December 5

Ris à la Malta (rice pudding) is a popular Christmas dessert. It is usually cooked for Christmas Eve and is often a part of the Christmas buffet.

Ris á la Malta was created in the last part of the 19th century in Denmark. It is made out of rice pudding mixed with whipped cream, vanilla, and icing sugar and is usually served cold with a strawberry or cherry sauce. You can even serve it with bits of oranges and sprinkle cinnamon over it. It gained popularity when rice pudding became more common. Until then rice pudding had been a very exclusive dish, as making it required two expensive, imported ingredients: rice and cinnamon. After World War II, Ris á la Malta experienced an increase in popularity, being known as a “savings” dessert: adding whipped cream (which was easily available) to the still fairly expensive rice would make the rice last longer.

Normally, one whole almond is added to the dessert and the  person finding the hidden almond in their serving is expected (only as a joke) to get married before next Christmas, but nowadays instead of getting married you are usually given a small gift such as a piece of chocolate, marzipan candy or some other small token.

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Here is how you make Ris á la Malta and the sauce.

Ricepudding, 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS

* ½ cup of short-grain or long-grain white rice
* 0.8 cups of water
* ½ tsp salt
* 2 cups of milk
* ½ cups of heavy cream/whipping cream
* 2 tbs icing sugar
* ½ tsp vanilla sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

* Boil the rice with salt and water in a pot under a lid for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Make sure it doesn´t burn at the bottom.

* After 10 minutes add the milk and allow the rice to swell on low heat under the lid for 30-40 minutes, stir occasionally too keep sure that it is not burned in the bottom. It should be creamy and thick. Then set the pan aside and let the rice pudding cool completely in room temperature.

* Whip the cream and turn into the cold pudding, add the icing and vanilla sugar.

* Put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve with the strawberry sauce or with oranges/mandarins or as it is with cinnamon.

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Fruit sauce/syrup

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INGREDIENTS

* 1½ cup of strawberry cordial/syrup

* 1 cup of water

* 2 tbs cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS

Put everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Once it starts to boil remove from stove and pour in a pitcher and let it cool.

You can serve it cold on the rice pudding or slightly warm.

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December 4 – Christmas music

Music is a big part of Christmas and I would share some music from Swedish artist. Some songs are in english and but it is mostly in swedish. The playlist is on Spotify and please let me know if you have trouble listening. Most of the music you will probably recognize (and will show up several times on the playlist) as traditional Christmas music known all over the world, but there are a few that is only known here in Sweden.  Hope you like it!

Click here ——-> CHRISTMAS IN SWEDEN MUSIC

 

 

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/kycklingfarmen/playlist/6nuPbqwFaBQYtF7Dvuux4i

Peter Jöback, singer, musical artist, actor, songwriter .

Carola, sings pop, schlager and gospel.

Tommy Körberg, musicals, schlager and pop.

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December 3 – First advent

Today is the first advent. The first of four Sundays that marks the countdown for Christmas. To make the countdown to Christmas clear, we traditionally light one candle in the so-called advent stick every Sunday, with the first light lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This is always a special event, eagerly awaited, and when it is done we usually heat up some mulled wine, or glögg, (see recipe at the bottom of the post) and get into the Christmas mood. The children’s expectations grow with every candle, and on TV, there is a special Christmas calendar show for the young with 24 episodes. It, too, serves as a countdown to the big day.

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One of the purposes of the candlestick is to spread light as the northern hemisphere experiences the darkest time of the year. The stars that many hang up in their windows at Christmas times are have the same purpose but in the early beginning the star symbolized Bethlehem’s star which, according to the Bible, led the three wise men to Jesus in the crib. Today, the stars act more as symbols to spread Christmas mood and longing for Christmas than merely symbolizing the anniversary celebration.

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During advent there are many Christmas markets. There you can buy Christmas decorations, handmade crafts, gingerbread cookies, Christmas chocolate and much more. There are major markets in the cities. Sweden’s largest Christmas market is at Liseberg in Gothenburg. In Stockholm, there is a market in Stortorget in the Old Town and Skansen.

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HOW TO MAKE MULLED WINE – GLÖGG

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 bottle (75cl) red wine (you can use non-alcoholic wine)
* 4 tbs sugar
* 2 tsp unrefined sugar
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 10 cloves
* 15 whole cardamom seeds
* About 5 inches of orange peel (try not to get the white)
* 1 whole star anise
* 2 tbs orange juice

OPTIONAL: If you would like it with alcohol you can put in about ½ cup of rum or vodka.

But DO NOT serve it to children and inform the adult you are serving it contains alcohol!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour the wine into a saucepan the add all the rest of ingredients. Heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved on a low to medium heat. Do not boil! If you have time let the mulled wine stand and soak in the refrigerator with all the spices 12-24 hours before you strain out the seeds and spices. When ready to drink just heat it up on the stove again and serve in small glasses or mugs with raisins and peeled almonds.

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Mulled wine – Glögg

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INGREDIENTS:

* 1 bottle (75cl) red wine (you can use non-alcoholic wine)
* 4 tbs sugar
* 2 tsp unrefined sugar
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 10 cloves
* 15 whole cardamom seeds
* About 5 inches of orange peel (try not to get the white)
* 1 whole star anise
* 2 tbs orange juice

OPTIONAL: If you would like it with alcohol you can put in about ½ cup of rum or vodka.

But DO NOT serve it to children and inform the adult you are serving it contains alcohol!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pour the wine into a saucepan the add all the rest of ingredients. Heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved on a low to medium heat. Do not boil! If you have time let the mulled wine stand and soak in the refrigerator with all the spices 12-24 hours before you strain out the seeds and spices. When ready to drink just heat it up on the stove again and serve in small glasses or mugs with raisins and peeled almonds.

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December 2

“Vörtbröd” or Wort bread is a typical Swedish bread dating back over 400 years back in time. It was originally a Swedish luxury loaf but has now become a nationwide Christmas favorite. Syrup (molasses) or malt are the ingredients that historically made the bread extra luxurious.

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“Vört” or wort is the name of the amber liquid obtained from the mash for beer production after it has been filtered from its solid constituents. The wort then ferments with hops and yeast and the malt sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Since the brewing of the Christmas beer was available, it was a natural spice for the bread.

Wort bread is a bread baked with rye flour and wheat flour. Wort bread is traditionally eaten during Christmas, and is often seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and raisins. The bread is often eaten with slices of Christmas ham or cheese on top.

Swedes eat about 3.1 million loaves of wort bread during the year and about 76% is sold during Christmas. That figure, however, applies only to the bread sold in the grocery store and does not include the bread purchased in the local bakery or homemade bread.

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Here is how you make the bread:

INGREDIENTS

* 50 grams of butter
* 33 cl porter (you can use root beer, dark beer or even water)
* 50 gram yeast
* 2 tsp salt
* 0.4 cup dark syrup or molasses
* 0.4 cup raisins
* 2.5 cups rye flour
* 1.7 cups flour
* 4 tbs cold coffee
* 1 tsp ground cloves
* 3 pieces of dried bitter orange peel (ground or finely chopped, about 1 tbs)
* 1 tbs ground anise
* 0.5 tsp ground ginger
* 1 tbs ground fennel

INSTRUCTIONS

* Melt the butter on low heat in a sauce pan. Pour in the porter (or chosen liquid) and stir together. Warm until 98F.

* Put the yeast (if you are using fresh yeast crumble it in small pieces) in a large mixing bowl.

* Pour some of the liquid in the bowl and dissolve the yeast (make sure that the liquid is not too hot, if it is then the yeast will loose the effect). Then pour in the rest of the liquid and stir.

* Add the rest of the ingredients and work together to a smooth dough for 1-2 minutes.

* Put a towel over the bowl and let it rest for 45 minutes in room temperature.

* After 45 minutes put the dough on a floured baking table and knead the dough for a minute. Divide it into two pieces and shape them into loaves. Put the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper or into buttered bread pans. Cover them again with the towel and let them rest for 25 minutes. Now you can preheat the oven to 390F.

* When finished resting put them in the oven in the lower part (not completely at the bottom) of the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Brush the bread a few times with the cold coffee.

* Once done take them out and let them rest and cool under a kitchen towel.

Hope you like it!

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Wortbread

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INGREDIENTS:

* 50 grams of butter
* 33 cl porter (you can use root beer, dark beer or even water)
* 50 gram yeast
* 2 tsp salt
* 0.4 cup dark syrup or molasses
* 0.4 cup raisins
* 2.5 cups rye flour
* 1.7 cups flour
* 4 tbs cold coffee
* 1 tsp ground cloves
* 3 pieces of dried bitter orange peel (ground or finely chopped, about 1 tbs)
* 1 tbs ground anise
* 0.5 tsp ground ginger
* 1 tbs ground fennel

INSTRUCTIONS

* Melt the butter on low heat in a sauce pan. Pour in the porter (or chosen liquid) and stir together. Warm until 98F.

* Put the yeast (if you are using fresh yeast crumble it in small pieces) in a large mixing bowl.

* Pour some of the liquid in the bowl and dissolve the yeast (make sure that the liquid is not too hot, if it is then the yeast will loose the effect). Then pour in the rest of the liquid and stir.

* Add the rest of the ingredients and work together to a smooth dough for 1-2 minutes.

* Put a towel over the bowl and let it rest for 45 minutes in room temperature.

* After 45 minutes put the dough on a floured baking table and knead the dough for a minute. Divide it into two pieces and shape them into loaves. Put the loaves on a baking tray lined with baking paper or into buttered bread pans. Cover them again with the towel and let them rest for 25 minutes. Now you can preheat the oven to 390F.

* When finished resting put them in the oven in the lower part (not completely at the bottom) of the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Brush the bread a few times with the cold coffee.

* Once done take them out and let them rest and cool under a kitchen towel.

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December 1

Welcome to “Christmas in Sweden”!

Today the countdown to Christmas begin and it is only 23 more days until Christmas Eve.

“Jul”, the Swedish Christmas holiday, is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until January 13 (twenty days after Christmas) which is called ‘Tjugondag Knut’ (Twentieth Day Knut) or ‘Tjugondedag jul’ (Twentieth Day Yule) and is named after a Danish prince called Knut Lavard. On Tjugondag Knut it’s traditional that the Christmas tree is taken down and and left over cookies and sweets are eaten. The main celebration and the exchange of gifts takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24. The Lucia Day is celebrated during Advent, on December 13.

At exactly 3 PM, half of Sweden sits down in front of the television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special, “From All of Us to All of You.” Or as it is known in Sverige, “Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul” (Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas).

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This program has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Christmas Eve since 1960. The show consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book. The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a host (who plays the role of Walt Disney from the original Walt Disney Presents series) and the annual addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie.

TRADITIONAL FOOD:

A traditional julbord in Sweden contains a large variety of food, but the food you eat at Christmas may vary depend on where you live in the country, or where you came from originally. The dishes include local and family specialties.

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Julbord, the “Christmas table”,  it’s basically a smörgåsbord with typical Swedish food on it. The table is filled with different bread, cheeses, butter, potatoes, Christmas ham (the ham is first boiled and then glazed with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs and mustard), eggs, meat balls, pigs feet, salmon, herring, small hotdogs, roasted pork, warm potato casserole, matchstick potatoes layered with cream, onion and sprats called Janssons frestelse (“Jansson’s Temptation”), home-made liver paté, wort-flavoured rye bread (vörtbröd) and it just continues.

Lutfisk, lyed fish made with dried ling or cod, served with boiled potato, thick white sauce and green peas can be served with the warm dishes or as a separate course. Lutfisk is often served as dinner the second day after the traditional Christmas Yule-table dinner.

Julbord desserts include rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon powder. Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice pudding and whoever finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck. Lots of chocolates and other sweets is consumed in large quantities.

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Beer and julmust ( a very sweet carbonated soda that could be described like something of a mix between Root Beer and Coca-Cola.) and the occasional snaps are common beverages to this Christmas meal. Mulled wine “glögg” is a very common drink and tastes very sweet, raisins and different nuts and saffron buns are served throughout December.

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Once everyone have eaten their fill, Santa Claus himself arrives to wish the gathering a Merry Christmas and distribute the presents and the families can start to wind down and enjoy the evening with some dessert, sweets and coffee.

Here is a few of the recipes I will be making this month in “Christmas in Sweden”.

* Malt bread with raisins
* Gingerbread/Gingersnaps dough
* Glögg (Mulled wine)
* Spiced apple cider
* Meatballs
* Janssons frestelse ( a popular potato casserole at the christmas table)
* Glazed ribs
* Christmas ham
* Applebaked pork
* Some side dishes.
* Ris a la malta (creamed rice pudding) and fruitjuice sauce.
* Saffron buns
* Swedish Christmas sweets
* Homemade mustard and pickled herring
* Desserts and other cakes

At the end of the month, on December 31, I will as a THANK YOU for joining me in this, give away 4 different cookbooks with traditional Swedish recipes, translated into english. So make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I will let you know how to get one of them.

I hope you will enjoy this and follow me on this experience!

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