Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !

Image from Cape Cod Collegiate
Looking back at 2012 on this last day of December, what are your best memories from the past 12 months? We hope you have a lot to laugh about and be proud of, and that you are looking forward to a no-less-exciting 2013. Happy New Year to you all and your loved ones !

P.S. Here in Denmark it is an absolute must to celebrate the arrival of the New Year with a very special kransekage. You can buy this yummy little thing in every bakery, or you could try making one from scratch. Here is the kransekage recipe from my new danish Baking-Bible: Bagebog by Claus Meyer. And if you need a translation from Danish, do let us know. Enjoy !

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sale: Fun T's

By Malene Birger
The Kooples
Fancy Tee

If you haven't yet made plans for this last Sunday of the year, why not indulge yourself a little, and get a small yet fun New Year present for your friends, boy or girl-friend, sister, brother, YOU: these fun t-shirts are now on sale, and can be purchased online (french The Kooples and Maje, plus american Fancy Tee) or right at the store (danish By Malene Birger and Ganni, or italian Diesel). You know you want it. 
Have fun !

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Birthday cakes

Do you happen to know a lot of people whose birthdays are at the end of December? We have at least nine - jeps, our friends who were born between December 23-28. Hence lots of cheer, parties and birthday cakes right in the middle of the Holiday Season. What's your favourite birthday cake? Please send us your best recipes ! And in the meantime, here's ours: layer cake (lagkage in Danish) - by the wonderful Baking Book by Claus Meyer

For the 3-4 layers
4 large eggs
120g flour
125 g sugar

Pre-warm the oven to 190C. Beat the eggs and sugar, gradually start adding flour to the mix. Split the dough into 3-4 parts, and bake each layer in the middle of the oven for 15-20 min, until golden. 

For the filling (our own recipes)
(1) 1 package of piskefloede (cream, in Danish)
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

(2) or, you can also add a layer of the dulce lece (dolce latte, or karamelkreme)

Beat all the ingredients (1) with an electric hand-mixer until thick and creamy; chill in the fridge for about an hour. Generously spread the filling on each layer, add the decorations of your choice on top and to the sides of your layer-cake - voila. 

P.S. Happy Birthday, to all the cool people born today ! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas in a nutshell

We hope you had a beautiful Christmas, filled with joy, happiness and love. And of course lots of fantastic food, sparkly, wine and schnapps, many-many hours of sleep, exciting Christmas presents and everything else you planned to do during the Christmas holiday weekend. As for us here in Denmark, here is a snapshot of some of the wonderful things we did, saw, ate, baked and generally enjoyed very much (yes, especially all the Christmas presents). Recipes for the homemade focaccia (divine) and danish 'kokostoppe'  - coconut pyramid cookies, will follow later this week. Hopefully you don't have to go to work today either - enjoy one more Christmas day !

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas !

Our Christmas tree in London

Our Christmas tree in Copenhagen
From BLCK - Berlin, London, Copenhagen and Kyiv - we would like to take this opportunity and wish you all a very hyggeligt, warm, joyous, wonderful Christmas. May it be a very special time with your families and all the loved ones. We hope you have enjoyed decorating your Christmas tree just as much as we did here in London and Copenhagen (while the tree in Kyiv is on its way: Ukrainian Christmas Eve is on January 6). If you are looking for more inspiration, check out a sweet little video from Oh Joy! that has been posted on Christina's beautiful blog today: Christmas tree has never looked better.
Happy Holidays !

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taking a break

Delicious and relaxing brunch at Kalaset, Copenhagen

From this coming Saturday here in Denmark we are officially on a Christmas break: 5 days of holidays, a very special time with the family, with lots of hygge: great company, great food, Christmas songs, excitement over the Christmas gifts exchange, plus sleeping, relaxing and catching up on all the books, movies, tv-series we haven't had the time to get to lately. 
Speaking of movies and good TV: Netflix is a great place to start. The first month is free of charge, followed by a monthly fee of DKK 79, and you get access to a variety of drama, comedy, action, you name it, right there on your computer, phone or tablet, HDTV. And when you need a break from that, go out for a good, long, relaxing brunch: Kalaset cafe has both, excellent food and the atmosphere. Try their Mormor (Grandma's) Brunch.  
Now, just two more days of work... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Charity Bar in Copenhagen December 20

To support a good cause - Børn og Unge I Nød (Kids In Need) initiative, join the monthly Charity Bar at 17:00 hrs tomorrow, Thursday December 20, at the CPH Piano showroom, Bredgade 6, 1260, København K.
The ticket (remember cash) costs DKK 200, covering free bubbly and entrance to Simons night-club from 21:00hrs.
Spread the word!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let's have some gløgg

The image found on Pinterest here
Mulled wine, or gløgg in Danish, is one of those much enjoyable Christmassy things that you just can't get enough during the holiday season. It's so comforting, warm, sweet and spicy, and contains just enough alcohol to make you feel good about the world and be merry. According to the AOK.DK, these are the top five Copenhagen places with the best gløgg in town; we tried just one from the list so far - the classic Hviids Vinstue on Kongens Nytorv right next to Magasin - and were immediately sold, coming back again, and again, and again.. The best gløgg ever. Skål ! P.S. If you have any DYI gløgg recipes, please send them our way, tak!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread people

It is hard to believe that this is already the last week before Christmas. Hopefully you've got all your Christmas presents shopping covered, and now can just relax and enjoy a glass of gløgg and some delicious home-baked goods. Speaking of which: inspired by the recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (thank you Joyce and James), i have finally baked my very first gingerbread cookies. It was so much fun decorating these little gingerbread people, and I ended up with a couple of ghosts (all-white - overused royal icing). Try making them with your kids ! Enjoy and have a great week

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas gifts inspiration

Faust's Potions Hangover Cure: Asleep and Awake, can be found here
With less than two weeks to Christmas, many of us are still maniacally running around trying to find the most original, fun and special Christmas presents for our children, boyfriends and husbands, parents, friends, colleagues, distant relatives... There are loads of Holiday gift guides around, check for instance this - manly, this - girly, this - for people you really like, this - for your bundle of joy, this - for new Moms with a sweet tooth, and this - for pretty much everyone in your life, or for yet more inspiration go to the Cult Beauty's gift guide for The Impossibles (Faust's Potions Hangover Cure, anyone? :)
Have fun in the process !

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pumpkin chocolate cheese-cake

With my well-documented passion for cheese-cakes, here and here, it is no surprise I am posting yet another recipe for a rich, indulgent, festive and guaranteed to make you happy Pumpkin Chocolate triple-layer Cheese-cake. I made it for our last friday julefrokost, and my advice would be to ensure your guests save enough space and appetite for the dessert: this flavour-packed cake is a feast in itself. But hey, life is too short, and we're right in the middle of the holiday season. (Just do the double-run at your gym in the morning after, and you will be fine).
I followed this recipe, and replaced bourbon with pisco, plus skipped the bitters. Enjoy and have a great week ahead !

Friday, December 07, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Holiday Season is all about baked goods (and well, large quantities of glogg - Danish mulled wine). I have a weakness for salted caramel, so when i saw these cookies on Pinterest, i couldn't resist. The recipe comes from here, yet i adjusted it a little since the recommended baking time and the oven temperature did not quite work for my cookies. So here you go:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder :)
  • 70 g salted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 6-7 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each (i used ukrainian candy Korivka)
  • sea salt
Preheat oven to 190 C.
Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
With an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (may take a couple minutes of stirring). Fold in the chocolate chips (do not add the caramels yet). 
Chill dough for at least 30 minutes (or up to 5 days) in the refrigerator. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. The centers should appear very soft and puffy. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt while they are warm. Let cool completely and enjoy!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Roll the dice and tell a story

Image from the Rory's Story Cubes
Welcome to the Kids Zone on our blog! 
If you are looking for a creative and fun Christmas gift for your children (and something you can happily play with, too), check out these award-winning Rory's Story Cubes.
Here in London we had these wonderful story cubes delivered last weekend and we all loved them instantly, already spending hours taking turns to tell our own stories. Some are better then others, some funny, some sad, but these little cubes definitely encourage your child’s and your own imagination to go to all sorts of places in a matter of a dice throw.  A truly amazing toy! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Advent calendar

Irynka's Advent Calendar in Berlin
If you haven't yet got your own Advent Calendar, it is not too late. Hurry up and either buy or make one - there is lots of inspiration in the stores, on the net (try Pinterest), for either a ready-made or DIY one. Exquisite Danish chocolates by Summerbird are guaranteed to make you happy every day until Christmas if you decide to go for the Calendar filled with candy. Or, you may want to stock it with the fun presents for your kids, using an adorable handmade Calendar created by Zhenia for little Marianka and Zacky in London. Or, someone special in your life might decide to spoil you this Holiday season, and create a cool Calendar with little everyday surprises, like the one Irynka got in Berlin. 
Enjoy the Holiday spirit, and remember to check out AOK.DK Guide for the daily festive happenings in Copenhagen !
Marianka & Zacky's Advent Calendar in London

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

All I Want For Christmas

What is on your Christmas wish-list this year? In case you need some inspiration, check out the Companys store on Stroeget in Copenhagen; their team of personal shoppers put together a little preview - this stylish selection of their top 10 favourite products. 
For more Christmas presents, check out Superlove store, Illum (variety of special offers this week), My Roots little boutique on Gammel Kongevej in Frederiksberg (amazing selection of organic beauty products) and of course don't forget Hotel Chocolat (their  hot chocolate with chilli is to die for). Please share your ideas for the best Christmas presents with us - and enjoy Christmas shopping !

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mix Things Up Cookies

For a cozy pre-Christmas get-together at my friend Eva's on Sunday I decided to bake these Mix-things-up cookies yesterday morning. I found above picture on Pinterest and was immediately sold: the cookies (and the jar with ingredients) looked pretty, festive, and the recipe was super easy to follow. It took just a little over 20 min, from mixing to baking, and my friends all enjoyed them. Instead of adding M&M's though I used these, earlier introduced Hershey Pumpkin Spice Kisses that i pressed into the fresh-from-the-oven cookies. Highly recommend them for the holiday season. Have a great week !

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Mini-guide: how to survive the office Christmas party

The guy in the Santa costume always has the most fun.Photo: SSPL/Getty Images
Good Saturday morning! it is officially the winter time here in Copenhagen. 
Hope you have all survived last night Julefrokost if you've been to one. And if yours is still ahead, you might find this little article - How Drunk Can You Get at Your Office Christmas Party - and below quick guide quite amusing, and hopefully helpful in preventing any Monday-morning-embarrassment. Enjoy your weekend !

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to school

Image by Ane Vangen found here
A few weeks ago my colleague Elena introduced me to Coursera - online university courses, which are free and available to anyone who's interested in learning something new. The range of the universities providing these courses is broad, from Duke to University of California to Stanford to Johns Hopkins University, and many others. And the list of their courses is pretty impressive: a History of the World since 1300, or Introduction to Mathematical Thinking, or Learn to Program: The Fundamentals, or Design, or Think Again: How to Reason and Argue, to name a few.  The latter is the one my friend Ani, Elena and i are taking right now; and it's really cool - the video lectures, the exercises, the quizzes, reading material. You can do it in your free time, on a couch,  night or day, and literally become smarter - and entertained - for free. Try it out and let us know what you think

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas party outfit - part two

Thakoon draped dress from here 
Iris & Ink lace tunic dress from here
DKNY stretch-jersey dress from here
Lanvin draped jersey dress from here
J.Crew cocktail silk taffeta dress from here

J.Crew cocktail dress ON SALE here

With less than a month till Christmas, our search for that perfect Christmas party outfit is full on. Further to the first update on party dresses - all black or sparkly - we've now been looking into more colourful outfits, primarily in red, pink, raspberry, spice wine and hot orange colours. Which one is your favourite? TheOutnet is now running a special holiday dress campaign, with heavily discounted pieces from any designer you can think of - Thakoon, Iris & Ink, DKNY, Lanvin, plus many many more. And american J.Crew which are now also shipping to Denmark, have these cute and inexpensive cocktail dresses - take your pick. Happy Christmas outfit shopping !