Sunday, 24 June 2012

Going away? Don't forget to take your box ...

This old Aarstiderne box was found in a customer's garden shed when she moved into her new house.
 Thanks to Heather Davidson-Meyn at H2Ophotography for the photo.

If you're going away this summer, don't forget that at any time you can put your Aarstiderne box subscription on hold.

Did you know that its also possible to take your box with you on holiday? Aarstiderne will deliver to your holiday address in Denmark over the summer but don't forget to check the delivery day at your holiday destination though, as it might be different to the one you're used to at home.

To arrange to have your box delivered to you on holiday, here's what you have to do :

1.  Go to and log into your account.

2.  Click on 'Ferieoversigt' on the right hand side.

3.  Select your holiday start and finish dates. Both dates are inclusive.

4.  If you would like to take delivery at your holiday address, choose option 'ja' under 'Tilføj ferieadresse' then enter your holiday address in Denmark. Be aware that the delivery day may be different at your holiday address.

5.  Click on 'Opret ferie'.

6.  You will then receive an email confirming that your holiday has been registered and your box subscription re-directed.

What could be easier than that?! Have a wonderful summer....

(Katherine Ball)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Sankt Hans: Something for the Weekend

It has felt like pretty much the longest day of the year today, the first of the children’s summer holiday. We are all tired and ready for the long weeks ahead, lazy days in each others company exploring Denmark and it’s surrounding neighbours. The morning began as usual with an early dash to pick up and then deposit children at a fantastic art program, swiftly followed by the first trip of the day to the airport. Added to this were the jobs that come when leaving children in the care of their grandparents for the weekend plus the collection of a tuxedo and the now utterly covered in paint children.

Exhausting yes, but only the beginning because I now write this post at 12:10 in my hotel room in Stockholm where I arrived two hours ago at the end of the very long day. Of course it isn’t actually the longest day of the year because that honour belongs to tomorrow and ‘Midsummer’s eve’. We are in Stockholm, in part for a Midsummer party of which I have heard much but have am yet to experience. I’ve seen videos but I believe it needs to be lived rather than watched and so there we go on our boat into the unknown at eight o'clock in the morning.
Were we not to be away then we would most certainly be joining the party at Aarstiderne, down at Krogerup farm. You of course are welcome to join the fun as everyone shares food, drink and dancing with the Abba Dancing Queen band. It promises to be a blast and I am quite sad to miss it, that might be because I am always sad to miss the delicious food but I don't think so. It will be a really 'cozy' evening with your Danish neighbours with the bonus of fabulously tasty food and drinks.

As I  now wrap up one very long day in preparation of tomorrow I look forward to embracing another Scandinavian tradition. I hope you have a wonderful evening wherever you may be and we'd love to see some pictures of your celebrations here at Soil to Stove.

Entrance is free
Beer is from 25kr
Drinks from 60kr
Food is weighed by plate 1/2 kilo costs 55kr 

S McWilliam

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Roast pork with a midsummer twist

For the Vikings, midsummer was a time for visiting healing wells and building bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Medieval doctors would mark the occasion by gathering the herbs needed for the forthcoming year of healing. Nowadays Sankt Hans (St John's) is celebrated with bonfires and picnics on the beach, songs and speeches. This year Aarstiderne is throwing a party that promises to be up there with the best of them so if you don't yet have plans for celebrating the midsummer on 23 June, then mark it in your diary.

There'll be a bonfire (of course!!), a sumptuous feast on the grill, home brewed beer music from the ABBA tribute band, Dancing Queen. Say no more, its going to be mega midsummer mania at Krogerup. Its free to come along, just bring money to buy drinks etc. The fun kicks off when the bar opens at 4 pm. For more details, click here

If, however, you already have plans to gather your friends together but are still looking for something to cook that has the ritual comfort of a winter roast but is lighter and sits well with a summer salad, Aarstiderne's recipe for rib roast with a grain salad and summer vegetables, is the answer.

This recipe is simple to cook and has a lovely blend of textures and flavours. The crackling crisps up nicely and the grain salad keeps things fresh and light with the earthy tastes of spelt and parsley. Here is a translation of the recipe that we tried this week...

Rib roast  (ribbenssteg) with grain, corn and summer vegetable

You will need:

Approx 1 kg rib roast (ribbenssteg)
Lemon zest and juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
250 g cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp oil
300 g whole grains (such as spelt, kamut or wheat kernels)
500 g vegetables (onion, carrots and celery)
Thyme sprigs, lemon zest and bay leaves
200 ml white wine
2 corn cobs
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
green beans
chopped parsley
4 carrots
half garlic

Preheat the oven to 165ºC. Pour 500 ml boiling water into a roasting pan and place the meat in with the rind in the water. Place the roasting pan in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile slice the onions, carrots and celery into large pieces and brown them in a little oil. Add the garlic and the wine. Let the wine cook off and then put the mixture into an oven proof dish.

Take the roast out of the oven and rub it with coarse salt. Place the lemon peel, the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs in the crackling and then place the meat on top of the vegetable mixture in the ovenproof dish and roast it for 1-1.5 hours. Raise the temperature to 225ºC for the last 5 to 10 minutes if the crackling has not crisped. When it is finished cooking, let the meat rest for 20 minutes.

Boil the grains with the garlic and bay leaves for about 30 minutes, add 2 tbsp salt and let them soak for 5 minutes before draining. Cook the corn cobs in salted water for about 10 minutes then cool them slightly before cutting the kernels off with a sharp knife. Peel and slice the carrots and 'top and tail' the beans then steam them in 2 cups of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.

Halve or chop the tomatoes and add these to the warm grains. Mix the lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and oil to make a dressing. Stir the dressing and chopped parsley through the grain salad.

Serve the roast sliced with the salad and vegetables.

(Katherine Ball)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

'An office out in the open fields'

Here's what some of the team at Krogerup have to say about working for Aarstiderne (and why a salamander sighting is a good thing!):


Jacob Dietz

 Role: HR manager
Best expression you've come across? "WYSIWYG - What you see, is what you get. Today it is the fundamental principle of communication at Aarstiderne and it makes it a whole lot easier."
Favourite vegetable? "Lemon - with lobster and mayo and sunshine!"

Thomas Nielsen
Role: Pathfinder and leader of Haver til Maver
What is Haver til Maver? "It is Aarstiderne's school service where every year we have 15,000 children visit the farm and grow their own garden, experience nature and make food. Many adults come too as they are also fascinated by horticulture."
Why are you here on the farm? "Because here there is the freedom to have a great idea, bring people on board and see the idea come to life."
Favourite animal? "Salamanders. When there are salamanders living in our wetlands, its a sign that nature is doing well."

Peter Laxdal

Role: Pathfinder at Haver til Maver
What's fun about teaching children? "Its fun to feel the thrill when children are outdoors or cooking over an open fire. There's just excitement and joy across the board."
Do you grow your own vegetables? "I grow herbs and berries on my plot in Værløse"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "Even more of a farmer!"

Vibeke Ankjær Axværd

Role: Customer service
Favourite fruit? "I prefer sour fruits: lemon, oranges, cherries and strawberries"
Why Aarstiderne? "I raved about the place for ages and I wanted to work in a modern company. I expected that I would work in a place where 'what they said' and 'what they did' were not far apart. Aarstiderne is that place."

Mette Andersen

Role: Team leader communication and marketing
Favourite vegetable: "Artichoke, because it looks so utterly beautiful and tastes fantastic."
Why Aarstiderne? "It was not meant to be that I should have any other job, the farm was amazing and it has become what it is.."

Charlie Thyboe
Role: Customer service
What do you contribute most to Aarstiderne? "I bring a good working culture, by being nice to customers and a good colleague".
Why Aarstiderne? "The location, the colleagues and because I have a job that gives me energy and makes me happy when I go home to my family".

Thomas Hess Nielsen

Role: Meals manager with responsibility for Aarstidernes kitchen, events and products. 
Favourite task? "I like putting together what is going in the boxes each week and influencing what lands on Denmark's dining tables"
Why Aarstiderne? "Here I can combine my skills as a facilitator and as a chef and I like beautiful vegetables."

Jesper Rendtorff 

Role: Project manager with responsibility for corporate entertainment
Favourite vegetable? "Tomato. Tomato salad is the food of kings!"
Strangest experience at Aarstiderne? "Having a party with 120 people and the well running out of water! Luckily it was a party for engineers and so we quickly got water again!"

Lone Kaalby 
Role: Customer service
Why Aarstiderne? ”It makes sense to work in a company that is growing, where the product is sustainable and that is linked to my passions for fine ingredients and a healthy lifestyle. Yes and I also love to eat and at Aarstiderne there are great lunches!"
…and the farm? "I enjoy the surroundings every day – really Morten Korch…."
Family's favourite vegetable? ”Most of them and carrots - we get through those in a big way"

Lone Hvid 

Role: Responsible for farm sales at Krogerup Avlsgaard
What is it like to work at Aarstiderne? "It is a great pleasure to have an office out in the open fields”
Are you going to be a farmer when you grow up: ”I don't know whether I'll ever grow up - but I would like to keep on working with organic produce."

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Herby helpers: Something for the Weekend

Sitting in the garden in our childhood home in London my sister and I would spend endless hours creating stories immersed in role play. My sister was and actually still is passionate about horses, she would build jumps and dressed in jodhpurs work tirelessly to train the inadequate rider at the end of the rope. That rider would be me, her non equestrian sister who I have to say with hindsight, was incredibly patient with the endless rounds of the garden made on a hobby horse. When we were done playing riding and no, I never got to be anything but the horse, we would explore our garden finding things to do. 
Flat leaf Parsley

We each had a little patch that we were encouraged to grow salad and herbs on and most summers were able to harvest a fair crop from our one metre squared. As well as tiny carrots and bright green lettuce I was the undisputed champion of Chives and would happily snack on them as I trotted past on my well worn fabric horse. When I was allowed to rest I would collect handfuls of chives and set about cooking with them in the garden. It is a wonder quite frankly that I am alive today to record the delicious recipe, now that I remember my house speciality, egg a la chive. Over a freshly dug pit filled with tea lights and a BBQ crate I would hold a bowl with whisked egg and chives and attempt to cook omlette by the power of candle. I actually cannot remember the taste which makes me wonder whether as a reward for all her hard teaching I let my younger sister have the honour.

Chives in the kitchen garden, Aarstiderne

All these years later I still rely on herbs to flavour and enhance the dishes I cook. Just today the children and I hollowed cherry tomatoes and using a cocktail stick to keep them in place, filled the tomato with a mini mozzarella and a leaf of basil, a bite sized caprese salad if you will. A simple roast chicken can be transformed in moments with the addition of thyme and some lemon before going into the oven and I couldn't begin to make foccacia without beautiful long sprigs of rosemary studded into the voluptuous soft dough.
Aarstiderne offer a herb box dedicated to providing three types of herb each week, there is no set selection for that depends on what is being grown down on the fields at Billeslund in Jutland. This is where chief gardener Frank van Beek grows seventeen varieties of herb on the field, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley and dill to name but a few. 
I wouldn’t suggest cold egg a la chive as my Something for the Weekend, but I do recommend using fresh herbs to bring excitement to your dishes. Why not try a quick fresh pesto with pasta or a dill dressing for some crisp Danish cucumber salad this weekend, your tastebuds will sit up and take notice.

The Herb box costs 49 kr
Click here for more information

Sally McWilliam

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rhubarb: trifling with the vegetable that thinks its a fruit

Those with gardens tell me that there is still rhubarb growing aplenty and so although it is strictly a springtime crop, I hope I will be forgiven for bringing it up in June. Aarstiderne has some very simple and delicious 'rabarber' recipes and so I thought I would share with you one that I've translated, tried and tested: rhubarb trifle. If this is already a favourite of yours then with a bit of a twist, this recipe can be adapted to make a compote that goes beautifully with savoury dishes such as chicken and fish.

However, before going on, I just wanted to pass on a snippet of rhubarb trivia: if you've ever wondered whether rhubarb is a vegetable or a fruit, then it turns out it does have a bit of an identity crisis. It is strictly a plant that falls into the 'vegetable' category although it is mostly used as a fruit and finds its way into pies and cakes. Of local interest to those readers in Denmark, 'rabarber' gave its name to a neighbourhood in Northwest Copenhagen where poor people would cultivate it and reap the harvest several times a year. It is a relatively new edible crop and when it was first grown here 150 years ago it was considered a humble food for the 'proletariat'. Some have even said that rhubarb is best when it is red, 'as the classic social democrat once was'. That's an awful lot for a simple plant to have on its conscience! Now, however, rhubarb is enjoying a renaissance and is fashionable once again with everyone.

Amongst the Aarstiderne recipes, there are a couple of variations on the rhubarb trifle, this is the one that appealed to me most and when you see that it is topped with both ice cream and whipped vanilla cream, you might understand why. Without further ado, rhubarb trifle:

Rhubarb trifle with macaroons and vanilla cream

To make 4 desserts, you will need:
500 g rhubarb
200 g sugar
1 vanilla pod
250 ml whipping cream (38%)
10 macaroons
vanilla ice cream

Half the vanilla pod lengthways. Scrape out the seeds and put them to one side (you will use these for the cream). Wash the rhubarb, top and tail it and then chop the stalks into pieces about 1-2 cm long. Place the chopped rhubarb, the sugar and the vanilla pod into a pan. There is no need to add water as rhubarb has a very high water content.

Let the mixture come to a boil, this should take a couple of minutes and then leave it to gently cook. The recipe I used said that it should cook for a couple more minutes, another said 15 minutes and another called for even longer. I kept a close eye on it and after about 20 minutes on a low heat, it was a beautiful soft consistency. I didn't add any further sugar although you could add more for individual taste. Then leave the mixture to cool.

I used macaroons for the base of the trifle but 'sponge fingers' would work equally well. When you're ready to assemble the desserts, whip up the cream together with the vanilla seeds.

In an individual glass or bowl, put broken up macaroons at the bottom, some rhubarb on top and then finish off with vanilla ice cream and the whipped cream.

All too often we add sugar to cream in desserts but there really is no need to do so. The beauty of this recipe is that the subtle flavour of the vanilla cream takes the edge off the rhubarb. As for the textures, what's not to love?!!!

From trifle to compote: with only a slight variation, this recipe works for a compote too. Using 500 g of rhubarb and 300-400 g sugar, put these in a pan with 1 or 2 vanilla pods chopped up into small pieces and mixed into the rhubarb. Again, it shouldn't be necessary to add water or the compote will be too thin - let the mixture come to a boil and then cook slowly on a low heat for about ½ to 1 hour until the juice boils off. Keep a close eye on it and be careful that it doesn't burn. Take it off the heat and let it cool.

(Katherine Ball)

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