Merry Christmas 2014!

The day is finally here: it’s Christmas again! We have waited for weeks and weeks, brought ourselves in the mood with candles, cookies, Tivoli trips and hot alcoholic beverages. We have planned, conspired, ordered online, and shopped ’til we dropped, and we finally managed to get all the presents. Except that one thing we forgot, damn, we had been thinking about that all fall - meh, they’re getting that other thing now, so it’s okay. We wrapped, bound bows, wrote nametags, fought with stubborn wrapping paper, and finally managed to make those funky frills with the ribbon. In short: we are prepared!

As for me, you would be hard pressed to find a cuter little Christmas tree than the one we picked out this year! We always go for the small ones, because we don’t have the room for a large one, but we still want our own tree. There was hardly any room for ornaments, but we put up some of my favorites: the birds, and of course, my little “garder”!

Seriously, though, aren’t these the most adorable little dudes?!

For the rest of the decoration, I usually like to keep it simple. Two years ago, somehow this horrible little piece of kitsch got into our possession (okay, okay, we may have bought it, shame!) - it is a little city, covered in snow, and two batteries power some colorful lights that are meant to be festive, but really are just plain disco. So this year, I have sneakily omitted this particular item of decoration, and it has gone unnoticed thus far - success! I’m keeping it very simple and stick mostly to silver and white. Oh, and anything with antlers, of course.

This past Sunday, the 4th of advent, we had a family thing, where we - very much Danish - made our own “konfekt”. Konfekt are Christmas sweets, which can often contain marzipan, truffles, nougat, and of course massive amounts of chocolate. I had never tried to make them before, so I tried not to get in the way too much, but I am very proud to say that I did help decorate those pretty dark-and-white-chocolate ones in the last picture!

Later today, we’re heading out to my boyfriend’s family for the traditional Danish Christmas Eve, including flæskesteg, risalamande, and dancing around the Christmas tree. And if we wake up from the certain food coma on time, we’ll be attending “julefrokost” on Christmas Day, where we’ll be treated to the classic Danish cold lunch buffet - and tons of snaps, of course! And then, on the 26th, we’re heading on down to Germany to start all over!

I hope you have wonderful Christmas days with your family and friends, and share lots of great food, laughter, and memories! And I hope many of you actually get a white Christmas - aren’t those the best?!

PS: You can head on over to my Instagram to see more pictures of all the deliciousness that’s awaiting me.

A taste of home at Deutsch’s Julemarked

I am a sucker for Christmas markets! I don’t necessarily love the crowds, but I do love mulled wine, hot chocolate with rum or Bailey’s, sausages, the lights and music, and all the lovely little booths selling gifts, woodwork, glassware, warm socks and sheep furs and all the other stuff. I love the candlelight, the smell of Christmas spices and the carousels for children. In Germany, there are a couple of stands you will almost certainly find on every German “Weihnachtsmarkt”: mulled wine and other hot drinks, sausages, beeswax candles, chocolate-covered fruits, colorful glassware like candle holders and bowls, and woodwork from the Black Forest. Normally, I don’t get to see German Christmas markets as much since I moved here, and I kind of miss them. But this weekend, I found out about the International Christmas market at Højbro Plads, smack in the city center just across the street from Christiansborg.

So we decided to swing by after work and see what it’s all about - and I have to say, I love it! It’s not very big, and there’s certainly some of the relatively useless stuff (plastic gifts and kitschy things), but there is also a massive charcoal grill full of real, German sausages! The “international” part is mainly provided by some French and Italian cheeses, a crêpes stand, and a Spanish churros cart. After chowing down a bratwurst and a currywurst, needless to say, I had the best time. Here are some impressions from the market.




A Danish Christmas gift guide

As an expat living in Denmark, I like to explore local options when giving Christmas gifts. Denmark is known for many great brands, and I like the idea of giving my loved ones things that they might not ordinarily get their hands on and introduce them to brands that they aren’t familiar with. So I’ve compiled a little guide with Christmas gifts that can inspire you when thinking about presents for your friends and family.


For your girlfriend/ wife/ mom/ sister…

  1. Georg Jensen‘s “Daisy” collection is widely famous by now. I really like the silver versions, and this silver bracelet with white emaille details is a timeless and elegant piece. (DKK 775, here)
  2. Not only does Tromborg produce great environmentally friendly beauty care and makeup products, their bottles can easily be used as decorative items in your bathroom! The lavender facial mist refreshes the skin and smells like a summer vacation in Provence. (DKK 210, here)
  3. Who doesn’t enjoy taking a bath? Make your own little home spa with these three salt scrubs from Badeanstalten. (DKK 189, here)


For your boyfriend/ husband/ dad/ brother/ …

  1. It’s no secret, gin is on the rise and more and more small distilleries are popping up everywhere. Geranium is a Danish-produced London Dry Gin that draws its name from one of its main ingredients. It has a fresh, citrusy taste. (DKK 279, here)
  2. One of my favorite Danish clothing brands, Filippa K, makes classic, high-quality clothing items for both men and women. This bordeaux sweater would be a great addition to any guy’s closet. (DKK 999, here)
  3. If your guy loves music and you’re not afraid to spend big, why not spoil him with a pair of Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H3 earphones? Sound and style combined - definitely beats your standard iPhone earplugs! (DKK 1.499, here)


For your kids/ nieces and nephews/ smaller siblings…

  1. I am completely in love with this whale pillow from Ferm Living! Isn’t it just the cutest thing? (DKK 299, here)
  2. It’s a well-known fact all around the world: everyone loves Lego. Except stepping on one of the bricks, which is arguably the worst pain ever. This cool special edition Mærsk freight ship set combines two well known Danish brands and might also be suitable for an older target group. (DKK 1.199, here)
  3. Wouldn’t you just love to snuggle up in the adorable bed set from By Nord? I know I would! This set is specifically for kid’s size beds. (DKK 399, here)


For the apartment

  1. Everybody knows Royal Copenhagen. And there’s a reason for that - their classic, white and blue porcelain design is classic and timeless, and it’s a great collectible. Why not start someone’s collection with this set of two coffee cups in a nice gift box? (DKK 999, here)
  2. Do you know anyone who loves design and drinks tea? You’ve just found the perfect gift: this stylish tea pot by Design Letters. The typography was designed by Danish icon Arne Jacobsen. Optionally, add cups with initials! (DKK 599, here)
  3. I’ve mentioned Skandinavisk scented candles before, and I’m really a big fan of them! There are some special winter/ Christmas scents, like this one, “Snow”. (DKK 250, here)


To bring

Want to spoil your friends and family with some Danish delicacies for the holidays? How about one of these?

  1. Gold-coated special edition Christmas liquorice from Johan Bülow, 250g. (DKK 100, here)
  2. Classic Danish butter cookies in a funny tin from Tiger. (DKK 30, here)
  3. Christmas beer! So Danish. If you don’t want to go with the classic blue Tuborg cans, opt for Nørrebro Bryghus’ Christmas brew. (ca. DKK 30 per bottle, here)

A Danish Christmas

For Christmas Eve, we joined the boyfriend’s family for a traditional Danish Christmas celebration. The day started around 1pm with going to church. The church is really cute, but tiny, so the Christmas service was completely overrun and we ended up sitting on the floor! But lots of singing and some jokes later (“One guy says to another, my wife is an angel! Says the other one, lucky you, mine is still alive!), we went back to have some glögg, cookies, chocolate treats and other sweet delicacies. Around 6pm, dinner was ready - a traditional Danish Christmas dinner, the kind where you find yourself wishing you had a second and third stomach so you would never have to stop eating! Then, we all gathered around the Christmas tree and danced around it singing Christmas songs - culminating in the polonaise-type activity where people hold each others hands or shoulders and run around the entire house (this includes a visit to every room, also running over furniture is totally okay) in a long line, singing the very upbeat “Nu er det jul igen” (now it’s Christmas again), ending around the tree again, all exhausted! Then it was finally time for presents, which especially the kids were thrilled about.

Here are some impressions from a beautiful day with lots of joy, love, and of course brilliant food and tons of presents!

Nisselandskab, a decorative landscape of Santa’s little elves

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Decorating the Christmas tree - of course the star needs to go on top!


Some of the beautiful ornaments on the tree

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This one is filled with snacks in case you get hungry while you’re dancing around the tree!


The decorated tree in its full glory, including some of the presents


Traditional Danish Christmas dinner, including duck and flæskesteg (pork roast with crispy skin on top that everybody fights about), red cabbage, caramellized potatoes and dark gravy - what a feast!

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And for dessert, there’s “ris à la mande“, a sweet rice pudding with whipped cream and chopped almonds, with a cherry sauce. In addition to the chopped almonds, there is always one whole almond hidden in the pudding, and whoever finds it, gets a small gift. Since our family Christmas had many kids around, the odds were raised by adding three almonds, and guess who found one? :)


After dinner, everybody was completely stuffed, so we took a little break on the couch while the kids found and distributed the presents from under the tree. I’ve rarely seen such a giving frenzy, we were unwrapping presents until midnight!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Eve and can enjoy another couple of festive days with your loved ones! Merry Christmas!

Homemade Christmas gift idea: Cranberry syrup

Kochen und Backen sind ja schon seit längerem unter meinen Hobbies zu finden, aber in den letzten Monaten bin ich auch immer mehr unter die Selber-Macher gegangen. Marmeladen, Apfelmus, Chutneys, Pesto - und jetzt eben auch Sirup. Cranberries gehören in die Herbst- und Winterzeit wie Mandarinen und Walnüsse. Bereits zu Thanksgiving habe ich diesen Sirup hergestellt, um ihn im Apéritif zu verwenden (dazu einfach etwas Sirup mit Champagner, Sekt, Prosecco oder Weißwein aufgießen, eventuell mit einer halben Orangenscheibe garnieren). Er eignet sich aber ganz genauso hervorragend über Vanilleeis oder zu anderen Desserts, oder für die Zubereitung von Cocktails. In hübsche Flaschen abgefüllt macht er sich also ganz wunderbar unterm Weihnachtsbaum. Die Step-by-Step-Anleitung findet Ihr hier!

Cooking and baking have been some of my favorite things to do for quite a while now, but recently I’ve also begun making other things on my own, such as jam, apple sauce, chutneys, pesto etc. And then, for Thanksgiving, I decided to make a cranberry syrup to use in my welcome drink (it’s an adaptation of a Kir Royal: simply mix a bit of syrup with champagne, prosecco or white wine and garnish with an orange slice), but this syrup is also a great addition to vanilla ice cream or other desserts, or can be used in cocktails. Therefore, it’s a wonderful Christmas gift. You can find the step-by-step instructions below!

Homemade Cranberry Syrup


Step 1

500g Cranberries, 250g Zucker und 300ml Wasser in einen großen Topf geben und zum Kochen bringen.

In a large pot, combine 1 pound of cranberries, 250g granulated sugar and 300ml water and bring to a boil.


Step 2

Bei mittlerer Hitze solange kochen lassen, bis der Zucker vollständig aufgelöst ist - Achtung, die Cranberrys platzen auf (Spritzgefahr!). Unter ständigem Rühren ca. 10-15min weiterköcheln.

Let simmer on medium heat, constantly stirring, until sugar is dissolved - careful, cranberries will pop open! Simmer for about 10-15mins.



Step 3

Die Masse in ein feines Sieb geben und vorsichtig durchstreichen, bis so viel Flüssigkeit wie möglich durchgelaufen ist (Cranberry-Reste können anderweitig verwendet werden, z.B. als Brotaufstrich).

Strain the cranberries through a fine sieve until as much as possible of the fluid has been removed. Keep solids for another use (e.g. bread spread).


Step 4

Den Saft einer Zitrone auspressen und unter den Sirup rühren. Danach vollständig abkühlen lassen und in Flaschen abfüllen (ergibt ca. 350-400ml).

Squeeze out the juice of one lemon and stir into the syrup. Let cool completely and fill into bottles (yields about 350-400ml of syrup).


Step 5

Etikettieren und verschenken oder einfach selbst genießen!

Add a pretty label and give away as a Christmas gift or enjoy yourself!

Christmas recipe: Black and white spiral cookies

Nachdem die Kekse meiner ersten adventlichen Back-Session bereits zum Großteil verputzt oder verschenkt wurden, war es gestern Abend an der Zeit, für Nachschub zu sorgen. Dafür habe ich mich für ein klassisches Rezept mit einem Twist entschieden:


Black and white spiral cookies

für den hellen Teig:

150g Mehl

100g weiche Butter

80g Zucker

1 Eigelb

1 TL Vanillezucker

für den dunklen Teig:

150g Mehl

100g weiche Butter

80g Zucker

1 Eigelb

2 TL Kakaopulver

2 TL Milch oder Rum

Für den hellen und dunklen Teig jeweils alle Zutaten schnell mit der Hand oder in einer Küchenmaschine vermischen und verkneten. Die beiden Teige in Frischhaltefolie einwickeln und ca. 2 Stunden im Kühlschrank kaltstellen.

Nach der Kühlzeit die Teige aus dem Kühlschrank holen, noch einmal kurz durchkneten und dünn ausrollen (ca. 3-4mm). Dabei darauf achten, dass die ausgerollten Teige etwa die gleiche Form haben. Anschließend die ausgerollten Teige aufeinanderlegen und eng zu einer Rolle aufrollen. Die unebenen Enden gerade abschneiden und nochmals ca. 30min kaltstellen.

Den Backofen auf 180 Grad (Umluft) vorheizen. Die Teigrolle in ca. 4mm breite Kekse schneiden und ca. 10-12min backen. Kurz abkühlen lassen und am besten noch warm genießen!

Black and white spiral cookies

for the white dough:

150g all-purpose flour

100g soft butter

80g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla sugar

for the dark dough:

150g all-purpose flour

100g soft butter

80g granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. milk or rum

For each dough, mix all ingredients together by hand or in a kitchen machine. Wrap in foil and cool for about 2 hours. Roll out each dough until about 3-4mm thin, aiming for similar shapes. Put the doughs on top of each other, roll up and cut off uneven edges. Refrigerate for another 30mins. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cut the dough roll into 4mm cookies and bake for about 10-12mins.


Christmas recipe: Port wine plum compote

Am letzten Wochenende gab es Dinner-Besuch, und während mir die Gestaltung der Vor- und Hauptspeise schon etwas Kopfzerbrechen bereitete, war das Dessert sofort klar: Zimtparfait mit Portwein-Pflaumen (adaptiert von hier)! Ein tolles, weihnachtliches Dessert, das gar nicht kompliziert ist, aber immer Eindruck macht. Das Rezept für die tollen Portwein-Pflaumen teile ich gerne mit Euch. Das Kompott macht sich prima z.B. zu oben genanntem Zimtparfait, zu Vanilleeis, Panna Cotta, oder einfach so mit einem Klecks Schlagsahne!

Pflaumenkompott mit Portwein

(2-4 Portionen)

4 Pflaumen (ca. 250-300g)

100ml roter Portwein (Ruby)

50g Zucker

ein Stück (Bio-) Zitronenschale

1/2 Vanillestange

etwas Zimt

Die Pflaumen waschen, entsteinen und in Spalten (Achtel) schneiden. Die Vanillestange halbieren und das Mark auskratzen. Den Portwein zusammen mit dem Zucker, dem Vanillemark, der Zitronenschale, der ausgekratzten Vanillestange und einer Prise Zimt in einem Topf erwärmen und so lange köcheln lassen, bis der Zucker vollständig gelöst ist. Dann die Pflaumen dazugeben und bei mittlerer Hitze zugedeckt ca. 15min. köcheln lassen. Vor dem Servieren die Zitronenschale und Vanillestange herausnehmen. Heiß oder kalt servieren.

Genießerische Grüße,



I had people over for dinner last weekend, and while I definitely had to think about the starters and mains, dessert was a no-brainer: cinnamon parfait with port wine plum compote. While this recipe is not very complicated, it’s definitely a stunner. Especially the compote is beautiful, sweet and a little zingy from the port, and very Christmas-y as well. So of course it’s my pleasure to share it with you.

Port wine plum compote

(2-4 servings)

4 plums (approx. 250-300g)

100ml ruby port wine

50g granulated sugar

large piece of lemon zest

1/2 vanilla pod

a bit of cinnamon

Wash plums, remove stones and cut into wedges. In a small pot, combine port wine, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the core and combine with port wine mixture. Add vanilla pod to as well and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has resolved completely. Add in plum wedges and keep boiling, covered, on low heat for about 15mins. Remove lemon zest and vanilla pod before serving. Can be served hot or cold. Goes well with vanilla ice cream, panna cotta, or just with a spoonful of whipped cream.


Sturm über Dänemark - Zeit für “julehygge”!

Der bereits angekündigte Sturm, der in Dänemark den Namen “Bodil” trägt (in Deutschland “Xaver”, in Schweden “Sven”) fegte am Donnerstag Abend und den größten Teil der Nacht über das ganze Land hinweg, und Freitag und auch heute waren noch die Ausläufer und Nachwirkungen zu spüren: eisig kalter Wind, gestiegene Wasserpegel (einschließlich Wasser im Keller…), umgefallene Bäume, umgeknickte Ampelmasten, ausgefallene Flüge… Alles in allem ziemlich ungemütlich draußen!

Doch was passt da besser, als es sich zuhause weihnachtlich gemütlich zu machen? Und weil der Adventsbesuch aufgrund oben erwähnter ausgefallener Flüge noch etwas länger als eigentlich geplant gestrandet war, konnte ich, ganz wie früher, mit Mama Kekse backen! Die Wahl fiel auf einen Klassiker - Pfeffernüsse (dänisch: pebernød). Zusätzlich wollte ich auch noch ein neues Rezept für weihnachtliche Erdnuss-Rauten ausprobieren. So wurde der Ofen angeworfen und blecheweise Leckereien produziert, und am Ende konnten wir eine Masse an Keksen vorweisen, von denen auch gleich ein guter Teil noch warm vernascht wurde!

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Das Rezept für die leckeren Erdnuss-Rauten (leicht abgewandelt von EatSmarter) möchte ich gerne mit Euch teilen:

Erdnuss-Rauten mit Schokoladenglasur

125g Butter

125g Haferflocken

1 Ei

1 EL Erdnussbutter

4 EL Mehl

100g gehackte, ungesalzene Erdnüsse

Zimt, Lebkuchengewürz

Dunkle Schokolade/ Kuvertüre

Die Butter in einer Pfanne schmelzen, Haferflocken dazugeben und unter Rühren etwas anrösten, vom Herd nehmen und abkühlen lassen. Das Ei mit dem Zucker, Zimt und Lebkuchengewürz schaumig schlagen. Erdnussbutter unterrühren und nach und nach das Mehl und die gehackten Erdnüsse dazugeben. Ein Backblech mit Backpapier auslegen, den Teig daraufgeben und ausstreichen, so dass eine ca. 1cm hohe, gleichmäßige Fläche entsteht. Bei 180 Grad ca. 15min backen. Das Gebäck noch warm in Rautenform schneiden und auskühlen lassen. Zum Schluss noch mit der Schokoladenglasur bestreichen, eventuell noch nach Wunsch weiter dekorieren (z.B. mit Nüssen oder Mandeln) und abkühlen lassen.

Viel Spaß in der Weihnachtsbäckerei!

Schokoladige Grüße,