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. 

 

A Scandinavian Christmas part III: The food

I know that last year’s Christmas is done and dusted, but I still want to show you what we ate on Christmas Eve. Before Christmas I gave you the low-down of what happens that day, so it is about time to show you as well.

For lunch (or breakfast for me) we have the cold foods, such as pickled herring, smoked eel, smoked salmon, eggs, bread and cheeses.

And then in the evening we have all the warm food. The reason for this divide is that we don’t want to eat too much so we think having less dishes will help with that, but I’m not sure it works. We all leave the table dying to lie down on the sofa because we’re so full.

Anyway, the first course in the evening we enjoy meatballs, Jansson’s frestelse [temptation] (potato bake with anchovies), small sausages calles prinskorv, red cabbage, brown cabbage (i.e. caramelised white cabbage), Christmas ham with mustard crust, this year we also had a boar ham which was delicious, bread, cheeses and my chicken liver mousse.

Next course is very traditional, and not my favourite I have to admit. The fish is poached salted ling, served with allspice, boiled potatoes and a mustardy bechamel with melted butter.

Dessert consists of rice pudding with lots and lots of whipped cream mixed in and a coulis. We have raspberry and cherry coulis to choose from.

After dinner Santa comes with all the presents and once they are opened we have coffee and pastries. Very typical are the almond biscuit (second from left) and ginger bread of course.