Tag Archives: christmas

How to ‘Lucia’ like a Scandinavian

December 9, 2016 | Leave a comment

13th December is the Lucia Celebrations all over the Nordic countries. It’s a big thing. It’s also known as the Festival of Lights – processions, candles, singing – the lot.

If you are Scandinavian and feel a bit homesick, click HERE before you start reading and keep it playing in the background. On repeat.

This is what December looks like in many parts of the Nordics

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Because of this, we have an excuse to light hundreds of candles.

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St Lucia means you get to dress up in white robes (grandma’s nightgown can work). Add a red sash around your waist – it’s a symbol of death, but lets not mention that – it gets all dark and macabre then.

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St Lucia originally comes from Sicily.

She died in the year 304. Lucia of Syracuse, also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia, was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution.

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You get to fight to become the Lucia Bride (usually a girl, but now also sometimes a boy because, why not?)

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It’s every little girls dream to be a Lucia bride

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Swedes eat Lucia buns (Saffron flavoured buns with raisins in them). Swedes love Saffron so much that in December they try to sneak Saffron into as many treats as possible. From the traditional buns to any other cake that can possibly have half a gram of saffron added (even semlor buns)

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Danes eat æbleskiver – literally: Apple slices. They little pancake balls, but they don’t contain apples. 100 million + are eaten in Denmark every year. Eat with jam and icing sugar.

Photos By Gerik Parmele | gerik.com

 

It’s also a very  pagan celebration: it was the night when animals became possessed and could talk. Okay, not quite like these, but they are funny…

The processions start early mornings on 13th December and carry on throughout the whole day and evening. This means we get to drink THIS at 7 am. It has alcohol in it. The day starts here.

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Which makes us look like this

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And Swedes drink a gallon of this, too.

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And eat a mountain of ginger biscuits. Buy them ready made, or buy the dough. Nobody will judge you. Or make your own, whatever, you show off…

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If you live in Scandinavia, you will attend at least one Lucia every year. If in Sweden, around 5 (and dodge a few).

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Processions take place everywhere – from offices to old people’s homes, schools and more. If there is a hallway with a light switch, Lucia will happen

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In Denmark, everybody is in white robes, but in Sweden, they also have star boys, gingerbread men and other fancy inventions. Some look happier than others.

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Everybody will have candles in their hands but the Lucia bride will have a crown of candles. Real ones. On average, Lucia brides spend 6 hours picking wax out of their hair afterwards. It’s the price you pay for being the bride.

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The best known song is Sankta Lucia. Most people know only the first verse. Here is a phonetic Swedish version.

SUNK TAR LOU, SEE YA

Nut and gore tune-off yet

Ruined gourd ox-stew, vah

Cring you’d some sulfer yet

School gore, now roux vah

Doughy wort murk a whose

Steeger met end-a-juice

Sunk tar Lou, see ya

Sunk taaaar Lou, see ya!

You will cry. All of a sudden, Christmas has arrived…

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If abroad, scramble for the last no view seats at the churches/embassies/clubs… Here is where to see it in the UK. Sorry, most places have sold out – but there are sometimes cancellations to be found:

Swedish Church here, Westminster Cathedral few left Liverpool Swedish Lucia here London Swedes here  Danish Church on Sunday and Lucia for dummies here.

Have a great Lucia – see you at the cafe for Lucia buns and festive cheer. And Gløgg, there will be Gløgg…

 

Christmas Season Opening Hours

| Leave a comment

Hejsan.

Please place all online orders before 13th December – we are unfortunately, despite best efforts, running a delay on shipping of between 5-7 working days. We are working round the clock (there are elves involved) to get it all shipped, but we need your help – place your orders and we can get through them.

After 13th December, you can pick up all your foods at the London Cafe (Tube: Oxford Circus).

We are open as normal up until and including 23rd December. Please note that as the 24th is our christmas, we are closed.

23rd December      8:00-19:00

24th December      CLOSED

25 Dec – 2nd Jan   CLOSED

We open as usual on 3rd January 2017.

Thank you for an amazing year

Love

The Kitchen People x

How to better understand Scandinavians this Christmas

December 1, 2016 | Leave a comment

How to better understand Scandinavians this Christmas

Most Scandinavians really, really like Christmas. Even if they say they don’t, they probably hum jingle bells in secret and wraps presents when nobody’s looking. We’re really good at Christmas and we find joy in even the darkest days of the year.

Jule-Hygge

Call it what you want – we have many names for it: Hygge, Koselig, Mysigt. That state of mind where you relax with people you care about and time doesn’t exist. Christmas is high season for hygge. No, you can’t buy it. You have to create it and BE in it.

snow and winter Sweden

We enjoy this kind of snow.

Fluffy, beautiful, delicious, cotton wool snow.

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Cold?

We’re not cold! It’s warm inside and cold outside. We have heating, log fires, stillongs and kärlek.

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Advent Calendars

Little chocolates every day? Pah! Do it like a Dane and give a present for each day in December. Now THAT’S an advent calendar. For both kids and adults. Yes, it’s a thing: One present every single day.

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Sundays in Advent

The last four Sundays before Christmas, Scandinavians meet up for glögg (mulled wine) parties, eat ginger biscuits and get red ears and cheeks from the mulled wine. It’s a real thing and it’s important. Christmas begins the first Sunday in advent. One candle is lit every Sunday.  

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Candles in the windows. ALL the windows.

Let’s face it: It’s dark. Very dark. Can’t see a darn thing anywhere. Most people have big stars or 7-candle bridges in the windows.

We have Christmas Beers and they are delicious.

The Danish Tuborg Julebryg is only available for 10 weeks out of the year and it is the 4th best selling beer in Denmark. Also, you get to wear blue hats and stuff. Usually served at all the…

Christmas Parties…

Going home drunk in the snow after the office do is awful. Watching someone else trying to get home and failing? Great.

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Feast of St Lucia

13th December, every year – this happens all over the Nordic countries. In the dark, hundreds of candles and song, so sing in the light. Drink more mulled wine.

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Real tree

Nobody has fake trees in Scandinavia. Just don’t go there. It’s a quick sure fire way to pure Scandi disbelief. We love our trees, our real trees.

In Denmark, they even dance around the tree and sing songs. Oh, and yes, they light real candles on the trees.


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No tinsel

Does it require batteries, light up and sing a merry tune? We don’t want it. Does it sparkle in seven different colours? No thanks. Give us simple decorations. No tinsel. Add Christmas elves.

We get to celebrate the big day a day early

Our Christmas happens on Christmas eve 24th December (NOT on the 25th) – dinner, drink, tree, sing-song, presents.

Under no circumstances do we want to go to the pub on the 24th, or to a party, or to anywhere not involving people we really, really like. No. We won’t go.

Donald Duck (Kalle Anka)

At 3 pm, every year, especially in Sweden: Watch the Donald Duck Christmas Show from 1972. Cry when Jiminy Cricket sings ‘When you wish upon a star’ and feel blessed.

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Tyrkey? No thanks.

Fed up with Turkey? Join us – in Scandinavia, Christmas dinners range from ham to roast pork, roast duck, sugar fried potatoes, smoked racks of lamb and, eh, cod steeped in lye (ehhh, yes, some do).

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[who the hell invited the pineapple?!]

Christmas Smörgåsbord

For Swedes, it’s Christmas Eve… For Danes and the rest, its all the other days: Bring out the herring, the aquavit, the left overs, the everything-you-can-think-of-table. Add beer. Aquavit.

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Red noses, red cheeks, sneaky kisses under the mistletoe.

It’s also our thing. No, not mulled wine. We don’t add drabs of left over stuff to our glögg, nor do we add half a litre of orange juice. No. We carefully blend spices, sugar and red wine… heat it up and add secret yuletide cheer to every pot. Why is Glögg so much better than mulled wine? Cardamom, dried Seville orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and ginger are the scents of a truly Scandinavian Christmas. It makes us feel all warm and happy inside.

Things flavoured with saffron

Swedes and Norwegians eat Saffron buns. Actually, the Swedes will to flavour almost anything with saffron (drinks, biscuits, Semlor, cakes… ). The Danes eat little pancake balls called Æbleskiver. Over 100 million of those are eaten every year in Denmark (they really, really like them). Æbleskiver means apple slicers, although, oddly, rarely contain any apple.

 

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Like a weirdly flat coke mixed with root beer. It’s available all through Christmas and outsells CocoCola by a mile. Do not attempt to separate a Swede from his Julmust drink

Julebrus

Like a raspberry fizzy soft drink. It’s available all through Christmas and outsells CocoCola by a mile. Do not attempt to separate a Norwegian from his Julebrus drink.

Also, don’t give Julmust to a Norwegian and don’t give Julebrus to a Swede. And the Danes only want the beer.

santascoming

Father Christmas

We can’t agree on where he lives. The Danes are sure he lives on Greenland, the rest knows it is in the North Pole. Or in Finland. Or he doesn’t exist at all because we believe in the Christmas gnomes, not Santa (and then he is called Tomten or Nissen). It gets confusing. Anyway, he wears a red hat. He often visits the house in the afternoon and he looks like Uncle Björn.

90th Birthday – every year

We watch this clip every single New Year. Every single year – on the telly, over and over. Since the beginning of time, we have done this and we will continue. Same procedure as last year, James, same procedure as last year.

God Jul!

from all of us at www.Scandikitchen.co.uk

x

tinkerbell

Pimp My Gingerbread House 2016

November 24, 2016 | Leave a comment

Pimp My Gingerbread House 2016

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It’s beginning to smell like Gingerbread.. That’s right, it’s that time of year again – it’s time for our annual Pimp My gingerbread House competition!

Every year in the run up to Christmas we run a competition – who can go crazy with a standard gingerbread house kit?

The rules;

Take one basic Gingerbread house kit from Annas and pimp it up to the best of your abilities. Think outside the box: be as creative, crazy and elaborate as you want. Whatever your strong side, put it into the house.

When you are done, send us a picture and we will put the best ones up on Instagram and Facebook and the blog during December.

We have four categories:

Adult – Beautiful: This is the main award. The most beautiful house you can make from a very basic kit of gingerbread house.

Adult – Super Creative.   This is the crazy house – like the house eaten by dragons, murder scenes, brothels, discos – whatever you can do to pimp up your house to silly standards with great use of imagination.

Child – up to 7 years old. It’s okay that your Mum and Dad help out, but here we do want to see real kids efforts. We know what seven year olds can do with a ginger bread kit – we want to see kids being allowed to unleash creativity. It’s fine to add Lego men and other toys to the mix or make a gingerbread house for your favourite dolls.

Young person 8-16 – We want to see your imagination run wild here. Make the house your own.

THIS YEAR’S PRIZES:

First prize this year in category ‘beautiful’ is £50 online OR in-store voucher for ScandiKitchen, a signed copy of our new baking book ‘Fika & Hygge’ and one of our fancy new mugs.

Adult – Creative – A hamper full of goodies and treats plus a signed baking book.

Children under 7: Sweeties. And more Sweeties. So many sweeties your Mum will be quite annoyed with us all the way through till January.

Young person 8-16 prize: Sweets. And more Sweets. So many sweeties your Mum will be quite annoyed with us and also a little jealous that it is all for you.

The rules:

      • All entries MUST be made from a basic Gingerbread House kit. We stock the one from Anna’s, which is the preferred one, but if you use the IKEA version that is also fine (they are similar in shape and size). Basically, the basic shape of the house must be the same so we can see just how creative you can be with a pre-fab kit. Any entries not made from the similar in size and shape to the Ikea and Anna’s kit will not be accepted, sorry.
      • When you submit photos, you need to state what category you are entering into.
      • Only one entry per person
      • If more than one person submits the same entry, the prize will be shared.
      • No alternative prize, no cash prizes, no exchanges.
      • Entries must be received before 16th December 2016 at noon to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk
      • Employees of ScandiKitchen ltd not eligible to enter (Rebekka, we’re talking to you)
      • Winners will be picked by a jury of lovely people (most likely a selection of our customers – we usually pick 5 judges from Twitter to help us out).
      • The judges decisions are final.
      • Prizes can be sent to UK address only.

Send your photos to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before 16th December at noon to enter the competition. We look forward to seeing your creations.

Love

The Kitchen People x

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WIN! The Sleigh Ride DVD & Winter Sweet Treats

November 22, 2016 | Leave a comment

WIN! The Sleigh Ride DVD & Winter Sweet Treats

A few years ago, a mini trend kicked off in Norway – slow TV.

The concept of slow TV is simple and can be summed up as enjoying a journey in real time. No cutting, fast forwarding, music or commentary – just beautiful scenery and the sounds of the scene. The sleigh ride follows an ancient Sami postal route with no sounds except the crunching of snow and twinkling of reindeer bells.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Nordic Noir again and have 4 copies to hand out – 1 winner will receive the DVD and a selection of sweet treats, 3 others the DVDs. Yay!
All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride’ was released on DVD  Monday 21st November by Nordic Noir & Beyond.

The Sleigh Ride - ScandiKitchen commpetition

 

To win – just answer this simple question;

What do the moomins do at Christmas?

  1. Celebrate it with a big feast for all of moomin valley
  2. Go on holiday to the south
  3. Sleep – they’re hibernating, like bears.

Send your response to martina@scandikitchen.co.uk before Wednesday the 23rd November.

Winner will be drawn from all correct entries.

The usual rules apply. UK residents only. No cheating. One main winner and three DVD winners. No alternative prize and no cash alternative.

Good luck!

Flæskesteg – Danish Christmas roast pork

December 10, 2015 | Leave a comment

Recipe for Danish Flæskesteg – Roast Pork

For a truly Danish Christmas, you have to serve Roast Pork – also known as Flæskesteg.

At ScandiKitchen, we use a pork loin cut, scored across at 1 cm sections. Ask your butcher to do this as it is quite hard ot get right at home and the cut of the pork is really important to get the right type of crackling.

If you want to be super sure to get it right, we sell frozen pork loins from Denmark (Svinekam) already scored – just defrost and cook. There’s a link here to the shop where you can buy these (limited stock).

Flæskesteg – Danish Christmas roast pork

This is the classic Christmas meal in Denmark. This recipe serves four people, at least.

Ingredients:

  • 2kg loin of pork with the skin on, and scored all the way down to just before the flesh in lines 1cm apart (ask the butcher to do this if necessary)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 400-500ml boiling water
  • few sprigs of thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°C.
  2. Place the pork joint skin side down (yes, ‘upside-down’) into a roasting tray. Add just enough boiling water to the tray so that the skin is submerged.
  3. Put the pork in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Use a clean tea towel to hold the pork in the roasting tray so you don’t burn yourself while you carefully pour away the water.
  5. Turn the oven down to 160°C, then flip the pork over so it’s the right way up (skin up), and coat the skin with a generous amount of salt and pepper, making sure you get into the crevices created by the scoring. Be careful of your hands at this point, the pork will be hot! Stick the bay leaves into the crevices as well, then add the carrot, onion and thyme to the roasting tin, and pour 400-500ml fresh, cold water in.
  6. Put the pork back in the oven for about an hour or until it is done. Check about halfway through to see if you need to top up the water if it’s starting to evaporate too much.
  7. Using a meat thermometer, check the temperature of the pork after the hour. It should be somewhere between 68-70°C. Pour out the fatty residue into a bowl to use as stock for the gravy.
  8. Increase the oven temperature back up to 250°C and put the roast pork back in to make the crackling. This can take a good 15 minutes, so use the grill if you want to kickstart the process (but keep a close eye on it, or else you could end up with a burnt crackling).
  9. Remove the roast from the oven and check the temperature again. It should be between 70-75°C. This should mean it isn’t overcooked – pork can be terribly boring if you have to gnaw your way through it.
  10. Let the roast rest uncovered for about 10 minutes. While that’s happening, make the gravy from the fat and stock – use gravy browning if required.

Brunkartofler – Caramelised potatoes

A traditional accompaniment to Danish roast pork.  It’s a bit sweet so we only eat these once a year.

Ingredients:

  • 85g sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 1kg peeled and cooked small new potatoes (don’t be afraid to use tinned potatoes for this) – must be COLD.

Method:

  1. Add the sugar to a cold frying pan and spread it evenly across the bottom. Melt it on a high heat while you stir for about 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium while you add the butter. Turn up the heat to high again.
  2. Put the potatoes in a colander or sieve and run them under a cold tap, then add to the pan. As you can imagine, it’s going to splutter and spit a bit, so be careful.
  3. Get the potatoes covered in caramel and brown them for between 4-6 minutes, turning them carefully. If it looks like they’re getting a bit too dry, add a drop of water (again, take care doing this).
  4. Serve the caramelised potatoes along with normal boiled potatoes – as these are very sweet, they’re more of an extra side dish for the pork rather than a replacement for potatoes altogether.

NOTE: Always use potatoes that are completely cold. If you’re preparing them yourself, peel and cook them the day before. Each potato should be about 3-4cm in size – think salad potatoes. Tinned really is a good option for this dish.

Serve with warm, red cabbage.

Leftovers? Make Pytt-i-Panna.

Recipe: How to make Senapssill Mustard herring

December 19, 2014 | Leave a comment

No Smörgåsbord is complete without the infamous pickled herring – and this herring dressing is as traditional as they come.

Serve the Mustard Herring with dark rye bread or crisp bread. Always serve herring at the beginning of the meal – along with a shot of chilled aquavit.

Recipe: How to make Senapssill Mustard herring
 
Prep time
Total time
 
An essential component on any Nordic Smorgasbord.
Author:
Recipe type: Starter
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Recipe Serves 4
  • 1 x 220g jar of plain pickled ABBA herring (or equivalent weight of a good plain ready pickled herring)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 11⁄2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 11⁄2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 11⁄2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp Slotts Skånsk mustard (or grain mustard)
  • 1⁄2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Drain the herring, discard onion bits and brine.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients together. Whisk until the mixture is creamy and combined, then season to taste.
  3. Add the drained herring and marinate for a few hours.
  4. Enjoy with rye or crisp bread.

Shop our full range of Scandi food here 

Recipe: Rödbetsallad Apple and Beetroot Salad

December 11, 2014 | Leave a comment

This dish is a must on most Scandi Christmas Smorgasbord tables. Mostly in Sweden, where it is absolutely essential. No beetroot salad = no Christmas.

It’s super easy to make it – have a go at home, but please do try to use a Scandinavian pickled beetroot for the best result. It just works better.

Recipe: Rödbetsallad Apple and Beetroot Salad
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 jar of pickled beetroot 300g (drained weight approx. 280g)
  • ½ apple
  • 50g Mayonnaise
  • 50g Crème fraiche
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tbs chopped chives (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain the beetroot well and cut into bitesized pieces. Peel and cut apple into similar sized pieces.
  2. Mix the beetroot and apple in a bowl, add mayonnaise and crème fraiche and stir. You are looking for a good creamy consistency and a medium pink colour (if the beetroot is not drained properly, you will get a runny consistency).
  3. Season to taste (add sugar if using a tart variety of pickled beetroot). Add more mayo and crème fraiche, if a creamier salad is desired.
  4. The colour of the salad will go darker once it sets. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. If it goes too dark, just add a bit more crème fraiche or mayonnaise just before serving. If using chives, add chopped on top before serving.

Shop our full range of Scandi food here 

Recipe: Make Nordic ‘Glogg’ mulled wine at home

December 9, 2014 | 2 Comments

Shop our full range of Scandi food here 

Glögg is an essential part of Christmas all over Scandinavia. This is recipe was created by my sister-in-law Annika in her Gothenburg kitchen. It’s so very easy to make glögg at home – give it a go. You can reduce or increase the sugar to your liking – and do play around with adding and taking some spices away to make your own signature mulled wine.

Serve Nordic ‘Glögg’ mulled wine warm in smaller glasses with raisins and almonds.

Make your own 'Glögg' mulled wine at home
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle red wine (quality doesn’t matter)
  • 1-2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5g dried root ginger
  • 5g dried Seville orange peel (or other orange if you can't get Seville)
  • 7 green cardamom pods
  • 15-16 whole cloves
  • 80g/3oz sugar
  • To serve: flaked almonds and raisins
  • Splash of either vodka, aquavit, rum or cognac (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour the wine into a pan, add the spices and heat to around 80C/176F, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least an hour.
  3. Strain the mixture and return the mulled wine to the bottle - use a funnel to make life easier for yourself. The wine can be kept for around a week.
  4. To serve, pour the wine into a saucepan and heat it.
  5. Place a few flaked almonds and raisins in the bottom of your serving cups, and pour the glögg over the mixture.
  6. If you want to give your glögg a kick, add a splash of either vodka, aquavit, rum or cognac just after you’ve reheated the wine.

 

Glögg-0013_original

WIN a ScandiKitchen Christmas Stocking full of goodies

December 5, 2014 | 3 Comments

We have to admit it: We LOVE our new Christmas stockings.  Richard the Designer did a good job in placing the Christmas Elk just right – and we can’t wait to hang ours by the fireplace. We believe Santa will favour anyone who hangs up a ScandiKitchen Stocking this year. The stockings are limited additions and there will be no more of this edition once they are gone. 

You can get hold of your own special stocking at the cafe shop – priced £4.95 while stocks last. If you can’t make it to the shop and you really really need one, speak to Helena at the warehouse, she has a secret stash and may be able to help you.

The stockings are nice and big (55cm long) and actually fit a whole load of stuff. Loads. A proper big Santa sized stocking indeed.

We’ve decided to fill a stocking with Scandi foodie goodies and give to one lucky winner this week. Yes, a full stocking, stuffed with everything from Christmas beers to ginger biscuits, chocolates, glogg and much more.

To be in with a chance to win, simply answer this easy question:

The animal featured on the 2014 ScandiKitchen stocking is a…

a. Penguin

b. Reindeer

c. Elk

Answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk by email before Tuesday 9th December 2014 at noon.

One winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries.

Terms: Yes, we will send the prize to you to a UK address if you win. We will fill the stocking with goodies, all will be ambient goodies (not chilled). No alternative prize. No changes can be made to the stocking. No cheating. No cash alternative. Usual rules apply. Limited edition stockings: only 50 are for sale of these in 2014. No more will be printed in 2014.

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