Menu plan – Thursday 30 January 2014

I seem to be all over the place with posting my menu plans.  But – on the bright side – at least I’m making them, writing them in my diary, buying my groceries once a week and (basically…) sticking to the plan.  Hooray for small victories! 😀

We haven’t seen the sun much in Denmark this month.  Only 17 hours this whole month (compared to an average of 45 hours)!  So we need lots of comfort food and healthy veggies to keep our spirits up.  Here’s one of DS14’s lovebirds, tucking into some fresh spinach… 😀

Here’s what’s on the menu for the rest of us at Casa Copenhagen this week:

*  Oven roasted chicken, oven roasted beetroot and couscous

*  Takeaway (DH is away on business and we are having a cosy DVD evening)

Medister (Danish ’round’ sausage) with baby potatoes, sovs (creamy gravy) and red cabbage

*  Lasagne

*  Steaks with béarnaise sauce, pomme frîtes and a spinach and tomato salad

*  Chicken cordon bleu (ready made from the supermarket freezer section) with stir-fried veggies (using up what I have in the fridge)

*  Breaded pork chops with a mash of potatoes/sweetcorn/fresh spinach/butter

Bon appétit!

Diane 🙂

Come on in…the (iced) water is lovely!

A quick check-in from the beach, where I’ve just
been down for my morning swim! :)

Now, as you can probably see from all the white in the above picture, the
snow is still with us here in Copenhagen. The roads are pretty bad today. And
the pavements aren’t so easy to navigate either… ;)

In some places – despite the heroic efforts of the local council gritters
– the cycle paths have completely disappeared.

It’s always best to go and check out the terrain before you start undressing for your
swim because it’s a long, breezy, icy walk out to the pier in your bathrobe!

And today there was – selvfølgelig – plenty of ice on the pier and
on the steps down to the sea…

The steps to the right of the pier were looking a tad slippy…

But as they say, “hvor der er vilje, er der vej” (where there’s a
will, there’s a way)! And we found that the steps to the left were our best
choice today… ;)

And you know what? It felt so good today that we decided that one swim just
wasn’t enough. So we swam twice…

Have a wonderful (watery) Wednesday!

Diane :)

The Danish Prime Minister (almost) got a nose. A small one!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update to my original post from Thursday
23 January:

Helle didn’t get “a nose” in the end.
Today, 24 January, it was announced that, yes, the opposition parties
wanted to give her “a nose”. But that they couldn’t agree on the size of it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, our
current (first ever female) Prime Minister
, was the top story in the Danish
news on Friday. Again. Yep, you’ll remember (or should I say, how can you
forget?!) that last month ”the flirty Dane” or “leggy blonde” got more than her
15 minutes of fame for her infamous “selfie” with Obama! ;)
Now, personally, I thought the incident was overdramatised. After all, the
Memorial was a joyous celebration of Mandela’s life, complete with music and
dancing. For pete’s sake, she didn’t take it at Mandela’s funeral…

But, as usual, I digress! Yes, on Friday Helle appeared before
Folketingets Restudvalg (the parliamentary council) to answer questions
about a sticky case, a real hot potato. I won’t bore you with the details here
but, if you are interested, you can see the background in English here.

Helle is often in the tv magazines…

At the end of the four and a half hour session, she was given en
– or “a nose” – by the Committee. A small one. Don’t worry – her
face looks just the same. Though the look on her face may
selvfølgelig be a little different… Helle’s “næse” didn’t
involve any surgery. It’s just the Danish expression for giving a Minister of
Parliament a reprimand or a telling off. A political clip behind the ear. But
I have to say that it always sounds very strange to hear the tv and
radio pundits discussing it at length. “Hey, Jesper, just how big a nose is she likely to get?”
“Well, at this stage, Casper, it looks like a pretty big nose.” :P

This is Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s first ‘nose’. The record holder is Uffe
Ellemann-Jensen (the former Minister for Foreign Affairs). With no less than
80! A pretty pompous chap, he certainly likes to hit the headlines himself.
How about his one liner from 1992 – when Denmark had just voted ‘No’ to the
Maastricht Treaty and won the European Championship in football? “If you can’t
join them, beat them!”

Happy Thursday! Let’s keep our noses clean!

Diane :)

Menu plan – Friday 24 January 2014

Temperatures are – unfortunately – now normal for this time of year in Denmark so we are down to freezing both day and night.  Boo!  Luckily, we have lots of candles, good music and warm food to keep us going!

Though if, like me, you are a winterbather, you’ll need to watch your step.  Lots of ice on the bathing bridge…  Here’s what we had to navigate this morning, in order to take our skinny dip in the North Sea – icy steps and horizontal icicles on the handrail! 😉

Brrrrrrrrrr.  And, to warm up again, here’s what we’re eating this week at Casa Copenhagen:

*  Crockpot pork red curry (a cheap joint of pork with a can of thai red curry soup, coconut milk and vegetables added) with rice made in my beloved rice cooker

*  Smoked salmon and chive tart (I’ve got some ready-made quiche pastry/scraps of leftover salmon in the freezer).  Served with a raw coleslaw of red cabbage/carrot/honey/vinegar

*  Special occasion dinner: Roast lamb, roast veg, potato wedges – all done in the oven at the same time! 🙂

*  Chicken in pastry parcels (readymade, straight from the freezer) with potatoes and peas

*  Spag bog (spaghetti bolognese/pasta with meatsauce/pasta med kødsovs), veggie sticks on the side

*  Slices of duck in creamy, horseradish sauce, boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli

*  Danish meatball, dumpling and carrot soup with homemade rolls – again, again, again – it’s a family fave!

Bon appétit!

Diane 🙂

Monday Morning (School) Blues

As if Monday mornings (= returning to school after a full weekend glued to
the computer and/or his bed) aren’t tough enough on my DS14 (dear son, aged 14),
there is now even more for him to dread…

Up until last week, he had idræt (gym) once a week. But now they’ve
rejigged the timetable and, starting today, he now has gym twice! Poor wee
lamb! ;)

Oh, and please, please, please don’t anyone remind him about the Danish
school reform (negotiated after that infamous
five-week-long-Lockout of Danish teachers
), which is set to come into place
in August this year and will include:

(Mindst) Én times bevægelse om dagen.

(At least) One hour’s exercise per


Have a marvelous Monday!

Diane :)

What a piece of (Danish) junk! May the force be with you!

My DD11 (dear daughter, aged 11) was at a
classmate’s birthday party at the ice rink yesterday afternoon. Now, the rink
is right next to our local recycling centre so, when the time came to pick her
up, I decided to load up the car with junk and kill two birds with one stone.
Or should I say,”kill two flies with one swat”? Slå to fluer med et

Our genbrugsstation (recycling centre) reopened a few weeks ago
after an extensive makeover. It’s scarily efficient in its layout.
There are even ‘pit stop’ areas where you can clean your hands and vacuum your
car! I was ooooohing and aaaaahing over the streamlined, high-tech look of the
place when one of the recycling crew told me a funny story. The design contract
was apparently won by a French architect. A Star Wars fan. Yep, if you take a
closer look at the layout of the recycling plant, you’ll see that it’s shaped
Millennium Falcon
! The only thing missing, said my
new-best-friend-the-recycling-worker, was Chewbacca… ;)

What a
piece of junk
!” Said Luke, the first time he set eyes on the Millennium
Falcon. Hmm, you can just hear the French architect: “She may not look like
much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special
modifications myself!” :P

“Now let’s blow this thing and go home!” Have a (junk free)

Diane :)

Menu plan – Tuesday 14 January 20134

Here’s what’s on the menu at (slightly snowy) Casa Copenhagen this week:

*  Pulled pork made in my crockpot (cheap joint of pork, tomato ketchup/honey/barbecue sauce/any other sauce I can find in the fridge to throw in…) served with pearl barley (made in my ricecooker) and a spinach salad

*  Old fashioned beef burgers on wholewheat buns, veggie sticks on the side

*  Leftover pulled pork with ‘broccoli bake’ (straight from the freezer section at the supermarket)

*  Beef carpaccio as a starter, then stir-fried rice and veggies with jumbo prawns

*  Steamed mussels (fry one chopped onion and carrot, add a glass of white wine and steam the mussels on top of the mix) with oven fries, mayo and a mixed salad

*  Pasta with chunky smoked bacon, savoy cabbage and a bit of cream

Suppe (Danish meatball, dumpling and carrot soup) with ryebread

Bon appétit!

Diane 🙂


Winter is (finally) here!

I don’t know what we’ve done to appease the Danish Weather Gods this year but – holy mackerel, Batman – we’ ve had the mildest winter since I arrived in Denmark 16 years ago! 

Normally we have the first snowflakes in November.   Hats, coats, gloves and thermal undwear are de rigueur through December, January and February.  And, come March, we can be thoroughly sick of the white stuff, yearning for spring.  Because a) it’s constantly c-c-c-cold and b) getting from A to B is a constant chore.  Yep, even the short journey from home to school can involve hot chocolate and a sledge… 😉 

But this winter has been ridiculously mild.  Average daily temperatures of 6c (42f).  Lots of rain.  And long, dull, dark (and therefore pretty dreary) days.

But today the calendar says Monday 13 January.  The first day we’ve awoken to a real, old-fashioned, woah-it’s-ch-ch-ch-chilly-out-there morning and a very hard frost on the ground.

And this afternoon we had our first big, beautiful snowflakes!

But, if – like me – you’re a winterbather, here’s a little word of warning.  Watch your step!  Here’s a video I made last week (that’s me in the green bathrobe).  The noise you can hear?  No, it’s not bad audio.  It’s the howling wind 😛

Now, add to the above scene an air temperature of -4c (25f) with a windchill of -10c (14f) and – wow – this morning we had extreme winter bathing conditions.  We ran down to the water’s edge, bathrobes flapping.  Wearing gloves, hats and with extra towels around our necks – my sweetie friend H even had a fleece blanket wrapped around her waist!  There was ice on the steps of the bathing bridge and on the handrail.  Very slippery stuff!  And your bathrobe and shoes are in real danger of flying away in those high winds.  So make sure to take it in turns to swim/hold each other’s gear…

Here’a a photo I took of our bathing bridge in March last year.  There was so much ice on the bridge that we had to walk into the sea from the edge… Yep, you don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather, but it helps!

Have a marvelous wintry Monday and let’s keep warm out there!

Diane 🙂

More Danish Drama! Arvingerne…The Legacy!

Okay, can you handle more drama?  Just when you thought those crazy Danes had saturated the tv market with the (fabulous) Scandi crime series Forbrydelsen (“The Killing”) and Broen (“The Bridge”) – not to mention the highjinks at the Danish Parliament, Borgen (“Borgen”) – along comes DR1 (the Danish public service channel) on the first of January and hits us right between the eyes.  Again!  Kapow! 😛



No policitians.  No murders (at least, not yet?!).  Nope, our new ‘let’s-all-unite-around-our-television-sets-on-Sunday-nights-and-discuss-it-Monday-morning’ series is a family drama: Arvingerne (“The Legacy”).

Picture the scene: a famous, eccentric Danish artist – Veronika Grønnegaard – is dying.  Along with her art, she’ll leave behind an eclectic family…  Four children.  Gro, the eldest daughter (who has a wardrobe to die for…), works with her mother.  Gro’s biological father Thomas (a.k.a. Jesper Christensen, a.k.a. Mr White from the recent Bond movies – though, yegads, you’d never recognise him in this new rôle) lives on the property.  Frederik (who has cut off contact with his mother) and Emil (who only contacts his mother when he needs money) are the two middle sons.  Their father committed suicide.  And then we have Signe, the youngest daughter.  Who doesn’t know that she is actually Veronika‘s daughter – she’s been living with adopted parents, blissfully unaware.  But Signe is contacted by Veronika a couple of days before she dies…  Throw into the mix an ‘I’m-minutes-from-dying-and-am-handwriting-a-new-will-and-testament’ and let the fun commence!

Oh.  And the title music – sung by Nina Persson (yes, her, from The Cardigans) – is also fabulous, but not available anywhere yet.  Boo!

The series is apparently already on its way to British, Belgian and Australian viewers.  Two out of three Danes are watching every week…  I’m hooked!  As they say in Danish, Glæd Jer!  “Look forward to it!”

Diane 🙂


Menu plan – Tuesday 7 January 2014

Happy New Year from Copenhagen!

Glass of chamnpagne and the Danish Queen’s speech
at 6pm on 31 December
signals the start of the Danish New Year celebrations 🙂

And here we go with the very first menu of 2014:

  • Fish n’ chips with edamame beans
  • Crockpot chili con carne (using ½ portion of meat sauce, two tins of
    kidney beans) with tortilla chips, salsa, crème fraiche and guacamole
  • Honey and mustard glazed ham, gratin dauphinois and green beans
  • Lasagne (using ½ portion of meat sauce and leftover fresh spinach)
  • Takeaway pizza – giving myself a break from cooking after all my hard
    work over Christmas! 😉
  • Sausage/onion/fresh green asparagus/potato fry up – topped with a fried
    egg and pickled beetroot
  • Pesto wholewheat pasta with carrot/courgette/garlic and chopped leftover

Hogmanay Dinner 2013

Bon appétit!