Idyllic island Laesoe in Denmark

Strandgården Badehotel, Læsø Strandgården Badehotel, Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø Læsø

If you’ve been following my instagram feed or my facebook page lately, you might have noticed that I’ve been on a trip home to my native Denmark recently. Having only just returned to New Zealand last week, I’m struggling to cope with the depressing wet New Zealand winter weather and the lack of proper heating and insulation at my studio. So I have emerged myself into working through all the images I’ve done, while I’ve been away.

Over the next month or so, I’ll keep the theme of the blog in the name of Denmark, Danish summer, Copenhagen eateries and all things Danish, while I wait for the New Zealand summer to return. If you love everything Scandinavian and miss summer too (or are in fact enjoying Danish summer at the moment), I’m sure there’ll be something for you to be inspired about, get your wanderlust itching again or just take your mind off the crappy weather for a bit.

I’ll start by introducing a place that’s very close to home, or should I say close to “my hometown” and my heart. Somewhere truly idyllic! The Island Læsø in Denmark or Laesoe (in English) is a small island in the North Sea bay Kattegat, just off the coast of the peninsula Jutland, the Danish mainland.

An hour and a half’s ferry ride from my hometown Frederikshavn, you’ll find this idyllic island, also referred to as Kattegat’s perle: “The Pearl of Kattegat”. Once you step off the ferry (or pretty much when you get on it actually), you know you’re on island time. My grandmother grew up here, so I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl, but it’s only after I moved to New Zealand, I’ve come to actually really love this place. It is windblown (due to the lack of hills) but peacefull. It’s full of nostalgica and by gone days of old school Danish fishermen and small town charm. This is truly the outskirts of Denmark, but if you are feeling stressed out, you’ve come to the right place to relax! The island has an amazing and unique nature, and you’ll find the beauty in the small things, such as riding a bike from one end of the island to the other (21km), go horseback riding on Icelandic Ponies or taking a swim at one of the many beaches. The island is known for it’s scampi festival in August and the cute half-timbered houses thatched with seaweed.

The next few upcoming posts, I’ll show a few of the really great places on the island, Læsø Salt Works and a really good place to eat (and sleep). So please stay tuned!

Nordic Winter Fare

NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue NZ House & Garden #238, 20th Anniversary Issue

Having just returned from a fabulous trip to Denmark, where the summer weather has been on it’s very best behaviour (and shooting lots of great food, you’ll see here on the blog later), it is a bit of a chok to get used to the grey, wet and cold New Zealand winter.
This reminded me of the Danish inspired winter dinner I shot for NZ House & Garden’s June issue (#238). It has all the essential recipes for an almost authentic Nordic winter fare, including a warming Mulled Wine, which will be perfect on a cold, wet and windy New Zealand winter evening. Thanks to NZ House & Garden, and Bernadette Hogg for letting me share this Mulled Wine (Gløgg) recipe.

Danish Mulled Wine (Gløgg)
Makes 1 litre, serves 6

1 bottle of good quality red wine
1 cup rum (port, brandy or sherry can be used)
1 tablespoon cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
3 strips of orange peel
1 piece of stem ginger in syrup, sliced
½ cup dark muscovado sugar
1 cup raisins
¼ cup sliced almonds

Place the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange peel, ginger and sugar in with the wine, leave to stand for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible. While the wine is infusing, place the rum in a bowl with the raisins and leave to soak alongside the wine. Pass the rum and raisins through a sieve. Add the reserved rum to the wine mix. Before serving heat the wine mixture over a gentle heat, do not boil. Pour the wine mix through a sieve to remove the spices. Add the soaked raisins and almonds and serve warm.

Note: Gløgg can be cooled and reheated at a low temperature to serve later. If you find it easier the spices can be tied in a piece of muslin and simply removed before serving.

Drink responsibly!

Recipe © Bernadette Hogg. Styling by Claudia Kozub

Images shown from top left: Pork Roast with Baby Caramel Potatoes and Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage, Mulled Wine (Gløgg), Salted Caramel Baby Potatoes (Brunede Kartofler), Roasted Fennel and Lemon Pork Shoulder with Gravy (Flæskesteg med Fennikel og Brun Sovs), Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage (Rødkål), Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce (Ris ala Mande med Kirsebær sauce), Marzipan & Nougat Chocolates (Konfekt af Marzipan og Nougat)

Red Basil Pesto

Red Basil Pesto Red Basil PestoRed Basil Pesto Red Basil PestoRed Basil Pesto Red Basil PestoRed Basil Pesto Red Basil Pesto

I’ve noticed when I make pesto, like the one I did the other day, the basil tends to go brown, after a while. After advice from Annabel Langbein and a bit of reserch on the internet, it seems that blanching the leaves beforehand is the answer to ever delicious looking pesto. So here is an updated version of my pesto recipe that will work just as well with red basil pesto as with green. This time I’ve used pecan nuts, which I think work well with the more bitter flavour of the red basil, but you can use pine nuts as in traditional pesto, if you prefer.

 Red Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, green or red
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pecan nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Toast the pecan nuts lightly over medium heat until golden. Be careful not to burn. Leave to cool. Blanch the basil leaves for just a few seconds in plenty of boiling water, then rinse and cool in an icebath. Dab the leaves dry on a clean teatowel. They don’t need to be superdry, just not soaking wet, so they water out the pesto. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the basil pesto to clean glass jars, and pour over a little olive oil to cover, then seal. The pesto will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Preserving with House and Garden

Currently published in NZ House & Garden Magazine #236, this beautiful preserving story is sure to inspire.
Styling by Claudia Kozub, food styling by Jo Wilcox

From top left:

Crabapples
Spiced Pickled Crabapples
Fig & Sweet Orange Marmalade on Toast with Butter
Nashi & Ginger Chutney on Cheese & Crackers
Golden Peaches in Vanilla Bean Syrup

NZ House & Garden are giving away the recipe for preserving the Golden Peaches in Vanilla Bean Syrup on their website here

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Semi Dried Tomatoes

Baked Tomatoes Baked TomatoesBaked Tomatoes Baked Tomatoes

All this talk about tomatoes, I thought maybe a recipe was in order. Just at the end of the season, if you aren’t growing tomatoes yourself, it should be easy to get loads of them for cheap. Use this easy recipe to intesify and store their beautiful flavour.

Semi Dried Tomatoes
Makes 2 jars

3 kg small tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for cooking
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups of olive oil
Fresh basil (or any other preferred herb)
5 cloves of garlic

Half the tomatoes, spread them on a roasting pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar, and then put them in the oven and bake for 10-12 hours at 100 degrees – preferably overnight. Keep an eye on them towards the end of the cooking time. You don’t want them to be completely dried, but still soft and plump.

Once done to your liking, leave to cool. Place the semi dried tomatoes in glass jars with basil (or any other preferred herb), whole garlic and cover with olive oil.  Seal and place them in the refrigerator. They will keep in the fridge for a couple of months. You can also bake capsicums and chilli to mix in with the tomatoes. Great on toast with goats cheese and basil pesto.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto Basil Pesto Basil Pesto Basil Pesto

On the deck of the studio, I’ve always got a selection of herbs growing. They are great to have handy for shoots, and off course they look nice as well. At the moment, I’ve got more basil than I can eat, so I decided to make some of it into pesto. Here’s a quick and easy recipe:

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for storage
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Toast the pine nuts lightly over medium heat until golden. Be careful not to burn. Leave to cool. Place all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the basil pesto to clean glass jars, and pour over about 1/2 cm of olive oil to cover, then seal. The oil will prevent the pesto from browning. The pesto will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Curious Croppers for Dish

Dish Magazine Issue #53, TomatoesDish Magazine Issue #53, Tomatoes Dish Magazine Issue #53, Tomatoes

In April 2010 my first photoshoot on NZ soil was published in Dish 29, their annual italian issue. This month, 4 years later, I’m on the cover of this years italian issue (currently out now). Thank you Dish for all the good times and for being a loyal client! Styling by The Props Department, platter on the cover from Flotsam & Jetsam and tomatoes from Curious Croppers

 

Curious Croppers

Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers Curious Croppers

Sometime in the beginning of summer, I went to visit Angela & Anthony Tringham’s farm in Clevedon valley. Angela & Anthony are the Curious Croppers, a pair of ambitious and hardworking tomato and vegetable growers, with a passion for beautiful produce and delicioius meals.

I first met Angela & Anthony on an assignment to photograph their farm for Dish Magazine during summer of 2013, and totally fell in love with their incredible play house of a green house “gone wild”. This is where they experiment and grow all sorts of fantastic variants of tomatoes, and other veges, that you wouldn’t dream exsisted. Anthony sources seeds from all over the world, to test out in the play house, and see if there just might be market for something special here in New Zealand. There is! Curious Croppers supplies their top of the class tomatoes to many of the high end restaurants across the country, and you will often find them out and about, testing their produce on one of Aucklands trendy eateries.

You can find the Curious Croppers tomoatoes for your own cooking at the Clevedon Valley Farmers Market, and in Farro Fresh Supermarkets. Since my first visit, Angela & Anthony has probably become the biggest fans of my work, so this little post is a tribute to you guys. Thanks for all the love, and for filling my tummy with my all time favorite flavour: Tomatoes!

Vanilla Cocktails for New Year

The Cocktail Cabinet/ Vanilla Table The Cocktail Cabinet/ The Vanilla Table

A very last minute blogpost with a couple of ideas for New Year cocktails. These are brought to you by Vanilla Table author Natasha MacAller and will work well for New Years eve where ever you are or at any cocktail party really. Cocktails are all the rage at the moment, so easy to make, and sure to impress! Cheers and Happy New Year! (Drink responsibly)

The Vanilla Lemon Drop
Serves 1
Inspired by a Taste of Vanilla Lemonade, this perfect celebration cocktail, combining two fragrant tastes and only takes mere seconds to mix and enjoy!

Vodka 60ml/ 2 shots/ 2  fl oz
Lemon juice, Fresh, Strained  30ml/1 shot/1 fl oz
Vanilla syrup (I used Heilala) 2 tsp/10ml
Vanilla bean sliver for garnish

Pour liquid ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake well, Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a sliver of vanilla bean.

*1 shot equals  30 ml/1 fl oz

The South Pacific Star
Fragrant with Passion fruit and Proseco, this south pacific summer party cocktail was served at “Cuisines of the Sun” in Hawaii for 350 guests! This updated version Serves about 12.

42 Below Passion Fruit vodka 235 ml/8fl oz/8 shots
Heilala Vanilla Syrup 175 ml/6 fl oz/6 shots
Proseco or NZ Sparkling wine (I used a blush style) 1 bottle/750ml/3/4 fl qt.
Passion Fruit Fresh, pulp and seeds about 12/235ml/8fl oz
Vanilla bitters 2 dashes (optional)
Orchids to float and garnish

Pour together vodka, vanilla syrup (and bitters if using) then Proseco in a large jug. Layer ice cubes in bottom of a large punch bowl (3 liters). Drizzle over ice a third of passionfruit pulp and seeds. Add another layer of ice and more passionfruit. Repeat once more. Slowly pour the liquid in the center of the punch bowl, garnish with orchids and serve immediately.

1 shot equals 30 ml/1 fl oz

Recipes © Natasha MacAller. Thanks to The Studio of Tableware for letting us borrow the trifle bowl, used as punch bowl. All other props photographers or food stylists own.

Christmas with House and Garden

NZ House & Garden Magazine issue 232, Casual Christmas NZ House & Garden Magazine issue 232, Casual Christmas

Heading off to the beach or the bach for a casual Christmas dinner, or straight after Christmas day? Here’s a few fabulous and quick entertaining ideas from a shoot I did with Claudia Kozub (Style Etc & Indie Home Collective) and Bernadette Hogg for NZ House & Garden’s Christmas issue 2013. Easy to do with leftover ham, these recipes are sure to impress.

Fruity Tea Punch

2 cups strong tea
11/2 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
1⁄4 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
2 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups orange juice, chilled
slices of orange, lemon, ginger and fresh mint sprigs for garnish
1.25 litres ginger ale, chilled

Place tea and sugar in a large saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, to dissolve sugar. Add lemon and lime juices, bring to the boil then remove from heat to cool.
Place some of the cooled liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. Put remaining punch base into fridge to chill thoroughly (or freeze if making ahead).
When ready to serve, place punch base, punch ice cubes, pineapple and orange juices, slices of orange, lemon, lime and fresh ginger into a punch bowl or serving container. Add chilled ginger ale and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Makes about 2.5 litres

The base of this refreshing beverage can be made up to a week in advance and frozen. Thaw it on the morning it is needed – although it doesn’t need to thaw completely as it can be used slightly slushy. Add the ginger ale and garnish just before serving.

Roasted Pear and Glazed Ham Platter

Place tea and sugar in a large saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, to dissolve sugar. Add lemon and lime juices, bring to the boil then remove from heat to cool.
Place some of the cooled liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. Put remaining punch base into fridge to chill thoroughly (or freeze if making ahead).
When ready to serve, place punch base, punch ice cubes, pineapple and orange juices, slices of orange, lemon, lime and fresh ginger into a punch bowl or serving container. Add chilled ginger ale and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Makes about 2.5 litres

This dish gets the ham cooking out of the way nice and early, as it can be glazed and cooked several days beforehand. Slice it on the morning required, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until half an hour before serving. The pears, onions and cherries can be roasted the day before needed.

5 firm but ripe pears, skin on, cored and quartered
3 red onions, outer skin removed, each cut into 8 wedges
2 smallish cinnamon sticks
1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely sliced
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons each: maple syrup, sweet chilli sauce, olive oil, rice wine vinegar juice of 1 lemon
200g fresh cherries
1 1⁄2kg cooked glazed ham, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking dish with baking paper.
Place pear quarters and red onion wedges in a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except cherries and ham. Toss to coat pears well.
Tip pear and onion mixture into prepared dish and arrange in a single layer. Bake about 60 minutes, turning pears and onion every 15 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, scatter cherries over. Remove pan from oven when pears are tender and golden. Cool to room temperature. If making ahead, store covered in the fridge and remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, arrange pears, onion and cherries decoratively on a platter with sliced ham. Serves 6-8