Hi guys! It’s Christmas Eve! Christmas Eve is the main day of celebration here in Sweden, so I am feeling very full and very spoiled at the moment. I want to wish you all, celebrating or not, a very happy Christmas and a great end of the year! It’s been an intense blogging-month, and I don’t really have much to say tonight. So, I’m just gonna show you guys some photos of food:
Christmas breakfast. So tasty! I almost never have risgrynsgröt outside of Christmas so it’s a real treat to get some.
The table, all set and ready for eating. Also part of my dad, blurrily adjusting something on the table.
The entre: sill, potato and salmon. Four types of sill this year, which I wanna say is one more than usual. I got too busy eating after this that I didn’t take any more photos, but we also had Christmas ham, meatballs, veggie bake, långkål, snaps and of course, later, a selection of sweets and a delicious Gin & Tonic.
Man… this picture is making me want more sill. Maybe tomorrow. 😉 Good night, everyone!
Last night I did my last bit of Christmas baking, and made some delicious ginger cookies. They’ve been my “thing” to bring to X-mas at my parents’ place for the last number of years.
Don’t they look tasty? Not very neat, but tasty. You can check out the recipe over here if you want!
Today I’m finishing the last cleaning and wrapping, and then tonight it’s off to my parents’ place to decorate the tree! I can’t believe how fast this month has gone by. Just one more entry and then this calendar is over!
This year I decided to add something new to my usual Christmas baking repertoire: candy cane/mint macarons. I baked macarons for the first time a few weeks back and have been wanting to do it again, so I thought a Christmassy flavor would make sense.
It went so-so… I mean, the mint filling with crushed candy canes in it was pretty dang delicious. But I had some trouble with the actual macarons and several of them ended up both too big and too baked. They still taste okay, but not quite as nice (or as pretty) as I’d’ve liked.
In the pic you can see one of the few ones that turned out small and properly baked. Even those cracked but oh well. Still a half-successful experiment, might do it again next year!
Advent Calendar Day 17 – Pepparkakor! Bake your own!
As you may or may not know, pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies), are a Swedish Christmas classic. I was a bit late this year, and only baked last week. But at least I have enough now to last until Christmas, and have some left for the mini-Christmas I have planned with friends on Boxing Day.
There’s just something about home-baked pepparkakor. The store bought ones are never as good. If you’re interested in trying to make some yourself, I posted the recipe the mom and I use on Hubpages! It makes quite a lot of cookies from one batch, in fact mom usually makes one batch and then splits the dough with me.
A particular Christmas favorite here in Sweden is the lussebulle (lusse bun), also called lussekatt (lusse cat). It’s a sweet saffron bun, usually with a couple of raisins in it and shaped as a braid or a sort of S (like in the photo below).
My mom baked these earlier, and gave us some so we can have some tomorrow on Saint Lucia’s day, which is the day traditionally associated with lussebullar. A lot of people, including me until a year or two ago, think that the lusse in lussebulle is a pet form of Lucia, but it is more likely that it is derived from earlier folklore figures that predates the association between December 13th (previously possibly believed to be the solstice) and the Italian Saint Lucia. One of these figures, and a likely contender for the origin, is Lussi who was believed to be a witch or demon who rode through the air with her cohorts on Lussi night. I don’t know that much about this myth to be honest, other than that it’s very interesting, but you can read a little about it here.
Advent Calendar Day 10 and 11 – Christmas Markets and Brända Mandlar
Another double post today. I had a lovely day yesterday, but long enough that I couldn’t write straight in the evening and opted to go to bed without blogging.
One of the reasons I had such a long day yesterday was that I helped my mom with selling Fair Trade stuff at a Christmas market nearby. Even though the weather wasn’t optimal yesterday (slushy snowfall all day and no real sun), I still always enjoy a Christmas market. The atmosphere, the generally good mood of the market-goers, the classic food and crafts being sold… It’s just cozy, I think. I only bought a few Christmas classics: game sausages (moose, reindeer and boar), some toffee (okay, not a Christmas classic, but a classic all the same) and our Language Pantry word for today: bärnda mandlar.
No banner today because I couldn’t take (or find a copy-right free) photo that suited the format I usually use. Anyway… there are two kinds of Bärnda Mandlar (burnt almonds) that are common in Sweden. One kind is basically blanched almonds fried in sugar. Those are best consumed hot, and although I personally don’t associate those with Christmas a lot of people do. The second kind, seen above, are covered in (usually pink) marzipan and to me they are a Christmas must! The show cannot go on without them. They’re probably my favorite Christmas candy.
Advent Calendar Day 8 and 9 – Christmas Parties and Snapsvisor
Hi guys! Last night I decided to forgoe my blogging on the basis that I came home past midnight and had had quite a bit of wine. We had our office Christmas party, which was why. Or well, more of a Christmas dinner because apart from drinking, we don’t really do much partying during them. It’s very common here for workplaces to have a Christmas dinner or party in the weeks before Christmas. I have to admit I quite like getting to have Christmas food twice, though unfortunately the place we went to this year didn’t have the best food.
That brings us to today’s Word Pantry word:
A snapsvisa is a short, often funny song that is sung when you drink snaps, Swedish hard liquor drunken in small glasses. In my mind, there are two kinds of snapsvisor (plural of snapsvisa). What I consider to be “regular” snapsvisor are usually humorous and often seasonal, but can still be pretty well-written lyrics. There are also snapsvisor which are parody versions of well-known melodies, with lyrics usually centered on heavy drinking and possibly the tragic consequences of this. I prefer the first variety, myself. I think the other kind are just… well, not that funny to be honest. I do love snaps though!
Glögg is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Few things say “cosy and Christmassy” to me like the scent of glögg. So what is glögg?
Glögg is spiced, heated red wine (or sometimes other beverages), which is usually consumed during the Christmas season. Since it’s wine-based, it has a relatively high alcohol content, but it’s usually served in small cups, about the size of espresso cups. Often, almonds and raisins are submerged in it and eaten during or after sipping the glögg. It is delicious.
I was going to show you a picture of the cup of glögg I had tonight, but it’s dark and it’s red wine so it just looked like dark stuff in a badly lit cup… so I found a royalty-free one on the internet instead!
The spices in traditional glögg are what I think of as Christmas spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and things like that. Some breweries will release a “flavor of the year” glögg, which can be flavored with just about anything… chocolate, blueberries and tangarines come to mind as examples from past years. To be honest, I usually don’t find these as tasty as the traditional kind, but it’s still fun to try.