A wedding, a trip to Sweden and hectic pre Christmas times

Have been quite for a while, life is picking up speed and Christmas seems to be just around the corner!

I still have Christmas presents to buy, lots of things to sort out, people to see, Christmas drinks to be had! And in between all of this I did a short weekend in Sweden, covered in snow and bitter cold but lovely. I did eat as much Swedish foods as I possibly could and count myself lucky as so many of my friends are great cooks!

One of my favourites is the Swedish hot dog, it sounds awful but hear me out, it is supposed to be a Frankfurter, the good quality one, on mash, a dollop of seafood salad (skagen röra), barbecue spice, ketchup and strong mustard. Looking at it now it does look a little strange but where I come from we call this a “halv special” and you will find it on every hot dog vendors menu!

So besides the kiddie food I did also have pickled herring, and all sorts of other goodies. I will be going back to Sweden for the Swedish office Christmas party with a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner, it is really buffet, you start with the cold, pickled herring, gravlax, smoked salmon, cold cut meats, cold salads and a big ham. The you move on to the hot food with one of my all time favourites, Jansons temptation, cooked right it is so rich it will for sure clog your arteries but it is wonderful! Julienned potatoes, placed in an over proof dish, layered with anchovies, cream poured over, dried breadcrumbs and sliced butter on top, baked until it is soft, golden and ready to eat! Meatballs of course, every family will have their own swedish christmas meatball recipe and sausages. A fish soaked in lye is another specialty but I think they might eat even more of that in Norway. Dessert is a rice dish, creamy rice porridge flavoured with vanilla and perhaps also orange. After this? Well cakes and coffee and normally presents, whilst the grown ups are trying to stay wake after a serious OD of food!

Last weekend was a friend’s wedding. I have never seen a bride laugh more or look happier. It was a fantastic day in a rural setting in an old English country house, very idyllic and even the peacocks defied the weather and came around for a stroll to check out the commotion! The wedding dinner was very nice and I was very impressed by the lamb, super tender and melt in your mouth! Must try to re create that!

More about the lamb, a friend cooked Sunday lunch yesterday and we had lamb casserole, absolutely gorgeous with the lamb nicely browned and cooked for a long time in the oven, even more amazing was that they had been snowed in for days and days and still made the effort to get all the stuff and carried it home in snow and ice! I had promised to make the desert and brought a cheesecake as the chef is a very big cheesecake fan! It was slightly Christmas inspired with ginger bread notes and the filling was lemon curd. We ate about half and I am quite sure it won’t have time to go off!

A gorgeous lunch today at HIX, had a started called Heaven and Earth and it was heavenly, I think HIX is better than Gaucho for meat – they have fish on the menu but it is a meat lovers paradise! I even had a naughty nibble of pork scratchings, so good!! More lunches coming up and one of the places has the most wonderful fries with truffle oil and grated parmesan! All of January should be dedicated to pure and healthy living.

More updates later and more pics. Have been promised more apples in exchange for some pineapple chutney, more apple jelly in the making and some apple fire hot sauce for sure.

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