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).
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?!
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.
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.
We then moved on to the hot food. First up were these puff pastry squares with mushrooms, grated cheese, creme fraiche and parsley.
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!
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.
I also served gingerbread with blue cheese, but this time I substituted Stilton for St Agur, which works even better.
I also made these mini saffron pannacottas that I like to make every year – I’m so lucky my friends are happy to eat!
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.