Skål to author, TV presenter and former model, Caroline Fleming! Cook Yourself Happy is a wonderfully wholesome immersion into the Danish lifestyle, peppered with childhood memories, insights into the culture, traditions and history of this proud Nordic country.
If you collect cookbooks to bring a bit of colour, life and fusion to your family cooking, you’ll absolutely love this book.
First impression: I’m a highly visual person and was drawn by the texture, warmth and distinctly Scandinavian hygge feel of the photography and layout. Portions are modest, nourishing and simply presented. The photographs of Caroline’s childhood home and local haunts provide an engaging context to her warm and lovingly-told food story.
Recipes: What I like most about the recipes is the wholesome connection to nature and the local environment, and how much I learned about the country through the recipes. Denmark is a seafaring nation and while many of the dishes are bursting with fish and shellfish ingredients, Caroline includes the traditionally harvested produce, meat and cheese specialities, as well as foraged ingredients such as mushrooms, blueberries, cherries, apples and nettles in her recipes. These are carefully balanced recipes including light meals, soups and open sandwiches (a firm part of everyday Danish life), salads, meat, fish and vegetarian main courses, desserts, bread, bakes – even healthy candy(yes, really!) and drinks.
I rate a cookbook on how many recipes I want to try immediately when I first page through it – this book scores a 10+. I love the twists on some of the old favourites such as apple cake (served in jars with macaroons and cream!); the food bread – it is absolutely delicious – and Caroline’s carrot salad – wow.
Ethos: I have a dear Danish friend, Jette, and have enjoyed many a noisy, fun, warm and hearty meal with her and her family, so I found it very easy to relate to the ethos of Cook Yourself Happy. I recognise the feeling that Caroline explains so well. The kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of the home and the act of cooking is an expression of love. Recipes handed down through the generations make you think of family and friends when you use them: I covet Jette’s mum’s oat ball biscuits recipe I was given one Christmas – Caroline’s version of Vanilla and Oat Cookies are reminiscent of these – and I genuinely salivate when I think about Jette cooking the Danish way to cook pork: I couldn’t stop eating it either!
The Twist: As a Twist Teas lover, perhaps the sweetest surprise of all, was finding a recipe at the very end of the book for iced tea I hadn’t come across before. It combines Earl Grey, lemons and sugar. It is wonderful. A super addition to my cookbook shelf – but also a beautiful way to learn about the Kingdom of Denmark. Thank you, Caroline.