Advent gathering

The first Sunday of Advent is special to me, and I like to invite people over to celebrate it with Swedish glögg and plenty of nibbles.

Unfortunately I was too busy in the kitchen to have time to take pictures of everything, but at least a few things got caught by the camera.

For the first time ever, I made my own glögg, which is basically a sweeter version of mulled wine, served in little cups wit almonds and raisins.

I love it, and you can have white or red glögg although the red one is more common. I also made mulled cider which is a bit drier, although still sweet, so that was why I served mainly savoury nibbles this year.

We had mini potato bakes with anchovies (it is a lot nicer than it sounds, promise), meatballs and pickled beetroot on scewers, dates wrapped in bacon, ginger thins with Stilton (great combo), clementines and a soft gingerbread cake with frosting (recipe to follow). I also made a little spread with potato, hardboiled eggs, herring, dill, chives, mayonnaise and creme fraiche, knows as old man’s spread. A dollop of that on crisp bread is delicious.

Homemade glögg, 70 cl

Translated and adapted from this recipe.

1 bottle red wine

1 whole cinnamon stock

20 cloves

1 tsp ground ginger

4 cardamom kernels, crushed

300 ml caster sugar (start with 200 ml if you don’t want it too sweet)

1 tsp vanilla

some grated lemon zest

Pour the wine into a large sauce pan. Add the spices and leave it for at least an hour and a half. Before serving, add the sugar and vanilla and heat it up without boiling. Pour through a sieve to remove the spices. Serve in a small cup (espresso size) with almonds and raisins.

Mulled cider, 2 litres

2 litres dry cider

1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways

2 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 star anise

2 tsp ground cinnamon

orange or lemon peel

Place everything in a large saucepan and heat up. Serve without the spices.

Christmas meatballs, makes 50

500 g beef mince

500 g pork mince

2 eggs

150 ml breadcrumbs

100 ml cream

1 onion, finely chopped or 1 tbsp onion granules

2-3 tsp salt

white pepper

1,5 tsp allspice

Pour everything but the meat into a large bowl. Mix and let it sweel for a few minutes. Add the meat and mix it throughly with a wooden fork. Rinse your hands in cold water and roll into smallish meatballs. Fry in the oven or in a frying pan until cooked through Serve hot or cold. Place a meatball on a toothpick together with a wedge of pickled beetroot for a simple canapé.

Old man’s spread (Gubbröra), makes 30 canapées

2-3 medium potatoes, cooked, cold and chopped

1 jar matjes herring, chopped

2 hardboiled eggs, cold and chopped

4 tbsp mayonnaise

4 tbsp creme fraiche

1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped

1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped

Mix creme fraiche and mayo in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix. Break crispbread into small pieces and place a dollop of the spread on each. Serve straight away as the crispbread will soften from the moisture.

Bacon wrapped dates, makes 18

18 pitted dates

9 slices smoked streaky bacon

Cut the baconslices in half. Wrap a bacon piece around each date, fasten with a toothpick. Place in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes in 200C until the bacon is crisp. Serve while hot.