Thursday, 28 October 2010

Play that funky music, Danish boy!

Another crazy Danes post because today it's "Spil Dansk" day in Denmark, woo hoo!

I wrote it at my blogdesk over at the official website of Denmark..

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2010/10/28/play-that-funky-music-danish-boy/


Enjoy and have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The White Cliffs of...Denmark!

It's Wednesday which means...I've been writing about those crazy Danes! :)


You can find me over at the official website of Denmark...

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2010/10/27/the-white-cliffs-of-denmark/

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Menu plan - Tuesday 26 October 2010

Just a quickie before I go to bed (as the actress said to the bishop...), here's our menu plan for the week! :)


* 'pasta med kødsovs' - Danish spaghetti bolognese

* homemade 'biksemad' - Danish hash: cubed potatoes, meat and veggies, oven baked and topped with a fried egg and cubed beetroot (and a squirt of ketchup)

* quiche made with real, chunky bacon, mmmm! veggie sticks on the side

* glazed chops (recipe via Krista at http://typical-ramblings.blogspot.com) with brown rice and green beans

* chicken parmesan (which is chicken fillets in breadcrumbs on a bed of tomato sauce) with tagliatelle (noodles) and a green salad

* crockpot beef goulash with wild rice (done in my ricecooker) and topped with lots of red pepper, sour cream and cheddar cheese

And no doubt a homemade cake or two... ;D



Bon appétit, hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Christmas cake is in the oven!

Did you see my post yesterday? Lookie here if you didn't. The kids helped me to bake our Christmas cake today. I set out the ingredients... 



DS10 measured them and put them in a large bowl for DD8 to mix...




They carried the bowl through to DH (who, poor thing, is on a 24hr Ikea furniture building spree), so that he could - as tradition dictates - give the mixture a stir and make a wish... He played along nicely, even though he thinks it's a load of baloney :)

And - just so we could really get into the seasonal mood - we listened to a "Now Christmas" CD while we measured, mixed and stirred. I just have to hear the first bars of "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses and I'm looking out the window for snowflakes! ;D



Into the oven went the cake...



and now - for me - it's officially the Season to be Jolly. Autumn is over, roll on Winter, yay! :D

Want to join in the Christmas fun? Go check out the Flylady's website - it's never too late to jump in... Or check out what my twisters are up to - see the Linky below...

Have a super seasonal Sunday! :)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Get your pinnies on - it's time to bake a Christmas cake!

I've just spent a lovely week at home with the kids (they've had a week's holiday from school, the autumn break) and we've basically been enjoying just lazing around and sleeping in late every morning - small pleasures!

We also decided a couple of years ago to make a new tradition for the autumn holiday week. Baking our Christmas cake. Tomorrow - Sunday - is the day. Would you like to join in? Then get your pinnies on, check the list of ingredients and get ready to go stir crazy...
  • 450 g mincemeat from a jar (1 lb)
  • 225 g wholemeal flour (8 oz)
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 150 g dark brown sugar (5 oz)
  • 150 g butter or margarine (5 oz)
  • 175 g mixed dried fruit, chopped into small pieces (6 oz) [I use whatever I have handy - normally prunes, raisins, apricots, cranberries]
  • 50 g walnuts (2 oz) [yuck, don't like nuts in cakes, so I don't use them ;) ]
  • grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon [I don't always bother]
  • 3 eggs
* * * * * *

HERE ARE THE MIXING/BAKING INSTRUCTIONS

Put everything in a large bowl. Mix with an electric hand whisk if you have one because this mixture is pretty heavy. Get everyone in the family to stir it with a big wooden spoon (just for theatrical effect) and make a wish. Naf, I know, but that has become our little Danish/Scottish family's tradition.

Pour into a 20 cm (8 inch) round or square cake tin. Make sure the base and sides are lined with paper, because it's going to be cooking for a looooong time.

Put into a preheated oven at gas mark 4, or 325 f. Or if you're here in Europe, 170 c. Check it after 1½ hours. If it is firm and springy in the middle and doesn't leave a mark when you press it, it's done. Otherwise give it a bit longer (can take up to 2 hrs in all). Depends on your mincemeat, what fruit you're using etc.

Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack. Don't bother taking off the paper.

I then wrap mine in tinfoil, put it in a plastic box and feed it once a week (an integral part of my Flylady WHB each Monday morning up to Christmas).

Feeding it involves poking it several times with a skewer, then drizzling with a couple of tablespoons of Drambuie (Scottish whisky liqueur). Or cognac, Grand Marnier, brandy - whatever you happen to have to hand (can't really be tasted in the final cake, mainly gives a richness to the fruit).

Just make sure that whatever you use is fairly alcoholic. Because the 'proof' of the cake is in the eating... boom boom!

* * * * * *

I'll be back tomorrow with pictures. In the meantime, have a simply super Saturday! :D

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Scaredy Cat Challenge - Old Dogs and New Tricks

Time for a quick update on my latest Scaredy Cat Challenge... learning to play the piano! :)


I went for my second piano lesson last Friday. My Norwegian teacher told me that I was, and I quote, "...surprisingly good at playing from the sheet music without looking down at your hands."  He said it in Danish, which I've translated for you.  His singsong Norwegian accent you will just have to imagine for yourselves... ;D

I told him that, actually, I found that part very easy (it's the rest that's difficult). After all, I'm an old-school 'stenog' or shorthand typist. Just like my hero, Thoroughly Modern Millie! :)  I learned to typewrite in the days when the machines were mechanical. When the teacher drummed out a rhythm to type to [perhaps even to music?! will have to check with my schoolmates] and most of the lesson was spent with the fabric dust cover over our hands, so we couldn't look down and cheat.  In my first office job - in 1986 - I had an electric typewriter.  I can even remember the day it was upgraded to an electronic one...with a 'memory' of about 50 characters.  What a new fangled machine that was!

So maybe it is possible to teach this old dog new piano tricks? Keep your ears pricked up! And don't forget to practice for 15 minutes every day... (setting my Flylady timer NOW!)

Would you like to join in the Scaredy Cat Challenge? Add your blog with the Linky below. Or go check out what my fearless twisters are throwing themselves into!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Menu plan Tuesday - 12 October 2010

It was so cold that we were able to make 'smoke rings' when we walked to school this morning, eek! But at least it's sunny out, so let's be thankful for small mercies. Our menu plans are beginning to reflect the weather - less raw veggies and more of the cooked ones. And cue lots of freshly-baked bread... Many thanks to Amy at The Freckled Hen for pointing me in the direction of this 'mix and store in the fridge' bread recipe - fantastic! You just stir the ingredients (no need to kneed, boom boom!), let it rise, fall, then refrigerate for up to two weeks. Just take out the amount you want and bake. Go try for yourself! Click here for (almost) instant wheaty gratification.

DD8 hard at work making funny faces on bread rolls


And now back to the menu plan:

 * roast pork with apples (just a few left on our trees) made in the crockpot

 * cheddar cheese and sweetcorn savoury pancakes (mix up a basic batter and stir in the cheese/sweetcorn before frying), veggie sticks on the side

 * blender quiche with big chunks of real bacon on the top - yum!

 * homemade pepperoni pizza (kids are always willing to prepare this one)

 * chicken nacho grills - were fabulous last time so making a double batch! ;)

 * stir fry of game meat (it's the season and on special offer at the butchers right now)

 * and a pasta night using up any leftover meat/veggies


Have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Wedding Bells and Guitars

It's our Danish Copper Wedding today...12 and a ½ years of wedded bliss!

For the non-mathematicians amongst you, that means we got married on 11 April 1998. (If you'd like a - sort of - explanation of this quaint Danish tradition...I already wrote one for you, it's here.)

Instead of celebrating the traditional way - a formal dinner for family and close friends - we've decided (is this beginning to sound familiar?!) to do our own thing...  At the end of this month we're throwing a big 'let your hair down' party with retro food, a DJ and - the icing on our Copper Wedding cake - a live performance by (our own personal favourites) Denmark's finest rock band "Magtens Korridorer".  Just because we've been married for so long, doesn't mean we have to act like it too..? And - just like at our wedding in Scotland - standing on the chairs will be allowed! :)



Have a marvelous married Monday!

PS: Those of you familiar with Magtens Korridorer will no doubt remember that their very first hit was "Lorte Parforhold". Rather apt in the circumstances?  [ I have refrained from translating the title for fear of offending my more genteel readers.... Use 'google translate' at your own risk!  :P  ]

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ho ho ho! Christmas planning - 10 October 2010

Drum roll, please! The main ingredient for our traditional Danish Christmas dinner - duck - is already bought, in our cellar and all ready to put into a roasting hot oven on 24 December (the day the Danes celebrate Christmas)! :D

We decided a couple of years back that it was silly buying a whole duck when everyone in the family wanted a leg. (Because we have to feed more than 4 people...) So we now buy confit de canard, which we L-O-V-E. If you're not familiar with it, it's a French thing - duck legs are boiled for a couple of hours in fat, allowed to cool then stored in large tins full of (duck) fat. Which preserves them for years. All you have to do at home is remove the legs from the tin, allow them to drip off and then pop them into the oven for about 30 minutes. Outside: fantastically crispy duck skin. Inside: meat which falls off the bone and melts in the mouth. Heaven!

Traditionalists will no doubt be aghast but we say "Phooey!". After all, shouldn't Christmas be as stress-free as possible? And doing what you enjoy instead of what you're 'supposed' to do?

16 legs...lots to go round!

Luckily for me, a local supermarket had confit de canard on special offer this week. A tin containing 4 duck legs normally costs around 150 kroner, but I got them for 100 each. (Yes, I know we can buy them for half the price in France but - malheureusement - we didn't have that much space in our suitcases this year.)

In other news...we are now approaching the Danish autumn school holiday week - a time when I usually bake our Christmas cake with the kids. Candace is going to bake one again with me this year. If you want to join us, leave me a comment and we can put our pinnies on together!

If you've got any good Christmas planning ideas to share, why don't you add your blog with the McLinky below? Go check out what my twisters are doing - we're all working on different projects, using different planners (I use the Flylady system). There's no need for you to start Christmas planning yet - but you may want to get some inspiration for when you are ready... :)

Have a great Sunday! :D

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a...matchbox?

I've just written another "Those Crazy Danes" post. Today it's about 1970s wedding favours! :)

You can read it in full technicolour over at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website...just click here if I've tickled your fancy!


Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday, a.k.a. Litte Friday! :)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

What's up (with me), Doc?

Dear Readers

I can see that I seriously need to pull my blogsocks up...

I could blame it on our (10 weeks so far, will it never end?!) bathroom remodel. A remodel that spilled over and involved completely redecorating our master bedroom. Or our upcoming Copper Wedding extravaganza (involving the coordination of swanky, hep cat nightclub, catered food with a retro Danish theme, an appearance by Denmark's finest rockband, a DJ who will play exactly what we want and invitations going out to circa 150 friends and family around the globe). And school events/after school club activities that make my head spin - even when they are written down in the diary. But that would just be making excuses!

Truth to tell, I woke up Monday morning and wanted to cry. Felt completely out of sorts. (Yes, I may have a cynical sense of humour, but I am usually the eternal optimist...) My running friends had to cancel on me and I was => _ <= this close to jacking it in. Then my own good advice came back to haunt me...yes, I'm great at dishing out good advice - just not so good at following it myself! How many times have I told my friends this chesnut?

The days you want to drop exercise are the very days you need it.

Ha! So on the spur of the moment I ran out the door, determined to run longer than I ever have before. The sun shone, waves crashed on the sea, I smiled at the old ladies who were winterbathing, the wind threatened to blow me and the dogwalkers away, I ran past the morning queues of cars, past the sultry bakers shops, past the strange old houses (stopped to take a photo of one with hieroglyphs on the side), shouted 'God morgen!' to the road workers. And turned my iPod up to eleven... :)


Yes - cue the cliché - I came home a different person. (I ran over 7k...go moi!) The water gods smiled down on me and my 140 kg (22 st) bath arrived and was lifted up to the first floor by two Danish removal men who deserve a place in the Guiness Book of Records. And I decided that I really, really need to go back to writing blogposts every day (or at least every other day). For my own good. It's therapeutic. Brings out the best in me.

Anyway, that's all for today. I'm sitting with the laptop at the local library while DS8 and her friend are at the Kids Cinema Club next door and now the battery's running out... Time for me to grab a coffee!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)