Copenhagen is one of the coolest cities I’ve visited to date. I have always loved exploring by foot and Copenhagen’s flat landscape makes this a breeze.
We hopped off the train at Copenhagen Central station and made our way up to Torvehallerne food market. On the way, we came across a beautiful park, Ørstedsparken. Open in 1879 and still holding much of its original character, it is full of memorials and classical replicas scattered across the promenade with a spectacular view of a lake which is the rememnants of a moat from a fortification.
Torvehallerne was full of fresh produce to satisfy every foodie’s palette. The perfect place to have a coffee and soak in the city. We then ventured to Rosenborg Castle to explore the gardens. Originally established as a pleasure Garden in the 1700s and to supply fruit, vegetables and flowers to the Danish royal family, it’s pristine manicured lawns were a delight to walk through, with the spectacular view of the castle.
We decided to then delve deeper into the city and head to Frederik’s Kirke. This beautifully ornate church is commonly know as ‘The Marble Church’ and was originally meant to be built entirely out of marble but due to budget restrictions, the dome (which is Scandinavia’s largest) was built from limestone.
Making the most of the dry weather, we walked north through the cobbled streets to Churchillparken. Named after Winston Churchill to commemorate the British assistance in Denmark during the Second World War. Passing St Albans church and Gefionspringvandet, we slowly made our way up to Den lille Havfrue (The little Mermaid). Elegantly perched on a rock, the life size sculpture has received mixed reviews by some, but I was not disappointed.
The photographs I took do not do these parks justice. The colours of autumn bring a sense of magic and capture the ultimate picture for sweater weather.
After an exhausting 10 mile walk, it was time to soak in the hotel’s pool and save the rest of my adventures for another day.
Nachos are the perfect lazy day food. Nothing is more satisfying as having a well deserved day off with a large bowl of Mexican goodness whilst having a Netflix binge. Or, if you’re not as selfish as me, nachos is the ultimate sharing food.
Ingredients Serves 6-8 people
800g chopped tomatoes
500g pork mince
2 tbsp 60% dark chocolate
200g cooked chicken, diced
250g cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsps. smoked garlic, minced
2 tsps red chilies
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup Jalapenos
1/3 cup of sweet corn
1 red onion, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
2 peppers, chopped
200g refried beans
1 tub of Sour Cream
1 tub of Guacamole (I was lazy and didn’t make it from scratch….oops!)
300g Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips
Method 1) Place chopped tomatoes, pork, refried beans, chicken, sweetcorn, onion, spring onion, dark chocolate, peppers, garlic, chilies and jalapenos into a deep pan, stir until pork has cooked.
2) Put butter and flour in a saucepan and set on a low heat, mixing until you have created a roux. Slowly pour the evaporated milk and add 200g grated cheese a mix until cheese has melted into a thick creamy sauce. Add paprika and cayenne pepper to add some spice.
The trick with great nachos is your layers. I use a large and deep cake pan to make my nachos. I layered using chips, meat mix, sour cream, guacamole and some grated cheese. Then repeat until your pan is full. Before putting in the oven, drizzle some cheese sauce on top and put in the oven at 160 degrees for 15 minutes.
Tip: I normally save some of the yummy meat mix for future lunches.
GRAB A FORK AND GET STUCK IN!
Have you tried this recipe? Let me know your thoughts.
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A quick free hour to grab lunch resulted in me paying a visit to Mandarin Garden. As a lover of Chinese food, it was hard not to pass up the opportunity to sample their lunch menu.
This place is all about food. The interior is basic and dated but doesn’t take away from the restaurant’s charm. The quick, friendly service ensured me I would be out in time for class and I was shown a great variety of their best sellers to cater to anyone’s palette.
I opted for the chicken & sweetcorn soup to start. Piping hot and generous on chicken pieces! Next came my Szechuan chicken, full of flavour and hearty. A perfect dish to warm me up in an autumn afternoon.
I was surprised at the generous portion sizes. I was absolutely stuffed leaving the restaurant and all for a very reasonable price. Also they do takeaway so you can enjoy all this goodness without leaving your front door!
Celebrating over 20 years of a band is an accomplishment. 90’s rockers Placebo have decided to play in Brian Molko’s spiritual UK home of Dundee (where his Mother & many of his family members are from and reside). Being a fan of theirs for most of their career and missing out their SSE Hydro date last year due to being in hospital, I was ecstatic that they were playing on my doorstep!
Having only seen comedy shows at The Caird Hall, I was excited to see how it catered to the sound of the band. The buzz of the crowd at the bar was electric with the alternative scene of Dundee truly represented across a spectrum of generations and chatter of excitement for tonight’s show.
However as soon as these bubbling fans entered the hall, the mood halted into borderline boredom. The warm-up band Husky Loops was appropriate to set the mood but overall bland and forgettable and met with little to no engagement.
Placebo started their set with their classic hit ‘Every me, Every You’ which was played through the P.A. with the band not on stage and their music video playing, a disappointing start as it is probably their most famous song and it wasn’t presented to the audience with a live performance. When the band finally came on stage to play ‘Pure Morning’, it was played exquisitely and a highlight of the evening.
The venue itself catered well to the band, providing an intimate and exclusive feel to the group who regularly play venues to ten times the Caird Hall’s capacity. Sound, light and stage design was seamless.
The audience was flat, with weak clapping in between songs, minimal cheering and arm waving. The slow swaying of people showed some engagement towards the band but lyrics were half mimed rather than sung at the top of their lungs.
Brian Molko’s interaction with the audience was poor, diluted and generic and gave the impression he had given up as a result of playing to a small venue and it not being sold out mixed with the reception he received.
After a few songs, the set became forgettable from one bleak and bland song to the next. For a band that was celebrating 20 years and a 7 album discography with many iconic tracks, the song choices and timing of the set was poor. Molko’s performance declined gradually over time however his vocals did not falter. As a seasoned artist and deep into their tour, I would’ve expected a greater effort.
Just over halfway through the set, portions of the crowd slowly started leaving and I decided to bail also. I have not felt disillusioned nor will I stop listening to their albums, but it was a feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’ by both band and audience tonight.
Autumn is finally here! As September draws to an end, the nights are getting longer and that nip in the Scottish air is upon us. The perfect sweater weather!
I was fortunate enough for one of the neighbours to drop off some lovely apples and pears growing in his garden this afternoon so I instantly thought of coming up with the perfect comfort food recipe to make the most of them and celebrate the autumnal season being upon us once again!
Method 1) Place your sliced apples into a saucepan of boiling water, cook until soft.
2) Once soft, drain the water from the pan and add the jam and pears and cinnamon, stirring on a low heat until all fruit is soft.
3) Take pan off the heat and mash fruit with a fork until in a lumpy, incorporated consistency. Set aside to cool.
4) Add sugar, flour and butter into a cold bowl and rub together to form breadcrumbs. Alternatively if you are lazy (like me), add ingredients into a food processor and blitz until breadcrumbs.
5) Place silicon cupcake moulds into a cupcake pan and measure 1 generous tbsp of fruit mixture into each mould. Then top with 1 level tbsp of crumble mixture or enough to evenly cover over the fruit mix.
6) Place in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 15 minutes.
ENJOY WITH HOT VANILLA CUSTARD!
Have you tried this recipe? Let me know your thoughts.
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As a lover of a gin or two, I was excited when it was announced that Dundee was hosting its first gin fayre, showcasing predominantly Scotland’s finest gins. The tickets flew thick and fast and I was lucky to obtain a ticket for their late afternoon session.
Originally meant to be hosted at Dundee University’s Bonar Hall, it was changed last minute to a canteen in a building behind the University’s art school, Duncan of Jordanstone. This sadly resulted in poor signage and a collection of confused ticket holders congregating on the Perth Road with no assistance as to where the venue was located. But we all eventually managed to find our destination through what appeared to be a service entrance. The chaos, however didn’t end there, the stalls were squeezed into a small space with couches from the Student’s Union, making it look more like a jumbled car boot sale than an exclusive event and made what should’ve been a relaxed movement of people into a chaotic mash.
Despite the poor infrastructure of the event, the spirits (no pun intended) were high. We were greeted with an ice cold glass of Gin & Tonic with lemon syrup a slice of lemon garnish. An easy drink to start the afternoon. We were all given a Gin Handbook, detailing the vendors present and 10 tokens to obtain samples. There were over 20 vendors to chose from, most of them in gin samples, so I had to be savvy in my selections.
My first go to was my favourite Gin Distillery, Eden Mill. They have recently released a new range of Gin Liqueurs. I sampled the Pear and Cassia which was sweet enough not to taste syrupy. It will definitely be on my list to be picked up on Pay day!
My next stop was to visit The Gin Bothy. I was instantly drawn to the unusually named gin called ‘Gunshot’. Hunters in the Angus Glens where the distillery is based nicknamed the company’s seasonal Mulled gin ‘Gunshot’ as is it was the chosen tipple in their hipflasks to warm them up in the winter. Thus the name was born to sell the gin all year round. What a great story behind a warm gin laced with cinnamon, cloves & mixed spices.
With it being the Dundee Gin Fayre, a must on the list was to try something from the Dundee Gin Company. The bubbly staff were keen for me to try their Marmalade Gin Liqueur and were full of facts. One fact of note is that is only has 10% sugar, reasonably lower compared to its competitors. It tasted quite similar to Cointreau, with rich warm orange notes. As a lover of Cointreau, this would definitely hold up as a just as refreshing alternative.
Through the throngs of people, I was drawn to the beautiful bottle of the Wild Island Gin. Crafted around their native growing botanicals, this Colonsay based distillery prides itself on being smooth and an easy drink. The best ‘classic’ tasting gin I have ever had.
My favourite gin of the afternoon was the Orkney Gin Company’s Rhubarb Old Tom. The company uses a bathtub style method to produce small batches and is distilled seven times. This flavour in particular has a variety of notes which includes rose, cinnamon and Seville orange peel to compliment the seasonal local rhubarb.
It wasn’t all about the drinks however. There was a plethora of gin accessories for any gin lover. Scottish Borders distillery Lilliard had a wonderful selection of Gin scented candles. Maxwell’s Desserts also sold a variety of baked goods containing Persie’s gin, from Gin Chocolate Mousse Cups to Gin infused Marshmallows. Naturally I picked up some goodies to enjoy when I got home and they most certainly did not disappoint!
I hope No 18 (the event organisers) learn from their mistakes in how they exectuded Dundee’s first ever Gin Fayre. I look forward to them touring again and seeing their improvements.
Were you at the Dundee Gin Fayre? What were your thoughts?
As part of my Hometown Tourist adventures, I wanted to go see some local sport. Having a family who is very fond of football and avid Dundee FC supporters, I have spent countless moments of my early childhood at Dens Park supporting the Dark Blues. So I wanted to avoid such a sport for now and do something different.
Having racked my brain about what else there is in Dundee to spectate, it suddenly came to me. Ice Hockey! Upon further research, I found they actually weren’t half bad having won several titles since its foundation in 2001 including the ‘British National League Playoff Championships’ twice and the ‘Gardiner Conference Championship’. Upon doing more research, I was shocked at the diversity of the team which is made up of Korean-Americans, Swedes and Canadians as well as people from Scotland.
How have I never looked into this before?!
My only understanding of ice hockey comes from watching ‘The Mighty Ducks’ as a kid, so I entered the ice arena with very little knowledge and expectations of what my evening’s experience would be.
The first thing about my evening I noticed was the support. There was over 1,000 spectators that night, with a large majority wearing their team’s ice hockey merchandise. The atmosphere was very family oriented and full of excitement with lots of small children present. Some spectators brought drums to beat whilst the crowds were chanting for their teams.
The second thing of note is that the game is fast. The puck is constantly whizzing around the rink and in the air. Thankfully they have nets in place to catch most of the stray pucks! One lucky young boy managed to even catch a puck that went rogue in one of the stands. The players are skating around at lightening speed, you never know where to look!
The game is played in 3 sections of 20 minutes and there was a lot of pauses for team players to come on/off the rink. I never realised how high impact the game was so that the players can only be on the ice for short bursts of time.
The third thing of note about my first experience of ice hockey is that it is violent. Especially towards the end of the games when every second is crucial to getting that final goal. Sticks were flying, players were crashing into eachother and throwing themselves down onto the ice to make a shot… there was never a dull moment!
The Dundee Stars stormed the first third, having a healthy lead against the Fife Flyers at 5 – 1. The second part of the match was quite subdued with a finishing score of 7 – 2. Then finally Fife came clawing back in a heart-in-mouth final, putting the score to 7 – 5.
So for the perfect entertaining family full of excitement and fast-paced action, check out some ice hockey at your local rink! It’s definitely an experience you will thoroughly enjoy!