We are excited to feature Crew Member and amazing designer Marie Johansson who is sharing with us a the inside scoop on Christmas in Sweden. We love that we work with the most amazing designers from around the world and get the honor to learn about different cultures, different traditions, unique ways the holidays are spent and cherished and of course the creative side to it all. Marie takes you through a wonderland of snow, simple beauty and wonderful handmade Christmas.
Today is the BIG day in Sweden where I live – the day with the gathering, the gifts and the traditional christmas food, and I want to share some inspiraton with you! ∼ Marie
“Found (or stolen some might say..) in the deep forest. Spotted during the fall mushroom picking walks, cut on a cold and clear day and brought home on the roof of the car. Well, the classic Swedish tree is a natural one, dressed up with a mix of diffrerent ornaments and a star or a glass cone on the top. And of course the paper decorations made by little hands during all the years of school. Some have ready by December 1st and others just a few days before Christmas.
“The Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve. Wrapped in colorful papers, or just plain blown with some found decorations. All thoughtfully chosen, not nessesary expensive – at least we want to think that it is the thought that matters…”
Food & Tablescape
“Traditionally the tables are dressed in red, white & green with a lot of candles – but nowdays more settled colors is as common. And we love our smellling flowers and moss!”
“We love our traditions in Sweden – so we pretty much eat the same food on all “Big” holidays, we just change the spices and side dishes a bit. You will find pickled heering, smoked salomon, cheese, different mixed salads, meatballs, sousages and much, much more. You could actually say we eat all day long and there is something for everyone – salt or sweet, vegan or with meet – well we have it”.
Do you feel inspired to bring in a piece of Sweden into your Christmas celebration? Well, below I share a couple of simple recipes that you can prepare in time for YOUR big day!
Delicate dill-cured salmon
Gravad lax or dill-cured salmon should preferably be served with a mustard sauce.
750 g (26 oz) fresh salmon filet with skin on
85 g (3 ¼ oz) sugar
120 g (4 oz) salt
8 tbs chopped dill
1 tsp crushed white pepper
2 tbs mild Swedish mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs sugar
1½ tbs red wine vinegar
salt, white pepper
200 ml (1 cup) oil (not olive oil)
To minimize the risk connected with eating raw fish, you might want to freeze the salmon before preparing it. When defrosted, scale the salmon and remove the small bones, but leave the skin on. Make a few cuts in the skin so the marinade will penetrate from below. Mix salt, sugar and pepper and sprinkle it beneath and on top of the salmon filet along with plenty of dill. Place a weighted cutting board on top of the salmon filet and let it marinate at room temperature for 2–4 hours. Then refrigerate for 24−48 hours, turning the salmon filet a few times. Rinse the salmon in cold water. Cut into thin slices without getting too close to the skin, so the dark salmon is included.
The Gravlax sauce is served alongside the dill-cured salmon. Mix the mustard, sugar and vinegar and season with salt and fresh-ground pepper. Stir vigorously, while pouring on the oil in a steady, thin stream. When the sauce has attained a mayonnaise-like consistency, stir in the chopped dill.
Jansson’s temptation, or Janssons frestelse
A creamy potato and anchovy casserole
1.2 kg potatoes
400 g onions
375 g spice-cured sprat filets
600 ml heavy whipping cream
salt, white pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut them into strips. Peel and cut the onions into thin slices, sautéing them gently in a little butter without browning. Grease an ovenproof baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of potatoes, then add half the onions and half the sprat (‘anchovy’) filets. Another layer of potatoes, then the rest of the onion and sprats. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Flatten the surface, apply a few turns of pepper fresh from the mill and sprinkle on a little salt. Pour the cream on until it is almost visible through the potatoes. Place a few pats of butter on top and, if desired, sprinkle with some breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven (250°C/475°F) for about an hour.
1 g (1/28 oz) saffron threads
50 g (2 oz) yeast
200 g (7 oz) sugar
300 ml (1½ cup) milk
150–200 g (5–7 oz) butter
1 tsp salt
750 g (26 oz) flour
100 g (3½ oz) raisins
2 tbs water
To make ‘Lucia cats’ (lussekatter), grind the saffron spice, along with a cube of sugar, using a mortar and pestle. (For those who think ahead: drip a little cognac on top, and let stand a few days.) Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour on the milk.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the raisins, and knead the dough in a dough mixer for 10 minutes. Carefully mix in most of the raisins, cover the dough and let it rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll the buns in an oblong shape, about 10 cm (4 in) long. Cover them and let rest for 10 minutes, then roll them twice as long and twist the ends of each bun in opposite directions to form a sort of figure 8. Put one raisin in the middle of each half figure 8.
Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise under a towel for about 90 minutes, or until the buns have doubled in size. Bake in the oven (220°C/425°F) for 5 minutes. Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture on the buns. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Thank you to Marie for sharing a bit of Sweden with all of us. You might have a little Swedish heritage in your DNA after getting back your 23 and Me results and now is the time to explore the flavors, the classic celebration and the amazing attention to simple detail in the decor and gifts. Every culture and country celebrates the holidays with a little different style and what a wonderful way to bring something new to your family this holiday season if you happen to have a little Sweden in your background or just want to embrace this amazing culture, try a recipe or two, create a simple tree with the children and wrap a gift or two with simple brown kraft paper.