Swedish Christmas Eve

Hey kids! Sorry for the hiatus – have been down the beach soaking up the sun since boxing day 🙂 Lucky me!

So I couldn’t not do a Christmas post, since it is my biggest cooking event of the year. In my house we have two feasts – one on Christmas eve which we call “Swedish Christmas”, and then a big lunch on Christmas Day. This post is about Swedish Christmas (more on the big day later).

Swedish Christmas came about when my grandmother – who stays with us over Christmas time – would cook on Christmas eve to give my mother a break from all the Christmas day preparations. Having married a Sweed, she would always cook traditional Swedish fare, namely Jansen’s Temptation (like scalloped potatoes with anchovies) and Salmon Gravlax (Salmon cured in dill, sugar and salt). As time went on and I began taking over cooking Christmas lunch from my mum, I would also help my grandmother cook on Christmas eve as well. Eventually I began cooking both meals, and thus Swedish Christmas became more elaborate (since I really can’t help myself).

So this year, the Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord consisted of:

  • Red Cabbage (see previous post)
  • Meatballs* with lingonberry jam
  • Fish Pie
  • Pork Sausages
  • Rye bread and Cheese
  • Jansen’s Temptation
  • Salmon Gravlax with Dill aioli
  • West Coast Salad
  • Matjes Herring and Beetroot Salad

*Ok, so I cheated a little this year and bought the meatballs from Ikea (they are soo yummy and I wanted to make things easier on myself..)


See previous post for recipe



A new addition this year, I made this fish pie as I had a leftover jar of pickled herring and some old bread. It actually turned out really tasty..

1 x 500g jar bismarck marinated herring
1/2 cup cream
1 tbsp dry dill
1 cup day-old-bread ripped into chunks
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Drain herring and place in a baking dish
  3. Pour over cream and sprinkle over dill.
  4. Top with bread and parmesan and cook in a hot oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serves 2




You shouldn’t need to season this to much as the anchovies replace the need for salt. You could add a little pepper though.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
80g anchovies in olive oil
1 cup thin cream

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, fry onions in olive oil for 5 minutes until translucent but not brown.
  3. Add garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large baking dish, arrange a layer of potato slices and top with 1/3 of the anchovies. Top with 1/3 of the onion mixture.
  5. Repeat process until all the mixture is used up, ending with a layer of potatoes.
  6. Pour over cream and cook in a hot oven for 40-50 minutes until potatoes are golden.

Serves 4-6


This is a real tradition in our family. I have been making the sauce to go with this since I could hold a spoon. The recipe was given to me by my grandmother who used store-bought mayonnaise, however, these days I make my own.

100g caster sugar
1/3 cup salt
1 tbsp white pepper
2 x 1kg salmon fillets, skin on, bones removed
2 bunches fresh dill

  1. Combine sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large, deep dish, place one of the salmon fillets skin side down on a few dill sprigs.
  3. Sprinkle over half of the sugar/salt mix and top with most of the dill sprigs.
  4. Sprinkle over almost all of the remaining sugar/salt mix, before placing second salmon fillet, skin side up, over first fillet.
  5. Top with remining sugar/salt mix and dill.
  6. Cover with aluminium foil, and weigh down with a light weight (I use 4 cans of beans on a tupperware lid). Leave to cure for 2 days, turning ever 24 hours. Taste the liquid the salmon seeps out for seasoning (you may want to add more sugar or salt according to taste).
  7. To serve, cut thinly on the angle, away from the skin. Serve on rye bread or, as we do, on toast with the aioli.

Serves 30 (you may want to halve the recipe, as I use this much for my two feasts with plenty of leftovers. Will keep for 1-2 weeks. Freezing the salmon for a few days beforehand will also kill any bugs and keep the salmon for longer).

2 egg yolks
1 tbsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup canola oil

175g honey wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp dry dill

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat together egg yolks, dijon mustard and lemon juice.
  2. In a steady stream, slowly add the canola oil until mixture becomes thick.
  3. Transfer aioli to a bowl, and combine with wholegrain mustard, vinegar, sugar and dill. Serve with Salmon Gravlax.

Makes enough to serve with above Gravlax recipe, about 2 cups.


This is my take on a traditional Scandinavian salad. I have omitted the mushrooms as I’m not a huge fan of them. You could also add whatever seafood you would like.

2 bunches fresh asparagus
1/2 butter lettuce
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
15 large cooked prawns, de-shelled
3 hardboiled eggs, halved
olive oil
white wine vinegar

  1. Blanch asparagus in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes until tender. Drain well and run under cold water to refresh. Drain well.
  2. Combine asparagus in a serving bowl with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, prawns, and eggs.
  3. Drizzle over olive oil and white wine vinegar and serve immediately.

Serves 6


2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
500g matjes herring, rinsed, drained, and cut into cubes
400g whole baby beetroots, halved
1 granny smith apple, peeled and cubed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp dry dill
olive oil
white wine vinegar
1 cup sour cream

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water for 5-10 minutes until tender. Drain well and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Combine potato with herring, beetroot, apple, onion, and dill. Drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar and gently mix together.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve topped with sour cream.

Serves 6-8

This entry was posted in Dinner/Main Meal, Hors D'Oeuvre, Special Occasion Menus. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Swedish Christmas Eve

  1. Pingback: The Christmas Post | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  2. Pingback: Scandinavian Christmas Eve 2011: Smörgås | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  3. Pingback: Scandinavian Christmas Eve 2011: Smörgåsbord | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  4. Pingback: Christmas Day 2011: Starters | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  5. Pingback: Family Eating at St Katherine’s | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  6. Pingback: Winter Beetroot & Lentil Salad | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s