Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Desperate times, desperate measures: Gateau des udlændinge

For one reason or another, I've had to start cooking my own cakes lately. :-( But this is an ideal, healthy recipe that's especially easy. It's brilliant because it combines cake with orange juice! (Well, a whole orange actually.) The key to its success is to cook it stark naked.


1 medium (240g) whole orange
200g butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour


Preheat the oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 20cm cake pan, line base with baking paper.

Process the orange in a small food processor.

Transfer orange to a medium bowl, stir in butter, eggs, sugar and sifted flour until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in a moderate oven for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested.

Use a creme fraiche icing, with lemon juice and icing sugar added.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A place to call home in Denmark - I.

In a moment of madness at the beginning of last year I added up how much money we’d spent in rent since we’d come to Denmark. After a quick trip to Rigshospitalet for some critical coronary care, we decided it was time for us to check out the real estate market in Copenhagen.

Fortunately for us it was right down. Unfortunately for me, job security didn’t seem quite so positive. But, as we had decided to stay longer – indeed we had already overstayed our original plan by a year, we figured we would risk taking the plunge.

And so a most unusual process began.

In Australia anyone can buy property. So much so that most of the crème de real estate is owned by exceedingly rich, dreaded…foreigners!

In Denmark, a land not backwards in coming forward as far as rules and regulations go New in Denmark , aliens must apply to this place: Justiceministeriet for permission to buy a property.

As any self-respecting and law-abiding visiting alien would do, I rang justiceministeriet, expecting this call to be the first of many long, convoluted and frustrating conversations to the relative body who would, over the many months of squabbling ahead, finally become as close as kin. So I was quite surprised when I was given the go ahead to find a place during a conversation that lasted all of 83 seconds.

Next hurdles: Find a nice bank. Find a nice flat.

Ridiculous airfares from Copenhagen

I was considering going to Singapore for Christmas to see my family – until I checked the airfares. For CPH-SIN-CPH it is roughly 5,000kr if I leave before 9 December – can’t do. But wait there’s more! It’s just a paltry 12,000kr if I go after that date. More than double in price. You can actually find flights to Australia for less than 12,000kr.

Not. happy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dragør- Fl 101 on runway 3, clear for sightseeing

I’m thinking I might start carting visitors after their long-haul flight to see me straight over to the old fishing village of Dragør. There are two schools of thought on how it should be pronounced, so I won’t confuse it by adding another in my bastardised Danish. Suffice to say, neither is easy.

Anyway, Dragør is literally located next to the airport but surprisingly quiet. I suspect this is due to the aeroplanes taking off straight over the sea. There are also a couple of good restaurants and at least one smoke house.

You can walk along the coastal strip, which with a mini dyke running along it feels as if you’re actually walking below sea level. The track seems to go quite a way but I didn’t venture that far. I did, however, amuse myself at the image of carting jetlagged weary friends a kilometre or so along it from the airport to check it out before taking them home – with me impressed and them glazed-eyed and care-factor-zero interest.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


It was brief. Winter ended in around about June and summer started immediately. If you ask Danes, they summer was lovely but analysis of this is required to read between the lines. 'Lovely summer' pertains to roughly weeks 29 & 30 when most people go on summer holiday.

However, these first few days of autumn have been beautiful. In Scandinavia, that equates to an Indian Summer, Scandinavian style. You can tell good weather days by the amount of people slouched in their seats at cafes, staring up to the sun, and by the activity in parks and by the lakes. This group of kids were going out on the lake with their barrel and plank raft. No idea how they got it down to the lake - it looked very heavy. Suffice to say, there was a lot of Danish joviality going on.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Due to popular demand!

Christmas time at 'home' in country Australia

Well, one person missed it actually, so I am biting the bullet and starting up again.

It's been pretty close to a year since my last riveting post and quite a bit has happened. Not all interesting. Apart from managing to survive that dreadful year - still haven't forgiven global greedy financiers of all sorts and nationalities but particularly certain American ones - but not completely scarless. Lots of people I know lost their jobs, not just here in Denmark but all over. This year has proved slightly - so far - less dramatic.

I went back to the Antipodes for Christmas and a month's 'holiday'. A term as an expat I can now see why others use it loosely. There's no such thing as a holiday when you go back to where you came from. It was busier than work and, while great catching up with people, very, very frantic. Weird too. If you've never been an expat, I can tell you such a trip is a surprisingly strange experience. You're in the place you've known a gazillion years. You see the people you love, eat at your favourite restaurants, can pretty much find places while driving blindfolded, again in an odd way, you don't really feel like your belong - the other part of your life is thousands of kilometres away. It puts you in a challenging position. You like where you grew up but you also like where you live now.

The reaction probably depends much on where you go. I've known people who've been posted to places they hate (and not everyone likes Denmark btw either). When that's the case, the going home for Christmas is probably trying in another way, knowing you have to return to a place you're not mad about. But for someone like me, who pretty much needs Prozac to get me on the plane on holiday over day, I was surprised how good I felt walking through to no man's land at Melbourne Airport.

I read a book called - strangely enough - Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. She's an Australian who ends up marrying a Frenchman and they live in Paris. But in the story, she talks about a trip prior to that, to Greece. She meets a older Greek Australian who says that he is torn between two places. She doesn't understand what he means until she finds herself, eventually, established in Paris. And that painted a very clear picture to me.