I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas! I certainly did. It’s been wonderful spending quality time with my family, enjoying lots of nice food (obviously!) and catch up with a few friends. I have been home for a week and a half but it’s just whizzed past and now it’s almost time to ring in a new year. How are you getting on with the prep? I did the food shop yesterday and will prep as much as I can tomorrow before picking up my boyfriend from the airport. It’s the first time since before the pandemic we’re able to celebrate together with friends here so there will be a lot of cheers!
Thank you so much for reading my blog and supporting my little corner of the internet. I wish you all a really cracking 2023!
“Dig where you stand” is a popular saying in Sweden, and that’s how I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing on here after my very much unplanned (and rather long) hiatus.
So I thought I would start by looking back at my two weeks in Sweden. Show you what I got up to, and more importantly, ate!
My first supper in Sweden was a simple one, but I had craved proper (smoked) Swedish sausages for a long time, so sausages with buns and mamma’s homemade mash was perfect!
Christmas 2020, when I was in Sweden for a month (first isolating then staying with my parents) my parents and I ate so much we tried to dial it down this time, with some regular food in between the celebration dinners. And we felt much better for it! Case in point: homemade Jerusalem artichoke soup with crispy prosciutto crumbs and mamma’s homemade bread.
But we also indulged in the foods we love, like bleak roe toast and prawns! And pudding!
Our tree this year was probably the best we’ve ever had! So tall and handsome (and a lot bigger than our little London tree!).
I introduced my mamma to mince pies as I made them for the first time (on request) for our mini Christmas party in London. It’s not something I love, but this recipe with frangipane is excellent and they’re fun to make. I made them both regular size (here) and canapé sized for the party.
We had our traditional Christmas food on the 23rd, which we in Sweden call Lillejul (it translates to little Christmas) and it’s a day we’ve always celebrated in some ways. We usually see friends for glögg and when I was little we celebrated the 23rd with the same family friends every year and us children got to open a few presents (that we gave each other) early! It was really special. But these days we eat the traditional Christmas food (our favourites) that evening and have more a more festive dinner on Christmas Eve. It just suits us better.
We actually had a white Christmas this year! (Not a common thing in southern Sweden at all). It was really beautiful actually. This is the view from my bedroom and I just love it.
We opened our stockings (we only do it for fun, it’s not actually a Swedish tradition) before we had eggs, herring and other Christmassy things for lunch.
In the evening we had some nibbles and pink champagne to start off the evening.
Our Christmas Eve table!
This year we celebrated Christmas with fillet of beef, Hasselbacks potatoes (they’re Swedish you know) and homemade bearnaise sauce and for a little Christmas touch, brussels sprouts with butter and bacon.
Our pudding was very traditional, ris a’la Malta, which is basically a rice porridge (a bit looser than a rice pudding) served cold and with lots of lightly whipped cream mixed in. It’s delicious but SO heavy, I can only manage a small bowl.
Christmas Day was gorgeous so we drove to the beach for a lovely walk.
And by the time we came back home the sun was setting and the views were beautiful.
I made very decadent hot cocoas for pappa and I when we got back. With milk, real chocolate, whipped cream a plenty and marshmallows. So yummy!
We had turbot for dinner, cooked whole in the oven, with potatoes, the most delicious sauce, peas and mange tout.
One of the days after Christmas we used the leftovers to make Danish smørrebrød. It’s basically an open-faced sandwich with a small piece of bread and a lot of toppings (so you can eat more than one). It was so yummy and a genius idea as Christmas leftovers are always a bit tricky to use up (at least for us).
I had a lot of lovely family time but also met up with some friends. Sadly not as many as I had planned due to illnesses (Covid and others) but I was grateful for the ones I got to see. I had a few lovely walks (and fika) in the woods with friends, and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before. It’s so lovely to walk and talk (I always struggle to exercise when I’m home as most of my time is spent socialising and eating with friends and family), get fresh air, look at the scenery and such an easy way to see a friend. No need to book anything, dress up etc. Hope to do this more even post-pandemic!
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
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.
The last week in December was quite a sociable one! I was home in Sweden trying to relax a bit, celebrate Christmas and catchup up with friends.
The day before Christmas Eve is our “mini Christmas” at home. We decorated the tree, wrapped the last gifts and had Christmas food for dinner. But first a G&T and some crisps by the fire.
For dinner we had a small selection of traditional Christmas dishes, basically our favourites. Meatballs, cooked ham, rye bread, Jansson’s temptation and “brown” (caramelised) cabbage.
Look at our pretty tree!
On Christmas Eve we had leftovers for lunch (and herring for my parents).
But in the evening we prefer more regular dinner party food (but still with a nod towards tradition). Christmas food is so heavy once is enough for us.
Our starter was my homemade beetroot cured salmon with prawns, dill cream cheese and a honey mustard sauce on butter-fried bread. Delicious!
Followed by slow cooked venison tjälknöl (cooked from frozen) with dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.
For pudding we had both a cheeseboard and traditional rice pudding with lightly whipped cream folded in and berry sauce.
And after that we had fruits and sweets. This day is all about eating…
On Christmas Day we wanted something lighter and I assembled a little bruschetta bar with charcuterie, cured salmon, venison from the night before, cheeses and spreads.
Boxing Day was a social day with fika at one set of friends, completely with homemade saffron buns, gingerbread and games with the kids.
That was followed by dinner at another set of friends. We had prawns, eggs, quiches, salad and more.
And ice cream for pudding! My friends are really spoiling me!
The next day I hung out with my parents and in the evening we had leftovers. But first of course a G&T.
Cured salmon toast with homemade mayonnaise.
Venison, dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.
On the Saturday I met some friends for fika at Slättarps Gård (how pretty?!)…
…and in the evening I had dinner with friends. Once again being spoilt!
Sunday was spent at home with my parents and we had pork fillet with potato wedges and homemade bearnaise sauce for dinner. Afterwards I went food shopping for new year’s eve and picked up the boy from the airport. Can’t believe how quickly a week went past!
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
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.
It’s December! I don’t know how we got here so quickly but although this month is pretty exhausting I do love everything it has to offer. Christmas lights, Christmas parties, all the sparkle and festive cheer and of course the food. So I thought I’d share my best December recipes with you, in case you want to add a little Scandi twist to your celebrations. We have glögg (Swedish mulled wine), two recipes for gingerbread, lots of recipes with saffron, the best rocky road and so much more!
But let’s start with a little cocktail! I made this clementine prosecco drink with rosemary last year for the book club Christmas dinner and it was a real hit! It’s festive and in my opinon the best way to start a Christmas drinks party!
Another favourite are these mini Jansson’s temptations. It’s a classic Swedish Christmas dish with grated potatoes and onion, cream and anchovies. I know it sounds weird but you got to try it if you even remotely like dauphinoise potatoes. It’s compulsory (in a big dish) at every Christmas smorgasbord and every family have their own version of it. This is how my mamma makes it and it is of course the BEST!
Does making your own gingerbread seem daunting? Then this recipe is for you! It’s quick to mix together in a pan and after it’s chilled in the fridge over night all you do is cut it and bake it. No rolling, no cookie cutters needed. And they’re so so yummy! And highly addictive!
But if you’re itching to use your cookie cutters (I am, love my little collection of traditional – and other – shapes!) then this is the best recipe to use. They’re quite subtle in flavour but absolutely delicious and the dough holds up really well. I have noticed though that it’s easier to use on some surfaces than others so try your way. And make sure you chill it in the fridge overnight!
Another super traditional Swedish Christmas biscuit are these crispy almond biscuits that we fill with cream and jam. Again I have the best recipe for you (thanks to mamma again!) that never fails or sticks to the mould. They’re called mandelmussla (almond mussle or clam) in Swedish which is just the cutest name!
Next I’m going to share some saffron recipes! It’s probably because of the saffron buns we eat at Lucia that makes us associate this lovely spice with the festive season, but I love anything saffron, like this cake with white chocolate for example! So nice (and easy to make!)!
I also love this saffron cheesecake, which you can either serve whole or in little bites like I’ve done here!
Moving on to the proper sweets, this rocky road with honeycomb is one of the best you can make. It’s super easy (just be careful with the honeycomb – or use a Crunchie bar or store-bought honeycomb) and really fun to make!
And these toffees are amazing too! You need a good thermometer but other than that’s it’s super easy! And the toffees are silky and yummy; definitely worth making and they make lovely little gifts too!
If you want to make your own mulled cider or Swedish glögg, you’ll find the recipes here!
I thought I’d give you my favourite weeknight supper recipe too, while we’re at it. And it’s this kale soup with frikadeller (pork quenelles). It’s warming, wintery and obviously good for you with all that kale!
After a hectic month with late evenings at work and a lot of social engagements I really enjoyed slowing down for Christmas. In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and this year we went to my uncle’s house for a big Christmas dinner.
Christmas Day was a quiet one at home; reading cookbooks and eating sweets. We had cod and the best sauce for fish for dinner, followed by ice cream with caramel sauce.
I spent Boxing Day with my best friend. We met up around lunch time for some sale shopping followed by fika and in the evening we had fish tacos for supper. The next day I met another friend for dinner in Malmö (review to come) and we had a lovely time.
On the Friday I met up with another friend, in Höllviken this time, at our favourite place. After a prawn sandwich and a nice catch-up I went to the hairdresser and did some food shopping for New Year’s Eve.
Saturday was full on with three social visits after each other. But I got quality time with everyone and for that I’m so grateful. It’s quite tricky to get to see everybody because of different work schedules, family engagements and of course, flu season throwing a few spanners in the works. But I managed quite well this time. Didn’t get to see everyone but I will be back in the summer again.
The last day of the week I spent at home, but not so leisurely as I had a lot to get done before my guest from London was arriving in the evening. Lots of tidying and preparations for New Year’s eve. Mamma and I also made a really nice dinner; venison (will post the recipe) followed by tarte tatin. So yummy!
In Sweden anything with saffron is considered Christnassy and festive, and that’s the reasoning for making this chewy saffron and white chocolate cake for the book club Christmas dinner.
It’s very yummy without being too sweet and although quite pretty it would have been even prettier with the intended icing. I was convinced I had icing sugar at home but there was none in the cupboard, so I served it plain and that worked well too. I had creme fraiche on the side (that was intended for the frosting) but lightly whipped cream works well too.
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter and flour a 24 diameter springform. Melt chocolate and butter in a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Add the saffron and leave to cool/dissolve a for a few minutes.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowla and add to the melted chocolate. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the springform and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Leave to cool.
Beat crème fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth and quite set and spread ut onto the cake. Add pomegranate seeds.
Already in November I celebrated Christmas the Scandi way with the book club. It’s a nice little tradition and this year we outdid ourselves with carol singing! It was so much fun and the perfect way for me to get into the Christmas spirit.
We started the evening with the loveliest mushrooms salad on crostini, plenty of prosecco and my epic Christmas playlist.
Then we moved on to the main meal of Jansson’s frestelse (grated potato baked with onions, anchovies and cream), two types of meatballs, a salad with pear and walnuts and this kale and almond quiche with Swedish Herrgård cheese.
But the pièce de résistance was Mary-Louise’s pecan and almond pie for pudding. So lovely and timed well as it was around Thanksgiving!
Kale and almond quiche with Herrgård cheese, serves 8-10
120 g softened butter
300 ml plain flour
1/2 beaten egg
500 g kale, trimmed, rinsed and parboiled
50 g almond slivers
200 ml matured Herrgård cheese, grated (matured cheddar works as well)
100 ml cream
200 ml milk
salt and pepper
Pinch the pastry together and coat a pie dish with it. Use a fork to make small holes in the pastry. Pre-bake it for 10 minutes in 180C. Leave to cool.
Squeeze the water out of the kale and chop it. Add salt and pepper to the kale and place in the the tin. Scatter with almond slivers and add the cheese.
Beat eggs, cream and milk. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Pour into the tin and press the filling down so it’s all covered with the egg mixture. Bake in 180C for about 40 mins (until set and golden brown).