Christmas Eve morning

Merry Christmas everyone. It has snowed last night and the ground is all white and magical with -10 degrees outside. This morning feels that much more special as it is our first Christmas as a little family. We all gathered in bed, Siena was allowed too because it is her birthday today and she is turning two years old. We have some rice porridge in front of us that is topped with a sticky date and plum sauce. To make the sauce, you basically boil some dates and plums together with some seasonal spices (such as cinnamon, cloves, orange zest) and a touch of brown sugar, if needed. I topped it with some dried apples and more cinnamon. We have Christmas music playing in the background and it’s time to open a few presents that are under the Christmas tree. The little one has his Christmas hat on and we are still in our pj’s with hubby. We are going to spend the holiday with our families (we are naturally all taking a covid test before hand to be on the safe side) and enjoy some time with our loved ones. This moment right here is something I wished for last Christmas and it feels quite magical to have this moment to ourselves.

Oven Christmas Porridge

‘Oven Christmas Porridge during the days that lead up to Christmas’

It is tradition in Finland to eat rice porridge in the morning of the 24th, Christmas eve. The one who finds the hidden almond in the porridge is blessed with luck to the upcoming year. Traditionally the rice is cooked slowly in whole milk (constantly stirring) and served with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of butter. This tradition is not a must in our household but I do love a cozy rice porridge during the dark mornings leading up to Christmas. My favorite eve tradition with hubby (before visiting family) is to have a frothy coffee in bed with candle lights listening to Christmas songs and taking a long dog walk in the forest before all the hassle starts. Currently it is so dark outside, you easily forget is it morning or night time! Beautiful flowers can overcome these dark December days, just look at the coloring of this antique looking amaryllis? A few buds are still closed up, but these open ones are just magnificent. I love the muted pink and soft greens, really elegant as a flower itself. A couple of bouquets of amaryllis stems would look sophisticated in a table setting, paired with pine or eucalyptus for a softer look.

This 2.0 rice porridge is exemplified with various festive spices and is cooked slowly in the oven so it is gooey and oh so amazing. It doesn’t need stirring (only a few times in the beginning), and it cooks in 175 Celsius degrees for an hour and a half. Not only does it make the kitchen smell of cinnamon, but it tastes hearty and comforting as it should. Keeping in mind, Christmas may be a hard time for many out there so a little soulful food in the morning, is not such a bad idea.

Oven Porridge

  • 2 dl rice porridge
  • 1L whole fat milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter to grease the oven dish
  • ½ cup frozen berries of choice I used a mixture of frozen lingonberry and blueberry that we picked over the summer)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional: plus 1 cinnamon stick)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamum
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste

Toppings

  • Pecan nuts
  • Brown sugar
  • dates

Directions

Begin by greasing the oven dish. Add in all the ingredients and give a little stir. Do not be alarmed by the liquid consistency. Do not put the toppings yet. Place the lid on and put into the oven for 1.5 hours. After 1 hour, add on the toppings; arrange the pecans and dates and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top. Place it back into the oven for another 30min before serving. Once ready to eat, serve with fresh berries of choice and a little bit more of cinnamon. I would have served this with fresh figs, but did not have any in the store so blueberries will do.

 

Christmas Eve

‘The magic of Christmas eve’

We spent a beautiful Christmas eve at my brothers and sister-in-laws house this year with our family. Our traditional morning with hubby started really early with a cup of coffee in bed and opening up presents between us with “home alone” Christmas music playing in the background. We spent the morning together and he visited his family for morning porridge while I did a bit of baking for the evenings festivities. During the day, I went over to my brothers and sister-in-laws meanwhile my parents and hubby came a little later. We spent a wonderful time together with family and we slept over so we could spend a cozy Christmas morning together. In the morning we watched the grinch, ate rice porridge and later that day our festivites continued with my husbands side of the family.

oh hey girl cheers!

This is possibly my favourite photo of the day of my nephew and me

We were spoiled with the most amazing foods

Miso glazed pears & rice porridge

“December 15th Buttery miso glazed pears with rice porridge”

We arrived back from Spain over the weekend and we are making the most of trying to adjust to Christmas mode. We picked up a beautiful tree yesterday and have started drinking glögi and listened to plenty of Christmas songs. Before we left for Spain, we had some snow in Helsinki but as of now, it has been washed away with the rain. We managed to make the most of the snowy weather and take a forest walk to pick some material from the woods (for wreaths etc) and enjoyed some rice porridge in the all white forest. I glazed some small pears with a miso infused buttery sauce that is a delicious topping for the porridge.

Miso glazed Pears

  • 1 ripe pear halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste

Rice Porridge

  • 2 dl water
  • 2dl rice porridge
  • 1l milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Melt the butter on a pan and add the honey, bay leaf and miso paste. Add the halved pears (flat surface facing down) into the frying pan and cook gently (with lid on) for about 10 minutes. You can occasionally turn the pears to the other side so they ripen throughout.

To make the rice porridge, add the water, cinnamon stick and rice to a saucepan. Let it gently cook until the water has dissolved into the rice. Then add the milk and let it cook gently for 45minutes stirring occasionally. Add some salt. Once you serve a portion, make sure to pour the butter sauce from the pears on top of the porridge for delicious sweet flavour.

The Joy of Christmas Day

‘Have yourself a merry slow Christmas’

When it’s snowing outside… Possibly the most magical time is Christmas morning, when the rush is over and you get to spend a moment longer in bed digesting last nights feast. The hyacinth next to the bed has burst into flower leaving the most fragrant smell and we are listening to December sky by Simon Lynge under our crisp linen sheets. Yesterday, when coming home from my parents after midnight, my hubby and I still ate some Christmas ham in our pj’s in the dark kitchen in simple candle light. We were absolutely full, I don’t even know why we ate more.

After a good nights sleep our mornings fill with large cups of frothy coffee, gingerbread baking, a traditional walk in the snowy forest (with red lips of course) and connecting together over this magical time. We opened our presents in bed this morning even though we usually open them on the Eve and this time was even more special as we let our senior lady join us in bed (haven’t let her in our in bed over 10 years) that she was ever so grateful for. All our candles are on, our tree is stood sentinel in the corner proudly displaying all it’s ornaments that twinkle its tiny lights on this snowy day.

Wrapped in quilts, along these years together my husband and I have made new traditions that blend perfectly with old traditions with our families. I have the best memories from my childhood spending Christmas with my parents and brother; they spoiled us with gifts, decadent food and my brother and I always waited for santa claus watching from his bedroom window in our finest clothes. I fell asleep under our huge tree once and remember being woken up to the smell of tiny meatballs that my mom brought me. Both my parents are amazing in the kitchen and the greatest feeling is cooking together as a family, in the heart of the home. I remember playing hide and seek with my parents and my dad hide in our pantry that was actually a refrigerator and he sat in their eating away gravlax. I also remember finding a bunch of vitamins under the table that my brother had hidden as he had refused to eat them! As children, we also spent many Christmas’s in our house in Spain, where had the best time as well. I still remember how I won a real baby sheep in a New Year’s raffle game at our favourite restaurant or how my brother and I went shopping for my parents presents from the nearest market. Some Christmas’s we spent golfing in Thailand and together we made our holidays special no matter where in the world we were.

Yet, despite entering a season of social expectation and bustle, the most cherished memory left is spending time together with people you love, just sitting around a dinning table. It does not have to have to be anything fancy at the end of the day, it’s just the cozy feeling that is created from the connection. For some reason, Christmas always brings a reminder of appreciation and to be grateful of what you have. Keep the people close to you that treat you well, be present in the moments together with family as no one will around for ever creating wonderful memories that will last a lifetime in our hearts. Christmas can be overwhelming for many people, but taking away the pinterest worthy presents, decorations or dinners, simplify it all and do what is important in your life. It’s really just about being together with friends or family even if it is just drinking hot coco in bed watching Christmas movies. It’s never too late to make new traditions, put away your electronics and spend time with those around you. Listen to relaxing carols, take a long walk, do less and not over-do it and most of all try to be mindful, savour the moments and make the day enjoyable.

Now it’s time to start getting ready as later we are going over to my husbands parents house for a second round of festivities and then it’s back to my parents again for another dinner tomorrow.