Time to fill this blog post with two weeks of celebrations before the new year really gets into its flow and Christmas becomes an alcohol fuelled blur. Over the past two weeks I have been lucky enough to celebrate in both Oslo and London, delighting and indulging in both cultures traditions and food.
This year it felt as though Christmas really crept up. Somewhere between searching for a home, moving within 24 hours and keeping up with magazine deadlines, the festive season hadn’t seemed very festive. This was to be cured in a treatment any child can recommend, a good dose of sugar! I was kindly invited to a night of Pepperkakehus building (gingerbread house). In Norway the tradition to build a majestic house of biscuits, icing and decoration is one celebrated almost every year, and yes they have the practice to make beautiful frosted architecture! For us expats I was the expert with only one years experience. Sugar coated every surface of the kitchen and pre-cooked mixture was devoured. After several attempts of boiling sugar walls were stuck together and then fingers crossed that our houses would stay upright. Mine was the last standing but with a flight to London two days later, it didm’t stay in one piece for long!
We hit the ground running in England where although the weather was stormy, windy and wet, our spirits were high. Quickly nipping between shops & cafés in the Lanes, we managed to keep some respectability until the evening when we met friends for drinks at the pub. As our drinks coincided with Winter Solstice celebrations, a parade appeared of hand-crafted lanterns outside the window and quickly we were spoilt by a carnival of light (while still keeping cosy inside).
This year myself and the viking decided that material gifts aren’t really what the holidays are about and that experiences are what you remember. With that thought in mind we chose to take my sister and her partner out for a nice meal.
Brighton is very good for several things, and vegetarian food is high up on that list. Inspired by my birthday meal, we headed to Food for Friends where their Christmas menu had all our mouths salivating.
Christmas day was no different! This is a quite food related post, as a lot of my time during the official day of Christmas was spent in the kitchen followed by a food coma. As the usual British Chrismas tradition goes (or at least at our home), we got up early to open stockings, had a wonderful Christmas breakfast, opened more presents and then eat a Christmas meal. Our meal however had a little twist. I served up a Christmas pilaff for starters, a rice dish spiced with garlic & ginger and then topped with coriander, parsley, pomegranate and pistachios. My main, a Seitan Roast stuffed with shitake mushrooms and leek and then finally the best cheesecake I have ever made. Gingerbread Cheesecake. Very Very good.
Of course we all wore silly paper hats from our Christmas Crackers because we are British after all!
After a luxurious Christmas, it always welcome to get some fresh air and use those legs! Polo the dog was happy to parade his new Christmas coat to all the other dogs along Brighton beach. We saw morning runners, a man combing dirt to an abstract pattern with a rake, children testing out new bikes and scooters.
We couldn’t visit home without a trip to the big smoke. Although the trains weren’t cooperating with our ventures due to stormy weather, we took to the adventure of rail replacement busses and long routes. London greated us with very few British voices as we merged with the tourist crowds around shopping streets for sales season, and lusted over food at Borough Market.
All Christmas Trees have their day
The last few days of our stay were super busy, seeing friends, shopping the sales and treating my mum to her first experience of sushi. I think it went well but you might need to ask her!
Looking forward to more adventures in the new year. Happy new year and Gody nytt år!