In the spirit of Christmas celebrations and family traditions, I thought this next title would be a good one to share. Have you ever traveled somewhere and it instantly felt like home? How about that nostalgic feeling you get when you go back to where you grew up? In her new book, “Copenhagen Food,” Trine Hahnemann shares recipes and stories about her ongoing love of a city she has called home on and off for almost fifty years.
For those who haven’t visited, Copenhagen is a place that can feel like a big city and a small town at the same time. The waterfronts are constantly changing with new structures, but if you look closely, that familiar bench or hole in the wall restaurant still might be there.
Trine recalls how she would buy marzipan cake with chocolate glaze in a plastic bag as a child; while she still loves the sweet, she now prefers to make it at home. You can find the recipe for this on p. 244 (Kransekage). It’s a great little dessert to make when you want something sweet, but don’t want to make a whole cake or batch of cookies.
One of my favorite things to do while in Copenhagen is to say hello to the little mermaid statue by the Østbanegade. There’s something so effortlessly elegant about the bronze beauty; if you’re in the area, you should definitely pay her a visit.
The book is organized around ten or so neighborhoods in Copenhagen. I tried to pick recipes that highlight traditional dishes and ingredients. I really like how Trine includes both American (Imperial) and metric measurements for the ingredients. While I grew up measuring the American way, I’ve learned metric measurements are oftentimes more precise (and better for recipes that are sensitive to small differences in ingredients).
Another aspect I really like about this cookbook is that every recipe has a color photo and a short blurb about why it is included in the cookbook (e.g. a childhood memory of the author, local significance, suggestions on how to eat it, etc.). So without further adieu, the food!
Honey Bombs (Nyhavn & Gammelholm) p. 14
These are super easy to make and pair well with whatever kind of spread you have on hand (butter, honey, jam, you name it)! Copenhagen markets carry a variety of these bombs, but if you aren’t able to get some in person, this is a great alternative to make the tradition at home. I’d say these are a bit drier and less sweet than a muffin…but slather a bit of butter on them and you’re good to go!
Hakkebøf with Hasselback Potatoes (Nyhavn & Gammelholm) p. 27
If you’re looking for a new dinner staple, look no further. This was a fan favorite when I made it for my family, mostly because it’s packed in flavor and very easy to prepare. We’d never had beetroot with hamburger meet, but the way the recipe calls to prepare it complements the onions and mushrooms. Of all the components, I think the potatoes were my favorite. The way they’re cut allows them to get all crispy, but still intact to dress it like a baked potato (if you’re into that).
Prawns with Dill & Classic Mayonnaise (Frederiksstaden) p. 56
Have you ever paired mayonnaise with shrimp before? No? Well, I hadn’t either before this recipe…and I don’t think I’ll be able to go back (it was that good)! This is a great snack or lunch option that’s easy to prep ahead of time; and by prep, the only thing you have to do other than toasting bread and cutting asparagus into strips, is to peel the shrimp. Personally, I like to cook my vegetables (instead of eating them raw), so the only change I’d make to the recipe is cooking the asparagus instead of serving the ribbons raw. The dill adds an extra little kick that is toned down a little by the mayo. Of all the recipes, I think this one is my favorite.
My Favourite Breakfast (Central Copenhagen) p. 112
Last but certainly not least, a breakfast recipe inspired by Copenhagen eatery, Café Europa. I’m a huge fan of scrambled eggs, and this recipe does not disappoint. It seems like my trend for recipe tests this round was “easy to prepare,” which these are…but again, packed with flavor from the spinach, chili flakes, ham, and tomatoes.
There are tons of other recipes I didn’t have a chance to cover, but fear not, there are lots of local-inspired recipes for things like fish, vegetables, and baked goods. The photography is brilliant and really transports readers into Trine’s kitchen as she shares memories associated with the different dishes and neighborhoods around Copenhagen. All in all, I think this is a very thoughtful book that could easily double as a guidebook as much as it is a window into a local’s perspective on Danish things to eat and see in Copenhagen.
I received this book complimentary on behalf of the publisher, but all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. All photography featured in this post is my own unless noted otherwise; please seek permission before copying or reproducing the images.
Book Stats: Copenhagen Food by Trine Hahnemann
Page Count- 288
Binding- Hardcover with color photography