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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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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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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 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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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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on 10 December 2014
This book is full of beautiful photos, with every recipe having it's own photo, I love all of the sweet recipes: cakes, biscuits, confectionary, drinks etc, and look forward to making some of them as gifts this Christmas. The savouries look interesting but I will leave those for next autumn and winter.
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TOP 1000 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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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.
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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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VINE VOICEon 11 November 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eagerly awaited, this publication is more than just a cookbook. The author - Trine Hahnemann opens with the most apt quote 'Playing in the snow, enjoying warm drinks, baking and being with the people you love - that is Christmas'. That is certainly the theme throughout this refreshing book.

A note must be made commenting firstly on both the visual quality and physical feel of this book. It's a padded, wipe down hardback, making it very useful in the working kitchen.

The book covers highly visually appealing and tempting components to form snacks, cakes, meals, party drinks and even gifts from the kitchen. I was especially drawn to drinks such as 'Loganberry Gin Fizz' and 'Glogg'.

Just these two additions alone would create superb talking points over a jolly dining table, perhaps even a themed event.

Looking at the level of skill needed to create many of the goodies on offer here, I would say that with the right cutters and a general passion for creativity would be enough to master much on offer here. The Christmas period is of course often very time restricted, so the easier yet more visually appealing the better - something this book has lots to offer.

Finally, a quick mention to all those lovers of true winter comfort food. Rice pudding with hot cherry sauce and chocolate almond ring cake are in here - how tempting is that!

A pleasure to read, plan and devour!
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