See you on the other side!

As you’ll have seen from my recent posts, my kids are on their summer break from school (six whole weeks, woop, woop!) and the weather in Denmark is fan-flippin-fantastic (upwards of 25 degrees and sunny most days).  Which means that it’s time for me to clear off my blog desk and take a (well deserved) break!  So you’ll just have to do without me for a couple of weeks… :P

I leave you with a (terrible) joke that my DDDFIL (dearly departed Danish father-in-law) always told whenever there were radishes on the lunch table.  And – as DDFIL loved radishes – that was extremely often! :)

What can the Danes do that the Swedes can’t do?  Grow radishes in the national colours!  [In case you didn't get it...the red and white of Dannebrog, the Danish flag).]

See you on the other side of the summer holidays!

Diane :)

By Diane • July 11, 2014
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A slice of Danish teatime (Great Dane-ish Bakes, Part One – Hindbærsnitter)

Okay, so you all must have guessed by now that I love Danish food.  I’ve got a series of posts on Danish comfort foods, plus another on Danish pastries/wienerbrød.  And now I’m starting a new one.  Great Dane-ish baked treats!  Woop, woop! :)

Today we start with…hindbærsnitter!  Literally “raspberry slices”.  We have a similar thing in Scotland called German (or Empire) biscuits.  Basically it’s two slices of shortbread, sandwiched with raspberry jam, then lots of lovely, lovely white icing on the top.  Here are some hindbærsnitter that we made ourselves.  Exhibit A.

And this is one we bought from the bakers.  Exhibit B.

They’re easy, peasy, lemon squeezy to make.  Ready to make them?  You’ll need:

  • 350g plain flour (12 oz)
  • 200g butter (7 oz) (be warned – margarine will NOT work!)
  • 150 g sugar (5 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • raspberry jam
  • icing sugar
  • sprinkles or, as I used, freeze-dried raspberries 
First of all, tip the flour and butter into a bowl.  Mash it together with a knife or a fork.
It should start to look like breadcrumbs.
Then add your sugar and egg, and work them in – the mixture will change colour slightly.
Use your hands to bring it into a ball.
Put the ball of dough into a plastic bag and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes (because we don’t want the dough to be too soft).
When it’s firmed up, roll it out between two sheets of baking paper – that way, it won’t stick to your rolling pin ;)  You’re aiming for a long log of dough.  Make sure it’s rolled out fairly thin.
Let the spreading begin!  Spread raspberry jam over the bottom half of your log.
Flip the top half over the bottom half, so you can’t see the jam.  Use the baking paper to help you, as it will be very floppy at this stage!
Use a fork or knife to squish down the top half to the bottom half.  We need to seal in the jam, so that it doesn’t leak out while cooking.  (Been there, done that…)
Bake in the oven at 175C (350f) for about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  You want it just turning a pale golden colour, not dark.  And then let it cool off…  Before thoroughly smothering it with white icing and your choice of topping.
Who wants to lick the bowl?  Me, me, me! :P
Then it’s time to put the kettle on, cut some nice slices, round up your friends or family and dig in. Velbekomme!  Bon appétit!
Diane :)

By Diane • July 3, 2014
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School’s. Out. For. Ever. Toot, tooooot!

The holidays are here.  The holidays are here!  The holidays ARE HERE!  Can you guess that we are excited? :P  Yep, Friday was the last day of school for my kids.  It was a beautiful warm, sunny summer morning and we cycled over to school with a song in our heads, not a care in our hearts, bike baskets full of teacher gifts.  Now, please, indulge me here, because I couldn’t resist stopping at the aptly-named Sommervej (‘Summer Street’) to take a pic!  Oh, and the little red dot above the letter ‘j’ on the street sign isn’t a dot – it’s actually a ♥…  Remember my post, “I ‘heart’ Danish street signs!”? 

 

But, as usual, I digress!  Anyway, later that morning, just before noon, I was making my way back from the (fantastic Danish) library.  Yep, tootling along in my car, full of the joys of summer.  And then – wham – I drove right into a cortege of Danish high school students, waiting to be waved off.  I’ve told you about the students before (Danish) High School Musical (Trucks).  But this was amazing…  The road was literally blocked with the trucks, the students, their parents/grannies/siblings/next-door-neighbours/the neighbour’s cat.

So, naturally, I had to ditch my car and go take a closer look…

It was – selvfølgelig – a few minutes to noon and the trucks were just about to depart on their loooooooong journey.  (They will stop at every student’s home for drinks and snacks.  And – with about 25 students per class – that means that they’ll be driving around on the truck until the wee small hours of the next morning…)

Even though there was actually a Danish policeman (Oh dear – am I showing my age?  Should I be saying the more politically correct ‘police officer’?) on hand, inspecting the trucks, it was total mayhem.  Fantastic! :)

Are we ready to rock’n'roll?

Flags?  Check!  Beer?  Check!  Air horn?  Check!

Even I – the girl at the party who always turns up the speakers to 11 – thought it was extra loud this year!  Remember that *every* truck has speakers and is playing different playlists. And that they play music for the entire duration of their trip around the area, usually 12 hours.  Plus any passing cars or lorries will toot their horns and join in.  Boom, boom. Toot, toot.  Boom, boom!  So it’s a very noisy afternoon and evening around these parts…  Are you beginning to get the picture?  Here’s a quick video I snapped of one of the trucks leaving the school (apologies for the shaky-hand) to give you a glimpse!

All aboard and ready for the summer holidays?  Toot, tooooot!

Diane :)

By Diane • July 1, 2014
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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!” :P  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 :)

By Diane • June 25, 2014
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Flødeboller! What’s not to love? Um, even more!

No sooner than I had wiped the last chocolate from the corners of my mouth and hit ‘publish’ on my flødeboller blogpost (Flødeboller! What’s not to love?), than I remembered that there was even more to go round of those dainty Danish domes of delight!

What about a tongue twister?  Fem flade flødeboller på et fladt flødebollefad!  (Five flat flødeboller on a flat flødebolle tray.)  Yep, try saying that one five times fast.  With or without aforementioned flødebolle in your mouth ;)

And no self-respecting school fête or børnehavefest (nursery party) is complete without Flødebollemaskinen.  The “flødebolle catapult machine”!  Always a hit.  But sometimes a miss (boom, boom)!  You very carefully balance a flødebolle (make sure to use the cheap ones for this!) on the back of the machine…

 …and throw a ball at the “clown”.  If you hit him right on the nose – baboom – the flødebolle flies up and you try and catch it!

Sadly, many hundreds of yummy flødeboller are harmed each summer in the process. And end up as a big sticky mess on the playground… ;)

But – hey – onwards and upwards!  Summer is well and truly here in Denmark right now and my DD12 and DS14 are eating icecream round the clock.  If you’re out and about and find a good icecream shop, then go the whole hog and ask for syltetøj (jam), flødeskum (whipped cream) and a flødebolle, for a real traditional Danish treat.   They’ll stick the flødebolle (okay, more like kind of squash it…) upside down on the top of your icecream cone.  Difficult to eat and you may need to wash your face afterwards but, hey, it’s a unique Danish summer experience!

Okay, time to go – my cup of coffee and flødebolle await!  Really, what’s not to love?

Diane :)

 

 

By Diane • June 23, 2014
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Counting down… Bonfire night on Monday!

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Sankt Hans Aften.  (I’ve written about it before Happy Sankt Hans!).  What is it?  A huge event on the Danish social calendar – the night where you go out and celebrate midsummer!  23 June – which this year is next Monday.

Bonfires are lit up and down the coast.  Or, like here – last year – in our local park. Normally around 9.30pm or 10pm, when it’s still light.

Safety first!  It’s also – selvfølgelig – a busy night for the Danish firefighters, who are always on hand! :)

But, hey, let’s backtrack a little!  The evening usually starts with people gathering – perhaps with a picnic – down at the beach or in the forest.  The evening officially starts with a short Sankt Hans Tale or “Bål Tale” (bonfire speech) by a local dignitary or ‘personality’.  And then the singing can start.  Sometimes with live music from an orchestra or band.  And, if you’re very lucky, a songsheet, so you can join in the singalong! :)

You’ll be singing Midsommervisen.  A.k.a. Vi elsker vort land.  “We love our country.” Last year we also sang I Danmark er jeg født (“In Denmark I was born”) and Der er et yndigt land (“There is a lovely land”) which you might recognise as the Danish national anthem.

Want to practice? Here’s the Sankt Hans song, Midsommervise.  In a classic version…

…and, here, a modern version by Shubidua.

So why the mixed feelings?  Well, as the fire slowly dies out (here we are in Svendborg in 2012), it’s time to head home in the twilight. And try not to think that, from now on, the long, long, long days of summer will be getting short, short, shorter.  Øv! ;)

Diane :)

 

By Diane • June 19, 2014
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You know you’re in Denmark when… (Postmen)

You know you’re in Denmark when…

Have you met our Danish posties?  Always on a special cargo bike or moped.  Dressed in red like Dannebrog (the Danish flag).  And, more often than not, sporting shorts.

Whether they’re stopped in a quiet suburban backstreet or, like here, right in the very centre of Copenhagen, it always surprises me that…

…they go off to make a delivery, leaving the bike and panniers unlocked.  And nothing gets pinched! ;)

Yep, Postman Pat – or should I say, Postmand Per - has reason to be a really happy man!

Diane :)

PS: In case you’re wondering, Postmand Per’s cat is called Emil.  Miav!  Miaow!

By Diane • June 16, 2014
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Necessity is the mother of invention. And of homemade koldskål.

As the Danes say, “Nød lærer nøgen kvinde at spinde”.  Necessity teaches the naked woman to spin.  And that’s exactly what I ended up doing on Wednesday.

Okay, so I wasn’t exactly sitting in my birthday suit, in the front parlour, at the wheel spinning a yarn.  No, I was forced to make koldskål from scratch.  To give you some background:  Tuesday was one of the hottest days of the year.  So when I opened the door of the dairy refrigerator at our local IRMA supermarket, the proverbial cupboard was bare.  What, no koldskål?!  Not even one measly carton of the addictive white stuff?  “Sorry,” said the friendly IRMA man, “just can’t keep up with demand.”  You will remember, dear readers, from my very first post about koldskål in 2011 that those crazy Danes are C.R.A.Z.Y. about the stuff.  Yep, there is a direct correlation between high temperatures and sales of koldskål.  Were we heading for koldskål shortages?  As we stood there chatting about the weather, guess what I spied behind him?  That dreaded (Danish) root of all evil –  lakrids (liquorice) - strikes again.  I mean, for heavens sake, liquorice salt?!  Blech and double blech! :P

But, as usual, I digress!  I remembered something about making it yourself and – lo and behold – when I started checking out the different cartons of kærnemælk (buttermilk), there was a recipe on the back.  Saved!

The recipe was: “Beat 2 pasteurised egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the seeds from a vanilla pod (we used vanilla powder) until frothy.  Carefully stir in the buttermilk.  Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice if desired.  Serve with cornflakes, kammerjunker (little plain biscuits) or slices of fresh strawberry.”

So that’s what we did.  And – by jingo – it tastes just as good as the readymade stuff! And it’s – selvfølgelig – dang cheaper than the readymade stuff… [said the canny Scot] So we ate half of it, there and then, and poured the remains back in the kærnemælk carton, to keep it cool in the fridge for another time.

Fast forward to today, Friday.  DD12 and her friend have just biked home from school and have polished off the remains.  Hmm, time to get naked and start spinning! ;)

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Diane :)

 

By Diane • June 13, 2014
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2 Comments

Pumped and ready to ride!

Are you ready?  Tyres pumped, lights checked, cycle helmet strapped firmly on? Tomorrow, Friday, is Cyklistdag (Cyclist Day) for my DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) who’s in the 5th grade.  It’s a campaign, organised by the police and schools in our area, to improve road safety.  Many kids bike to school – either accompanied by their parents or alone, from the age of about 10.  Yep, it can be hard to find a bike parking space at school in the morning – come early if you want a good spot… ;)

So what does Cyklistdag involve?  Well, the class will be divided up into small groups of 5/6 kids and they’ll cycle round the commune with volunteer parents.

There are a couple of stops with ‘challenges’ along the way.  This year I’m helping out with the Manøvrebane, where the kids will have to manoeuvre round cones, ride over a ramp and complete a slalom track.  Another ‘challenge’ is to name all the things that, by law, must be on a bike.  Which reminded me that, um, I badly needed to go check our bike lights and change some batteries.  Job done!

My favourite ‘challenge’ is Lastbilens blindevinkel (the truck’s blind spot).  A huge lorry is parked outside our local library and the kids are given a traffic cone which represents their bike.  They’re told to place the cone alongside the lorry, at a spot where they think it is ‘safe’ and where they think the lorry driver will be able to ‘see’ them, if he turns right.  (Even if most Danish lorries now have special cameras fitted, there are still – unfortunately – several fatal accidents each year involving cyclists and right-turning-trucks, so it’s vital information for the kids.)

After they’ve placed their cones, the kids are then invited up, up, up into the drivers seat.  So they can see exactly what the driver can see.

And – ta da – suddenly realise just how important it is to keep their distance…  A real eye opener!

Next year, in 6th grade, the kids will take their cyklistprøve (cycling proficiency test) where they’ll cycle the route on their own.

Will you be out in the traffic tomorrow?  Give us a wave!  Or, at least, give way!

Diane :)

 

 

 

By Diane • June 12, 2014
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Flødeboller! What’s not to love?

Whenever my DSBB (Dear Scottish Big Brother) comes to visit, he [cough] very kindly provides us with a list of things he’ll “need” when he’s here.  Beer, beer and (more) beer – ha!  But, okay, aside from lots of Danish øl, number one on the list is always flødeboller.  Now, to be honest, I’m not sure what he enjoys most: eating the dang things or misprouncing them… ;) Closest in English would probably be ‘flew-the-ball-r’.

But, as usual, I digress!  What are flødeboller?  Small or large, (normally) dark chocolate domes, filled with a marshmallowy cream and a wafer base.  If you’re very, very lucky, they’ll have a marcipan base.  Yummity yum!

You can buy cheap and cheerful flødeboller at the supermarket. They come in packs of 6 or 12.  Usually half are ‘plain’ and half are topped with dessicated coconut.  (A word of warning: the coconut ends up everywhere and makes a right mess…)

The cheap and cheerful packs are very handy.  Especially because it’s a Danish tradition to hand them out at school when it’s your fødselsdag (birthday). And, with perhaps 27 classmates, it can be pretty expensive [typed the Canny Scot].  My son’s old Maths teacher was often late and - if he turned up late for class three times in a row - he gave flødeboller to the kids as compensation.  Another tradition at the school is - if the teacher calls a pupil by the wrong name three times in a row – he has to give the pupil a pack of flødeboller.  Nice one! :)

At the other end of the scale, you have the luxury (ergo, expensive) handmade flødeboller.  Using the finest dark chocolate and exotic flavourings.  Yep, flødeboller are very much in fashion.  A few years ago everybody was on a cupcake decorating course.  Now everyone is learning how to make their own flødeboller…  I bought some jordbær (strawberry) flavoured ones at the supermarked this morning and will be doing a taste test tonight with the family :)

But, for Pete’s sake, did they have to start adding the dreaded lakrids (liquorice) - the (Danish) Root of All Evil - to our flødeboller?  Is nothing sacred? :P

Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful long weekend.  Yep, Denmark is closed again on Monday because of Pinse (Whitsun Pentecost) – and the weather forecast is hot and sunny!  What’s not to love?

Diane :)

 

 

By Diane • June 6, 2014
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Diane's Daily Denmark

Diane

Daily Denmark...living with those crazy Danes! Never serious, always informative. A Scot who fell in love with a Dane while working in Luxembourg. Permanently settled in Copenhagen and Mum to two little Vikings. I ♥ Denmark!