rsz_img_6163

This weekend my Danish friend Susanne is in Amsterdam to visit me! Wuhu! It will be no surprise that I wanted to post a Scandinavian dish today, honour of her and the lovely country of Denmark where I lived so many years. Since spring is here (I’m ignoring the occasional showers), and summer is coming I decided to go for the Scandinavian Koldskål Buttermilk Desert.

When you travel you learn most about yourself and your own country, culture and habits. During my time in Denmark the Scandinavian Koldskål Buttermilk Desert is one of the dishes that made me think about what dairy products are available in my own country.

As a milk producing and exporting country, the Dutch supermarkets tend to have a wide range of fresh dairy products. At least, when you compare it to non-milk producing countries like Spain or Italy. In these countries you can buy dairy products that can be kept for over 4 weeks. Coming from the Netherlands: the more south I travel the longer dairy products can be kept, and the less fluid the dairy becomes. 😉 I would even doubt if you can still call them dairy products, but ah well… I guess that is how I see it with my Dutch-cultural glasses on.

When I moved North, to Denmark, I found even more dairy products than I was used to and that were different on a different scale: sourness. I was used to having 3 variances of dairy: Milk, yoghurt and buttermilk. Oh and then there is the greek yoghurt, so 4. From least sour/most fluid to most sour/least fluid that would be:

Milk – Buttermilk – Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt.

In Denmark I found that there are many more variances! Check this out:

Milk – A23 – Tykmaelk – Buttermilk – Ymer – Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt

Crazy huh? Imagine me buying A23, thinking it is milk, just a different brand of milk. You should have seen my face when I started drinking it. It’s ok really, it tastes pretty good, but if you expect the flavour of milk it is definitely disappointing. A23 is more sour than milk.

Todays recipe is called Koldskål, which means cold dish in Danish. It is a really refreshing mix of dairy products lemon and vanilla that especially popular in summer with fruit or cookies in it. Koldskål is normally made with two types of dairy: buttermilk and ymer. And since ymer is not sold in the Netherlands (or many other places in the world) I have tried to imitate it with products that are available… in the Netherlands: butter milk and greek yoghurt.

This is what you need for the koldskål (serves 4):

  • 500 ml. butter milk
  • 400 ml. greek yoghurt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2,5 tbsp. vanilla sugar

For the kammerjunkere:

  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr. sugar
  • 50 gr. butter
  • 300 gr. flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

This is how:

Mix the ingredients of the koldskål into a consistent mass.

Melt the butter and let it cool down a little. Mix the eggs and sugar and add the melted butter. Then mix the flour baking powder and salt and add it to the dough. Knead the dough lightly and let it rest in the refridgerator (covered) for one hour. Split the dough in 3 equal parts and roll them into a 3 cm thick roll.

Put the rolls on a baking tray that is covered with baking paper. Bake them for 25 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius.

Take the rolls out of the oven and let them cool down on a roster for about 2 minutes. Then cut the dough into 0.5 cm thick slices and put the slices back on the baking tray. Bake the cookies again for 15 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius.

Let the kammerjunkere cool down completely before serving them with the koldskål.

Serve the Koldskål with kammerjunkere and/or fresh fruits.

 

rsz_img_6165

rsz_img_6002

A couple of weeks ago I felt like cooking a trip through memory lane again, and decided to make smørrebrød, the vast rye bread that is very typical for Denmark. I have lived in Denmark for 5 years and now that I am back home it’s nice reminisce of my time there while enjoying a good rugbrøds mad (rye bread meal).

As I already covered fish smørrebrød, I thought about blogging about two other favourites, Meat Smørrebrød: Liver Paté & Meat Balls (Frikadeller and Leverpostej). Plenty of memories about these two open faced sandwiches…

As an expat I really had to get used to the Danish liver paté. First of all there is the size of the packaging. In the Netherlands liver paté comes in very small cans. More or less the size of caviar tins. We don’t need big cans because we usually smear liver paté on our bread, as thin as butter. In Denmark people tend to put a centimeter thick slice of leverpostej on their rye bread. So that is also why Danish supermarkets sell liver paté per 300 grams rather than 15 gr. Imagine me throwing out almost 80% of my danish package of leverpostej every single time, thinking ‘this must be part of that fælles-concept’ and ‘I need to make more friends’.
It was good that I found out how to eat liver paté the Danish way cause I can assure you that you don’t want to let any liver paté go to waste.

Anyhow, let’s get started…

Smørrebrød med Leverpostej

rsz_img_6002

Here’s what you need for 2 persons:

  • 4 slices of rye bread (smørrebrød)
  • Butter
  • Salad
  • Liver Paté, tray 300 gr. or make your own
  • One can of beetroots
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • Pepper and Salt

First: bake the bacon nice and crisp. Then, simply take the slices of rye bread (smørrebrød) and put a little butter on them. Then cover them with some nice fresh salad and on top of that a centimeter thick slice of liver paté. Then finish the open faced sandwich with a few slices of beetroots and the crispy bacon. Add a little pepper and salt to taste and garnish with some cress to make it look super professional.

Smørrebrød med Frikadeller

rsz_img_5997

Here’s what you need for 2 persons:

  • 4 slices of rye bread (smørrebrød)
  • Butter
  • Salad
  • 4 small ready-to-eat meatballs from the supermarket or make your own
  • One can of red cabbage
  • 1 large pickle
  • Pepper and Salt

Again, simply take the slices of rye bread (smørrebrød) and put a little butter on them. Then cover them with some nice fresh salad and on top of that some meat ball slices. Then finish the open faced sandwich with a few table spoons of red cabbage and some sliced pickles. Add a little pepper and salt to taste and garnish with some cress.

Enjoy!

rsz_1img_5685

Brunkartofler – Danish Caramelised Potatoes – is a danish side dish that typically accompanies the Flæskesteg (pork roast) on the Christmas table. Brunkartofler (‘brown potatoes’) thank their name to their light brown colour of the caramelised sugar. These potatoes are quite sweet as you can imagine. Therefore the danes usually also serve normal potatoes with it, so you can mix and match to fit your own sweet tooth.

What you need: (serves 4)

  • 1 kg peeled and boiled small new potatoes (dry)
  • 75 gr sugar
  • 50 gr butter

Time for action:

Put the sugar into a cold frying pan. Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Then turn on the heat and melt the sugar on a high heat untill it starts to brown. Then add the butter and stir well for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the boiled, dry potatoes and glaze the potatoes in the sugar while continuously stirring. The sugar caramelises pretty fast so keep an eye on the potatoes and keep turning them. Enjoy!

rsz_img_5682

If there is anything that is typical for the danish kitchen it is Flæskesteg – Danish pork roast with a nice crispy crust. You can find it on every Christmas dinner table and Christmas party, and it’s de-li-cious. Have to admit that I was not a fan from the start. The trick is, as it is with many things, you have to make it yourself. Pork roast is best when it comes right out of the oven.

Since this type of roast is not so common in the Netherlands I had a hard time finding the right cut of meat. In the Netherlands we like to cut off all the fat that makes a meat juicy… Luckily a local butcher knew exactly what I was looking for.

Here’s what you need: (serves 4)

  • 1200 gr pork loin with the skin on (about 1 cm thick skin)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 ml water
  • fresh thyme

And once again, a proof that good food doesn’t need to be complicated to make:

Take the porc loin and score diagonal lines into the skin, about 1 cm apart. Then do the same with the other diagonal to create diamond shaped lines into the skin. Just cut the skin, not the meat. Your butcher can take care of it if you like.

Then preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celcius. Put the pork into a roasting tray with the skin down. Boil the water and add enough water to the tray so that the skin is completely submerged. Roast the pork for 20 minures.

After 20 minutes take the pork out of the oven and pour the water out of the tray. Change the heat of the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Turn the pork around, skin side up, and rub a good amount of salt and pepper into the skin and the crevices. Then add the chopped onion, carrot and thyme to the tray, and stick the bay leaves in the crevices. You can break the leaves in two, lengthwise, to cover more of the pork skin. Finally add 500 ml of fresh cold water to the tray.

Put the baking tray into the oven and leave it in for one hour, and check after 30 min if there is enough water left in the tray to prevent the meat from drying out. If you have a meat thermometer, you can check the temperature of the meat. This way you can be absolutely sure the meat is well done, and does not get too dry. 68-70 degrees Celcius would be perfect.

When done, take the tray out of the oven and pour the fatty water into a bowl. You can use this as stock for the gravy. Take the onion and carrot also out of the tray.

The typical Flæskesteg has a nice and crispy crust. To create this crust, turn the oven up to 250 degrees again and put the porc in for about 15 minutes. If you are impatient – like me – you can use the grill to speed things up, but keep an eye on the roast to avoid it from burning. In the meantime you can make gravy out of the stock with a little gravy powder.

The roast is doen when the temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees.

Flæskesteg is typically served with caramelised potatoes and red cabbage.

rsz_img_5456

Remoulade is an absolute must-have when making Smørrebrød. Especially the fiskefilet version is just not the same without it. The remoulade sauce that is sold in supermarkets in the Netherlands is not coming close to the type used in Denmark. Since it is so easy to make, I suggest you make your own rather than buying non-Scandinavian remoulade.

Mix and it’s done:

for 2 slices of rye bread

  • 30 grams of mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onions
  • 0,5 tablespoon of parsley
  • 0,5 teaspoon of curry
  • 0,5 teaspoon worchester sauce

Mix all the ingredients and let them rest for a few hours for the flavours to settle in. That’s all folks!

rsz_img_5457

Life in Denmark is good. Unemployment rates are low. Healthcare is free. Education is free. Copenhagen actually has more hours of sunshine a year than Paris. It’s no surprise that research has shown that the danes are the happiest in the world.

You would think that the Danes would then also be tolerant and open… Well they are in some areas but not when it comes to their national food smørrebrød, small open faces sandwiches on the typical Danish rye bread.

There are very specific combinations that go together in one type of sandwich compared to another. Do not mix recipes! I repeat: do NOT mix recipes!

I have often found myself standing at the lunch buffet, making a nice sandwich, just minding my own business, when I would feel a tap on the shoulder. A colleague would kindly but firmly point out that what I was doing was wrong, that these particular elements don’t go together and would never taste good together. Now I was rather close to my colleagues. When dealing with strangers this would be more funny: people would ask ‘does that taste good together?’. I would recognise that they would be in danish avoid-conflict-at-all-cost modus, and would stubbornly answer ‘yes’. Answer ‘oh’… ‘I never eat it like that…’. Which basically means: ‘what the hell are you doing?’

Let me help you on your way through the maze of Danish smørrebrød do’s and don’ts with two suggestions of Fiske Smørrebrød – Danish Open Faced Fish Sandwiches

Smørrebrød med Fiskefilet og Remoulade

rsz_img_5456

 

For 4 portions:

  • 4 slices of rye bread
  • Butter
  • 4 flounder filets
  • 1 egg
  • Pepper and salt
  • Bread crumbs
  • 4 nice pieces of curly lettuce
  • Remoulade sauce
  • 1 Lemon
  • Fresh dill
  • Baked onions

Put a little butter or margarine on each of the slices of rye bread. Cover it with some curly lettuce so the whole slice of bread is covered. Then take the flounder filets. Break the egg in a small bowl, add some pepper and salt and mix it well. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate so you are ready to bread the fish filets. Dip the fish filets in the egg and after that in the bread crumb mixture so they are fully breaded on both sides.

Then heat a little oil in a pan and bake the filets untill they are done and golden brown. When ready put the fish filets on the rye bread. Finish with a large spoon of remoulade sauce, some fresh dill, a slice of lemon and some baked onions. Make sure you have some extra remoulade sauce on the side in case anyone wants some more.

Smørrebrød med Rejer og Æg

rsz_img_5457

For 4 portions:

  • 4 slices of rye bread
  • Butter
  • 4 nice pieces of curly lettuce
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 500 gr Shrimps
  • Mayonaise
  • 1 Lemon
  • Pepper and Salt
  • Fresh dill and cherry tomatoes (garnish)

We start the same way as with the previous one: put a little butter or margarine on the slices of rye bread and cover it with a nice slice of curly lettuce. Then take the boiled eggs (make sure they are cold) and slice them up. Cover the lettuce with a nice layer of egg slices. Then put the shrimps on top and add a little pepper and salt.

Finish off with some mayonaise, fresh dill, a slice of lemon and some cherry tomatoes.

rsz_img_5698

The next weeks I will be posting some delicious Danish Christmas dishes. Having lived in Denmark I thought I should take the opportunity to introduce the Danish Christmas to the world.

Denmark is very known for its modern furniture, innovative farmaceutical technology and the world’s best restaurant Noma. This might lead to the conclusion that the Danes are just as renewing when it comes to Christmas and the Christmas table. But allthough the American tradition of roast duck or goose is becoming more common, the Danes have a very specific and typical traditions for the Christmas Days that has not changed for many years.

Christmas Lunch(es)

In the weeks before Christmas, there are several Christmas ‘warming ups’: The Christmas Parties, also called Christmas Lunches, but the latter I find a bit misleading since it sounds like there is no alcohol involved (there is).

When you are living in Denmark you will be invited to many Christmas Parties: your work, football club, school, friends, church and whichever social group or community you may be in. The whole month of December will be full of it, which is time consuming if you consider that every party is followed by a hangover day. The Christmas beer and schnaps that are meant to help digest the food actually do have some less enjoyable side effects.

At all parties you will go and eat more or less the same food as during Christmas Eve. So by the time it’s Christmas Eve you will feel like you cannot eat more of the same for another year or so. I guess that’s ok actually: you will only get served these dishes again during Christmas next year. :)

Christmas Eve

The typical Danish Christmas Eve is spent with family and friends. The menu is the same wherever you go: You’ll start with rye bread with fish filet or shrimps. Followed by roast pork, boiled potatoes and red cabbage.

For dessert, the classic dish is ris à l’amande; a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, almonds and hot cherry sauce. A peeled almond is hidden in the dessert bowl. The lucky finder of the almond gets an extra present!

Some families even add another course after that, and serve a selection of cheezes with nuts, honey and olives.

Christmas Dancing

In case you are planning to go to Denmark for Christmas: Don’t be surprised if people suddenly go up and dance around the Christmas tree singing songs. That’s normal… well it is in Denmark at least…

I have always felt a bit weird doing it. First of all I do not like singing in public: I feel completely embarrassed! And then the dance circling around the Christmas tree… I think it would be less awkward if the danes would not do the same at midsummer, when instead of a Christmas tree there is a bonfire with a witch in the middle of the dancing crowd…

Christmas Decorations

If you are considering to throw a Danish Christmas Party, you’ll need some decoration too. The typical Danish decoration or ‘pynt’ are Red-White Paper hearts or Christmas Stars:

Enjoy my upcoming posts!

IMG_5452

IMG_5426It’s smoothy time! Here are three versions that are both refreshing and nutritionous. A great start of your day.

The Classic Smoothy: Pink Berry

for 4 glasses

  • 500 ml low fat yoghurt
  • 125 gr berries (frozen)
  • 1 apple
  • 200 ml milk
  • blue berries as decoration

As a decoration I used:

  • strawberry sauce
  • Fresh Blueberry (sinking!)

 

Elderflower Mint Smoothy

Scandinavian Smoothie: Elderflower & Mint

I’m a big fan of elderflower juice. I started drinking it while I was living in Scandinavia, where it is more common than in the Netherlands (which explains the name of this smoothy). If you have a hard time finding elderflower juice, syrup or concentrate: try your local IKEA store.

for 2 glasses

  • 4 tablespoons Elderflower concentrate
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Mint leaves
  • 2 Apple
  • 200 ml Yoghurt
  • 100 ml Milk

As a decoration I used:

  • Mint leaves

 

 

Start Your Day In A Good Way Smoothy

Start Your Day In A Good Way Smoothy

How to better start your day with then with an easy all-in-one breakfast? Carbon hydrates, vitamins, proteins… everything you need for an early morning gym-work-out.

for 2 glasses

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 4 tablespoons Granola or muesli
  • 200 ml low-fat Yoghurt
  • 100 ml low-fat Milk
  • Mint

As a decoration I used:

  • Mint leaves