Mussel Soup with Caramelized Onions

Many people will say that cleaning mussels are a big job. Well, maybe, if you are having lots of guests. I taught evening school for many years  and always started with mussels. The students groaned because four  persons should make all the mussels for the whole class. If you follow these instructions, it’s not so difficult. You don’t even have  to remove the breads. I hope you will try this dish, it is wonderfully delicious.

How to clean mussels

As soon as you get  mussels home, put them in a large bowl to begin cleaning the shells. If there are any fibers on the surface of the shells, use a wire scrubber to remove them. Rinse  mussels in cold water, put them back in the bowl, cover them with a damp cloth, and refrigerate them until you are ready to use them. The beard – the fibrous strand that comes out from between the halves of the shell and is used by the mussel to attach itself to a rock or other surface – must be taken off right before cooking, since removing it kills the mussel. Take the mussel in one hand and, with your other hand, grab the beard between your thumb and the tip of a spoon and pull hard (maybe it is easier to just use your fingers). If you are serving the mussels without their shells, don’t brother bearding them before cooking them. Once shells are open and mussels are cooked, it’s much easier to remove the beard. Any cooked mussels that don’t open are dead and should be discarded.






























Mussel Soup with Caramelized Onions

Serves 4

Caramelized Onions:

2 tbsp. butter

2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

Mussel Soup:

2-3 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and debearded

½ cup dry white wine

1 tbsp. oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chopped onions

½ cup tomato puree

2½ cups sour cream

2 cups   fish bouillon

1 tsp. saffron threads

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 slices of toasted white bread

To caramelize onions, melt butter in a medium sauté pan over low heat. Add onions and sauté until caramel brown. This takes about 30 minutes. Don’t cheap or the onions will be hard. They should be soft.

To make soup, combine mussels and wine in a large, heavy nonreactive pot over high heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until mussels open, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the mussel liquor. Shell the mussel. Strain the reserved mussel liquor through a fine-mesh sieve.

In a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, add oil, garlic and chopped onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved mussel liquor,  tomat puree, sour cream and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add saffron and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, toast the bread and place in 4 warmed soup bowls. Add  shelled mussels and caramelized onions to the soup and bring just to a boil. Divide the hot soup and mussels among the bowls and serve.

Salt Cured Duck Breast and Jerusalem Artichokes Salad

The technique of curing food evolved from a pre refrigeration era need to perserve food in a safe, flavorful way. The salt  draws out moisture, transforming the texture and color of the food.  This dish made with Duck breast,  takes a week to make, but once you have done a short preparation, the duck will take care of itself.  The salad, however, can be made minutes and can be used to all kinds of food.

































Salt Cured Duck breast and Jerusalem Artichokes Salad

8 servings as an appetizer

2 1-1b. boneless duck breasts with skin

2 cups kosher salt

1½ cup packed dark brown sugar

10 cracked juniper berries

15 cracked cloves

4-5 bay leaves

1 tsp. coarsely cracked black peppercorns

To make duck, cut the skin with parallel slits without cutting into meat.  Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Arrange 2 sheets of plastic wrap side by side on a work surface. Spread 1 scant cup salt mixture (do not pack) in center of each sheet, spreading mixture to match the size of the duck breasts. Top each with 1 duck breast, skin side down. Spread remaining salt mixture over meat, dividing equally. Bring plastic wrap up and over each duck breast, wrapping tightly. Place on a small rimmed plate, skin side down and refrigerate for 7 days to cure.

To serve, unwrap duck breasts. Scrape off salt mixture, (do not rinse). Using a long, sharp knife, thinly slice meat. Arrange on 4 plates or a large platter. Serve with fresh figs, chutney or a salad.

Salad with raw marinated Jerusalem Artichokes and Dried Cranberries

8 salad servings

1 lb. Jerusalem Artichokes*

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. rapeseed oil

4 finely chopped small shallots

1 small head Bibb salad

2 oz. dried cranberries

salt and freshly ground pepper 


parsley leaves

To make salad, scrub Jerusalem Artichokes and slice them on a mandolin. Place slices in a bowl. Whisk a dressing of vinegar, oil and ½ tsp. salt and pour over the Jerusalem Artichokes. Let stand 30 minutes.

To serve, place salad and parsley on 4 plates and arrange Jerusalem Artichokes on top of salad. Sprinkle chopped shallots and cranberries over.       

Jerusalem artichokes are also known as sunchokes.

Pork Shank with Red Beets and Blueberries

Shank is the for- and back leg of a calve, ox, lamb or pig. It is delicious and inexpensive. It makes great dinners in a month when most people want to save money. It takes between 2 and 2½ hours to make, but after you brown the shank, add cut-up vegetables, broth and beer, it will simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.  There is lots of meat on a shank. Depending on the size of  shanks, two may not be enough for 4 people. If your dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person. Beets are also inexpensive this time of the year. Of course, it is not the season for blueberries, but we can get them from other countries year around. They make a bright addition to the sometimes dreary menus in the cold January months.































Pork Shanks with Red beets and Blueberries

4 main course servings

2 (3 lb. each) pork shanks

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced leeks

1 cup diced onion

2 tsp. minced garlic

2-3 sprigs of thyme

2-3 sage leaves

2 bay leaves

10 black peppercorns

2 cups vegetable broth

1 dark beer

5 red beets

3-4 oz. coarse salt

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 oz. blueberries


2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

To make pork shanks, score fat in a cross-hatch pattern in rind, without cutting into the meat itself. Brown shanks in the warm oven 10-15 min. until shanks begin to caramelize. Place pork in a large heavy ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid; arrange carrots, leeks, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, peppercorns and bay leaves around the pork. Add broth and beer. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and transfer to the oven.

Reduce the heat to 300°F and braise 1½ – 2 hrs.

To make red beets, wash 4 beets and place them in a roasting pan no larger than just enough to hold them. Cover beets with salt. Set beets in oven next to shanks and bake 1½ hrs. Transfer beets to a plate and let them cool off. When they are cool, remove skins and slice them in thin slices. Whisk rapeseed oil and vinegar together with thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add blueberries and beets to bowl and toss so that blueberries and beets are covered.

To make sauce, transfer shanks to a plate. Strain braising liquid into a pot and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add apple cider vinegar and whisk butter in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place shanks on a platter and arrange beets and blueberries around shanks. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Pass the sauce separately.

Suggested accompaniment: mashed potatoes.

Depending on the size of the shanks, two may not be enough for 4 people. If the dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person.

Cod with Vegetables and Cheese

The holidays are over and we are all looking forward to a different cost. I for one, want vegetables as the Danish Christmas dishes have very few. And fish. This dish is easy and takes less than 20 minutes to make. It may seem strange to add cheese to this fish dish, but it tastes great. If you don’t have the Danish Havarti , grated mozzarella is also good.



















Cod with Vegetables and Cheese 

Serves 4

1½ lb. cod fillets, or another firm fish

2 tbsp. oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large squash, cut into thin slices

6 oz. (180 g) mushrooms, sliced

3 oz. (90 g) cherry tomatoes

juice of a lemon

1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp. dried

1 finely chopped garlic clove

1 oz. grated Havarti Cheese

Garnish: Oregano leaves or parsley

To make fish, rinse and pat dry fillets with a paper towel.  Heat the oil in large frying pan and fry  the chopped onion, then add the fish, squash, mushrooms, lemon juice, oregano and garlic. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cheese and simmer 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Garnish with oregano leaves.  Serve immediately with boiled potatoes.

Danish Pastry with Marzipan and Vanilla Filling – Spandauer in Danish

In the first couple months of the year, there is often snow and freezing temperatures in Denmark. Many people brighten their homes with candlelight and if they have a fireplace, they will warm themselves in front of the fire. Danes like to bake in the winter months. They treat themselves to a cup of hot chocolate, bake some rolls and relax with a good book and some nice music. This is known as “hygge” – the Danish word for ‘a cheery atmosphere’ and ‘a pleasant experience.’ Some may translate hygge to ‘coziness’ or ‘a sense of well-being.’  It can also be about providing a temporary shelter from the outside world – an activity completely different from social climbing, networking, competition and materialism. It’s raining today and I am making  spandauer. I have done this before, but as I have some marzipan left over from Christmas, I am placing some marzipan remonce in the roll instead of a butter remonce.















Danish Spandauere

1 portion pastry dough:

1 lb. flour 

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt,

4 tsp active dry yeast or 1 oz. fresh yeast

1 cup milk

1 cup milk

1 egg

12 oz. butter

1 portion of marzipan remonce:

3 oz.(90 g) marzipan

3 oz. sugar

3 oz. butter 

1 portion vanilla crème:

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. flour

3/4 cup milk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. confectionary sugar and a few drops of warm water 

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

To make pastry dough, sift flour and mix with sugar and salt. Sprinkle active dry yeast in one cup of milk and let sit for 10 minutes or dissolve the fresh yeast in half of the milk. Add yeast, the rest of the milk and the beaten egg to the flour and sugar. Beat until smooth. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ inch Spread small pieces of butter on 2/3 of the dough. The butter must have the same consistency as the dough; if it is too soft it will melt into the dough. Starting on the right, fold 1/3 of the dough over the middle part of the dough and then fold the left side over the dough. So now you have  three layer. Roll out the dough and fold again. Repeat three or four times. Leave in a cold place for 30 minutes.

To make marzipan remonce, pisk marzipan, sugar and butter with an electric mixer until smooth.Set aside.

To make vanilla crème, beat egg yolk with sugar, flour and milk. Cook over low heat while beating the whole time until thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract; then cool, stirring occasionally.

To make the roll, roll out dough to a rectangle on a lightly floured surface 30cm (12 inch) x 40 cm (16 inch), spread with marzipan filling and cut into squares of 10 cm (4 inches)x 10 cm (4 inches). Place crème in the middle. Fold corner to center and press down. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave in a cold place to rise for 15-20 minutes, then brush with egg white and bake 10 minutes.

When cool, spread frosting on top and the center of half of the rolls leaving crème exposed.

Waffles with Sage and Black Pepper and Spicy Apple Sauce

New Year’s morning many with be sleeping late. Those who don’t might want to make something different. They may even have overnight guests and want to spoil their friends with a special breakfast. Waffles are always popular and these are spicy and different.




















Waffles with Sage and black pepper and Spicy Apple Sauce

Serves 6

300 g /10 oz.  flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. fresh, chopped sage

2 tbsp sukker

60 g/2 oz. corn flour

½ tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

2½ cups milk

4 tbsp. olie

3 egg whites

Spicy apple sauce 

1½ lb. apples, peeled, cored and cut into smaller pieces

4 tbsp. apple juice or water

1 tsp. grated nutmeg

To make waffles, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, sage, corn flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk egg yolk with milk, oil, in anther bowl Whisk egg whites in a third bowl. Combine the first two bowls and fold egg whites in. Varm a waffle iron up and brush with melted butter. Pour ½ cup of batter in the middle of the iron and close it. Bake waffles  2 minutes or until they are golden.

To make apple sauce, place apples and sugar in a pot with apple juice and cook over a low heat until they are soft. Stir  and add nutmeg. Can be made the day before.

Oysters and Champagne

This is my New Year’s dinner, oysters and Champagne. Enjoy! I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!























To open oysters, open oysters with an oyster’s knife, insert the tip of the knife into the “hinge” and twist the edge of the knife to pry open it open. Run the knife under the oyster on the bottom of the shell to release it. It is always a good idea to hold a dishtowel between you hand and the oyster in order to protect your hand. Be sure each oyster to insure yourself that they are fresh.  If you want to prepare many oysters at one time, or you are not sure how to open an oyster, place them in the microwave oven. It is okay to place them on top of each other. Give them 30-40 seconds with high heat and they will open. 

A squeeze of lemon or a drop of Tabasco is all you need to eat these delicious oysters!

New Years Eve Appetizers with Salmon

Soon it will be New Years’ Eve and everyone is making plans for a special dinner on the last night of the year. Most people already know what they are having, so I am not coming with any suggestions. I myself am having oysters and lobsters with butter and bread. Most people know these dishes, but I do have a suggestion for appetizers. Our Danish open-face sandwiches make great appetizers and can be served with champagne  either as a starter or a late night snack to  be eaten at  midnight. Instead of making these sandwiches on a large piece of white bread, I use a cookie cutter and make small round circles or sometimes use  a baguette. I suggest three types of salmon, but almost any of our open-face sandwiches can be made smaller and taste great. If you want more ideas, just look under open-face sandwiches





















Gravlax –Cured Salmon with Salt, Sugar and Dill 

Makes 10 -12

2 2 lbs. salmon filets with skin  

5 tbsp. salt 

5 tbsp. sugar 

2 tsk. white pepper 

2 bunches of dill 


5 tbsp. Dijon mustard 

2 tbsp. brown sugar 

2 tbsp. white wine 

3 tbsp. finely clipped dill 

½ cup oil 

salt and pepper 

10 – 12 buttered sour dough bread cut with a cookie cutter  


Fresh sprigs of dill

To make cured salmon, remove all bones and sprinkle salmon fillet with salt, sugar and pepper. Place 1 fillet in a deep dish. cut dill over fillet in the dish and place the second fillet on top with the thick end on top of the thin end. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days. Turn fish over after one day and pour any liquid off.  

To make dressing, combine all ingredients except oil. Whip oil in a thin stream into dressing. Season with salt and pepper.         

To assemble, do not remove dill, cut salmon in very thin slices diagonally across grain and place as many slices as you wish on each piece of buttered sour dough bread. Pass the dressing so guest can take as much or as little as they wish.

Salt Cured Salmon Cured with Apple and Horseradish Salad

Makes 10 

1 2 lb. salmon filet with skin

3 tbsp. fine salt

1 tbsp. sugar

Apple and horseradish Salad:

4 tbsp. rapeseed oil or a natural oil

4 tbsp. apple juice

1 finely chopped shallot

2 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish

1 small apple, quartered, cored and diced

10 slices of buttered white bread


a handful of fresh herbs, pea tendrils, dill or cress

To make fish, remove all bones and place salmon in deep dish skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Cover and refrigerate to the next day.

To make salad, whisk together a marinade of oil, apple juice, shallot, and horseradish in a small bowl. Add diced apple to marinade and toss.

To serve, cut salmon in thick slices diagonally across the grain.

Garnish with pea tendrils, dill or cress.

To assemble, place several slices of salmon on buttered white bread.  Spoon apple and horseradish salad on top and garnish with herbs.

Smoked Salmon with Asparagus  
Makes 4

8 small  green asparagus, trimmed or 8 -12 asparagus from a jar, depending on their size

4 slices of buttered sour dough or white bread cut into smaller pieces with a cookie cutter or glass 

4-8 slices of freshly smoked salmon


freshly ground black pepper

To make asparagus, cook them in let salted water 2-3 minutes for the green, 6-8 minutes for the white asparagus depending on the size. Transfer to a paper towel. Pat them gently dry.

To assemble, place 1-2 slices of salmon on each piece of buttered bread covered with a lettuce leave. Place 1-2 pieces of asparagus in the middle of salmon. If using asparagus from a jar make sure they are patted dry. If all the water is not removed, it will ruin the sandwich. Sprinkle with black pepper.

Christmas Luncheon with Several Kinds of Herring

Between Christmas and New Years Eve, many Danes have a little vacation. They use the time to invite friends and family they haven’t seen at Christmas to a Christmas luncheon. These luncheons start with herring and a herring open-face sandwich requires a snaps/aquavit. A buffet will usually have three or for types of herring to choose from. Many from other countries than Denmark say that herring is raw and they won’t eat raw fish. (Maybe sushi) That’s a shame because although herring is not cooked, it has be pickled. That is to say,  when the fish has been caught and cleaned, it is salted for at least 30 days and up to a year. After the herring has been salted, it is watered down with cold water. Then a marinade of vinegar, sugar and spices is made  and the herring is placed in this marinade, thereby curing the fish. Jars of marinated herring can be found whole foods markets, Trader Joes, Ikea, farmers markets and health food stores.DSC_0037












Marinated Herring with Pickled Red Onions

Makes 4 

3-4 large herrings from a glas*

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions taste best made the day before. They will keep in the refrigerator up to three weeks.

Makes 1 cup 

4 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Bring vinegar, salt, and 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan.

Remove from heat. Stir in onion. Let cool. Drain before serving.

To serve, roll a herring fillet and place on a plate. Place a spoonful of pickled red onions in the middle. Place a few slices of Danish rye bread on the plate and garnish with cress. 

*There are many kinds of marinades for herring such as spiced, sherry, port wine, herbs and many, many more.

Danish Christmas Rice Pudding with Hot Cherry Sauce

This is the traditional Christmas Eve dessert in Denmark. One blanched whole almond is hidden in the pudding just before severing. All the guests at the table serve themselves with a small or large serving of the pudding depending on how much they want to win the “Almond present”. Whoever gets the hidden almond wins a special gift. It is a contest that everyone wants to win. The person who has the almond will try to hide the almond, making everyone keep eating even after they are full. So, be sure and make plenty of Christmas pudding. Have a nice Christmas.





















Christmas Pudding with Hot Cherry Sauce

6 dessert servings

1¾ pints whole milk

3 oz. short-grained rice

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 oz. blanched, coarsely chopped almonds

1½ cups heavy cream, whipped

1 whole almond (optional)

Cherry sauce:

1 lb. canned stoned cherries in their syrup

1½ tsp. cornstarch

To make the pudding, bring milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add rice gradually, stirring constantly. Cook mixture over low heat for 50 minutes. Be careful not to let the rice burn. Remove pot from heat and stir in salt.

When rice-mixture is cold, stir in vanilla extract and chopped almonds. Fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate before serving.  

To make the cherry sauce, place cherries and their syrup in a saucepan and bring to boil. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water. Pour into the boiling hot liquid, stirring constantly. Serve the hot cherry sauce immediately with the cold rice pudding.

Pork Roast with Crackling with Glazed Potatoes, Stewed Red Cabbage

This is the traditional Christmas dinner after Roasted Duck. I am putting this recipe on the blog now so if you want to make it, you have a few days to shop and make some preparations. The Danes love the crackling on the pork roast, some even fight over it. So you probably have to order a pork loin with rind  a few days before Christmas at the butchers in the supermarket. The red cabbage is best made the day before, but  two, three days before your meal is also fine. The recipe for glazed potatoes was placed on the blog a few days ago. Just scroll down.






































Pork Roast with Crackling and Gravy

Serves 6

3 lb. (1400 g) boned pork loin with the rind (you may need to

order this a few days ahead)

1½ tbsp. salt, 2-3 bay leaves

1-1½ pints (3/4 liter) water, depending on the size of the pan

Gravy: 2 cups (16 fl. oz.) broth and pan juices

½ cup (4 fl. oz.)heavy cream, flour for thickening

gravy browning or caramel color (soja sauce can also be used)

freshly ground pepper, be careful with salt because the roast is

made with salt

To make pork roast with crackling, ask your butcher to make parallel slits in the rind, without cutting into the meat itself. Rub rind thoroughly with salt, (you may have to use more salt, but be careful, it will make the gravy salty) making sure salt gets down into the slits in the rind. Place the bay leaves in slits. Put roast on a rack in a baking pan. The roast should be as level as possible. Use foil, if necessary, to prop up the roast. Pour water into the pan making sure the water does not touch the pork. Place pan with the roast into a cold oven and turn on the oven to 400° F. After 1½ hours the roast should have a temperature of 150° F. Pour pan juices off and save them for the gravy. If rind is not sufficiently crisp, brown the roast, either by using the grill or by turning the heat up to 450°F.

Let uncovered roast rest in a warm place 20 minutes. The internal temperature should read 160°F.

To make gravy, skim off the fat from the pan juices and strain juices. Pour into a saucepan and dilute with bouillon or stock, making 1 1/4 pints in all. Add cream and bring to a boil. Thicken with flour and season with pepper, maybe a little salt if the pan juices were not salty. If you want the gravy to be a darker color, add either caramel color or soja sauce.

Cooked Apples with Red Currant Jelly 

Serves 6

6 large apples, cored and peeled

l liter/1½ pints cold water

90 g/3 oz. sugar

90 g/3 oz. red current jelly

To make apples, cut them in half. Combine the sugar with water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add apples and let simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, over a low heat. Remove apples and with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish. When cool, place a spoonful of red current jelly in each.

Stewed Red Cabbage

Serves 6

Red cabbage is best, if prepared the day before it is to be used.

2 lbs. (910 g) red cabbage (outer leaves removed), finely chopped

2-3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 cup (8 fl.oz.) red currant juice


To make cabbage, melt butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add cabbage, steam slightly, then add a little water and vinegar.

Cover and simmer 60 minutes. Stir occasionally. When nearly done, add red currant juice and more sugar and vinegar to taste. Season with salt.

Suggested accompaniment: boiled white potatoes and glazed sugar potatoes (scroll down to see recipe)

Glazed Potatoes

Christmas Eve is next Sunday and many Danes will be making glazed potatoes, boiled potatoes fried in sugar and butter. I am placing the recipe on my blog today, because some people may want to experiment. Glazed potatoes can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course, they  need to be  made in the last few minutes  and that can feel stressfuld. Cook the potatoes the day before and peel them. Just before you fry the potatoes, rinse them in cold water.  Follow the pictures and in just minutes you will have  some  delicious potatoes. Next week, I will be posting Pork Roast  with Crackling,  Apples Stuffed with Prunes and a Stewed  Red Cabbage and glazed potatoes. Duck is the most popular dish to eat at Christmas and Pork Roast with Crackling is the second most popular.  Glazed Potatoes, Stewed Cabbage or Raw Cabbage Salad  are the same side dishes to the duck and to the roast. Most Danes like to have pickles, pickled red beets or asie, a large pickled cucumber. One needs a little contrast to the heavy meal.

Melt the sugar on a frying pan – add butter                      Glaze and brown  potatoes in the caramelized sugar.
























Duck Breast with Raw Cabbage Salad

4 servings

4 (8-9 oz.) duck breasts


½ cup walnut oil/corn oil

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad: 1 lb. shredded cabbage

2-3 Clementines, peeled and divided into wedges

½ cup walnuts or pecans

To make  duck breasts, trim of any extra skin and score fat in a cross-hatch pattern.

Heat a large sauté skillet over high heat until hot, add duck, skin side down, and cook for 8-10 min. (depending on thickness of breast.) Turn duck over, and cook 5–8 min. Remove duck from heat and let rest 3 min.

To make dressing, whisk oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. To make salad, combine shredded cabbage and Clementines.

Glazed Potatoes

Serves 4

2 lbs.(944 g) small potatoes, boiled and peeled

90 g/3 oz. sugar

90 g/ 3 oz. butter

To make glazed potatoes, melt sugar on a large frying pan until golden. Add butter and when the sugar is combined add the potatoes which has been rinsed in cold water seconds before you add them to the caramelized sugar, turning constantly.

Pork Shanks with Red Beets and Blueberries

Today it’s cold and I am starting dinner early. This dish takes about 2 hours or more to make but it takes care of itself for the most. Not only is it delicious, it is inexpensive. Depending on the size of the shanks, two may be enough for 4 people. If the dinner guests are 4 young men, count on a shank for each person.  Blueberries and beets makes this dish different and fun.  We can blueberries all the year round and , of course, beets we get in the winter months.  The Danes like to use beer when cooking.


Beer braised shanks_jpeg






















4 main course servings

2 (3lbs. each) pork shanks

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced leeks

1 cup diced onion

2 tsp. minced garlic

2-3 sprigs of thyme

2-3 sage leaves

10 black peppercorns

2 cups vegetable broth

1 dark beer

4 red beets

3-4 oz. coarse salt

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 oz. blueberries, chopped fresh thyme

Sauce: 2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

To make the port shanks, score fat in a cross-hatch pattern in rind without cutting into the meat itself. Brown shanks in the warm oven 10-15 minutes until shanks begin to caramelize. Place pork in a large heavy ovenproof pot, with a tight fitting lid; arrange carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, sage, peppercorns and bay leaves around the pork. Add broth and beer. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and transfer to the oven.

Reduce the heat to 300°F an braise 1½ – 2 hours-

To make the red beets, was 4 beets and place them in a roasting pan no larger than just enough to hold them. Cover beets with salt. Set beets in oven next to shanks an bake 1½ hours. Transfer beets to a plate and let them cool off. When cool, remove skins and slice them into thin slices. Whisk rapeseed oil and vinegar together with thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add blueberries and beets to bowl an toss so that blueberries an beets are covered.

To make the sauce, transfer shanks to a plate. Strain braising liquid into a pot and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add apple cider vinegar and whisk butter in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place shanks on a platter and arrange beets and blueberries around shanks. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Pass the sauce separately.

Suggested accompaniment: mashed potatoes.

Pancakes with Figs and Pears


A trip to Tivoli is not complete without a meal eaten at one of the many restaurants. My husband and I  ate at Nimb, a  beautiful restaurant and hotel inside Tivoli.  It was built in 1909 in a Moorish inspired Historic style. For dessert we had the best pancakes, or maybe I should say crepes,  that I had ever eaten. I asked the waitress how they were made and she said it was a mixture of flour and rice flour. The rice flour makes the finished pancakes thin and crispy. And, of course, they make them in clarified butter.  Removing the milk solids from melted butter increase its smoking point, so you can cook at higher temperatures with less risk of burning.



























Pancakes with Figs and Pears

6-8 pancakes

2 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup flour

½ cup rice flour

4 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsk.  salt

1½ cups heavy cream

1 ripe pear, sliced into wedges

2 figs, cut each into 4 wedges

2 tbsp. almond flakes

1 tbsp. honey

clarified butter for baking pancakes*

To make pancakes, combine eggs, milk, flour, vanilla extract, salt and ½ cup of heavy cream. These pancakes should be thin, so add a little milk if the dej is thick.

Pour a little clarified butter on a frying pan and then pour some batter onto the pan as you tilt the pan so that the batter covers the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook until golden brown on one side and toss like a flapjack, cook on the other side. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

To serve, whip the rest of the heavy cream to whipped cream . Place two pancakes folded in quaters on each  plate, place a large spoonful of whipped cream in the middle and garnish with figs and pear wedges. Sprinkle with almond flakes and pour a little honey over the pancakes. Enjoy.

*In a small saucepan, melt 1 lb. of unsalted butter over very low heat. The butter should melt not boil. Once completely melted, it will separate into three layers. On top is the white foam, then a clear golden layer that is clarified butter, and under that is a milky liquid that is solids. Skim off the foam and discard. Ladle the clarified butter into a container; cover and refrigerate indefinitely. Discard the milk solids.

White Gløgg and Jewish Cookies

At Christmas time, small shops pop up everywhere. Here you can shop for  presents, Christmas decorations and even food. This little village is found in Tivoli. And no, we don’t have snow YET. My husband and I when to Tivoli for a few hours yesterday. When we were tried, we sat down in a little shop and got a glass of gløgg (hot mulled wine) and some cookies. The gløgg was white with wine, and white rum.

1 cup   apple juice, ½ cup sugar, 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise, 3 smal cinnamon sticks (5 cm/2 inches), and 3 star anise. Cook this mixture (can be done the day before.) When time to drink the gløgg, Add one bottle of white wine and 1 cup white rum to the drink. Add grated rind of lemon and serve hot.





















Today is the second day of advent and  we are lighting the second candle of our advent arrangement. We have invited the neighbors over for a glas of gløgg and Jewish cookies.

Jewish Cookies

makes 100

1 cup (250 g/8 oz.)flour

7 oz.(200 g) butter

1 cup (120 g) sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1 egg

a pinch of salt

1 egg to brush the cookies with

3-4 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

To make the cookies, combine flour, butter. sugar and baking powder. Add the egg and knead the dough until all the flour is absorbed and not sticky. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Roll the dough out on a lightly dusted work surface and using a round cookie cutter or a small glass, cut  cookies and place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Brush cookies with egg and sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake them 10-12 minutes.

Cool and enjoy. Any leftover cookies should be placed in a cookie tin.

Honey Cake Hearts

My first Christmas in Denmark, many years ago, I was invited to spend the evening with my Danish boyfriend and his parents. The Danes celebrate Christmas Eve as the most important day of Christmas. The evening starts around 4 or 5 in the afternoon and a large dinner is served, More on that later. After dinner we entered the living room, all of electric lights were turned off, only the tree was lit. It was the first time I had ever seen a Christmas tree decorated with real burning candles; it was a beautiful sight. We gazed at the tree for a few minutes, enjoying the magic of the moment. Garlands of red and white Danish flags were hung around the tree. Handmade paper cones filled with cookies and candy hung on the brandes along with pleated red and white papers hearts. I asked my hostess about the hearts. I had never seen hearts used to decorate a tree with. She explained that Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish author  was an expert in making these hearts.  It is believed that it is because of these pleated paper hearts, the tradition of decorating with hearts become a part of the Danish Christmas  tradition. Hearts are everywhere around Christmas time. Hearts than can be seen below are cookies made with honey. You can brush them with melted chocolate and place a Christmas decoration on them or make a white icing and write the names of you family and friends on them.






















Honey Cake Hearts

makes 25

5 oz./150 grams honey

5 oz./150 grams brown sugar

4 oz./120 grams butter

2 eggs

grated peel of 1 lemon

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. baking powder

2 ½ cups/ 550 grams flour

Chocolate icing:

12 oz./340 grams chocolate

To make cookies, melt honey, sugar and sugar over low heat. Stir until sugar is flydende  and let mixture cool. Pisk eggs lightly and add them to the honey mixture together with  the grated peel of a lemon.. Tale a few spoonfuls of this mixture and stir in  cloves and baking powder. Add the flour a little at a time (you may not need all of it) and knead the dough a few mintues. Let the dough rest  two hours.

Preheat the oven 400°F.

Roll the dough out on a lightly dusted work surface and stick out cookies with a heart shaped cookie cutter.  Place the cookies on a plade with bage paper. Bage 10 minutes.

While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate and when the cookies are cool, brush each cookie with melted chocolate. Or you can make a white sugar icing and place the icing in pastry bag and write names of your family on them.

Christmas Ham With Creamed Spinach

Now that Christmas has arrived, it is always nice to have guests. This ham is a great dish of many or for just a few guests. Always nice to have some ham leftovers for sandwiches to eat on busy days when we all have  been shopping and making preparations.


























Christmas Ham 

Serves 10-12

3-4 kilos//6-8 lb. lightly salted, smoked ham

for the glaze:

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp. mustard

1 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. panko

To make the ham, dry  ham with a paper towel. Insert a thermometer at the thickest place. Place ham in a cold oven and bake it, until the thermometer shows 65-70 °C (  150-158° F) 2-2½ hours.

Remove the thermometer and increase the temperture to 225°C 425°F. Skin the ham, leaving the fat on. Mix the egg yolk and mustard and spread over the fat. Mix the sugar with the panko and sprinkle over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake until panko is slightly browned.

Creamed Spinach

Serves 4

1 kilo/2 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed, washed or 500 g/1 lbs. frozen

1 tbsp. butter

½ cup/4 oz. heavy cream

salt and white pepper

To make spinach, cook the spinach with just the water that clings from its washing When the spinach has shrunk, turn it onto a plate, let it cool and chop it coarsely with a knife. Melt butter in a small casserole and put spinach, cream, salt and pepper in. Cook spinach over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Suggested accompaniment: Cooked apple slices


Advent Sunday with æbleskiver “Danish Donuts”

Sunday the 3rd  of December is the first Sunday in Advent. This means there is less than a  month, or four sundays until Christmas eve. Advent  marks the beginning of the Christmas season. Many families invite familie and friends to eat Christmas Donuts and drink Gløgg, mulled hot wine, on the first sunday Others will invite family over for a Christmas lunch and afterwards eat Christmas donuts and drink gløgg. Most will lite one candle of an advents decorations representing the first Sunday in Christmas, one for each of the four sundays before Christmas eve. All of the Danes will at one time or another eat Christmas doughnuts and drinks lots of Gløgg. These donuts can be made on an æbleskiver pan and if you don’t live in Denmark, they can be brought on the internet.

Here are some recipes to get the season started.

Christmas Donuts or as the Danes say Æbleskiver
These doughnuts, which are only eaten at Christmas time, are baked on top of the stove in a special pan with a hole for each doughnut. It is called an “æbleskive” pan. These doughnuts can also be made with an electric pan on the table top

Makes 14-16

½ lb. flour

½ tsk. salt

1 tsp. sugar

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, separated

1 tsp. baking powder

butter for baking

1 small apple, cored and diced

To make donuts, combine  flour, salt and sugar. Beat the buttermilk with the egg yolks, and add the flour mixture. Add baking powder and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Heat the “æbleskive” pan and put melted butter in each hole. Pour batter into each hole, not quite filling them. Put  a little piece of apple in the center of the donut. Turn quickly with a knitting needle or fork when half done, 1-2 minutes. Let them cook 1-2 minutes on the other side.

To serve, serve donuts  warm with icing sugar and jelly.
Each person takes two or three “æbleskive” on their plate together with a tablespoon of icing sugar and a tablespoon of jelly. The æbleskiver is first dipped in jelly and afterwards in sugar, then eaten with fingers.

Gløgg – Warm Red Wine Drink
This hot drink is usaully served at Christmas together with “æbleskiver” or Christmas cookies.

1 bottle of red wine

3 thin strips of lemon rid

3 pieces of cardamom

4 whole cloves

1-2 pieces (2 inches) of cinnamon

½-1 cup of raisins

1 oz. blanced, coarsly chopped almonds

½-1 cup port wine

To make gløgg, pour one cup of the red wine into a casserole. Add the lemon rind and the spices. Bring the mixture to the point of boiling and simmer, 10 minutes. Strain and add the rest of the red wine, raisins and almonds. Bring the mixture again to the boiling point and remove from the heat. Add  port wine and serve immediately in a cup or glass with spoon. This way the raisins and almonds can be eaten.

Christmas Crullers “Klejner” in Danish

Today is the first day of December and Danes all over the country are lighting their Calendar candles. The candle is marked with 24 numbers and the idea is that the candle should burn a little each day. When the number reaches 24, it should be Christmas Eve the 24th of December.  Christmas Eve is the day that Danes celebrate Christmas with a traditional Christmas dinner, (more on that later) and exchange Christmas presents.  As I wrote yesterday, there is also a Calendar for children with small windows that are opened every day until it is Christmas Eve. The children jump out of bed every morning to see what they have gotten on their calendars. It could be raisins, candy or a small package. This way, even the small children can see how many days are left before Christmas Eve.


























Christmas Crullers


2 eggs

½ lb. (225g)flour

3 oz. (90 g) sugar

1½ tbsp. heavy cream

2½ oz. (70 g) melted butter

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Fat or oil for frying

To make the dough, combine egg, flour, sugar, cream, butter and grated rind int a dough. Let dough rest 1 hour or more.

To form the crullers, roll dough thinly out on a lightly dusted work surface and cut long narrow strips, 12 cm (5 inches) x 2.5 (inch) with slanting ends. Make a slit in the center of each strip, put one of the ends through the slit, making a knot in the center. Fry in hot deep fat until light brown and drain on papir. Do not allow to crullers to touch each other while frying.

























Advent Celebration with Sugar and Spice Cookies and Vanilla Rings

Advent starts this year the first Sunday in December


















Avent marks the beginning of the Christmas season  

On the first day of December, in many Danish homes a Christmas countdown candle is lit and is burned for a little while each day until Christmas Eve. Many families have Christmas calendars with small numbered windows; each morning a window is opened and the children receive small presents or sweets. There are also special television shows with 24 episodes, so the families can watch the story together every night up to Christmas.

It’s dark outside most of the time in December,, and the Danes prefer to stay indoors. Many are making preparations for the Christmas season. They can also be busy visiting the many Christmas markets buying lots Christmas decoration, Christmas presents and Christmas goodies. The first Sunday of December is the first Sunday of Advent, four Sundays before Christmas Eve. Many invite family and friends to bake Christmas cookies, make candy, make decorations for the tree and an Advent Wreath, four candles, one for each of the four Sundays before Christmas Eve..   

Sugar and Spice Cookies (the brown ones)  Brunekager in Danish

makes 100.

2 cups dark syrup,

1 cup (90 grams) brown sugar,

½ cup (4 fl. oz.) butter

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup (225 grams) almonds, blanched and skins removed

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground cloves

1 lb.(455 grams) flour

To make, bring syrup, sugar and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in baking powder, chopped almonds, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and flour. It may be difficult for all the flour to be absorbed. Wait until the dough has cooled, knead the dough until it has absorbed most of the flour and is not sticky. There may be some flour left over. Refrigerate 1-3 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Knead thoroughly on a baking board – use more flour if Sticks. Roll the dough out very thinly, cut into round cookies with a glass or cookie cutteer and place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg White. Bake 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of the cookies.

Vanilla Rings

8 oz. flour

7 oz. butter

5 oz. sugar

1 egg

4 oz. almonds

blanched, skin removed and finely chopped

To make cookies, combine all ingredients  and let dough rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put the dough into a piping bag fitted with 1/2 inch star nozzle. Pipe the dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet, cut the dough into small pieces and form into small rings. Bake until lightly Brown – 3-5 minutes.