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4.4 out of 5 stars125
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a gorgeous book, and irresistible to a christmas book obsessive such as myself. It will also appeal to anyone who really, really loves kale, for reasons to be discussed below. Written by distinguished Danish cookery writer Trine Hahnemann, it gives a lot of culinary detail as well as a bit of a flavour of a Danish christmas (I do wonder whether the blanket 'Scandinavian' might be a bit of a tall claim - for example it doesn't even mention Martin Goose day, an essential part of the season in Southern sweden).

It divides into seven main sections:
1) Christmas Baking
Very intriguing: Danish bakers, according to the author, completely avoid dried yeast and also used a product called bakers' ammonia to get cookies to have that crisp texture I recognise from Scandinavia. Here is the special bread you must bake to celebrate Lucia Day on 13 December, a local Xmas cake, and then a number of different special biscuits that are highly flavoured with spices. There are even those biscuits that get sold I think as Danish Butter Curls - though evidently you need a specialist mould to get them perfect in shape. (Which highlights a problem a few reviewers have already noted - it is a specialist, enthusiasts' book, rather than something for everyone because you aren't going to be able to make all of the recipes very easily.)

2) Gifts from the Kitchen
Here are chutneys, jellies, compotes and vinegars, as well as chocolate-dipped candied oranges. I started here as it seemed the most straightforward, but I doubt I'll be making the rosehip chutney, despite my reasonable sized garden, as it requires a KILO of rosehips. Cannot even imagine what that looks like! However the Christmas Chutney was unbelievably good, one of the best chutney recipes I've EVER tried.

3) Advent: A Whole Month of Christmas
here are outdoor recipes for barbecues and outdoor eating (amazingly, this is a feature of Northern winter life!) as well as indoor ones like Glogg, Aebleskiver and more pepper cookies. I enjoyed the details here about feeding your 'elf' and leaving out a boot for him to leave gifts.... reminded me of Harry Potter!

4) Festive Brunch
Here we get onto some real goodies like an extraordinary beetroot-cured smoked salmon, a vivid deep pink on the outside, and orange within; a fab Kale salad with jerusalem artichokes; a few other veg and some christmas danish pastries - worth trying once, surely!

5) Christmas Party
Suggestions now much more sophisticated: Kale bruschetta, Cod and Kale pesto (see a theme emerging here?) and duck and pork recipes to make your mouth water.

6) Christmas Eve Feast
Duck, Goose with apples and prunes, lamb chops, pork with cracking, quince ham.... yet another kale recipe this time salad with pomengranate; chicory salad, red cabbage, brussels sprouts cooked with clementines... all sounds delicious.

7) Christmas Day Smorgasbord
This was actually the chapter i found the most tempting - someone said somewhere they wouldn't be doing anything with herring!! But that's missing the point I think! so herrings served in five different ways, liver paté, a rolled cold pork and a meatballs dish, and pork with apple sauce. It's a bit of letdown there's no place on christmas day for kale, but there we go.

I totally agree with other reviewers who said you will need some specialist ingredients and equipment, but I love acquiring that kind of thing so I'm not marking it down for that. Almost every dish is illustrated, sumptuously, and the whole book has lovely snowy mood illustrations too. All in all a really beautiful book, and having tested a few of the recipes I can put my hand on my heart and recommend it absolutely as a cookbook, too.
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VINE VOICEon 9 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Christmas is a funny festival in many ways since, whilst ostensibly Christian with Middle-Eastern origins it has never really forgotten its pagan predecessor as a festival of Light and the birth of the new sun. Secretly there are a lot of pagan elements to Christmas and these are part of the delight especially when we think of freshly fallen snow, reindeer or breathing in the clove and cinnamon laden intoxication of mulled wine. Scandanavian Christmas is a wonderful book full of Christmas recipes which literally embody all of this. This book captures the warming log file, fresh snowfall and the smell of pine needles.

The book is lavishly produced in hardback with a thick, liquid resistant and wipable cover. Inside it contains a nice number of photographs which capture the season and the delights it offers without going over the top. The text is well written and the recipes composed in an easy to read format which will help prevent mistakes whilst cooking.

Split into seven sections, Christmas Baking, Gifts from the Kitchen, Advent: A whole month of Christmas, Festive Brunch, Christmas Party, The Christmas Eve Feast and Christmas day Smorgasbord, each section then breaks down into a smaller set of sections corresponding to the type of food or drink at hand. There are a good number of recipes in each selection which range from drinks, to breads and pastries to meat dishes and sweets. There is a very nice diversity of recipes and I am sure a lot for everyone.

Highly Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I adore Christmas time and everything festive, so this book was already a winner without having read a page. Luckily the contents matched up to my hopes and expectations.

Basically this book is a collection of festive recipes from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. It's split into 7 chapters. These are Christmas Baking (breads, cakes and cookies), Gifts from the Kitchen (Chutneys, Jellies and Jams, Vinegars, Chocolate & Gløgg), Advent: A Whole Month of Christmas (Sunday Outdoors in the Snow, Sunday Baking Indoors), Festive Brunch, Christmas Party (canapés, drinks), The Christmas Eve Feast and finally, Christmas Day Smörgåsbord.

Each recipe is presented well with clear ingredient lists and instructions that are easy to understand and follow.

The recipes are wonderful and there are plenty of things that you want to make and taste. However, what made this book for me was the wonderful photography and presentation. The cover is puffy and has that feel of a children's book which actually adds to the magic rather than detracts from it. Inside it has the typical nordic look and the photos really transport you to this chilly winter wonderland and wonderful family Christmas.

There are plenty of recipes to try but this book also works well as coffee table book for the Christmas period. I really enjoyed reading and using it and feel that it will be a book that I will leaf through again and again over the years. Definitely recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Being half Austrian I love celebrating both Austrian and English traditions when Christmas comes round. In recent years I have also loved picking up on other peoples' traditions. From celebrations to cuisine it is a wonderful time of year and this book, Scandinavian Christmas, provides a looking glass into the traditions and specialities of Norway, Sweden and Denmark during the festive season.
The best part about this book is the incredible recipes which aren't just cakes and biscuits but jellies, chutney, roasts and more.
I tried a few recipes and I can say that the Honey Layer Cake is not to be missed nor are the Cinnamon Cookies. I am sure that the rest of these recipes are also going to be ace.
Also I have to add that the photography is great and with the nights already drawing in and November only round the corner I did perhaps already feel a little Christmassy :)
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I got this book with the sole hope that one day Sandi Toksvig might become my best friend and I can dazzle her with Scandinavian cuisine. Plus I really love Scandinavian culture and cooking (Andreas Viestad for example) and thought a twist on Christmas is always welcome
The book itself is beautiful, the accompanying pictures are of a beautiful quality and there are little tidbits of information both of the authors family and memories, and also of Scandinavian mythology, I like these touches and it made for a homely and comforting read.
Now the downside - as with every cookbook there is always a risk that there will be one or two ingredients that are hard to find, with Chinese and Indian cooking we now have a plethora of shops and markets to hunt down an elusive spice, however for Scandinavian ingredients we have Ikea! Not really a culinary treat.
A lot of these recipes have an elusive ingredient and while she tries to offer alternatives she does so in a very tired teacher kind of way "well if you simply can't find lingonberries with a flake of alpine snow on them then I suppose you COULD use cranberries" cheers love, cranberries it is then. For one cake recipe she informs us that it has to be made in a specific tin which can be easily bought online...
This isn't every recipe and there is enough here to make without wanting to throw the book like a frustrated Viking, and overall I really loved this book and it will really add a dimension to my seasonal cooking this year
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm really impressed with this book. It has really clear and easy to follow recipes - with many of them only needing a handful of ingredients you'd probably already have in - and has some beautiful photographs of finished items and landscapes.

The book is split into seven different sections: Christmas baking (includes breads, cakes and cookies); Gifts from the Kitchen (chutneys, jellies and jams, vinegars, chocolate and glogg; Advent - A Whole Month of Christmas; Festive Brunch; Christmas Party (canapés and drinks); the Christmas Eve Feast; and Christmas Day Smorgasbord.

Some of the sweet recipes need you to temper chocolate. It explains how to do it, but you will need a sugar thermometer (if you haven't already got one).

All of the recipes also tell you how many or how much it will make, which is really handy as you can easily double up or half recipes. Some of the Gifts from the Kitchen recipes are so easy to make too, and would make great presents. For example, for the raspberry vinegar you just need raspberries, caster sugar and white wine vinegar. For blackcurrant jam, you need blackcurrants and sugar. There is also a recipe for chocolate dipped candied oranges that look delicious, you can almost smell them on the page.

Can really recommend this book, give it to the right person, and who knows, there may be delicious food gifts coming your way.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the focus of this cookbook being Christmas there are several chapters that follow a chronology from Lucia bread (cooked on the 13th December and in the first chapter on Christmas Baking) to a Christmas Day Smorgasbord. The chapters nestled between these two offer up delicious baked treats (such as hallon cookies and pepper nuts), chutneys (rosehip chutney), breakfast treats (Christmas porridge) and brunch ideas (ruis bread and rice pancakes).

All recipes are achievable and use ingredients that can be found either in your local supermarket or on a short walk outdoors, e.g. rosehips. The time the recipes take to make vary from under roughly an hour (oat cookies) to a month (pickled herring), but all, with the fantastic photography, look worth the wait.

Though I cannot wait to get stuck in to a bit of baking and herring pickling to make my Christmas something a little different from the norm I can't help but wish there were one or two more fish recipes to balance the number of meat dishes included, which is why I give this cookbook four rather than five stars.
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VINE VOICEon 30 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A quality volume with excellent presentation, including a `padded' cover and some excellent photography.

This is a book that offers recipes with a genuinely novel theme. It is so hard to find a different book for the culinarily inclined. Everyone has a cook-book on every subject these days but a seasonal Scandinavian theme seemed a really different idea.

This excellent set of recipes gives some different ideas of how to serve something special this Christmas. Built around genuinely Scandinavian tastes, this will allow you to be authentic and offer something daringly different this year. None of the recipes are pretentious or unmanageable, but traditional and at the same time innovative.

There are warm and filling recipes, lots of comfort food and sections themed around a Christmas Party and Christmas Day itself.

This would make a great gift, an excellent resource for entertaining or simply a great new set of ideas for someone wanting to cook seasonal food differently this year.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The slightly quilted wipe clean cover with it's gorgeous photographs means that this book this book has immediate impact as it is unwrapped. The stunning pictures through out the book makes it as much at home on the coffee table as in the kitchen.
Now for the content, the recipes are fairly easy to follow and should enable recipients to produce something a little different.The baking section is especially strong. The only criticism I have is that some of the ingredients might be difficult to get in the U.K..
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Scandinavian Christmases are different from ours. They seem to last all month for one thing and their Christmas fare doesn't seem to involve turkey or mince pies anywhere.

This is a delightful and different book with wonderful illustrations that certainly got me into a Christmassy mood with its snow scenes and recipe for Glogg.

Some of the ingredients are a little hard to come by, but you can order them online if you've a mind to. There are a lot of spiced cookie and yeast recipes, and some good gift ideas.

Overall, a lovely book as the nights draw in. I'm not sure that I will be ordering loganberries in especially, but I may try some of the delicious vanilla cookies and will almost certainly be making Glogg (mulled wine)
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