JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH 2020
The months of winter darkness are the glory months of the root crop in the restaurant kitchen as well as at the fields of Himmerigskov. The withered stalks bear witness that the sunchokes are still waiting in the mould filled with the energy that they have collected through summer and autumn – and ready for the kitchen. And the larder is still holding beets, celeriac and parsnip which is right now the focal point of the link between fields and servings. Visually and in flavour beautifully supplemented with the limited selection of crisp herps from the greenhouse: Parsley, purslane, watercress …
The invitation to experiment is obvious. When kept relatively cold and dark, the roots generate sugar – and exactly this sweetness inspires us to focus on new desserts. Consequently, we lifted a few months consumption of parsnip and invested these in our search for a very special combination of parsnip, truffle and nuts … feeling our way, testing, tasting, adjusting and suddenly it is there: A new dessert with a very characteristic taste of the season right now…
Even though we harvest and work in the fields every week, we have our minds and eyes fixed on the new season and all the actions which will be taken out there. It’s time for planning.
It is initiated in the kitchen, where the team of chefs share their wishes, ideas and thoughts about vegetables, fruits and varieties which would be interesting to work with. We have already decided to broaden the selection of mint and supplement the well-known species with new ones which all have a touch of taste of what they are called: Chocolate mint, orange mint, apple mint … which can strengthen, support or contrast a course.
Also, our fruit and berry plantation will be bigger next year – with a special combination of types that can be picked and used directly in the kitchen for as long a period as possible or be preserved, fermented and stored: 3 different types of sweet cherries and a sour one for wine and juices, raspberry, sea buckthorn, elder, hazel – and not least pears.
The choice of the new pear trees is closely connected to our vision: A DETAILED AND BEAUTIFUL DINING EXPERIENCE FOR ALL SENSES WITH A WISH FOR RECOGNITION AND SURPRISE. We look for the perfect combination of the nostalgic, Danish pears as the grey one with the tough peel tasting a little bit of ‘the orchard of our childhood’. A little unpolished, a little unsophisticated and very recognizable. And on the other side the new, exciting pears with a spicy taste inviting for creativity and surprises.
And finally, we have a dream that Himmerigskov will bloom a little more in 2020. With edible flowers which are beautiful for plating, fun to experiment with and tasty.
It sounds like 100% planning and paperwork. But suddenly, there is a break between the rain showers and then we jump into our wellies and handle the new raspberry plants which have to be moved while inactive … even though the soil is cold, wet and heavy.
And suddenly light green colours fill the greenhouses again … and then we are really busy!
About previous seasons at Himmerigskov:
OCTOBER | NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019
Autumn means closing down … and while harvesting, filling the larders and covering the soil for winter, the first thoughts about the next season start to sprout. And almost invite us to keep Himmerigskov as green as possible with a beautiful aftercrop which sprouts, gives the soil structure and secures that the all-important minerals are not washed out by rain during autumn and winter … just one of our thoughts heading for sustainability and being all organic.
The spin-off benefit of this, is the most beautiful, green alternative to depressing, black soil … sprouting rye, barley and parsley that will just be cut and turned when we prepare the fields in the early spring.
But that is not what is most important just now … we have our focus fixed on: Harvesting!
Potatoes and beets fill up the larder of Himmerigskov, while parsnips and carrots are covered with straw and are left in the fields for being harvested successively and taken to Toldkammeret. The sunchokes will also be left there, letting the leaves wither away while waiting for the sunchokes to be perfect before digging them up and storing them. Probably this will be in late October. Even though it is tempting to let the beets be part of our autumn version of ’Our World’, we choose to wait – and focus on all the other options right now. We do not forget them, however. Already now we work creatively on the winter menus by baking, fermenting, experimenting … preparing.
The most beautiful area of the fields right now will be the cabbage one which counts the very last pointed cabbage, white cabbage, brussels sprout kale, savoy cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi and the cauliflower. Side by side the beautiful, large plants will stay in the fields, allowing us every week to bring crisp elements into the menus transforming them into autumn versions…
One of this years’ surprises is our success to grow cauliflower to perfection for the very first time. We aim at using these while they are still all white and crisp. So the success in the fields has a domino effect to the kitchen at Ti Trin Ned where we have worked and still experiment with the cauliflower to create a course that replaces the characteristic, sharp taste of horseradish – with a soft taste of nuts in fried cauliflower and purée combined with truffles and beautiful Karl Johan. Maybe a vegetarian second dish?
Herbs are one of the important elements in maintaining the characteristic, light signature of ’Our World’ through autumn and winter: Parsley, purslane and watercress are robust and can almost be harvested all winter why we spare them right now. Instead, the challenge is to use as many of the delicate herbs as possible before the night frost seriously hits us. Then it will be too late. The garden – and the kitchen – are well-filled with savoury, sage, mint, hyssop, lemon thyme, chocolate mint, flower cress, sorrel, tarragon, lovage, rosemary and not least chervil. The old, Danish herbs mixed with common herbs mixed with experiments and the herbs that always grow …
Just now the many herbs are not only part of ‘Our World’ – simultaneously, we use lovage, celeriac tops and mint for oils and the sharper ones as thyme, rosemary and savoury – together with apple juice, vinegar culture or kombucha – will become spiced vinegar over winter. Also a way of preserving the summer of 2019 …
And when the activity level in our fields decreases, we evaluate again the results, set our minds for the next season and plan: What do we miss? What do we grow too little of? Of what do we have too much? The first result of these evaluations is that late October and early November we will extend our garden with elder, hazel, pears, sweet and sour cherries, buckthorn and Aronia.
Our winter break can be spotted on the horizon – and so can the exciting, new projects that send us into an even greener 2020.
JULY | AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2019
Just now, Himmerigskov explodes in an abundance of herbs, vegetables and berries in all shapes and colours – and in more than one way July, August and September are the busiest months of the year. Hectic, exciting, overwhelming and fantastic at the same time
Nature has given us a generous season. The weather has not been too wet, nor too dry. Should we complain a bit, the soil might be slightly to the wet side, but it is okay …
However, we have been flooded with pest and our new fields have been hit with almost everything. Consequently, we have had to improvise and move around the crop to optimize. When the soil was ready for kale and salads, we found crane fly larvas that thrive on exactly kale and salads. We solved the problem by replacing these with beans and onions (which were also hit by pest – but that’s another story) and so the puzzle continued.
Part of the first crops failed, and what should have been harvested for the third or second time, now ends up as the first harvest of the year in September – which will naturally influence the menus now as well as during the Winter to come.
High season is also the time for preserving the wonderful, light tastes of summer for the dark Danish winter – to be able to give ‘Our World’ our characteristic, light signature also in January.
We harvest small crops currently – and one large crop once a week. Part of these is taken directly to the empty and clean stockrooms which are filled with our own produce week by week. Another part lands directly in our new, large kitchen at Toldkammeret, which works perfectly when preparing for winter and running service in the restaurant at the same time.
Small, fragile carrots lands together with 500 kgs of broad beans – and while the carrots will instantly be part ‘Our World’, 3 chefs will spend a full day podding and freezing down the broad beans. And then there will be potatoes, beets, more carrots …
Everything will be prepared – and we preserve, dry, dehydrate, pickle, ferment and make juices. New methods mixed with classical ’Grandma-style’.
This year we have more perennial produce – from a broader selection of types. We have extended our rhubarb bed from 7 to 57 plants of different types – also one of the classic, Danish ‘arch-rhubarb’ which is unequalled when it comes to taste.
And suddenly all the sweet and cosy things ’peak’. Redcurrants, blackcurrants and gooseberries are followed by blackberries, apples and plums. The menus of the late summer will get the special signature of the season and the summer is preserved in glasses, bottles and frozen down.
It’s blooming everywhere, weed mix with planned crops. Beautiful wildflowers bloom among calendula, Tropaeolum majus and cornflower for the menus. Himmerigskov is beautiful …
APRIL | MAY | JUNE 2019
Everything sprouts and grows at Himmerigskov! While the menu in the restaurant changes, the greenhouse is filled with all the world’s cabbage plants and fragile salads. We plant onions and the very first potatoes. Preparations and plans are realised day by day!
Every spring we wait patiently for the fields to reach the optimum temperature of 8-10°C and to be not too dry for planting out – nor too wet for ploughing, preparing and spreading muck with heavy machinery without stamping the soil completely. Timing is everything … and this year we feel lucky! Many beautiful days with blue sky, full sun and a light breeze make all work a little bit easier …
And suddenly we are ready: All the tiny cabbage plants and salads which have been nurtured under glass will be planted in long, straight lines, beans and broad beans will follow – and then we start sowing and nurturing again. This time outdoors … while the greenhouse will be taken over for the rest of the summer by tomatoes, cucumbers, broad beans and Peter’s watermelon which all wait patiently as fine, sound, small plants in pots.
Very early this spring we also prepared about ½ hectare additional space to form a new blackcurrant bed holding 50-60 extra blackcurrant bushes. Not only because we are looking forward to blackcurrant juice tasting of sun and summertime – but because small, fragile blackcurrant sprouts are a central element of our desserts at Ti Trin Ned. And we need a lot of sprouts. Therefore, we have also chosen the type of blackcurrant with an untraditional emphasis: Not a type that bears a lot of berries – but the one that sprouts diligently.
Among the very first harbingers of spring to reach the kitchen of Ti Trin Ned we always see the rhubarb – and when it has arrived at the restaurant, we wait for the first Danish potatoes. We planted the potatoes as early as possible – and we grow them naturally. The only shielding during winter is straw which means that the first 40 kilos will be growing slowly for 70-90 days. We wonder whether they will be ready for the restaurant by the end of May?
Another round of 200 kilos of healthy potatoes are ready, the vegetables will be planted – and not least is our large strawberry bed waiting for care and attention. And at the same time nature wakes up: Beech leaves, crisp sprouts and wild herbs invite to ’A walk in the woods of Himmerigskov’ and servings with inspiration from beach and forest.
Week by week the atmosphere at Himmerigskov changes to summer vibes, ’the first of everything’ reaches the kitchen, new combinations are tested … and Our World gets a new expression.
JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH 2019
With Himmerigskov at the essential focal point in the kitchen of Ti Trin Ned, the activity level in the fields is high – also during the dark winter months. The attention given to fields and greenhouses is limited – but planning the new season fills in the ‘gap’.
Every day we do our round in ‘our larder’ to make sure that the conditions are optimal – also when the winter temperature varies – and we follow closely the list of the crops, which are the starting point when setting the menus: The roots, parsley roots, parsnip and beetroots, are together with sunchokes a rich contrast to the rustic varieties of cabbage as palm and savoy cabbage which are still crisp and fresh – just as we still have 50 kgs of white cabbage left over for fermentation.
During high summer, late summer and autumn we have in the traditional and old-fashioned way picked, preserved, frozen – and not least dried and fermented with the aim of working creatively and adding acid, sweetness and crispness to our servings: Pickled asparagus, green strawberries and vinegar of the apples from our orchard.
The interaction between fields and kitchen which characterise both of our menus of the season invites us to be playful – and to surprise with untraditional combinations of well-known ingredients that form the characteristic and nuanced identity of Our World. And in the same way to exploit the potential of the simple, perfect and sometimes surprising taste experiences of Our Gastronomic Roots.
And still, we can find the winter hardy herbs in the greenhouses where chervil and winter purslane pops up with small, delicate, green leaves – and contrasts the grey and bleak fields with the colours of spring.
With a view to the dull fields, winter is also the time to go through the upcoming purchase of seeds and carefully we select the varieties which in our experience thrive in our fields. When the fundament is laid, we challenge ourselves professionally and look for new varieties that we – for various reasons – would like to test.
This year, a small ‘puzzle’ is also part of our planning as we will be extending our orchard. How do we get the most from our extra hectare? And how do we find the best combination of plum trees, raspberry, blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, hazel, elder, walnut and buckthorn? Which varieties should we choose to make the best possible yield? Many pros and cons to consider …
And by the way, as a natural element of sustainable farming, we also have approx. 80 tons of muck waiting for frost and optimum wind conditions for us to get the best result while bothering our surroundings least possible.
Already by the end of cold February, the feeling of spring will reach Himmerigskov. The first sign will be cultivating and pricking out – and as soon as the frost is gone and spring is there, we are eager to get out: Ploughing the fields, filling the greenhouses, planting potatoes … and just waiting for the right temperature, the right humidity, a little sun and warm winds.
Slowly the servings at Ti Trin Ned will get a touch of spring colours … a new season is coming up!