Apples

Autumn also means apples, which I love to pick and cook with. A friend’s apple tree produced more than they could consume, and she asked if anybody wanted to join the apple feast. I was more than happy to get my hands on sweet, delicious apples, and went to her house with my bag.

My favorite recipe for Classic Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg mixed apples

  • 150 g golden caster sugar

  • 1 lemon

  • 50 g unsalted butter, (cold)

  • 100 g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

  2. Peel and core the apples, then quarter and chop into 3cm chunks.

  3. Place in a saucepan on a medium heat with 100g of sugar and a few fine gratings of lemon zest.

  4. Pop the lid on and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples have softened. Remove the heat and leave to cool a little.

  5. Meanwhile, cube the butter and place in a mixing bowl with the flour. Rub together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then scrunch in the remaining sugar to add a little texture.

  6. Transfer the apples to a 25cm x 30cm baking dish and sprinkle over the crumble topping.

  7. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Delicious served with vanilla ice creme.

The mood of Autumn

Want to enjoy a peaceful walk in beautiful surroundings and fill your lungs with the fresh, Nordic air? Then Dyrehaven just 20 minutes train ride from Copenhagen is just the right place for you.

Yesterday I spend the better part of the day with my best photography friend hiking around my neighborhood, Dyrehaven. My intention and focus for the walk was “the mood of autumn”.

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The park was actually made for hunting with hounds, which is why the roads are linked in star-shaped trail systems that made it easier for the hunters to keep track of the dogs. While you're strolling around the park, make sure to pass by The Hermitage, the King's stunning hunting lodge in the heart of the park.

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Dyrehaven, which literally means "the deer park", is a natural resort filled with lush forests, small lakes and wide, open landscapes. There are more than 2000 free range deer that inhabit the park, and you'll surely come across a herd of grazing deer on your way through.

Every first Sunday in November riders have gathered for the climax of the hunting season: The famous Hubertus Hunt. The annual event held and it usually attracts up to 40,000 spectators and 160 riders.

Road Trip - Squamish

Squamish is a town north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. It's at the northern tip of the island-dotted Howe Sound, and surrounded by mountains like the Stawamus Chief, a huge granite monolith. The Sea to Sky Gondola has views of the sound and nearby Shannon Falls, a towering waterfall cascading down a series of cliffs.

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We drove from San Francisco to Squamish in 17 hours, the original plan was to stop around Seattle, but when we got that fare we decided to just keep going. For a long time we have wanted to go up north to visit our good danish friends who moved there 3 years ago.

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We did a couple of great hike, with breathtaking views, which is something you are surrounded by in Squamish. Everywhere you look is stunning, and after you get to jump in nice cooling water.

Down by the waterfront where all the timber are being stored, we were so lucky to see a groupe of natives (Skwxwu7mesh). They where working with the tree bark, softening it up, so they could use if for making basketes. To me it is nice to know that all the parts of the tree is being used.

Raspberries

One of my favorite berries is raspberries. That is why I this summer took our youngest and her best friend to a self-picking farm about 30 minutes from where we live in Denmark. The farm is called Rokkedysse Gård and during the summer you can pick strawberries or raspberries, in autumn apples and in winter you can get your Christmas tree here.

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After the 30 minutes of hard labor, we deserved a treat, and there is plenty to choose from at their cute cafe. We decided to both try the raspberry muffin and an ice creme with strawberry.

Moving back to Denmark

I have not updated my blog in a very long time. So many things has been happening, one daughter graduating high school, moving back to Denmark, selling our house, packing up, saying goodbye and more. Things have not yet settled, but when they do I will start posting again. You can look forward to reading about our epic road trip, the big move back to Copenhagen after 8 years in California. Stay tuned.

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IBAGARI

Ibagari is our kind of paradise. The Boutique Hotel is located in one of the most exclusive areas of Roatán, surrounded by both vegetation and white sand beaches. The restautant is the best on the island, and if you do not stay at the hotel you will need to make a reservation or you will not get a table.

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What is so appealing about Ibagari, is the architecture. Everything is so open and inviting. There is no front door, the whole structure is completely open, the only doors is to the 8 rooms, the kitchen or the restrooms.

It is all about relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, standup paddeling, eating, and sleeping. There are other activities you can do, such as exploring the 2 nearest villages: West Bay or West End. Ibagari also have yoga twice a week, painting, and their own diving club. Our last evening there was a bonfire on the beach, with a local dance company.

We stayed a week, and you get into your own rhythm very fast. Everyday at sunset we would enjoy an aperitif and watch the beautiful sunset.

FIJI

Fiji is the perfect holiday destination, blessed with 333 tropical islands in the heart of the South Pacific. Fiji is also the home of happiness. After researching the different areas, we decided on the Yasawa Islands.

Octopus Resort

Our first stop was Octopus Resort, 2.5 hours boatride from Nadi on the main island. The minute you step onto the beautiful mile long, golden sand beach at Likuliku Bay, you will be on ‘Fiji Time’.
With a keen focus on the fijian culture and a strong connection with the local village, the resort offers what Fiji is all about and boasts some of the warmest, friendliest people anywhere in the world. The spotless rooms have roofless showers so you can stargaze while you wash.

Barefoot Manta Island Resort

As our name suggests, our island is home to one of Fiji's most iconic inhabitants, the manta ray. Barefoot Manta Island is the best location in the Yasawas to witness these majestic creatures at close-quarters between May and October. Supported by a team of in-house marine biologists, guests are taken on daily excursions to visit them, as they gather to feed, mate and get cleaned in the nearby channel.
Snorkel and SCUBA dive right from the shore, in our pristine, locally managed marine protected reef. You can also spend your hours unwinding on one of 3 glistening beaches or sampling one of the many pursuits on offer, ranging from conservation diving, private picnics, kayaking, hiking, to guided cultural tours of the local Muaira village.

Coconut Beach Resort

Located on a former copra plantation Coconut Beach Resort offers a front row seat to the world famous Blue Lagoon. Featuring only 8 guest bures nestled amongst the coconut grove you can be assured
of that tropical island getaway you are always dreaming of. Enjoy the spectacular views across the stunning turquoise lagoon, venture in underwater explorations just meters from the beach that will introduce you to our vibrant house reef and tropical marine world, the warm Fijian hospitality will leave you with lasting memories and experiences that will immerse you in local culture and tradition.

Snow in Marin

We have been living in Marin for 8 years, and today was the first time we had a little snow. I just had to get out and decided to drive to Pierce Point Ranch to show the place to my mom, who is visiting.

Driving through Lucas Valley, we see snow on the top of the hills there. What a weird sight for this area, what is the world coming to?

Next stop - the Point Reyes shipwreck. I have many images of this shipwreck, but never surrounded by this much water

On the way out to Pierce Point Ranch, we stop because there is a huge flock of Tule Elks beside the road. The tule elk is one of two subspecies of elk native to California. Tule elk once inhabited the grasslands of the Point Reyes peninsula and the Olema Valley, as well as other grasslands within Marin County. 

Our final destination was Pierce Point Ranch, a place I have visited many times now. But today I learned that Danish, Italien and Eastern European immigrants had worked here. I love how you always learn new things every day.

Getaway to Mendocino

With its dramatic ocean-bluff setting overlooking a steel-blue sea, this coastal hamlet is an obvious magnet for artists, romantics, and lovers of anything wild and untamed. Mendocino is a coastal community in northern California. It's known for the cliffside trails and beaches of Mendocino Headlands State Park.

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This tucked-away village wasn’t always so charmingly peaceful: during the height of the logging boom in the mid- to late-1800s, Mendocino bustled with people and commerce, a thriving port filled with lively hotels and saloons. Now, luxurious B&Bs welcome you to curl up by the fire; restaurants serve just-caught seafood and local organic wines, and galleries beckon with artwork and quality handcrafts.

We had one night stay at a renovated water tower, which was very authentic and cute. Mendocino is well know for it’s water towers, which is still in use and provide the village with water.

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Included was a breakfast basket, which arrived at our doorstep 8:30. We brought it with us to the beach and enjoyed a delicious breakfast overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean.

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Bowling Ball Beach

On the way back to Mill Valley, we stopped at Bowling Ball Beach which is a part of Schooner Gulch State Beach. It looks as though the beach has been scattered with oversized bowling balls. Almost perfectly spherical, stones like these have caused wild speculation, with answers from aliens to dinosaurs.

Best observed at low tide, the so-called bowling balls are actually a geological phenomena known as “concretion”, sedimentary rock formed by a natural process wherein mineral cements bind grains of sand or stone into larger formations. These boulders are the result of millions of years of concretion and erosion, exposing the hard spheres as the mudstone of the cliffs receded around them.

Hike to Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls is one of the most popular falls trails in Marin County within the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a great hike with scattered cascading waterfalls along the entirety of the trail.

The falls are reached either from the Cataract Trail starting from Bolinas Fairfax Road, just past Alpine Lake, or from the Rock Spring Trailhead above the Falls. It was an easy hike.

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Returning to Bolinas Fairfax Road we found a quiet place, all to our self, and enjoyed the always breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, the wildlife and each others company.

Carmel by-the-sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, about 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco, Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood.

We are very fortunate to have friends with a house in this beautiful place. We headed down from Mill Valley early Saturday morning, so we could enjoy as much of the day as possible outdoors.

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The weather was sunny and warm and we took their ocean kayak down to the nearby private beach. We had this gem all to ourself, we explored the little cove, played with the hollow, long, tubelike kelp.

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Everyone need to get clean after our trip to the beach, some more than others. We ended a perfect day, with a perfect sunset over the Pacific ocean, in the company of good friends, and stunning sunset videos on social media for the younger generation.

Angel Island

Sunday October 14th was our 18th anniversary. We decided to visit Angel Island together with my father-in-law who are visiting from Denmark. To get to this hidden gem, we took a ferry from Tiburon. Many people brings bike (only $1 ekstra), but we wanted to hike to the top and experience the breathtaking 360 degree views of the bay area: San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Richmond Bridge, Tiburon, Sausalito and more.

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Our hike was amazing and easy. Your total assent is 788ft (280m), but it happens gradually over 3m (5km). In total we hiked about 5m (8.5km) with amazing views most of the time. If you haven’t been yet, or only biked Angel Island, give your self the opportunity to visit this little paradise on earth.

Portland Rose Garden

A couple of weeks ago we went to Portland Oregon for a weekend. We have been there before, so we have our favorite places to visit. One of them is the Rose Garden Test Center. There are so many roses, and also people to studie. This is just a few of the photos I took while visiting the Rose Garden.

This time we visit there was 3 people blowing bubbles, and I LOVE bubbles as much as these kids do.

Dias Ridge Trail

Today I hiked together with Philippe my father in law to Muir Beach. The weather was amazing, sunny, high temperature and good company. We ended up at the beach with ginger cookies and our feet in the cold ocean. 

Pacific Sunset

These days my father in law is visiting from Denmark. We try to go diffrent places, it’s often places he has already been, but it’s okay cause we always have new things to talk about. Yesterday was such a nice day, and we decided to go to Mt. Tam and watch the sunset over the Pacific. It was such a beautiful sunset and I feel like there is not much that gets better than that. Afterwords we drove to Stinson to have dinner at Parkside Café, and it was a perfect way to end an amazing day.

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Rainy days

What do you do on a rainy day at my moms house? You fire up your girls creative and let them unfold their magic in porcelain. My mom has had her ceramic studio (www.hm-keramik.dk) for more than 20 years, and she is always so sweet to let my girls and their friends work, create, and have fun in her workplace. 

HJEM - first harvest

Some of our very dear friends live in Napa, and Napa means one thing: wine. About 3 years ago they planted a small hillside with rows of wine, to produce their own everyday wine: HJEM (which translated from danish means: HOME). Our family was lucky to get invited to participate in their first harvest this year, and together with other friends of the family, we started out early in the morning.

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Wine grapes are harvested at night or early in the morning before the sun rises. It results in better wine, and knowing that, we easily got up before the sun. Daytime temperatures change the sugar composition of the grapes, so by picking at lower temperatures, when sugar levels are stable keeps surprises from happening during fermentation.

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Picking grapes are hard work. We had a team of 11, some with more experience than others, honestly most of us were first-timers. It took about 2 hours to pick 503 pounds, just enough to make the 500 pounds mark. I’m not a numbers person so please forgive me for not remembering why this was such an important number.

After picking all the beautiful grapes, they had to be carried down to the crusher and weighing station.

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I might be the only one still thinking you jump into the big barrel with your bare feet, and crushes the grapes. It turnes out that goes a while back. Today you use a machine called a crusher. You pure the grapes into it’s big “mouth” and by hand you turn a handle. The crusher, of cause crushes the grapes, but it also removes the stems.

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With the crushing all done, the next step can begin. The fermentation of the grapes and the cleaning up. Here is what wikipedia says about fermentation of grapes: “During fermentation, yeasts transform sugars-present in the juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide (as a by-product). In winemaking, the temperature and speed of fermentation are important considerations as well as the levels of oxygen present in the must at the start of the fermentation. The risk of stuck fermentation and the development of several wine faults can also occur during this stage, which can last anywhere from 5 to 14 days for primary fermentation and potentially another 5 to 10 days for a secondary fermentation”.

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Thank you for letting me document, and be part of the first HJEM harvest. I look forward to tasting it in the future.

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