Menu plan – Friday 30 August 2013

It’s been a busy week…autumn is slowly but surely making inroads into our days, and I’ve got that ‘nesting’ feeling – you know that female-thing, where we want to move furniture around, etc.  So I’m working with DD11 on decluttering her room 15 minutes at a time – thank you, dear Flylady, for teaching us not to hyperfocus!  I bought a couple of new cushion covers from IKEA to ring the changes.  And did a major declutter of the garden shed (ended up with a huge carload of junk which I immediately took to the local recycling centre – go me!).  And a quick trip to a nursery to get some new plants to spruce up some old plant pots…

Half for me, half for a friend 🙂

But let’s not forget menu planning!  Here’s what we’re eating at Casa Copenhagen this week:

*  “Suppe” (Danish meatball, dumpling and carrot soup) with warm homemade bread rolls

*  Takeaway pizza (on a day that we are all coming and going like balls in a flipper machine…)

*  Breaded pork chops with red pepper, potatoes and a mixed salad

*  Honey and lemon chicken with rice (made in my beloved rice cooker) and green beans

*  Out to the summer school fête, where they sell fantastic Thai food

*  Wholemeal pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs, green salad

*  Out to the cinema with the whole family (going to see “Red 2”) with dinner afterwards in the centre of Copenhagen

Bon appétit!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Diane 🙂

Great Dane-ish Pastries! (Part Two – Frøsnapper)

Last time I introduced
you to my all-time favourite Danish pastry, the Spandauer. Not to be confused with my other
favourite Spandauer…Martin Kemp, hee hee! And swoon! ;)

Today we have….en frøsnapper – a ‘seed snapper’!

En frøsnapper – a frog snapper!

Frø is the Danish word for ‘seed’ and – as you can see from the
above – this Danish pastry certainly lives up to its name, catching all the
sesame and poppy seeds that cross its path. [The name did confuse me at first
though, because frø is also the Danish word for ‘frog’…] As you can
also see from the above, it’s a bit of a whopper – a long, low log – and doesn’t
fit onto a normal sideplate.

Now, you might think – selvfølgelig – that it doesn’t look
particularly sweet. There isn’t any icing, jam or obvious custardy cream type
stuff. But don’t been fooled because it has a very sweet and sticky bottom! And
you’ll also need to watch out (or at least come prepared) if you’re planning to
eat one of these at a café or wandering around town. Because all those little
seeds are going to get stuck right into your teeth. So bring a
toothbrush, avoid completely or enjoy behind closed doors! ;)

Seeds galore!

FRØSNAPPER – The final verdict!

Sweetness: 3 out of 5

Messiness: 5 out of 5,

Current price: approx. Dkr 9 ($1.61 or £1.04)

Join me next time for more wonderful. wonderful Dane-ish pastries!

Velbekomme! (Bon appétit!)

Diane :)

Farewell summer…hello winterbathing!

Early Monday morning – like most weekday mornings – I was down at the beach having a swim in the sea with my (fellow-female-heading-towards-50-year-old) buddies.  All our kids are back at school/college/work after the Danish 6-week-long summer holiday and, alack alas, the summery weather is beginning to follow suit.  Yep, the afternoons can be positively tropical but there’s a definite chill in the air before sunrise and after sundown.  (Note to self: keep old towels in the garage, for wiping the dew off the bikes in the morning.)  The water temperature, which peaked at around 21c (70f) last month, is now cooling down, day by day.  So there we were, sitting on the shore, sipping tea from our thermos, nibbling figenstænger (fig bars) and mourning the passing of summer…

Winterbathing adventures ahead!

This morning there had been a (sea)change.  Yes, okay, the water was colder than it has been the last couple of weeks.  The first couple of strokes actually took my breath away.  (Note to self: remember to put my asthma inhaler back in my swimming bag.)  But when we came out of the water, we weren’t sad about the passing of summer.   We were excited about autumn and winter and all the bathing adventures that lie ahead!  Hooray, no pesky stinging summer jellyfish to worry about!   Bathing in huge waves.  Bathing in the fog.  Bathing in the pouring rain.  Bathing at sundown.  Bathing when it’s so windy that we have to tie our dressing gowns to the bridge so they don’t fly away.  Skating across the ice on the bathing bridge, dressed only in dressing gowns and bathing shoes.  Bathing on the First of December dressed in – and only in – a Santa Hat.  Jumping over the ice on the sand in order to get into the sea.  Bathing in slush ice.

Yep.  Been there.  Done all of that.  And are excited and ready to do it all again! Vinterbadning?  Det er livet!  Winterbathing?  This is the life!

Fancy having a go yourself?  NOW is the time to start.  Take the plunge while the water is still relatively warm and then keep going, taking one day at a time.  Go read my Winterbathing for Dummies (Part One – Be Prepared!)(Part Two – Taking the Plunge!)and (Part Three – The Aftermath) for my tips and tricks.

Come on in, the water’s lovely!

So, see you in the sea?

Diane :)

Great Dane-ish Pastries! (Part One)

I biked down to the bakers this morning to get some Danish pastries for
breakfast. Now, please note, I don’t normally shell out exorbitant amounts
of money buying fresh pastries on bog-standard Wednesday mornings – it was a
special mid-week treat because we’ve friends visiting from London. Anyway, the
bakers shelves were jam-packed with sticky/crumbly/crunchy delights in all
shapes and sizes and it struck me that – gadzooks – it’s high time that I give
you a run-down on the myriad of wonderful, wonderful Great Dane-ish pastries!

Great Dane-ish Pastries!

Now, basics first. As you may know, the Danes don’t actually call
their pastries “Danish pastries” or “Danish”. They call them
wienerbrød” (literally “Vienna bread”). So who invented them, the
Danes or the Austrians? Who knows and, to be honest, who cares?

En spandauer

Today I’m starting off – selvfølgelig – with my own, personal
favourite, en spandauer. (Yep, you guessed right, the name comes from
Spandau, Berlin. I have no idea why.) Spandauer are individual
pastries, as opposed to the long, log ones where you cut off a slice. The shape
is basically circular, it’s fairly low in height, with a space in the middle
that contains either a yellow custard/cream or (the one I always go for) a dollop of raspberry
jam, topped with chopped nuts and drizzled with lots of white icing.

Make mine with jam, please!

SPANDAUER – The final verdict!

Sweetness: 5 out of 5, a full-on sugar rush

Messiness: 3 out of 5, spandauers aren’t too crumbly but they’re pretty

Current price: approx. Dkr 12 ($2.15 or £1.37)

Join me next time for more wonderful. wonderful Dane-ish pastries!

Velbekomme! (Bon appétit!)

Diane :)

Menu plan – Tuesday 20 August 2013

The kids have been back at school for a week (DD11 is now in 5th grade, DS13 is in 7th, eeeeeeek!) and autumn is slowly but surely making its presence felt in Copenhagen (yep, there is dew on our bikes in the morning).  Yesterday I felt kind of sad that the summer is coming to an end but, on the other hand, when I had a swim in the sea this morning (where the water temperature is also plummeting), it was actually quite thrilling to think about the winterbathing season ahead.  Time to look out my heavy, green bathing robe and put the white summery one back in the wardrobe! 😉

But hey, no faffing around, I’ve commited myself to getting back on the blogging wagon (and, more importantly, the menu planning wagon) so let’s cut to the chase and see what we are/have been eating at Casa Copenhagen this week!

*  Swedish meatballs with homemade creamy lingonberry sauce, rice (made in my beloved rice cooker) and a salad of raw grated red cabbage/carrot and pomegranate seeds

*  Out to dinner with my friend and his kids who are spending their holidays with us…

*  Chili con carne made in my crockpot, served with crème fraîche, cheddar cheese and warm tortilla chips

*  Medister (Danish pork sausages) with wholemeal pasta and steamed broccoli

*  Biksemad (Danish hash of fried cubed beef, potato and onion), topped with fried eggs and lashings of beetroot and ketchup

*  Nice juicy steaks with béarnaise sauce, a green salad, lots of homemade french fries and gallons of red wine

* Readymade chicken cordon bleu (from my ‘I-don’t-have-to-cook-everything-we-eat-from-scratch’ stash in the freezer) with any leftover veggies from the fridge

Bon appétit! 

Diane 🙂

Back to (Blog) Basics!

Dearest Readers

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I’ve been neglecting this blog recently and mostly writing posts from my other blog desk over at   I normally remember to post them here too but have got somewhat behind…  Apologies!  But, in true Flylady spirit, I’m jumping in where I am, and getting back to basics! 🙂

So I’ve uploaded the backlog of Danish posts here and encourage y’all to go and take a look back as there are quite a few goodies in there – like my six-part-series on Danish Weddings! (Even if I do say so myself…)

And otherwise it will be back to blog business as usual here on because a) I have missed my daily ‘pen to paper’ time or should that be ‘out of head and on to paper’ time, b) I’m bursting with music/places/things that I love and want to share and, c) not posting a regular menu plan is slowly but surely smothering my sanity.  Yep – if I’m really, really, really honest with myself – the lack of menu planning has been the cause of the whole downhill spiral lately.  Imagine that!  And let that also be a warning to you.  The Flylady is always (always!) right!

Time to jump in, get back on the wagon and get back to (blog) basics!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!  [  Oh, yes, I’ve missed all the exclamation marks too!!!! 😉  ]

Diane 🙂

And we're baaaack! To school!


Hello, everyone!  Summer has been – and is still pretty much still here weatherwise (yes, sir – thanks to the Danish weather gods, this seems to have been the best summer since I arrived here in 1998!) – but the school holidays have zipped past and my kids started back yesterday.  Which means that a) the pesky lunchboxes are out on the loose again and b) it’s time to get covering textbooks…

In Denmark the bookshops are stocked to the gunnels right now with rolls of special bogbind (‘bookpaper’).  Don’t be fooled!  Yes, yes, it looks cute and/or cool.  But give this stuff a hard stare and it will disintegrate before your very eyes!  And will be falling off the book by the end of the first schoolday…  Forgive the pun, but it’s paperthin.  So save your Danish crowns and use normal giftwrap or brown paper.  Now, for some reason, the Danes have a bad habit of taping the covering directly onto the book (we even got a message from the school about it last year).  Which, of course, means that it makes a right mess when it’s ripped off at the end of the schoolyear.  So here’s how we cover books in Scotland, as taught to me by my Dear Dad.  (He always covered our books with offcuts of wallpaper – the Navy Seal of bookcovers!)

DS12 brought home this book yesterday – “Allez Hop!” – he’s in 7th grade and is starting French this year (the choice was either French or German).  So let’s get started!  Cut a piece of paper considerably larger than your book.

Fold in the sides to make a dust jacket.

Cut diagonally from the spine down to the edge of the paper.

Fold in the cut edges. 

Tape the edges to each other – but don’t tape onto the actual book!

Not perfect, but the job is done.  “Værsgo’!”  Or should I say “Voilà!”?


Have a great (school)day!

Diane 🙂