Oof, keeping up with blogging in summer is hard! But here I am again.
Summer in Denmark is a whole different experience than what I’m used to. First of all, there’s rain. That means things stay green instead of turning brown and dying. And the daytime temperature mostly stays in the 70’s°F/ 20°C instead of climbing up to the high 80’s°F/ 30°C I’m used to. I am loving this.
Another thing that’s new and exciting for me is the abundance of berries. I’m used to (and love) strawberries and cherries, but that’s about it. But here there are all kinds of different berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, currants, and more. We joined a food co-op and our latest bag of fruits and veggies had gooseberries. I’ve never even heard of those ones before!
The abundance of berry options makes it easier to finish baking all the dessert recipes from the book. When summer started we craved something chocolate-y so we made this raspberry-chocolate cake. Such a good decision! It came out pretty big so we froze it and ate it over a few weeks. Perfect summer treat.
It’s been a while! Since we moved to Copenhagen just at the start of spring, once we got settled in, all the spring/summer/the-sun-is-out-let’s-have-fun activities started popping up all over the city. We’re both working full time and exploring the area on weekends, so this blog was pushed to the side a bit. On the one hand it’s hard to find time to do quiet indoors activities when the sun is out all day (currently setting around 9:45 pm) and I know I’ll have the forever-winter waiting for me in just a few months, but on the other hand I’m an introvert who very much needs her down time, otherwise I tend to lose focus.
At the moment I’m housebound with a sore throat, but at least that’s a great excuse to stay home and rest. And today I can update about this super simple chocolate pudding. I avoided making it for the longest time because a couple of years ago I made a similar recipe that was a complete flop and tasted of nothing but cornstarch.
I’m glad to report that I was wrong about this one – it turned out great! Very chocolate-y with no cornstarch taste (yep, I used cornstarch instead of arrowroot or tapioca starch. I choose to only keep one starch at home since I can’t tell the difference anyway). We topped it with Alpro whipped cream and it was a treat.
Definitely keeping this one for a quick non-formal dessert, and maybe next time we’ll try out one of the variations.
Things are settling down as we’re settling in here in Copenhagen. I know how to turn left when riding a bike, I’m starting a new job on Monday and we even hosted our first birthday party here. This city is gorgeous and I can’t wait for summer when we’ll explore a bit more of it on foot (or bike).
Last week I took a bad fall when running. It was an unusually warm day so I was in shorts, and my knees scraped pretty badly. It’s not fun, but it happens. Just need to remind myself that another week or two don’t make such a difference in the grand scheme of things. It’s consistency over years that matters.
We made these pancakes on a lazy Sunday morning. We used fresh pineapple instead of canned. The batter came out way too thick so we had to add quite a bit of water to get it to a pancake-like consistency. It’s not my favorite pancake recipe from the book, but tropical flavors are always nice.
First blog post from Copenhagen! I’ve been here for three weeks now and we’ve been cooking, baking and eating some great food. We even made progress on cooking through “Vegan with a Vengeance”, but that’ll get its own post.
Copenhagen is amazing. I love cycling everywhere. Our neighborhood is very quiet but only 20 minutes by easy bike ride from the city center, and the city itself is lovely. This place just has a great vibe all-around.
Daniel started working in the university. He’s pretty pleased with the work and the people. A week after I came here he was in charge for bringing in breakfast for his group. We baked baguettes and made olive tapenade, tomato tapenade and a veggie paté. I don’t have pictures of those because I was still in shock, having just moved to a new country, but it was the same recipe we used to make these buns:
They taste so good!
We took a whole weekend to make Kenji’s Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos. It was a ton of work (like, cooking 3 different kinds of beans from scratch just to get started on the recipes), but so worth it! It tasted amazing and we ate up everything the following week as tacos, taco bowls or just the chili on its own. We’re already planning to make it again in a week or so for Daniel’s birthday party.
Other than that we’ve been eating our regular salads for breakfast (I took the photo in our old place, but trust me, it looks the same in Copenhagen):
That was me tuning in from cold, sunny Copenhagen. Vi ses!
We’ve been making our own bread for about… 6 years now. It’s healthy, cheap and tasty. In the last year we’ve branched out from only whole-wheat buns to using rye, spelt, different kinds of ancient wheat; adding seeds and spices like fennel seeds and cardamom; making boules instead of buns, trying out different sourdough waffles… a ton of different things, really.
Bread is a lot of fun to make, and despite what some people claim, I think it’s actually very forgiving and pretty difficult to mess up.
I fell in love with sourdough waffles, so we’ll need to find a new waffle maker in Copenhagen…
Speaking of Copenhagen, we’ve been preparing by watching a lot of Danish food shows, which gave us the inspiration to do a smørrebrød (open sandwiches) night. We had several different spreads and toppings. Here is one tall creation from that night (rye bread with soy cheese and beet spread topped with caramelized onion, fried eggplant, radishes, pepitas and fried potato):
A friend brought us some San Francisco sourdough she got from ebay. It was very lively!
And just thought I’d add a photo of what we eat with all this bread with. We make a tomato-cucumber-onion salad every day for breakfast, which we eat with whatever bread we have and some spread, usually soy cheese or vegan white bean aioli.
A post sans food this time! That’s what happens one cleans out one’s fridge/freezer/pantry, especially without the help of a significant other who has already gone to faraway Copenhagen to try and find an apartment (which is, as we were warned, proving to be very difficult).
My foot has made a miraculous recovery and I can walk again without pain. I am indescribably happy because a daily dose of walking outside keeps me calm and sane. I didn’t want to push it by running so I’ve been holding off on that, but I’m definitely taking advantage of the sunny weather we’ve been having and have been going for a few hours of hiking on days with nice weather.
Around here this time of year is spring – everything is green and flowers bloom. In a couple of months it’ll be too hot and things will have died of. I’ve been feeling very grateful to have time off now when it’s the absolute best time for hiking and wandering around in nature.
There are tall flowers:
some local thyme:
a (not-so-friendly) goat:
and to top it off, a great blossoming almond tree:
That’s all for today. Countdown to Copenhagen is 10 days.
We recently borrowed a pasta maker from a friend, bought some fine semolina flour and played around with both to see what we can make.
We started from some basic fettuccine:
which we ate with TVP bolognese sauce. Delicious!
Then we added some color (carrot juice for orange, spinach for green):
and made lasagna:
With lots of basil:
And the grand finale was pink ravioli stuffed with our homemade soy cheese:
I was very surprised by how easy it was to make the pasta. It’s really just mixing semolina flour and water, kneading a bit, letting it rest, rolling and cutting. Rolling and cutting was very simple and not as time consuming as I expected it to be. I basically fell in love with the whole thing and will be lobbying for a pasta maker once we’re settled in Denmark.
Before the pasta maker adventures began, we got some purple sweet potato which we made gnocchi with:
We also made gnocchi with regular sweet potato, which I didn’t take a photo of, but I can say it was very good.
This was a really fun recipe to make. I love peanut butter, and I love chocolate, and I really can’t resist desserts that combine the two. This is the last recipe we made from the book before we’re moving to Copenhagen in a couple of weeks, and it was a great choice.
This pie has a chocolate covered cookie pie dough filled with a peanut putter mousse filling made with silken tofu. I improvised with the dough a bit – we didn’t have any chocolate cookies, so I made something between the original recipe and a pâte brisée (shortcrust pastry) from a French cake book I have. It worked well enough, though next time I’m definitely weighing it down with something while I bake, because the dough wanted to take over the entire tart pan, and I still had the filling to put in there! I also used agar powder instead of flakes, which actually made the recipe easier since it requires less processing.
Daniel, who is not a huge fan of chocolate or peanut butter (at least not as I am), dubbed it as “perfect”, so I guess we can end with that.
This is the fourth part in a series of posts about my favorite foods in Japan, following my 4 weeks there last summer. Be sure to check out the first,second and third parts of this series, too.
#4 Atsuage Tofu, Plain Onigiri & Soy Sauce
Eating out in Japan is fairly cheap and can be a great experience, but outside of the big cities vegans have a much harder time. Veg*n restaurants are practically non-existent, and even if you get through the language barrier, most places just won’t have a lot of vegetarian dashi-less foods to offer you. But do not despair! Even if you’re in the middle of nowhere and you have no kitchen, you can eat pretty well at a Japanese supermarket.
After traveling in Tokyo, we went as a team to practice in a little town in the north of Kyushu. We stayed at a hotel, so we didn’t have a kitchen, only an electric kettle. There was a supermarket right behind the hotel, which we ventured into once or twice daily.
On our first visit to the supermarket I noticed they had Atsuage (pronounced ah-tsu-ah-ge, with a hard g), deep fried blocks of tofu, in bulk. I love fresh tofu and this is one of the things that just never quite made it to the west, so it was the first thing I grabbed and sort of became my staple for lunch and dinners over the next week. I also bought a small bottle of soy sauce to eat with the atsuage.
Once we had our protein, it was a matter of loading up on carbs, some fruits & veggies and snacks. And by snacks I mean sake. Just kidding, we only did that once… We rotated our carbs, so sometimes we would get freshly cooked rice, sometimes rice balls, and sometimes fresh noodles like soba or udon which we would warm up using hot water from the kettle. We bought a bunch of bananas (and sometimes splurged on watermelons), and for veggies we had tomatoes and soybean sprouts which I really liked eating with the tofu because they had a spicy kick to them. We also drank a lot of soy milk – it’s so tasty in Japan! For snacks I bought a lot of local Japanese confections, which I’ll elaborate about in another post.
So that’s how we survived a week of eating in a small, rural town in Japan, without a kitchen and with very limited time for buying food and eating it. Even though we bought everything prepared from the supermarket, the meals ended up being both nutritious and cheap, which was pretty cool.
While the winters around here are very mild, we’ve still been excited about being able to cook soups and stews again. In the last two weeks we’ve made a spicy butternut squash soup, my mom’s (aka the best) vegetable soup, and two very Jewish dishes: Cholent and red Kubbeh soup (about which you can read more here).
We filled the Kubbeh once with seitan and once with tofu, and loved it both times. Here it is cooking:
Before I left my job we had a great caterer come once a week. This is a plate I filled at the buffet:
I have some salads there, three stuffed mushrooms, two Kubbeh (these ones had an orange-y soup and were filled with pumpkin, I believe), rice and bulgur with lentils. I love having this kind of variety on my plate.
Okay, this is not food but I still wanted to share this photo I snapped of the sunrise. I have a weird foot injury right now and haven’t run for a few weeks, and I really miss it! Hoping I can get back to it soon.
Still here? I guess it’s time for that announcement then. 🇩🇰 We are officially moving to Denmark in less than a month! 🇩🇰 It still kind of seems unreal.
We’ve been watching the Danish version of the Great British Bake Off and gotten some great ideas for Danish cakes to bake! But in the meantime we really have to get this freezer & pantry cleanup done…
I’m not looking for a new job until I get settled in there (and have a work permit), so I have some time to work on my Danish and get ready to move. Would love any advice you might have regarding the move 🙂