1968 – I took my first step out into the wide world … I moved across the water to Denmark – was 19 at the time. Hadn’t said anything to my mum that I had applied for a job “abroad” – so when I got it and I told my mum … she went into shock – I think , but she never stopped me. My first job in Denmark was as room-maid at the prestigious Hotel Marienlyst in Helsingör. Pure luxury and in the black French maid uniform I learned the hard way how to clean and how to make white tiled bathrooms sparkling. It took tears, sweat and soar feets. My uniform was a bit longer than this – the rest is spot on. We had to wear heels to it and my legs where far greater and taller than hers! *smile It was at Marienlyst I where introduced to this Danish dish – that I still can crave for, Øllebrød (Beerbread) . If there is anything the Danish are famous for food wise – it’s their open Sandwiches, Smørrebrød (Butterandbread). A small slice of dark rye bread with topped with “art” – the topping makes the sandwich look double the size and it’s really a whole dinner on top of a small piece of bread.
Øllebrød is a traditional Danish dish – a type of porridge made of rye bread scraps and beer, typically beer. A thrifty dish, it makes it possible to use the rest of the bread scraps so that nothing is wasted. The idea originated from monastic living, when monks would dip their bread into hot beer.
Not easy to find a recipe of this traditional Danish dish – but I found this on a German website and it’s how I remember how the chefs did it. Some call it “Beer Bread Soup” and some call it “Beer Bread Porridge” in English. We, the staff, at Marienlyst Hotel got it as lunch every Saturday and as I said I can still crave for it. The best thing about it is that it’s very healthy, rich on fiber and B-vitamins, but also full of calories, 540cal per portion.
Øllebrød, serves 4
350g (12.4oz) dark rye bread,
0,5 ltr (1pint) water
2 bottles of malt beer
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece orange peel – 3x10cm
85 (3oz) gr sugar (100ml)
15ml (1tbsp) fresh orange juice
Cut the bread (with crust) into small cubes, cover with water – let stand overnight in fridge well covered. Put the bread into a pot together with beer, cinnamon and orange peel. Bring mixture to a boil and let it cook on low heat, covered, for approx. 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally. Add sugar and orange juice, when heat through and season to taste. Remove cinnamon stick and orange peel before serving.
Serve with whipped cream
When I moved on from Marienlyst to SAS Hotel Royal in Copenhagen I started in kitchen and when asked what I would like to be trained in – hot, smorgasbord or smørrebrød and I chose smørrebrød – so I’m fully trained sandwich-maid and can put art on a small piece of bread.
We will come to that later.
“24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?”
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