Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Copenhagen Cult Recipes, by Christine Rudolph and Susie Theodorou

Home-cook recipes that channel the heart and hygge of Danish lifestyle and location shots from one of the world’s most instagrammable cities.

A visual feast of classic and contemporary Danish flavours.

Scandi style remains top of the popularity charts, and Nordic food, in particular, couldn’t be hotter. Adding to the enormous list of related publications is Copenhagen Cult Recipes, a new book by frequent collaborators Christine Rudolph and Susie Theodorou featuring a collection of recipes and inspirational images celebrating Danish food and lifestyle.

Rudolph (Copenhagen-based stylist, set designer and photographer) and Theodorou (culinary stylist and cookbook author) have chosen new twists on traditional dishes and partnered these with photographs, illustrations and brief explanations that bring to life the origins and context of the ingredients. There’s a focus on fresh, local produce and the value of shared experiences. ‘Hygge’ is the key concept—enjoying tasty food in good company to enhance one’s wellbeing and contentment.

As well covering as breakfast, lunch and dinner, the book explores ideas for drinks, snacks and special occasions. Smokehouse treats get their own section, as smoked foods are central to Danish food culture (think salmon, herrings, bacon and sausages). Seafood, pickles and desserts are also well represented, as are egg dishes both savoury and sweet. There’s a balance of easy and complex recipes with a focus on produce of the highest quality.

Copenhagen Cult Recipes is the eighth publication in Murdoch Books’ cult recipes series and it shares the same retro cover styling and attractive design as the other titles. The book begs to be picked up. Quirky drawings (by Tusnelda Sommers) of food and utensils are scattered throughout the pages, sitting well with the muted, earthy colour palette of the photographs of food, interiors and Copenhagen locations. It’s impossibly hip—each photo an example of a perfect Instagram shot—and will soon have you dreaming of a holiday in the Danish capital.

Barley and mushroom grød (page 190)

Risotto fans will love this soupy mushroom porridge—grød—made with the same technique as risotto but using barley instead of rice. It’s perfect comfort food for a cosy winter night. The recipe steps are very simple: soften some chopped onion and the barley before ladling small amounts of hot stock and stirring until the grains are cooked. In the meantime, fry the mushrooms and greens (I used baby spinach, but you could choose whatever you prefer) so they’re ready, spooning over the grød with some parmesan before serving. The result was delicious (and the leftovers were just as good reheated the next day). I’ll be adding this dish to my list of favourites.

Kanelsnurre/cinnamon buns (page 28)

These buttery, spicy buns are definitely worth the time and effort it takes to make them, although they’re probably best attempted by cooks with confidence in baking with yeast. The recipe involves preparing several different components separately, but the ingredients are listed in total, meaning there’s a lot of measuring, checking and rechecking to ensure quantities are divided and used correctly. It would have been easier if the ingredients and steps for each part were more clearly noted. I’m also going to experiment with using less of the spice butter—there seemed to be quite a lot that melted out of the buns while cooking. Read the recipe through several times before starting and allow plenty of time for proving the dough (this needs to happen twice). Quick fingers are also helpful for wrangling the spice-butter-filled dough strips into attractive knots. The twisted treats (recipe makes 12 buns) didn’t last long in our house—I plan to double the quantities next time to make sure we don’t run out so quickly!

Reviewed by Jo Vabolis
Twitter: @JoVabolis

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: October 2019
RRP: $49.99

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