First Daring Cooks Challenge: Nut Butter

Last month I joined the Daring Kitchen. It is a site for cooks to come together and try to cook the same challenge recipe, then report back on their blogs. They have two kinds of challenges, one for Bakers and one for Cooks. I signed up for both, since I love both of those adventures in the kitchen. I love the idea of having a goal to accomplish and being presented with things that I might not ever venture to cook, either through uncertainty or just not knowing or thinking of it.

This is also a great way to challenge my nomad kitchen. I move around and rent places as I go. I don't have my own kitchen, and I'm limited to what my rentals give me. The only kitchen tools I pack with me are my Mac chef's knife, a sharp paring knife, a digital scale, a Flavour Shaker, and US measuring cups and spoons. So cooking recipes that are often designed for someone in control of their own kitchen can be quite fun. I do love the challenge though, and I'm excited about being a part of the Daring Kitchen now too.

Getting around Copenhagen

Now that we have a sense of the layout of Copenhagen and how to get here to start with, I want to get into moving about the city. I already talked a bit about the metro and regional train from the airport, but I'll dive a bit deeper now, as well as cover a few other ways to move about, namely buses, boats and bikes.

For assistance with figuring out what transport to use to get somewhere, you can use the handy travel planner service Rejseplanen. At the bottom of that site, you can click on either English or German. I use this site extensively to help me sort out how to get form point A to point B, especially if there are buses involved.

Copenhagen Airport

CPH Airport MapA lot of people come to Denmark through the Copenhagen airport (Københavns Lufthavne, airport code CPH). Whenever I arrive someplace new I always sort out how to get where I'm ultimately going, but it can be bewildering to figure out, especially if you're jet-lagged and really don't feel like thinking very much. So this post will try to help the weary traveler sort out what is going on when you arrive in Copenhagen and how to get to the city center in the smoothest manner possible. (Note that many of the links in this post go to pictures I took while in the airport to help give some visual clarity.)

Terminals

Vector graphics apps on Mac

I recently wanted to do some quick vector image work, which I haven't really needed to do in quite a while. I am by no means a graphics person and certainly not a power-user. I just need to do some of the basics occasionally, preferably without getting totally overwhelmed. I limped along for a while when I first got a Mac using my beloved linux apps, Gimp and Inkscape, which I used for years previously, but I really can't stand using X11 on a Mac; really, it makes me a bit batty. A while ago I ended up buying Pixelmator to replace Gimp and I've been pretty happy with it. It satisfies most of my minimal graphics needs, but I never got around to finding a decent vector editor, and sometimes you just need vector. Today I ended up doing a quick search on The Google and asked for recommendations through Twitter. My criteria are pretty simple: under $100, native Mac app, and simple enough for me to get a basic project done without reading a whole damned manual. I ended up downloading four apps to try out:

    Arriving in Denmark

    There are quite a few ways to get to Denmark. There are the typical airplane and train methods, as well as a ferry or two, which isn't surprising for a country with so much shoreline. Most everyone arrives in Denmark through Copenhagen, so I'm focusing there, though it is possible to arrive through other ports of entry.

    Flying

    The Copenhagen Airport, Københavns Lufthavne, is a European hub and is the main hub airport in Scandinavia. It is located in Kastrup, on the island of Amager, just to the south of downtown Copenhagen. It is quite close to the city and has frequent, direct, and fast (15 minutes) connections into the city on both metro and train. There are three terminals which are all connected, so if you end up not where you need to be, you may have a little hike, but you can walk all the way through to the one you need. The metro and trains to the city (and Malmö, Sweden) are in terminal 3. My next post will dive into getting from the airport to the city center.

    Where to stay in Copenhagen

    Where to stay is one of the first things I think of when visiting a new city. There are a lot of things to consider. Will I be in a fun place? A safe place? If I'm going for work or an event, how easily can I access where I need to be? I'm not going to give recommendations for specific places to sleep (i.e. hotels or apartments) since I've only stayed in a few myself, but I do want to point out things to consider when looking at where to stay in Copenhagen.

    The 'hoods of Copenhagen

    Before I start blogging a lot about where to stay, what to do, etc., you need a little orientation to the neighborhoods of Copenhagen. There are a lot of travel guides out there which explain different aspects of the various areas of the city, but I like to have a clear map of where things are. I just generally love maps actually. There are a fair number of official districts (bydele) in the city, like many cities, but postal codes are grouped into a smaller list of areas for addresses. I'll start with these areas since that is a simpler breakdown and when you look at an address for a place, you'll at least have a rough idea of where it is located.

    Is Copenhagen really that expensive?

    One concern about visiting Copenhagen is the expense. I'm not gonna lie, Copenhagen is not a cheap city, but it also isn't completely over the top, especially compared to other major cities. Most big cities in Europe and North America are in the top list of expensive cities. In the last EIU report from December 2009 Paris is the most expensive city in the world these days, and most of the top destination cities in the world are near the top.

    American Pancakes

    My whole life a pancake was a pancake. There might have been other pancake-like objects, like crepes, but they most definitely were not pancakes. As I've traveled though, it is clear that the definition of "pancake" is regional and American pancakes are their own, special thing. They are also very delicious and something of a novelty over here in Europe. Generally in Europe a pancake is very thin and large in diameter. In Ireland they are served up one at a time by sprinkling lemon juice and sugar on them and rolling them up. Here in Denmark they are totally a dessert and never for breakfast. Then again, the dessert/breakfast line is verrrry fuzzy for me and Americans tend to have a lot more sugary sweet for breakfast generally. But I digress. The main point here is that American pancakes are fluffy, eaten stacked, and are most definitely a classic breakfast. They also seem hard for people to master who haven't been exposed to them their whole lives. I have a number of Danish friends who are quite frustrated but determined to make American pancakes.

    All the Danish you need to know

    I am repeatedly asked why I am bothering to learn Danish, even though I am living here for the summer. Many Danes seem to find it endearing, funny, and slightly puzzling. Unless you plan to actually settle down here permanently, there is really no reason to. There are plenty of expats from all sorts of places who live here for years and never learn Danish. English is simply enough, at least if you live in or near Copenhagen. Just walking down the street, you'll even see some signs in English. (For those following along for Drupalcon, I should also point out that no matter where Drupalcon is held in the world, as an international conference, it is always held completely in English.)

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