Lovely sweet buns with a beautiful yellow colour. According to tradition in Sweden and Denmark they’re served on St Lucia day, the 13th of December (also my birthday, so doubly auspicious and suited to baking with expensive saffron).
They are normally S-shaped and decorated with a few small raisins or currants. Serve warm with plenty of cold salted butter or, as we do in our Nordic cooking classes, with sweet and salty hazelnut butter!
This recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden. This cake has north African and Spanish roots. According to Claudia, citrus cultivation and trade was particularly associated with Sephardi Jews around the Mediterranean, and there are any number of orange cake recipes in Sephardi culture.
This cake is remarkable for its total lack of both butter and flour. You could use five or so clementines or tangerines instead of the oranges.
Don’t worry if the cake sinks as it cools, or in fact turns out looking rather boring. Trust me it is delicious, especially if served as a pudding with freshly sliced blood oranges and whipped cream.
Pork shoulder is suited to slow cooking and will be melt-in-the-mouth tender given time. The cider braising liquid, lightly pickled leeks and punchy horseradish make this a surprisingly clean and bright dish. Serve with potatoes or pearled rye or spelt.
Other beetroot risotto recipes call for boiling or roasting whole beetroot before chopping and adding them to the risotto. That’s fine if you remember to get the beetroot on two hours before dinner. But if you want an easy one-pot thirty minute meal, then try it this way. The raw grated beetroot is cooked just enough by the time the risotto is ready.
Coq au vin is traditionally made with a one-year-old cockerel – full flavoured and perfect for the stew pot. If you can get a real coq, brilliant (a few good butchers supply them – in London try the Ginger Pig, delivered to your door by Hubbub). Otherwise use the legs of regular chickens – one per person. Legs have more flavour than breasts, and are more suited to slow cooking.
To get 10 pieces from the bird: Cut out the spine and save for stock. Take the legs off and divide into thighs and drumsticks. Take the wings off, remove the wingtips and save them for stock. Remove the breast plate and cut the breast in half, then divide each breast piece into two. You should have 10 pieces. Or ask your butcher to do it.
This recipe is just a guide – use whichever vegetables you have to hand and dressing quantities that suit your taste. This is a great way to use up those winter veg that might otherwise hang around in the fridge too long, and keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. Eating them raw makes a refreshing change, too. The rainbow colours are pretty, and the salad looks stunning served in a bowl lined with the beautiful outer leaves of a large January King cabbage, which are sea green fringed with purple.
Glögg is Swedish mulled wine with a vodka kick! (Or call it gløgg if you’re Danish and go for brandy or rum instead.) This recipe is adapted from one by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern. It looks fantastic served in little Turkish or Moroccan tea glasses, and works a treat in our household every Christmas. Just remember that it’s a lot stronger than regular mulled wine…
This recipe is just a guide. You could use water or dry white wine and more sugar or honey instead of the dessert wine. And the flavourings are optional and really up to you. Go easy on them as their flavour will intensify when you reduce the syrup. Instead of pears, you could use quinces.
Of course you can buy this in tins (especially easy in southwest France), but the home-made version tends to be less salty and more delicious. While it does take some time, it is far from difficult. And it will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
I was prompted to make a batch of duck confit again this year after a trip through Les Landes in France, where, it seemed, no day passed without a plate of duck confit being placed in front of us. On one particularly successful day we had it twice. Duck confit is also popular in nearby northern Spain, as we found on our trip through Catalonia a couple of years back.
Serve with crispy fried potatoes or braised flageolet beans. I like to garnish with a drizzle of zingy green sauce made from lovage leaves whizzed up in olive oil and mixed with minced parsley, fried rosemary, crushed garlic, diced shallots macerated in cider vinegar, and chopped olives. Yum.