Preparing for Christmas

One of my favourite desserts at Christmas is lingonberry preserve with whipped cream, and it’s the easiest thing to do. You just need a day in the woods and a mason jar. That’s it!

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We’re not the only ones who love lingonberries. Apparently a bear beat us to one patch..

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Everything is aflame now: the last burst of colour before it all dies. Nature does not go gentle into that winter night, and the dew weeps for the departing souls.

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After a few hours, this was our harvest, and it’s enough for a whole week of yummy jam and one mason jar of lingonberry preserve.

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Bread is life

First, a note: I feel guilty for posting anything remotely normal. It’s too early, it’s too meaningless. I should be living in a cave for a year to honour the dead.

On the other hand, I feel more obligated to LIVE than I have in a long time. Like I’ve been reminded how precious this world is, and what’s the point of being left behind if you don’t make the most of it?

So tonight I did something I haven’t done for twenty years: I baked.

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Hubby had cooked vegetables in chicken stock for dinner, and I used the left over broth for my bread. Managing my resources in a way that connects me to the rest of human history.

It’s a funny thing about autumn – I get this primeval urge to gather, to put away, to stock up on things. Normally I just go for ready-made preserves, but tonight it felt right to do something with my hands.

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Bread. The symbol for life.

In the days after news of a death, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re making a statement.

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How to enjoy a good herring

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Perhaps you’ve seen them – the videos of people retching and yowling like tortured puppies over a tin of Swedish fermented herring like it’s the worst thing that ever happened to them. And yeah, I laughed the first time I saw them too. But come on. Sure, it smells a bit funny, but so does a chip shop. And you don’t swallow a whole fish with bones and all and assess a goddamn delicacy that way. I mean, what if I chomped down a platter of only prosciutto and dissed the entirety of Italian cuisine because I found it too salty?

Ridiculous.

So how are you supposed to eat fermented herring? Well what do you know, that’s exactly what I’m here to tell you. To begin with, you need accessory foods. Opinions differ – as they always do with traditions – but I like my herring with Swedish thin bread, potatoes, red onion, sour cream, and tomatoes.

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You may also want to indulge in some accessory drinks. Some people swear by milk, and others by beer. And why not a home made schnapps made with seeds of fennel, caraway, and coriander soaked in vodka?

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You can eat your herring with the requisite accessory foods as a regular meal, with everything laid on a plate, but I find it more festive to make a tunnbrödklämma – a piece of thin bread with a mound of toppings that make it almost impossible to eat. So it’s a challenge as well!

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Eaten this way, the herring provides a salty, tangy accent to a mouthful of quite bland, sweet foods – absolutely delicious!

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(Good enough to kiss! :D)

On the grill

I’ve decided to make my blog a nave for everything I’ve got going on in my life, so from now on that includes hubby’s and my cooking videos. So far I haven’t summoned up the energy to put subtitles in them, so I’m sorry if you don’t understand Swedish! Still, you can “look at the pictures” as seven-year-old me said when I tagged along to an Italian opera.