Gammeldags Æblekage or Old fashioned apple cake

With the abundance of local Danish apples available at the moment in the supermarkets or if you are lucky at the end of your neighbours’ drive now is the time to try your hand at a traditional Danish apple recipe called Gammeldags Æblekag, which literally translated means Old fashioned apple cake. But don’t be deceived there is nothing cake like about this at all. It is actually more of a trifle, which if I am honest appeals a lot more to me.

There are plenty of recipes on-line for this easy treat (this is a good one). But here is the basic run down…

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You need to make some sweet bread crumbs using sugar and vanilla in a pan, cooked your cut up, peeled and cored apples with a little sugar and cinnamon (if you like that) until soft and whip some cream. Once everything that was hot has cooled down you make layers of the breadcrumbs and apple and chill in the fridge. Add the whipped cream just before serving.

The one above that I had a cafe has crumbled chocolate brownie in the last layer of breadcrumbs and on the top of the whipped cream.

Very simple and perfectly scrummy for autumn.

Moving House

A few readers have asked how our house sale and purchase is going so I thought I’d write a quick update.img_4767We put our apartment on the market in May, there were a flurry of viewings at the beginning but no offers and the summer months, when everyone was away from the city, were very quiet and we were a little worried. But the start of August arrived with four viewings on one day and suitable offer made soon after, which we accepted. The paperwork from our buyer’s solicitor was sent through and was very straightforward. Our estate agent gave us a summary in English and we read the original document ourselves. The handover date of 1 December was agreed.

So far everyone involved in the process has been really helpful, in the main, and things have been going smoothly.

At the time we felt we had a sufficient period in which to find somewhere we wanted to buy but as time went on and we didn’t see much we liked and what we did like we missed out on. In once instance we offered the asking price but someone bid higher and were successful. In Denmark it is not possible to enter into a bidding war so we missed out. The seller can ask all interested parties to submit a closed bid if they wish but most will simply take a high bid and be happy.

We have found a place we like and whilst it is in lovely condition, the same couple have lived there for forty years so there is some work needed and we don’t want to put an offer in until we know how much everything will cost. Also this place won’t be available until February. If this one doesn’t happen there are few options at the moment and we felt the clock was ticking in regard to where we would live after the 1st December.

Luck smiled on us. I was chatting to someone I know who runs a lovely shop in Vesterbro and we were catching up on what had been going on in our lives. I mentioned the slight panic I felt about our living situation come December and by chance a relative of hers was looking for someone to rent his apartment for four months starting on the 1 December. It is only a few minutes from our current place and after visiting on Saturday and falling in love with it, we struck up a great deal. As she said its great when good people find each other. So the pressure is now off. We have our fingers crossed that everything continues to go in our favour.

Once all is finished I shall write a how to post about buying and selling here.

A guide to baby food

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to undertake some market research about baby food available in shops here and I thought I’d use the information to write a short guide for here. Like most things in Denmark the choice is relatively small and it would seem that it reflect the demand for preprepared baby foods with most parents preparing food at home. There was certainly a perception amongst Danish parents that premade baby food is expensive and they only use it as a supplement or an on-the-go solution.

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When you have a baby here the Health Visitor tells you to buy a guide from the Government health department about feeding you baby from birth to toddler age and the emphasis is very much on home cooked and family foods. It can be bought from the pharmacy for around 75dkk or you can download it here. I found it very useful.

All the types of food I mention below are available in most supermarkets and offered mainly by Semper but you can find Heinz and Ella’s Kitchen in some places (Helsemin carry the full range of this) and most supermarkets offer an own brand as well. There is a big emphasis on organic (øko) food too.

Pouch food

This is the predominant type of baby food available and it seems to be that sweet ones are the ones the supermarkets stock the largest selection of. There are pouches of the usual suspects of spaghetti Bolognese etc but nothing too exciting. There are also new flavours of sweet ones reflecting the current trend for green smoothies.

Jar food

The traditional type of baby food is, of course, jarred food and this can be found in all supermarkets with varied selections.

Powdered porridge or grød

This is something that is everywhere and a type of baby food that is popular with Danes. It is powdered smooth porridges with varieties of flavours from plain to fruit ones and can be mixed with water, formula, breast milk etc and are usually used to supplement homemade foods.

Snacks

Since I had my son, when there are no baby specific snacks available on the market here, I have noticed there are now corn snacks like crisps in some shops and also baby biscuits although these are still not very widely available.

Formula

This is available in all supermarkets and is either the powdered variety or premade cartons. Organic options are widely available now and it is easy to avoid Nestle if that is what your ethics demand (as mine do and here’s why, in case you are interested)

The best shops to go to for the widest selection of baby food are Kvickly and Føtex. If you are looking for the full selection of Ella’s Kitchen then Helsemin is the place to go.

 

Løs Market – packaging free food shopping

Back on April 1st The Local reported on the planned opening of Løs Market, a packaging free shop, and for some bizarre reason some readers thought this was an April Fool. When the joke is now on them as after a crowd funding campaign that exceeded its goal, Løs is now open for business on Saxagade in Vesterbro.

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Løs Market is part of Settlementet, a community project in Vesterbro and (from their website)” is a new way of buying food here in Copenhagen : organic products, sold in bulk and without packaging. Food products are set up in specially designed silos from which you can get the exact amount you wish to buy. You can come with your own jars, containers, or use the pretty jars sold in the shop, or the compostable paper and material bags that are at disposal.”

I think this place is a great concept. How many times have you bought some flour for baking project and ended up throwing most of it away? Sadly I think we are all guilty of wasting food even with the best intentions and let’s not get started on all the packaging we recycle (hopefully) every week.

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So what is available in Løs? Most of the stock in store at the moment is dry goods such as nuts and seeds, teas and spices, muesli. coffee, dried fruits, flour, pasta and rice. There are vats of oils and wines too. Plans are in place for refrigerated foods and local fruits and vegetable.img_5960

I bought a bag of mixed nuts (mixed by me with the ones I like and not the ones the producers think I like) and they were amazing. So fresh and tasted like nuts should taste, especially the hazelnuts.img_5965

Løs Market is an amazing concept but the word needs to get out there. With the constant fight against food waste and excess packaging this place is pioneering the way forward and you can be part of the charge!

Saxogade 77 – 1662 København V

Website

Children’s birthday parties at Statens Museum for Kunst

We were delighted to be invited to two of my son’s classmates’ birthday party at the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) last weekend. I was aware of the children’s workshop area which we regularly go to but I didn’t know you could have a birthday party there.

img_5985As part of the birthday package up to 30 children and 6 adults take part of a tour of selected works in the museum and then head back to the private art workshop and create a masterpiece inspired by the art they have seen.

The party we went to was themed as Kings and Queens and we were shown two related paintings and two sculptures. The excellent guide really engaged with the children and they (and we) learnt a lot about art and also the historic context. Once in the workshop, there were already easels set up for the children to get painting.

As part of the package you also have used of a private lunch room where you can have party food and continue the celebration.

The guide spoke in English to our group (there is a slight supplement to have this) and was very good at containing the more lively elements. There is a lot of listening for the children but it is very interactive and engaging.

So if you are looking for a birthday party that is a little different and affordable, this is the perfect thing.

For more information check out the SMK’s website here.

On another note the SMK has ben gifted this iconic piece by the Danish artists’ group Superflex, first produced in 2002. Its message is even more relevant today. As part of its installation there are smaller, free posters for you to take away. img_5991

A weekend walk in Østre Anlæg

I had another first at the weekend. Despite living in Østerbro and regularly visiting the SMK, I have never been to the park, Østre Anlæg, behind the museum until the weekend. We had been at an event at the SMK (more tomorrow) and as it was the start of the conker season, my son and I took a walk through Østre Anlæg towards Østerport Station and home. This was once part of the old city fortification and has three lakes, which were part of the former moat.img_6004

It was a lovely place to wander about as you keep coming upon little hidden oases. Much of the part has a casual and natural feel to it, which made it perfect for exploring but then you suddenly come upon structured areas with pergolas and laid out beds. It was a sunny afternoon but we practically had the park to ourselves. Defintiely adding this to our list of parks for autumn exploring as there is such a wide variety of trees here that the colours should be amazing. I will be back here to share that later in the season.img_6005

It is worth noting that there is a great children’s playground in the part closest to the SMK. You can see it from the back of the museum but it is a little hidden in the park.img_6006 img_6010 img_6011 img_6012

Five finds at Finderskeepers

At the weekend I went along to Finderskeepers, design market, this time at the Grøntorvet in Valby. I am a fan of Finderskeepers and I have spotted a lot of the now popular designers such as Nur there before they made it big. I missed a few events as I had found I was seeing a lot of the same designers there. This time I was delighted to see almost all new designers. So without further ado here are the five that really caught my fancy.img_5928

First up is Mini Mexico. This Danish concept store producing unique Mexican inspired decorations. I loved them and found that they immediately made me smile. In what are usually white apartments here in Copenhagen these bright decorations will bring in just the right amount of colour and difference. They have a webshop here.

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Next is a photographer I have been following for a long time on Instagram. Morten Nordstrøm has printed a number of his beautiful photographs, which he sold at Finderskeepers but there is a webshop coming. A number sold out on the day and you can see why – beautiful and unique compositions of this wonderful city. Follow Morten on Instagram here.img_5923

These smily faces are the two guys behind Dau-Daw. It is rare to see something that is really unique and the Mappa Mammalia collection is just that and I shall be certainly getting one on our new walls. I also love the pictographs. Definitely a brand to watch (I called it here!) Check out the webshop and keep them smiling!img_5927

We can all do with cloth bags for shopping, books and general junk. Show your allegiance to your Copenhagen neighbourhood by carrying your stuff in one of these bags by Aurelia. I’m loving the hipster and his burger for Vesterbro! Webshop here.img_5924

Finally another artist called Annette Boas. I didn’t get a shot of her stand but I had to bring this little fella home (who I can still convinced in a girl – slightly geeky on the surface with a streak of cool). I adore Annette’s detailed black and white illustrations. If you love this lovely owl you can get your own (or something else that grabs your fancy) in the webshop.img_5942

Five Co-working spaces in Copenhagen

Increasingly I am finding that I am working out and about in coffee shops and whilst this is cosy and adds variation to my day, it has its downsides. The biggest one in the cost of having a coffee and the feeling that I can only sit there for a finite amount of time. Having said that I have never been asked to move but perhaps I am a considerate table hogger. If you are looking for cafes that are great for freelancers this post will help.

Co-working spaces offer more than just an office outside the home but the chance to connect with other lone workers and entrepreneurs, something that people who work alone miss. As well as meeting spaces and events.

I thought today I would share five of the co working spaces in the city at caught my eye.

Republikken, Vesterbrogade 26, CPH V 1620screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-12-58-33

This place is the one that is the best fit for me as I can pay 376dkk (plus MOMS) a month to use their members’ space in the cafe area, there are great free benefits such as tea and coffee and printing. You also get access, at a reduced cost, to meeting spaces as well as networking opportunities. There are other memberships that offer flexible or fixed spaces with more benefits and start from 1875dkk a month. The location is very central and easy to get to. This one gets a definite thumbs up from me. Check out their website for all the details, prices and benefits.

Greencubator, Nørrebrogade 20, 1 Sal, 2200 CPH Nscreen-shot-2016-09-09-at-12-57-30

If you are looking for a space in Nørrebro then the Rreencubator is worth looking at. They don’t offer a casual membership like Republikken but flex and fixed rates which they define as part or full time. Part time is two days a week and full time you get your own desk and storage space. Prices start at 1200dkk for the flex space. Besides a desk you become part of a sustainable community with social activities, community lunches, lectures and workshops. Additionally, they offer meeting rooms with technical equipment, printer/scan / copy facilities, and the opportunity to rent Greencubator for your own event. Check out their website for all the details, prices and benefits.

The Rabbit Hole, Frederiksberg Allé 25, 1820 Frederiksberg C

Heading over to Frederiksberg is The Rabbit Hole, a small co working space. They have a flex three day a week membership for 1000dkk per month as well as full time and fixed memberships depending on the stage of your business. Check out their website for all the details, prices and benefits.

Rainmaking Loft, Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 4, 1434 CPH Kscreen-shot-2016-09-09-at-13-06-56This place is aimed at tech start ups and they have a very open door policy so you can check them out first. Of course, like all the others they offer flex and fixed packages but also a day pass for 150dkk and non residents can pop into the coffee shop. Check out their website for all the details, prices and benefits.

Dare2Mansions, Vermundsgade 13-15, 2100 CPH Øscreen-shot-2016-09-09-at-13-13-37

This dynamic space over on the edge of Nordvest is aimed at entrepreneurs who want to make a difference and it is a very creative and bohemian environment. In their event space they run Lego Serious Play Workshops – what’s not to love? There are flex spaces for solo entrepreneurs and fixed spaces for teams. They run tons of events and there are great networking opportunities. Check out their website for all the details, prices and benefits.

 

Christiania – Buy your weed somewhere else

Edit: Since writing this and visiting at the end of last week, it seems the situation has changed and dealers are back. So this is my account and thoughts on when they were gone. I’ll try and get back this week for an update.

Living here you may have read the news about the drug related shooting in Christiania on the 2 of September and the subsequent decision of the self governing freetown to banish the hash dealers from Pusher Street. Whilst I enjoy visiting Christiania, I always avoid Pusher Street. Over the last few years this street that was once OK to walk down increasingly became a more sinister and threatening place, with the dealers wearing masks to hide their identity and there was a general air of menace about it. Even residents in Christiania had started to feel threatened in their own home. So last week saw Christianites ripping down the hash stands in a symbolic move and they will keep guard for as long as it takes to keep the criminals out.img_5854
They are urging people to buy their weed elsewhere as the sign says above. It may seem to be a little bit of nimbyism but then again who can blame them. If a bunch of armed criminals set up a stall selling hash in your backyard you’d want rid of them. With 70% of the Danish population in favour of legalising cannabis perhaps its time the parliament took a hard look at this and put the dealers out of business permanently.img_5855

So for the first time in nine years (for me) and even longer for others I took photos on Pusher Street without the fear of intimidation or worse. I spoke to a long term resident, Tanya, whilst I was there and she said how everyone was feeling so much more comfortable now the dealers were gone. There were still people skinning up and smoking weed but that’s not the issue and this will never go as it is part of the fabric of the place but the armed, masked dealers, most of whom were not Christianites, with their army netting and what they brought to this place will hopefully be kept away.img_5856

I have said many times how much I value having a place like Christiania in my city. You may not want to live in the way they do there but there is much to be admired and taken away from how the place is organised and government and how people live here. If you have never visited, do. It is an important place to experience. As Tanya said to me, so many people come from across the world to visit and experience Christiania and can’t fathom how a bunch of long haired hippies were able to squat in a military barracks and still be living there over forty years later. Long live a peaceful Christiania!

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An evening of Dejlige Days hygge

img_5899Last night I held the first of many (I hope) networking evenings for some of my clients from Dejlige Days Welcome to meet each other and some other more established expats. I hand-picked people who I thought would have something in common with the newbies and I was delighted that the evening was lively with people chatting and getting to know each other . It was fantastic to hear people saying ‘let’s keep in touch’ and plans to meet for coffees.

It is tough to meet people in a new city and I want these evenings to mean that people do meet some others. It was deliberating small with around 20 people invited so that everyone would have the chance the chat and not feel lost in a huge crowd. As a bit of an introvert myself I hate big events with lots of people and I find I pull into my shell.

I also chose to hold the event in a cosy and quirky basement cafe near my home called Gedigen so people would feel hyggeligt and at home. I run Dejlige Days Welcome as a business but the soul of what I do is to help people feel comfortable and have a positive relocation experience and these little get togethers are a big part of this. And last night made it all worthwhile, hearing laughing, chatting and a really positive vibe.