First I’ll pull out what I can, then burn the rest with my gasburner…yeargh! ;o)

I’m also going to weed the pavement (we have a very long fence), to ‘mother the lawn’ once again and – most important of all – just keep things in check and ticking over.  So I’m in control – not overwhelmed…

Meet you outside in the garden?

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Feel Good Friday – 23 March 2012

Three things that brought a smile to my face this week:

DD10’s face when she opened her birthday presents and spied the Enid Blyton “St Clares” boxset that was on her wishlist…

Taking DS12 to the gala première of The Hunger Games film.  He’s read the books from front to back and back to front (first in English, now in Danish from the school library).

The ‘Reaping’…cinema ticket stubs for prizes 🙂

A skinny dip with my bff on a completely deserted beach.  Water temperature 3c (37f) and sun peeping through the clouds – bliss!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! 😀

Menu plan – Thursday 22 March 2012

Forgive me if I make this short and sweet today, but I’m a tad tired after only five hours sleep.  DS12 and I attended the Danish gala première of The Hunger Games film last night! ;o)

DS12 with his ‘loot’ at 12.45am this morning 🙂

Here’s the week’s menu at Casa Copenhagen:

*  out to dinner on DD10’s birthday

*  frozen pizza (after we finished clearing up after DD10’s birthday party for twenty-one classmates)

*  chicken fillets with baked potato wedges and flash-fried chopped beetroot, carrot and parsnip

*  Danish pork meatballs, jasmine rice made in my ricecooker, and celeriac/apple/onion/bacon (I boil the celeriac for 5 minutes then put the whole lot in the oven for about 30 mins)

*  out to dinner with friends – going to a trendy Copenhagen resto…yay! 🙂

*  pasta with pieces of veal tenderloin, will probably make a light sauce with cream and fresh tomatoes

*  breakfast for dinner (on a night that DH is away), sausages or bacon, fried eggs, toast, tea and orange juice

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday – and remember to be in bed by a reasonable hour! 🙂

I heart Danish Comfort Food! (Part Four – krebinetter)

[This post is also published over at www.blogs.denmark.dk – the official website of
Denmark run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Time for another Danish classic.  Krebinetter.  Or Danish pork patties to you and me.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to make and a guaranteed hit with kids.  (And – selvfølgelig – me.)

Our family’s krebinetter med stuvede grøntsager

Take 500g (or half a kilo) of minced pork and form it into small patties.  I find it’s easiest to divide it into half, then four parts from each half – giving you eight patties in all.   And nope, you don’t add salt, pepper or anything else to the pork.  (I didn’t believe the recipe the very first time I made them but it’s true – just pure pork.)

Dip the patties in beaten egg and then in seasoned breadcrumbs.  (That’s where the salt and pepper comes in.)

Fry in a shallow mix of butter and vegetable oil.  About 4 or 5 minutes on each side should do the trick.  You want them crisp and golden, not burnt…

Serve with boiled potatoes and vegetables or – the way we always eat them in our house – with yet another Danish classic…stuvede grøntsager (lightly cooked vegetables in a white sauce).  Then dig in.  Velbekomme!

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

Ten today

DD turned 10 today.  And, yes, yes, the old ‘where does the time go?’ cliché popped into my head.  But it also hit me that – jings crivens – her very early years are just a blur in my memory!  Wow, how on earth did that happen?  Everything seemed so chaotic back then.  Perhaps because, when she came along, we were also dealing with a 2 ½ year old – her Big Brother? ;D

Her traditional Danish birthday cake

It really made me kind of sad.  But that’s when I remembered about our old photo albums.  So I spent a happy hour walking down ‘toddler’ memory lane…  Oh my word, there were so many moments I had completely forgotten!  So I decided there and then that I need to add an(other) Anti-Procrastination task to my list.  To go through all our digital photos (on CD-Roms and various computers) and put order into things.  You see, I love the digital technology (and zap about 200 photos a month on my smartphone) but haven’t actually put anything into an album (on-line or physical) for years.  Oops!

OK – we’re off to open the birthday presents, eat, drink and be merry.  (And take a few pics – ha!)

Have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂

Join the Garden Party (19 March 2012)

If you saw last Monday’s post, you’ll know that – just like I did last year -I’m working on my garden the Flylady way, fifteen minutes at a time.  Here’s how I got on during my first week outdoors this spring…

First of all I took a walk around the garden and looked for anything that I could throw away.  It felt gooooood to get rid of some waveboards, old garden toys that the children have outgrown and, of course, plain old junk like broken plant pots and defective garden tools…

More clutter going out the door, or should I say garden? 🙂

Next I got out the broom and swept all the paths.  (A great way to warm up and get your heart rate going…)  Then spent another five minutes working on the steps down to our basement which seems to be a black hole for leaves – gah!

Hmm, what next?  Oh yes, I found the rake and got to work on the leaves and twigs that were all tangled up in the flower beds…

It didn’t take more than 15 minutes and, hey presto, a couple of days later the spring flowers were already shooting up 🙂

On Friday morning I was out running errands and decided to give myself a ‘reward’ for my efforts.  I spent Danish kr. 50 (UK £6 or US $9 ) and got a bag full of cheery wee plants to brighten up our outdoor pots and front door…

Happiness in a bag 🙂

And my tasks for this week?  Well…

a) I’m hoping finally to be able to mow the lawn (we’ve still got frost during the night, so up until now DH has advised against it)

b) clean up the wooden decks and wooden furniture (so we’re ready to sit in the sun with a cup of coffee when the temperatures decide to be nice to us).

Check back next week to see how things are blooming!

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Menu plan – Thursday 15 March 2012

I was reading one of my umpteen Nigella cookbooks at the weekend and – as always happens with Nigella books – I thought, “I want to make that!  And that!  And that!”.  So that’s basically how this week’s menu evolved! 🙂

Total cost of my grocery shop was Danish kr. 1,482 (roughly £165 or US $260).  Much higher than usual.  But, hey, it also includes everything we need for DD’s birthday party.  (Not too bad considering we’re catering for 21 hungry classmates…) 

Here’s our menu for this week, with the Nigella recipes in italics:

*  Pan fried duck breasts with hot red cabbage and White Bean Mash

*  Flash fried pork chops with Sesame Peanut Noodles

Sesame peanut noodles

* Pasta med kødsovs/spaghetti bolognese/spaghetti with meat sauce and banana splits for dessert

* Maple Chicken ‘n’ Ribs (we’re only making spare ribs and will cook them in the crockpot) with either baked potatoes or rice

*  Osso buco made in the crockpot and served with herby couscous, Chocolate Croissants for dessert

Carrots and browned osso buco going in the crock

Croque Monsieur Bake – which DS12 will make for us – can’t wait to try it as it sounds so easy and yummy!

*  Leftover spaghetti bolognese jazzed up – on the night that I’m out to a girly birthday party and DH is fending for himself and the kids ;D

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! 🙂

Mad about Danish food?

[This post is also published over at www.blogs.denmark.dk – the official website of
Denmark run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Today was the day that Michelin stars were doled out to Danish restaurants.  Or, perhaps more newsworthy, the day the elusive third star wasn’t doled out to Noma.  (Officially ‘The Best Restaurant in the World’.  Twice.)  Oh well, Noma, better luck next time.  (Though having eaten there, I have to admit the experience was better than the food.)

Anyway, what better day to have a cheap laugh at Danish language food.   See this packet of minced beef?  If you’re a Dane, you’ll probably not even read what’s on the packet.  You’ll just grab it from the chiller cabinet and go.   If you’re a health freak, you probably looked at the fat content.  Me?  I didn’t get further than the first word and the picture.  Holy Cow, Batman, haven’t those crazy Danes heard of Mad Cow Disease?!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

PS: “Mad” means food and “smag” means taste.

Belt up!

DD9 won an XXXXL-size ladies belt at a bazaar and, as it was far too big for any of us to use, I put it into the box for the charity shop.  “Stop!” shouted DD9.  Who loved the (admittedly) pretty turquoise colour and the snazzy diamanté clasp.  “Let’s make it into a dog collar for Doggy!”  So that’s what we did.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

First we cut the belt to “Doggy” collar size, using a pair of very sharp scissors.  We rounded off the end to make it look like the original.

Then we punched a few holes.

Two minutes later…behold a very smart (and springlike) Doggy.  Woof!

Then I had an ‘aha’ moment.  I have a rather large collection of belts, some of which I never use because they’re just too long (but not long enough to go round twice).  Maybe I can simply cut them to fit?  Or go the whole hog and turn them into one of this season’s trendy leather wristbands?  And if it all goes terribly wrong, Doggy will be getting another new collar…

Have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂

Join the Garden Party! (12 March 2012)

I woke up this morning with a start.  It was light outside and I thought we had slept in.  But, no, I had woken up – surprisingly well rested – just before the alarm went off at 6.20am.  What a gorgeous sunny spring morning!  I love, love, love this time of year.  And therefore feel a desperate need to get started working on our garden! 🙂

First sign of spring….skinny snowdrops in our garden

At the end of March last year I did a little series here on the blog where I pimped my garden the Flylady way = 15 minutes at a time.  (Otherwise I get overwhelmed just thinking of all the tasks involved…mowing the lawn, sweeping paths, weeding borders, cleaning garden furniture, planting, pruning, bla, bla, bla.)

More signs of spring in our garden…chubby snowdrops!

Breaking it up into babysteps and a weekly routine worked rather well.  So that, dear readers, is what I’m doing again this year.  Want to join in the fun?  No need to do exactly as I do – just make a list of what needs doing and pace yourself.  One job per day or one job per week – it will all add up and your garden will soon be looking blooming lovely! ;D

Here’s my list:

  • tidy out the shed and make a trip to the dump with any junk
  • weed the stone borders around the house (before the weeds have a chance to multiply)
  • scrub the wooden deck and wooden table and chairs
  • sweep the paths
  • make a start on weeding the paths
  • buy a few bulbs and seeds
  • weed the pavement in front of our house and put Danish flags in any dog poo I find
  • mow the lawn (DH says we have to wait until the frost has gone)
  • buy more gas cartridges for my weed burner
  • repeat above as necessary
More heralds of spring…Danish ‘erantis

So, shall we get those (purple) gardening gloves on and dig in?

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂