Norwegian Christmas cake

December 23rd

Today is Lille Jul Aften, Little Christmas Eve in Norway.  This is the day that Norwegians begin to celebrate the celebration of Christmas.  Food usually ribbe of pork is salted although some families will have pinnekjott, lamb's ribs, which will need soaking overnight.  And grot, a type of rice pudding but eaten as a late supper or lunch.  It is served with a large dollop of butter that gently melts in the middle of the rice pudding and is then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon AND YES this is eaten as a lunch meal not a pudding!  This day also heralds when many in Norway will bring in a tree and decorate it.  We too usually decorate on this day, but brought it forward this year so mamma who returned back to Norway at the week end could join in.

Norwegians also have a Christmas cake, nothing like the rich fruit cake that is made in the UK but, you've guessed it, one based on almonds.  The Norwegians do like their nuts...

For a brief history on the cake Kransekake history

You do not need specialist equipment for this but it does help.  Below I show you how to make it WITH the correct equipment and at the end how to make it WITHOUT.
You will need:

♥  500g ground almonds
♥  500g icing sugar
♥  approx. 3 egg whites
♥  melted butter or cooking spray
♥  semolina or breadcrumbs

500g ground almond

Add 500g icing sugar

Mix well together

Add enough egg WHITE to bind together without being
sticky.  I used 3 small egg whites

Form a dough, I tend to begin with the
spoon and then use my hands

You do not want it too sticky, be careful,
add icing sugar if necessary

Place into piping contraption.  If you do not have this,
and most do not, then roll
out the dough into long sausages

Oil spray the rings and either use semolina or
breadcrumbs, this prevents sticking

All piped and ready to bake at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes

Once cooled stack rings carefully. Many stack around a bottle of aquavit

Our family prefer the kransekake a little more soft than it comes out
of the oven.  To do is, instead of the bottle place some bread inside and
this softens the cake.  Just remember to remove the bread before serving!

Waiting to be decorated on the morning of Christmas Eve

Pop back on Christmas Eve when I will
update this post with the decorated version

Instructions on how to make this without specialist equipment Kransekake simple style

Everyone in Norway will make this cake at the drop of a hat for celebrations and even the UK's very own Paul Hollywood has had a go, check out some of these kransekakes:

Manuel's kransekake

Paul Hollywood's kransekake

Sweet Paul's kransekake

Kristine's kransekake

As it is now Lille Jul Aften, I can officially greet you for Christmas in Norwegian:
  God Jul alle sammen 

Sweet Christmas treats Scandinavian style & Christmas cards

December 22nd   
Marzipan fruits
Every year we make our own marzipan and if we can
we try and time it so mamma can join in with us.  After all she handed me this tradition as did her mother to her.  I am hoping my children carry this on too.  Fingers crossed.  For how to make your own marzipan, see my post from last year Marzipan 2014

Once the marzipan is made we add food colouring, now over the years we have had varied success in this.  Many many years ago there was never a problem but in rennet years super market colourings in my opinion have become totally useless.  I resolved after the colour fiasco of last year to 'crack' it and by jove I think we have.  This time we have used the Wilton brand and I can highly recommend it.
Wilton food colouring

We usually divide the plain non coloured marzipan into fifths and leave one in it's original state and colour the other four, red, orange, yellow and green.  We then shape and mould into various fruit shapes and depending on the mood of the family the realistic or contemporary look materialises.  All this always take place with Christmas music in the back ground.

Mixing the food colouring into the marzipan

Concentrating on shaping the fruits
Marzipan fruits make a great addition to the
Christmas sweet variety and great gifts too

This year my son went a little
'off piste' but was very proud of his marzipan dice
Just some *blushes* of my Christmas tins
filled with goodies to eat and share over Christmas

Marzipan is so Christmas in Norway, that shops will be selling it in all
shapes and sizes but the most popular shape being that of the Christmas pig. 
Each year my children find one of these in their Christmas stocking along with
the traditional orange and nuts and other bits and pieces.

Nor forgetting to mention the Christmas card swap hosted by Amy. I was paired up with the talented Cath, also a UK habitant from the blog Clicky Needles.  Having just completed some Christmas paper cutting, very Scandinavian don't you know Paper craft, I decided to use one of my own pieces as my card swap.  Hope Cath liked it!

Card for Cath

And Cath obviously had the same idea as she made me this lovely Christmas tree and what I love the most and am quite envious of, is she is so neat, look at the back of the stitching too...
Card from Cath

Such neat work, this is the back!

In Norway it is not common to send many Christmas cards and therefore they are not usually displayed as is seen here in the UK.  One tends to read them as they arrive and then put them away to look at more at leisure after the festivities.  So here in our home, that is what we do, all cards are looked at and then placed near the front door in the 'Jul post' (Christmas post) holder until after Christmas.

I do love this card holder and enjoy empting it
and looking at the card properly after Christmas

  Wising you calmness in these last days before Christmas 

Christmas glass fusing and gifts

December 21st  

This year I have found a new love in glass fusing and since October we have been making glass gifts and decorations.  This is a photo heavy post...

Quick and simple to make are Christmas trees and over the weeks we began to perfect them.  Tweaking here and there is all part of the fun and you never really know what the firing process will do to the creations.

Great fun to make these Christmas trees


I think they are quite subtle and dress the window well

And glass trees in the kitchen, it has to be RED

I made about ten tree brooches in the end and wear different ones each day, I've given a few away already...
Even glass tree brooches, bad photo it looks so good in 'real'

Mistletoe brooch

Contemporary holly brooch

As well as going out to my weekly glass course, I have been making use of my birthday present, the microwave kiln.  I'm still getting to grips with it and intend to play much more in the New Year.

The microwave kiln came into it's own in making the
smaller pieces such as earring and cufflinks

A sneak look at the hot glow after firing

My biggest project to date other than large glass bowls was  a free standing angel, the idea being a candle is lit behind her to give an ethereal feel.
Unfortunately the angel was too high in the kiln and lost
lots of her definition, thinking I will have another go

I still like the angel though

She really wasn't meant to be, was she?
The children every year make their own Christmas presents for the adults in the family.  This year they decided to try glass fusing too.

Even the children have fused glass, making Christmas presents

The children's work needed two firings, one to fuse
together and the second to 'slump' them into the dish moulds

Coaster before firing

I may have become quite addicted , just look...

A kiln full of Christmas presents and goodies

And presents to give to hosts and hostess' over the Christmas period...
Christmas scenes fired but still warm in the kiln

Christmas scene in situ

We loved making the robins and the house cat seemed quite keen too!

Robins in the kiln

...and outside on my holly bush

  Have you made any Christmas presents this year?