Jødekager - Danish Christmas Cookies

Inspired by my recent trips to Copenhagen I made jødekager this weekend. I tried these with hot chocolate while on a canal tour of the city surrounded by fairylights. I read up about their origins online and it seems they were originally made in Jewish bakeries around the city and it became a tradition to make them with children at Christmas.

They are so simple to make and look so pretty. I used the below recipe from Nordic Food & Living.

Ingredients
150g butter
250g plain flour
100g sugar
1 egg
For the topping
50g almonds, chopped
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Method
Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour in a large mixing bowl until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir. Then add one of the eggs and mix with your hands to form a soft dough. It’s quite messy but satisfying when the dough comes together. Pop the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cover a board or work surface with flour and roll out the dough so that it is about 3 - 4 mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out approx. 40 - 50 small cookies. I made circles and stars to be a little extra Christmassy.

Whisk the second egg and brush a little on each cookie. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle a fair amount on each one. Then sprinkle the chopped almonds on too. I put almonds on about half of my biscuits so that there were some for everyone’s taste.

Bake in batches for about 7 - 8 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to move them onto a rack to cool.

Enjoy! Or pop a few into pretty paper bags and share them with friends and family.

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Art Is Everywhere

This weekend Maryanne Hobbs hosted her wonderful annual Art Is Everywhere show dedicated to creativity. Listeners are encouraged to make art while they listen to the music and interviews with inspiring artists. This year’s show included conversations with Blondey McCoy, Will Gompertz and Martin Parr. I was particularly swept away by a piece with Kate Tempest talking about how she became inspired by William Blake. In her words, “I was meant to discover this person’s poetry…”

Below is one of the pieces I submitted on Twitter during the show.

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BBC Radio 6 Music - Mary Anne Hobbs, Art Is Everywhere, Live from the Turner Prize Exhibition

Mary Anne presents Art Is Everywhere from the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain.

Movie - A Star Is Born

“And there's one reason we're supposed to be here is to say something so people want to hear. So you got to grab it, and you don't apologise, and you don't worry about why they're listening, or how long they're going to be listening for, you just tell them what you want to say.”

I had several friends who had seen this film and couldn’t stop talking about it. I finally saw it this weekend. Wow. What a movie. There are very few films that come together so perfectly as this one does. The chemistry between the actors, the script, the direction, the passion, the pure artistry. In the interview below, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga discuss their creative connection and the collaborative experience. Bradley talks about how he couldn’t direct until he had something to say and how he wanted so much for the film to connect and heal.

I loved the movie. But what I really loved was the creativity, the story telling and the total commitment the actors have to the whole process.

A Piece About The Guts & Gore of Creativity by Chris Addison

 “There are two ways into a theatre...”

Chris Addison shared this blog post on Twitter this week and I’m glad it jumped out of the scrolling sea. Chris talks about how all creatives compare themselves to others but how it’s nonsensical to compare your messy, gritty, frustrating, enlightening experience to the finished product of any one else. The piece made me empathise with others and importantly empathise with myself. Creating is hard. It taps into your purest self and your keenest vulnerabilities. A brilliant read.

Yes You Can And Neither Can They.

Yes You Can And Neither Can They. Earlier today I tweeted about how watching some piece of creative endeavour that thrills you is energising; how it sends you away restless and wanting to create...

A Seven Minute Meditation with Adriene

I keep seeing lots of vloggers and folks on Instagram recommending Adriene’s videos for forming a yoga practice. I had a little look at her account and can see immediately why she’s so popular. I started with this seven minute meditation and loved her gentle, easy approach. I especially like the moment when you bow your head to your heart. It felt really meaningful. A lovely treat for a Sunday.

Frannerd At The MET

I love New York. I love illustration. I love the MET. And I love Frannerd. So I really loved this video. Fran really inspires me to get out and about to draw and study classical art for inspiration.

I also loved seeing the Temple of Dendur when I visited. I read that the room was known as Jackie’s nightlight because JFK had the light in the room left on each night so his wife could see it across Central Park. I’ve no idea if it’s true but what a romantic story.

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Gathering

When I was about seven we were set a task at school that involved a scavenger hunt. We had to find lots of little things that were on a list. A leaf. A conker. A penny. To me, every little thing was a treasure and I gathered them studiously. Lining them up to gaze at them and revelling in their detail.  Yesterday evening I set myself a similar challenge, to find little autumnal things on my way home. I realised what I had enjoyed so much all those years ago. The task slowed me down, made me look, kept me in the moment. It made me feel like a child again. And at home, I laid my treasures out before me and admired them like jewels. A beautiful autumnal gathering.

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