Recipe: Vanilla cookies, v2

These are the cookies I brought for the rocktour with Brorson’s Church. I discovered too late that I used 350 g of butter instead of the 375 the original recipe called for – but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Vanilla wreaths/cookies can turn out to the dry side (as small cookies usually do) – but to me, there’s not much in the world of cookies that can’t be cured by being dipped in a cuppa tea or coffee (or whatever wonderful, drinkable liquid you’ve got in front of you).

The original recipe calls for hazelnuts or almonds – but since there was some experimenting with it even back then, I think it’s safe to make your own special tune and sing your own special song when it comes to kernels. (Edit: Experiment with the kernels of sunflower seeds turned out successfully).

Ingredients
550 g flour
350 g butter
250 g cashew nuts
160 g light cane sugar
3 teaspoons (-ish) vanilla sugar
1 egg

To-do

  • Blend the cashews – whether they should be chunky or fine is up to you.
  • Mix the flour, blended almonds, cane sugar, and vanilla sugar.
  • Fold in the egg as well as possible – you can rub it in if you find it necessary, but be warned that it doesn’t assemble all of the dry goods.
  • Rub in the butter (by now it should start sticking).
  • To make the cookies, take a piece of dough, roll it into a ball with a diameter of 1-1½ cm, and press it flat.
  • To make the wreaths, you can either use a mincer or roll it into small sausages and shape the wreaths from that.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200º C (390º F) for 10-11 minutes.
  • Let them cool. Keep in airtight container (say, recycle an old ice cream container or somesuch).

The dough freezes well – so you can make “sausages”/“salamis” (app. 10 cm/4 inches in diameter) of leftover dough and freeze them. When you need more cookies, defrost a “salami” in the fridge overnight, cut it in slices (4-5 mm/one-fifth of an inch thick), and bake them according to the instructions above. If you are making the dough a day in advance, skip the freezing step, just pop it into the fridge.
Just remember that it’s easier to cut the dough straight from the fridge since the significant amount of butter in the dough does have a tendency to be a wee bit too far on the soft side if it isn’t cooled down first.

Enjoy!

Music Monday #4: Catching Up

On Music Monday this week:
1. Introduction
2. Favorite Listings
3. Etta Cameron homage
4. Top 5 Most Played Songs on Music Player
5. Drop me a line.

Finally, I took the time to catch up on things.

First of all, I promised to do a Brocktour-themed Music Monday. The idea was really to round up the bands I remember from the Rock Services in Brorson’s Church – and given that it has been a couple of months since then, and the latest passed Friday was the last Rock Service of the season, not only is there a bigger number of bands to pick of – it’s a perfect occassion to pick up on it.

Second of all, I thought I’d do a little homage to Etta Cameron, who passed away in March.

Starting out with the Brocktour (Brorson’s Rocktour) theme, I picked from what I remember from the Rock Services and Tours throughout my two years in Brorson’s Church:

Five Brock-bands never escaping my memory
LIPS (www.myspace.com/thelipsdk)
This is one of the two first bands I remember experiencing at a Rock Service. Actually, it’s the first one I remember clearly – perhaps mainly because the activity coordinator at the time, Loa, who was also on my first Brocktour (which was last year), is the singer of the band. The present activity coordinator, Ulrich, who was on my second tour (which was this year), is on the keys in the band.
They have a sort of dance/disco-quality to their music – and in spite of not being too crazy about too much reminding me of the 1980’s music-wise (with very few exceptions – I think I’ve been environmentally damaged in both directions), I actually like it!

Niepoort (www.myspace.com/niepoort)
Niepoort was the band who joined us for the Brocktour in 2009. It’s the first time I remember experiencing the accesability of a band like I did, although I often sensed it at other Rock Services with other bands. You just seem to get a better sense of people if you spend more time with them, I suppose.
As for their music, I remember them using a tiny megaphone to sing through at one of the songs, which gave a pretty nifty effect. Besides that, I find that the lead singer (Gustav Niepoort – another Dane with a Dutch last name!, I love! ;D) has a voice I’m not really sure how to describe, although I love it. Take a listen – can anyone help me coin a description?

Black Rose Trick (www.myspace.com/blackrosetrick)
Black Rose trick was with us at our latest Brocktour – and how great it was to experience! I’ll never forget blogging, tweeting, sorting photos, or napping to the sound of Guitar Hero in the salon in the back of the bus.
Listening to their recordings, they sound more ambient than they do live; albeit still having an ambient-like sound even then. Also, they do have some good hooks in their songs – which we were more than likely to be singing along to every night.

A Road to Damascus (www.myspace.com/aroadtodamascus)
In the end of March this year, our activity coordinator was down with a concussion. Our usual Reverend was off duty for some reason. And the band which was supposed to play had cancelled. But we were in luck – we had a previous temp taking the place of the activity coordinator, Reverend Asser Skude (who is known for his work for homeless people and running for Bishop of Copenhagen back in 2009) to take Per the Reverend’s place, and a voluntary who had a connection to A Road to Damascus, who were able to bring their energy to the Church.
And what energy! During a Rock Service, the band is situated in front of the altar, which is on a raised platform with two steps down to the floor of the rest of the Church. Not only did they perform from the platform, but also jumped down in front of it. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much energy from a band performing at any service in Brorson’s before!

Turnip Greens (www.myspace.com/turnipgreens)
I was really impressed with their sound – being really south state/R&B/country/blues-y; I never heard that in Brorson’s before, making Turnip Greens standing out in my memory for a long time to come.

Five songs never escaping my memory
White Pony: “Falling” (Watch @ YouTube)
I remember this song from the 2009 Brocktour. One of the volunteers couldn’t get it out of her head – especially the “There’s only one right side, and that’s the downside…” part – and she had to bless us by playing it out loud…
Black Rose Trick: “Black Water” (Listen @ MySpace)
This is one of the songs I was talking about in the space above – although some of us would by the end of the tour end up telling them to get the damn bird out of the water and get on with it.
The song is still on their page at the time this entry is published.
Black Rose Trick: “By the River” (Listen @ MySpace)
This one, though, I believe was the absolute favorite of the giv-et-år medarbejder (give a year employee) and I – singing along to the gorgeous “oo-ooh, a-ah-a-ah-ah, oo-ooh, aa-ah…”-hook. I still get into the spirit of the Brocktour when listening to it.
The song is still on their page at the time this entry is published.
Black Rose Trick: “On My Knees” (Listen @ MySpace)
Not only one, but two catchy “ooh”-based hooks was on the live version of this, as the lead singer had taken over the melody in the end of the song. But what caught me was the subject of being on one knees in front of a “Majesty” – which was the only word I caught of the song to start with, thinking of the higher powers as Majesties. And it still pops into my head for no reason whatsoever every now and then.
The song is still on their page at the time this entry is published.
A Road to Damascus: “Sweetheart” (Listen @ MySpace)
I have to admit that I was trying to find the song by Niepoort where Gustav was singing through the tiny megaphone – but couldn’t find it (so much for the song not escaping…). And again – ARtD to the rescue! This is not because they’re second to anyone – they are second to noone – they’re just that good (proven by the fact that I remember their energy and performance over the circumstances of the service they played at).
What strikes me about the song is that its vibe is opposite the vibe I got from the performance at the Rock Service – and yet it’s the one of the three on their MySpace page that illustrates their performing enery during the service.
The song is still on their page at the time this entry is published.

Etta Cameron Homage
Etta Cameron hat a decent part of gospel history in Denmark – even collaborating with one of the first idols of mine, Stig Rossen. Although I think I prefer gospel with her kind of voice, she did have a decent talent for jazz as well – proven in this video I found on YouTube.

There is a translation of what she says below the video.

“The music has been like medicine to me. I was so young when my mother died, and that was not that long after my father. And when I was very, very, very sad or scared, because I was alone, I just sang. No matter if it was jazz or it was gospel or blues or whatever. It’s something that I have always appreciated, and I always will. But it has meant medicine to me. Really. It was big, has always been big to me, the music.” – Etta Cameron.

Taped on Copenhagen Jazzhouse, aired on TV2 Charlie.

The Top 5 most played on my portable music player is as of right now:
1. “Slow Me Down” (Emmy Rossum)
2. “Teardrop (LP Version)” (Massive Attack)
3. “Come Around” (Timbaland feat. Mia)
4. “Walk This Way” (Aerosmith & Run DMC)
5. “Stay” (Emmy Rossum)

Got any reactions? Suggestions? Requests? Comment/reply away.

Last Brock of the season – catching up on Brocktour 2010

If you want to cut the latest and go straight to the last of the Brocktour, click here.

On Friday, we had the last Rock Service of the season in Brorson’s Church. The band was Turnip Greens, playing a very Southern kind of rock; very bluesy. They were, IMHO, one of the few bands that have been radically different from the rest of the lot I have heard live at the Services. Sure, I can tell the bands apart when I have to, but most of them are ususally one big blur.

This was also the first time I have ever worn a portable mic in my life. I think this came from having to deal with a presentation with two exercise bikes in front of everything, the two guys exercising having to use the portable mics anyway. So instead of having to deal with the extra cords/wires/jacks for the usual prayer mics when pulling the (heavy!!!) bikes aside, we (who read the prayers) just took over the mics as soon as the presentation was over. And just so we’re clear – using portable mics for the two individuals reading the prayers is GENIUS; no having to think of how to hold up the prayers and tilt your head in order to be able to READ the prayers AND having the mic catching the sound properly. Just attach the mic as you did when it worked through dress rehearsal, unmute it (it would be stupid and highly disturbing to the rest of the crowd NOT to mute it throughout the rest of the Service), and wham-bam-boogie – vi kører.

Having Per the Reverend back as the preacher was a true gift. In spite of him being the preacher through Easter, I had almost forgotten how he looked in his cassock and ruff; he’s been off duty for the Rock Services of March and April, plus the monthly morning service in May – and I haven’t been able to attend the very few services there has been in between (there are few enough for me to actually spend a lot of time in Jerusalemskirken in between without missing out on much in Brorson’s; most of Brorson’s services are at the most monthly or annual, depending on the occasion, not weekly). Seeing that Jerusalemskirken is a Methodist church (where the ministers either look like smurfs when dressed in their blue cassock and white stole for their regular morning service or are dressed slightly more informal for their second Sunday service), Per in his black cassock and white ruff was a divine sight!

We had visitors from Herning, a town in Jutland, who left us this wonderful message:

Super good service!! We enjoyed it! You rule! And keep doing that! God be with you! With love Herning ❤ P.S. Hope you see this

Catching up on the last of the Brocktour, we had our last Service in Skt. Nikolai Church in Holbæk. In my opinion, it was one of the greatest Services of that tour. You could argue that it was because it was the last one, that it was the only one on Zealand (the rest being in Jutland), and the worst had already happened (you may remember me cursing over the confirmands in Løgumkloster over Facebook). But I don’t think those are the actual reasons why.

I remember a description given by one of the others; that the last couple of back rows in the church were confirmands with their usual hormones – topped off with Red Bull. Yup, you can only imagine the noise they were trying to make; you might think it would be Løgumkloster all over again. But first of all, Skt. Nikolai isn’t as huge as Løgumkloser. Second of all – as soon as they started making noise, the rest of the congregation (including confirmands, I believe) litterally hushed loudly at them – every time! – and they stopped. I LOVE them for doing that, hushing down the rascals! Love. love. love!

Besides that, we had the same arrangement with the Sacrament/Holy Communion as we did in Løgumkloster; seeing that at least Løgumkloster is one of the biggest churches around (Skt. Nikolai isn’t the biggest, but it isn’t small, either), we had two stations with two reverends each serving bread and wine. Besides our own Reverend (Per), we had three other Reverends coming in from the local and neighboring perishes. In Skt. Nikolai, I remember receiving it from at least one Reverend (if not the two of them) from the neighboring perish (Tveje Merløse Church/Perish) – and I was surprised by how sincere he was. Not saying that other Reverends aren’t sincere, but I think it can quickly become a habit when having to say “This is the Body/Blood of Christ(, shed for you)” a humongous number of times every so often – and this Rev was jawdroppingly sincere and convincing, not just repeating a line. That gave me a great, positive energy to go up and read out the prayers shortly after, and that was the best read of prayers of the entire tour, no question about it.

I think no matter how sick and tired I become of dragging things back and forth from different churches, setting up, taking down, etc., I’ll always end up going back on tour again – just because I end up remember the good things. If I get another chance of touring, I may just take it.

Brocktour: Løgumkloster

Tuesday presented us with a gorgeous piece of church – Løgumkloster Kirke; an old monastery church in the south of Jutland (kloster = monastery). It’s one of those churches I can walk into and feel the calm, no matter the denomination – just like Catholic churches of Southern Europe (just a note: Løgumkloster Church was converted to Church of Denmark after the Reformation back in the 1500s – Church of Denmark is Lutheran-Evangelical).

That being said, it seems that a tour can’t go by without a bunch of unmanagable confirmands. I know it’s just my second tour, but both tours have presented just that. The Reverend usually makes clear that we don’t applaud during the service itself, but the days the band plays encores, we can applaud the band during the encores. But the youngsters in Løgumkloster went contra – and applauded LOUDLY after just about every action during the service. Even when I said “Let’s be silent together” after the prayer, they could do nothing but yell… And applaud. *sigh*
I could bitch about spoiled brats and decent behavior, especially in a church, but I won’t. Well, maybe later, but not now. It’s just a waste of energy right now. The service went exceptionally well in spite of the unmanagables.

Afterwards, we drove to the hut we spent the night in, evaluated over a night cab, and I went to bed shortly after – and had surprisingly many hours of sleep, all things considered.

Night cabs, Tuesday night.

Apparently, I'm the only one going on caffeine. I honestly don't mean to decline alcohol. I blame my body and its cravings.

Tourbus view, Wednesday. Somewhere in Southern Jutland.

Tourbus view, Wednesday. Somewhere in Southern Jutland.

Brocktour: Checking back in.

So, yes.

Monday went by in remarkable silence. I know I spoke of a special Music Monday that didn’t happen, but there are still mondays to come.

Coming to photos, I can see that my Flickr account is slowly crawling towards the 100 % usage (95 % so far). What I’m planning to do is to use my account on Photobucket instead – I’ll let you know when I do so; I promise to post links.

Last night, we were in Hove Church. We’re starting to remember what to do with things – routine is nice, things run smoother, and faster. Certainty and time to check up on more are bonuses of this. The backside is just that I, personally, feel like I should be doing something when there seems to be nothing left. Then of course, I pull out my phone and start taking pictures (thus all the pics of churches – there are more than the ones I uploaded), or just sit down and chill until someone asks for help.

What I (and others of the group) found amusing yeaterday is that we were referred to as “the Copenhageners” in the written schedule of the locals. Yes, we do come from a church in Copenhagen, but the irony is that the majority of us are actually from Jutland (where Hove Church is located).

Something else I noticed was the smell in the air. Now that we had thaw, the frost wasn’t present to hide the smell of fertilizer. I think that many urban individuals find the smell disgusting – and I don’t know why I actually like it. My theory is that I’ve spent just enough time in the countryside (incl. a year in a folk high school) to have it growing on me, to grow adjusted to its “face”; be it because I have good memories of the countryside, or because I became used to it (ya know, now that it was there anyway). I like it.

I turned in early (even before any Porto Cálem was in sight). I hoped to be up in time to be up in time to pack my shit in time for breakfast – but somehow I managed to snooze and ignore my phone’s alarmclock for about an hour and a half, and woke up hearing the activity coordinator of Brorson’s telling someone else that the bus was leaving in 20 minutes. Yikes! The policy is that we’re responsible of waking up ourselves, so I think it’s natural that noone woke me up.

now it’s late – I wrote the above before setting up in Løgumkloster, which was today – I’ll write the last notes now, and continue tomorrow.

Luckily, I managed to throw some clothes on my back and the rest in my bag and in my pockets, and make a couple of sarnies before hurrying out the door. Now I’m just looking forward to evaluate, mayhaps have a nightcab, brush my teeth, and turn in.

Rock'n'roll in the bus, Guitar Hero/caffeine style, on Tuesday night.

Rock'n'roll in the bus, Guitar Hero/caffeine style, on Tuesday night.

This week in retrospect (incl. Brorson’s Rocktour).

Hey all!,

A couple of things happened this week. No major life changes, but just happening enough to make my everyday go up a notch.

First of all, as you may have discovered if you’re following me on Twitter, I’m off on the tour around Denmark with the rock services, one of the trademarks of Brorson’s Church. I’m blogging from the tourbus, and I hope to continue to do so until we’re home safe around midnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

Looking back on this week, I can tell you that I got a response from the Roskilde Festival (you may already have seen the blog entry) – they kindly declined having me as a blogger.

On Thursday, my choir was back after the annual winter break (which is one week off sometime in February in most institutions in Denmark – except for the Universities; “Time off?! What’s that?!” We only have official holidays (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.), classes, and time for homework (“Sleep?! What’s that?! Where’s mah drink?”)). Sofie, our director, was sick and had a couple of jobs besides us this week, so she rested her voice only to give place for some checking up on where the choir was with the repetoire, letting others do the solos. We had so much fun!
On my way home, I stranded on the local station for longer than expected due to work on the railways. I couldn’t help but curse it all and was about to want to tell someone where to stuff the time I had to wait in the freezing cold – but that was when I discovered that it wasn’t actually freezing cold anymore, but fairly mild. The snow was melting, there was a sense, a smell, if you will, of spring in the air. As Safri Duo’s “Baya Baya” came on my portable music player, life couldn’t be better.

Brorson’s Church had its almost-monthly rock service on Friday night – and as a voluntary at those services, I was there. I was helping out with cooking dinner, reading prayers with one of the employees, and later on bartending.
Maybe I should explain the concept of the prayer at the rock services: You receive a piece of paper in the doorway as you arrive, and there are pens scattered around the seats. People can then write a prayer; ask God about something, say thanks, or something else. The prayers are then collected during the first song the band plays, the two individuals in charge of the prayers then collect them, sort the usable from jokes and tacky ones, and then go back in, and then, according to the plan, read them aloud, have a moment of silence before Our Lord’s Prayer is said.
That night, there were two prayers praying for loved ones who had passed on; one mentioning an uncle and a cousin who had been left without wife and mother, another mentioning a father who had passed on (recently, it seemed). Both prayers were in my pile. All the way back into the church, all the time up to actually reading the prayers, I had no idea how I would react when I stood there, due to losing my own dad five years and almost a half ago. A girl in the front row broke down in tears – and I couldn’t help but think that it was way to early to lose a parent; she was barely a teenager, barely confirmation age (Lutheran confirmation) – and I was 21 when I lost my dad. It was really moving standing up there.

So, now we’re in the tourbus, going around Denmark, visiting churches with the rock service. It’s an annual thing, my second time this year. I’m in the back of the bus, in the salon, where the TV/DVD/X-Box is.
Within an hour of taking off from the Church, we were pulled over by the police. Just routine, but we couldn’t help but joke about it; knives (the law is pretty tight on knives here in Denmark) and illegal aliens (due to the situation with the Iraqis in the Church this summer, having the Reverend in the bus – and the name of the Church written all over the sides of the bus). But the officers never came down to the back, but only checked up front. As I mentioned before, I think it was just a routine check.
Besides that, we had breakfast, a couple of the others have been playing Guitar Hero, and now we’re watching “Spark of Insanity” (Jeff Dunham – YAY!).

Hopefully, I’ll have time for some for writing a Brock-themed Music Monday entry tomorrow – but for now, it’s lunchtime (yes, we made it all the way to Vejle!). Tonight, we hit Odder Church. I’ll check back in later tonight/tomorrow!

TOT ZIENS! Have a blessed Sunday!