Tag Archives: Denmark

The Bridge – hotdog style

May 18, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

The Bridge – hotdog style

When it comes to food, we Danes and Swedes have our little differences. Take our hotdogs, for example – and here’s our The Bridge Hot Dog version. Do you prefer you hotdog Danish or Swedish?!

The hugely popular Nordic noir TV series The Bridge Season 4 is currently showing on BBC 2 on Friday nights. It is the final series and the one that will hopefully provide all the answers.

For those who do not know, the story started when a body was found on the bridge that connects Denmark with Sweden – with half of the body on the Danish side, half on the Swedish, forcing the two crime teams to work together.

For us Scandies, The Bridge provide an amazing way to experience both different languages spoken in one series, with everybody understanding what is going on. The funny thing is, there’s only 600 words difference between Danish and Swedish, so we actually do understand each other most of the time, even when we just speak our own languages.

Watch this space for an upcoming competition to win the entire box set of The Bridge season 1-4 along with LOTS of Danish and Swedish goodies to go with it. More details will be released next week. A massive 13 DVDs: you will literally not need to leave your house for the entire weekend if you win this box set and all that food.

We’ll be running this competition together with the nice people at Arrow Films. More next week.

Koldskål & Kammerjunker – Danish buttermilk dessert

May 7, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Koldskål & Kammerjunker – Danish buttermilk dessert

Ask any Danes and they’ll agree this dessert signifies the height of summer.

We stock this in our online shop and our café deli in London (get your stash right here), but if you fancy having a go at making it at home, here’s a great recipe that tastes ‘just right’.

This recipe requires the simple buttermilk usually sold in litres. You can find fresh buttermilk in larger supermarkets and in a lot of Eastern European shops, too. We prefer the Polish buttermilk that comes in one litre – some of the UK types can be a bit too thick.

‘Kammerjunker’ biscuits are crisp, but sweet, biscuits, lightly crushed or added whole to the soup. They need to be super crispy to carry the lightness of the soup, hence why they are returned to the oven after the initial first baking to ‘dry out’ and bake twice. If you cant be bothered to make the biscuits, fresh strawberries work really well too.

Ingredients

For the soup:
1 litre buttermilk
150ml Greek or natural yoghurt
2 egg yolks (this dessert contains raw egg yolk)
60g caster sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Zest from ½ lemon
Juice from ¼ lemon

For the ‘Kammerjunker’ biscuits
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
50g butter
1 egg
1 tsp good vanilla sugar or extract w seeds – or seeds from one vanilla pod
½ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
Zest from ½ lemon
2 tbsp cream

To serve
Seasonal fruit – strawberries, quartered

Method

To make the biscuits
Combine the baking powder with the flour. Add the cold butter, cubed, and mix in until you have grainy result. Add the sugar, then the other ingredients and mix again until you have an even dough.

Leave to chill for 20 minutes before rolling the dough.

Turn the oven to 200 degrees C

Roll the dough out and cut 35-40 small pieces, roll them and place them on a lined baking tray.

Bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven). Remove from oven and cut each biscuit across the middle so you end up with two flat halves. Return to the warm oven and leave them to finish baking, at 170 degrees, for 8-10 more minutes OR until golden and crisp.

To make the soup/dessert

On high speed using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolk and sugar until white. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, then the yoghurt and start to add the buttermilk whilst continuously whisking.

Add lemon juice to taste – the soup should be sweet but have a good punch of lemon flavour coming through.

Serve the cold soup in bowls, topped with strawberries and biscuits.

This soup should really be eaten on day of making it as it contains raw egg.

Scandinavian Easter: 7 random things

March 22, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

7 random facts about Easter in Scandinavia

  1. In Sweden, the children dress up as little Easter Witches on Easter Sunday and go door to door, asking for sweets and treats.
  2. Norwegians are obsessed with reading who-dunnit-crime novels at Easter – sales triple all over Norway in the run up to the holidays. Norwegians like to go to their hytter (cabins) for Easter – and there, they read crime novels when they are not skiing. So obsessed are they there are even little crime stories printed on milk cartons over Easter so they never have to stop reading. Solving crime over breakfast? So very Norwegian, it seems.

    paskekrim melkekartong norwegian Easter milk carton
  3. Scandinavian Easter Egg traditions are people buying an empty cardboard shell and filling it with their favourite sweets, rather than just a huge chocolate egg. We like a mix of everything – sweet, sour, salty, liquorice, chocolate, marshmallow, and perhaps and extra Kvikk Lunsj, Kexchoklad or marzipan eggs for good measure.

    Easter eggs
  4. The Easter lunch is usually a huge Smorgasbord (with various regional variations and names). There will be pickled herring, every sandwich topping your mother and grandmother combined can think of, and lots of egg things. Maybe dyed, maybe scrambled, fried or boiled.

    Picture: TT via dn.se

     

  5. Easter in Scandinavia is called Påsk (Sweden), Påske (Denmark, Norway). An Easter egg is known as a Påskägg / påskeæg / påskeegg – and is gifted on Easter morning. We also like decorating with little chickens – usually slightly deformed with a leg out their head or an eye on their bum. They are, of course, called ‘påsk-kycklinger’ / ‘påskekyllinger’ – Easter chickens.
    Easter egg chicken decorations
  6. You’ll see many places with decorated twigs – feathers and other types of decorations, depending on area. This is a Påskris – Easter Twigs – to signify Christ’s suffering – originally used to lash out at people as a tease – and in some areas, get people out of bed on Good Friday morning. Nowadays, used mainly as decorations.
  7. Easter is the absolute last time you will see Semlor anywhere in Sweden. Most of these lovely luscious Lent buns are already gone at this time of the year, but for those still clinging on, Easter marks the final hurrah, signalising the end of the season. No more semlor until next year.
    skarsgaard semlor

Havregrynskugler / Chokladbullar / Oat & Chocolate Balls

November 23, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

No bake easy Scandi oat & chocolate treats

Chokladbullar / Havregrynskugler / No-bake Oat & Chocolate Treats

Here’s an easy recipe for you. No baking required.

Makes approx. 40

Ingredients
250g butter
400g rolled oats
175g caster sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp strong, cooled coffee
1 tsp vanilla sugar
Desiccated coconut, sugar sprinkles or pearl sugar, to decorate

Method
1. Blitz all the ingredients, except the coconut, sugar sprinkles or pearl sugar, in a food processor, or mix by hand (but allow the butter to soften before doing so).
2. Put the mixture in the fridge to firm up a bit before using or it can be a bit too sticky. Add more oats if you feel the mixture is too soft.
3. Roll into 2.5cm diameter balls, then roll each ball in either desiccated coconut, sugar sprinkles or pearl sugar.
4. Firm up in the fridge before eating — they will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Recipes taken from The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99). Photo by Pete Cassidy.

How to count in Danish.

November 2, 2017 | Leave a comment

How to count in Danish

(also known as ‘how to confuse Swedes’)

While the Scandi languages are very close – we can all understand most of each other’s languages, especially after a few beers – there are certain areas where things just stumble and everybody is left lost. This causes all sorts of awkward situations. One such subject is counting in Danish numbers, because Danes count in something called vigesimal – which is basically counting in twenties rather than tens (not dissimilar to the French).

First, the basics: The ones, then the tens…

In Danish: En, to, tre, fire, fem, seks, syv, otte, ni, ti.

Swedish and Norwegian follows a logic structure of counting:

10 in Swedish is Tio. Twenty is Tjugo. Thirty is Tretio. Forty is Firtio. Fifty is Femtio. You see where we’re going with this – logically, adding ten (tio) on the end. It’s similar in Norwegian.

Now, the same in Danish: The singles are fine – and then…

10 = Ti
20 = Tyve
30 = Tredive
40 = Fyrre
50 = Halvtreds
60 = Tres
70 = Halvfjers
80 = Firs
90 = Halvfems
100 = Et hundrede

To understand, we need to look at the old word sinde, which meant ‘times’ (as in ‘multiply’).

We also need to understand that the root of the numbers work on twenties rather than tens. So, 60 is tres – coming from tre(3)-sinde-tyve(20)=tresindetyve=tres(60), [shortened to tres].

Eighty follows similar patterns, as it is of course 4 time 20 = fire(4)-sinde-tyve(20)=firsindetyve=firs(80)

Still with it? Okay, let’s complicate it a bit now. The halves.

Halv 3 = 2½, halv 4 = 3½, halv 5 = 4½
This means you take the twenties and then half of twenty, for example:
50 is Halvtreds = 2 x 20 + 10 (the half) = halvtredje-sinde-tyve – shortened to halvtreds (50).

70 is Halvfjers = 3 x 20 + 10 (the half) = halvfjerde-sinde-tyve – shortened to halvfjerds (70).

90 is Halvfems = 4 x 20 + 10 (the half) = halvfem-sinde-tyve – shortened to halvfems (90).

Still here?

Now remember that no Danes will ever count in the full words – they will only use the shortened version. Also, few Danes understand the logic behind the numbering system, meaning some teachers find it hard to teach maths to younger children, due to this structure – let alone explain it to a foreinger, let alone a drunk Swede stranded in a bar in Copenhagen trying to pay for his beer.

Also, just in case you need something else to set the system aside from say Swedish: In Swedish, you count with the tens first – then the singles. Example: Femti-fyra = 54. The same number in Danish would be Fireoghalvtreds, i.e. the singular number first. So, four-and-half-twenty-times-four-and-a-half-kill-me-now.

Lastly, you need to know that the Danish numbering system is not hyphenated like it is in say, English. So, 95 in English is ninety-five, and the same number in Danish would be written femoghalvfems (five and half fives – the og (and) linking the numbers together to form the final number.

How about ordering four half threes of eggs? 54. Or maybe we’re counting the pigs on the farm – there are three half fives (93).

In short, the Danish numbering system stems from counting in twenties and half twenties – and looking to make anyone who attempts to explain it wish they had never attempted to do so.

It is a constant source of amusement and confusion to the Swedes and Norwegians that Danes can actually work out how to count in the first place.

Next week: how to say 1st, 5th, 10th, and 40th in Danish. This is when it gets really complicated.

This week’s homework: Find a Swede or Norwegian and ask him to count for you in Danish and watch him squirm with uncomfortable feelings.

11 Facts About Beer in Scandinavia

August 3, 2017 | Leave a comment

11 Facts About Beer in Scandiland 

    1. In Sweden and Norway, you have to go to specialist shops to buy anything stronger than 4% (in Sweden, that’s 3.5%). In Norway, only an estimated 50% of the population live in a town or parish that has this specialist shop (aptly named the Wine Monopoly).
      Systembolaget Sweden Christmas
    2. In Norway, you cannot buy beer after 8pm Monday to Friday, or after 6pm Saturdays. Not at all on Sundays, any public holidays, and limited hours only on Christmas Eve, Pentecost Eve and New Year’s Eve. Basically, you Should learn to be very organized with your alcohol shopping in Norway – but at 7.57pm on a Wednesday, just before that Champions League match starts, you’re likely to find several stressed out people queuing in your local shop to get that 6-pack scanned before 8.
      Olsalg Norge
    3. In Norse mythology Ægir is credited as the beer-god – known for throwing frequent parties for the other gods, with copious amounts of strong beer for his guests.
    4. In 1857 there were 353 breweries in Norway – the population was only 1.5 million. Beer brewing was encouraged by the government (and failure to brew could be punished) – as drinking beer was considered better than drinking liquor.
      norsk ol norwegian beer
    5. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of breweries in Denmark grew from 19 to over 100 – a result of growing economy and popularity of craft and gourmet beers.

    6. Until Sweden joined the EU in 1995, beer with higher ABV than 5.6% was forbidden, and the government had to abolish their monopoly on wholesale meaning foreign beers were finally made available to thirsty Swedes.
      sweden eu sverige eu 1995
    7. Since the early 1970s, it has been illegal to advertise for alcohol in Norway.
      Norwegian beer advert
    8. Per capita Denmark is the biggest beer drinker in Scandinavia; consuming an average of 60.6 litres vs 52.7 and 51 litres, respectively. If we go Nordic, Finland towers over the others at 77.4 litres per capita. (The UK, for comparison, clocks in at 67.7 – Ireland at 97.5)

      European beer consumption Telegraph

      Photo: telegraph.co.uk

    9. Despite the Danes drinking more than Norwegians and Swedes, the latter two flock to their neighbour in the south to take advantage of the cheaper prices and overdo the drinking far more publicly than most Danes would.

      (Foto: BJARKE ØRSTED/SCANPIX NORDFOTO 2002)

    10. No random beer facts without this one – beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.
      beer ban iceland celebrations
    11. After he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Dane Niels Bohr – famed for his contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory – was gifted a house from brewery Carlsberg; next to the brewery, with a direct pipeline meaning Bohr had free beer on tap whenever he wanted.
      Niels Bohr Beer

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

June 9, 2017 | 1 Comment

 

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

The longest day of the year is very important to us Northern people. We have light! And not only that, we have so much of it we hardly see dark and we get to make up for all of those months of candle lit cosiness and snow.

We all celebrate the day slightly differently, so here are a few facts to get you started in the preparations.

Sweden treats Midsummer like it’s national day. Actually, Sweden’s national day is a few weeks earlier, but everybody celebrates Midsummer instead. It’s always celebrated on the closest Friday (this year, 23rd June) and it’s a public holiday.

In London, it’s celebrated on the Saturday because we need to not be at work when we do it.

St John’s Eve In Denmark and Norway, the evening is celebrated on the actual day (23rd June, no matter if it’s a Friday or not) and there, it’s called more St John’s Eve as well as Midsommer Aften.

Sweden and Finland celebrate with Midsummer poles. These are a bit like May Poles, except it’s not May and ours have a lot of fertility symbols associated with them. The Midsummer poles are covered in flowers and greenery. Everybody wears flower garlands in their hair and very summery clothes. Some people try the yellow/blue flag combo for clothes, but it is rarely a good look.

Danes burn witches on Midsummer eve. Much like the British burn Guy Forkes, the Danes like to burn witches on this evening and send them off to Blue Mountain in Germany to dance with the devil. All while the (usually stuffed hay effigy) witches are burning on the bonfire, Danes sing songs about how much they love Denmark (usually a lone guy on a guitar will lead the singing – he always sings with his eyes closed and is very serious).

It’s still all about food. For the Swedes, it is all about the day long picnic and being outside. Meatballs are featured and it is high season for Sandwich cakes, too. The Danes tend to celebrate in the evening with dinner at home, but spend the evening trying to bake stick bread on the embers of the bon fire (it never works).

What about the little frogs? The Swedes, at every given opportunity but none more so than Midsummer, will sing songs about little frogs with no ears and no tails, whilst jumping around the Midsummer pole. Old, young, everyone. It’s a thing and it looks odd – but it is super fun. Do join in.

Swedes pick seven wild flowers on Midsummer eve and put them under their pillow. They will dream of the person they will marry. Some don’t even wait that long, as the birth rate spikes in Sweden every year exactly nine months after Midsummer.

There are Midsummer events held all over the UK – both Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. Local churches are a good place to start for information on where to go.

There is no big official London picnic (there never is – it’s all a bit spontaneous) but people tend to gather in patches in the different parks and just bring a picnic. Ask local Scandies for details or just wander around and look for the people with flowers in their hair. You’ll find them.

There is a massive official Midsummer Party in London in the evening of 24th June – arranged by London Swedes – it is at the Loft in Kilburn and you can buy tickets here

7 random ways to be more Danish for Danish National Day

May 26, 2017 | Leave a comment


7 random ways to be more Danish for Danish National Day

The 5th June is when our constitution was signed in 1849. In fact, most big events with laws and constitutions and general updates have been done on this day (good for continuity). Also, it is Father’s Day in Denmark on this day.

1. Flags. Everywhere. Danish ones, ideally. Have a flagpole in your garden? Most Danes do. You should totally get one. Daily flags are good. If you are low on flags, get yourself one of these fancy national hats, invented by a Dane. You’ll look cool, promise.

2. Eat open sandwiches. We love them. The opener, the better. Never a top on, and always with really good solid rye bread as a base.

3. Know you Danish Royals: The Queen is called Margrethe and she loves daisies and she is a really good artist. Her husband is called Prince Henrik and he is retired from something. He’s probably still upset he never became King, but then again, he believes in unicorns. Also, the Crown Prince is called Frederik and he is married to an Australian lady now known as Crown Princess Mary. They have a lot of very beautiful children. Frederik’s brother is called Joakim and he also has a lot of beautiful children. Note: Queen Margrethe wins because  she can smoke, eat a hotdog and drink juice all at the same time.

4. Learn how to pronounce Rødgrød med Fløde. When you can do this, you can be a Dane.

5. Eat Remoulade on everything. It’s a yellow curried type mayonnaise. Eat it with chips, roast beef, fried fish, salami, meatballs, on burgers, on hotdogs. If you don’t like remoulade, you will never, ever be a real Dane.

6. Just for the day, paint the entire interior of your house white and remove all curtains. White floors, white walls, white ceilings, white everything. And no curtains. Buy stylish stuff for your white house in one colour, as a statement. Feel the hygge.

7. Make jokes about Sweden. Every Dane knows to make fun of Swedes. It’s the done thing. On this day, crack jokes like “ why wasn’t Jesus born in Sweden? They couldn’t find 3 wise men” HARHARHAR.

See? It wasn’t that hard to become Danish, was it?

7 Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

April 28, 2017 | Leave a comment

Seven Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

‘Bagstiv’ is a Danish word for when you wake up the next morning, still drunk. Literally: Backwards drunk – in Sweden and Norway, its Bakfull and bakrus.

2. A drunk Dane might say he has a “Stick in ear” (en kæp i øret)

3. The Finnish word for hangover is “Krapula” 

4. The Old Norse Viking word for hangover was ‘kveis’, meaning “uneasiness after debauchery” 

5. In Denmark, if you drink a beer on a hang over, it is known as a Reperationsbajer – literally, a ‘repair beer’

6. In Danish, hangovers are known as Tømremænd  – literally, carpenters.

7. “Fylleangst” pronounced (foola angst) means “drunk anxiety” in Norway and is the unsettling feeling one has the day after drinking when you can’t remember what you did, how you acted or who may have seen you do it!

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

April 20, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

Here are a selection of 7 strong Scandi names you could name your new baby. Or not.

Love
The Swedish boy’s name – actually the Swedish version of Louis. It’s pronounced more like lo-vey than love.

Bent / Bendt
Boy’s name – meaning ‘Blessed’.

Odd
How about naming him Odd? Or maybe Even? Both are strong Norwegian names. In Norway, there are 22 people named Odd-Even as a first name. Take your kid to the Casino. (name is also used in Sweden).

Gunn

A good old Norwegian name for your daughter?

Jerker

For a boy, maybe? It’s the old Swedish version of Erik. No, not Jerk for short.

Björn / Bjørn

Maybe the best of the bunch, especially if you like ABBA. It means ‘bear’.

Fanny.

A strong Swedish girl’s name and still popular today.

Any more suggestions? Pop a comment below.

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