Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 5

Welcome back to Day 5, everyone! Today we get to hear from Karin who blogs over at the fabulous Nordic Craft! She shares everything from fun craft projects, beautiful photos, and fun recipes on her blog. Karin has participated previously with her wonderful post on Smallkarameller, and I'm so excited to have her back again!

Hi everyone! I'm Karin, I'm a Swede living in Stockholm. When Kathryn approached me to contribute another post to her brilliant Scandinavian Christmas series, I was delighted. Now, I'm not very traditional when it comes to Christmas celebrations - I don't even eat pickled herring! *gasp* As a vegetarian, I've had to get creative with some of the traditional Swedish Christmas foods over the years, and I quite like updating and developing new Christmas traditions as well. But I do have some family traditions which I come back to every year. Two years ago I shared a tutorial for making my favorite Smällkarameller out of tissue paper here on the Pickled Herring, and every year you will find at least one Yule goat in my living room. Another Christmas tradition we love in my family is making orange pomander balls.

Orange pomanders, oranges studded with dried cloves,  are a common sight in Swedish homes around Christmas time - either hung in windows using ribbon, or else lying in a fruit bowl spreading a lovely Christmas fragrance around the house. Pomanders are incredibly simple to make, and they will make your home smell amazing!

Making orange pomanders

You will need:

Fresh, firm oranges
Dried cloves
Optional: Toothpicks, rubber bands, decorative ribbon

Making pomander balls is incredibly simple, and they can be varied in many different ways. Start by washing and drying your oranges and gather your supplies. Then simply poke the dried cloves into the orange in any pattern you like. A tip: Especially if you are making this craft with children, consider using a toothpick to score holes in the orange first - this makes it easier to insert the brittle cloves without breaking them. 

You can put the cloves all over the orange in a random pattern, or you can choose to make lines or swirls. A good tip for making even rows of cloves is to put a thin rubber band around the orange as a guide for where to put your cloves in. 

A common way to display orange pomanders here in Sweden is to hang them in your window using a red ribbon. To hang your pomander ball, cross tie a length of ribbon (you will need about two yards) around the orange and use the ends to make a hanging loop. Simple and pretty!

Fresh pomander oranges will usually last a couple of weeks if displayed correctly (don't keep them anywhere too warm or humid) and that's usually enough for me, but I have read that drying the pomander balls before displaying them (takes around a week in the refrigerator) will help them last longer. If you're planning to hang your pomanders from a ribbon, keep in mind that the pomander will shrink a bit as it dries, so you may need to tighten the ribbon after a couple of days.

Good luck with making your pomanders! Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 4

 Hello! Welcome back to the Scandinavian Christmas series! Today I'm so excited to welcome Kareena over from Let's Go Fly A Kite! Last year, Kareena shared how to make these adorable Lucia figurines and the year before this delicious Kransekake recipe. I'm so thrilled she's joining us again this year with another fun project!


Hello! My name is Kareena  and as a hobby I post about the crafty side of family life over at let’s go fly a kite.  My paternal side is Norwegian and I always try to include Scandinavian goodness in our family’s Advent celebrations. I have participated in the Pickled Herring’s Scandinavian Christmas for the past three years. Some  posts which Pickled Herring readers may find interesting are my visits to Bergen and Iceland, baking krumkake and kransekake, and making Santa Lucia dolls (here and here) and crowns.

This year, my daughters and I have been working on some crafts inspired by The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, by the late Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.  We have been reading the Puffin edition at bedtime.  (If you are looking for an illustrated version, the Lauren Child version on the left is a lovely choice).  


My 9 year old daughter recently finished reading the new Pippi Moves In, a graphic novel.  My dad gave this as a gift  after he saw it reviewed in the New York Times book section. I highly recommend this version if you have a young reader who enjoys graphic novels.


Inside, there is a funny scene of Pippi rolling out pepparkakor gingerbread on the floor.  This is the scene which inspired a recent crafternoon.


For our crafternoon, the girls invited a young friend who also has visited Sweden and we created some Pippi-inspired gingerbread ornaments for our tree using cinnamon and applesauce dough.  I found the basic recipe on the McCormicks site.  We found that four cups of cinnamon and 200 ml (1 cup or so) of applesauce rolled out fourteen 3 inch hearts.  


The ornaments baked for about 3 hours.  The house smelled delicious.   After the ornaments cooled, I applied a thin coat of sealer (this is not necessary).


They are really quite sturdy.



And finally, a photo of Pippi climbing the tree. (My husband was in Stockholm earlier this year and brought home Pippi and Horatio!)


This is a fun and simple ornament craft and appropriate for most ages.  If the cinnamon is purchased in bulk the supplies costs approximately five dollars. 

Thanks for hosting this Scandinavian Christmas Kathryn and God Jul!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 3

Today I'm so excited to introduce you all to Johanne, who has a lovely blog Scandinavian Love Song! You can follow her on Instagram here. Johanne is Danish and her blog documents her keen eye for interior design and love for Scandinavian lifestyle. Her blog is full of beautiful pictures and posts (I am loving her Advent post here!) so be sure to check it out!

Danish vaniljekranse by

Danish vaniljekranse by

There is nothing like Christmas traditions, is there? Every family has their own traditions that they cherish and look forward to every year and today I want to share with you one of my most treasured traditions - all the way from Denmark, with love. 
I have known my husband for 10 years now, but for some reason our Decembers have always been the most busy time of the year - not because of all the Christmas preparations, but because of our studies, work and examinations. However, one thing that we have always managed to find time for no matter what, is making the traditional Danish Vaniljekranse. It's a super simple recipe, but they taste amazing. And the thing is: if you make them in the traditional way with an old meat grinder - you have to be two to make them. Making them the perfect Christmas activity for you and your loved one.

Danish vaniljekranse by

Danish vaniljekranse by

Danish vaniljekranse by

Recipe for approx. 100 vaniljekranse
- 300 g sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 300 g salted butter
- 400 g flour
- 1 egg

Gently scrape the vanilla out of the pod and mix it with two tablespoons of the sugar so that the grains are separated. Keep adding sugar and mix it with the vanilla. Then, mix the butter with the flour with your fingers until it looks like grated cheese. Mix it with the sugar/vanilla mix. Finally, add the egg and quickly knead the dough together - not for too long though, because then the butter will make it impossible to work with. If the dough is too sticky, then leave it in the fridge for about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius and prepare a baking tray. Now it's time for the fun part :-) If you have an old-fashioned meat grinder (like the one in the pics), run the dough through the grinder using a star shaped form. It's easier (and more fun ;-) ) if you are two for this part, so that one of you swings the handle, while the other forms the small wreaths when the dough comes out of the grinder. If you don't have an old grinder, no need to worry - you can use an icing bag, just make sure that the dough is not too hard. Finally, bake the wreaths in the oven until they turn light brown - approximately 10 - 12 minutes. Let them cool and.... enjoy!

Danish vaniljekranse by

Danish vaniljekranse by

X Johanne from Scandinavianlovesong