New in Denmark

My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 22 December (Rullepølse and sild)

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

22 DECEMBER

Two sleeps to go!  No wonder we had the park completely to ourselves this morning for our run…’cos everyone else seems to be running around daft, getting ready for the big day! Even the dog walkers were doing their business elsewhere… ;)  You’ll remember that our park houses this building – Bernstorff Palace – these days known as the residence of Birgitte Nyborg, Denmark’s first female Prime Minister in the tv series “Borgen” …

But I digress!  Last year, in addition to making pebernødder (‘pepper nut’ biscuits), æbleskiver (Danish Christmas donuts) and konfekt (homemade sweets), I made my own rullepølse (‘rolled pork’)…  (Instructions for that are right here.)

Well, as my family from Scotland are arriving today (hooray!) and my DSD (Dear Scottish Dad) is mad about sild (herring), I’ve decided to surprise him and marinate my own herring this year.  I found this easy peasy DIY herring tin in a Swedish supermarket.

All I had to do was mix up a cold brine of sugar, vinegar and water.  Then open the tin, rinse the herrings and cut them into bite size pieces…

Finely sliced a red onion and crushed about 10 black peppercorns.

Layered the herring, onions peppercorns in a container (I have a dinky one from Tupperware that also has a draining function for when you take it to the table…) and poured over the brine.

Lid on, into the fridge for 24 hours and Bob’s your uncle! :)

Which will also give me time to get rid of the herring smell from my hands… :P

I’ll serve the homemade marinated herring on ryebread and will top it, the traditional way, with egg mayonnaise.  Velbekomme!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)

My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 21 December (Ris à l’amande)

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

21 DECEMBER

Okay, you’ve already seen that we have our mandelgave (marcipan pig) wrapped and ready – the prize at Christmas dinner on 24 December for finding the whole almond in the pudding.  Ris à l’amande! :)

IMAG7299

Here comes the recipe!  In my DDH’s family (Dear Danish Husband), they always cook the basic rice pudding on 23 December and finish it off on the 24 December.  Gives it a good taste and – more importantly – it’s nice to get half of the prep done early…  This recipe feeds 8 people – enough for us.  If you only want a small portion, half the quantities…

DAY ONE (23 DECEMBER)

Put 2½dl (250mls) of water and 2½ dl (250mls or 200g) of rice (short-grain, pudding, grødris) in a very large pot, bring to the boil and let it cook for 2 minutes.

IMAG7278

Slowly add 1 litre of milk (sødmælk, wholemilk is best) and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.  When it boils, turn the heat right down, pop a lid on it and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Check on it every 10 minutes or so, giving it a good stir.  If you want to do things the old-fashioned way, you can take it off the heat after about 15 minutes and let it continue to cook, wrapped in a duvet on your bed 8)

Leave it to cool in a cool place – preferably overnight.

IMAG7279

DAY TWO (24 DECEMBER)

Give the cold rice pudding a good stir.  Add two large tablespoons of sugar (melis/sukker) and about 4 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (vanilje sukker).  Give it a taste, and check to see that it is sweet enough for you.  Then add 100g of chopped almonds (hakkede mandler).  Give it another good stir.  Beat 4dls (400ml) of whipping cream (piskefløde) until you get soft peaks and stir into the rice pudding.  At this point you’ll want to transfer it into a nice bowl, cover and keep cool until serving time.

IMAG1582

HERE COMES THE SCIENCE BIT!

Just before serving, add one whole, blanched almond (mandel).  Easiest way to remove the skin is to put the almond in a bowl of boiled water, let it sit for a minute, then the skin should squish right off.  A word of warning, sometimes the almonds break up when you remove the skin.  Make sure you have three or four almonds, so you end up with at least one whole one… ;-)  Add to the pudding, give it a good mix and take it to table.  Everyone gets a portion of the cold rice pudding, along with some hot, cherry sauce (kirsebærsauce).  Yum!  And now?  Let the hunt for the whole almond begin!

IMAG1614

Who’s going to win this year?  May the best man win (the marcipan pig)!

pig

Three sleeps to go – get to bed early tonight and get your beauty sleep!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)

My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 20 December 2014 (Christmas spirit)

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

20 DECEMBER

My dear Readers, it’s Saturday and I am hopelessly late in ‘opening’ today’s door…but just look at what is in store! :)

vic

Yes, this past week has been a whirlwind and I’ve been burning the (Advent, ho ho!) candle at both ends – Tivoli, stand-up comedy with Tobias Dybvad and Anders Grau, Christmas jazz with Mads Mathis and the DR Big Band and, last but not least, the Star Wars Holiday Special.  Much merriment has been had!  Though I have to admit that the Star Wars Special from 1978 – brought to us by the ‘Bad Movie Club’ at Huset i Magtstræde – was indeed even more dire than we could have hoped – we certainly needed the force (together with julebryg and popcorn) with us in order to get through those 90 toe-curling minutes! :-P

But I digress!  Today we’ve been at home decorating, cooking, wrapping, singing Christmas songs and making several types of konfekt

The Christmas trees which have been outside in the garden

trees

…finally came in from the cold.  Good friends came over for dinner and hygge and we feasted on all the food I’ve been stockpiling for weeks! :)  Their little girl princess did us the honours and decorated the little tree – all by herself…

Beautiful!  Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?  Not a dry eye in the house.

Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)

My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 19 December (Weird and wonderful)

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

19 DECEMBER

I was in town last week with the kids, looking at the Christmas lights and displays.  Now, I now they are going for the ‘wow’ factor but this year ILLUM (a Danish department store) has more of a “shock and awe” factor.  Did they take inspiration from the second season of the tv series The Bridge / Broen / Bron?  Need a reminder about that scandi crime series ?  Here’s a little snippet…note the animal masks!

And here, dear readers, are the ILLUM window displays.  Am I the only one who finds them a bit creepy? ;-)

This one doesn’t have a leg to stand on…boom, boom!

Flødeboller arranged as a Christmas tree?  Okay, we did like this one…

Rabbit head plus little glowing baby/child = extra creepy!

Oh, well, at least the animal choir were pretty fun to watch.  They danced along to the song, “I’m too sexy.”

But what is the front one holding?!  Oh, yes.  A bra – selvfølgelig!

And this last window?  Words fail me…

It was a relief to go round the corner…

…and get back to some normal Christmas lights.  (If you want to see the lights at Tivoli this year, see Tuesday’s post.)

Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)

My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 18 December (Counting stars)

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

18 DECEMBER

Is there a Christmas decoration that hangs in every window in your corner of the world?  Around these parts it used to be this retro classic – we ‘inherited’ this one from the previous owners of our Swedish summer house and I love it – pure Christmas kitsch! :)

But now there’s a new Sheriff in town…complete with a star – Julestjernen!

Yep, those stars seem to be hanging in every Danish shop window and home right now…

And you know they’ve gone viral when supermarkets and discount stores start selling them.

Julestjernen (“Christmas star”) is, co-incidentally, also the Danish name for the poinsettia…

I also spotted these in the shop windows…paper stars – another obsession of those crazy (but lovable) Danes!

If you want to try your hand at making some yourself, buy the long, thin strips of paper ready cut at hobby stores and bookshops.  Precision is key!

But I’m warning you, they’re very tricky and mind-boggingly time-consuming to make – I don’t think I’ll ever master them.  Normally I give up and turn them into musetrapper (“mouse steps”) instead… ! :-P

IMAG1450

Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)