Monday, 30 April 2012

Join the Garden Party (30 April 2012)

Oh my word, how things are shooting up in the garden and, thankfully, I'm not just talking about the weeds, tee hee!

As you may remember, I've been doing my gardening the Flylady way for the past couple of years.  Doing little stints of 15 minutes in order to avoid getting overwhelmed.  (I started a few weeks back and you can see what I've been up to right here.)

This week I had only a few goals.  To maintain the lawn.  "Lawnmothering" is done - check!  Boy, it was hot - in fact it was the first (genuinely) hot spring day we've had.  So it took me a while but I got it done.  In babysteps.  Here's a tiny part of the front lawn to show you.  Don't we all love Before and After shots?!

Before shot - complete with dandelions - eek!
(By the way, the 'hole' is where we pulled out a bush and have resown the grass)
And 10 minutes later...  Ta da - instant gratification!
I also wanted to do some work on the garden paths now that I've got the flower borders pretty much under control (famous last words...).  I've been chipping away at them - listening to three songs on my telephone at each sitting - and it seems to be paying off because they're beginning to look quite good!

Before - hmm, too much green between the cracks!
After - much better! :)

My tasks for the week ahead are to keep going with weeding the paths.  And to clean up the barbecue - as we've got a holiday weekend coming up and there are sunny skies ahead.  Yay!

Hope you have a marvelous Monday! :) 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Feel Good Friday - 27 April 2012

Three things that have put a big smile on my face this week:

Finding a duck sitting in our front garden on Sunday evening!  DD10 gave it bread and water (which it gobbled up) but the next day the duck was gone.  We're wondering if it was the same one who came to visit us two years ago with her ducklings...

Ducks in our paddling pool

Watching DD10 swim her 300m badge and DS12 swim his 1,500m badge. You're obviously not allowed to take pictures at the pool, so you'll have to make do with a pic of them on holiday when they were just wee tots!

Going to bed early with a great book and enjoying my secret stash of Cadbury's creme eggs.  Thank you, Scottish family, for bringing the eggs over and thank you, Flylady, for giving me a terrific, cosy, clean, welcoming bedroom!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Menu plan - Thursday 26 April 2012

Here's what we're eating at Casa Copenhagen this week:

*  Chicken and roast vegetables (potato, celeriac, carrot and thyme) all done in the oven together, æbleskiver for dessert (the last bag of DH's homemade Danish donuts from the freezer...roll on Christmas!)

*  big fat pork sausages with sweet chili/ketchup/honey sauce (just mix equal quantities and heat through) and a ramsløg salad (the new 'trendy' Danish vegetable, a wild leaf that tastes slightly like onion/garlic and can be used raw or cooked)

*  leftover meat and vegetables jazzed up and served in some kind of rice dish

Skipperlabskovs or 'The Skipper's Stew" (another traditional Danish dish, a bit like our Scottish stovies) - will try making it in the crockpot - served with beetroot, ryebread and, most important of all, beer! :)

*  Springtime pasta salad - wholemeal pasta with fresh peas, cucumber, carrots, red pepper, basil and tuna

Drinking cider on our hols in France

Chops in apple cider/mustard/cream sauce with fresh spinach and bulgur wheat (made in my beloved ricecooker)

DS12 using the ricecooker to make scrambled eggs - click here to see him in action... :)

*  And one of DH's favourites, another Danish classic...Medister (yes, yes, more sausages, yum!) with hot red cabbage, gravy and new potatoes

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tee-hee Tuesday (24 April 2012)

Hot on the heels of DD10's joke from last week, here's one that DS12 told us this morning.  He told it in Danish but, thankfully, it's one of those ones that will work in any language and won't lose its punchline in translation.  A real advantage when you have bilingual kids who want to share their most recent joke with Granny and Grandad, Faster Sonja or Onkel Benny! ;o)

A genie appeared before an old married couple and granted them each one wish.  The lady closed her eyes and, when she opened them, she was dressed head to toe in furs and expensive jewellry.  She cried out, "Oh, how wonderful!"  The man closed his eyes and made his wish.  When he opened them, he turned to his wife and said, "Are you still here?!"

Boom, boom!

DS12 when he was just 2½years old...laughing his head off :)

It's good to laugh.  Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Join the Garden Party! (23 April 2012)

Just in case you haven't seen my Monday posts, I should explain that - just like last year - I'm tackling my garden the same way I tackle the rest of my life.  The Flylady way!  Basic weekly routines.  Using my timer for 15 minute sessions of concentrated work.  (Or listening to four/five songs on my phone.)  And moving on to different areas of the garden or taking a break at the end of each segment.  And it's working :)

I made sure to get the 'lawnmothering' done early yesterday morning...

Because - just as the Danish weathermen predicted - it started chucking it down at lunchtime.  And apparently we're in for one whole week of rain.  Oh pook!

Oh well.  At least the rain will be good for the plants.  We've plenty of buds ready to burst, we just need a bit more heat and sunshine...

I've also managed to do a bit of weeding in the flower beds this week.  I'm not too perfectionist about the tiny weeds (I just turn over the earth and cut them up a bit) but I do take time to remove dandelions and their neverending roots.  My next job (if the rain stops...) is to start work on weeding the paths and paving.  And I'm excited because this year I've got a new trick up my sleeve - a little secret I got from the lady at the ironmongers.  See this?  The liquid that collects in the bottom of dehumidifier boxes (we use them a couple of places around the house where we had problems with mould).  Don't just pour it down the toilet.  It's a potent weed killer!  Just remember to keep the liquid away from little kids and pets as it's - obviously - toxic... ;o)

Pesky grass in the paving...begone!

Okay, it's time for a break.  I'm off to have a cuppa.  Hope you have a marvelous Monday! :)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Feel Good Friday - 20 April 2012

Three things that have put a big smile on my face this week:

I still have WhoMadeWho playing at full volume inside my head, six days after the concert!

Read all about the concert over at my 'crazy Danes' blog

'Surfing' at our local science museum Experimentarium with my brother and his family of five.  Everyone fell of their boards but no-one got wet...hooray!  Watch out - surf's up!

Meeting up with my cousin from Edinburgh.  Who, by sheer coincidence, was also in Copenhagen this week.  (Working at the European Wind Energy Event.)

On the canal boat trip - the best way to see the city, even though it's windy! ;o)

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Menu plan - Thursday 19 April 2012

Here's what's we're eating this week at Casa Copenhagen:

We're not eating this's going up on the kitchen wall!
Blue clay fish made for me by DD10 in art class :)

*  Beef steaks with baked potato wedges, béarnaise sauce and fresh tomato and basil salad

Tarteletter med høns i asparges (a Danish classic: small pastry cases filled with chicken and asparagus)

Madder (Danish open sandwiches) on a night that I'm out at a school meeting and the kids will be fending for themselves

Pasta med kødsovs/spaghetti bolognese/spaghetti with meat sauce

Homemade cucumber salad

*  Danish pork sausages with homemade red cabbage coleslaw and homemade Danish cucumber salad

*  Roast chicken with steamed carrots and coconut rice (I'll prepare both the carrots and the rice in my beloved ricecooker)

Ingredients for coconut rice, recipe is here
*  Leftover night - freshly cooked pasta with any leftover meat/veggies/sauce

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tee-hee Tuesday! (17 April 2012)

My brother and his family (five of them in all) stayed with us at the weekend and - as always happens - we ended up sitting around the table having an epic joke telling session.  Someone comes out with a joke and, before you know it, everyone is chipping in with their latest offering...

The jokes your Dad has been telling the last thirty years [groan...].  The dumb-blonde jokes [titter].  The 'this-embarrasing-thing-actually-happened-to-my-friend' [snigger].  The 'this-embarrasing-thing-actually-happened-to-me' [gasp!].  The knock-knock jokes [tee hee].  The absolutely-not-politically-correct jokes [tut tut!].  And - best of all - those ones where you can't get the punchline out, because you're in fits of laughter yourself, knowing what's coming next...

Well, I tell you, it was balm for the soul.  (And I didn't have to wash off my eyemake-up before I went to bed, because it had already dissolved!  Ha!)

Here's the (old) one that got the ball rolling for us.  As told by DD10.

* * * * *
A lady got on the number 185 bus with her baby and asked for a ticket to Nørreport (centre of Copenhagen).

"Certainly", said the busdriver. "But, my word, that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!"

The lady was shocked and didn't know what to reply, so headed straight for the back of the bus and sat down next to a kindly-looking old man.

"Well, I've never been so insulted in all my life!", she said. "That bus driver should be sacked!"

"That's terrible!", the old man replied. "I tell you what, why don't you go and give him a piece of your mind while I hold your monkey?"

* * * * *
Boom boom! ;D

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Join the Garden Party (16 April 2012)

Oh my word, what a lot has happened in the garden since I posted two weeks ago!  You'll remember that I've been doing the gardening in chunks - the Flylady way.  Using my timer for 15 minute sessions.  Or listening to four or five songs on my phone.  And moving on to different areas of the garden or taking a break at the end of each segment.

It took me just 15 minutes to weed/prune back/tidy up the front border - hooray! :)

Though I have to admit that it took a tad longer to remove the grass from the stone borders...

But I just did it in 15 minute stints, and ended up with several buckets of weeds...

Now it's all done and dusted!  And it should make it a breeze to keep it looking that way for the rest of the season.  At least, that's the theory... ;o)

In other news, I've resown grass on the areas of the lawn where we removed some unsightly bushes at the end of the autumn.  No, I didn't do it perfectly.  I just raked the earth about a bit, took out the obvious weeds, sprinkled over the seeds, covered the seeds with a bit of earth and watered the whole shebang.  Five minutes later, the job was done and Mother Nature can get on and do her bit.  Here's a 'before' shot - will be interesting to see how it looks after a few months...

Hmm, what else, what else?  Well, I also managed to get rid of (yet) another bag load of junk from the shed.  Isn't it amazing how an impending refuse pickup combined with the impending arrival of family from Scotland can spur one into action?

And - the icing on the cake - I even managed to do some 'lawmothering'!  Double hooray!
Inspired to get started?  Want to join the Garden Party?  Then check in every Monday and let's keep things rosy in the garden...

Have a marvelous Monday! :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Feel Good Friday - 13 April 2012

Ooooooooo, it's Friday the 13th!  Not to worry - I'm not superstitious... [she typed, throwing salt over her left shoulder]

Let's get on and find three things that made me smile this week:

Getting ready to welcome my brother and his family of five. Thanks to my Flylady routines the house is clean and clutter free, the fridge is stocked to the gunnels with food, the basement is bursting with booze and I've just put the touches on the last bedroom. We.  Are.  Ready! :)

DH remembered our (14th) anniversary and brought me flowers.  'Awwww'!  And knowing that I'm not a 'red rose' kind of girl, he chose them in my favourite rose colours - light pink and hot pink.  Double 'awwww'!  :)

Playing Perudo (a Latin American dice game - a mixture of luck and bluff) with the kids every night before they go to bed.   DH and I used to play it all the time when we worked in Luxembourg in the 1990s.   And now DD10 and DS12 are hooked too!

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

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Menu plan - Thursday 12 April 2012

My brother and his family (five of them in all) are coming to stay with us this weekend.  He’s starting the celebrations for his upcoming 50thbirthday in style...with a trip to Copenhagen.  And our first stop will be..the Carlsberg Visitor Centre! ;o)

They have 20,000 bottles in their collection...
and you get to taste the new stuff! :)
So this week’s menu is a reflection of visiting Scottish family, loads (and loads) of leftovers from guests we had over Easter, and DH being away on business a couple of days...  Thank goodness for menu planning to keep us all sane.  And well fed! J

*  Ikea meatballs (straight from the freezer) with tomato/basil sauce and tagliatelle

*  Roast chicken with green beans/honey/bacon and baked potatoes

*  Egg fried rice with leftover Easter ham and veggies from the fridge that need to be used up (red pepper/spinach/celeriac)

Stegt flæsk (Danish roast belly pork)

Stegtflæsk with baby potatoes, parsley sauce and steamed cauliflower

*  Pepperoni pizza, baby gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes and veggie sticks (cucumber and carrot)

Danish meatball, carrot and dumpling soup

*  Danish meatball, carrot and dumpling soup, Danish tartlets with chicken and asparagus, Danish cucumber salad, choco coco dessert

*  Takeaway sushi 

Bon appétit!

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday or, as we say around these parts, Little Friday! :)

Need another dose of daily Denmark?

Just a little reminder that I am now posting all my 'crazy Dane' things at

So, if you come here on a Wednesday, wondering where I am - you now know where to find me! :D

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

French Chocolate Mousse

Here's my recipe for chocolate mousse.  I've been making it for the past 17 years and it comes from the book "Les Recettes Faciles" by Francoise Bernard (given to me by a friend in Luxembourg).  This is a bog standard French recipe for chocolate mousse - pure and simple, using very few ingredients.  None of that nonsense of adding cream, which seems to be the way the Brits and Americans always make it!

You'll need:
  • 125g of dark chocolate (make sure it's not too rich, you can also use milk chocolate)
  • a knob of butter
  • 4 pasteurized egg whites and 4 yolks
  • a pinch of salt
Break up the chocolate and melt it, along with the knob of butter, in a large bowl (trust me, you need a large bowl for this).  I always heat chocolate in the microwave - just remember to take it in short bursts because you don't want it to burn...
When it's almost melted remove from the heat or remove from the microwave and keep stirring until the last lumps have gone and it's beginning to cool down again.

Now it's time to add the egg yolks.  Stir them in really quickly so that they don't start to cook from the heat of the chocolate and keep beating hard.

Then you beat the egg whites along with a pinch of salt in another - also large - bowl.

Beat them until they're very stiff.

Stiff as in "I can lift this bowl upside down, and the egg whites don't fall out" - ta da!

Now it's time to start adding the egg whites into the melted chocolate.  Add one large spoonful of egg white to the choc and give it a good mix - this will help to loosen up the chocolate mixture, which is much denser than the egg white.

Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, a couple of spoonfuls at a time.  The colour of the mousse will turn paler and paler.

Once it's all incorporated, pour the mousse into a bowl, cover it and put in the fridge to chill.  It'll be ready to eat after an hour.  But it will also sit there happily for a day or two if you need to make it in advance.  We always make a double portion.  Just to be on the safe side... ;o)

Bon appétit!

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Those crazy Danes - all under one roof!

I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to tidy up my blog.  But somehow I've been putting it off, spending too much time on the details or generally, shall we say, procrastinating? ;o)  Well, I've been tinkering with various things and - though this part is far from perfect - it's time to jump out in faith (as the Flylady says) and get it out there.

I've decided to put all my 'crazy Dane' posts from DianeDenmark and Diane's Daily Denmark under one roof.  And because I have so many lovely photos (at least, I think they are!), I've gone for the 'flipcard' approach on the front of the website.  You have to look at the website from a computer, iPad etc to get the full effect.  (Looking at the mobile site from a smartphone just doesn't do it justice.)

Hope you like it!  Velbekomme!


Easter is coming... Stock up!

I don't usually write my 'crazy Danes' posts until Wednesday.   But - with Easter fast approaching - I feel it's my duty to give the following warning to anyone just arrived in Denmark. Stock up!

You see, Denmark will be closed Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.   Completely closed.   (Imagine that...the shops are closed for more days than over Christmas!)   So you have to do your grocery shopping now. Stock up big time. Otherwise you'll need to hop over to Sweden (they're open for business as usual on Thursday).   Or prepare to run the gauntlet on Saturday.

And what do the Danes actually do on all these holy holidays?   Well, they don't go to church, that's for sure (they save that for Christmas.)   No, Easter is the time to eat, drink and be merry with family or friends.   To get out in the garden.   And get the garden furniture out.   Do some DIY.   Open up your summer house or get busy down at the allotment.

Me?   I'll be doing a mixture of the above.   With the emphasis on eating and drinking.   So I'm already - selvfølgelig - stocked up with the Danish Easter essentials...
Hmm, what else do we need? Oh yes...tarteletter!

Have a terrific Tuesday and a great week.  The kids got off school on Friday, so I'm tidying my blog desk and going off to join them...  God Påske! :)


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Join the Garden Party! (2 April 2012)

[rubs eyes]  Snowflakes?  On the 2nd of April?!  Saints preserve us, the Danish weather gods are certainly having a good laugh at us...  Here we were, ready to pack away our gloves and instead we're back to arctic temperatures and white specks in the sky!

Truth to tell, I haven't been out in the garden much this week.  (You'll remember that I'm gardening the Flylady way again this year.)  Not just because of the chilly weather, but also because we've had two sets of Danish family visiting.  But instead of dwelling over the things that I didn't do, I'm going to celebrate the things that I did.  (Ha!  Take that, bad conscience!)

Our very long fence/pavement was beginning to look very straggly with all the new spring growth.  (And if I let it stay like that for too long, it becomes a target for dog poo!)

So I got out my (Flylady purple) gardening gloves, a sharp instrument and a big broom.  I didn't use my timer - I just put on my headphones and listened to four songs - then walked into the house, had a quick swig of water, and went back out again for another session.  Here we are, a few tunes later - all done!

I also stocked up on these things...gas canisters.  So I'm armed and dangerous, and ready to burn any weeds that come across my path!  [boom, boom!]

I won't be posting next Monday (Easter Monday), but join me again in a fortnight when (I hope...) I'll have plenty of gardening tales to share.

Have a marvelous Monday! :)