Christmas two ways, two days

It didn’t start well, on my way for some last minute shopping it was pouring down with rain and too windy to even try and use an umbrella! I felt half drenched and not Christmas spirited when I reached the stores but much to my amazement it was almost empty and actually a lovely experience! So got my one and last Christmas present bought and even got a new jumper!

Comforting fat free ginger infused chicken soup:
Feeling in slight need of a pickup and in-between pre-Christmas drinks I had a night in and decided to have very comforting food, something healthy, fat free and full of vegetables! What I needed was chicken soup! I took a bunch of vegetables, a breast of chicken and chicken stock. I cut up some ginger and gently poached the breast in the stock with the ginger. Once cooked through I took it out of the stock to rest and cool, added the veg and once they were almost done, I took the ginger out, added the shredded chicken and served with toasted sourdough bread with strong cheddar cheese on.

Before Christmas properly kicked off our friends arrived from Sweden (no snow there either yet) and we decided that a Chinese was the way to go! What is perhaps the best Chinese in London is Cammasan, based in Kingston. They have a downstairs for casual eating and an upstairs for more formal dining. As it was so close to Christmas we booked a table upstairs and I could order all my favourite dishes! The list was quite long and we managed to eat all of it!
We started with prawns on toast and salty squid as snacks, followed by crispy duck.

For mains we decided to get a load of dishes and simply share, crispy veg noodles, not so attractive looking but filled with flavour, spicy aubergine, prawns with cashew nuts, lemon chicken (the best ever!), pak choy in oyster sauce, beef with ginger and spring onion and rice, egg friend and steamed. We ate it all and had a great time!

Swedish Christmas Dinner
Christmas Eve morning started with an English breakfast, we needed something to keep us going until late afternoon dinner. After breakfast we all had some chill out time and also did the last of the shopping before starting to prepare and cook the Swedish Christmas dinner.

The ham and turkey was collected and we promptly started on the preparations, the ham went in the oven and was later followed by the Janson’s Temptation (julienned potatoes, anchovy and cream) and some figs that I couldn’t resist at the veg mongers the same morning. To go with the figs I added a drizzle of honey and cracked black pepper before baking them in the oven.

The ham cooked well and it was time to set the table. Tradition says that we start with the cold foods, herring of different kinds, pate, cold cut meats like salami and boiled eggs.

This is followed by the ham and the warm foods, boiled potatoes, the Janson’s Temptation, meatballs, pan fried sausages served with a salad of pointy cabbage from the allotment, served shredded with a hot and sour dressing flavoured with passion fruit, crispy and perfect to cut through the rich foods.

This was a very small version of a Swedish Christmas dinner but it had everything we love and what makes a Swedish Christmas! We didn’t even make it to dessert and after dinner there was a knock on the door and a very adorable Miss Santa joined us to hand out Christmas presents in true Swedish tradition.

I got a lot of lovely presents but one that perhaps was the most unexpected and made me smile the most was a Christmas song! Music “Santa Claus is coming to town”, lyrics by Miss Lisa and Miss Maja who came to stay with us for a week this fall together with Lina! It was so nice to have you guys around!

You didn’t know who
You let in your home
You didn’t know if
We were naughty or nice
Thank you for letting us coming to town
You gave us shelter
You gave us food
Meatloaf, tacos, pumpkin soup
Thank you for letting us coming to town

We saw you when you were cooking
We thought oh holy damn!
Oh Mike you are a lucky guy for sure
Petra you should be on MasterChef tour

We never got time
To see Harlequins
It would have been nice
To see you do the Haka for real
Thank you for letting us coming to town
Thank you for letting us coming to town
Thank you for letting us coming to town

An English Christmas dinner
We finally woke up to Christmas day, there was even a ray of pale sunshine, it was a day for the Turkey dinner! A friend gave us a homemade Christmas pudding that converted 5 non Christmas pudding eaters! Amazing and 100 times better than any shop bought ones, no matter where they are from!

We cooked the turkey with the legs boned and on the side with the wishbone removed. This year I wanted to experiment a little. I made herbed, truffle butter with chopped shitake mushrooms and placed under the skin before cooking; I covered the turkey with smoked streaky bacon and put it in the oven for an hour and a half.
Once cooking I started on the stuffing, I decided against the traditional stuffing that I normally make with bread herbs and butter for something slightly more different. I chopped up and pan roasted chestnuts and mixed them with one mashed potato, the peel of one lemon, chopped parsley, chopped sage, salt and pepper and one egg mixed in. I put the stuffing in the boned legs and wrapped it tight in tin foil and placed with the turkey crown in the oven to cook.

We prepared the potatoes and Brussels sprouts for roasting, made the gravy, put the pudding on steaming for later, got the home made cranberry sauce out and set the table for our English Christmas dinner.
Once the crown had cooked I let it rest for about 35 minutes, letting the legs, potatoes and Brussels sprouts finish cooking and the bread sauce to thicken.

It was a very traditional Christmas and I am so lucky to have my friends and loved ones around to celebrate with!

Some images courtesy of Lina Wahlgren


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