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. 

 

Scandi tip #14: Nordic Bar

If you want to experience Scandinavian themed drinks and some Nordic kitsch, I have just the place for you – Nordic Bar.

My friend Nick introduced me to this place when I was new in town, and it is a quite fun place with lots of kitschy decorations and a stuffed reindeer on the wall. The bar feels a little bit shabby, but the Scandinavian themed cocktails make up for it. They have lots of flavoured vodkas and even snaps in stock, and you can even have a mini smorgasbord here.

Image courtesy of http://www.nordicbar.com/

 

Scandinavian Kitchen

Since I moved to London I miss Swedish groceries less and less. Not because I like it less, but I have become a lot better at finding substitutes and I know which supermarkets to look in for Swedish stuff too.

But a few times a year, close to the holidays of course, I really crave Swedish food. And then I make sure I pay Scandinavian Kitchen a visit. The shop and café is situated a short walk from Oxford Circus and is open during the day.

My friend Jenny treated me to lunch here last week, and the first thing I saw after entering the shop was the Christmas beverage Julmust, a dark malty soft drink, so I gave off a little happy sound which Jenny found very amusing.

But back to the lunch, they serve open sandwiches with traditional Scandinavian toppings as well as a few different salads. They have two lunch offers on where you can mix what sandwiches and salads you like. Either three or five. We went for the large plate for £8.95 and that was great value for money. Tasty too.

Above is my choice of salami sandwich, roast beef sandwich with remoulade (Danish piccalilli and crispy fried onions, egg and prawn sandwich, salmon and dill wrap and potato salad.

Jenny chose the same salmon wrap, carrot salad, beetroot salad, meatball and beatroot sandwich and a salmon sandwich.

Here is the lovely Christmas drink! I had to buy one to take away as well, so I can enjoy it with gingerbread. Yum, yum!

It was a great lunch, thanks Jenny! And in my opinion it beats an English sandwich every day. These look prettier too!