Happy St. John’s!

John the Baptist – in Danish: Johannes Døberen; the name Hans is derived from Johannes – is said to be born six months before Jesus (according to Luke 1), which is right around now (according to the date of Jesus’ birth set by… Who??… Oh well).

I’d love to explain to you the traditions of Denmark in my own words, but for once I think that another source is actually doing a better job:

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.) In the 1920s a tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth (probably made by the elder women of the family) on the bonfire emerged as a remembrance of the church’s witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning sends the “witch” away to Bloksbjerg, the mountain ‘Brocken’ in the Harz region of Germany where the great witch gathering was thought to be held on this day.

Holger Drachmann and P. E. Lange-Müller wrote a midsommervise (Midsummer hymn) in 1885 called “Vi elsker vort land…” (“We Love Our Country”) that is sung at every bonfire on this evening.

Source: Wikipedia: Midsummer –> Denmark (as of June 24th 2010 @ 2:50 AM)

Additionally, I remember many a midsummer bonfire where a firecracker has been put in the witch, making her scream as she was burned.

Bonfire at Blågårds Plads, Nørrebro, Copenhagen.

Happy St. John's!


Music Monday #1!

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

This may just be a teeny-weeny bit delayed in this part of the World, considering that it’s 2:30 in the morning, so it’s been Tuesday for about 2 ½ hours here in Denmark as I post. But anyways, I’ve spend too much time on this not to post it by now.

Twitter is usually celebrating mondays with the tag #musicmonday – and with the inspiration of wanting to do Top 5s (perhaps from watching “High Fidelity” once too many, I don’t know), I decided to introduce Music Monday to this blog. This also becomes procrastination from writing that monologue for Church and studying for my next exam.

Of course, I got this neat portable/mobile music player with a fruit on the back (you’ll hear me mention it again sooner or later – and yes, a daily fruit keeps the doc away). This also means that I have the very compatible software enabling me to work with neat things like podcasts on Follow Friday (also a tag from Twitter – #followfriday).

Anyway. This summer, a very famous soda company was working with the company providing goodies for my portable music player, which meant that out of a sudden I was able to download a LOT of songs for free. So first of all, these are my favorite downloads:

Five for walking Nørrebro
Beautiful Liar (Beyonce & Shakira)
Give It To Me (Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake)
Come Around (Timbaland feat. Mia)
That’s Not My Name (The Ting Tings)
Mr. Wendal (Arrested Developement)

Five for looking back
2 Times (Ann Lee)
Saturday Night (Whigfield)
Take On Me (A-Ha)
Manic Monday (The Bangles)
Walk This Way (Aerosmith & Run-DMC)

Five for the sake of it
Teardrop (Massive Attack)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
Gold Digger (Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx)
Walk This Way (Aerosmith & Run-DMC)
Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now) (The Allstars/originally by Bob Sinclair)

And a sixth… Just for the sake of it: That’s Not My Name (The Ting Tings).

Five EPs/albums
Let It Snow! – EP (Michael Bublé)
Emmy Rossum – EP (Emmy Rossum)
Teardrop – EP (Massive Attack)
Charmed & Strange (Bonus Track Version) (Yoav)
Give It To Me (feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake) – EP (Timbaland)

The Top 5 most played on my portable music player is as of right now:
1. A-Gusta (Safri Duo)
2. Snakefood (Safri Duo)
3. Samb-Adagio (Safri Duo)
4. Take Me To That Place (KEFAS)
5. I Got Joy (KEFAS)

Surprisingly so, considering how much seasonal music and Aaliyah for the past couple of months. Then again, I do listen to Safri Duo and KEFAS a lot.

ANYWAY. Got any reactions? Suggestions? Requests?

Godt Nytår – Gott Nytt År – Happy New Year – Prost Neujahr – Feliz Año Nuevo – Gelukkig Niewjaar!

New Year 1009-10

Recipe: Vanilla cookies

This is really a recipe for vanilla wreaths (or garlands, as the original recipe calls them). The original recipe is on a print from a homepage I can’t find any longer (www.danish-deli-food.com; the print is from 2005) – so unfortunately I can’t legally proof anything on this; but yes, I made changes on this one, too, and wrote this recipe in my own words.

I think I have a general problem with vanilla wreaths – they crumble the very instant they enter my mouth. Of course, most cookies have a tendency to do so, but this is really… Well. And it doesn’t matter how good they are otherwise. So next time I make a batch, I may just add an extra egg or extra butter or something like that.

Or I’ll just have to keep dipping them in my Christmas tea.

Anyway – they were a success with my family, so here is the recipe I used:

Vanilla cookies
You can use other kinds of nuts – the original recipe calls for hazelnuts, but suggested almonds.
The original recipe says that the dough freezes well (I still have the leftover dough in my freezer).

550 g flour
375 g butter
250 g almonds
160 g cane sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 egg


  • Blend the almonds as finely as possible.
  • 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 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.


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:

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.

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.


  • 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.


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!

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

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.

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.

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).