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Scandinavian Christmas


Scandinavian Christmas
Over 80 Celebratory Recipes for the Festive Season
By Trine Hahnemann
Quadrille – £16.99

I love […] the way the world turns silent when covered in snow.

     ‘Christmas Baking’

There are many different ways to celebrate the four Advent Sundays in Scandinavia. Mainly it’s about getting together and celebrating the end of the year and…well…life!

     ‘Festive Brunch’

Celebrate one of the Advent Sundays outside. Play in the snow: remember there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. Serve hot drinks, salmon sandwiches, and ‘nisse’ (elf) cake, make a stew and bake bread over the open fire; I’ll show you how […].

     ‘Advent: A Whole Month of Christmas’

More than anything else, Scandinavian Christmas – Over 80 Celebratory Recipes for the Festive Season is a veritable delight to both behold and partake in.

Not only does it lend an entirely different slant to that of the Festive Season – which, given that all these rather wonderful, mouth-watering recipes are anchored in Scandinavia, ought hardly be surprising – it’s also something of a quintessential inspiration. Prime reason being, Trine Hahnemann, fundamentally arrives at these festive meals by way of an entirely different route from that of which most of us are used to. Let alone consider.

Whether it’s Warm Chicory Salad, Roast Pork with Spices and Crisp crackling, or Rice Pudding with Cherry Sauce (‘The Christmas Eve Feast’); Salted Cod and Kale Pesto on Celeriac Brushetta or Mini Root Vegetable Cakes with Horseradish Cream (‘Christmas Party’).

There is indeed, an abundance of ‘newness’ involved here; and whenever things are new, they cannot help but thus invariably inspire.

That the authoress is an expert on, and an ambassador for modern-day Scandinavian food, has obviously helped to make these 140 pages (excluding Acknowledgements and Index) what they are: clear, concise, colour-coded and authentic; thereby making for a cool collection of Go Scandi recipes that even the most reticent of culinary festive tigers are able to embrace: ”It’s completely missing the point of Christmas to be totally stressed out! Select just those things from this book that you would like to cook, and have fun. Christmas is about celebrating life and ‘hygge,’ a Danish term that is almost untranslatable, but encompasses comfort, camaraderie, and good food and drink. So create your own celebrations on your own terms.”

As a result of Hahnemann going out of her way to substantiate the need to ”create your own celebrations on your own terms,” is precisely what accounts for Scandinavian Christmas being such an inviting and alternative template.

Divided 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’), this hardback celebrates a hybrid of traditional treats and the most sumptuous of modern-day, Scandinavian recipes.

Replete with more than evocative photography, I’d have to say that this book isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for many (potentially elongated) fun times in the kitchen – the coming together of the aforementioned ‘Nisse’ (elf) cake on page fifty-seven especially.

David Marx