Here in Denmark, you refer to dates by the week of the year. A concept completely foreign to me back in the US. Everyone here knows this is the 36th week of the year, and if you ask them when they will take their vacation, they are likely to answer you with “I’m headed abroad in week 40” instead of “the first week of October”.
It’s so interesting to me, and I thought it would be a good way to title my new weekly posts, as I need to get better at this system anyways.
I’ve been wanting to share more on here about how things have been abroad for the last 5 months, where we are headed next, and what we miss about Missouri..
So, as there is so much to cover, I think I will just start focussing on this week, and slowly fill you in on all the details.
Last weekend, I was busy in the kitchen, making elderberry syrup from the trees nearby that I foraged from. I collected a full basket, over 100 clusters, that I had to pick each little set of berries off the stems individually. It took a long time, but I’ve always enjoyed those manual tasks. I was lucky it was a nice sunny weekend (the last of the summer) so I sat on the hammock as I plucked the berries and listened to the birds.
I made the syrup by boiling the berries in water, then gently simmering them with cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla, all spices that will be welcome in the winter, when we drink the syrup at first signs of a cold.
On Sunday, we made dinner for our family here who has done so much for us on the island. We made some recipes from the Jerusalem cookbook (that my grandma and I are cooking through this year), as well as chicken Scarpariello, a dish of slow braised chicken and sausages in sweet pepper mustard sauce. With some crispy boiled-then-baked potatoes it was such a nice dinner to welcome in that first bit of crisp air. We noticed that day that fall really was headed to the island..
I had the day off on Monday, so I did what I usually do when I have a weekday off, heading to the library to get some new books to read for the week. I had told myself not to get too many new books to read this time, as I had to bike home with them in my basket, but, when I arrived, they had arranged a whole new book section dedicated to mushroom and foraging guides… so needless to say, the bike ride home was harder than usual due to the heavy books.
Since I had gotten so many books on Monday, I went home fairly early to read, so I decided to head back to town on Tuesday, as I’ve been trying to soak up the last bits of time on the island. I did one of my favorite things, getting a “picnic sandwich” to eat on the park bench and look at the birds chirp around my feet.
It’s so affordable to get healthy food here, especially fruit and vegetables and grocery store bread, and so a baguette, a wedge of brie, some slices of chorizo, and a can of San Pellegrino grapefruit soda was only 5$ all together. 10 kroner here is equivalent to 1.50$, so my rule is usually that anytime up to 10 kroner goes into the shopping basket without concern about the price.. You’d be amazed at how little things I have to stop and think about the price that way. Mostly chips, candy, or beer/wine. Almost all my everyday groceries (except meat) fits in that category. I really really love that aspect of life here. I feel like any recipe I want to make, no matter how many vegetables or ingredients it takes, I can pull off with very little spent.
I woke up Wednesday really wanting to spend the morning in the kitchen. Ev had been helping at the archeological dig this week and taking a lunch, so it felt nice to keep the fridge stocked with some good on-the-go food that didn’t require heating up. I made three more recipes from Jerusalem.. Some pickled lemon slices w/ chilies, mejadra (the lentil+rice dish we have been eating on repeat this summer we love it so much), and a cooked then sliced carrot salad w/vinegar.
I went to work a bit early so I could sit on the beach and enjoy the last sunny day, as the forecast was calling for rain the rest of the week. As I sat in the sand, I just played zen garden, where I take a stick and rake the sand into patterns. My mind wandered onto all the changes coming up, and I couldn’t help but smile thinking of how fast this time is coming, and how excited I am about our move to Copenhagen.
On Thursday I turned a few heads coming home from work on the bus with a giant tub of yogurt, and a whole raw chicken sitting on the seat next to me. Here, the store doesn’t bag your groceries, and if you forgot your bag, you can pay 3 kroner to buy one.. I always remember my bags, except that day, so I sat on the bus keeping my chicken company.
For dinner, I turned that chicken into Sofrito another Jerusalem recipe where the chicken slowly cooks rubbed with paprika, sugar and turmeric, and on a bed of fried potatoes and lots of garlic cloves. It was so delicious and juicy. I was already thinking about leftovers.. (If you know me well, you know my obsession with cold roasted chicken w/mayonaise)
There was a beautiful rainbow in the evening, making up for the rain.. We stood outside to see if it was a full rainbow, but it was only half, hidden by clouds. Somehow it’s the first rainbow I’ve seen since we’ve been here.
Today, we rode bikes to town to get some paperwork done, and decided to go to eat at the Thai take away for lunch. We’d been saving eating out all season, as we’ve been focusing more on saving up, but we wanted to try it before the move. It was delicious and so worth the splurge. Lemongrass, ginger, galangal.. All the flavors I’d missed so much these last few months. We both agreed we should have gone sooner. Still, it felt like a treat and a good celebration lunch.
We’re just 3 sleeps away from our move day to Copenhagen. I’ve been so excited it’s hard to sleep. I’d done a great job of staying calm about it this whole time since we signed the apartment, but now that it’s so close, I’ve felt my nerves building as we get closer to go-time.. I start to overthink. I’m quicker to judgment, to snap, or be tense. All qualities that aren’t me, but can come out when anxious thoughts arise.
For me, change, even good change is always a bit nerve-wreaking and I tend to want to control every part, and plan as much as I can. Sometimes over-planning is just a way to try to get more security out of an unknown situation. I’ve been trying to go with the flow more, to adapt, and to be ok with uncertainty throughout our whole adventure. It feels like I’m learning so much everyday. Growing more than I could have ever expected. Being stretched, expanding myself to the person I want to be.
A lot of my favorite bloggers also share links to what they are reading/listening to that week, so I thought it would be fun to do that as well..
Right now, I’m reading Meyer’s Baking School, a bread book with a major focus on Sourdough. The photos are beautiful and so many exciting recipes for buns, rolls, and more. (this is the US link.. The danish version is much more expanded book it seems)
For listening, I’m still making my way through all the Dave Chang Show episodes. I always love to hear his perspective on everything, and he is great at interviewing guests.
A great article I read this week was The Chez Panisse Cafe cookbook still holds up by Saveur mag. I always love reading about cookbooks, and institutions that are still around, years later with recipes that feel timeless and elegant. There’s no way around it, it’s a beautiful book, and so much of where I first started when I wanted to learn about seasonality and great cooking.
A recipe I want to make soon is roasted tomato soup w/broiled cheddar by Smitten Kitchen. I got to meet Deb a couple winters ago in KC. My family wanted in line with me for hours to meet her and get my cookbooks signed. She gave a great talk about simple eating, and everyday recipes, and she was so great. So, I’m always looking forward to any/all recipes from her. This one, feels like the perfect welcome to fall. Grilled cheese meets soup, all in one mug. Yes. Cue fall movies and falling leaves.