Hi folks, I hope you all had a smashing Christmas. The new year is right around the corner… 2013 has been a year full of big changes, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings. I’m starting off the new year in a new country with a new way of life… what’s going to happen in 2014? I’ll have to wait and see! I hope at least that I’ll be able to share some photos of our New Year’s Eve celebration with you in my next post.
The good news is that my parents were not disappointed during their holiday visit: we had a white (Swedish) Christmas. It was even snowing throughout the afternoon and evening which made everything seem very festive, especially when Santa Claus came in to distribute gifts – although little William wasn’t such a fan of Santa it seems. Perhaps next year he’ll appreciate him a bit more. On Christmas day, the temperature rose a bit and turned the pristine snow into a lethal sheet of smooth ice – which is still here to this day. There was still a fair bit of snow sitting around on the sides of the road so in terms of “white Christmases”, one can say that it wasn’t a total washout.
Christmas was good – both the “Swedish Christmas” on the 24th, and the “English Christmas” on the 25th. I did all the cooking for the 25th and for dessert I decided to take some inspiration from an incredible cake I saw recently on the blog Coffee and Crumpets, by Nazneen. Her Black Forest Roulade looked absolutely spectacular, especially the whipped ganâche frosting. I was going to make a bûche de noël anyway so this looked like a perfect switch-up. I’m left thinking now: “Why the hell have I never whipped ganâche before?”. I’d love to say that mine looked half as pretty as Nazneen’s… it didn’t, but it looked pretty nice anyway and was absolutely delicious. William in particular greatly enjoyed his piece!
Now what does one do after stuffing your face with delicious cake? Well, you could sit around and wait for it to find its way to your hips but an “afternoon constitutional” is the best way to help digest some of that wonderful food and Swedish winters often yield beautiful sunsets. As long as you can actually start walking without immediately falling over on the giant skating rink that the world outside has become you’ll be well rewarded with a good view and bracing fresh air. I should add that the photo below was taken at 2pm, so if you want to see the sun set you’d better not dally!
As my parents were with us for Christmas this year we had to get creative for some parts of the meals since my mother is a vegetarian. Some of the things which my father-in-law prepared for the 24th were absolutely incredible. I wish I had that kind of inspiration and I hope I can have a bash at making them myself and sharing them here some day. However, for the meal I was cooking on Christmas day I decided to stick to something I was more familiar with. In our house, in place of turkey or chicken my mother would usually eat nut roast as her “meat” part of the roast meal.
I’ve posted a nut roast before but this year I made it a little differently. It ended up being one of the best nut roasts I’ve ever made, so if you’re wondering what to serve that vegetarian who’s coming to dine in the midst of a load of omnivores then try this! It doesn’t take long to prepare and can be cooked simultaneously with the meat.
Have a wonderful and safe new year everyone and I’ll be back soon!
A tasty, filling, delicious alternative to meat as part of a roast lunch or dinner
- 20g Butter
- 1 large Onion
- 3 cloves of Garlic
- 4 slices of Bread
- 100g Walnuts
- 150g Almonds
- 6 large Mushrooms
- 200g Strong Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 2tsps Salt
- 2tsps freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1tbsp dried Thyme
- 6 Eggs
- 1tbsp Marmite or Vegemite (optional)
- 200ml Vegetable Stock
- Start off by preheating your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic. Melt the butter in a pan and add in the onions and garlic. Reduce the heat and sweat in the butter for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the onions and garlic to a large bowl. Blitz the slices of bread in a food processor until they've turned to breadcrumbs and then place these into the bowl with the onion.
- Pulse the nuts in the food processor until roughly chopped - about 10 seconds should be sufficient, before adding these into the large bowl as well.
- Roughly chop the mushrooms and transfer to the bowl along with the grated cheese, salt, pepper, and thyme before cracking in the eggs and stirring well to mix.
- If using the marmite or vegemite, heat the stock and then stir in the marmite until combined. Add the stock into the nut roast mixture and stir well again.
- Grease and line a large loaf tin with baking paper and spoon the nut roast mixture into the tin, pressing down well into the corners and smoothing off the top.
- Place into the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour, until deep golden brown on top, and a skewer stuck into the loaf comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before gently turning out and peeling off the baking paper.
- Serve in thick slices and enjoy!