Celebrating The Copenhagen Tales’ first birthday with a Danish “julelagkage”

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud and humbled to announce that today is The Copenhagen Tales’ first birthday!

A year ago, I changed jobs and suddenly found myself with much more time on my hands and the need for a creative outlet, so I set up a free WordPress site and started rambling away. I’ve always been someone who likes to share - my thoughts, what I like, what I see, what I feel. And being an expat definitely gives me a lot of opportunity to discover new things to wonder about, enjoy, but also dislike. And I am glad I’ve found a way to share them - hopefully even to the benefit of others.

A year of The Copenhagen Tales - 136 posts, 33.000 visits to the site, over 600 followers, countless hours spent researching, writing, photographing, editing, and learning the technicalities of maintaining a site and the ropes of blogging. I attended a blogging conference, learned a lot and made new friends. And this is hardly the end - I have many visions that want to be matured into real plans, and I want to take The Copenhagen Tales to the next level. I’m not going anywhere, and I hope you aren’t, either! I’d like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU (or tak!) to each and everyone of you who comes to my blog, reads my articles, shares their thoughts in the comments, visits my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest pages, or pings me an email. I’m so honored that you want to come here and hear what I have to say, and I hope we can keep the discussion going!

Now, let’s crack open a bottle of champagne and clink our glasses to celebrate! Oh, and what would a birthday in Denmark be without a good old “lagkage” (plus flags, of course!). Seeing as we’re in full-on Christmas mode, I gave this one a festive twist!

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Julelagkage with cherries, orange, and cognac

3 “lagkagebunde” - (example recipes here and here, or you can get a store-bought one)

400ml heavy cream

200g mascarpone

1 glass of Danish cherry sauce (kirsebærsovs)

1 orange (organic)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp cognac

cinnamon, to taste

Make sure the “lagkagebunde” are fully cooled off. Add the sugar to the cream and whip until stiff. Add the mascarpone, cinnamon, and some orange zest (about 1 tsp) and stir to combine. Add the cherry sauce and fold in. Squeeze the juice from the orange and mix with the cognac. Moisten the first lagkagebund with about a third of the juice-cognac mix, then spoon on about a third of the cherry cream and distribute evenly. Carefully put the next one on top and softly press down. Repeat the previous steps for the remaining lagkagebunde. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving, and don’t forget to decorate with little Danish flags!

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Tested: Grab’n’Cook, Østerbro

Weekend is upon us and that’s awesome! If you’re anything like me, the following scenario might sound familiar: You’re on your way home from work, and involuntarily, one of the first things to pop into your head is “what should I make for dinner?” Even after a couple minutes’ consideration, no brilliant idea has formed yet. You had lasagna two days ago. Not chicken again. That amazing chili takes too long to make. It’s been a long day at work, and really, you don’t feel like thinking, planning, shopping, preparing, cooking… but you still prefer a nice, home-cooked meal, and you actually enjoy cooking and making food. Difficult. You don’t just want to buy a frozen pizza, or order Chinese. What to do?

I was in such a situation the other day, after I had dropped of my laptop at the repair store (yeah, that was great… my laptop broke!). And then I walked by Grab’n’Cook on Nordre Frihavnsgade, near Trianglen in Østerbro. I had passed the store before and thought, “that’s such a cool concept, I’ll try that one day!” Turns out, that day came sooner than expected, and so I found myself standing in front of their window, boyfriend on the phone, discussing the options. The concept is simple but - in my eyes - genius: You buy a bag of ingredients, which comes with a recipe, to prepare a delicious meal at home. The recipes are designed to take a short time to prepare, and the ingredients are all organic. The dishes are in line with a current Danish supertrend: “hverdagsgourmet”, everyday gourmet food, meaning a type of food you might not immediately think about when planning your dinner, but still not so fancy that it can’t be enjoyed on a weeknight. As an example, they offered a risotto with apples and bacon, a lamb chili con carne, and the one we chose, a malt dough pizza with onions, potatoes, bacon and brie. The prices vary, I paid 75 DKK for the dish for two, but they offer single portions for 50-65 DKK or family bags for around 135 DKK. I grabbed the bag and, excited, headed home.


The ingredients

All in all, the recipe estimated the dish to be done in 30min, of which 12min were baking time. The instructions were easy to follow and, with the dough already being prepared, very simple. We just had to cut the potatoes, onions and bacon…


… roll out the dough (which proved a bit difficult, as it was quite “elastic”!)…


… and put everything on the pizza! I added the brie to my section (as the boyfriend hates cheese, so weird but good for me!), and we topped everything off with fresh thyme (there was a little twig in the bag, totally adorable), before popping the baby into the oven.


Already looks delicious, doesn’t it?

When we took it out, the dough had gotten nice and crunchy, the onions were glazed and the bacon crispy, and on my part, the brie had melted into pure deliciousness.


To serve, we topped our slices off with the mixed salad and a bit of the creamy mustard dressing that were also part of the package. And then we dug in!


The pizza was absolutely delicious, and the dough was fantastic as well, I’ve never had a malt pizza dough before! The soft, creamy brie and salty, crunchy bacon mixed really well, and the salad on top gave some nice freshness to the mix. The pizza was definitely enough for two persons (I ate about a third and my boyfriend two thirds). I would love to eat it again!

For dessert, I had bought two little chocolate covered bars at the same store, one with figs and the other one with dates and coconut, and those were really delicious as well (though the boyfriend wasn’t a huge fan, so I got to eat most of both, yay!).


In summary, I think Grab’n’Cook is a great concept. By packaging just as much as you’ll need to prepare the recipe, you’re sure to avoid throwing away unused food, and they can focus on great organic produce and ingredients for affordable prices. Their recipe selection is also very appealing, I already picked out three or four of their dishes I’d like to try next. I love that it gives you the good feeling of a home cooked meal and the fun of preparing food, but takes away the planning, idea-finding and shopping, which I love sometimes, but can be a hassle on other days. If you live in Copenhagen, I’d definitely recommend you try them at some point!

Grab’n’Cook, Nordre Frihavnsgade 22, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, near Trianglen - website - Facebook




Late summer delight: Oven-grilled goat cheese and nectarines on a green salad with a honey-mustard-lemon dressing

As we are moving closer and closer to fall, the Danish summer is putting up a last struggle, giving us some beautiful days with clear blue skies, fresh air, and lovely sunshine (check out this lovely description of the Danish late summer “sensommer”). But there’s no point in pretending. The humid heat we had (and complained about!) in the height of summer in July is gone, and the cool breezes tell us what we already know: summer is over, autumn is in the air. Before long, we’ll be huddling up with pumpkin soup and hot tea, lighting candles to beat the early fall of darkness. But for now, we’ll enjoy and celebrate this beautiful additional season of late summer, and I have just the recipe for the occasion!

There are two days a week where my boyfriend has football practice and comes home quite late, so those days, I’m by myself for dinner – which means I get to make all those things he doesn’t like, like cheese, salads, and basically anything meatless. This dish was born on one of those nights. And it is wonderful! It is light and filling, sweet and savory, fruity and just plain delicious. Goat cheese is brilliant with fruit, for example, I can’t get enough of goat creme cheese with fig jam, and older goat cheese is absolutely amazing with apricot jam (like the uber-delicious one my mom recently made from fresh apricots from Southern France). Serve with a simple mixed salad and some cherry tomatoes - this salad dressing might be one of my favorite ones, ever!


Oven-grilled goat cheese and nectarines on a green salad with a honey-mustard-lemon dressing

for 2 portions

1 roll (180g) goat cheese

2 nectarines (ripe but firm)

2-3 handfuls of mixed greens

a couple of small cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp white balsamico

2 tsp honey

1 tsp mustard

juice from ½ lemon

salt, pepper

some dried thyme

bread or crackers as desired


Cut the goat cheese into slices of about 1.5cm (½ inch, roughly as thick as your finger – unless you have super fat fingers). Wash nectarines and cut them into quarters or eighths. Place cheese and nectarines in a baking dish. Use your oven’s grill function and grill them for 8-12 minutes (depending on how strong your grill is), until the top of the cheese slices starts to become golden-brown. In the meantime, stir all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl, adding the oil last, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wash the salad and the cocktail tomatoes, and cut the tomatoes in half. Mix everything together. Put the grilled goat cheese on slices of baguette or small crackers, sprinkle with some dried thyme, and serve alongside the salad topped with the nectarines.

Tipp: If you like it a bit sweeter, drizzle some honey over the goat cheese and nectarines before grilling for a caramelized effect!




What you should make for dinner: Vermouth and thyme chicken

Don’t you know that feeling when you’re just hungry after work and don’t know what to make for dinner? It’s tempting to just order a pizza or other take-out, but really you’d like something good? Well, look no further. This is a recipe my mom once found somewhere and adapted it over the years, and it’s sooooo delicious! I’ve made this for guests, too, and people love it. Plus, it’s super simple to make! Just throw the ingredients together and pop it in the oven. It’s pan-fried chicken breasts in a creamy vermouth-tomato-sauce with thyme, but that was a bit too long to put in the title. Served over fresh tagliatelle, maybe with a green side salad - perfection.



Vermouth cream chicken

(for 3-4 portions)

3-4 chicken breasts (500g)

1 can chopped tomatoes

125ml Noilly Prat or other dry vermouth (not the Martini brand, it’s too sweet!)

250ml cream (I used low-fat Rama Cremefine)

1-2 tsp. dried thyme

salt, pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Trim the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Sear them in an oven-safe frying pan for 2-3 min on each side (they shouldn’t be cooked all the way through). Add the vermouth and the cream. Drain the chopped tomatoes in a strainer and stir them in. Add the thyme and transfer the pan into the oven. Bake for 35-40min. Serve over fresh tagliatelle.




A typical Danish summer dessert: Koldskål

You didn’t really think you’d be getting around this one, did you?! It’s summer and this is Denmark, so that means one thing: koldskål!

This is an incredibly popular dessert for the summer months. Around April or May, you’ll start seeing them in the supermarket: the yellow and green tetrapaks of the Kløver brand (actually a part of dairy giant Arla). They are such a typical sight in Danish supermarkets in the summer that I actually found myself noticing they were gone last fall. The koldskål consumption is very strictly limited to the summer months, and production more than doubles during this time.

Koldskål, best described as a cold buttermilk soup, is usually served with fresh berries (mainly strawberries) and small round biscuits called “kammerjunkere” (which translates to valet de chambre).

And while the store-bought versions of koldskål are quite enjoyable, it is super easy and quick to make at home - and once you’ve had fresh koldskål, you’ll never buy a tetrapak again!

I was invited to a dinner with friends last night, and I was in charge of dessert. And with the summer weather unchanged, what could be better than some nice, homemade koldskål? I searched the web for recipes but ended up making my own version, which came out delicious! My friends officially approved it for publishing on the blog, so here it is!


Traditional Danish koldskål

(for 6 portions)

800ml buttermilk

200g fromage frais or quark

1 vanilla pod (or 2 tsp. vanilla sugar)

2 egg yolks (pasteurized)

2-3 tbsp. sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and “fluffy”. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scratch out the seeds. Add buttermilk, vanilla and lemon juice to the egg-sugar-mix and combine well. Stir in the fromage frais. If desired, add more lemon juice or sugar to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Serve with fresh berries and “kammerjunkere” biscuits!

One portion clocks in at around 90 kcal, so this is also a great healthy summer recipe to make for dessert. Give it a try!