LISELOTTE & NIELS JØRGEN THØGERSEN
Dear family and friends all over Europe and beyond!
A year has disappeared once again. We feel they get shorter and shorter as time goes by. This is probably because we have a lovely life. Which we certainly have.
At the same time we do and enjoy so many things during a year, that it must still have about 365 days.
This year we have celebrated our 25 years in Belgium. And we feel more at home here than ever before. We feel so much at home and
so welcome that if Denmark next year – which is very likely – will allow double citizenship we might well apply for Belgian citizenship while also keeping our Danish one. We should like to be able to take active part in the democratic life
also in this country. It is one of the most important European values – active engagement in the development of our society. It is odd to be excluded from that due to some formal rules.
For the same reason I (Niels) have
accepted to be president for the organisation Europeans Throughout the World. This is the association for all Europeans, who live in another country than the one, where they are born. We are 14 million inside the EU and between 50 and 80 million
outside. We work for voting rights to all European expatriates, for the possibility to have dual citizenship, and for better assistance to Europeans who live outside the EU than they get today. We have a very pro-active work plan for the coming
months and years.
It is evident that this new personal commitment is part of our general fight for Europe, which we both continue to be involved in. It seems more needed than ever. Europe is having a hard time right now.
But this might be good. History shows that it always made its most decisive and courageous leaps forward, when it was in a serious crisis. Winston Churchill said it this way: We politicians always have to see the gallows, before we take the necessary
decisions! And many positive steps are taken to bring Europe forward, though this is not always the impression you get in the media! We believe that a special effort should be made to try to describe the huge challenges, which we in Europe
will face the coming 10-15 years whether we like it or not ( decreasing and aging population, less weight in the world economy, lack of resources, climate problems, less efforts on research than in other parts of the world, major problems in our education
systems, etc.). When these problems have been identified we bet that people will fully understand that Europe’s only chance not only to cope with these challenges, but to come out better on the other side, is to cooperate closely and efficiently. There
is no other way. The anti-Europeans, the populists, the extremists do not worry us. They will always be there. It is the indifference, the shortsightedness, which is the immense danger. This is what we have to change. And
change rapidly. Fortunately, many people agree to that. And we must all join forces to have the needed effect.
Privately we have also had a very active year. In March we did a magnificent 16 days cruise across the Atlantic
– from Martinique to Italy. In May we went to lovely Barcelona with Danish friends. And in June we visited Bretagne (Brittany) for the first time. Wonderful. We were there for a week by car with our close Belgian friends on the other side of our
street here in Rixensart. Our three summer months at the Danish coast gave us Mediterranean weather almost all the time. And at the end of the summer we enjoyed another cruise – this time with Danish friends in the Baltic Sea to Stockholm, Tallinn, Saint
Petersburg and Kiel. Finally, we boarded a train in November to visit lovely Munich, crossing the Alps and making our 20th visit to bella Venezia. Our view is that the world is out there – nearby and further away – waiting
for us. Waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. We almost feel it as a golden duty to profit as much as possible from that.
No year without plans. So far we have booked a tour in March to four Balkan countries (Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo
and Macedonia). And in October we will cruise with old friends from the Danube through the canals in the German-Bavarian wine lands to Strasbourg on the Rhine.
Added to all these political commitments and “hard duties” when
travelling is the fact that we also have a great time here at home in Rixensart. With family and friends visiting us – or we go to see them. E-mails, Skype and other modern tools to communicate are excellent. But it is still even more personal to meet
for a good chat and laugh.
In addition I (Niels again) want to do a little bit of boasting: as most of you will know I am constantly having a war with my kilos. Normally I am the looser. But this autumn I have been the winner!
Altogether 17 kg have disappeared. To where I don’t know. As long as they do not come back I am very happy. And after New Year they might well be followed by more kilos. Loooong walks, mini breakfast, normal meals in the evening and a staunch boycott
of wine and alcohol made the trick. And there is no copyright. So if any of you should feel in the mood for trying it (whether you need it or not) then be my guest!
I (now Liselotte) want to add for my part that I have had an
equally lovely year. With my reading, not least on my special love, my electronic Kindle, my writing of exciting recipes (so far mostly in Danish) and my active participation in many visits to art museums, etc. I cannot send you my Kindle or the
art museums. But I have added a small explanation and recipe of special Danish biscuits which we make for Christmas. They are called Jewish Biscuits. They are very nice, well tasting and crispy. Have a try!
this year will be celebrated here with us in Rixensart. We will have the whole Thøgersen family here from Denmark, England and Belgium. Altogether 10 joyful participants for a week, including Anna Maria (7) and Zoe (3). We are sure we will have a lovely
Perhaps our family Christmas next year will be celebrated in Perth, Australia. Cecilie and Nikos have both got an almost irresistible offer from a university there. Their decision has to be taken over Christmas.
They have both been out there already for a week to see what it is all about. And they are both enthusiastic. We will, of course, support them 200 % whatever they decide.
With this report from our doings and thinking over the
past great year we want to wish you an excellent and relaxed Christmas time and a very happy, healthy and successful 2014!
We look forward to a lot of contact also in the New Year.
greetings from Rixensart,
Liselotte & Niels
Traditional Danish ”Jewish Biscuits” (jødekager)
* * * * * * *
In Denmark it is traditional to make a variety of cookies/biscuits for the days of Christmas. One variety is these delicious “Jewish Biscuits” decorated with almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Why are they called “Jewish Biscuits”?
There is a simple answer. Because they were sold in Jewish bakeries in Denmark. But there is more to these small delicacies. The original recipe derives from the Jewish community called the Sephardic tribe, which had settled in Spain and Portugal until the
Inquisition forced them out. Some settled in Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and in these countries you can still find these biscuits in different variations.
I am giving you a traditional Danish recipe as suggested by one of
our most celebrated Danish chefs and gastronomic connaisseurs, Claus Meyer, who among other initiatives is behind the world famous restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen, which has been voted The World’s Best Restaurant 3 times.
an easy recipe, so here it comes:
330 g wheat flour
250 g butter (unsalted or lightly salted)
g of granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
Mixture for decoration: 3 tbsp
sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon and 50 g chopped almonds
- 1. Make a crumble of the flour and the
cold butter, to arrive at a consistency of grated parmesan cheese. You can use a food processor.
- 2. Add the sugar and the egg yolks, and work the ingredients together to a firm dough without
working it for too long.
- 3. Roll the dough into a sausage shape with a diameter of 5 cm.
- 4. Wrap the “sausage”
in cling film, and put it in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Or even better into the deep freezer for 1-2 hours.
- 5. Cut the “sausage” into thin slices and place them on a baking tray
with baking paper.
- 6. Brush the slices with the egg white
- 7. Mix the sugar, chopped almonds and cinnamon and sprinkle the
mixture on top.
- 8. Bake the biscuits at 200 C until they are light brown – about 5 minutes.
- 9. Eat them and/or store
them in an airtight box.
*ENJOY THEM – AND HAVE A NICE CHRISTMAS *
Warm greetings from Liselotte