Gotta catch 'em all! Food waste…GO!

While others around the world are trying to ‘catch ’em all, here in Denmark I’m invariably trying to catch…the best food bag! 😉

bag2

 

Forget Team Mystic, I’m on Team Fight-Against-Food-Waste. There are several apps in Denmark which connect socially responsible food stores and restaurants with overstocks to hungry (and canny…) customers who enjoy getting a bargain. My favourite is TGTG (Too Good To Go) which is available for Apple and Android. The app also covers the UK and Germany.

Once you are logged in, you can search on a map, or search by offers which are nearest/cheapest/closing soon. The offers mainly fall in to two categories. Restaurants: where they provide you with a box and you fill up on sushi/whatever they have in their buffet. Bakers: where they provide you with a ‘magic bag’. Usually a mixture of bread, bread rolls, cake and Danish pastries.

As regular readers will know, I just l-o-v-e Danish bread and pastries (did you miss my 6 part run down on Danish pastries? go catch it here!) So I’ve – selvfølgelig – been trying what bakers are offering. Here you go. All fresh. All food that would, otherwise, end up in the bottom of a dumpster at the end of the day.

This entire bag, from a baker in Kongens Lyngby, cost 25 Danish crowns (roughly USD 3.75 or UK £2.85). Two loaves of bread, one ham and cheese sandwich, a couple of te birkes, a couple of kanelsnegle and about 10 assorted rolls.

bag1

This entire bag, from a baker in Charlottenlund, cost 30 Danish crowns (roughly USD 4.50 or UK £3.40). One loaf, one loaf of ryebread, three te birkes, two kanelsnegle, 4 teboller, a pizza snail and two sausage rolls.

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There was so much food in these bags that we actually ended up putting half of it in the freezer. To give you some perspective on price, one loaf of bread at the baker costs roughly 30 Danish crowns. Our next stop will be trying out some sushi…

What can I say but yum, yum, yum – everyone on Team Fight-Against-Food-Waste wins!

GO! Have a marvelous Monday!

Diane 🙂


Big Prayer Day? Time for big rolls!

With Easter behind us, we are counting down to the strangest day on the Danish religious calendar. This Friday, 22 April, is Stor Bededag. ’Big Prayer Day’! Those crazy Danes decided back in 1686 that there were just too many religious holidays during the year. So they lumped the minor ones together, four weeks after Easter and – voilà – Stor Bededag was born. It’s an official holiday so Denmark will be ‘closed’ on Friday, and the kids are off school. It’s time to get out in the garden, work on a DIY project, make a trip to Tivoli Gardens or just chill at home. And eat big rolls! (More on that later in this post.) But many Danes will make a day trip to Sweden or Germany, where it’s business as usual and cash registers will be working overtime.

Big Prayer Day was traditionally a time to fast and pray.  And, though I’ve yet to meet a Dane who willingly goes to church (apart – selvfølgelig – from christenings and weddings), a lot of Danes will be attending church this Friday.  Not for regular church services but for confirmation ceremonies. Which was actually the case for us last year, when it was our son’s turn to go through this very traditional Danish rite of passage…

bededag

 

Want to know more about Danish confirmation and the traditional “Blue Monday” that follows it?  Then go read my post “When Blue Monday isn’t New Order!”

But the biggest tradition associated with Stor Bededag is eating hveder on Thursday night.  What are hveder?  Large, fluffy, pale, basic white bread rolls which you halve, toast and butter.  You’ll find them on sale at the bakers but be warned that – despite their modest ingredients – they don’t come cheap!

I gave up queuing for them at the bakers years ago and just buy the ready-made ones from the supermarket.  Best enjoyed warm with a nice cuppa!

After you’ve had your hveder, you’re supposed to go for a stroll around the city ramparts at Kastellet (Copenhagen Citadel).  You don’t live near Kastellet?  Well, sit back, relax and enjoy Denmark’s finest rock band, Magtens Korridorer singing about a picnic at the Citadel…  (If the guy pretending to sing in the video looks familiar, it’s Nicholas Bro, an actor who was in the The Killing (II) and Borgen. Oh! And let’s not forget the third season of Broen/Bron/The Bridge 😉

Picnic på Kastellet” (Picnic at the Citadel).

And me? I’m praying for some warmer weather. It has been exceptionally chilly (not to mention wet and windy) so far this spring, so we’re still waiting for everything to start blooming.

bededag2

God Stor Bededag!

Diane :)


Fastelavn (Danish Carnival) is fast approaching!

If you’ve walked past the window of a Danish baker’s shop recently, then you’ll already know that Fastelavn is fast approaching…

fastelavn

Because the first fastelavnsboller made their appearance just as soon as Christmas was over and the New Year got underway! ;)  This year it will be celebrated on Sunday (7 February 2016).

So what’s fastelavn?  Danish carnival.  Nothing to do with the one in Rio.  I mean, honestly, would you want to dance around the cobbled streets, half-naked, peely-wally white, often in sub-zero temperatures? I think not. (Said the winter bather…)  If you want the whole historical background of the Danish festival, I suggest you go google or take a peek at Wikipedia.

Here’s what I think you need to know:

It’s celebrated seven weeks before Easter Sunday (anytime from the beginning of February til late March). For small kids, it’s the highlight of the year (aside from Christmas) – it’s basically the Danish equivalent of Halloween. Kids wear fancy dress (which, for the under 6s, is invariably a superhero or something pink and princessy).

FastelavnPrinsesse

The kids make (or buy or receive) a fastelavnsris. Don’t despair if you don’t know what that is because I’ll be showing you how to make one of those in my next post!

You eat special fastelavnsboller! Lots of them!

There are tons of parties where the kids get a chance to slåkatten af tønden (literally ‘hit the cat out of the barrel’). Schools and kindergartens devote a whole day to the celebrations. And if your child goes to scouts or football practice, there will also be a party organised there. Not to mention events organised by public libraries, museums, local businesses and supermarkets… A tønde (large barrel, similar to a piñata) is filled with sweets and fruit. Much more politically correct than filling it with live cats, as they used to do up until the early 1800s! The barrel is then strung up and the kids take it in turns to whack it with a bat.

Fast1

The boy or girl who knocks out the bottom of the barrel is crowned as Kattedronningen (the Queen of the Cats). The person who smashes the very last piece of the barrel is crowned Kattekongen (the King of the Cats). A huge honour. You get to wear a little golden crown for your efforts. And be the envy of your friends for years afterwards.

But I digress!  Let’s get back to those buns!  We made our own fastelavnsboller last year. Check out these homemade beauties! Ready to have a go?


We based ours on Arla’s recipe. You’ll need:

  • an 8g sachet of dry yeast (or 50g pack of fresh yeast)
  • 100mls or 1 decilitre milk
  • 125g butter or Kærgården
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • about 375g of plain flour (hvedemel) – about 625mls or 6¼ deciltres.

 

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  It’s easiest to use a mixer (dough hook) but you can do it by hand if you want the upper arm exercise.  When it all comes together, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about 45 mins.

Meanwhile prepare the filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 200mls or 2 decilitres milk
  • 1½ tablespoons of flour
  • a tablespoon of vanilla sugar

 

Put everything into a little saucepan and whisk over a high heat until the mixture comes to the boil.  Turn down the heat, keep whisking for about 5 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When you’re bun dough is ready, roll it out on to a floured worktop and try and get it into a large rectangle.  You are aiming to cut out around 12 squares, but don’t get too perfectionist…

Bake in a preheated oven at 225c (450f) for about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to get too dark.  Remove from the oven and cool before topping them with some icing or a dusting of icing sugar. Though if you want to top them with a piece of pålægschokolade (piece of thin breakfast chocolate), do it while they’re still hot!

When you’re ready to eat the fastelavnsboller, cut them horizontally and put in a (very l-a-r-g-e) dollop of whipped cream…

 

Velbekomme!

And remember to check back here later this week when I’ll be showing you how to make the other Danish Carnival essential – the Fastelavnsris!

Diane 🙂


You know you're in Denmark when… (Birthday cake, lady?)

You know you’re in Denmark when…

It’s my birthday today – hip, hip, hurra!  And – though I ain’t no spring chicken – I do have a barnlig sjæl (am a child at heart).   Not to mention en sød tand (a sweet tooth). And a seriously serious addicition to wienerbrød.  So much so that I wrote a seven part series on them.

So every year I order myself a traditional Danish kiddies birthday cake.  En kagekone. A cake lady!  You can read about them in a previous post Let them eat (Danish) cake (man)!  Here’s a very pretty one (that I managed to eat mostly by myself) from my birthday two years ago…

And here’s my cake anno 2014.  Which kind of threw me a bit when I received it from the bakers this morning.  Umm, I did order a cake lady, right?  A friend of mine commented, “Hee hee, it looks more like a bear than a lady!” 😛  DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12), ever the diplomat, proclaimed that, “Well, Mum, it’s not how you look but what’s inside that counts, right?”    And, six slices of delicious wienerbrød later, I can only agree.  Now where’s that sofa – I need to lie down! 😉 

Yep, life is a beach at 47…

Diane 🙂


The New Nordic…Potato Chip!

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past year, you can’t have missed the hype.  The New Nordic ‘Thang’.  You know, the New Nordic Kitchen.  The New Nordic Diet.  The New Nordic Cuisine.  The New Nordic Lifestyle.  The New Nordic etc, etc, etc…  Getting back to nature.  Going out to the forest, dales and streams and foraging for food.  Viking roots, slow-food-rub-a-dub-stylee.  It started a few years back and has been building and building…

Three years ago, DDH (Dear Danish Husband) took me for my birthday to Noma (at that time, the Best Restaurant in the the World for the second year running) and we had the full whammy of their New Nordic dishes.  Prawns so fresh that they were still alive and wriggling as we swallowed them.  Deep fried moss.  Eggs we should fry ourself on hot iron plates, on top of smoking hay (washed down with champagne).  Yep, it was hard not to sit and think, “The Emperor’s New Clothes?”  Here we are, paying the best part of kr.5,000 (US $950, UK £560) for lunch for two, eating glorified fried eggs! 😉

But, as usual, I digress!  Anway, the New Nordic ‘Thang’ has been trickling down to the man in the street ever since.  First of all, we have the renaissance of rough-and-ready-rugbrød (ryebread).  Which is back with a hearty, healthy vengeance as a lunchbox staple.  But then again, did it ever really leave?

Then someone had the bright idea of marketing rugbrød (ryebread) as a tapas delicacy.  Slice the ryebread, roast it, add salt (big, manly flakes, selvfølgelig), put it in little bags and sell it at highly inflated prices [said the canny Scot].  Dang!  ‘Cos these rugbrødschips (ryebread chips) are actually very addictive!

But you know when the trend has finally gone mainstream when it hits the lowest supermarket shelves.  Yep, even the humble potato chip has had a New Nordic makeover.  They even came up with the cheesy name of Sbrød.  A combo of sprød (crunchy) and brød (bread)… 

Just add a glass of beer micro-brewery-unfiltered-pilsner or apple juice some freshly-tapped-birch-juice and you’re all set!

Diane 🙂


Fastelavn is coming! Eat buns!

Fastelavn is coming, fastelavn is coming!  Yep – thanks.  We know it’s fastelavn on Sunday.  Because the first fastelavnsboller made their appearance in the bakers about a month ago! 😉

So what’s fastelavn?  Danish carnival.  Nothing to do with the one in Rio.  I mean, honestly, would you want to dance around the cobbled streets, half-naked, peely-wally white, often in sub-zero temperatures?  I think not.  If you want the whole historical background of the Danish festival, I suggest you go google or take a peek at Wikipedia.

Here’s what I think you need to know::

It’s celebrated seven weeks before Easter Sunday (this year 2 March 2014).

For small kids, it’s the highlight of the year (aside from Christmas) – it’s basically the Danish equivalent of Halloween.

Kids wear fancy dress (which, for the under 6s, is invariably a superhero or something pink and princessy).

The kids make (or buy or receive) a fastelavnsris [don’t know what that is? Hey, you’re in luck! I’ll be showing you how to make one of those later this week!]

You eat special fastelavnsboller!   Lots of them!

There are tons of parties where the kids get a chance to slå katten af tønden (literally ‘hit the cat out of the barrel’).  Schools and kindergartens devote a whole day to the celebrations.  And if your child goes to scouts or football practice, there will also be a party organised there.  Not to mention events organised by public libraries, museums, local businesses and supermarkets…  A tønde (large barrel, similar to a piñata) is filled with sweets and fruit.  Much more politically correct than filling it with live cats, as they used to do up until the early 1800s :/  The barrel is then strung up and the kids take it in turns to whack it with a bat.

The boy or girl who knocks out the bottom of the barrel is crowned as Kattedronningen (the Queen of the Cats).  The person who smashes the very last piece of the barrel is crowned Kattekongen (the King of the Cats).  A huge honour.  You get to wear a little golden crown for your efforts.  And be the envy of your friends for years afterwards.

But I digress!  Let’s get back to those buns!  We made our own fastelavnsboller last year.  Check out these homemade beauties! Want to have a go?

Fastelavns boller – carnival buns!

We based ours on Arla’s recipe. You’ll need:

  • a 50g sachet of dry yeast
  • 100mls or 1 decilitre milk
  • 125g butter or Kærgården
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • about 375g of plain flour (hvedemel) – about 625mls or 6¼ deciltres.

 

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  It’s easiest to use a mixer (dough hook) but you can do it by hand if you want the upper arm exercise.  When it all comes together, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about 45 mins.

Meanwhile prepare the filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 200mls or 2 decilitres milk
  • 1½ tablespoons of flour
  • a tablespoon of vanilla sugar

 

Put everything into a little saucepan and whisk over a high heat until the mixture comes to the boil.  Turn down the heat, keep whisking for about 5 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When you’re bun dough is ready, roll it out on to a floured worktop and try and get it into a large rectangle.  You are aiming to cut out around 12 squares, but don’t get too perfectionist…

DS14 rolling out the dough

Take a spoon of the filling and plop it into the middle of each square.  Fold the edges of the square together, press them together gently (so the filling doesn’t squish out) and carefully turn them over, so you have a neat little bun.  Leave the buns to rise on a baking sheet for another 45 mins.  (Or – if you want to bake them the next day – put them in a cool place or fridge overnight.)

Bake in a preheated oven at 225c (450f) for about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to get too dark.  Remove from the oven and cool before topping them with some icing or a dusting of icing sugar. Though if you want to top them with pålægschokolade (piece of thin breakfast chocolate), do it while they’re still hot!

When you’re ready to eat the fastelavnsboller, cut them horizontally and put in a (very l-a-r-g-e) dollop of whipped cream…

My fave combo…choc and cream!

Velbekomme!

Check back here later this week when I’ll be showing you how to make another Danish Carnival essential – the Fastelavnsris!

Diane :)


Great Dane-ish Pastries! (Part Seven – toppings)

 

Have you had your fill of wonderful, wonderful Great Dane-ish Pastriesyet?  Room for more?

Last time I showed you the different types of plain bread rolls that the Danes eat for breakfast – the tebolle, rundstykke and håndværker.  But what to top them with?

Weekend breakfast time!

Aside from the obvious butter, strawberry or raspberry jam, Nutella and honey, there are some truly Danish toppings.  The kids’ (and adults with a sweet tooth) favourite being pålægshokolade (‘topping chocolate’).   Yes, paper thin slices of milk or plain chocolate.  Usually in small, bar shapes – which are ideal for putting on rectangular slices of ryebread.  But now some clever marketing person has come up with the idea of selling them (at an inflated price, selvfølgelig) in round shapes with happy faces.  Fitting the morning rolls exactly…

Happy chocolate faces!

Adults normally top their bread with appelsin marmelade (‘orange marmelade’).  And a slice of pale yellow, mild Danbo cheese.  Both.  At the same time.

Yep, first you put on a slice of cheese.  Then top with a dollop of marmelade.

Though I always put my marmelade on first, before topping with cheese, as I find it less messy to hold.  I give you exhibit a) and b) below…

Cheese and marmelade. Hmmm, which to put first?

Velbekomme!

Diane 🙂