In this family, we make the most of our mixed heritage and celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, Julafton, we have Swedish food and open our presents, and on Christmas Day, we open our stockings and eat….well, that depends on where we are!
Christmas Eve was a day of cooking for me, starting with a fabulous (even though I say so myself) red wine chocolate cake from Laura Vincent’s Hungry and Frozen cookbook. It made for a very rich desert at the end of the day, with a few strawberries on top.
Our Julafton feast consisted of herring in mustard sauce (sourced from the Swedish shop here), smoked salmon, rye bread, ham, meatballs, sausages and of course, Janssons Frestelse, or Janssons Temptation. This is one of my favourite dishes, but it has to be made with the proper fish, and not anchovies as British versions of the recipes tend to suggest. This is a mistranslation of the Swedish ansjovis, which are I believe a kind of sprat, and cured in a wonderful mix of spices and herbs that impart an amazing flavour to the finished dish. They are worth looking for, and, if you live in a country that has Ikea, I think you can get them there.
Julafton table, complete with snaps
After dinner and a short break, we retired upstairs to eat cake, drink coffee and open our presents.
The cake with additional strawberries
We rolled into bed, content with our presents, and full of food and drink. God Jul!