Jumat, 26 Desember 2008

Christmas 2008

It's the 2nd Christmas Day already, and finally I've got a spare moment to wish you all a Joyful Christmas and tell you a little about our Christmas meal. In Estonia, we celebrate Christmas Eve - that's when Father Yule (Jõuluvana) brings us presents (I've added a photo of my two nephews opening theirs a year ago). For a third year already, K. and I have had our families over for a big traditional Christmas meal. That's 10 persons altogether - my parents, K's mum and auntie, my sister with her family, and us two. Luckily we've got a big enough table to seat us all comfortably, and as we both enjoy cooking to our loved ones, hosting a Christmas dinner has been a pure pleasure.

This year we decided to start with some fish dishes. There was salmon in a red wine vinegar (a Finnish recipe that translates as 'Glass-blower's fish'), as well as lightly-salted Atlantic herring with sour cream and onions (a VERY Estonian dish that I'll tell you more about later). For those of us not too keen on fish, there were also devilled eggs on the table. These three dishes were eaten with dark rye bread and accompanied by a very nice Swedish-produced Blossa glögg (a special Christmas drink).

For the main course I roasted a big piece of marbled pork shoulder (Boston butt is the name of the cut, if I'm not mistaken. Definitely the best-selling cut here in Estonia, but not widely known outside I'm told) that I rubbed with a mixture of rosemary, garlic, Dijon mustard, honey and salt, and roasted at 160 C for a couple of hours. Very juicy and tasty - and a big hit with my pork-loving dad :) This was accompanied by the usual Estonian Christmas trimmings: oven-baked potato wedges with caraway seeds, sauerkraut braised in dark beer, black pudding, oven-baked carrot sticks with cumin seeds (well, not strictly Estonian, but these were a great addition), lingonberry jam.

[Here we had a small - but welcome - pause, opening the presents under the Christmas tree, citing poems and singing some Christmas carols].

For dessert? I made a very-very nice - and rich - Marbled Blackcurrant and Chocolate Mousse Cake, followed by coffee and tea, and piparkoogid aka gingerbread, of course, using the same recipe I did last year.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas with lots of good food and loved ones! Häid jõule!