COOKING WITH AMBASSADORS

Danish cuisine: Hearty, but increasingly healthy

WHILE Danes have taken to eating greener and healthier food over the past decades, meat – and especially pork – dishes originating in the countryside remain one of the mainstays of Danish cuisine.

One of the Danes’ favourite meat-based dishes is frikadeller, or meatballs, says Anita Hugau, the Danish ambassador to Slovakia, who picked these as the main dish to demonstrate to readers of The Slovak Spectator and viewers of Sme TV (an online video service produced by the Sme daily) in a new programme called Cooking with Ambassadors. It aims to present the international food culture and traditions of a range of countries that have representatives in Slovakia.

“There is not a single child in Denmark who would not know what meatballs and potato salad is,” Hugau says, as she mixes together finely chopped pork and onion before adding eggs, wheat flour and a little black pepper and combining them together with a spoon designed by world-famous Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen.

Adding some butter to the hot pan where the meatballs are to be fried, Hugau explains that meatballs, typically smaller ones, are a favourite with Danish children.

“I like it when the butter gets a little bit burned because it gives the food a specific flavour,” she says, sharing one of her secret tips.

According to Hugau, meatballs have many variations in Danish homes. The style of preparation can be changed according to the season, with a lighter summer version, and Danes like to combine them with whatever they happen to have at home – especially vegetables. If there are some left over from dinner, Danes commonly slice meatballs to use as a component of the following day’s smorrebrod, or open sandwich, the Danish lunchtime staple.

People in Hugau’s homeland tend to eat their main meal in the evening, in contrast to Slovaks, who tend to have a bigger meal at lunchtime, comprising soup and a main course, plus occasionally a dessert.

Hugau also included soup in her typical Danish menu, but one which will be unfamiliar to Slovaks. Rather than a starter, koldskal, or cold buttermilk soup, is in fact a dessert.

Before adding one of the main ingredients, raw egg yolk, Hugau provides some advice to would-be chefs in Slovakia, where pasteurised eggs are not generally available: drop each egg into boiling water for 2-3 seconds in order to reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning from the surface or the inside of the shell. She also advises sniffing each egg yolk before adding it to the mix, in order to check for any tell-tale odours that it has gone bad.

Mille Vedel Drews, an intern at the Danish embassy in Bratislava, explains as she helps to prepare the soup, which is flavoured with vanilla and lemon juice to give it a refreshingly zesty taste, that Danes normally eat it with kammerjunker, or small sweet rusks.

When asked about the roots of Danish cuisine; Hugau responds that it is traditionally hearty and has its origin in the countryside – and is hence rather similar to Slovak cuisine – but that Danes are trying to make their diet lighter and healthier.

“The original versions of the food we are serving today were in the old days much heavier and you had gravy served together with the meatballs and big old potatoes,” she explained. “Things have changed quite a lot during the past decades.”

She notes that these days it is very fashionable to eat healthily in Denmark.

“We not only have a green agenda on the political scene; we also have a green agenda when we eat food,” Hugau says, but adds that meat remains an important part of the Danish diet. “At least a little piece of meat [on one’s plate] is very common. But of course you also have a more refined kind of food in Denmark called New Nordic Cuisine, and we have our own variety in Denmark.”

As an example of this she mentions Noma, a Copenhagen restaurant which is famous for its innovative approach to cooking as well as its use of fresh produce and which has been awarded the title ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ for the last three years by the magazine Restaurant.

Hugau concedes that Danes have a sweet tooth, but says they are also trying to reduce their consumption of sugar. As for the foreign cuisine that Danes have grown to love, Hugau names sushi in particular, while noting that it remains expensive and that people, the younger generation especially, are learning how to make it themselves as a result.

Ambassador Hugau then invites her guests to the table where, on typical Royal Copenhagen white and blue porcelain plates, she serves the meatballs with kartoffelsalat, or cold potato salad, and agurkesalat, a marinated cucumber salad. There, as her guests prepare to dig in, she concludes by explaining that Danes generally prefer to take just a small amount rather than piling their plate up with food, and will normally refill their plate depending on how hungry they are.

 

Danish recipes


Meatballs (frikadeller)
Cold potato salad (kartoffelsalat)
Marinated cucumber salad (agurkesalat)
Cold buttermilk soup (koldskal) with small sweet rusks (kammerjunker)

 

 

 

Top stories

UPDATED: Report: Slovakia a finalist to host new car plant

SLOVAKIA and Poland are said to be the last two countries competing for a new unspecified car plant while final decision could be made in the summer 2015.

Monk seal, to be seen in a movie at Ekotopfilm/Envirofilm festival in Bratislava and Banská Bystrica

Countrywide events

Tips for events between May 22 and 31, including a concert of top four world/ethno music Slovak bands, a festival of environmental movies, days of architecture, an opera premiere, a literary festival, two markets of…

The TSS team in 2010: from left,bottom row: Jana Liptáková, Beata Balogová, Ján Pallo, Zuzana Vilikovská; top row: Donald Spatz, Tatiana Štrauchová, Marta Fukasová, Michaela Terenzani, Roman Král, Martina Mišíková, Dáša Košútová, Beata Fojtíková, James Thomson

More independent thought and self-confidence for Slovakia

The Slovak Spectator has been covering the development of Slovakia for two decades now. On the occasion of the celebration of its 20th anniversary it surveyed its founder, head of the Petit Press publishing house as…

Asian tourists in Bratislava

Bratislava tourists good for little more than a three hour tour

IN THE tourist season, the Slovak capital is frequently visited by tourists, including Austrians, Americans and tourists from Asia alike. But most stay just long enough for a brief guided tour, and coffee break…

Anita Hugau

Source:

MOST READ ARTICLES


  1. Drahovská kosa opened the season of scything competitions
  2. UPDATED: Report: Slovakia a finalist to host new car plant
  3. Bratislava tourists good for little more than a three hour tour
  4. Many Slovaks still migrate for work
  5. 4 things to know when drinking in Slovakia
  6. Levoča altar has been reconstructed to full splendour
  7. Fine for child’s death lower than selling goods after sell-by date
  8. Volkswagen opens state-of-the-art body shop
  9. Blog: The state of Services for expats in Bratislava
  10. Countrywide events
  1. Volkswagen opens state-of-the-art body shop
  2. Many Slovaks still migrate for work
  3. Levoča altar has been reconstructed to full splendour
  4. Blog: The state of Services for expats in Bratislava
  5. Bratislava tourists good for little more than a three hour tour
  6. Young Slovak scientists succeed at International Science Fair in Pittsburgh
  7. Slovakia will host ice hockey world championship
  8. 4 things to know when drinking in Slovakia
  9. Russia's Sberbank considers leaving Slovakia
  10. Slovak Božena minesweepers head to Nigeria and Bangladesh
  1. Many Slovaks still migrate for work
  2. Volkswagen opens state-of-the-art body shop
  3. 4 things to know when drinking in Slovakia
  4. Levoča altar has been reconstructed to full splendour
  5. Slovak Božena minesweepers head to Nigeria and Bangladesh
  6. Young Slovak scientists succeed at International Science Fair in Pittsburgh
  7. Russia's Sberbank considers leaving Slovakia
  8. Slovakia will host ice hockey world championship
  9. Blog: The state of Services for expats in Bratislava
  10. Slovak aid to Nepal remains grounded