“-12 degrees celsius outside calls for cozy days inside”
A few days after new years my hubby and I went over to my brother and sister-in-laws countryside for a few days of relaxation. New years was such an epic night and it was all about a cozy dinner party and going out with friends so it was great to get into the countryside mode that always is such a calming experience. Bella was so afraid of the fireworks this year so it was also good for her to get away from the city for a while. At the countryside we made homemade pizza, went on walks, took a sauna, sled down the hill with little B, slept well, sat by the fireplace and enjoyed the story weather outside. It was storming outside in the night time, but it was really cozy to sleep in a wooden cottage when you hear all the noises from the wind outside. I spent the days in a soft woollen tiwnset with either coffee or tea wrapped around my fingers breathing in the crispy cold air. Our mini vacay was wonderfully therapeutic as it always is in the heart of nature with great people.
The magic of Christmas is felt in the first snowflakes‘
The carousel is going around in circles to the tunes of christmas music, people are exchanging gifts and the market square smells of fresh pine trees and vanilla fudge, while the snow flakes are beginning to drop more heavily. Evidently, it’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas in town, where you see Christmas spirit around every corner. My friend and I went to the Christmas market a few days ago, drank some hot glögi that pleasantly warmed our fingers, looked through the little stools and enjoyed the snowy atmosphere. It snowed heavily that evening, so the following morning, there was a gentle coating of snow everywhere.
Traditionally, we went to pick out our tree from my parents countryside house and today I’ve been decorating it all evening. I gathered a lot of inspiration from our Dubai trip, so I thought I would make a date bread on our tree hunt, as I bought beautiful Majdool dates from the market in Abu Dhabi. We drank cinnamon milk and ate the juicy bread while I gathered lots of twigs, moss and branches to take bake home, hubby was cutting down the tree. Even thought there is not much snow so far, the tree adds a wonderful scent and much Christmas spirit around the house.
Gently simmer all ingredients for about 20 minutes
1 cup water
1 cup dates
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dried fruit/nuts
1/2 cup hot water
In a sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Once boiling add the dates, butter and soda and let it gently simmer (about 15 minutes) until the dates become soft. Mush the dates with a fork and leave to cool. Once dates have cooled, stir in the beaten egg and hot water.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and dried fruit/nuts in a bowl. Then combine the date mixture to the dry ingredients until batter forms. Pour the mixture into a greased (and lined with parchment paper) bread tin and sprinkle a few nuts/dried fruit on top. Brush these with melted butter.
For many, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. This season usually involves great food, a reason to decorate and bake more that is enjoyed with family and friends, hot chocolate, laughter, and cozy blankets. Candles are flickering all day as it’s much darker and the feeling of christmas is built up from more than just fancy decorations. Everyone can make the season special through memorable experiences, warm drinks, festive music, and wintery scents. Christmas spirit comes from whatever inspires you, to help create that little extra magic!
The kitchen smells of delicious apple clementine glögi (traditional Christmas drink) with Celine Dion’s holiday songs playing in the background. As it’s only a few weeks until Christmas, today has been all about decorating the tree! I absolutely love tree decorating and my style/ colour preference for the ornaments tend to change every now and then. Most often I prefer a markedly neutral colour scale to holiday decorating and table laying as I feel it gives a peaceful setting. I’ve never been a basic red person and warm colour spectrums are way too loud for my liking! I usually get an armful of greens (usually involving eucalyptus, thistle) that speak to me from my local florist or pick them from the forest (juniper/pine trimmings/ lingonberry twigs/ acorns/moss) and make wreaths and imperfect bouquets.
Often I prefer a more subtle nordic decoration and a very minimal tree but this year I wanted something for decadent and luxurious. The colour scheme I have gone for is very winter wonderland / fairytale feeling with hints of muted pink, crystal, glass and dusty white. I just instantly fell in love with the faint unsaturated pink that almost has a mixture of silver in it, so the tone becomes really refined and luxurious. I wanted mixtures of teardrop shapes and spheres with very delicate soft lighting. I absolutely love these feathered spheres with the detailed sequins on top and colourful features over the chrome. For those who want to keep up with the trend, a peacock petrol green or coppery gold is also hot this year if you want to go for something more unique! The two turtle doves on our tree are a symbol of togetherness that my hubby and I “copied” from home alone II the movie. Not only do we love the movie but the meaning behind the two doves being together! If you’re wanting an extra dose of that magical Christmas feeling in your home hang up a few extra strands of twinkling lights, bake a batch of gingerbread cookies, add a Christmas tree or make delicious warm cups of christmas drinks as you watch your favourite seasonal movies! Whatever your December look like, I hope they give you joyous memories!
Lastly, here is the recipe for a traditional Christmas drink that is a great substitute for tea in the evening and gives you that holiday feeling instantly. You can spice it up with alcohol if you wish for a more festive version!
Homemade Apple Glögi (serves 4)
1 litre apple juice
You need good quality apple juice that you gently simmer in a saucepan.
1-2 Cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, about 5 cloves and cardamom seeds, 2 clementines, a chunk of fresh ginger, sugar (optional)
To this, add a cinnamon sticks, ginger and a couple of cloves, cardamom seeds and star anise. Then add the juice of 1 clementine, and the slices of another (remember to wash them well) and their leaves into the juice. I didn’t add any sugar, but you can add some at this point. Place a lid onto the saucepan and let it gently simmer and intensify in flavour from a half an hour to an hour.
Ready to serve: garnish with raisins, almonds and clementine slices/ spices from the glögi
Re-heat the glögi when served. You can add some apple cider/vodka/white wine/rum to the juice if you want a more festive drink for the evening!
As if the world knows it is the first of December today as it has been snowing gentle flakes all day. The ground is a beautiful white carpet that instantly creates a little bit of christmas feeling! Today I’ve listened to Kenny G and decorated the house with hyacinths and little trees and made some gingerbread turmeric milk. My hubby and I have even started our traditional movie marathon, so it is starting to feel a little Christmasy! Hyacinths are my favourite Christmas flower as they blend so well with other ornaments/ plants and look beautiful scattered all over the house. I’ve typically chosen white ones, but I think the deep blue colour is amazing as well. I like to use different styles of vases (old and new) for the hyacinths, may it be glass, terracotta or silver pots, they all look good together. You can style the pot edges with hay (as I did) or with gentle pieces of moss to make it look more full and give it some texture. I placed the little tree into a silver champagne cooler and tomorrow we are going to go cut down the actual tree for the living room. Now its time for some more golden milk that is infused with my favourite christmas spices and relax by the fire! Tomorrow it’s time for another christmas party, so hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Follow my updates more closely via instagram stories (xoamysnordic)
In a small saucepan, heat the oatmilk with the cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract and cloves until it reaches a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Add in the gingerbread spice, cardamom and ground turmeric and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. (Add sugar/syrup if you wish for a more sweeter taste) 10 minutes before serving add in the star annice so the milk only gets a gently flavour from them. If you leave in too long, I personally think the flavour is too powerful.
Ready to serve: Press some honey on the edges of your serving glass. On a small plate, add a bit of sugar and cinnamon and press the edges of the glass into the mixture. This way the honey sucks in all the cinnamon sugar and creates a lovely rim. Pour some warm golden milk into the glass and add some extra frothy milk on top. (As a bonus, I heated some more oat milk in our frother). Sprinkle some gingerbread spice on the surface and enjoy a delicious comforting christmas drink!
Since Sunday, there has been a basket full of forest goodies standing on our kitchen table waiting to be used for decorating the house. Early morning today I woke up to the sound of ships honking their horns trying to navigate their way through the heavy fog, the weather was damp and unclear barely visible. So, as I couldn’t sleep anymore I decided to finally brew some home-made glögi that is a favourite tradition of mine that I do a few days before christmas. My hubby and dog are still fast asleep, it is really dark in the house but really quite cozy in the candle light. The apple clementine glögi makes the kitchen smell divine spreading the house with christmas spirit. I love the smell of star anise and cloves. While the glögi was brewing I started making a wreath from lingonberry, blueberry and juniper branches that will be used for decorating the table setting on Christmas eve. I love the way juniper branches look paired with large roses or tulips, the blue and geen pearls suit beautifully a festive bouquet. This evening I’m going to a Christmas concert with a friend that my lovely hubby got us some tickets to. This morning brought a little joy home, in comparision to what is happening in this crazy world outside. Count your blessings and make the most of little things. Let’s have a safe Christmas♥
Apple Clementine Glögi
This makes great substitute for tea gives you that instant winter feeling from all the glorious spices. You need good quality apple juice that you gentle simmer in a saucepan. To this, add a cinnamon stick, dried ginger, a couple of cloves and star anise. Then add some clementine slices (remember to wash them well) and their leaves into the juice. I didn’t add any sugar, but you can add some at this point if you prefer it sweeter. Place a lid onto the saucepan and turn the heat off and let it intensify in flavour from a half an hour to an hour. Re-heat the glögi when served. You can add some apple cider/vodka/white wine/rum to the juice if you want a more festive drink for the evening!
WHAT?! Only ten more days until Christmas Eve! It really feels like we just came back from our honeymoon yesterday, how did time pass by so quickly (once again…)? I cannot believe my nephew is turning six months in just a matter of days, it really feels surreal how fast he is growing right under our eyes. I have had an intense of a month with literally non-stop of work and only (without any exaggeration) two days off during all that time and that includes the weekends. I have managed to squeeze in hosting several christmas parties and a night out so you can imagine I have felt sleep deprived to say the least! I haven’t had much time to capture the spirit of Christmas, until today as I finally finished everything and can relax until Christmas and New Years! With that being said, I have Celine Dion’s ‘These are the special times’ album playing in the background, while I have a table full of hyacinths, an espresso and a plate of caramelized figs ready to set me off into Christmas spirits.
How to cook figs:
Halve figs. Sprinkle with brown sugar on the meat side. On a hot pan with a good amount of butter, place the figs in it with the sugar side facing down. Cook for some minutes and turn over once caramelized, sprinkle with a bit of salt. Serve with shaved brazilian nut and hemp seeds. You can try with a slice of blue cheese and walnuts, a delicious combo!
December 11th has been a perfect representation of Nordic beauty at its finest. The temperature has dropped down to -10 degrees celsius, the ground is frosty and snowy while the intense sunshine pierced through the nettles of trees. Bella chased for deer and Mr. N and I sipped on takeaway christmas tea during our forest walk and now I’ve just finished folding newly washed fluffy knits.
A couple of weeks ago I had an annual ladies little Christmas party so I had the chance to test a new carrot coconut cake that is great for a festive season. To be honest, I thought the original recipe was a bit dry, but I altered it by adding some more moisture and quint essential christmas spices to the mix. It also makes a huge difference if you use coconut milk or cream that I accidentally did during my first trial, the cream gives a much softer texture. I also doubled the amount of ginger as I honestly could not taste it before and now it has a wonderful heat to the background that is not too overpowering. I sprinkled some cardamom, ground nutmeg and chopped dates for a lovely seasonal flavouring. The recipe is super easy to make and perfect for the first weekend of December…
400g grated carrots
5dl plain flour
3-4 dl coconut cream
6 dates chopped
1 dl coconut flakes
4 tablespoons grated ginger
1 dl oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons grated nutmeg
3 teaspoons cardamom
pinch of salt
1 dl chopped pecan nuts
If the mixture seems too dry, you can also add in a bit of apple or pineapple juice for moisture
Cream Cheese Frosting
200g cream cheese
1 tablespoon softened butter
1dl coconut cream
1dl icing sugar
1dl lemon zest
Grate the ginger and carrots, chop the pecan nuts and dates. In a bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until slightly frothy. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir into it the oil a little bit at a time along with the whisked eggs/sugar. Add in the coconut cream, nuts, chopped dates, coconut flakes and grated carrots and ginger. (If the mixture seems too dry, add in a bit more coconut cream or apple juice) Place the mixture into a buttered cake tin and bake for about an hour in a 175C.
Frosting: Mix all the ingredients together and spread it over the cake once in has cooled from the oven. Garnish with shaved brazilian nuts, coconut flakes and ground nutmeg.
November has been about first snow and long forest walks spotting numerous deer. The air is so crispy and fresh, while the snow gives more light. It has been all about foamy capuccinos and candle light evenings… warm blankets and cozy cuddles in bed in oversized knits… The smell of crispy french toast in the morning or slow baking on sundays. November, the transition to fall and the anticipation of Christmas.
All photos are taken from my pinterest boards here.