So last weekend I had a Christmas market in my gallery/barn. Day before any event I always think nobodie’s gonna come but Saturday visitors flooded in from opening time! Like last year I invited local people to sell their craft. Sheep fur from happy free grazing sheep, honey from bees buzzing around at Rörö one of the neighbour islands. They also sell locally produced meat. In autumn A lady I know had a cement workshop and I invited her for the market, she sold lovely lamps shaped like stars moulded with cement and old time looking lightbulbs plus loads of other great looking ornaments. Then we had Xmas decorations made of cans, christmas trees, chillies, pine cones, lace etc. As always we offered homemade cakes, coffee and warm glögg(Swedish mulled wine). The gluten free chocolate cake we made this summer sticks with us, it it sooo good and now we added crushed polka canes to it, perfection! The hot Indian daahl lentil soup and rosted tomato soup also sold out. All in all a fantastic weekend and 10 minutes before closing it started snowing like crazy! Perfect finish to a great weekend(although it took me a couple of days to thaw…)!
Last year I arranged a xmas market in the barn two weekends in a row. This year I felt one weekend(next weekend) is enough which gave me more time to explore the yearly event down the harbour. Last year I ran down after my closing hour but today I even went twice, once in the morning and now after dark. There are art exhibitions, lottery, crafts and the usual xmassy stuff but of course since we’re on an island a lot of it has a seafood theme to it. In the fishing museum they kept up with tradition and served fried herring on crisp bread with sliced red onion, next year I promise I’ll try some. I think I counted five prawn lotteries! For some reason I expected the prawn price to go up during the weekend but it was the opposite. The big fishing boats were “parked” by the market and a couple of school kids were selling prawns straight off the boat, I still regret not buying any. Although I did treat myself to a pair of socks for xmas and got some for my family, now I just need decide which ones to keep!
People are in general very crafty on the islands, you know xmas is coming up when all the yeast is sold out and the shopping trolleys are full with pork for sausages. I bought some home made pickled salt gherkins and had my first glögg(Swedish mulled wine) for this year. A few weeks ago we had the privilege to test bake with 3D printed ginger cookie shapes and today you could buy them on the market. Palle who does the 3D printing also takes fantastic photos at sea, my favourite was the canvas lit up from behind, genius.
Long time no blogging, feel like it’s hard to beat my last blog post, the Island doesn’t get much more beautiful than that…no who am I kidding, it is a small paradise whatever the weather. That said I’ve spent most of today indoors baking. Second of advent I have a Christmas market in my gallery/barn and there is so much to prepare! Last year the gallery looked great but I didn’t put any xmassy decorations in our home until a few days before Christmas. Today I washed all the windows, put the traditional lights up and also had time to pimp the barn a little bit. I’ve started baking already, the traditional Swedish Lussebullar or Lussekatter as most people say. The are buns with lots of saffron, decorated with raisins and we also put sugar on top. We also made a ginger cookie and white chocolate cheese cake which tastes very promising!
The weather this winter has been as usual varied…we did have heavy snow for a day but then it rained away. That morning with the snow the chicks were so funny. They all queued to get out as usual but froze in their tracks and then desperately dove back in. Before when we’ve had only Hedemora(a traditional Swedish heritage breed) they haven’t minded it too much but this mixed race bunch did. Only Lilja(Lilly) dared to get to the food outside and then dove back inside. He(we hoped that is was a she when we named him) is so gorgeous, pitch black and the tail feathers are growing by the day. I had to kill two cockerels last week and it was the toughest so far because they were so big and strong. Now we are hoping that Lilly will get to stay all depending on how load he will be. Peanut the other cockerel born in spring is doing great, he is so goofy but still manages to keep the flock at peace. We caught him chasing his own tail feathers one day…but if any of the hens are mean to another hen he is right there to brake it up.
I’ve been very curious about homemade sausages. By tradition on the island, people make their own, usually with pork and Chritmassy spices and then boil it like the ones I tasted Christmas Eve. I still remember my grandmother making it in the kitchen when I was a little kid. Luckily santa gave my husband an electric meet grinder yesterday. He was overjoyed and ran to the shop to buy the sausage skins. There are so many recipes online but he started out with the same as he used for the turkey stuffing, Chipolata(I know it’s not Swedish but at least it’s made in Sweden, by an English man and an American). It’s a pork sausage heavy on the sage and it came out great! I can only imagine how good these are going to be on the bbq. Gosh I will have to put my gym card to use after New years Eve.
Over the night the temperature dropped down to minus 5c degrees. after opening presents we went down the beach and took a Chritmas Day swim, well only me in the water. Took a few hours to defrost and lots of lovely turkey and trimmings and in the afternoon we bundled up warm and went back down to watch the sunset.
The hens’ water froze last night so now they have a heating plate that keeps the water from going solid and also a red heating lamp. Couldn’t help sneaking a peek after they’d gone to bed for the evening and they were wide awake and looked very comfy.
God jul! Today we celebrate Christmas eve. A lovely spread of the usual meatballs, little sausages, herring, beet root salad, Christmas ham and potato gratain. This year I wanted to try something new and bought Christmas sausage that you simmer and eat with a white bechamel horseradish sauce. To be honest it doesn’t look very appetising when cooked but the smell immediately brought back memories from my childhood. I really liked the taste and will buy it next year as well although not as much since most of the family refused to even taste it. After dinner we opened presents, enjoyed some live music in the living room and now relaxing on the sofa. Best thing is half the family is English so tomorrow we celebrate English Xmas and do it all over again!
In Sweden there is a tradition to have julbord(a Christmas food buffet) before Christmas. Most companies will treat their staff to a julbord at a restaurant often along with entertainment. We decided to treat a friend for his birthday and at the same time ourselves and booked a meal at Västerhav, a hotel&restaurant at Grötö(porridge island). Our friends(well he’s more a part of the family) motto is when on the island you never leave the island but we agreed that it doesn’t count if you visit one of the other islands in the same archipelago. We got on the ferry at sunset, which is now about 3pm. We were welcomed at the restaurant with some warm glögg(Swedish mulled wine). Lucky for us all the other guests had chosen the option to stay the night so while they checked in to their accomodation we had the whole place to ourselves! It was absolutely stunning with candles, fireplace, Cristmas decorations and three large tables full of amazing dishes. We ordered a jug of Mumma, Christmas beer mixed with red wine, spirit, spices and julmust(traditional non-alcoholic soda). First we attacked the seafood table, salmon, crayfish, 7 types of pickade herring, salmon/horseradish/strong cheese pie, mussels, prawns etc…aaaah it was lovely! Then some red wine and after the meat and cheese table, Christmas ham, boarsausage, moose, meatballs, lots of homemade chutneys and pickles along with stilton, marmelade and crackers. At that point the place had filled up with the rest of the customers and they all did the Snapsvisa, songs they sing and finish with a small glass of schnapps and we got caught along and ordered some homemade sloe schnapps. By that point we were so full we skipped the dessert table, ordered another schnapps and made for the ferry back. Right outside one of the golfcarts, that they use to transport customers from the ferry, was parked and we discussed nicking it but luckily came to our senses. All in all we agreed that it was a fantastic night and next year we might book the overnight stay so that we can eat, rest and then eat some more.