I heart Danish comfort food! (Part twelve – Burning Love – Brændende Kærlighed)

Dear Readers

There’s no turning back! Despite a good fight by the Indian Summer the last couple of weeks, autumn is well and truly here. I’m now wearing my gloves on my morning bike rides because it is so darn ch-ch-chilly! But, hey ho, I’m a seasoned winterbather so I’ve learned to just suck it up and enjoy the small things…here I am this morning after my skinny dip, with some seaweed in my hair! 😉 (Air temp 8c/46f , sea temp still fairly ‘high’ at 12c/53f)

But every (soggy, rain-filled) cloud has a silver lining so the onslaught of the autumnal weather means the excuse to turn up the ‘hygge‘ on, get snuggly indoors and enjoy some fantastic Danish comfort food. I can’t fathom that I’ve been blogging here for five years, have written an eleven-part series on comfort food, but have not yet mentioned…Burning LoveBrændende Kærlighed! 😉

Like most Danish comfort food, it isn’t healthy. Nor is it pretty. So you are forewarned!

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Fry up a lot of bacon until it is good and crispy and crunchy. The more, the merrier. I usually buy a whole piece and chop it up myself into little strips.

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Remove the bacon from the pan and fry up a whole lot of onions. I also added a carrot or two (just to get some extra veggies in). Just get the onions nice and soft. You don’t want them too brown and you don’t want them to get crunchy.

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Next you are going to make up your mashed potato. Now, if you are going the whole hog, you can boil/mash/add butter/salt. But last night I used the cheat’s version and went with a packet as we didn’t have much time. Did you know that there are several types of mash mix…check the label. Some have extra oils and chemicals added. Others are basically just cooked dehydrated flakes of real potato which you then rehydrate. (A fun fact which I learned in my heydays working at the European Court of Justice in the 1990s…yes, we had a case about the ingredients, and what should be listed as ingredients, in mashed potato! Case C-144/93 Pfanni Werke)

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But, as usual, I digress! Potato, potahto…you decide what kind of mash you want to use! 😉 Put your mash in a large dish, top with the soft onions, pour the crunchy bacon on top of that. You can, selvfølgelig, add some chives or parsley on the top for a green garnish. But as my DS16 (dear son, aged 16), once said when he was about 5 years old, “Mummy, why do you put grass on top of our food?” Ha! 😀 But I would suggest that you finish off the dish with some freshly ground black pepper and serve it with lots of pickled beetroot…

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Then dig in!

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After that you are free to go lie down on the sofa and hygge to your heart’s content…

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane 🙂

 

 


When it's hot in Denmark, reach for the 'cold bowl'!

Three weeks ago we had hail stones and sleet, and hard frost during the night. Last weekend that all changed and yesterday afternoon (a bog standard Tuesday) our local beach was packed and the temperature was 20c/68f. Welcome to Denmark! (Though, of course, the water is still cold – 11c/52f – so me and my fellow Winter Bathing Belles were the only ones who were actually swimming in the sea…)

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The warm weather brings Danes on to the beach, bikepaths and sidewalk cafés. And gives them a craving for that first ‘taste’ of summer – koldskål. Which means that the sales of koldskål rocket. Which in turn means that [gasp] when I tried to buy some this morning at the supermarket, the fridge section was completely wiped out! So it’s either make your own (homemade koldskål recipe is here) or make do with the (vastly inferior) longlife stuff. Boo hoo! 😉

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So what on earth is it? The Danes have been eating koldskål for over a hundred years. Personally, I love the name. Kold = Cold. Skål = Bowl. Koldskål = Cold bowl! It’s traditionally made with buttermilk, raw eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon. Today you buy it readymade from the supermarket. And the Danes buy lots of it. Millions and millions of liters of it during the summer months. When the temperatures start to rise, so do the sales of koldskål… As I found out this morning at the supermarket, there is often a problem keeping up with demand.

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And what does it taste like? Hmm, even though I’m a ‘Dairy Queen’ (pass the cream, please, and yes, I’ll have a little bread with my butter), koldskål is definitely an acquired taste. A weird mixture of sweet and sour. But a very ‘fresh’ taste. It looks like thin yoghurt and you normally serve it in a bowl and throw a handful of little crispy biscuits called kammerjunkere (available from the supermarket or bakers) over the top. Or a few sliced strawberries.

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You can eat it for lunch or dinner. Or as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Or drop the kammerjunkere competely and just drink it straight out of a glass. Some people even eat it for breakfast. In our house we usually eat it after dinner, for dessert. My daughter aged 14 is addicted to it – so I had better find a new pusher soon!

Velbekomme! 😀

Diane 🙂


I heart Danish comfort food! (Part Eleven – Sprængt okse/and)

This morning it was dark and pouring with rain when my kids biked off to school.  I put on my waterproofs (no such thing as bad weather – only unsuitable clothing!), got on my bike and battled the wind and rain down to the beach…in order to strip it all off and enjoy my ritual morning skinny dip in the sea with a friend.  Life is good!

Got home – starving as usual – and feasted upon a piece of ryebread with slices of that Danish classic, sprængt oksekød (salted beef)…  Life is really good!

The beef was left over from last night’s dinner of hot sprængt oksekød, carrots, tatties and peberrodssauce (horseradish sauce).  (Not the most attractive dish, I grant you.  Unless you’re a big fan of grey meat?)

It’s a very easy dish to make and the cooking method is the same, whether it’s duck or beef.  Boil one litre of water and about 300g of cheap table salt for a few minutes until the salt dissolves.  Let it cool and add your piece of oksebryst (beef, about 500g) or andebryster (4 duck breasts).  Let them sit overnight in the salty-as-an-old-seadog pickling liquid.

The next day, pour off the salty liquid and cover the meat with fresh water.  Bring to the boil and remove any white, foamy stuff.

Add a carrot, bay leaf, a sliced onion and a small handfull of peppercorns, pop the lid on and simmer gently for about an hour.

Remove the meat, leave to cool down slightly and then slice thinly.  While it’s cooling down, you can be getting on with the peberrodssauce.  Now, traditionalists will make the sauce by starting with a roux, adding some of the cooking water and then adding horseradish and some milk or cream.  I decided to go with this modern (and easy peasy) version from Karoline’s “Granny’s Food” cookbook…

You simply take about 3 large tablespoons of creme fraîche (38% fat) and 3 large tablespoons of crème fraîche (18% fat) and put them in a little pan along with 3 tablespoons of grated horseradish (you’ll find tiny pots of it in the chiller section, keeps forever), salt, pepper and about ½ a tablespoon of sugar.  Heat through gently.  I added more sugar ‘cos I like it that way…

Heat through gently.  I added a bit more sugar to mine – because that’s the way I like it! The peberrodssauce turned out really good  and tasted great – both hot last night and cold this morning.

After dinner, DDH (dear Danish husband) gave me his verdict on the sprængt okse.  “Well, it looked and tasted like it’s meant to…”  Praise indeed! 😉

Velbekomme!  Have a marvelous Monday!

Diane 🙂


I heart Danish comfort food! (Part Ten – Frederiksberggryde)

We’re now into week 42 (the Danish school’s half term holiday week) so I won’t be posting this week as I shall be ‘hygging’ with my DDH and our kids.  ♥

But I thought – hey – I had better leave you with a recipe for another Danish classic – another warming dish – just the thing for those cold and blustery autumn evenings. Especially as it’s now dark by 7.30pm – yikes!  This is Frederiksberggryde.  When we first moved to Copenhagen, we had a flat in Frederiksberg and the restaurants in the area used that name…  But in other parts of Denmark it’s known as mørbradgryde.  A one pot stew with bacon, pork and – the defining ingredient – those teeny tinned cocktail sausages.  Yep, those discount ones that you’re embarrassed to be seen buying! 😉

You’ll need:

  •  an onion
  • a piece of pork filet (svinemørbrad) – about 500g
  • bacon
  • a couple of tins of cocktail sauages (skinless if possible) cocktailpølser
  • flour (to thicken) mel
  • paprika
  • tomato purée tomatpasta
  • stock / boiling water and a stockcube (any flavour will do) bouillon
  • cream (fløde)
  • rice or potatoes or mashed potatoes (kartoffelmos) to serve
  • a bit of greenery to make it look ‘healthy’

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Chop up the onion, bacon and pork filet into small pieces.

Fry in a bit of oil until they brown slightly and add in the cocktail sausages.

Time to throw in a tablespoon of flour (this will thicken the ‘sauce’), a tablespoon of tomato purée and a couple of teaspoons of paprika, plenty of salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir, so everything gets coated.

Add in your stock (just enough to cover) – you’ll probably need about half a litre.

Then comes the best part…the cream!  Add as much as you like! 🙂  This is comfort food, folks, not paleo/nordic/raw…

Looking good!  Let it cook through on a medium heat for about 5 minutes (or until the pork pieces are cooked through).

Serve hot and add a little fresh herbs (chopped chives or lots of parsley) if you want to make it look less stodgy.  (And lots of vegetables or a salad on the side, if you absolutely must.)  We ate ours with rice the other night.  But Frederiksberggryde also goes down well with boiled or mashed potatoes – yum!

Have a super Sunday and an awesome autumn break!

Diane 🙂