French Riviera - sweep of Mediterranean shoreline


European Dinner Parties for Denmark

Welcome to Kirsten Hede-Brierley's Danish Dinner

Love food? Love Denmark! Copenhagen, its capital, is the home of 13 Michelin-starred restaurants, including Noma, often considered the best in the world. (Noma stands for Nordisk Mad or Nordic Food.) Luckily for most of us Denmark has great food for all budgets. There are a multitude of fantastic places. You don't have to break the bank.

Kirsten Hede-BrierlyKirsten Hede-Brierley, now living in Lexington, has many fond memories, growing up in Denmark, of the delicious healthy Danish meals prepared by her parents. Often on a Saturday or Sunday night a homemade dinner could last for three hours with good conversation alongside sumptuous food and drink.

Smørrebrød or open faced sandwiches is a traditional lunch or brunch meal. It consists of slices of buttered Rye bread imaginatively decorated with sausage, cheese or fish, eggs and vegetables in a hundred of different variations.

The meal is simple and healthy. Danish children take specially made lunch boxes to school designed so that the smørrebrød does not fall apart.

For grown ups a Danish Carlsberg Beer and a snaps (akvavit) is the perfect combination.

The popular and most elaborate "smørrebrød" that is a fulfilling main dish is the “Stjerneskud” or "Shooting Star." It is a Danish classic and served in many restaurants. Every time Kirsten visits relatives in Denmark, she is sure to have this included as a must have!

Kirsten grew up in Aarhus (click Dansk, scroll to English), the second largest city of Denmark on the east-side of the Jutland peninsula.

In 1985 she came to New York on a three-week fashion modeling job where she met her "Prince Charming”, American-born Andrew Brierley. They got married in Denmark. (In Denmark a married woman puts her family's name first, followed by a hyphen, then her husband's family name.)

Kirsten and her family moved to Lexington in 1997 so their two children could attend the Waldorf School on Massachusetts Avenue. They are now in Graduate School and College.

She still works as a model and actor throughout the Northeast and is signed with several model and talent agencies doing print and runway shows, film and TV commercials. Kirsten also offers Danish commercial voiceovers and translations as well as “Learn to speak Danish” on audio and DVD.

Kirsten has been actively involved with the Lexington 300th celebration - teaching actors how to walk the runway and starring in three roles in the musical fashion revue "Breeches, Bloomers, Bellbottoms, Oh My!  In addition, she was a Lexmedia reporter for “Dance Around the World” and co-hosted the 300th May concert.

Her connection to Denmark is still strong with yearly trips visiting family and friends, and as a member and past-President of of the Danish Society of Massachusetts.

Kirsten's interest is exercise - yoga, ballet, Pilates and Zumba. Going out to dance and hear live music as well as attending her Danish book club meetings makes a good and happy life. You may have read Denmark is considered to be the happiest country in the world. Perhaps Kirsten is a good example!

In December the menu comes from Italy…so for this month say...
Velbekomme and Skol!
Kirsten's Hede-Brierley's Danish menu

Stjerneskud, a well-known smørrebrød
No bake Danish Apple cake

(download printer-friendly recipes, wine suggestions and nutrition tips)

Ingredients and cooking tips
Main course: Stjerneskud - for 4 people, double for 8


8 pieces of skinless Tilapia or Flounder fillets (1 lbs)
1 stick of butter
1 beaten egg
Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 head of Iceberg salad
4 thick sliced toasted white bread
8 whole asparagus (from a jar or slightly boiled tender)
½ English cucumber, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
4 small tomatoes, in “boats”
2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
1 small glass of red or black Caviar
1 package/3-4 cups of peeled cold shrimp. (I prefer “Foley shrimp salad” - frozen)
1 small package of smoked sliced Salmon
Fresh Dill or Watercress
Thousand Island dressing

Prepare the fish:
Boil 4 of the fish fillets for about 4 minutes in lightly salted water, drain and set aside.
The 4 remaining fillets put in egg wash, then in breadcrumbs and fry in butter for added crispiness, about 3 minutes on each side.

Assemble the Stjerneskud:

Toast the 4 pieces of bread and spread a thin layer of butter.
Place two Iceberg lettuce leaves on each bread.
Then on top a fillet of fried fish and a boiled fillet next to each other.
Pour the Thousand Island dressing on top about 2-3 spoonfuls on each. Then add the shrimp and rolled up sliced smoked salmon,
Garnish with asparagus, boiled and sliced eggs, tomatoes, English cucumber and Caviar and finally a lemon slice.
For a green touch add a sprig of Dill or cut Watercress.
Serve immediately on nice  individual  plates.
Remember to eat this Sterneskud with a fork and a knife.

Not only does it look amazing but it tastes heavenly, too!
A glass of white wine (“Kirsten's” preference) or a Danish beer and Snaps is fitting as well.
In Denmark they toast each other with a Skol!

No Bake Danish Apple Cake (4 persons)

Danish Apple CakeApplesauce:
½ cup of water
1½ lbs peeled apples in small slices
1½ tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar

Pan roasted breadcrumbs:
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup non flavored breadcrumbs
¾ cup sugar

1 small jar of whipping cream
½ small glass of raspberry jam

In a pot on a low boil cook the apple slices with water until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and sugar and cool off  completely in another dish in your refrigerator.

For the pan roasted breadcrumbs:
Melt butter in a pan on medium  heat without turning brown. Add the breadcrumbs and sugar and stir the mix with a wooden spoon on medium heat until it turns golden in about 5 minutes. Set aside in another bowl.

Whip the cream until peaks form and either assemble it individually in big Martini glasses or in a nice glass bowl.

Assemble the layers in this order:
Apple sauce
Layer of whipped cream
Decorate with small teaspoon dots of red raspberry jam

Serve and enjoy perhaps with a glass of Danish “Peter Heering” Cherry liquor or tea / coffee.

Wine and Food pairing suggestions for this meal by Jack Korpi, wine specialist at Berman's Fine Wines.

(download printer-friendly recipes, wine suggestions and nutrition tips)

For the Stjerneskud, the broad range of flavors makes it compatible with white wines and lighter reds:

2011 Lemelson Tikka's Run Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon   Regular Price: $24.99  Sale Price: $19.99
2012 Domaine La Condamine Viognier, Cotes de Thongue, Southern France   Regular Price: $15.99  Sale Price: $12.99
2010 Albert Bichot Secret de Famille Pinot Noir, Burgundy  Regular Price: $24.99  Sale Price: $19.99
2011 Herve Azo Pinot Noir, Burgundy  Regular Price: $15.99  Sale Price: $12.99

For the No Bake Apple Cake, what could be better than an apple ice wine or cider?

Still River Winery, Apfel Eis Apple Ice Wine, Harvard, MA  Regular Price: $24.99  Sale Price: $19.99
Neige Sparkling Apple Ice Wine, Quebec  $15.99
Bantam Cider, Cambridge, MA  $7.99 (650 ml)

See Germany for information on Jack Korpi's background.
Tips for your friends with dietary restrictions by Shari Solomon, certified nutritionist and owner of Cocoa Plum Nutrition in West Concord and Arlington.

(download printer-friendly recipes, wine suggestions and nutrition tips)

While reading the list of ingredients and instructions for assembling the open face sandwich, Stjerneskud, it sounded so delicious, yet I could not imagine how you could fit all of this onto the bread. So I searched the web for pictures and what I found was many very pretty and enticing presentations of Stjerneskud. The way the food overflowed made it even more attractive. Each photograph had it’s own arrangement. So I thought - especially for people with dietary restrictions - it would be perfect to have the guests create there own arrangement. This way they could design their own plate according to what they can and can not eat. The hostess could put out extra vegetables and boiled fish, the two things everybody can eat so that those of us that need to leave an item or two out can still build an overflowing plate. And here’s a fun idea: let this be a “little competitive” and see who can make the most interesting arrangement. Perhaps even take photos and send them to

Here are recommended adjustments to the beautiful Stjerneskud. If you are watching your salt intake, I suggest you do not have to omit all the fishes, just have a shrimp or two, a small slice of smoked salmon and a tiny dot of caviar. Going light on the dressing may not be such a bad idea either. The colors, textures and tastes will all still be there. If you are watching your cholesterol or fat intake I recommend piling on the vegetables with an extra boiled filet instead of the fried, and just a wee amount of shrimp, caviar and eggs. Let them be more for decoration than any thing else. I propose for those watching their weight to spread the 1000 Island dressing thin, skip the bread and shrimp but feel free to add extra vegetables.

Looking over the directions for the No Bake Apple Cake I said, “Hey, why not do the same thing here, since assembly is required. Put the apple sauce, breadcrumb, whipped cream, and raspberry jam out "buffet style" and let the guests assemble there own dessert.”

A low sodium version of the delicious dessert would be everything but the breadcrumbs. A low fat/cholesterol version would be to also leave out the breadcrumbs and consider just a small dot of whipped cream. Of course for those watching their weight no need to deny yourself any. Your version might be just a tiny amount of everything.

No matter what your special diet may be these are two wonderful dishes are to be savored with each bite.

See Germany for information on Shari Solomon's background.

And since we all are now getting into the holiday mood…which funny Danish person said…"Santa Claus has the right idea - visit people only once a year!"
Have a great Danish meal this month with your friends, neighbors or colleagues. In December we’ll go Italian!

The Denmark Learning Experience and Travel Information

Denmark Learning Experience

The goal of the Denmark Learning Experience is to give you a better idea of the country and its citizens. Some items are listed on this page. Direct links offer more information. It's educational and fun.

Denmark Travel Information

This section also to the European Travel Resource Center and its Denmark section. Note that special European Dinner Party savings will be available from March 2014.

Both sections include many links to additional information. You can click the direct link or, if you prefer, cut+paste the web address in your browser. If you's like to know other facts on each country, please let us know at the end of this page.
Denmark Learning Experience
Quotes from famous Danish people

The quote "Santa Claus has the right idea - visit people only once a year" is from the Danish-born American comedian Victor Borge.

Other Victor Borge quotes:
- Laughter is the closest distance between two people
- I wish to thank my parents for making it all possible…and I wish to thank my children for making it necessary
- I don't mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only think I saved this year.
- When an opera star sings her head off, she usually improves her appearance.

Talking about food, here's one from the Danish cartoonist and writer Robert Storm Peterson:
- The impractically of eating cold duck is that it has to be roasted first

For more quotes from Danish people :

Danish proverbs

A slip of the foot may soon be recovered; but that of the tongue perhaps never

Children are the poor man's wealth

Den Hund som bjaeffer meget, han bider kun lidt! (Barking dogs seldom bite)

See if you can translate some others yourself. (cut+paste in browser)

Famous Danish people

Some like Victor Borge and Hans Christian Andersen are very well known

Here are some others you may not be that familiar with:

Danish Fairy Tales for children…and maybe adults as well...

Hans Christian Andersen, born in Odense (click English) in 1805 is undoubtedly one of the most famous story tellers in the world. His fairy tales have been translated in 125 languages.

Some like the Little Mermaid, the Snow Queen or the Uckly Duckling you may have told your children already. Here are others:

Quotes by Andersen:
- "Life is the most wonderful fairy tale"
- "It doesn't matter if you are born in a duck yard, so long as you are hatched from a swan's egg!" (from the ugly duckling)

Traditions in Denmark

In Denmark great attention is paid to traditions and festivals, though without great ceremony. This link will give you many interesting facts. (cut+past in browser)

Kirsten mentioned in the article already that Denmark was crowned as the "Happiest Country in the World"…and that she is probably a good example living in the USA.

Here's an interesting report from the Huffington Post as to why Denmark received this title. It's partly about the way the country is governed but also about things the Danes have a bit more control over. Read about life in Denmark - parenting, health care, gender equality and lots more. For the article click:

Culture in Denmark

The Royal Danish Ballet and Opera are well known venues for many visiting Denmark. Find the facts on theaters, art, live music, opera, dance and cinemas here. (cut+paste)

Denmark is the happiest country to live in. Why move to it? Hint: If you have kids in college, read #7 and you would wish you were be living there as well. (cut+paste)

But as an expat…you may also be surprised with some interesting items on these things: Expats who are now living in Denmark say:

Denmark Travel Information

In this section you'll find special travel tips on Denmark. For more information visit the Denmark pages in the European Travel and Research Center. Direct links to other useful sites are included. Before March 2014 all pages will be updated.

According to the Danish Tourist Board the two major attractions in the country are the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and Legoland in Jutland.

Copenhagen: Boat trips + Hop On - Hop Off stopping at other attractions. Visit Tivoli in the center of town for dinner after a day of sightseeing. Enjoy the illuminations and performances.

Touring Denmark - a smaller country in Europe, leisure driving , a comprehensive Denmark tour click Denmark in 2 weeks cut+paste this link:
(drive or ferries between the islands)

Biking in Denmark - a leisurely vacation (very impotent - flat countryside - (special Kro hotels - see below) (cut+paste)

Different types of accommodations in Denmark

Kros - If you go to the suburban areas of Denmark, you will find accommodation facilities called Kros. The Kros have great atmosphere and charm. Although Kros vary from large-scale facilities with pools and conference rooms, to classic ones with thatched roofs that are typical of Denmark, many serve delicious meals.

Castle and Manor Hotels in Denmark

Vacations with other Scandinavian countries

Denmark trips are often combined with other Scandinavian countries, especially Norway & Sweden.

Taking the overnight ferry between Copenhagen and Oslo is a pleasant way to save a long car or train ride. It's like a one night mini-cruise on some of the largest ferries in Europe - restaurants, bars, entertainment, etc.

Copenhagen is the cruise capital for Baltic Sea (Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg) and Northern Europe cruises.

And here's a sensible quote from  Piet Hein, a Danish poet...

While you've got
Love to give
While you've got
Life to live"

Please tell us what other information you would like to know for each country?
Thanks very much!

Do you live in the Boston area? For authentic Danish pastry and cakes visit the Danish Pastry House in Medford and Watertown.