New Teapots – part 2

When I was in London back in June, I came across one of the many touristy giftshops there. I had been considering getting a small teapot containing no more than two cups of tea for a while. I have done so as I have had a tendency make an entire pot of tea (the only pots I had here in Gellerup up until then both hold about a liter of tea), but for various reasons I haven’t been able to drink more than a cup or two before the rest of the tea went cold. This is especially a problem around Advent/December/Christmas, seeing that a huge part of my everyday that time of year is the Christmas tea.

As I write this, I start thinking that I might just as well use teabags or use one-cup filters for loose tea – but nevertheless, I found this teapot+cup in said tourist trap museum gift shop and thought I would kill two birds with one stone: get a souvenir from London and get the tiny teapot I had been thinking of getting for so long.

I can’t quite remember what I had with the inauguration of this one – probably a muffin – but with a quick cuppa I could just as easily have had freshly baked vanilla cookies (the dough freezes well – and if coming directly from the fridge, one can easily slice a few slices from the dough and bake them accordingly).

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New Teapots – part 1

I was fortunate enough to inaugurate a new teapot back in the fall. It’s not that the old one wasn’t good – but it just didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret buying it – I just ended up realizing how unpractical it is.

The old teapot is a Bodum teapot – Bodum is the firm behind most quality French press coffee pots in Denmark if I’m not wrong – and this teapot is derived from the French press idea; pressing the loose tea down to the bottom of the filter when the tea is done steeping. Very convenient for black teas, there are no holes in the lower part of the filter, preventing the tea from going bitter from the tannin.
But with time, a couple of problems with this teapot occured; 1) it is impossible to get the stains off of the filter, and 2) it’s just awkward to brew tea with teabags (yes, you heard me – I use teabags) in it; you can’t use it without the filter since the opening is otherwise too wide to support the lid.

The Tea Pot - without the filter

Then one day, I saw this teapot and small matching mugs in a store in central Aarhus – and I fell in love.

Teapot and small mugs in store

The irony? The teapot and seven mugs (the number of my study group at the time) didn’t cost much more than half of what the Bodum teapot alone cost me. This teapot also has a filter for lose tea, but the design of it is so subtle that no matter what, the lid of the teapot fits the opening like a glove. This means that I can use it for both lose tea and for teabags. Yay! On top of that, the filter is very easy to clean. Double-Yay!

I celebrated the new teapot with muffins made from a new recipe (rather: new at the time of the inauguration) – they are so freakin' easy and are made from ingredients I usually have in the kitchen anyway, and the end result is an appropriate (as in: not overwhelming) number of muffins. So I almost need an excuse not to make them these days. You can find the recipe in the previous post on this very blog.

Yum.

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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!

Mmmmm! – Smell the wonder of cookies!

Cookies'n'Tea!

There was just enough dough for one batch. Served with Sweet Chai. Yum!


And thus, my very first piece of Royal Copenhagen was taken into use. (it's the bowl!)

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.

Recipe: That Ham!

This is something that I pull out for special occations – like holidays or special dinners where a roast is absolutely necessary. Like the family julefrokost. Although it’s a bit odd, cooked in cola and all, everybody love it and ask for it, and have been doing so since the first time I cooked it.

It used to be my mother cooking the ham back in the days, but she cooked it in some way that made the entire house stink. When I then found a special (or should we continue with calling it odd?) recipe I wanted to try a few years back, I took my chance to suggest that I cooked the ham that year. And I’ve been cooking the ham for the annual family julefrokost ever since.

Now, it’s no big secret that I got the recipe from Nigella Lawson. Then it’s said. But I *did* make some adjustments.

I know Nigella has talked of making soup from the cooking liquid – now I can’t remember which one, but I will post it if I find it.

Now, here’s what happened this year:

Colaham
Although I think I got all the good tips on timing worked into this recipe, I think it’s a good idea to read Nigella’s recipe, too, as I may not get all of the goodies on cooking and roasting into my version of the recipe.

Ingredients
1 678 g gammon (US: ham)
1 1½ liter bottle of Coca-Cola
1 onion, peeled and cut in halves

For the glazing
1 tablespoon organic dijon mustard
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
1 small handful (or 1 unit) of cloves.

For the leftover Coke
A large glass.
A slice of lemon.
Ice cubes if desired.

To-do

  • Put your gammon into a pot, fat side down (if possible). Add the onion and cover ham and onion in Coca-Cola. Cook for 45 min. (add 15 min. if the gammon comes straight from the fridge).
  • Put possible ice cubes into the large glass, pour the rest of the Coke over the ice/into the glass, squeeze lemon juice into it, and enjoy while cooking.
  • Mix mustard and syrup in a small bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 240º C.
  • When the gammon has been cooked (and is now officially a ham, I suppose), take it out of the liquid and put it on a chopping board.
  • Slice off the fat, leaving a thin layer, score the thin layer with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove.
  • Place the ham in a roasting pan. Cover the “diamonds” with glaze, and pour the rest of the graze over the rest of the ham.
  • Put it in the oven – the original recipe says it should be there for 10 minutes, but my nose could tell me different before the 10 minutes had gone, so keep an eye (and nose!) on it. Take it out (before it burns!) and let it rest.

Enjoy!

The Ham, Christmas 2009 The Ham, Christmas 2009

Recipes: Emergency Christmas Teas

I’ve been at home for my family’s annual julefrokost (litterally: Christmas lunch; usually also describes a Christmas party at firms/companies/places of work or other organisations keeping adults busy, it’s a Christmas celebration, but not celebrating Christmas (Eve, Night, or Day(s)) itself. It’s one of the Danish oddities – like hygge).

I knew that my parents (who are the hosts of the family julefrokost) had some Christmas tea (because I bought it for them – they’re not as Christmassy as I am), although it’s not of my favorite teahouse – but my emergency Christmas teahouse. So since I (still?!) have some of my favorite Christmas tea left, I thought I’d bring it – but when I got there, I realized I had forgotten the tea at my place. And when I checked, there was only enough for a pot and a half of Christmas tea…

Luckily, we only needed one pot. When I wanted to make tea today, I luckily saw alternatives of keeping up the Christmas spirit while looking over the shelves of tea and spices.

Note #1
If you’re REALLY lazy, Chai is a really good alternative to Christmas tea (my best suggestions being Yogi Black Chai and Pukka Herbal Spiced Chai (since the last suggestion is herbal, even Latter-Day Saints can drink it!). If your local supermarket doesn’t carry it, ask for it at your local health food shop. Follow instructions on package.

Note #2
1 unit = 1 cakespoon -or- 1 heaped teaspoon -or- 1 teabag.
1:1 means one unit of one tea, one unit of another and usually goes with one (1) liter of water. If you need more or less, just multiply it with liters of water.

Recipe 1
While there was about a cakespoon left of Christmas tea (the teapot in question takes two), I was happy to discover a box of Yogi Black Chai with one remaining teabag in it – and mixing them was a success!

Ingredients
Water
1:1 Fredsted Julethe and Yogi Black Chai
Possibly milk/cream & sugar/honey to taste.

To-do
Boil water.
Scald pot/cup.
Put tea in pot/cup – if necessary, put loose tea in teabag or somesuch.
Pour boiling water over tea.
Leave it to steep for 7-8 minutes.

Recipe 2
Now, after having used the last Christmas tea, I was about to take the Christmas spirit down a notch – but then remembered one of the two most dominating ingredients of my favorite Christmas tea: Cloves (the second being orange peel). And then I took some cloves and let them steep with the tea.

Ingredients
2 units of your favorite tea (in my case: Queen’s Blend from A. C. Perch’s Thehandel)
1 small unit of cloves
Possibly milk/cream & sugar/honey to taste.

To-do
Boil water.
Scald pot/cup.
Put tea in pot/cup – if necessary, put loose tea in teabag or somesuch.
Pour boiling water over tea.
Leave it to steep for how long your favorite tea requires (Queen’s Blend requires 7 minutes).

Enjoy!