It’s not often that I ask for anything having always been a modest type of girl but this modesty went out of the window when I asked to review Scandinavian Christmas by Trine Hahnemann published by Quadrille Publishing. Having a Danish mother every Christmas at home was always Scandinavian so I felt this book was perfect for me to review as the subject matter is close to my heart. From the first day in Advent I remember my mum busy baking in the kitchen, making table decorations from bits of oasis, candles, pine cones, holly, oranges etc as well as making wonderful paper star and heart decorations for the tree which was always real and full of candles! Dancing around the tree singing Danish “jul” songs with family and friends was also a highlight!
Before blogging I had not heard of Trine Hahnemann but in my eagerness to follow all Scandinavian food writers (of which there are not many who write in English) I found her. Trine is a chef and food writer and writes for many magazines in Denmark where she is very well known. Trine has recently moved to London from Copenhagen so I expect we will be seeing a lot more of her and her fabulous cuisine.
So on to the review. The book is aesthetically pleasing due to its padded cover and spot varnished photos so you are immediately drawn in. Once inside Trine introduces the book by sharing her love of winter and snow (me too Trine) and all things Christmassy! Then there are sections on Christmas Baking, Gifts from the Kitchen, Advent, Festive Brunch, Christmas Party, The Christmas Eve Feast and finally Christmas Day Smörgåsbord. Flicking through the book I was pleased to see that all the Christmas standards I’d grown up with were there ie Christmas porridge, Brown cookies, Vanilla cookies, Ring Cake, Apple ӕbleskiver, Red cabbage, Caramel potatoes, Meatballs (frikadeller), Liver pate with mushrooms and bacon, Slow-cooked goose with apples and prunes and for pudding always Rice pudding with hot cherry sauce! I can’t tell you how much I didn’t like this as a child but would eat my way through it to try to find the hidden almond to win a marzipan pig! I love this cold and creamy rice pudding now as does my husband and can’t wait to make Trine’s sauce as she uses fresh cherries and we’ve always used tinned!
I have so far baked Hallon cookies (for recipe click here), Redcurrant-almond cupcakes (but with blueberries) and Red Cabbage. As Christmas draws nearer I am looking forward to trying out many more recipes including Ruis bread, Christmas Danish pastries, Fried plaice with rémoulade and Pepper cookies (pepparkakor) which my Swedish school friend’s mother always used to bake!
So all in all this book is a must if you are wanting to experience a slice of Scandinavia at Christmas. There are all the traditional recipes plus many of Trine’s more modern ones such as Salted cod and kale pesto on celeriac bruschetta. There are beautiful photographs throughout, not only of the food but also of wonderful Scandinavian landscapes and heart warming interior shots. This book is not for the novice cook though, as a certain amount of cooking knowledge and skill is required and it is not for anyone on a tight budget, but then who budgets at Christmas? These are not quick recipes but more ones to be savoured and enjoyed over the festive period with your children if you have them, who will love helping out as did my daughter! Christmas is, after all, a time for sharing and what better way of doing it sheltered from the cold in a kitchen full of love and baking!
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