Saturday, 18 December 2010

15 Minute Chocolate Goodies (Konfekt)

Here's a 15 minute food craft to make with kids :)


Break up a bar of chocolate (or two or three...) into small pieces and melt slowly over a gentle heat. We have a little pot which sits over a tealight and it's ideal for this job...




While the choc is melting, get your dipping ingredients ready. We used dried apricots and dried figs which DS10 won at the After School Bingo Evening last week - click here for an account of 'one of the best days' of his life ;) DD8 cut the figs and apricots in half, as they were rather big.




Or how about some dates, which you can fill with a little piece of marcipan?




Once that lovely, lovely choc is melted, get dipping!




DD8 dipped some Danish 'pebernødder' (small, crunch, spicy, Christmas biscuits) too. Mmm!




Put the dipped pieces on to some greaseproof paper and leave them to dry. If you can resist them, that is. We also made a few Top Hats: marshmallows, dab of chocolate, M+M on the top.




Once they're dry, all that's left to do is a) lick the bowl, b) arrange the goodies on a platter, and c) get ready to wow your Christmas guests ;D


Bon appétit and hope you have a simply super Saturday! :)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Great Dane-ish Expressions (Part One)

I've just written another post about 'those crazy Danes' :)

You can see it over at the http://denmark.dk/ blog (which is run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Here's the direct link
http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2010/12/16/great-dane-ish-expressions-part-one/


Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Menu plan - Wednesday 15 December 2010

Less than 10 days to Christmas - yippee! And the best thing is that - because I've been using the Flylady Holiday Control Journal (and following the daily missions) - I was able to take the kids for a visit to Tivoli last night. Because the pressies are bought and wrapped, the house is decorated and the meals are planned! ;D

Riding the old wooden rollercoaster when it's minus 3 degrees celcius (27 fahrenheit) is a chilly thrill -
next time I should remember six layers of clothing...
  
Here's the menu for the coming week. My Mum and Dad arrive from Scotland on Friday (yippee again!) and we'll be eating out in town a couple of times and have guests coming over other days:

* Crockpot minestrone soup (my mum's recipe is here), then breaded cod stuffed with broccoli/cheese (readymade from the freezer!) and salad - this is one of my Dad's favourites when he comes to visit :)

Glazed pork chops (a recipe from Krista at http://typical-ramblings.blogspot.com/) with green beans and jasmine rice made in my 'where-would-I-be-without-it' rice cooker

* Forloren Hare (Danish meatloaf). I made up a batch a couple of weeks ago, so all I have to do is remove one from the freezer in the morning, let it defrost, then cook. Voilà! Serving with baby potatoes and baby peas.

* Glazed ham (with honey and brown sugar), carrots and my yummy gratin dauphinois.


* Chicken Parmesan (from the Saving Dinner book by Leanne Ely) with tagliatelle (flat spaghetti) and some fresh, crispy green salad.

And there will, no doubt, be lots of homemade sweets, biscuits and Christmas cake too. Which reminds that - according to our Family Advent Calendar - it's nearly time to decorate the cake!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Don't call a spade a spade!

Do you know the expression, "Call a spade a spade"? Tell it like it is. Don't beat around the bush. Don't dress things up.

Well, I've been thinking about this for a while now and have come to the conclusion that I never call a spade a spade. When I meet my buddies three times a week for a morning run, we call it a meeting of the Running Chicks. If I decide to take a whole two extra minutes in the shower and afterwards slather on some Origins body lotion (it's actually called 'Ginger Soufflé, whipped body cream'!) that I was given as a birthday present, it's suddenly become a Sunday Morning Pamper Session. I've dubbed our house "Alléens Perle" ('the Gem of the Avenue'). If I make a snack for DD8 and her friend - and get out some old, cheap china I bought over 20 years ago - we pretend that they're having Afternoon Tea in a posh hotel.

And so the list goes on. Why do I do it? Escapism? Maybe it's my imagination working overtime. Yes, yes, I do like to exaggerate. Or it could be because I'm the eternal optimist. And a firm believer in mind over matter. (If I took part in a medical test, I'd definitely be in that group feeling the placebo effect.)

But who cares? Does it even matter? Because it works for me, keeps me bobbing along.

Perhaps I should let the Flylady have the final word on the matter. "Make the job fun and it'll get done." ;D

Have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Coconut ice (Skotsk Konfekt)

DD8 took a basket of homemade goodies to school last week and a few people have asked me for the recipe for Coconut Ice. So here it is...in Danish! Velbekomme!

[If you're too chicken to read the recipe in Danish, the original recipe post is here!]

COCONUT ICE - SKOTSK KONFEKT


 
Ingredienser:


  • 340g kokosmel (cirka 2 pakker)
  • 340g flormelis
  • en dåse (på 340g) 'condensed milk' (fås i invandrer butikker til ca. 20 kr)
Hæld 'mælken' i en stor skål.



Tilsæt 340g flormelis og rør rundt til flormelissen er opløst.




Så tilsætter man 340g kokosmel - lidt ad gangen - og begynder at røre rundt... Dejen bliver meget sej til sidst, så det tager lidt tid. Men måske er der én med stor muskler, der kan hjælpe? :D




Hvis I har lyst, kan dejen tilsættes lidt frugtfarve. Vi delte dejen i to lige store dele og kom grøn farve i den ene.




Dejen spredes ud på et stykke bagepapir. Bruge bagsiden af en ske, til at glatte ud.




Så kom vi den hvide dej oveni.




I kan brug bagsiden af skeen til at gøre kanten lidt mere pæn....




Og nu skal den bare stå den næste dag. Den skal nemlig tørre lidt ud, før man kan skære den i skiver. Men det er helt sikkert ventetiden værd!

Velbekomme! :D

Friday, 10 December 2010

I heart Danish comfort food! (Part Two)

Today I wrote another post about that wonderful Danish dish, Forloren Hare. (A dish which has been made and enjoyed by my sweetie, bloggy friend Candace!) You can see the post at my blog desk over at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs...

 http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2010/12/10/i-heart-danish-comfort-food-part-two/


Hope you have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pamper time again!

The Flylady habit for the month of December is pampering...a habit which I've written about on many occasions (um, 25!) here on the blog. Just search the pamper tag.

One of my fastest pampers in the winter months is smothering my cold tootsies in bodylotion and putting on a pair of bedsocks. Not exactly a sassy look - but soooo relaxing at the end of the day! ;D




Another is to put on some really rich facecream or a facemask just before I go to sleep...




This 'Drink Up' mask from Origins (great name, huh?) takes me right back to my childhood. Probably because it smells of peach. Does anyone else remember those Christmas gift sets from Marks and Spencer with bubble bath, soap and body lotion? How I loved those! Simple pleasures...

Anyway, time for another early night for me. Sleep tight and sweet (peachy) dreams! :)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bingo Banko!

If you read my post about our Family Advent Calendar, then you'll know that tonight we've been out at a family Christmas Bingo event at DS10's After School Club. I was quite cocky about my skills and decided to buy ten whole bingo cards. Not that we played all of them all of the time...far too stressful for that! Even if I'm basically fluent in Danish, when the adrenalin mounts, I still mix up the numbers 50 and 70. And 40 and 80...



The numbers came out thick and fast. Out of the bingo bag. Or at random, according to the staff's shoe size, weight in kilos (hmm, wishful thinking?) or how many press ups they could do in thirty seconds! There were prizes for a line. Two lines. A full bingo card. A prize for those sitting to the right of the winner. Or the left. Or both! (One of those prizes turned out to be a box of Kellog's Frosties...) And sometimes there was a little chocolate or biscuit for everyone sitting at the winner's table :)

DD8 liked the idea of bingo but got more and more disappointed as the evening went on. What? We had bought all these bingo cards and still hadn't won a single thing?! Yes, my dear. One of life's lessons. Gambling is sheer luck...



And then - on the very last round - it happened. DS10 called "Banko!" And won. The Top Prize...

The Winning Ticket


He was so excited to get the huge basket home and unwrapped....



A fantastic array of goodies for the whole family :)



Candle holders, a kilo of hazlenuts, wine, gourmet oil, coffee, Christmas tea, dried fruits and lots and lots of sweets and chocolate...mmm! :)



DS10 declared it one of the best days of his life. Ever. I've just tucked him in to bed but he's obviously still in shock from the win. Instead of his Donald Duck comic, he wanted to read his (Danish) school text book! :P




Anyway, it's now way past ten. So it's Goodnight from me. And godnat and drøm sødt from him! :)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hejsan, Sverige!

Today was the Annual Christmas Lunch of the Running Chicks. Last year H, V and I ate in the centre of Copenhagen (you can see what we got up to here). This year we got on a train at 9.30am, armed with æbleskiver, pebernødder, a flask of hot, 'green tea with ginger and lemon' from Perch's Tea House and a wee dram of port...


Forty-five minutes (and several exciting tales later), we were in Sweden! The Swedes were celebrating Flylady's anniversary and had painted all the trains purple in her honour ;D



It was pretty darn cold. And snowy. But we did find a few spots where there wasn't ice underfoot. (I came well prepared with wonders.com boots and two pairs of socks).



We shopped, we soaked up the Christmas atmosphere, we lunched, we [insert heavy sigh] resisted the kaker...



Though I'm afraid we went slightly mad in the pick'n'mix sweetie shop, Gotte Lisa. Though, to give me my due, I did remember that this month's Flylady habit is pampering. So I filled a large bag with my favourite sweets to stash beside my bed :)



And - with that - I'm off to read my book in bed and have an early night. Sleep tight! :)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Menu plan - Monday 6 December 2010

This coming week we're either out early or back late from various Christmas events and parties (hooray!), so there'll be lots of easy-to-prepare-and-quick-to-wolf-down food at Casa Copenhagen:

* Tortilla Triangles with fresh veggie sticks on the side. Rice pudding for dessert (made the easy peasy way in my ricecooker, recipe and step-by-step pictures here), topped the Danish way with a knob of butter, cinnamon and sugar :)

* Pasta med kødsovs/spaghetti bolognese/pasta with meat sauce - whatever you wish to call it. The pasta is wholemeal, the meat is beef and the sauce is from a jar. Dolmio. Basta!

* Danish suppe - meatball and dumpling soup with homemade herb rolls

* Chicken fajitas and corn-on-the-cob

* a stick-to-your-ribs-Beef Stew, made in my crockpot, with fluffy dumplings (for little old moi, rest of family isn't bothered) and boiled tatties

* Danish biksemad which has starred many a time here on the menuplan... Cubed, fried ham, onions and potatoes, topped with a fried egg and cubed beetroot. And don't be stingy with the ketchup! ;D

Now that's done, I can continue my bath. [Cue gratuitous shot of my swanky new bath for my blog pal, Sassy Jen :D Why, yes, that is a built-in 'towel rail' on the front of the bath. Matches the sink, which you might have seen in my earlier post Don't quote me on that!]



I don't have pretty feet and, to be frank, I don't really care. But they're getting the full treatment tonight because the poor things were out running in the snow again this morning...




Must get back to my bubbles...have a marvelous Monday! :)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Let it snow Saturday

Just a very light dusting of snow outside this morning - hooray, for not having to shovel! We've eaten breakfast, DH is showering and I'm preparing the kitchen for him... Today he's making æbleskiver (Danish Christmas donuts). His recipe is here, if you'd like to have a go yourselves :D



Meanwhile I'm cranking up my favourite Christmas CD, Ella Fitzgerald's "...wishes you a Swinging Christmas" in the background...



Have a super Saturday! :)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Baubles Galore

Today I'd like to share a 5 minute Christmas craft. If you saw our Family Advent Calendar on Wednesday you'll know that today we're decorating inside the house. Well, apart from the livingroom, that is, as it's still being re-decorated! ;D

I saw an idea from Isabella Smith and thought it would be great for our kitchen. Or great for any dull spot where you don't have much space or don't want to hang things on walls. Or great for a kid's room - I'm sure they'd like to make their own. First of all, pull out your Christmas baubles. This is when you can finally use the ones which you can't bear to throw away but are partly broken or missing hangers! These ones belonged to DH's dearly departed, sweetie Dad - they're very pretty but so old and fragile that they break if you look at them with a stern face... How about this for a rock'n'roll Christmas guitar? ;D


Then find an old jam jar or glass vase. I'm using a glass jug that says Jul 1978 (Christmas 1978) which belonged to my dearly departed, sweetie Mother-in-Law. Which no-one else in the family wanted - tee hee, I knew it would come in handy!




Fill up the container - remember, it doesn't have to be perfect!




And in about two seconds flat - voilà - you're done! You could also add a little chain of battery operated lights. I'm sure I have one somewhere, I just have to locate it... You could also use several containers and put them in little groups. (Isabella Smith used two or three jars, added ribbons around the top and put a candle in one of them.)




And - to complete the kitsch retro look of our festive tableau - I've added a little elf girl that my Mother-in-Law made using beads, thread, styrofoam balls and garlands of patience... :D




Signing off now. Hope you have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Big Nosy Parker

I love looking at my Live Traffic Feed - the long blue column, down a bit, on the right ====>

It's fun to know that people all over the globe are reading what I write! Though it's also a daily reminder of just how shockingly bad my knowledge of world flags is... :P  Thanks to the wonders of technology, I can also see exactly which posts people have been reading. And - for some odd reason - a craft post I wrote last January called Stornæsede Nisser (Big Nosy Elves) keeps popping up. I have no idea why. I certainly haven't referred to it recently. And as I'm a big nosy parker myself, I want to know why! To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the post. (Though, in my defence, I wrote 333 posts in a row when I started this blog, so there's a lot of stuff lying around in here!) One of my favourite quotes is by Oscar Wilde...he said "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train." So maybe I should just go back and start re-reading all my posts... ;D

I found one of the elves we made last night - I had put him away in a Christmas box. So I've pulled him out, dusted him down, combed his moustache and he's now sitting in a basket of homemade treats - all ready for DD8 to take to school tomorrow as it's her turn to take something for Klassenstime ('class hour'). Its an integral part of the Danish school timetable - once a week the class has a cosy chat. Social stuff...how to be a good friend, is anyone being teased, what did they do at the weekend, etc. A chance to get things off their chest and just have fun. By the way, we're taking a large basket of fruit too - so please don't worry about those tiny Danes' tiny teeth! :)

We made the cookies and coconut ice yesterday as part of our
Family Advent Calender 2010


Click here to read the Big Nosey Elves post. Enjoy! And please, please let me know if you were one of the ones looking at it recently and, more importantly, how and why?!

Hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Family Advent Calendar 2010

Happy 1st of December! Time for advent calendars - and those crazy Danes can't get enough of them! :)

Yes, of course, we have the homemade ones that the kids have made at school in art class. And the bought ones from the supermarket where you get a little chocolate every day. It's a common Danish tradition for kids to receive a calendar (from their parents or grandparents) with 24 little gifts, one to open each day. The public Danish TV channels show a specially made Christmas series. In 24 instalments, lasting about 30 minutes. That's a lot of television... ;D  Not forgetting the 'on-line' calendars from shops, restaurants, insurance companies, hotels and travel agents with a daily chance to 'win' discounts, a free dinner, a holiday etc, etc, etc. And, of course, we also light an advent candle every morning - nice while we're eating our brekkie while it is still pitch dark, cold and very frosty outside!



Last year, inspired by Krista at Typical-Ramblings, we made a Family Advent Calendar. Something 'Christmassy' for us to do, make or enjoy...you can read what we did last year right here.

Without further ado, here's our Family Advent Calendar for 2010:

 1. Bake Christmas biscuits
 2. Finish putting up the Christmas lights outside (snow got in the way last weekend)
 3. More decorating - inside the house
 4. Local library has 'craft Saturday', so we'll go and make some decorations
 5. DH is ready for his once-a-year-in-the-kitchen-stint and will be making his famous "Danish Christmas donuts". See the recipe and how he got on last year!
 6. Watch a Christmas film and eat popcorn
 7. Christmas lunch - in Sweden - with my running buddies! :D
 8. Christmas Bingo at DS10's AfterSchoolClub
 9. After today's swimming lesson we'll make Snowman soup! (Hot chocolate, marshmallows and lots of squirty cream...)
10. Check Christmas lists and check all gifts are wrapped
11. Make some edible goodies! Here's a selection of what we made last year - cookies, marcipan sweets, add a few candy canes and - hey presto - fit for a Danish Queen!


12. Make up a large batch of sausage rolls to freeze and to eat! (my recipe is here)
13. DD8 is taking part in a St. Lucia procession
14. DD8 is playing an instrument (guitar) in a Christmas concert
15. Kids will decorate the Christmas cake which we made in October, recipe here. This is last year's cake :)



16. Take in gifts to school (last day tomorrow) and read Christmas stories.
17. Last day of school. Yay! Granny and Grandad arrive from Scotland - double yay! :D
18. Buy a fresh Christmas tree
19. Danish smørrebrød, Christmas øl (beer) and snaps for lunch
20. Evening trip to Tivoli Gardens
21. Museum trip or a long walk - we'll need a change of air!
22. Grown ups are out to a Christmas jazz concert at Copenhagen Jazz House
23. Gløgg (mulled wine) and æbleskiver (Dad's Christmas Danish Donuts, see 5 December)
24. Christmas Eve! Start off with a good breakfast (followed by a light lunch then traditional duck for dinner).


Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! Let the festivities commence! :)

PS: Need a bit of help with your Christmas prep? The Flylady has it all in one place - click here for instant stress relief!