Simply by scanning tabloid and celebrity magazine covers, it’s easy to identify which occupations are most likely to place one in the paparazzi’s firing line. On the heels of being a young actress or supermodel, being a royal or a reality television star also attracts publication fascination and the photographer’s lens. Danish baroness and Ladies of London (it’s dishy!) television star Caroline Fleming has that perfecta. But she distinguishes herself by her purpose. The cheery blonde is a devoted mother and wellness enthusiast, whose new book, Cook Yourself Happy, contains traditional Danish dishes reinterpreted through her positivity, love of family and health consciousness.
Caroline took the time to chat with us about her book and real life. Like her yummy recipes, the baroness is both refreshingly approachable and honest. Plus she has some great ideas for your holiday meal!
Tell us about Cook Yourself Happy. Generally speaking, how is this possible?
This is my personal opinion. I love, love, love to cook, and have for as long as I can remember. It gives me and my family such pleasure. I very much hope to inspire this joy through the book and help all my readers find this happiness and share it with friends and family. I do believe everyone can cook themselves happy if they want to actively work toward happiness. To nourish your body with what you know it needs is also a decision to be the best version of you, in health, in heart, in body and in soul.
Your book focuses on Danish recipes. What are some recipes that are traditionally Danish?
Our national dish, stegt flæsk med persillesovs [roast pork with parsley sauce], is very key, as are the meatballs and fish balls, roasted pork, pulled pork (the taste of Danish pork is still wonderful) and Christmas duck with all the trimmings. To be honest, this cookbook really does include all the very most traditional and much-loved Danish recipes, evolved by time and my personal taste. With each new generation comes change. My changes have been impacted by health and infused with flavors from my travels. Remember, I believe that each ingredient can be replaced. If there is something you don’t like, use an ingredient that you love instead.
Which dishes would you cook for the holiday season?
I will, of course, want to share my Christmas duck with all the trimmings, the rice pudding for dessert, with the leftover rice pudding being used for splodge cakes the next morning. And the mulled wines are a winner all through the Christmas season, not to mention the Christmas cookies and the cinnamon buns, and the scent of them that fills the home.
What are some foods that trigger happiness for you?
For me, the scent of baking, which is so powerful when using cinnamon. The whole experience of mixing ingredients and kneading with my children—so many small hands in the mixing bowl—there’s such joy and happiness right there. Also walking in the forest and finding chestnuts, which we will enjoy roasting and eating later with stirred salted butter. Or walking into the old vegetable garden in Denmark, pulling beetroot from the soil, then deciding if we want beetroot soup with grilled feta or just boiled beetroot with stirred salted butter—another amazing starter.
Do you really think Danes are happier than other nationalities?
I hang out with many nationalities and have very close friends from many countries, American friends especially. They are without a doubt as happy as the happiest Danes I know. I think we mirror ourselves in our friends and choose according to shared interests, morals, hobbies. I like transparency and clear communication, and this is a good reason for deep happiness. If something bothers you, you talk about it, and then you can let it go and allow only love and light to come in. And when all is said and done, being with friends and family around food is simply the best.
You’re a baroness from one of Denmark’s oldest families. What is life like as a modern royal?
I’m just a very normal, very down-to-earth woman with dreams and aspirations like everyone else. I know I have been born into what many think is great privilege, and of course it is in many ways. But it has also meant learning by doing and making mistakes along the way. Because in very formal upbringings, communicating is not the norm. It’s all about conforming to traditional expectations. I guess I broke the rules. I didn’t find the mold was organic to my heart and soul. I also lost my mother when I was 11, which impacted me so much. I cut off all my feelings because I wasn’t surrounded by people who could help me and support me to grieve this great loss. I didn’t start feeling till I gave birth to my first child, and then I started an amazing journey of healing my past, which has been the best thing I have done for myself.
You’re also a star on Bravo’s Ladies of London. What attracted you to this show? Is it really illustrative of your life?
I said yes to doing Ladies of London because I had to. I know the world thinks I come from wealth, both from my family and through my divorce—it’s all a load of nonsense and couldn’t be further from the truth. I am a single mother, working very hard to make ends meet, with the great responsibility of financially securing my children and also trying to save my family’s castle. I said yes to Ladies of London so that I would be able to introduce myself and bring my work abroad. This is how my dream of writing an English language cookbook came to life, also my beautiful collection of stockings, my affordable luxury homeware collection and a soon-to-be-launched plant-based, environmentally friendly and affordable cleaning line.
You also travel a lot. Where are some of the happiest places you’ve traveled lately?
One of my most favorite places I went to recently was Palm Beach with my best friend Anastasia and our children. I felt very much at home: such wonderful people, fabulous food, amazing water, happiness. I also loved my recent book tour of New York and Los Angeles. I just love Americans. I feel quite American actually. I hope I spend much more time in the States.
As a busy mom, entrepreneur and television star, what other tips do you have for self-care?
The best tip for me is to take time out, once or twice a day, even just 10-15 minutes of silence for breathing and total peace and quiet to recharge. Consciously breathing fresh air is also very powerful for me and sipping water slowly throughout the day. And the second I feel a cold coming on, I suck Himalayan salt crystals and it never turns into a cold—an amazing ingredient, which I also speak a lot about in my book!