Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - September 28th.

As I told you just yesterday, I'm moving. Which means, and I guess that's just the way these things go, that all - or at least, a lot - of my kitchen gadgets and crockery is all put away in big, brown moving boxes. They don't like being down there, but I've told them it's only for a short while, so so far they've stayed.

Anyhow, that did kind of limit my choices for todays Dining with the Bloggers. Anything using a blender? No. Semi-large pot? No, only have a small one. Oven? Yes, oven I can do, even though we're bringing it. It's still plugged in. But cake tin, muffin cups, loaf pan? Nu-uh.

So I checked my list of bookmarked recipes. And found Mock Deepfried Chickpeas from At Our Table. It's been around, and it's gotten rave reviews! In fact, it was one of the recipes Cathy featured on her first ever Dining with the Bloggers. You haven't tried it yet? What are you waiting for??

Linda's blog was one of the first food blogs I got to know, and one I've been reading ever since. There's cooking, blogging and dinning coming from Chicago to be found here. There's also stories of Lima Bean, Linda's daughter. And to all you mom's out here (or dads): I'm not even a mom (yet) but my heart melted when I read this story! This one's quite cute too! And, back to the food, for a time when all my gear is back in the cupboards, I have that Peach Marmalade (Linda's contribution for IMBB#14) on my to-do-list also.

Anyways, this time, I could manage the Mock Deepfried Chickpeas - or, put the nicer way: Baked Chickpeas with Herbs. Ahem. For some people - for me, not so many herbs. Packed and ready to go, remember? But Linda made a couple of suggestions for other spices, and one of the ones I could fairly easily find was smoked paprika. Not one she'd suggested, but I took some liberty with it. I love smoked paprika.

They're super nice. The chickpeas are easy to do, and hits that crunch-salty-spicy spot right in the bulls eye. And here they are - no, 'course I haven't packed away the camera!

Cathy was faster than me and tried a recipe I've bookmarked too this week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My Little Kitchen

(I hope it's okay I borrow your blog-name Cathy - I couldn't come up with a better title!)

I think I mentioned a while back that I had this series of pictures from my kitchen, already uploaded and ready for a post. Well, now it's about time I use them, because this Saturday, October 1st. - we're moving! Which naturally implies getting a new kitchen - not much larger, but new it will be.

And you know what? I'm getting just a tiny bit nostalgic about it.

So it's small. But I always knew exactly where everything was. Flour? Reach up, it's in that big jar on the top shelf over the counter. Extra salt? Well, do you need Maldon or regular? And how much? There are small jars on the small shelf over the stove - extra Maldon over the sink, regular in the cupboard over the counter next to the sink. Big knife, small knife? Choose. Cake tins and loaf pans? Cupboard down on your left.

We never installed a real garbage bin. We never got those higher counter tops. The exhaustion had a weird sound - sometimes. The floors - hm. And there were just too many things in there. Couldn't have been my fault, nooooo siree!;-)

This is where I made many a bread, cake, risotto and salad. This was the kitchen in which I was re-introduced to the joy of meat. This is were I've done many a meal, whether catering, or just preparing a feast for my friends or family.

Here is where I enjoyed the suns rays shining through my tea-glass as it awaited me taking out the steeping leaves, standing next to the sink.

My Mom says it's a joy to see me working in that kitchen. She'd pull one of the chairs from the living room and put it in the door opening, and sit there and chat to me while I prepared our dinner. She said my motions were always so calm, not a wasted move anywhere. I was concentrated, yet talkative, stirring pots, cleaning salad, kneading bread. I blame it all on habit. That and well - it was my kitchen.

Many a time, I was sitting in my "office" (well, a small room we made into my office), studying, while Martin made dinner. I could hear him chopping, bacon sizzling, and suddenly, he'd be in the door opening: can you taste this mayo for me? Does it need more salt? Or sometimes, just giving me a kiss, then returning to his chores in the kitchen.

And we made dinner together there. Sometimes talking, sometimes in silence. The good kind of silence. You know, the kind were you know what the person next to you is going to say, or do. You don't really have to speak to each other, but it turns out he's started the dressing while you turned your back because you wanted to wash the leaves for the salad.

This is the place form where Food & Thoughts was born, and has been nurtured for the last year. But you know what? Even though I'm a bit sappy about it now (maybe it's the moving boxes stacked up around me that does it?) I'm pretty sure there's plenty of adventures for me in the new one. But Thank You, old Kitchen - you were a blast!

And PS: We're SO bringing that stove!

Friday, September 23, 2005

[DANSK] Jomfruhummere and my Dad

I love my Dad. I know, every little girl (and the not-so-small ones, too) love their Dads. But my Dad is special.

I think I've mentioned before that I've never lived with my Dad. My Mom and him split up shortly after I was born. When I was little, I always hoped that they'd one day get back together - I imagine all children of split-up'ped parents do that? - but on the other hand, I think I knew, deep down inside, that the arrangement was probably better for everyone like this. Because, you see, this way, there was never any anger. They were never mad at each other, there was never any arguing, never any shouting. Not that I knew of anyways. They stayed friends, and to this day, have a profound respect for each other.

While I grew up, my Christmas Eve's were always spend with the two of them together. Me, my Dad, my older sister, her Dad - and then the rest of the bunch. The rest of the bunch - well, some years that consisted of my Mom's best friend and her family - some years my older sister's Dad's new family joined the party too. When my Dad met my stepmom, C, and my Mom married again, the two new additions was welcomed with open arms to the "mad house". It wasn't until I turned 8 or 9 I learned that not all families have it like that. To me it was just all natural.

Growing up (that is, until I turned 13 or 14 or thereabouts) I spent every other weekend with my Dad. He lived in Copenhagen (I grew up in a suburb, about 30 minutes from the city) in a large apartment where I had a huge room, complete with bunk beds and all. He'd pick me up from school on Friday afternoons, we'd drive into the city and go shopping for dinner. It'd usually involve chicken, one way or the other. I don't remember myself as being a picky eater as a kid, but I supposed I just liked things that was familiar. Roast chicken with rice and curry. Or mushroom sauce. Mmm.

My Dad is the gourmet in the family. He's taken cooking lessons. He and a couple of his bachelor friends (back in the days) ruled the classes. They loved cooking for an entire day, buy lovely bottles of wine, then sit down to dinner in the evening, enjoying the fruits of their labor. Playing some opera while bustling around in the kitchen. I particularly remember gule ærter - a stew-type dish, made with split peas and a lot of pork. A whole, steamed fish, complete with eyes and all - which was of course put in front of me, slimy eyes staring in my direction. That really wasn't fair.

He was the one that taught me how to set a table. At my Mom's I could usually dodge doing it, one way or the other. At my Dad's, it was just a given - I set the table, and there was no way around it. He was the one that taught me to pay attention to the details on a table. We're not talking flower decorations here, c'mon, they were bachelors! But the little things. To put the fork and knife at a straight angle with the edge of the table, not just flying around. To put soup spoons next to the knife, not at the top of the plate ('cause that way you'd think you were having dessert, and it would just be rude to lead people on like that if there was no dessert) How to fold a napkin. Not a paper napkin, no siree - real linen. Real table cloths. Use smaller plates for bread, placed on the right-hand side of the plate and cutlery.

And in the kitchen. The importance of keeping plates and sauce jugs warm. To keep your counter top clean and clear of clutter (I still struggle with the last one) To poke your meat to see if it's done. To make a white sauce. And plain simply, to taste what you're cooking. If you asked my Dad: how long time does this need in the oven/on the stove/in the boiling water? there's no doubt (and it's still an ongoing joke when my sister and I cook together) his answer would be: until it's done.

There's no doubt in my mind that my Dad has had an enourmous influence on both my cooking style and my palate. My Dad had two rules when we ate: if it's too hot and you're burning your mouth, spit it out!! and: Taste. Always taste the food. It's okay you say you don't like it, but you have to try it. No bending that last one either. I had to try that staring fish...

As I got older, and he married C, the cooking became less frequent (and my visits also less frequent). A new wife and two adorable new kids, my younger brother and sister, and for me, boyfriends entering my life and high school - everyday life - will do that to you. And that's the way it's supposed to be. We still had fantastic meals, only not as many as them as we both would have liked. But there was a lot of grilling outside. Spaghetti Bolognese. Big, red slabs of meat and my Dad's sauce made with homemade stock he'd boil on late nights. Fresh peas. Fantastic Christmas Eve's dinners. And now, as the young'uns are getting older, we're starting to pick up the pace again. The settings are different from what I remember them from the large bachelor-pad. Now, it's family around the table. Uncles, aunts, cousins, boyfriends and girlfriends, siblings, grandparents. But it's equally good. No wait. It's better.

For my last birthday, my Dad invited me, C and Martin to Noma, a fantastic restaurant serving food made from Scandinavian ingredients, but using techniques from all over the world. We had a fantastic evening, the food was out of this world, the wines unparalleled. And being with just my Dad and C and no siblings was something that hadn't happened in a while I suddenly realized. And I treasured that moment. Luckily, we are to have many more of those. I love the slow summer evenings of which we've had a couple this season, were we just sit and chat until it goes dark outside - and then chat for a couple hours more.

One of the dishes we had at the restaurant was with Norwegian lobsters. Up until that day, I'd only seen them dead and frozen, but at Noma, they picked them out of the basin they had in the middle of the restaurant, showed them to you, then went into the kitchen and cooked them. They told us they'd gotten the Norwegian lobsters from the Faroe Islands. I know, silly, Norwegian, from The Faroe Islands - but that's just the way it is. I didn't name them, I just eat 'em. With great big pleasure. And I know, they might not be technically Danish, but they're something I very much associate with Denmark and [DANSK].

A couple of months after the restaurant-visit, my Dad had to go to the Faroe Islands for business. And clever man that he is, he managed to bring back a whole box full of little wriggly lobsters. He called me when he was driving home from the airport, his trunk full of the styrofoam box. "Can you and Martin come for dinner tonight? I've brought home something special." I knew exactly what he was talking about.

I rushed up to my Dad's and helped him organize them. My Dad is quite the organizer. We usually just put a little parsley-garlic-olive oil on
them and then give them a short while in the oven ('bout 10 minutes - or, you know, till they're done!) leaving them still soft, the meat melting just from you looking at them. Serve with crusty bread, maybe a green salad or some other salad. If you have enough Norwegian lobsters, you'll eat just those. And remember a side order (but make it a large one) of good company and great conversation. You really can't ask for much more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - September 21st.

Do you know how to make broccoli look good?

Molly from Spice Tart does! Broccoli's not the only vegetable she makes look good - in fact, she's not even the only one in her family that can make vegetables look good. Her sister has done these wonderful paintings that are up at Molly's site, you have to have a look at those - the first one I saw (the onion) I actually thought was a macro'ed out close-up of an actual onion. Nah, it's paint!

When we started doing Dining with the Bloggers last season, I went around a lot of the blogs, perusing their indexes and archives, to see if there was anything I'd like to try. Nowadays, Ialso get inspiration from my BlogLine Feed, and I'm telling you, the list is growing like a baby on steroids! This was also how I spotted Molly's recipe for making the easiest, yet tastiest broccoli. I eat way too little vegetables - I pride myself on being oh so healthy (to make up for all those cakes, you know?) but when push comes to shove, there's no doubt I do not eat the 5 portions of vegetables a day I'm supposed to.

Except maybe for yesterday, when I got up from the keyboard and cooked that broccoli. I ate an entire bunch! Munch, munch, munch - and then there was no left! I just ate it as it was - I'm very big on the: just make the side dish my main course - but a piece of crusty bread on the side would have been lovely. Go easy on the salt - the anchovies are quite salty themselves. Now go. Make it. Say hi to Molly, and don't forget to wish her well - she's getting married!

(Sorry for the lack of picture this time - Martin had kidnapped the camera, and as I said, I ate it all so there wasn't even any leftovers to take a picture of!)

Now what has Cathy been up to this week??

Friday, September 16, 2005

SHF#12: Cooking Up Custard - Mocha Eclairs

Do you have a pan especially for making custard? I do! Sort of, anyways. I mean, I can cook other things in it, I'm sure -

- but it's PERFECT for custards. Which is one of the reasons why I was thrilled, when Elise of Simply Recipes announced this months SHF-theme: Cooking up Custard. How can one not adore that velvety smooth, sweet and lovely scented creamy dessert? I for one love it!

Which brings me to a little ah-em. I'm not sure what I made would fit the classic category of custard. I mean, sure, it's got egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream - but it's also got corn starch. Actually, I'm pretty sure what I made would be classified as a creme patisserie. But heck - In Elise's mind, custard had something to do with egg yolks, sugar and milk/cream - she even said using custard powder was okay, so what harm might a little corn starch do??;-) Otherwise, I have a couple other suggestions for custardy desserts you can have a look here and here.

On to the project I took on for the 12th. edition of SHF (and btw - congratulations to my favorite on-line event! A whole year! May there be many more of them!!) Mocca Eclairs. My Stepmom taught me to eat these. I think I was 13 or 14 when she first introduced me to them, in a small patisserie somewhere in France. Coffee was not something I drank at that time, nor something I ever wished to learn how to drink - I thought the smell alone was bordering on vile - but these, OMG. Squidgy and soft in the middle, with a crispy and flaky exterior, topped with a tooth-achingly sweet layer of icing on top - it was love at first bite.

While it would have been only natural to make these for the last SHF, at that time, it just didn't spring to mind. So thank you Elise, for giving me an excuse to try making these myself!

Mocca Eclairs - adapted from Camilla Plum

For the Choux Pastry:

100 g. butter
300 ml. water
pinch of salt
1 tsp. sugar
100 g. all purpose flour
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 200 C. (Not fan-oven, these are little light creatures so they'll just whizz around in the oven if the fan is on!)

In a pan, bring butter, water, salt and sugar to the boil. Whisk in the flour - you'll have a sorta gummy-textured batter in the pan. Cook it thoroughly for a couple of minutes, while beating with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool.

Beat together the two eggs. Once the batter has cooled, add the egg, little by little, incorporating each splash before adding the next. It takes a lot of beating, but it will incorporate. You have to end up with a smooth, but not runny batter. I only used the equivalent of 1½ egg.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag, and pipe neat little rows of choux pastries out on baking sheets. Be sure to space them well apart, as they'll rise quite much when baking. I got about 14 (but lost a couple, see later)

Place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Take one out, and see if it deflates (this is the part where your choux's might go down in number - I think I tried 2 or 3 like this). If it does deflate, give them another 5 minutes, then try with a new one. I ended up giving mine a total of at least 35 minutes - maybe my oven is not as warm as it prides itself of being! I like mine to be a little on the wet side when I take them out. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the coffee-infused custard:

4 egg yolks
85 g. sugar
small handful of (not-ground!) coffee beans
330 ml full-fat milk
25 g. corn starch
250 ml. whipping cream

In your pan, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the coffee beans. In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch with a little of the milk, then add this and the rest of the milk to the egg yolk-mixture, whisking again.

Bring to the boil, while continuously whisking. Boil for about 5 minutes, until you have the desired thickness. Leave to cool.

When the creme is cooled, pick out the coffee beans. You could probably sieve it without problems, but I was afraid it might thin it more than I wanted, so I picked out each one, sticking my fat little fingers into the custard - which was quite a joy in itself! ;-)

Whip the whipping cream until a little harder than soft peaks form. Fold together the whipping cream and the custard. Transfer to a piping bag.

Now, for the assembly:

Pipe the custard into the cut-open choux pastries, using a piping bag (or if you have a nozzle that willl fit snugly into the pastry without you cutting it open, try filling them this way) Put back on the "lid", then drizzle with a mocca frosting, made by stirring a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar together with 2 or 3 teaspoons made coffee - voila!

They we're lovely! I brought them for our Friday Cake Club - a couple of girls at school and I have decided to jazz up our very long Fridays with a little cake, taking turns to bring something. The cream had a tinge of coffee, and the icing too - obviously. You could probably use a larger amount of coffee beans for infusing the custard - when I first tried it, without having added the whipped cream, I was afraid it might have too much coffee in it. Then after adding the whipped cream, I thought it might have been good had it been a little stronger. You could also add a little powder coffee to it, I suppose, but I didn't have any, so I left it as it was. I made the custard and the pastries on Thursday night, then folded in the cream and assembled the cakes Friday morning. Worked a charm and there was a lot of ooh-ing and ahh-ing.

I can't wait to see all of the custardy, smooth dreamy confections conjured up by all of you! Luckily, Elise has already started the round-up! Mmmmm, cream....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - September 14th.

I've been wanting to try a recipe from Niki's in quite a while. She keeps up her fantastic blog, Esurientes - The Comfort Zone - from (from me) far, far away Melbourne, Australia. Only problem - if you can call it that - was that a lot of the recipes I've bookmarked from her site turned out to be cakes. Now how could that have happened? ;-) It's probably all natural - Niki's a great baker, and her tastes in cakes correspond very well with mine! And did you know she has an entire index page exclusively with CHOCOLATE recipes??

The problem was (or is) - and you might think it silly - that I need to make more everyday recipes. It's seldom a problem for me to figure out what I want to bake, but ask me what I'm making for dinner tomorrow night and I'm sure all you'll get from me is a face looking like a question mark! No problemo though, 'cause there was plenty of bookmarks for savory dishes too, one of those being something she just made recently: Eggplant Rollatini. Just look at that picture - if it doesn't make you drool, I don't know what will!

So on a busy Tuesday night, I ran through the supermarket, getting the needed ingredients for making them. At home, I turned on the tv, and in between watching an episode of The Simpsons, I prepared the eggplants and the filling, then in the commercial break, rolled things up, covered it all with passata, and put it in the oven. A breeze. 15 minutes later, I had a nice, warm and filling dinner.

The recipe makes enough food for 8 persons(!) I reduced all amounts "by feel" to make it fit the slices made from one eggplant. I had it with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce, which, as Niki mentions, will of course be of another caliber, should you choose to make it yourself. I did like the convenience of the passata though. The crusty topping and olives Niki has on her version looks good too, and would provide some nice textural contrast (my breadcrumbs had gone stale, hence the lack in my version) I know I'll be making this dish again during winter - it's warm and comforting, but still has a summery feel to it. Yum.

And PS: You could have this for dinner, and then with good conscience try one of her cakes too - just to make up for lost calories, you know ;-)

Don't forget to check out what Cathy's been up to this week!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tell me...

Is it just me or does that look like a cannabis leaf to you too??;-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - September 7th.

That's right, Cathy and I are back with tried and tasted recipes from our favorite source: YOU BLOGGERS YOU! I can't believe (again, I think I've mentioned this before) the amount of new blogs that just springs up all over - it's amazing, and I love it!

One of the not-so-new-anymore blogs, that I bookmarked the first time I had seen it, Taste Everything Once, is coming to us from Spokane. It's written by Jennifer, who I just recently realized has a knack for Norwegian language and an opinion on croutons with which I wholeheartedly agree! As if that's not enough, she's got projects going on: one trying to tell us all about the restaurant scene in Spokane, the other one introducing us to coffee place after coffee place. She's got the cutest dog, and oh yes - she makes gorgeous food!

That's still not it. She's also got the best recipe for pizza dough I have yet to come across. It's easy to prepare, you can freeze any you don't use - and it rolls out as thin as you could wish for - now that's a great feature in a pizza dough. I've usually resolved to only making thick crust pizzas at home, because I simply couldn't roll it thin enough. Now, my troubles are over.

My sister had invited herself over for dinner, and I served Jennifer's pizzacrust with a topping of tomato sauce, spinach, grated cheese and a couple dots of mascarpone. 'Twas good. I made sure to have the oven heated on HIGHEST, popped the rolled out and topped up dough on pre-heated baking sheets, and got results that was better than my Italian pizzaman down the street. Seriously. I substituted about one cup of the flour with coarse durumwheat flour, just because I had it and needed to use it, and got 3 medium sized pizzas, and one portion for the freezer. I haven't used the one in the freezer, but I like the idea of lying there, all ready to be used!

Cathy's gone abroad this time, trying out Indian dishes - be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

A Neat Little Package

Couple of weeks ago, I made these - I think, personally - very scrumptious-looking muffins. Loads of almonds, milk chocolate chips and Daim chocolate. TONS I tell you! 56 kr. worth! (about $9!)

So how come the result just wasn't good?? I mean they were okay, but they weren't as delish as the ingredients promised. Too much of a good thing, you say? Really? I don't buy it, I'm sorry I just don't. People, we're talking CHOCOLATE here!

Maybe it was the shortening? I've never used shortening in my muffins before, I never have it at home, so I just substitute with (more) butter. Maybe I overworked the batter? Maybe... I can't say. They were a bit on the dry side, a bit crumbly. Maybe it was because I accidently started the oven out a little too cold, so I had to bake them for longer?

Anyhoo - there is one thing I was very pleased with about these muffin. The packaging. I can never seem to find paper cases that fit my muffin cups - they're either too small in diameter or too low for me to fill the cups all the way. So I decided to try and take matters into my own hands.

Allow me to present: the homemade paper case!

I can hardly take the credit for this invention myself - I've seen it both in How to Be a Domestic Goddess and one of the Donna Hay books, and had it like this once at a café. I like the idea - your muffins can go all tall! (and that means you're still only eating one muffin, but there's lots more to it - heh!)

I used a couple of pieces of baking parchment, crumbled it up a bit, to make it easier to fold and thereby fit the (buttered) muffin cup. I think it's important to butter the muffin cup as it makes it so much easier to get the muffin in it's liner out when it's cooled a bit.

Make sure to make as few folds in the parchment as possible - the more folds, the bigger the risk of your batter getting stuck in the folds, then having them spread everywhere when you "release" the muffin from the case. I've seen it happen, oh yes I have!

So there you go - no recipe, but a neat little idea!

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Childhood Food Memories - A Meme

No, the picture has absolutely nothing to do with what's in this post - but it was such a pretty picture I had to use it somewhere, didn't I?

AY-AY-AY! I seem to be making promises I can't keep! I promised I'd return, then left you for a WHOLE WEEK, without a word of notice! Promises, promises, promises - which will, eventually, just as sun comes after rain, night after day, be followed by excuses, excuses, excuses. No changing the ways of the world this time either: Seems I sometime, about two weeks ago, caught a bugger of a throat virus that I'm still struggling with. The bastard makes my entire throat swell, my voice going weirdo and makes eating - not a pleasure. Kinda the worst part about it, not being able to eat! Drink cold, don't lie down, eat cold - ARGH! I want warm tea! The mere thought of eating (or drinking for that matter) has put me quite cold over the last couple of days - hence the absence.

Anyways - enough of the apologies! I've promised to do the Childhood Food Memories - twice! - and by God, I'll do it! If you haven't heard of it yet, it's pretty simple: what do you miss from your childhood? In the foodblogger-world, that of course means "What food-related things do you miss from your childhood?" Easing me gently back into the foodie-sphere, here they are: my five favorite memories:

Breakfast in Bed and Mom's Tea
When I was little, my Mom used to bring me breakfast in bed. We had this large tray with a picture of a pitcher of beer and two glasses, some boats in the background. Every morning, that tray would be planted on my lap, as I sat in bed, listening to the radio. On it would be a bowl of oatmeal with milk and sugar or sometimes a piece of toast with chokoladepålæg or cheese, maybe a piece of fruit. And always, but always, there'd be Mom's tea. Earl grey with milk and sugar. At that time, she actually used a sweetener - up until I was 16 or something, I couldn't take the taste of real sugar in my tea, I was so used to the sweetener. Now it's the other way around - go figure! The breakfast in bed stopped somewhere around the time when I got old enough to decide I just couldn't stomach anything in the morning. But the tea continued, in my own personal lemon-shaped cup.
It still just spells out morning to me. Morning, or maybe Mom. Whenever we're having tea and she's around, she has to make it for me - there's just the right proportions of tea to milk to sugar, that no matter what I do, it just doesn't taste the same when I do it myself. And I don't think it has to.

Cucumber "sandwiches"
My Grandmother, on my Dad's side, used to watch me every now and again when I was at my Dad's, as I was every other weekend when I was little. For lunch, she'd make me the appropriate, and filling, rye bread sandwiches that every little girl and boy eats here in Denmark, with leverpostej and spegepølse. A small sprinkle of salt and pepper, a couple of slices of cucumber on top. But the real treat was the "sandwich on the side" - two thick slices of cucumber, one with a slice of spegepølse on top, the other with a smearing of leverpostej. Those were fantastic! Always saved for last, and I could usually persuade her to double the portion. When lunch was at it's best, she'd sit with me and tell stories from when she was little, while I ate. I think I've tried recreating them after she passed away, but you know - there are some things only Grandmothers are supposed to do...

Afternoon Toasts
Becoming a teenager had it's own advances, one of them being able to go home after school, bringing your friends for a little feast in the kitchen. We'd take out the toaster and just do toast after toast after toast until everyone had ham, cheese and white plastic bread coming out of their ears, sitting at the little table in the kitchen, the smell of slightly burned cheese permeating the air. Lots of giggling and chatting going on, probably about boys, boys and then more boys! On special occasions, we'd make pancakes and eat them with whipped cream (the canned stuff) and drink hot chocolate, heating the milk in the microoven, then stirring in cocoa-powder, adding (more) canned whipped cream for the finishing touch. It's been a looong time since I had that kind of toast - these days, we've moved on to the more sophisticated Croque Monsieur - but I have to say, the grilled toast might be in for a renaissance...

Soft Boiled Eggs
I know no one that can make a soft boiled egg with the same perfection my Dad can. No runny whites, no smidgen of hard yolk. Just perfection. I suppose there have been times when they were in fact less than perfect, but you know - these are memories, and in the old days, everything was bigger, better and more perfect. Every Saturday morning (sometimes Sundays, too) when I was spending the weekend at his place, he'd make each of us two soft boiled eggs (two soft boiled eggs for my friend too, if I'd have one sleep over). We had them with rye bread with a thick layer of salted butter, and for each bite you took of the egg, your chubby little fingers had to crush a little bit of salt on top, so that it was ready to make the next mouthful just as savory a delight as the previous one. When I'd finish my egg, the ritual was to turn it up-side down and present it to my Dad, saying "Oh I just can't eat both of them!" He'd take his spoon resolutely in hand and knock the egg to make the shell crack, which of course resulted in the (already eaten egg's) empty shell shattering in a 1000 pieces - and lots of laughter! He'd do it to me too, and it was always hilariously funny, even though everyone of course knew exactly what was going to happen. I also remember he had these egg cosies - you know, like people have a tea cosy for keeping their teapot warm? These were smaller in size naturally, for keeping the eggs warm in their little egg cup. Neat. I have a picture of me, my Dad and a friend of mine, the three of us with tea cosies on our heads, and me and my friend's dolls with the, for them, more appropriately sized egg cosies on their heads. Yup, you're right - we're very normal! I actually read somewhere, that if a person is in a room where a tea cosy is present, that person will feel a (very natural) urge to put said tea cosy on their head. I don't know why that is, but I know it's true for me!;-)

Late night Romkugler
So, a bit of explanation here: romkugler is (I think anyways) a very Danish thing - a kitchy/trashy made-from-leftover-Danish-pastry type of - sweet? Not cake, consistency-wise a bit like a chocolate truffle, though not anywhere near as smooth in texture, and definitely not posh at all. I'll admit it - it's trash - or maybe, the step just before trash. And I loved them. I used to work in a bakery, and we got to take cakes and bread with us home every now and again - I loved to bring home romkugler, especially if I knew I was going to have a night out with my best friend, J. Having spend an entire night out on the town, dancing, drinking - well, we all know that will inevitably, bring on the munchies. There's no way around it. Our way of finishing a stellar night would be, after we'd removed our make-up, to sneak out to the fridge and pop out a couple of cold, cold romkugler and a large glass of milk each, then jump back to bed, eat our romkugler and chat about what had happened that night. We always slept over at each others. I miss the whole romkugle-affair, but I actually think I miss the sleeping over part even more. We very seldom do that anymore. Only natural I guess, but I do miss ending a great night by chatting away until I fall asleep, a bit of romkugle still left at the corner of my mouth...

I was tagged by both Barbara and Julie, but seeing I am so darn late, I don't think anyone has been able to dodge the meme - therefore I'll just put up both of the lists of links here, for you to click away on:

From Barbara's branch:

1) Farmgirl Fare
2) Becks & Posh
3) The Cooks Cottage
4) Tigers & Strawberries
5) Food & Thoughts

From Julie's branch:

1) Tasca da Elvira
2) Cuisine et Compagnie
3) Chocolate & Zucchini
4) A Finger in Every Pie
5) Food & Thoughts

Hmm, wait - I think I've thought of a couple of people - I'll update if they'd like to join!