Tag Archives: Christmas

Cauliflower Soup w/Crispy Garlic Chips+White Truffle Oil

5 Jan

As the starter to our Christmas Eve dinner, I made a cauliflower soup garnished with crispy garlic chips and a drizzle of white truffle oil.  This soup is very simple, light, and flavorful — and contains no dairy!  It’s an elegant, delicious soup to serve at a dinner party.

For the dinner, I doubled the recipe, as I wanted to make sure we had plenty of soup for seconds.  Turned out it was more than enough, despite everyone having seconds.  But the soup also keeps pretty well and is great the next day — and who doesn’t love leftovers over the holidays?!

CAULIFLOWER SOUP (serves about 8 as a starter, 4 as a main course)

**Please note that I doubled the recipe for the Christmas Eve party, and so the photos show more amount of ingredients than listed.

  • One head of cauliflower
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Water (enough to cover the cauliflower)

For Crispy Garlic

  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced length-ways
  • Olive oil for pan-frying

The soup itself is very simple.  First, break down the cauliflower into small pieces.

Also, chop the onions and garlic.

Heat olive olive (about 1 tablespoon) in a large pot on medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic.  Turn down the heat to medium.  Salt generously, and saute the onions and garlic, make sure to keep stirring to make sure that they don’t burn at all (**important to make sure the soup retains a nice, creamy white cauliflower color).

When the onions are tender, add the chopped cauliflower.  Stir, then add water until cauliflower is just covered.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover.  Cook until the cauliflower is extremely tender (easily breaking if you stick a fork through it), about 25 minutes.

Take off the heat.  With an immersion blender, puree the cauliflower until smooth and silky.  Taste, and adjust the salt as needed.

For the garlic chips:

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.  When hot, turn down the heat to medium-high and fry the sliced garlic, turning frequently with a heat resistant spatula (or whatever with which you feel comfortable).

When golden, take the garlic chips out and lay them out on a paper towel over a plate.  Sprinkle with some sea salt.

To serve: drizzle some white truffle oil over the soup, and garnish with the crispy garlic chips.


Rosemary/Garlic/Lemon-Crusted Rack of Lamb

4 Jan

For the main course of our Christmas Eve dinner, I roasted rosemary/garlic/lemon-crusted racks of lamb.  I found very nice, trimmed, Frenched racks of lamb at our local supermarket — Swedish lamb — very fresh and lovely.  I bought the equivalent of 2 full racks (each rack I bought were split into two, made smaller than I’m used to in the US).  The marinade itself is very simple yet extremely flavorful.  Personally, I think the most important thing when roasting a rack of lamb is using a good thermometer, so that you could cook it to your desired temperature.  This dish was a smashing success, and felt very suitable for our main course for Christmas Eve (and would be great for dinner parties in general).


  • 2 full racks of lamb, trimmed and Frenched


  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 handfuls of parsley
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Season the racks with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, make the marinade: blend the rosemary, parsley, garlic cloves, zest and juice of lemons, as well as olive oil.  I only have a small food processor in our Stockholm apartment, so I made the marinade in 2 batches.

Coat the racks with 1/2 of the marinade; set aside the other 1/2 marinade to use later.   Cover the racks and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Take out the lamb 1 hour before cooking to bring back to room temperature.  Scrape off the marinade from the chops as much as you can (but don’t throw the marinade away — you could use it to re-coat the lamb when you roast.)

Preheat the oven to 400F (about 200C).

In a medium skillet/pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering.  Add the lamb to the skillet, fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the lamb fat side up and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Transfer the lamb racks onto a roasting pan.  Let cool a little bit, and coat the lamb racks with the remaining 1/2 of the marinade.  Place in the oven and roast the racks for about 20 minutes, until the thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 125° for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into chops.

I served the lamb with a mustard/mint/lemon aioli, which I blended together in our small but very useful mini-food processor.

Flourless Choc Cinnamon Banana Cake

26 Dec

I came up with this recipe when we had over-ripe organic bananas at home that neither of us wanted to eat but seemed wasteful to throw away.  It occurred to me that I could use the bananas as the “sweetening” component for a flour-less chocolate cake, instead of using Stevia (which I don’t have anyway) or sugar.  The result was fabulous — the bananas give the cake a creamy, almost mousse like quality.  The cake is light and isn’t overly banana-y — just a hint of the fruit.  The cake pairs nicely with a mango sorbet.  I served this cake as a dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner party and everyone loved it!


  • 10 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate (I like to use 81% dark)
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, room temperature and softened
  • 3 very ripe organic bananas
  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F (or about 175C).  Grease a spring-form pan (or another kind of baking pan — I use a 9 in. round spring-form pan, which works well).

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, set aside

Cream the butter.  Since we don’t have a hand mixer, I had David cream the butter with a wooden spoon — it requires some muscle-ing, but it works fine.

When the butter is creamed, add bananas, one at a time.  We used the back of a wooden spoon to smash the bananas into the butter; blend well.

Add eggs to the butter/banana mixture, one at a time.  Mix well.

Add the cinnamon.  Pour in the melted chocolate, mix until blended.

Pour the batter into the baking pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cake sets.  Let the cake cool before serving.  The cake keeps well refrigerated.

Merry Christmas! xoxo

25 Dec

We had a terrific Christmas Eve feast in our Stockholm apartment with lovely Eleanor and Michael.  We had a wonderful, merry time, and the dishes were a great success — I shall post the recipes shortly.

In the mean time —

Merry Christmas!  Wishing you peace and happiness from Stockholm! xoxo

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

23 Dec

Planning for our Christmas Eve dinner  party menu… here’s what it looks like:

  • Hors d’oeuvres: Duo of smoked salmon + charcuterie, with sliced cucumbers and gluten-free crackers
  • Starter: Cauliflower soup with white truffle oil + crispy garlic
  • Main: Rosemary/garlic/lemon crusted rack of lamb with garlic asparagus
  • Side veg: Roasted beets with mint, mashed potatoes with garlic + olive oil
  • Dessert: Flour-less chocolate banana cinnamon cake

There will be Glögg to start, and wine to pair with the dishes.  Exciting!

Recipes to follow!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!


Last Days of Rehearsals…and then Christmas

21 Dec

Sadly, I haven’t been able to post in the last week as we entered our final week in the rehearsal studios.  Tomorrow is our last day in rehearsals; we will break for Christmas and the New Year, then we begin 2012 tech-ing the show in the China Teatern.  My blogging hasn’t been able to keep up these last few days…but cooking at home continues as usual, and I have even developed some interesting new recipes to share.  Hopefully during the holidays, I will post a variety of new recipes!

David and I will spend Christmas in Stockholm.  We will host a Christmas Eve dinner party in our apartment, so I am currently planning the menu — I am thinking of making a rack of lamb, among other items.  After Christmas, we travel to Ireland to attend our friends’ wedding.  We’ll stay in Ireland for New Year’s Eve and come back to Stockholm to start work again after the New Year.  Since our trip to Ireland is the main event for us this holiday season, we are looking forward to spending a cozy Christmas in Stockholm.

Anyway, do stay tuned… many new recipes coming up!

Happy holidays, everyone! x

We put up lights and a paper star, as many Swedes do this time of the year.

Julskinka (Christmas ham)

9 Dec

With the Christmas season upon us, the meat section in our local Daglivs is stocked full of Julskinka (Christmas ham).  I have never made a Christmas ham from scratch; actually, David and I have never made roast ham for any of our Christmases together.  But as the Julskinka seems like such the typical Swedish meat for the season, we were both curious to try it… now.  And so we bough a lovely organic, fresh, salt-cured harm looked lovely to cook for a Sunday “roast.”

The Julskinka packaging explains the traditional method of roasting the ham.  Sadly, I could only decipher bits and pieces, not enough fill me with confidence to know what I was doing.  So we took a photo of the instructions on the package and sent it to our Swedish colleague, who kindly translated them for us.  The actual cooking of the ham is quite easy, although it takes a couple of hours.  A cooking thermometer is definitely needed, and I picked up an electronic one at a local hardware store.

Preheat the oven to 175C (or 350F).

Rinse the pork under water — the pork is salted-cured, so it’s important to rinse thoroughly.

Pat dry, and cover in foil.

Place in the lower part of the oven with a cooking thermometer in the meat.  Roast until the internal temperature reads 73-75C (or about 165/167 F).

Take the ham out of the oven.  (*Do not turn off the oven, as the ham will go back into it.)  Cut away the netting, and remove the fat.

Make the mustard coating: mix one egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard.

Cover the ham with the mustard mixture.  Typically, breadcrumbs are added all over the mustard coating — I sprinkled fresh thyme instead.

Raise the oven temperature to 200C (or about 390F).  Put the ham back in the oven and roast until it browns, about 15 minutes.

Rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice thinly and serve!

For dinner, we had slices of ham alongside some broccoli and mushrooms.  The ham has a salty quality, so it’s good to pair with non-salty vegetables.  Although we bought a “small-ish” Julskinska, it’s still A LOT of ham for 2 people.   But the ham is great cold — in fact our Swedish colleague explains that it is best the day after on some bread with some mustard.  The bread we don’t do, of course, but the ham has served us well, providing us all week as a quick, ready source of protein at home.  Whether for snacks (on its own or with slices of cucumber or avocado) or with scrambled eggs for breakfast, the Julskinka is a nice, holiday meat to try at home.

P.S. The next time I make this, I think I may add some sweetness to the mustard coating by adding honey…