Christmas Parcels from Kitchen

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Christmas is almost here! I’ve spent all morning wrapping presents. This is the view from my kitchen window this morning. It is snowing and minus 9 degrees Celsius. The sun rose about half an hour ago. We get very little daytime light in Helsinki this time of year. But… happily enough it is winter solstice today!

This year I’ve again made some food presents and they are bread with dates, horseradish and mustard marinated herring, cookies, fruit cake and rowan berry jelly.

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The date bread is my favourite and the past years I’ve baked it with fresh dates. It is almost as good with dried ones. For one bread you need:
5 dl water, 1 dl syrup, 2 crushed rye grains, 1 dl malt extract for home-made ale, 1 dl sunflower seeds, 4 dl graham flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 dl chopped dates and 1 tsp salt.
Mix the liquid and the syrup in a bowl. Mix together all the dry ingredients and then mix them with the liquids. Grease a bread tin and line it with baking paper. Bake the bread in 175 Celsius for 1 ½. Let it cool on a rack for a moment and remove it from the tin. The bread is best the next and following days. Serve with butter or blue cheese. I keep it in the fridge and take it out to warm before serving.
This recipe is from a local co-op’s magazine some years ago.

Horseradish and Mustard Marinated Herring

I picked this recipe up in the same Christmas programme where I found the warm red cabbage salad. Herring is traditionally part of Finnish (and Swedish) Christmas and we make it in many ways. This is very good but nothing mild! Beware when tasting the sauce! You might go easy with the horseradish.

This is what you need for a jar of delicious herring and six servings: 1 package of lightly salted herring filets, 1 dl mayonnaise, 1 dl sour cream, 1 dl chopped chives, 4 tbsp freshly grated horseradish, 2 tbsp sweet mustard, 1,5 Dijon mustard (French), 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp vinegar, white pepper.
Mix all the ingredients together. Cut the herring into small pieces and add them to the sauce. Dish into a glass jar and keep refrigerated for at least a day. The herring will keep for a week or so. Serve with boiled potatoes and other Christmas fish or with rye bread.

Rowan Berry Jelly
1 kg of rowan berries, ½ l water, 600 g of jelly sugar (this is Dansukker’s recipe, http://www.dansukker.fi)
Rinse the berries and cook them for an hour or so. Strain the berries and pour the juice back to the pan. Add the sugar and cook until the jelly is ready. You can test the readiness by dropping a bit of the jelly on a plate and putting it into the fridge. Run a spoon through the jelly drop and it you there is a line in the jelly, it is ready.
I had some problems this year because I used frozen berries and they needed some more cooking and more sugar.

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20121221-091207.jpg You can find the cookie recipe in the other blog of today (butter cookies).

The heavy chores this morning asked for a heavy breakfast. Café au lait and a sandwich with fried egg and Parma ham. Yummy! I have a whole chunk of Parma ham in the fridge!

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