While others around the world are trying to ‘catch ’em all, here in Denmark I’m invariably trying to catch…the best food bag! 😉
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.
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.
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!
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! 😉
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 specialfastelavnsboller! 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?
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:
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!
Check back here later this week when I’ll be showing you how to make another Danish Carnival essential – the Fastelavnsris!
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…