Saturday, December 18, 2010

to celebrate not having a party

So the weather has turned bad here. The forecast for Sunday is rain and wind. So I cancelled my birthday party. I couldn't be happier!
It's such a relief, now I can focus on Christmas and getting the house ready for the holidays, even though we did paint the dining room and trim the hedges in preparation for the party.
I did have big plans to cook up a storm in the kitchen in the days leading up to the party. I've been reading books and magazines and storing up recipes for the big day.
A few days ago I made some of this homemade lemonade (or Mead, as it is called in Sweden). Lotta Jansdotter's new book, Handmade Living, has a set of excellent Nordic recipes in the back.
These are close to my heart, as my Dutch grandfather has often made this sort of food for celebrations (such as cured salmon, potato and anchovy bake, and basically a sort of cooking that doesn't use garlic (I love it but not in everything) but does use lots of salt and sugar!).
I tried this Mead two weeks ago. We drank the last bottle at the weekend so I made a fresh batch for the party. For the first lot I used Muscovado sugar and the result was a darker brew. It wasn't very alcoholic, maybe enough to give a slight muzz after a couple of glasses. I took Lotta's advice and gave some to the kids. It's certainly fizzy and quite syrupy in flavour, better than other homemade lemonade I've made. We saved 750ml bottles from Barker's fruit drink concentrates (made in a South Island town called Geraldine and it's by far the best of its kind) and also used our wine decanters, but lids didn't fit in the fridge so were replaced with glad wrap.

Then today, we were so hungry and the shopping hadn't arrived, so I made a batch of cinnamon buns. I was going to make these on the day of the party so they've been on my mind for a while now. We only needed a half batch, makes 12 buns.
They are so delicate and smooth, completely different to store bought buns. Don't they look like a bunch of roses?
So we drank mead and ate buns on this damp afternoon to celebrate NOT having a party!

PS Lotta has made the recipes available on the preview of her book on Amazon.

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