Happy Happy Holidays

Christmas turkey

I don’t know about you but I have to admit I was drawing a sigh of relief when Christmas was over. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun and filled with laughter, friends, food and a generous flow of wine, I love all of it but the build up was pretty full on.

I almost, just almost didn’t have time to cook. Everything started late November when I got my first big order for my hot sauce. It was so exciting and I was making hot sauce what felt like 24/7. It wasn’t of course but I seem to have spent most of December leading up to Christmas in the kitchen.

The orders were delivered on time and whilst busy I did a series of dinner dishes that were easy to put together and cooked in the oven, quick and easy.

Here are a few of them.


Roast butternut squash with feta cheese and pecan nuts. Quick, simple, tastes good and hits the spot.

Pecan and feta roast butternut squash


Another night I had some bake off Yorkshire puddings. If you have never had a Yorkshire pudding they are like a thick pancake, baked in to smaller individual pancakes and served with, mainly, Sunday roast. It took me years to understand the Yorkshire pudding charm but then one day when I was making hot sauce and I couldn’t find much food I had a stroke of genius.

I decided to pimp the bake off Yorkshire puddings with cheese, seeds and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Yorkshire puddings


They came out absolutely delicious and I have since done it lots of time. They are perfect as a quick and light dinner and I wouldn’t make less than four per person. A salad on the side and dinner is ready.


When December was drawing to a close and the last Hot Sauce order was done Christmas was arriving in a hurry. We host a party every Christmas eve and it seems to have grown, this year we were about 35 people and I always make lots of Swedish Christmas food.

Swedish Christmas food, no matter how you make it, is pretty much impossible to make for a small group of people, think smรถrgรฅsbord, a truly loaded buffet.

Swedish Christmas is celebrated on December 24th so this is a perfect way to kick off three indulgent and festive days. The only hick up this year was the market on December 23rd and the hot sauce orders. I knew I would have to be super organised.

I started a couple of weeks early and was very kindly offered freezer space at my neighbors, all invited of course. I quickly filled it with lots of meatballs, mince pies and beef jam in puff pastry to make Christmas eve as easy as possible.

I did sneak in a visit to Borough Market, one of the key, in my opinion, London foodie destinations. This year I had a special reason, to visit my friend at Nut Farms, they sell Kentish cobnuts, an old variety of hazelnuts, and walnuts, sauces and the most amazing cobnut oil, beautiful to cook with.


Nut Farms at Borough Market

I was even invited to help out! Deal market is tiny and it was great to be at a stall at this amazing, and very large market.

Nut Farms at Borough Market


I did make time for a wander and didn’t realize until I was back at the Nut Farms stall why I got some strange looks, I was still wearing my antlers!


Borough market is beautiful and I always find something interesting to look at, and buy. I ended up spending much more than I had planned but it was all worth it.


Christmas at Borough Market

Christmas decorations at Borough market






Fruit at Borough market





Whilst in London I decided to pop in to Fortnum&Mason, their food section is always interesting and everything is so beautifully presented! The store was dressed for a very stylish Christmas.


Christmas at Fortnum & Mason


I didn’t buy anything but got inspired and added a few dishes for Christmas eve.


One of the dishes I made in 2017 was beef jam. It was inspired by a venison jam that I tried at restaurant Native in Covent Garden. You can find the beef jam recipe here.


Beef jam ingredients

beef jam ingredients


Beef jam

beef jam


I knew I wanted to share the beef jam so I placed beef jam and marscapone cheese in puff pastry, ready to be baked off on Christmas eve.


I did quite a lot of sauces, jams, pasta and carta di musica, Italian flatbreads for the last market. It was quite a lot to do and plenty of late nights, wrapping and labeling after producing but it was all ready on time.

Heatonomy market stall


I created a new sweet chilli & ginger sauce for the market and I like it so much I used the sauce, that is quite thick as a filling for mince pies. Mince pies are pastry filled with minced, dried fruit, spices and for me, a lot of sugar. Sometimes they are eaten warm with butter mixed with brandy and granulated sugar. I think you might have to have been brought up with this to appreciate it, it is very peculiar. I decided to change the mince pies and fill them with my sweet chilli and ginger sauce instead.


sweet chilli ginger mince pies


It worked a treat and they were somewhere between sweet and savory, perfect with cheese.


The last week before Christmas was busy preparing the foods.


Curing salmon,

curing salmon


Curing pork ribs before slow cooking

cured baby back ribs


The to do list for for Christmas Eve was quite long and I was glad I managed to do some it beforehand.

I went for a walk in the morning. It was an exceptionally grey day but the sea always manages to lift my spirits and it is a brilliant way to start the day.


Deal Pier


Christmas eve to do list

Christmas eve to do list


I was very lucky and had help in the kitchen, we were ready just in time! Thank you Sebastian!


Swedish Christmas food, served up.



One of my favorites, usually eaten in the summer, is Matjes sill. It is pickled herring, quite salty, served with soured cream, red onion or chives and boiled potatoes. I could eat it at least weekly.


Matjes sill


I dressed the dogs up for Christmas but I have to say it wasn’t appreciated for too long, just long enough for a photo of the cuties.


Christmas dogs


M did a heroic job and cleared up after the party and the kitchen was clean and ready for the 25th and a full English Christmas dinner with turkey and all the sides.


Roast potatoes in coconut oil with cranberries and sage

sage and cranberry roast potatoes


There was bread sauce, cranberry sauce, gravy, a salad and a whole turkey. Every year I suggest something else, or even a turkey crown and all of my suggestions are always ,rejected.

Like years gone by we got a whole turkey and we had another annual discussion, how long does it take for the turkey to cook?

This was a big one so I cooked it for 2 hours and it was plenty. I loosen the legs so that they are not tightly tied to the body of the turkey and by doing this, the turkey cooks quicker and more evenly.

I stuffed herbed butter under the skin and added bacon on top. I love to break little pieces of bacon off when the turkey is cooking for a nibble.


Christmas turkey


I have to admit I actually forgot the stuffing. Usually I make it in to small stuffing balls in the side but there was so much food no one seems to have noticed.


Christmas was very social, friends came and went. We had house guests and by the time everything started to return to normal I have to admit I was quite exhausted. It was a great time but I feel like I need a couple of very quiet days.

The perfect place to re charge is the beach. I love the feeling of space, how the sun reflects on the sea and the sea breeze wakes up your senses.


Sunset on the beach


Have you made any new years resolutions for 2018? I have done one and let’s see how it goes.

I can’t wait for the new year to start. There are so many projects to start and finish, so much food to cook, recipes to create, friends and family to spend time with and life to live!

It was so hectic before Christmas I even missed a few Fiesta Fridays! No week is the same without it so I am joining the lovely Angie and my Fiesta Friday friends with this, last blog of the year! Her co host is the very talented Sandhya, at Indfused, a blog full of absolutely delicious recipes and mouthwatering photos!

Happy New Year 2018!







24 Responses to “Happy Happy Holidays”
  1. Wow! You are a creative powerhouse. Good to see you, the husband and the dogs at the Boxing day Swim! Happy New Year to you all. Kx

  2. Keith Trawick says:


  3. jackcollier7 says:

    Have a very happy 2018 Petra. โค โค โค

  4. mistimaan says:

    Happy new year

  5. Great post Petra and Happy New Year – your post has given me serious Yorkshire pudding envy too!

  6. Sandhya says:

    Great post Petra! Thanks for sharing it with us at Fiesta Friday! Happy 2018!

  7. Hi Petra – lots of great food and pictures. Love that turkey with all the bacon. Looks like you have lots of fun down at the market ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Judi
      I know it was a bit long, I guess i just had so much to say! ha ha
      There is always something happening at the market ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  8. Great post Petra – I like how you scored the butternut squash for more even baking.

  9. Congratulations on that first big order!! Not too long now before getting picked up by Tesco, or is it Waitrose? I have no idea what the most popular supermarkets are over there ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ Unless of course youโ€™d rather go into a niche market. Whatever your goal is, weโ€™re here to cheer you on, Petra, and may 2018 be the breakthrough year for your hot sauce! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

    • petra08 says:

      hi Angie
      Thank you! I am jot sure about the supermarket but you are spot on with the names!
      I will have to have a think of where to take things in 2018 but all part of the fun! xx

  10. And everything looks so good on that Christmas table!!

    • petra08 says:

      Thank you! I can’t believe it almost all went! It was like a swarm of hungry locus ha ha but am so happy not to have it hanging around! xx

  11. Wow, what a Turkey, the bacon looks too beautiful to eat – I’ll admit we forgot to cook our stuffing on Christmas Day ๐Ÿ™‚

    • petra08 says:

      hi Charlotte
      Yes the stuffing, ha ha I might make a meal out of it another day!
      The bacon is my favorite part ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. stkfoodspune says:

    Hello petra!
    nice post. thanks for sharing

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Linking up to Fiesta Friday #205 , co-hosted by Mollie@theFrugalHausfrau and Petra@FoodEatLove! […]

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