Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cooking Classes

I love taking cooking classes not only because I love learning new things and getting inspiration, but also because it is a great way to socialize and be together with people! So I have attended my fair share of cooking classes over the years, and I have found this to be true, the test of a real good cooking class is this:

Are you going to cook the recipes again?
Are you able to extract learning from it and use it in other contexts?

BBQ - The Australian lie!

Now I believe we all - or at the very least most of us - have misconceptions about other countries. There are a trillion different reasons for this and Hollywood is probably one of the major ones! I shall be the first to admit that I had many misconceptions about Australia, before coming here! And so I'll tell you of a two of mine:

- Australian men can be divided into two sub classes:
Surfer dudes and Crocodile Dundee types, both of them hot as!
- Every Australian loves to BBQ and they are all masters of the art!

Now one is as untrue as the other and so I have sadly had to revise both! Now I love barbequing and as I realised there was no way I´d learn by watching the Aussie male (it seams to be internationally accepted that the BBQ is male territory, unless there are lesbians around) I decided to take classes!

The first thing I did was search the internet and ask my friends where to go. There seam to be general consensus in Sydney that if one is to learn how to cook fish, you have to attend classes held at the Sydney Fish Market ( This sounded reasonable and so I decided to take the chance and pay the rather steep fee of 100 dollars for a class in seafood BBQ. On the day of the class I showed up, all excited and ready to learn. To my great surprise, the class was very different from how a class is conducted back home! Here you start out in a classroom, watching a celebrity chef cook the recipes while explaining how it is done and telling you of all the little tricks, very much like a live interactive edition of a TV cooking show! After this you move to the "hands on" part of the class, where you do the actual cooking. Lo and behold, little elves have magically prepared everything in little dishes so most things are measured up and ready to use, again very much like a TV cooking show! So you just have to cook and eat. While you eat, the little elves return to do the cleaning too. No wonder the classes are expensive - that kind of magic does not come cheap, I'm sure! After the class you are given a bag of what I assume are sponsored gifts, such as soy sauce, fish stock, Glad wrap and a few other things I don´t quite remember. At the end of the day a fun experience, but not very good value for the money! Now after this, I decided to take a class in meat BBQ @ the bar-be school,, and what a difference! The atmosphere was festive though relaxed, the guys down to earth and the whole group in a friendly and very "lets-have-fun-kind-of-mood". Again the chefs started out explaining and showing how things were to be done, while answering questions and making sure that we - as beholds a proper BBQ - had a beer or a bottle of water in hand! In clear and no uncertain terms, dispensing advice and good humour! After each skill or course was explained, there was a chance to try most of it out "hands on", before we moved on to the next part! I accept that it takes a lot of room and time if everyone is to try everything, but a little more hand-on time would not have been a bad thing. They did however make up for this, by explaining everything so well that I'm confident I can use the skills anyway! Also they did seem to assume that everyone uses gas and so they did not seem to know much about charcoal barbecues. It was however a great class and I can only recommend it, because let´s be honest, the world has seen burnt and abused meat enough! Or, as my friend Kim might have put it: there is mediocrity enough in this world, without our help. So guys get over yourself and take a class!

The following recipes are my adaptation of recipes given to me at the BBQ school and so while I want to give them credit, I also want to make it clear that the notes and comments are mine and may not reflect their opinions unless stated!

Whole BBQ roasted leg of lamb

1 leg of lamb
Salt, pepper
Olive oil


1. Preheat the BBQ until it is as hot as you can get it (Weber recommends using indirect placement of the coals in a charcoal BBQ).

2. Make about 6 incisions or holes in the leg on the top site (never on the side that will be facing down, as it will only make juices drain out of the roast). Each incision is to be about 3 cm deep, there by letting you shove a clove of garlic and some rosemary down each hole.

3. Rub the leg in olive oil, salt and pepper all over, don’t be shy with the salt and pepper!

4. Place the leg of lamb on a roast holder, which is a sort of spit with two tooth’s which allows the leg to be suspended mid air, this means the leg gets a more even cooking as it allows air to circulate all around it! Place a pan under the roast to catch the drippings. If you don’t have a roast holder, don’t despair, but place it directly in the pan. The pan serves the dual purpose of minimising the cleaning and preserving the juice for a sauce! You might fill the pan with root vegetables, which will give you a perfect dish to serve with your roast.

5. (If you use a gas BBQ, turn the middle burners off and leave only the left and right burners on aiming for a temperature of 200 degrees celcious). The high starting temperature will close the pores just like you might do with a stake on a pan.

6. Baste the roast with a marinade after 30 minutes, making sure not to add too much oil to the BBQ. If you want to add red wine to the dripping pan so as to get the wine flavour on the meet, do this 30 minutes before the end of the cooking so as not to make it dry out, which might lead to black and carcinogenic smoke!

7. Cooking time is determined by weight of the lamb – this goes for any roast! 30 minutes pr. kg., Ben – the chef @ BBQ school stakes his reputation on this being the perfect timing providing you do not open the lid except once to baste the roast! If you open the lid of the BBQ during cooking, to check on it, you will be letting out heat! So don’t, in cooking as in life, trust the process! If need be, you can use a BBQ thermometer, which should show a 71 degrees celcious for a nice pink steak! You can get really cool thermometers, which are wirelessly connected to a base station so that you can see the temperature, from afar, with out lifting the lid!

8. As with all meat, let it rest! The meat can easily wait for the rest of your cooking, but the rest can’t wait for the meat! Letting the meat rest 15-30 minutes will make the juices stay in the meat. Also as Ben explained, meat is a muscle and cooking it makes it tense up, resting it after the cooking makes it relax again and thereby make it more tender!

Tips on buying leg of lamb:
- the boys @ BBQ school recommends something called an easy carve cut, which is basically a de-boned leg of lamb, where the last bit of bone is left in. this serves many purposes, these are in no particular order:

– It gives you a handle to hold on to while carving.

– You can carve it without having to work your way around a bone (there for the name!) and you can easily cut against the grain, there by making sure the meat does not go tough!

– It gives you a natural room, where the bone used to be, which you might fill with spices.

– The leftover bit of bone will give of good flavour from the bone marrow!

Easy BBQ Beef Kebabs


1 kg Beef mince – lean!
1 cup Breadcrumbs
2 Eggs
½ cup Chopped parsley, coriander and mint
½ cup Chopped onion
2 cloves Garlic
2 Chillies (birds eye), chopped & deseeded
1 teaspoon Mustard
½ teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon Paprika
salt & pepper


1. Pre-heat BBQ for 20 minutes, full power!

2. Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. (The eggs serve the purpose of making the mixture stick together and give it a good texture).

3. Season and taste mix to make sure you are happy with the taste.

4. Mould the mixture in your hand to a oval sausage like shape. Making sure to not make the kebab too big as it is hard to control and easily falls off the stick if it is too heavy!

5. Stick it unto the end of a skewer. If the skewer is wooden, make sure to soak it in water for a few minutes beforehand. This insures you against splinters and burning skewers!

6. Roll the kebab lightly in some breadcrumbs.

7. Grill the skewer equally on all sights. Securing and even cooing by turning every 2 minutes or so, giving it a total of about 6 minutes.

8. Serve with Tatziki or a spicy tomato & coriander dipping sauce.

9. Bon appetite

Spicy tomato & coriander dipping sauce


10 ml Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic
2 Chillies (birds eye), chopped & deseeded
½ Onion, finely diced
8 Sun dried tomatoes
6 Ripe tomatoes
¼ bunch Coriander, chopped
20g Sugar


1. In small pot, lightly cook the onions, garlic and chilli, without colouring it.

2. Cut tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes and add to food processor – blend till they are just a bit chunky. Add to pot.

3. Cook out on medium heat till consistency gets to that of a coating consistency – about 15 minutes.

4. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Taste.

5. Add coriander and cook for a further 5 minutes

6. Bon appetite!

Salads from Australia

As I travel Australia I'm finding some of the best salads ever, a lot of them with variations on the theme seafood in …. In the following I’ll give you some of my favourites!

Prawn, pea & fennel salad, with warm tangelo dressing
(4-6 people as an entree)

2 tangelos, (grapefruit or blood oranges may be substituted).
20 large green prawns, peeled and cleaned, tails intact
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bulbs baby fennel or 1 ordinary fennel
400g peas (fresh if possible)
2 cups water cress springs
1 cup snow pea tendrils (you know the part of the actual plant which the
snow pea grows on …)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sumac


• Using a small sharp knife, peel and segment tangelos over a bowl so as to safe the juices (the idea is to get the meet of the tangelo with out the skin thing – like it’s the pulp we want – and the juice).

• Combine prawns, olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and garlic in a non-reactive bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cower and refrigerate 1 hour.

• Thinly slice fennel using a mandolin or something to get the slices thin enough, add remaining lemon juice and toss to combine.

• Cook peas in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes or until tender, refresh under cold running water and drain.

• Combine peas, watercress and snow pea tendrils with the fennel mixture.

• Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat, remove prawns from marinade and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, then remove to a plate.

• Add extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the saved juice from the tangelo and sumac to a pan and warm it through. Season to taste.

• Add prawns to fennel mixture drizzle with warm tangelo dressing and toss to combine.

• Serve, Bon appetite!

My favourite Tiramisu!

Serves 6-8


6 Egg Yokes
100g. Sugar
250g. Cream cheese, preferably the Italian Mascarpone.
-in a tight spot Philadelphia can do.
8 cl. Amaretto (almond liquor).
5 dl. Very strong coffee (I often find it takes closer to 10 dl.)
10cl. Amaretto (almond liquor)yes another 10 to mix in coffee.
350g. Lady fingers (Italian spongy cakes).
3 tablespoons cacao


1. Mix egg yokes and sugar to a thick white creamy mass.

2. Add the 8 cl. liquor and the cheese.

3. Add the coffee to the rest of the Amaretto (10 cl.) and put in a deep plate.

4. Take a deep bowl – a glass one look beautiful, put a layer of the cheese mixture in the bottom.

5. Add a layer of lady fingers, which have been dipped in the coffee – be fast as they will fall apart real fast if they are left to soak in the coffee!

6. Add another layer of the cream cheese … and so on until it is all used up, end up with a layer of the cheese

7. Decorate with cacao!

8. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and it does not hurt it to sit until the next day!

9. Bon appetite!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ready - Steady- Cook!

I have been asked to audition for ready steady cook on Tuesday and boy I’m excited! It will be great fun I think!

So keep your fingers crossed on Tuesday the 15/11 !!

Welcome !

Food and wine are obviously two of my great loves in life! They bring people together and though I do tend to agree with the great Danish / American entertainer Victor Borge, that “the shortest way between to people is a smile” I will say this – nothing brings about a smile or irons out a wrinkle like a good meal! As I’m writing this I’m sitting with my belly full, on a tropical beach in North Queensland, Australia, listening to the old Disney song “The bare necessities” …. Life is greeeeat!

Why am I doing this, you might ask and I guess there are several reasons. First of I am a lot like Whinny The Pooh in that: ”I’d rather hear a story about me!” Secondly I love got inspired by the book by Julie Powell “Julie & Julia” where the author takes on the project of cooking her way through a French cooking book called “Mastering the art of French cooking”, writing about her experiences as she goes along. This idea so enthralled me that I just had to attempt something like it. I however will not cook my way through a particular cookbook but instead share some of my life and some of my best recipes along with it. If you read this and have any comments or opinions on any of it PLEASE do not hesitate to write and let me know what you think!

A little background on this new pet project of mine: I have been interested in cooking from I was quite young and so I have memories of myself cooking with my grandmother, on my fathers side, back when I was 5 or 6 years old, but it was not till I moved away from home and into a dormitory as a 19 year old student that I really learned how to cook. This came about simply because we used to take turns cooking and in doing so my fellow students would be subjected to my cooking on at least a fortnightly basis. They very soon decided that they had to teach me and so I’d join them in the kitchen in order to learn from them. Later on I meet Kim who became like a mentor for me. Kim is a great man and his love and friendship is one of the most precious gifts I have ever had – and lost. Kim is quite the chef and during our friendship he taught me more about life and people when I can possibly describe her. In the beginning of our friendship I was quite concerned with the fact that I ad little money and so were unable to make dinners for him, the way he did for me. Once after I voiced this concern to him, he told me this: When it comes to food, the one that stands out is this: I don’t care what you make, as long as it is honest. Whether you serve a Crème Brûlée or bangers and mashed is not important, as long as it is honest and does not pretend to be something it is not! I guess that is true about a lot of things in life! One of the very special things about Kim was that he used to have a lot of little sayings like that one, which I took in and adopted as my own. After meeting Kim and his good friend Torben, my cooking took off and since I have been cooking as much and as varied food as possible. Actually I have been so lucky that people have liked my cooking enough to ask me to cater for them at parties once in a while, something I enjoy a lot. In my day job I’m a Registered Nurse, and I do believe that I owe a lot of my ability to cook for great numbers of people to my training as a nurse! Nursing after all requires the ability to plan, to keep a level head, also if things go different when planed, and to have several balls in the air at the same time. Well enough talk for now. On to the food!

Why am I doing this in English and not In Danish?

Why am I doing this in English and not In Danish, you might well ask, elementary my dear, for the simple reason, that if my ravings are to be shared with the world, they are indeed to be share with all of the world and not only the Danish speaking part of the world. This of course gives me the problem of having to try to express my self in less when perfect English but so be it! In this as in every thing else I am very open to corrections and ideas, so don’t hold back!

Monday, November 07, 2005

This is a recipe for Gløgg or Glühwein as it should be done!

2 sticks of cinnamon
25 clove
1 ginger
1 cardamom
1 bitter orange peel(min. 1 table spoon.)
1/2 bottle of dark rum
3-4 bottle of read wine – and no do not by the cheap and nasty stuff!
Port 1-3 bottles depending on taste and economy

Let the spices soak in a closed container, with the rum for a minimum of 1 week – preferably longer. Filter it and mix it with the rest, adding the port last as you taste your way to the amount that is right for you! Usually I’d say that one port pr red wine is the limit …. But as I strongly believe that the happiness in a person is directly proportional to the amount of port in that same person I guess you have my blessing to go for it!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sauce Béarnaise

Why is a sauce Béarnaise so daunting? Why does the idea of making one leave me in cold sweat?

Maybe it is because I as Kim would have said am a child of a time where we think a sauce béarnaise comes in a package with Knorr on the side …. The bare idea of making it from scratch just makes me procrastinate! Funny considering that lots of housewives and chefs alike do it on a regular basis. My friend Karsten's mother to mention one!

Well yesterday I gave it a try, using the following recipe and it went quite well, I will say this though. It is quite buttery to the taste and so I added a bit of extra vinegar to the final product, stirring it in over heat. No problem. It did however separate as I tried to reheat it later! Also I found that using dry tarragon; you have to use twice as much to get the right taste. But except for that, go for it, it is not that difficult, if you follow the recipe to the letter!

Serves 2-4

180 g butter
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
8 black peppercorns crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
3 egg yolks

Melt butter, remove foam from the surface and cool to tepid. Combine vinegar, wine, peppercorns, salt, shallots and 1 tablespoon
Boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Strain and cool to room temperature.
Add to egg yolks and whisk for 1 minute.
Place the mix in a double boiler over hot water and beat vigorously until
thick and creamy. The base of the pan containing mix should never be more
that hand hot. Remove from heat and whisk in tepid butter, add a few drops
at a time, until sauce starts to thicken, and thereafter in a very thin
stream. Do not add sediment at the bottom of butter.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Be multicultural like an Aussie!

Danes are not racist as a people, but we are also not embracing of other cultures like the Aussies!

One of the things I love about Australians is the way they have managed to let people from every country keep their culture while at the same time welcoming them! At least so it seams to me. On one hand it is quite tiring from a nursing perspective, to deal with patients who speak no English at all,(which I do not think is ok!!), on the other hand it is so cool to have the kitchens of the world literally in your fridge!

It is my experience, from talking to my collages and observing the Aussies shop that they move around the globe in a week of dining. It is not unusual for even elderly people to have Chinese one day, Indian the next and Italian the day after that! I actually saw an elderly white Aussie lady, bye a Santa Clause shaped piñata the other day! Absolutely hideous, but very endearing, if seen as a sign of cultural acceptance. So I look very much forward to expanding my culinary map of the world!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

FUCK Aureole! (New York)

In the November edition of the magazine the Gourmet Traveller, Leo Schofield is debating the 10 things that he believes, makes a great restaurants. Number 3 on his list is this:

“A restaurant is, for the two or three hours you’ll be spending there, your temporary home. The proprietor should make you feel as welcome as you make your guests feel when they drop in. Snooty staff are as off-putting as a bad smell, and they have no place in a service industry.”

I just heard to my absolute dismay, that the New York restaurant Aureole has made it to the Michelin guide, with one star. How that happened I can not phantom, but it does compel me to share my opinion of it, as being one of the most rude up it self places I have ever been! My Ex-boyfriend, Lars and I visited the Aureole during the famous restaurant week of 2004 as it was one of the places that came highly recommended. During restaurant week, fine restaurants serve up a set menu at a price that makes it possible ordinary people to afford extraordinary dining. From the moment we arrived, we were snobbed, and made to feel out of place like never before (and having travled in Vienna I have seen my fair share of snobbish behaviour!). I have luckily been able to block out most of the experience, but I can give you this little example, which was very inline with the over all experience. I ordered a wine menu to go with my food, thinking I was in for a divine experience. – And though I do not remember the exact price I can tell you this, they were not shy about it, which was ok as this was to be a grand night out! I believe I was given 3 tastes of wine during the lunch. The glasses being so small, that I have had my glass filled with less, in order to taste if a wine had gone bad! After the experience I was so enraged that I send an email, to restaurants web page, which they did not even answer!

Cracked pepper - I’m not Australia bashing – really! But!

As a self-proclaimed foodie or as we say in Danish – Et mad øre – I must comment on the absurd use of cracked pepper that is common in Australian restaurants.
I assume someone has been to Europe and during this trip they were offered cracked pepper from one of those long pepper thingies you often see in Italian restaurants. This has obviously impressed this person to such a degree that they decided that they just had to adopt this tradition. Unfortunately they absolutely missed the point and in the most American of ways took it to the extreme. By taking it to the extreme I mean that in most Aussie restaurants, you are offered cracked pepper from a very phallic looking pepper thing just as the plate hits your table, before you have been given the chance to taste weather you food needs it or not! I mean, really, that is so disrespectful to the chef, the costumer and the food, that it leaves me speechless!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not a Fiasco in sight at Fiasco (Copenhagen)

In my opinion one of the things that marks a good restaurant is its consistency. The fact that it is good every time you return, which only makes sense with the prices good restaurants charge nowadays! My absolute favourite restaurant in Copenhagen – or Frederiksberg to be precise is an Italian place by the funny name of Fiasco. The stile is modern Italian cousin. They do both lunch and dinner. They have a menu system where you pay pr. course so the price does not depend on the course you choose, but on the number of them. I have so far to work my way through a full 5 course meal their – but I will do it one time … I know I can do it! Particularly the antipasti plate is like a taste of heaven! The waiting staff is courteous and very knowledgeable, which I do appreciate!