Recipe: Beetroot Cured Salmon Toasts with Dill Cream Cheese and Prawns

This was our starter on Christmas Eve. Not traditional but still with a nod to Christmas. And most important of all; it was so yummy!

It was my first time curing salmon with beetroot but I love the ombre effect and will definitely do it again. The beetroot doesn’t add any flavour – only the intense and lovely colour! But do wear gloves when handling it as the colour can stain your hands easily. And of course, cover your clothes with an apron.

Beetroot cured salmon toast with dill cream cheese and prawns, per toast

1 slice soft white bread

1 tbsp salted butter

2 slices beetroot cured salmon (recipe below)

5 peeled Atlantic prawns 

1 tbsp dill cream cheese (recipe below)

1 slice lemon

1 dill sprig

To serve:

honey mustard sauce mixed with creme fraiche

Fry the bread slice in butter on low-medium meat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen towel. Cut off the crusts with a serrated bread knife. Place 1 msk dill cream cheese on the bread and arrange the salmon slices around it. Add the prawns and decorate with a lemon slice and dill. Serve with the sauce on the side.

Beetroot cured salmon

600 g salmon fillet

3 tbsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

3 beetroots, peeled and coarsely grated (use gloves)

Cure the salmon 48 hours before you intend to eat it. Place the salmon in a deep glass or china dish. Mix salt, sugar, grated beetroot and dill in a bowl and pat into the top of the fish. Cover with clingfilm and place something heavy on top of the salmon and place in the fridge for 48 hours.

Once cured, pour away the water and scrape off the beetroot. Rinse quickly in cold water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut into thin slices.

Dill cream cheese

180 g (small packet) full fat Philadelphia

3-4 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

Mix Philadelphia with dill and lemon juice in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix again.

Recipe: Gingerbread Sponge with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pomegranate Seeds

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I first made this cake for a book club meet-up and it went down so well I made it one December weekend as well. And that’s also when I tweaked the recipe to what it is below. The original recipe called for lingonberry jam which I omitted even the first time, but I thought the spices could come through a bit more as well and after my tweaks I’m very happy with it!

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So next time you want a festive cake, try this! I promise it’s a welcome change from mince pies and other cakes heavy on dried fruit. This is still a spiced cake but much lighter and, dare I say – fresher – with its cream cheese frosting and juice bursting pomegranate seeds!

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Gingerbread sponge with cream cheese frosting and pomegranate seeds, serves 8

Adapted from Brinken Bakars recipe.

75 g butter

1 1/2 eggs

135 g caster sugar

125 g plain flour

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp ground cloves 

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150 g buttermilk 

Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Butter a baking tin. Melt the butter and put aside. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs and sugar pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the buttermilk and lastly the melted butter and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Cream cheesefrosting

75 g softened salted butter

80 g icing sugar 

1 tsp vanilla

150 g cold cream cheese (preferably full fat Philadelphia) 

110 g pomegranate seeds

Cream the butter for approx 5 minutes using an electric whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. 

Let the cake cool and put it on a cake plate. Spread the frosting on top and decorate with pomegranate seeds. 

 

 

Recipe: Parma Ham-Wrapped Dates with Balsamic and Honey

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Here’s another winner of a canapé! Also from the Christmas party. These parma ham-wrapped dates with balsamic and honey are a more sophisticated version than the bacon-wrapped dates, and therefore so much better.

The idea is the same; sweet meets salty but with less punchy flavours (i.e. ham instead of bacon) and a little depth from the vinegar and honey. It truly is a winning flavour combination and one of the easiest nibbles you can make, so keep it in mind for the festive season of 2020!

Parma Ham-Wrapped dates with balsamic and honey, makes 20

With inspiration from Sophie Conran’s recipe.

10 dates, stones removed and cut in half lengthways

10 slices Parma Ham or prosciutto, cut in half lengthways 

20 cocktail sticks

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp runny honey

salt and pepper

Wrap each date halve in a thin slice of ham and secure with the cocktail sticks. Place in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with vinegar and honey. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C oven for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool and serve at room temperature. 

Recipe: Clementine prosecco drink with rosemary

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Merry Christmas, dear readers! I hope you’re all having a wonderful time celebrating with dear ones.

We celebrated yesterday (as is customary in Sweden) and I will tell you all about it later, but thought I would post a quick cocktail recipe – perfect to make any leftovers feel a bit more festive!

I made this for the book club Christmas dinner, and we all loved it! It feels wintery and festive without being to sweet. I also made star-shaped canape’s with puff pastry, blue cheese, walnuts and honey and they always go down a treat.

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Clementine prosecco drink with rosemary, makes 6

Adapted from Ica’s recipe.

2 sprigs rosemary

3 tbsp caster sugar

400 ml freshly squeezed clementine juice

400 ml tonic water

1 bottle prosecco

rosemary sprigs to garnish (optional) 

In a pestle and mortar, mix together the rosemary and sugar. Mix the rosemary sugar with the juice. Divide between glasses. Fill up with prosecco and add some tonic to finish. Serve straight away. 

Rocky road with honeycomb

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Rocky Road is one of those simple recipes where the sum of the parts are greater than you expect it to be. Every single thing that goes into rocky road is nice in it’s own way, but together you have these amazing crunchy, soft, sweet and salty clusters that are just to die for.

I altered the recipe I normally use when I made it in December for my Christmas drinks party and, I must say, the addition of honeycomb was just genius. I love honeycomb as it is, but I often find it a bit too sweet, so here where the buttery sweetness gets to mingle with salted nuts and semi-bitter chocolate it really comes together.

I usually use Scandinavian Dumle toffees (which you can now buy from Ocado) but they were sold out so I opted for Reisen instead. They’re a bit harder (so be careful of your teeth) but not as sweet, which worked well with the other ingredients.

Rocky road with honeycomb, makes 20-25

100 g marshmallows, cut in 4

135 g Riesen toffees, cut in 2

150 g roasted and salted peanuts

1/2 batch honeycomb, in pieces

200 g dark chocolate

100 g milk chocolate

snowflake sprinkles and edible glitter  

Line a square 20 x 20 cm tin with parchment paper. Melt both types of chocolate together in a bain marie. In a bowl, mix marshmallors, Riesen, peanuts and honeycomb. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well, making sure everything is coated with chocolate. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and smooth it out. Scatter with sprinkles and glitter and leave to cool. Let it set in the fridge. Cut into cubes and serve. Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.  

Christmas Eve 2015

 

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In Sweden Christmas Eve is the big day. Christmas day is for going clubbing (no thanks!), early sales (again, no thanks!) and just chilling (much better).

In my family we open the stockings on Christmas Eve morning. Christmas stockings are not a Swedish tradition, but my family thinks it’s nice and cosy. But we only open a few presents in the morning as Father Christmas always comes by in the evening with a sack full of gifts (no chimney action in Sweden).

Then at 3pm, the whole country is glued to the television watching Donald Duck and other Disney cartoons. It sounds silly, but it’s one of the fundamentals of a Swedish Christmas Eve.

Then in the evening, probably after coffee and cake while watching Donald Duck and then glögg and gingerbread a bit later, it’s time for dinner. In most families this comprises a julbord; a smorgasbord with lots of  Christmas food, like herring, smoked salmon, cooked ham, meatballs, sausages, cabbage, sprouts, Janssons temptation, patés, ribs etc etc).

We took an alternative route this year, stepping away from the traditional heavy food, and instead enjoying, a still festive, and a little Christmas-y, menu.

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Our evening began with prosecco and these lovely parmesan biscuits, then Toast Skagen as a starter followed by halibut and boiled potatoes, cooked peas and the most heavenly sauce for fish for mains.

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For pudding we had the same as we do on Christmas Eve; Ris a’la Malta. A cold rice porridge with a lot of whipped cream folded in, served with a berry sauce, but as this dessert is seriously rich we served it in individual bowls. (It’s usually served in a large bowl it an almond hidden in the porridge and you try to eat as much as possible to secure the almons and receive a gift. )

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This alternative approach to the Christmas dinner suited my family perfectly. It felt festive (more festive than ham, cabbage and meatballs actually) and even though the food was still on the heavy side it’s nothing compared to the julbord. 

 

This year’s Christmas drinks party

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I had some of the girls over for Christmas drinks the first Saturday in December and it was so much fun! Last year I had a larger gathering with both girls and boys, but this year I just didn’t have enough time or energy to prepare something big, but rather than not organising anything at all I preferred to scale it down. I do hope I have more time and energy last year for a proper Christmas party with lots of canapés, but I’m not making any promises.

To start with we had prosecco (and quite a lot of it!) and savoury canapés, starting with warm crisps with browned butter, grated comté, lemon juice and cress. I love these so so much! I know it’s making crisps even unhealthier, but it is so worth it. I mentioned the browned butter right?!

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Thereafter I put out a little DIY project with crostinis. I had a large bag filled with crostinis and three jars on a silver tray with different spreads to put on top; bean spread with sage, hot smoked salmon spread (the girls favourite!) and a new version of chicken liver parfait (recipe to follow soon) and cornichons.

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After that I passed around a board of prosciutto parcels filled with cream cheese mixed with chopped sunblush tomatoes. It’s the easiest recipe ever (three ingredients!) but always goes down well.

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We then moved on to the hot food. First up were these puff pastry squares with mushrooms, grated cheese, creme fraiche and parsley. IMG_7468

Then the mini Janssons frestelse that all my London friends adore! Janssons frestelse is like a creamy potato bake (with grated potato) with anchovies. It sounds rather odd I know, but everyone who’s ever tried it loves it, I promise!

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Having finished the savoury canapés it was time for the sweets and glögg! I put it all out on the table at once to people cook pick and choose. The rocky road I made this year is probably the best one yet (recipe to follow), mainly because it has honeycomb in it and it really works!! I also tried to pretty them pieces up with snowflakes (which I tend to use on everything this time of year!) and edible glitter.

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I also served gingerbread with blue cheese, but this time I substituted Stilton for St Agur, which works even better.

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I also made these mini saffron pannacottas that I like to make every year – I’m so lucky my friends are happy to eat!