Top positive review
Sugar and spice and all things nice
on 23 August 2013
This slim volume is filled with beautiful photographs, mostly of the recipes by also of suitably festive scenes.
The book is divided into chapters on Christmas Baking, Gifts from the Kitchen, Advent: A Whole Month of Christmas, Festive Brunch, Christmas Party, The Christmas Eve Feast and Christmas Day Smörgåsbord.
Each recipe is preceded by a short descriptive passage, which may include an indicator to the recipe style ("A very dense rye bread"), a cultural reference ("The almond gift") or a personal anecdote ("We always serve pork belly with apple sauce, though others serve it with fried apples and onions").
Almost all of ingredients may easily found in an average supermarket. The exceptions, of which there are very few, include lingonberries, Vesterhavs cheese and Sea Buckthorn Vinegar. The Scandinavian Kitchen in Great Titchfield Street, London is generally a good source for such items.
The recipes themselves are generally easy to make.
There are lots of spiced biscuits and cakes which call for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, cloves, honey, vanilla and saffron in varying quantities. The Spiced Christmas cake (includes dark chocolate, cinnamon, ginger and dark muscovado sugar) is delicious. Several of the biscuit recipes are suitable for using as edible Christmas tree decorations.
As is to be expected, marzipan makes an appearance in a number of recipes. For those who have a kransekage pan, perhaps the one from Lakeland, then there is an excellent Kransekage (almond cake) recipe on page 98.
There is a recipe for Lucia bread, the saffron-spiced sultana bread which is generally shaped into old Nordic symbols. It is perfectly good but personally I prefer the one in Meyers Bageri by Claus Meyer [ISBN 9-788711-434741], though that book is written in Danish.
Then there are the roast and stewed meats with their accompaniments. The meats are ones familiar to British butchers, such as duck and pork. The vegetables are most commonly root vegetables or kale, often spiced or sweetened. The Roast Pork with Spices and Crisp Crackling is wonderful with the Caramel Potatoes and Red Cabbage. There are also some very useful suggestions for leftovers, such as Duck, Orange and Almond Salad.
The drinks are few in number, essentially confined to cordial recipes (including Gløgg) and other drinks which incorporate those cordials.