Category Archives: Stupidity

Cooking a 14 course dinner, part 1: Proper preparations, or lack thereof!

Note to the picky reader: I jotted this down in about 30 minutes over the course of a day in Microsoft Notepad without spell check, grammar check or anything.. There are errors, there are typos, I’m knackered, I apologize.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any real cooking. And by real cooking I mean, of course, one of my more elaborate meals.. And by more elaborate meals I mean, of course, one of my 10+ course tasting menus designed specifically to confuse and impress and test my abilities and patience.

Looking back at things now, there have probably been a few good reasons why I haven’t been doing any elaborate cooking lately. First and foremost, a 10+ course menu with wine pairings requires, well, a considerable investment. Not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time and effort. Obviously, money is hard to come by when you’re unemployed and living off of the lowest possible unemployment grant.. So while there has been some investment in terms of time and thought into producing new and elaborate dinners, there hasn’t really been much money to invest in the project.

With a new, well-paying job under my belt, this condition naturally changed dramatically. Suddenly I had all the money in the world to invest in the project – this is an overstatement, of course, but let’s just say I wasn’t exactly lacking money to put towards the idea, on the other hand, working 40+ hours a week and trying to maintain a healthy social life, I suddenly, rather ironically found myself short on time to invest in the project. I also found myself a beautiful dinner date short as conflicting schedules made it indeed very difficult for Tina and I to settle on a date where we could actually get together and have a little food and wine.. Sheesh, growing up is so comlicated some times.

After many weeks of plowing through schedules and calendars, we finally settled on a date well into the future and I got my final preparations under way. I’ve already many a time gone into details about the amount of planning and thought that goes into planning a themed dinner, so I’ll spare you the details and rather just mention the conclusion, I came up with which was, literally, very simple:

“While Tina deserves only the best, there comes a time where lobster, king crab, kobe beef and edible gold ceases to impress. Anyone can buy the most expensive ingredients in the world and make something good of it. But maybe it’s time to look at cheaper, local, more common ingredients and try to transform this rather simple base into something tasty, special and impressive. Therein lies the real challenge!”

Based on this rather simple mantra, I came up with a stunningly simple (and very trendy) idea: to use fresh, local, Danish (or Nordic) ingredients to cook simple yet complexely layered, familiar yet innovative, cheap yet fancy tasting experiences. In other words KISALS (Keep It Simple And Local Stupid).. And I managed to come up with something nice and simple.. To the extend that someone like me can possibly keep something Simple! Which is, well, let’s be honest, really not very well..

For instance, I spent months brainstorming ideas, flavor combinations and food pairings. Because, as it turns out, it’s a hell of a lot easier to make Beluga Caviar, King crab and Kobe beef seem impressive and extravagant than it to convicne someone that braised pork ribs can be a luxurious treat. Add to this the fact that I have created in Tina a monster and an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic eater/taster and, well, things just get increasingly difficult. It turns out there really is a downside to spoiling little girls silly.. Who’d have thunk?

After many weeks of soul searching, putting forth ideas, discarding ideas, putting forth new ideas and walking in circles, I finally had a plan: Mix great tasting, yet seemingly unimpressive, ingredients in new ways, mixing in some unusual ingredients, new techniques, a few fancy things and a bit of utter nonsense. The end result was a 14 course behemoth task mixing very unsimple preparations of simple ingredients to produce seemingly simple yet stupendously complex dishes mixing the simple and cheap with the luxurious.. Rock n Roll!

The task I’d laid out for myself was daunting: Having settled on a final menu and consulted my wine guy for wines to go along, I’d now “simply” have to figure out how to actually create the dishes I wanted to present, how I wanted to present them and – on top of that – find the time to cook everything and get it ready.. Not easy with a 40 hour work week and a host of projects actually making demands on my free time as well.. I know we want to create the impression that cooking is the easist thing in the world and that we hobby chefs are professionals and what not.. But let’s be honest here for a second, the task that I put in front of myself was massive AND scary!

I ended up spending what little time I had left over over a course of a few weeks just testing out things and making what little preparations I could along the way. I made purchases, tried off things, discarded ideas, tried new ones, took stock of the situation (and by that I mean making stocK: beef, chicken, pork, pheasant and lobster stock to be precise.. A bit of a time-consuming task, that!), played with some molecular gastronomy ideas and tools, and just generally got my bearings.

As for the final week before Tina and I were to get together for our grand dinner, I made some very elaborate time tables for my free time and spent my evenings creating granités, parafaits, mayos, cheese spreads and other crazy things.. The plan was to even take Friday afternoon off and spend all of Friday and Saturday getting everything ready for dinner to start Saturday at 4:30 PM.. It all was looking rather good, really.. Until we hit Friday  and I was getting ready to leave the office at noon.. At which point, the entire plan just toppled over.. Badly!

The minute I got ready to go, my work phone rang and I picked it up to hear my colleage, Frandsen, pass through a call from someone enquiring about our web shop solution.. “Fuck,” I thought, and put on my business tone of voice and settled into a long conversation about pros and cons of our solution. By the time five minutes had passed and I’d seen my bus drive by the window, Frandsen came barginga as silently as humanly possible into my office, waving his arms and mouthing the words “Dude, I’m so fucking sorry!”, then leaving before I could throw something at him. I, on the other hand, talked on for another ten minutes before finally being able to terminate the conversation and, having missed my opportunity to go home with the early bus, settle down with the others to have lunch. After lunch, I decided that it was time to try to go home again, only an hour or so later than I’d planned. So I headed out the door, walked down the street, caught a bus full of over-joyed 16 year old high school students down to the railway station where I was hoping to be able to find a train to Kolding.. And I did, only the electronic departure boards stated that this particular train (and all others for that matter) was running 30 minutes late, leaving me plenty of time to walk around the railroad station, fuming and ending up even more belated.

I finally made it home about two hours later than expected, grabbed my debit card and went out to get the last few ingredients in a bit of a sprint, I subsequently made it home again and got everything in gear, consulted my schedule and decided to save time by running preparations for about five dishes at once, rather than the planned two to three. So I fired up all burners and the oven, got everything well under way and was actually super amazed by my ability to multitask.. And then my work phone rang! – “Johan,” my boss demanded, “one of our dealers did something to his webstore, it’s all messed up, he’s in a panic, we need your help!” – Ooohkay, I thought, this should be interesting.. And it was! I spent over two hours trying to not ruin my dishes on the stove while putting out fires at work.. Something I wouldn’t recommend anyone try, it’s really rather stressful.

At around 5:30 PM, I was finally able to concentrate on my cooking which was, honestly, a bit later than I had hoped and, as a result, I got to have a lot of fun trying to actually get everything on my rather tightly packed schedule done – not done according to schedule – just, basically done.. With some working into the night (and the wee hours of the morning), I actually managed to get my Friday schedule done and treated myself to a blissful 5 hours of sleep as a treat, before getting up at 7 AM on Saturday morning to pick up where I left.. Oh it was a fun experience.. But, y’know, the things I do for the people I love..

Through a combination of experience, proper planning, artful execution and sheer dumb luck, I somehow managed to get everything wound up wrapped up, ready, packed and sealed before my 3 PM deadline. I even managed to have a shower and watch the stench of two days of non-stop cooking off me before jumping into a suit, packing everything up and shoving it into the car that Jeppe had very kindly provided with about ten minute notice to take me down to Tina’s. (btw, I give the poor guy a lot of flak jokingly, but you gotta hand it to the guy.. Not only letting his girlfriend be treated to a 14 course dinner from another guy, but also actually providing transportation before leaving to go do something else – that’s a thumbs up worthy kind of gesture) We then sped down to her, carried everything needed (you’d have to see the amount of food needed to prepare 14 dishes in order to believe it!) up to her 3rd floor apartment and while Tina got dressed and pretty, I set up shop in the kitchen and got ready to unveil the menu.. What menu, you ask? Well, stay tuned, I shall tell you tomorrow.

God Bless Saturday

It’s week three of my new working life adventure, it’s Saturday, it’s late afternoon, I’m sitting at the computer with a glass of young Italian red wine, I’m listening to a re-run of Sort Søndag, Danish radio’s weekly metal show and life on earth is good..

It’s so wonderful to be able to just kick back, put your feet up, relax (insofar as listening to extreme metal can be classified as relaxing) and feel like you’ve really earned the right to do fuck all for a few  hours.. I spent the first part of my Saturday cleaning, doing laundry and all those other things that you barely have time for when working 40 hours a week, I’ve also taken a good, long walk, listened to some music and done some cooking. Now I’ve got a huge ass pot of bolognese simmering on the stove and I’ve every intention of digging into it greedily in a short while, consuming as much as I possibly can along with some quality pasta and a small side salad  to at least give an illusion of being somewhat health conscious.. I might even throw in another glass of this fascinating red wine my wine pusher bestowed upon me, we shall see..

As far as work is concerned, I’m still about as stoked as can be. I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to have ended up in the position that I am currently in.. It feels almost unreal at times. I’m steadily getting more and more tasks and responsibilities pushed upon me so I’m actually starting to feel like I make a difference and am getting convinced that I can handle things on my own, come April 1st.. It’s a pretty awesome feeling. I’ve also been on my own for a few days now as my mentor, Rikke, has been either working from home or having had to take care of a sick child, so I’ve had to fend for myself and take care of tasks and problems as they occurred. Slightly challenging at times since I’m still very green, but also fun and rewarding.

I’m still meeting a lot of new people, be it business partners, retailers, journalists, internet content providers or developers.. I also get calls every now and then from people who saw my mug in CRN and wants to either sell me something or collaborate with me on my online projects, it’s fun times.. I even spoke with a sales manager from Microsoft this Friday.. Yeah, apparently I’m rolling with the big guys now! It’s a fun new life, but also a confusing one at times. I’ve got a shitload of simultaneous projects going on that need attention in one way or the other, and as if that wasn’t enough to make my head spin, I sometimes have to drop everything I’m doing and respond to emergency support requests.. So I get to take my multitasking skills to almost woman-like levels and really exercise my ability to schedule and plan my projects. It’s good fun!

I’ve had some victories already in my new job. I’ve managed to really improve the structure of our website, I’ve started working on a blog-like article database subsection of our website along with a journalist who delivers the content, I’ve managed to find our prodigal developer and have nearly finished testing a new version of our web store solution which I hope to start rolling out to our retailers some time next week.. I feel reasonably proud of these accomplishments.

There have been mistakes, too, of course.. There’s bound to be.. There haven’t been many, but in true Johan fashion, the few ones have been of pretty epic proportions – like this one day where I noticed that the search feature on one of our retailer web stores had stopped working. I took measures to rebuild the search database index, and well, didn’t really realize how labor intensive such a task would be.. Well, long story short, I ended up overloading the database which is shared between all our retailer web shops and a few websites.. To be perfectly honest, overload it so bad that the server running all our websites stopped responding, so I went from trying to fix one website to taking 20+ websites off the grid for a few really stressful minutes as everything was restarted and brought back up.. Ahem, what can I say? I’m new, I have a lot to learn.. And you learn a lot from your mistakes.. So, yes, I learned a valuable lesson, I apologize, I shan’t be doing that again!

Victories and defeats aside, the most important thing to happen at work this week was probably that the name plaque for my door arrived. So my office is now officially my office.. Which was a bigger deal for me than I thought it would be, I can’t help but feel a little proud that my name is on the door.. Like.. Look at me.. I made it! Hah! Alright, yes, I’m a bit euphoric about this whole thing, I know, I’m sorry, I apologize.. I’ll stop now.. Not because I couldn’t go on, I could.. But, really, I think I’m already boring half of you.. And my bolognese is ready! Time to go boil some pasta and pig out!

Have a lovely weekend, you lovely people!

The New Year’s Eve Saga 2010, Part 3: The Party

When I last left this story, some two weeks ago, I think I stated that immediately after dinner the table was cleared and a party was had.. Which may be a bit of a half-truth because as we all know, boys will be boys and on New Year’s eve boys get to play with fireworks.. And in a perfect world they get to put firework to use for purposes for which they were not quite intended.. As was exactly the case for Jeppe and I and our Grand New Year’s Salute.. Which was really nothing but a large bunch of over-sized whistling fireworks which we had spend a borderline stupid amount of time taping together as to make them go off in a chain reaction and create as much noise, smoke, fire and uproar as possible..

Granted, it was a pretty ridiculous project, but we were proud of our ridiculous project, damnit, and we couldn’t wait to set it off.. So while others thought we should clear the table, Jeppe and I thought we should don our jackets, safety goggles and what have you and go outside and set off our little salute to the neighbors.. Some claimed it was a stupid idea, others that we were silly. We, on the other hand, thought we were pretty smart and funny.. That is until we got the thing lit and set off a little more than we had bargained for. The plan was to make a bit of noise for the neighborhood and add a bit of a smoke screen as a mild nuisance.. What really happened is that we unleashed a minute-long cacophony of hellfire and 120DB shrill whistling echoing between neighboring houses  while thick black smoke billowed into the night air effectively blocking any view of the display fireworks going into the air from other neighbors.. In essence, we had no clue of the terror we’d unleashed on the neighborhood, so we just stood there staring while it went on and on, dogs started barking, kids fled screaming and crying, parents pointed and scowled and our eyes started watering all while I ears rang with the echo of the noise being created.. As it all finally came to an end, we just sorta looked at one another, cried “AWESOME!”, did a high five and fled inside before any upset neighbors could get a hold of us.

As we got in, we discovered, somewhat happily, that the table had very conveniently nearly cleared itself during our absence. So, exhausted from our efforts of terrorizing the neighborhood, we sat down for a few glasses of wine.. And a few shots that had somehow, despite my protests, made it to the table.

And so there we sat for a while, having drinks, getting liquored up and silly, playing the age old game of cleavage target practice which is something my two blonde sidekicks Tina and Zascha (bless them) always tend to instigate after a couple of hours (and a couple of glasses of wine) in each others company.. But, y’know, who are we to complain? Actually, I think it might make a great spectator sport at some point.. Ahem, I digress..

After a while of everybody getting liquored up and silly, someone got the great idea – as it usually happens at around this time – that it would be fun to play a game or two of Sing Star. I should have objected, as I usually do, but y’know, even if I can’t sing to save my life, who am I to argue against cute girls AND alcohol? So, after a few quick singing lessons from Zascha, who is actually a trained AND skilled singer and apparently continued her trend of trying to teach me one new thing every New Year’s Eve, I decided I was none the wiser, grabbed Zascha by one hand and a wine glass full of menthol liquor (her idea, I SWEAR!) in the other and jumped into the process of getting my ass kicked in every song ranging from Alice Cooper’s “Poison” over Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” to some indie rock crap I just plain refused to have any part of.. Which is not to say I didn’t have any fun, it just went to show that I sucked at it! But oh well, so did most everybody else (except Zascha who had a bit of a natural advantage what with being a singer and all), so we all had fun on pretty much equal grounds and no one cared that most everybody sounded like shit. Actually, I was somewhat surprised that the Sing Star episode turned out to one of the best experiences of the evening, but be that as it may, the damn thing’s funny after a few drinks.. And there’s something both strangely awesome and strangely sentimental about getting to sing songs with special meanings with people you care about and a drunken chorus in the background such as when Tina and I did “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down which is pretty much our song and when Zascha and I did a duet of “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. which is sorta kinda our song as well.. Well, one of our songs.. Out of lack of the very obvious “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John, “Always” by Bon Jovi, “Teenage Dirtbag” by.. And, well, let’s just stop it there.. Anyways, good times, happy times!

Such happy times, actually, that most of the crowd grew a little surprised when someone exclaimed “holy crud, it’s almost Midnight! Get the Champagne! Put on ‘Dinner for One’!” (there’s a strange Danish New Year’s tradition for ya!).. Frantic scrambling ensued and within minutes everybody were assembled in front of the TV, eagerly awaiting the chime of the bells signaling the birth of the new year.. A fact which made it all the more surprising that everybody seemed to miss the big moment. “Not to interrupt, startle or alarm anyone,” I finally bellowed in my ever so diplomatic manner, “but it’s 2011 now, so fucking CHEERS!” – “OH!,” went the rest of the crowd, “CHEERS!” – and then chaos ensued, everybody scattered and poured outside, wanting a look of the fireworks, I on the other hand ran around in a daze, picking up everything that the girls had forgotten in their hurry and pouring Champagne for those who had forgotten, then eventually made it outside to catch the very last of the fireworks.. But such is the life and ways of a gentleman, and I did get big hugs from the girls and a huff off a cigar from the guys.

We staggered around outside talking, looking at fireworks and drinking Champagne for as long as we could possibly keep up with the cold and the dark, then eventually poured back inside where we enjoyed more drinks, more shots, a quick snack, some wine and – quite possibly – a beer or two.. I really shan’t say, things were getting a little blurry at the time.. Which is why the next few hours for me contained pretty much merely scattered images of talking to various people, drinking various things, making playlists with Zascha, playing air guitar to Top Gun Anthem with the boys and then going to the toilet only find out when I get back that Tina and Jeppe had gotten tired and decided to turn in for the night.. So I’m just gonna go ahead and say that those were the only things that happened between 0:30 AM and 2:30 AM, at least that’s how I remember it.

And from then on I just remember things getting crazier.. There was more loud music, more drinking (though both Zascha and I slowed down considerably), more singing, and dancing.. A lot of dancing – even on my part! Again, who am I to say no to cute girls AND alcohol.. And it was all good times in a really weird, draining kinda way. Such good times, actually, that we managed to keep the party going till nearly 5 AM.. When everybody just sorta literally collapsed in a pile.. Which is an odd way of putting it, but it really sorta is what happened..

I should clarify.. See, sleeping arrangements turned out a little weird that evening. Zascha and Emelie had originally brought an inflatable mattress to sleep on, but come 4:30 AM, the thing just would inflate. Ronnie and I on the other hand, had decided to split the couch for the night seeing as it was large enough for things not to get awkward or borderline gay. What happened then was that with the mattress part being out of the equation, all four of us ended up sleeping on the couch with Ronnie in one corner, Emelie in the other and Zascha and I sorta huddled up together at Emelie’s feet, taking up a shockingly small amount of space for two normally sized individuals. Oh it was a strange night indeed, and would probably have been an awkward one, too, at that, had Zascha, Emelie and I not been such great friends because more than once did people get kicked here or there and more than once did people wake up from getting an ass in their head. Every now and then someone would go up and go to the bathroom and everybody else get a bit of a chance to readjust and be comfortable for the odd half hour or so and possibly catch a bit of shut eye.. In other words, it was the most comfortable of sleeps, but certainly one of the more memorable.. And probably the only time in my life I’ve been told off because “Johan, your head is on my ass!” .. So, really, that’s how I started my 2011, huddled up on what was actually a reasonably sized couch, until four people tried to sleep on it at once..

I secretly wish someone would have gotten up in the middle of the night to take pictures because while I’m sure it wasn’t pretty, it would have been memorable.

I’m no hero.. I’m just the king of awkward timing!

I busted my first ever drug deal a few days ago! But I’m no hero! Actually, I didn’t exactly mean to do anything, it just sorta happened, and it didn’t exactly make me very popular amongst the street crawlers.. But at least, as you can tell from this posting, I did make it out of the experience alive and kicking.

Here’s the thing, I have inherently bad timing, and I have a way of not always paying attention to what’s going on around me.. And at times, that just lands me in some pretty peculiar situations.. Like a few days ago when I just happened to be out taking a nice, little brisk walk.

It was one of those wonderful (and by wonderful I mean horrible) Danish winter days where sun kinda gives way to snow which gives way to sleet which eventually gives way to pouring rain before the whole circle of life.. errm.. downpour.. just starts all over again. On this particularly lovely Danish winter day, I had left the house during the sun period, started texting back and forth with Tina during the snowy period, stuck my phone in my pocket and started bailing from the impending rain during the sleeting period, and bolted into a covered alley between a couple of houses during the rainy period.. Where I immediately skidded to a halt and pulled my phone from my pocket to send a reply to Tina whom I had left hanging during my sudden escape from the elements..

As I hurriedly pull out my phone, I look up – only to stare directly into the faces of a couple of shaking, hooded, emaciated young men with tattoos, huddling in the far corner over some preeeetty conspicuous business involving things changing hands in a rather rushed manner. They, in return, sneer at me and take off in one direction while I barely have time to mumble “OH FUCK!” and bolt off back in the other direction from whence I came..

Reminding myself in the process that charging gung-ho into a possible drug deal while pulling a camera phone from your pocket is the sort of behavior that just might get you in serious trouble in some parts of the world.. And, at the same time, thanking my lucky stars that I live in a country where junkies are more likely to be afraid of you than you are to be afraid of them.. Well, at least in cases like this where they seem to have plenty of dope to share and money with which to buy it anyways. See.. Sometimes the ways of society work out in the favor of the king of awkward timing that is Johan.

Incidentally, and almost unsurprisingly, the rain stopped right at the very moment that I was done stirring up trouble and wrecking havoc.. But at least I didn’t get wet.. And I get to feel proud of having broken up a drug deal.. Or at the very least moved it some ten feet down the street to the next alley.. Whether I need to feel proud or accomplished or stupid and lucky, I’ve yet to decide.. It’s all just another unanswered question and a terribly weird experience from the life of the Johan.

The hunt for the illusive Chateau d’Yquem

So, I know I’m unemployed and I’m not really supposed to be spending much money. And, really, I usually don’t. I collect my cheque every month, I pay my rent, my bills, I save most for a rainy day (like when I have to start paying back my debt, beginning next year) .. And then every once in a while, I go do something stupid. Like join the amazing race to secure, and willingly pay for, an illusive half bottle of 1998 Chateau d’Yquem which, for God knows whatever reason, was on sale at the local discount mega mart at the discount price of only DKK 699 – for half a bottle mind you.

Now, yes, I hear what you say. “Wow, Johan, you’ve really lost it!” But stick with me, my story gets better – or dumber, depending on how you look at it – but it will eventually include expensive wine and beautiful women, so there’s a little bit for everybody in there..

Now, first things first, why would anybody pay DKK 699 for a half bottle of 12 year old grape juice? Let alone be happy and excited about doing so? I’ll explain.. No, on second thought, I’ll TRY to explain. For starters, Chateau d’Yquem is THE premier sweet, noble rot white wine in the world. So you’re not just laying down hundreds of kroner for 12 year old grape juice, you’re laying down hundreds of kroner for ROTTEN wine juice.. Which is really a much better thing than it sounds like, I might add! Because just as with good cheeses, sometimes in the wine world, a little bit of mould isn’t that bad of a thing after all. In fact, in the case of Chateau d’Yquem, it’s a very good thing indeed. It lends a very distinct flavor to what is already a superior wine and causes it to rise a level above the competition in it’s class of Sauternes wines from Bordeaux, France. So much so above the competition, actually, that it has been placed in a class of it’s own “Premier Cru Supérieur” which is French for “very fancy wine” (well, no, actually it’s french for Superior First Growth”, but you get the idea).. Ahem, anyways, as can probably be imagined, the process of having a bunch of vines standing around, carrying grapes long enough as for them to get attacked by friendly mold, then harvesting them before things go awry and actually produce tasty wine from them which then needs to rest in oak barrels for a good three years before spending a quite a few more years in bottles before release.. is not an easy, let alone inexpensive process, which goes to explain why even younger bottles of the stuff go for about DKK 4000 a bottle.. And that all leads us back to why DKK 699 for a half bottle is a pretty sweet fucking deal indeed, and to why Johan nearly fell on his ass when he opened the weekly catalogue from the local discount market and saw that not only did they apparently carry one of the world’s most premium wines, they also carried it a downright ridiculous discount.

I know, I know, the reasonable – nay SANE – line of thought would have been “that’s a RIDICULOUS amount of money for half a bottle of wine.. No.. BAD JOHAN.. NO!” and indeed, that’s exactly the thoughts that went through my head as I jumped into my shoes and winter jacket and set in a full sprint towards the local discount market..

As I sprinted through the doors of the supermarket, leaving weary elderly women knocked over in my wake, I picked up pace and set off towards the wine section where I applied the brakes, wound down and joined the host of confused looking shoppers who, like me, had come in vain looking for Chateau d’Yquem and were now casually strolling around the place, like me, pretending that they weren’t at all looking for something, hoping, like me, to discover a half bottle that someone had missed.. But, alas, poor Yorrick, the wine was all gone.. So there I was, walking around, feeling strangely pissed that I was so rudely robbed of the chance to spend DKK 699 on a bottle of wine, then feeling strangely weirded out that I was even upset about said fact.. But I should probably add to the story that I am apparently turning 30 next year and that I have, apparently, decided to celebrate the ordeal with friends over a gourmet dinner and that the bottle would have made a good piece de resistance if served alongside the dessert.

My state of feeling pissed off didn’t last long, though, no no, it was pretty quickly followed by a state of “Oh fuck it.. If the discount market won’t sell me expensive wine, I’m gonna go do what I should have done in the first place – which is go see my wine pusher.. I mean, my go-to wine guy, Kresten, about some expensive bottles of wine!” – And so I did, and that turned out to be not such a bad choice after all!

See, not only was my wine guy in a pretty good mood, he was also happy to see me and, it turned out, he had some pretty sweet deals for me, starting out with what may easily have been the Chardonnay bargain of the year! Or at least the best value for money Chardonnay deal of the year.

“I need some wine for the starter for my 30th birthday dinner,” I told him, “I’m thinking lobster!” – “I’m thinking Chardonnay,” he answered. – “Burgundy Chardonnay?,” I asked. “Yes my friend,” he simply replied, showing me a bottle. – “I’ve heard of this,” I said, recognizing the bottle as a 2008 Clos de Loyse, “it’s supposed to be amazing..” – “It is,” Kresten replied, “I’ve got two bottles left at discount price.. DKK 130 a bottle.” – “Great, white Burgundy for DKK 130??” I asked in bewilderment. – “I understand your skepticism,” said Kresten, “but trust me.. I think you should take a bottle..” – “I’ll take two, then!” I said. – “Wise choice,” Kresten smiled.. And then that, as they say, was that.

Well, okay, not entirely, since I’d been so rudely robbed of my Chateau d’Yquem, I decided to get some white dessert wine as well – and after the rhetorical question of “is it okay we if up the price range a bit?” (how often does one turn 30 anyways?) Kresten had just the thing for me, a 1997 late harvest Alsace Gewürtztraminer (or Gewurtztraminer as I guess they’re called when they’re from France – shrug) which wasn’t exactly a Chateau d’Yquem but apparently quite a knockout in it’s class and only half as expensive as my first priority.. It was one of those purchases I just had to make, if for nothing else then for the sheerly ridiculous situation which ensued as a wine man who generally hates Gewürtztraminer with a passion sold an exclusive bottle of Gewürtztraminer to a guy who generally hates Gewürtztraminer with a passion.. With the promise that it was one of the best sweet wines he had ever tasted and his young protege would soon share his view.. Still, I was feeling a little apprehensive when I left the store with my purchases in hand. I don’t know, Kresten, I’ll have to trust you on this one, and hey, whatever happens, the girls will love it!

Speaking of the girls, they (Tina and Emelie, that is) were a pretty big part of the reason why I suddenly ended up with two bottles of white Burgundy.. See, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was lucky enough to have scored a date with the two of them and a bunch of burgers on this very fateful night after my wine hunting adventures, and now I just happened to have some secret (albeit slightly obvious) plans for the evening.. And no, I don’t think that burgers, fries, Aioli and white Burgundy go together, I’ll explain it all in my next post.. All shall soon be revealed, as of right now my lack of sleep and hurting head is killing me.

The woes of working from home and flexible hours

Now that we’ve dwelled on the good aspects of working from home and having flexible hours, can we then talk a bit about the pitfalls and dangers of working from home and the flexibility it provides?

I know, I know, you wouldn’t really think there’d be many pitfalls and dangers to the wonderful scheme that I just detailed in my previous post.. But believe me, there is.. Like when your boss for no apparent reason choses to give you the day off on a random Friday.. Right, again, you wouldn’t think that would be a very bad thing.. And it isn’t necessarily.. But what if, on this particular day the stars aligned properly and your old drinking brother in arms, Dunkel, just happened to get the day off as well.. And what if said brother in arms decided to just show up in his car in your driveway at 11 AM on this particular Friday and quoth: “Right, you’re coming with me, time to get wasted!”

Well.. That would be right around the time where things might start to go towards the bad.. Over worse.. To downright pandemonium..

But, y’know, what’s a boy to do? Well, nothing really but to pack some clothes, a bit of Jägermeister, some rum and a couple of bucks.. So, me having done that and locked up the house, we jumped into the car, sped out of the drive way, put Machine Head’s f’ing awesome “Imperium” on the car stereo and started banging our way towards Dunkel’s home in Esbjerg, a little hour or so away.

We arrived in good shape save a couple of slightly strained necks (thank you, Machine Head!), piled in Dunkel’s front door, gave our love to his girlfriend, Marianne, grabbed a 12 pack from the fridge and made our way to the couch.. Apparently Marianne was receiving a home visit her doctor that afternoon, so Dunkel and I thought that the only reasonable thing to do with a medical professional in the house was to lock ourselves up in the living room, put on “Hot Tub Time Machine” and start pounding beers.. I’m not sure the medical professional quite agreed, but we tried our best to stay in our seats and not disturb things too much (there may have been some random cackling and singing along to Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home”) and it’s certainly the most entertaining doctor’s visit I’ve been borderline involved in.

By the time Marianne finished up her doctor’s visit, she was nice enough bring us some more beers which came in handy as we were pretty much out by the end of the movie. And so we fell into a pretty steady habit of pounding beers and watching movies.. Which turned out to be a pretty bad plan as the next movie in line was the absolutely brilliant Walk Hard (aka the Dewey Cox Story) which, in our little world has turned into a bit of a drinking game of quite epic proportions.. Umm, so yeah, things suddenly got really sketchy and pretty cloudy..

So, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that the next thing that happened was that we cooked dinner.. Which is probably not entirely true, but it’s the last thing I remember happening, so it’s gonna have to do.. To this day I’m not entirely sure how we managed, but somehow we managed to make not only perfectly steamed rice but also chicken breasts grilled to perfection (a task involving cast iron pans, ovens and – strangely enough – not a single burn) and a homemade tomato-based sauce which, in our minds at least, tasted pretty damn well.. Marianne may not have agreed under normal conditions, but she had a cold and couldn’t taste anything, so umm.. Yeah, dinner was enjoyed by all.

After dinner, another movie was watched – don’t ask me which – all’s I know is it sucked and that there were shots and drinks which was good enough for me.. We then tried to watch some stand-up.. Well, some of us did but I vetoed it on account of stand-up being pretty boring and the fact that no one would be able to concentrate anyways.. So we took to just having more drinks and listening to music and talking and probably not making a hell of a lot of sense.. Yup, that was the only viable alternative I could come up with, but it seemed to please everybody.. And kept us going through the rest of the night. Or until around 0:20 AM anyways where Dunkel and I agreed that it had been a while since we’d been drinking since noon on a Friday and that it may be time to pass out.. Which I then guess we did.. Did I mention it was all a bit hazy?

Long story short, I awoke on the couch on Saturday morning feeling dazed, confused and not too well at all. I immediately started cursing Friday’s off to high heavens before I set off on spending the entire day in a post-drunken, hung over haze. I kicked back a beer or two just to keep me going and somehow managed to make it through both a walk with Dunkel’s dog, breakfast and the ride home that Dunkel was kind enough to offer me.. After which I crawled to the couch, curled up there and promised never again to let Dunkel know when I have a day off..

Flexible working hours, I love you, but sometimes you’re the devil!

How jerk chicken nearly landed me in Munich

It was supposed to have been just another quite Friday evening on my own like so many others I’ve had lately. I’d treated myself to a Dry Martini of the luxurious variety, I’d made some good dinner which I’d consumed with a good glass of wine.. And the plan was to then just sorta kick back, enjoy life, rest up and get ready for Saturday night’s dinner and rum tasting with Tina.. I had it all pretty much laid out.

Tina had asked me to give her a crash course in rum so I had an entire evening laid out of classic rum drinks, a Jamaican styled dinner and then a whole bunch of different sipping rums.. I had it all planned out pretty well, the only thing that was left was for me to spend parts of my Friday evening throwing together some marinade for some Jamaican jerk chicken I was planning to make the next day – and to soak some kidney beans for a bean and rice side dish.. It seemed like a pretty straight forward and cosy little Friday evening project.

And then Dunkel showed up and fucked everything up big time.. Or well, he didn’t so much show up as he sent me a text message saying something along the lines of “I’m in town for about an hour and a half, waiting for a connecting train, I’m bored, I have beer, come keep me company!” – Well, I live about a ten minute walk from the train station, so keeping my old friend company was the least I could do. So I throw on a jacket, walk outside, realize it’s fucking cold, go back inside for a bottle of brandy to bring along just in case we need something to keep us extra warm during the hour-long wait (y’know, as you do!) .. and set off.

I arrived at the station some ten minutes later,having only received a few weird looks along the way. I bumped heads with Dunkel who immediately handed me a tall boy of Carlsberg lager, then grabbed my bottle of brandy and swigged away. We then went “Oh yeah, HI by the way!”, I sat down and we fell into conversation about everything from the good old days over music to music production and crazy plans for the future.. All while pounding beers and hitting the bottle pretty hard. Within about half an hour we were pretty far out of it and actually nearly on our way to spontaneously boarding a night train to Munich for the simple reason that none of us had ever been to Oktoberfest and it seemed a pretty fun adventure. As we realized that the only thing holding us back is the fact that I wasn’t carrying my VISA card and that I had a dinner planned with Tina the next day, we came to the conclusion that we’d probably hit the bottle a little to hard and that we should probably slow down a little.

Of course, by that time it was already too late. We’d been hitting it like it was the good old days without realizing that none of us had really partied much in the last odd year or so and as such, our tolerance wasn’t quite what it was back in the day. It was around this time, too, that the family with kids sitting next to us were starting to shoot us some pretty weird looks, so in the end it felt like a bit of a relief when Dunkel’s train arrived and he staggered onto it while I staggered home, locked myself in through the front door, put the bottle of brandy in the kitchen, threw Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” album on the stereo and started abusing the hell out of my speakers.. It was all pretty good times until I suddenly found myself thinking “Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something right now? Oooh.. Right.. The jerk marinade for tomorrow night! Fuck me, I’m hammered!”

So, I did what any person in my situation shouldn’t do, I went to the kitchen broke out a couple of chef knives, a blender, large amounts of some very hot chili peppers and a bunch of other ingredients.. To try something I’d never done before which was to make Jamaican jerk marinade from scratch, for the first time ever, without a recipe.. Now, I’d love to detail the process for you, my dear readers, but honestly, I’ll be damned if I remember the details. I do remember being generous with the rum in the marinade, though, and using only one Habanero pepper per person rather than the two I had planned.. Which eventually led me to tasting the finished mix and concluding that it was nowhere near hot enough, the concluding that my taste buds were probably pretty zapped and that maybe I should sleep on it – and thank God for that because when I tasted it the next morning (with a raging hangover) I concluded that it was probably well hot enough for someone like Tina. I also included that in my late night drunken cooking adventure, I’d forgot to add vinegar to the marinade but that it wasn’t really missing in the mix.

Last but not least I concluded that I make a mean Jamaican Jerk marinate.. Especially for a first try.. By someone who was, well, shitfaced at the time of the crime.. I couldn’t wait to show (and feed) Tina the result.. The only real problem was.. I’ll have absolutely no way of ever replicating the process because I forgot like half the steps and all I have to go by is this picture I snapped of some of the ingredients, possibly in an effort to help myself..

Oh and this one I snapped of the rum… Apparently think that I might forget which cheap Jamaican rum I used tor the marinade.. As if this wasn’t the only cheap Jamaican rum I own.