Friday, 30 December 2016

New Years Greetings



Fotosjåp: verdens sejeste Klidmoster 

@ N ~scroll down for English version :)

I morgen, når klokken bliver 18, er det min plan at sidde klistret til skærmen og høre hvad Dronningen har at sige til os i år. Klokken 23:40 sidder jeg der igen for at se James skåle med Miss Sophie. Same procedure as every year. Visse ting piller man bare ikke ved :)

Som resten af nationen er jeg naturligvis uhyre spændt på at se, om hun (Daisy) roder rundt i papirerne igen i år. Eller om der er mere sindsoprivende nyt om min yndlingsperson i kongehuset. Mens jeg venter på at spændingen udløses, serverer jeg lige min egen nytårsepistel, så I kan se, at bloggen ikke er helt død (men den ligger vist i respirator).

På de sociale medier ser det ud som om vi over en bred kam står lidt og hepper på at få verfet 2016 ud af døren. Der har budt på lidt for meget kendis-død, krig, Brexit og Trump til rigtig at være kandidat til det bedste år i 10'erne.

For mig har 2016 været et kjæææærlighejens år. Jeg gik ind i 2016 iført forelsket-rødblussende kinder, og jeg går ud af det i samme stil. Midtvejs i året skete der så godt nok en udskiftning på holdet, så manden er ikke den samme, men det bliver kinderne ikke mindre røde af.

Det har også været et dejligt rejse-år, med en masse førstegangsoplevelser. I foråret opholdt jeg mig for første gang i flere år i London i mere end et par dage ad gangen (i takt med at jeg er blevet en ældre landmus, er London i højere grad blevet en transitby for mig - men det er stadig verdens bedste by, med verdens bedste undergrundstog). Her oplevede jeg for første gang nogensinde at oparbejde en barregning på over £150 + drikkepenge (og for første gang i et par år at blive en anelse dårlig, sådan cirka ved 18-tiden) - og det var en aldeles suveræn dag!  Jeg vendte tilbage til London midt på sommeren men denne gang kun på gennemrejse - det var der jeg var vrissen og hjertesmertende og ud fra devisen "det er synd for mig" lejede en kæmpe slæde af en Mercedes og tog på mit livs første roadtrip i England. Jeg imponerede mig selv med at styre rundt i den forkerte side af vejen som om jeg aldrig havde lavet andet, og rundede for øvrigt turen af med for første gang i mit liv at blive inviteret med op på værelset af en mand, jeg faldt i snak med i lufthavnshotellets bar (jeg takkede dog pænt nej til invitationen. Både fordi jeg faktisk ikke lige fangede værelsesnummeret hæhæhæ - og fordi jeg dog er lige sippet nok til den slags eventyr)

I oktober besøgte jeg for første gang de amerikanske sydstater - det var et gammelt ønske at se Charleston og Savannah, og heldigvis har jeg en søster som ikke er svær at overtale, når man hvisker roadtrip i øret på hende. Og kun få dage efter at vi kom hjem, sad vi på et tog til Berlin - det er yderst pinligt at indrømme det, men jeg nåede at fylde 40 før jeg kom så langt. Så første besøg dér, men på ingen måde sidste!

(Og ja, jeg overlevede 40-årsdagen. Uden krise. Kender jeg mig selv ret, skal den nok komme, men måske er den et år forsinket. Jeg er jo sår'n lidt træg i det)

Næste år bliver godt, tror jeg. Jeg har store forventninger til 2017. Der skal være dejlige rejser (Norge og Færøerne kan godt begynde at finde flagene frem), der skal være kys og havearbejde, der skal ryddes op i garagen (igen-igen), der skal være Dåselatter, jeg skal have vin & bøf, bilen skal til service, og dyrene skal have mad. Det bliver dejligt alt sammen.

Kontorgrisen Viggo og de uregerlige høns (som alle har det godt, men ser meget frem til at fugleinfluenza-restriktionerne forsvinder, så de igen kan spæne rundt i hele haven) sender deres hjerteligste hilsner til bloglæsere og søens folk.  Vi håber 2017 bliver et venligt år for alle!




@N ~



Somehow we've arrived at the last working day of the year - and tomorrow it's champagne and fireworks and New Year's resolutions galore.

At 18:00hrs exactly (DK time) you can find me, glass in hand, glued to the television to hear the Queen's New Year speech. One of the rituals that are Not To Be Messed With :)   So today I'm taking a leaf out of her book - - actually, her speech is on notecards and last year she got them all in a mess; I'll try not to do the same - - and take a look at the year that is just about to end, and the one that lies ahead.

2016 ..... for the world in general, it does seem that most people are happy to wave goodbye to twenty-sixteen.  Brexit, Trump, waves of refugees, welfare cuts, and numerous celebrity deaths were just some of the curveballs that were thrown at us.

For me, 2016 has mostly been about love. I started out being head over heels with a very special person and that lasted almost exactly 50% of the year. But most good things come to an end, so most of my summer was about the absence of love, and also about crocheting furiously and drinking rum on the patio. Fortunately, also the bad things come to an end, so when autumn rolled around I was ready when I most unexpectedly bumped into another very special person - and thus, I end the year exactly as I started it: in luuuuuurve :)

2016 was also a good year for travelling and a good year for "firsts"  (and since I'm rubbish at updating the blog on a regular basis, you could -should you feel so inclined- head over to Instagram where you at least get snapshots of my doings).  In April I went to London - it was the first time in years I actually spent more than just a couple of days there, and it was the first time ever I racked up a bar tab of £150 + tips (but man, that was a great afternoon!).  
July saw me returning to London, but only in transit this time. I drove west - first time I ever took a road trip in England - and spent a few glorious days just driving around on my own.  The night before I flew home I stayed at an airport hotel and managed to "bag" another first - first time I ever had a stranger invite me up to his room .... and no, I didn't take the invitation haha.  In October I fulfilled an old dream of visiting the old east coast cities of Charleston and Savannah.  Sister and I rented a teeny tiny car (read: bus-sized SUV) and drove around the Carolinas and Virginia.  No sooner had we set foot in Denmark again before we jumped on a train to Berlin to see a concert - my first ever visit, I'm embarrassed to admit, but certainly not my last!

Viggo the Guinea Pig is happy and healthy. The chickens are healthy and reasonably happy  - restrictions because of the bird flu in Denmark mean they currently do not have access to roam freely in the garden but must suffer the unbearable torture of staying in their yard (which also has to be covered).  They are not too pleased with this as this means they cannot run up to my parents' house to take dust baths in my Mum's flower beds. I keep telling them they should be grateful they're not locked up inside (or dead) but they refuse to listen. In short, all is well :)

Oh yes - and in 2016 I turned 40. And survived. I'm still waiting for some sort of age-related crisis to hit; maybe it will come at 41...

So, 2017.  I'm hoping it will bring more of the good stuff, and leave most of the bad stuff behind when the clock chimes midnight.  I know for sure there will be more travelling (trips to Norway and the Faroe Islands are planned already, yay!), there will be more gardening, more kissing, and plenty more chicken-ing.  My hopes are high!!

I hope for you that the year ahead will be filled with joy, laughter, good times at work and at home, daffodils, friendly dogs and soft kittens, wine, long drives, wind in your hair, and everything you could wish for

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Uden Dig (en alternativ version)

(Blog post in Danish - as it is a re-writing of a Danish song, so won't make much sense in English anyway. So international reader(s), please come back some other day :-)



Sommeren 2016 har været lidt mangelfuld på visse områder. Solskin og kys, for eksempel. En af min veninder bemærkede, at ikke alene føles det som om alting er i flux; mange af sommerens danske hits har også været sådan lidt i mol.  En anden veninde introducerede mig for Maja og De Sarte Sjæle ... og så begyndte jeg at tænke lidt. For det er en fin lille sang, men her - 25 år efter at Spice Girls slog igennem - er der generelt lidt langt til  "I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want" i mine højttalere pt.

Så jeg drak vin, og med lidt lyrisk inspiration og assistance fra min veninde endte vi med denne alternative udgave. Fordi, mænd. Vi kan jo godt Uden Dig. Vi vil muligvis helst MED Dig. Men vi kan godt Uden.

(Og til min seneste, hvis du meget mod forventning læser med - neeeej, den er ikke til/om/pga dig. Undtagen næst-sidste linje. Dén er.)

Så hermed, til fri afbenyttelse og fællessang. De originale tekster kan ses i videoen ovenfor, og her er den alternative. Og jeg håber det er okay med Maja.

Der er nye beskeder på min telefon
Den ringer men jeg gider ikke tale med nogen
Jeg vil bare sidde derhjemme og tænke på dig
Det hele er noget lort
Det hele er noget rod
Det hele flyder over i mit hoved
Nej vent lidt - det' OK - uden dig

Jeg skipper kuren og jeg dropper at æde skyr
Det' nemlig ligemeget hvad jeg så end gør
Snører sko, finder nøgle, slukker lys
Låser døren
Jeg er lige gået forbi din lejlighed
Det var okay i og for sig
Jeg har spildt alt for meget tid
Det' sgu fint nok uden dig
Jeg gik ned ad gader hvor vi har gået
Og haft det så sjovt du og jeg
Jeg spørger mig selv, går jeg glip af noget
Det bli'r heldigvis et nej

Hurra for min arrogance
Du fik jo verdens bedste chance
Men du viste dig at være et kiks
Jeg smiler bredere fra dag til dag
Jeg ved der ik' er noget nag tilbage
Nogle gange hjælper det at drikke vin

Jeg er kommet så utrolig langt videre
Mens du sidder og bli'r ældre og grimmere
Du har lang vej hjem
Og så det ikke engang hjem til MIG

Jeg vil gerne gå over til din lejlighed
Det' da okay i og for sig
Men der er ikke noget der
Jeg skal videre uden dig
Jeg går på de gader vi ik' har gået
Og ser på verden uden dig
Har Medina monstro fat i noget?
Musikken den er kun for mig
Jeg ta'r en taxa ind til Andys Bar
Og ser hvad København nu har
Der skal drik's mange mange flere drinks
Muligvis på Bobi Bar
Og tiden er gået
Og dagene er gode
Og jeg ved det ikke kan undgås
Pludselig står du der med en anden som så si'r
Øv, du er hende den seje 

Jeg ku' godt gå over til din lejlighed
Men hva' fa'en skulle jeg der
Der er så mange andre mænd
Så jeg tror bare jeg la'r være
Der ligger en verden for vores fødder
Den venter faktisk kun på mig
Jeg spø'r mig selv, hvad venter jeg på
Nu indta'r jeg den uden dig
Du må selv gå over til din lejlighed
Den er ikke noget for mig
Vi to var ikke spild af tid
Men jeg ka' sagtens uden dig


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Gardening with chickens - another guide to (decidedly moderate) success

All summer long, the chooks have been cruelly denied access to the kitchen garden. Because stuff was growing there and all that.

Well.  In reality what happened was that the whole achy-breaky-heart thing spiralled me into an abyss of laziness, which in turn spiralled the kitchen garden into an abundance of weeds.  I know it's supposed to be good for you to get off yer bum and do something, especially if you've got a lovely garden to do it in, but I much prefer whining to counting my blessings.

So let's just say that I've been unusually careful with the angling and cropping of the pictures in this post. Keeping up appearances is, as you know, of tremendous importance on this blog.

Anyway, last weekend the time had come to do.something.about it.  So the chooks were let loose, and so was I (and my weed wacker).  They're very skilled at scraping the surface, though not exactly methodical. And they add fertilizer at the same time, so all in all they're a valuable asset when it comes to clearing out the sad remains.

And lookie here, how decorative chooks&flowers are - you can hardly see the weeds!!


It took them no time at all to carve out a tunnel :-)

The saying goes that "the early bird gets the worm".  Round these parts, it's more like "the reckless bird gets the worm".  Signe, the brown hen, knows no fear and digging the earth takes forever when she's around because she likes to sit on top of the shovel to get first picks at whatever crawlies that might appear.  Nevermind that she sometimes topples over when I lift up the shovel...



I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky see the worms tumbling down
(what song is that again??)

Look at my assistants, getting down to work :-)

So. The garden wasn't a tremendous success this year. In fact, only the parsley and lettuce produced bumper crops and even they were bedevilled with weeds.  But that's the wonderful thing about gardening - there's ALWAYS next year. Needless to say, I've got grand schemes and plans, half of which won't come to fruition, but that's beside the point. There's always next year ...

Oh, and the achy-breaky heart? Pretty much done and overwith. Yay!


Friday, 9 September 2016

US presidential election hits Øster Starup. Again.




Right, folks.  After yesterday's heroic yet somewhat unimpressive efforts of Mrs Trump (represented by moi) in the baked goods department, I know you're all just dying to know how Mr Clinton fared in the Family Circle 2016 Presidential Cookie Poll.

Bill Clinton has temporarily (?) eschewed his cigar-smoking, White House intern-arousing merry ways in favour of a very homey recipe:

CLINTON FAMILY'S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

It goes a little something like this (and again, I was most fastidious about not deviating from the recipe)

If you're in Denmark, start by chopping up around 340 grams dark chocolate. If you're in the US, just take a 12oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  We're not quite as spoiled over here; most shops don't carry chocolate chips (or am I missing something), so Danish readers have to do the hard work themselves.

Mix together
1½ cups flour (DK: 185 gram)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
-and set aside

Mix together until creamy:
1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (DK: sorry, didn't weigh it, but 1 cup is 2½dl and make sure it's packed)
½ cup granulated sugar (DK: 100 gram)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*vegetable shortening.... google has reliably informed me the best substitute is palmin, and you use about 200 grams

Add 2 eggs and beat well

Then gradually beat in the flour mixture and add
2 cups of rolled oats (DK: sorry, didn't weigh the havregryn, but it's 5dl)

And finally add the chocolate chips


I didn't take any pictures of the prepping, but
rest assured that I did sample the raw cookie dough.
Instead, here is a picture of chickens & sunset.

Bake at 350 degrees F (or in DK, the less furnace-sounding 180 degrees C) for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies look the way cookies should.

I could see on twitter that many people were out
having a beer that evening.  So I tweeted this pic, as
a way of saying "HAH, I've got cookies (and didn't get
any decent invitations)"

The verdict:

Ohbuttheywasgooooooood.  They won't do your waistline any favours (but that's hardly the point of cookies) but they will definitely reassure you that America is still great.  I'm sure this (and not his way with words) was how the young whippersnapper from Arkansas lured the feisty Miss Rodham into his bed study group at Yale.

I knew she didn't stand a chance against
my husband's (cookies)
and yes, I saw what you wrote about his
cigar, but he didn't inhale


US presidential election hits Øster Starup



Much to my surprise, my newly acquired visa did not come with a voting slip attached. They must have forgotten somehow, but rest assured - ze vorld shall not miss out on my Opinion about who should take over after Obama.

I like Obama, by the way. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and if a very naughty dream I once had is anything to go by, he's a great kisser (I hope to god I never have that particular dream about whoever wins the election this time around...)

ANYWAY.  How to decide who to vote for?  I decided to give both candidates a fair chance and thus have spent two evenings slaving away in my kitchen, trying out both recipes in the Family Circle 2016 Presidential Cookie Poll

How this particular competition has previously escaped my attention is beyond me, but there you go.  And seeing as how election year is peak season for crazy peoples, this seems to me a totally legit way to decide where your allegiance lies.  Because cookies.

I tossed a coin (a quarter from Ohio - very appropriately a swing state and also a state I've never set foot in; see how impartial I'm being here), and Mrs Melania Trump won the right to have her cookies baked first.

The recipe is in the link above - and also here, with a Danish conversion thrown in.

Without further ado - tadaaa:

MELANIA TRUMP'S STAR COOKIES

Mix together:
2 cups flour (DK: 250 gram)
1 teaspoon baking soda
- and set aside

Mix together:
6 tablespoons soft un-salted butter (DK: 85 gram)
1 cup confectioner's sugar (DK: 120 gram flormelis)

Then add:
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sour cream 

and mix well....

add flour mixture until the dough just comes together - flatten and wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Always remember to sample the raw cookie dough

The recipe actually says "form into 2 disks", but I'm lazy...

When the 30 minutes are up, you roll out the dough, and cut out star shapes.

I'm usually a bit haphazard when it comes to recipes, but in the name of fairness, I stuck religiously to the recipe here and did not take my chances with any other shapes...

Bake at 350 degrees F (DK: 180 degrees C) for about 10 minutes, until golden


The verdict:

Hmmmm....  I will say that the raw cookie dough was decent. But the cookies themselves -oh, they were decidedly meh.   Incredibly boring in fact.  Certainly much more boring than watching Donald Trump on stage.


What was that you said about my wife's cookies??!??!!


But stay tuned. Do not lose faith, Melania.  We've still got to see what the wannabe-First Gentleman has in store for us.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Finest moments (a selection)

My day got off to a brilliant start when, about 7 minutes into my working day, I managed to spill a glass of water all over my desk (for those of you who are wondering how much water an average drinking glass will hold, I'd say about a pint and a half).

Fortunately I'm a sloppy housekeeper, so I had a pile of unfolded laundry on the chair next to me and was thus able to mop it up without even having to leave my desk.  And to think I sometimes wonder why the laundry cycle seems never-ending.

Then I had to call a hotel where the receptionist spoke the most endearing slurvian imaginable. Endearing, but virtually incomprehensible, so when I mentioned that the arrival date on the booking I was calling about was to be changed to two days from now and he said, "yeah, it's sunny, right?" I was puzzled but ever so politely answered "yes, but also a bit windy."

He meant Sunday...

But we got there in the end, and I said thanks, and he said "hey, dimension".

Later in the day, a guy called XXX called to book some travel. There's more than one person by that name at his company, but what I said when doublechecking which one he was, was "there's more than one XXX in my life, you know".  Total silence at the other end of the phone. And then "hee hee hee....".   

It's now 930PM*.  I've just been to the shops - I've got some friends coming over tomorrow and they might appreciate being fed at some point.  I was wearing a pair of fairly loose cotton trousers that I haven't worn in a while, and when I came into the supermarket and put my phone, my housekeys, and my car keys in my pockets, my trousers graciously slid down and allowed me to flash my (not particularly sexy, unfortunately - had that but been the case) undies at a family of four plus two sniggering teenagers.



To combat the inadvertent weight loss, I have now consumed half the chocolate biscuits I had purchased for my friends kids....

*it was 9PM at time of writing. It's now 10:40. I've spent an hour on the phone with one of the coolest, arrogant as f, made-of-awesomest ladies I have the good fortune of knowing. Time well spent indeed 

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go drink some wine and start re-writing the lyrics to a Danish pop song.  That, amongst other things, was what came out of that phone call.

Merry weekend, folks!



Thursday, 25 August 2016

And that was my Thursday

It was a quiet Thursday. I went to work. It wasn't busy. And the sun was shining so after work I spent some quality time on the lawn with The V


And the chooks


Who then joined me on the patio, hoping I might be persuaded to share my wine with them. Despite this one looking decidedly off-balance, the answer was noooo


Then I had a tiny meltdown but cured it with copious amounts of pasta, and THEN I cleaned out the chicken coop from top to bottom. 

Now I'm back on the patio, wine in hand, listening to Air's 'Moon Safari', and pretending all is well with the world. Which it is, for the most part. 

Cheers :)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Train-induced excitement


Mine: limit exceeded :)



Recipe:

Take two sixty-something year old train geeks enthusiasts.
Pour into a Dodge RAM.
Add a thirty-something year old who is exceedingly fond of waving at trains.
Sprinkle with a liberal dose of highways, byways, and railroad tracks.
Chuck in as many trains as you possibly can.
Stir.

That, in short, is how you cook up an awesome road trip.

Rewind to September 2015:



Have passport,
will travel



Sometimes you hit the jackpot. And make friends with a person who has a "drivers license" to this beauty.

And you get to see a railway bridge from this angle:



I'm not saying I wasn't totally cool about it. Of course I was.  Cool af. 

Merely suggesting that I sort of melted into a little puddle of giddy happiness.


One of the old cars from "my"
Empire Builder

Ladies and Gentlemen:
THE HUSTLE MUSCLE 

I think we can safely agree that I reached my excitation limit several times. And this was only the second day of my vacation.

The next day we visited the Minnesota State Fair - and the day after that, we climbed into the car and headed WEST.


And my, oh my.  The West is big place.  I remember when I went from Portland to Chicago on the Empire Builder. It took most the better part of a day just to cross Montana - which was the Rockies, open country, fields, fields, fields, a town, fields, a dirt track, fields, fields, and more open country. It was, in short, awesome.

On this trip we drove through North Dakota, most of Montana, turned around near the Rockies, and came back via Wyoming and South Dakota. 



I'm currently thinking about going to see a
rodeo in Colorado next year. But they are
nowhere near as good at planning ahead
as the good people of the
Testicle Festival in Montana,
so all the 2017 dates are "yet to be announced".
(dear cowboys of Colorado, you may consider
this an open letter. My friend and I would like
to go dancing with you next spring; when should
we book our flights for? :)

Speaking of cowboys,
how many ways can you interpret
Anaconda Opportunity?
(oh ye of pure minds,
how I envy you)

My traveling companions knew all the good places. In the middle of nowhere, they would tell me to take the next exit (not the Anaconda one) and point me in the direction of a loooong, unpaved country road. 

Awesome

Though not always with
good visibility

You might think this was a dead end, and nothing to see...


But you would be entirely wrong:


Yay!!!! Train!!!

There's a special breed of people who take great delight in waving at trains. I proudly count myself among them ;)


One day we met the same train four times (because of signals, road/railroad layout, and driving like ze clappers) and it was glorious.  The train drivers are pretty good at waving back; the fourth time we met the train they went all in with lights, whistles, and what have you.

I'm pretty sure this is the equivalent of getting the guy's phone number (should have practised the Morse Code....)

I've tried counting the number of train pics I took that week.  I stopped when I got close to a hundred....

So yeah. That is one way to have an awesome road trip. Surround yourself with interesting people, keep your eyes open, talk to friendly strangers, and remember to wave at trains.

In fact, always wave at trains.

It's for luck.


Shortcut to happiness (or, a cinnamon roll recipe)


Last weekend I made a batch of cinnamon rolls so sinfully delicious it ought to send any Catholic straight to confession. Not being Catholic, I found redemption in sharing it stuffing it down the throats of any and all who came by over the following days and once they got over the shock of me doing that, they all went mmmmmmmmh, yummy.  So I thought I'd share it with you.  Or, at least, point you to the original recipe, which can be found by clicking HERE.  I halved the recipe and there's a brief recap of it further down on this page, but go read the original. It has ramblings aplenty, and that's always worth a detour.

In Denmark, cinnamon rolls are often quite a depressing experience, with far too much dough and nowhere near enough icing. These are quite the opposite and your fingers will get sticky. You have been warned.

What else have I been up to?  ....hmmm. I've been exorcising Moaning Myrtle and am progressing nicely. I've taken up yoga again and thrown in aqua yoga as well, and that is really good. I've started having regular massages and lemme tell ya, it is the most awesome thing to throw money at. I've been to the cinema, visiting friends, and looking at train time tables. Oh yes, and working. My holiday ended 3 weeks ago, and it seems like a small eternity already.

Yesterday was a really nice day.  First I went with a friend to an old state prison which is now open to the public (the prisoners have moved elsewhere, save for this one guy who has been gainfully employed there since his release).  We started out with a sandwich at the café and intended to go all in with cakes etc for dessert when suddenly a herd of children descended upon the place and instantly turned us into grumpy little ladies, so we hastily departed to the ticket office and thus saved ourselves a considerable calorie intake (I'm now baking bread to compensate for that)

After our tour behind bars, which was quite interesting, I drove halfway across the country -which, this being Denmark, only took an hour and a half - and met up with a guy who helped me out with some tricky bookings a while back and was now due for repayment in the form of beer and grub and sparkling conversation. We had a really great time and I have now added one more destination to my list of places-I-want-to-go. Win-win, all round.

Anyways, the cinnamon rolls....

The recipe, as I made it:  You start by heating 

2 cups of milk (for Danish readers: that's about 5 deciliters and please, use whole milk, because that is just soooo much better all round)
½ cup vegetable oil (DK: 1.25 deciliters)
½ cup sugar (DK: 100 gram)

Heat it up, but don't let it boil. And then let it cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons dry yeast on top, and let it sit for a minute. 

Add 4 cups flour (DK: 500 gram), stir it all together, and let the dough rise for an hour.

Go and read a book.

After an hour, stir the following into the dough:

1 more cup of flour (DK: 125 gram)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
...maybe a tiny bit more flour...


And then, on a floured surface which isn't too difficult to clean afterwards, roll the dough into a large rectangle. The book said 30x10 inches, and I have no idea what that is in metrics, or at all really, so I just rolled it out until it was fairly thin and looked like it would roll up nicely without falling apart.

Now we come to a delightful bit: 

Melt 1 cup butter (in Denmark, a standard pack of butter is 250g which is a bit more, but I just melted the whole pack because butter)

And pour most of it over the dough and spread it lovingly with your fingers so everything is covered in butter.  (You'll want to keep aside some of the butter for greasing the pans, and around 3 tablespoons for the icing)

It's a very nice feeling...

Mmmmmmmh, BUTTER

Then you sprinkle the dough with sugar and cinnamon. The recipe (halved) says 1 cup sugar + a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, but just do what you like here I think.


And then you roll up the dough fairly tightly, cut it into slices, and put the slices in a greased baking tray. Leave them to rise for 20 minutes, and if you forget and they rise for 35 minutes then no harm done.

Fortunately, this seems to be a very forgiving recipe.


And then you bake them at 190 degrees C (which google reliably informs me is the same as 375 degrees F) for 15 minutes, +/-, until they are golden brown and smell delicious.

15 minutes, incidentally, is also enough time to make the icing, which you pour over the rolls while they are still hot.

The recipe (still, halved), calls for 1 pound powdered sugar (which I start by sieving because otherwise I never get rid of the lumps), 2-3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons coffee, and a tiny bit of salt and a teaspoon of maple flavouring.

I freestyled this a bit, but as long as you have a deliciously thick, pourable icing that tastes good, I think you are good to go.  Maple flavouring isn't something you easily come by in Denmark (I have some that I bought in the US and I make a point of not looking at the sell-by date), but more coffee or perhaps vanilla flavouring works well.

When the cinnamon rolls look like this, they are ready to come out of the oven and be drenched in icing.  Leave them for a couple of hours (hah) and either eat with a spoon or have plenty of tissue on hand for your greasy fingers.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Left luggage



It's always the little things. People in your life leave tiny imprints on it, and even if they leave, the marks are still there. Little things that, out of nowhere, will remind you of someone, sometimes someone you haven't thought of in years.

My best friend changed the way I prefer my "leverpostejmadder" (open sandwich with a sort of liver paté; very much a Danish thing). I now actually prefer them with tomato slices on top - before I became friends with her, it was always-always cucumber. (She also taught me that true love is best shown by making pancakes early in the morning)

An ex boyfriend inspired me to change from monthly to daily disposable contact lenses (and thus improved my life without even knowing it).  Another ex gifted me (not deliberately I'm sure) with a profound aversion to men who have nicknames for their member.  An unsolicited dick pic is one thing; actually being formally introduced to it is quite another. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Shake hands with it (how??) and say "pleased to meet you; I do look forward to working with you??"    Yet another ex left me with an expensive taste in alcohol and a slightly more adventurous palate (though nothing beats the guy who treated me to my first taste of frogs legs, steak tartare, and escargots, all in one hedonistic weekend).   And for years, I would habitually buy a certain kind of chocolate whenever I saw it on sale, only later to wonder why on earth I'd done that when I didn't even like it.

You may not even notice the subtle ways in which people influence you. And you can't really get rid of the memories, even if you may want to.  You can purge your life of the physical evidence - stuffing old pictures into a drawer, deleting old e-mails (or filing them away so efficiently you'll never find them again), looking at an old poster and then deciding to leave it up because, sod it, you like it more than you miss him. You go through all the motions, and you feel better for it, and then a tiny thing - something you didn't even share, but maybe saw in a shop and thought he might like - will send you reeling.




I once had a love ring (you might have called it an engagement ring, but that would imply a certain question having been asked, and yes having been the answer, and we never got quite that far). I wore it on the ring finger on my left hand. I still have the ring stashed away somewhere, in a place so secret even I cannot find it. And to this day, whenever I think about a love that didn't last, I have a dull ache in my left ring finger. Like a phantom pain in a lost limb, except it isn't the limb that is missing. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Postcard from England, part III (subtitled: punting on the Thames)

Remember when we sent actual postcards, in the post, when we went on holiday? They always arrived long after we came home but that was part of the charm, sort of (what wasn't so charming was writing dozens of them, trying to write something different in each one as if the recipients were bound to compare them and would be disappointed if the same phrase appeared on different cards...)

This is the modern version; it also arrives long after my return, so there's a bit of nostalgia for you right there.

On my last vacation day I went up to Henley-on-Thames. They had a "traditional boat festival" going on, however, I was seeing a friend who was participating with a vessel that was neither traditional nor a boat.

And I totally forgot to take a picture of the thing,
so this is a pic I stole from his facebook page, 
totally without permission
(hope I'm forgiven? :-)


I did, of course, remember to take a selfie.
Goes without saying...

That, my friend, is an Alvis Stalwart - an amphibious truck used by the British army from the mid-sixties onwards. Very cool thing to have sitting on your driveway.  And it lets you see the town from a different angle:


The Stolly wasn't the only amphibious vehicle around. There were quite a few, including this stylish one: 


aaaand into the water she goes


This makes a nice change from the usual
Sunday drive down to the pub, I think

One thing I love about England is they do events like this so well.  You can always be sure to see a couple of elderly gentlemen, totally dressed the part.   And find a nice place to sit down for a cup of tea. Or a glass of Pimms.  And there is always, always catering for your canine friend as well :-)




Alas, end of journey. The evening was spent on the terrace of an airport hotel, wine in hand, interrupting an otherwise interesting conversation every 2-3 minutes with "ooohhhh, LOOK - a PLANE!!!"

More travel to follow. Autumn plans include Hamburg, Berlin and, of course, the United States.  Can't wait :)