Usually me and my husband have enjoyed a fairly English selection of Christmas dishes, but without the turkey as he is vegetarian. However this Christmas I really wanted to include some traditional dishes from Finland. Luckily they are mostly vegetarian, super easy to make and compliment beautifully some of the more British flavours.
The Finnish Christmas dinner comprises of vegetable bakes or “boxes” and a pork joint or ham roll instead of turkey. The boxes are made of potato, swede or carrots with some festive spicing and then slow cooked in the oven. In Finland I buy them ready made, as they are really nice and there’s so much to prepare anyway, but since they are not available here in England I had to make them from scratch.The home made versions tasted much more subtle, and the spices came through much better. The boxes improve with reheating, so they are a perfect lazy meal for the lazy holiday season.
Since I’m the only carnivore in the house a pork joint would be a bit overkill, so I decided to make a mini version with an English twist – some fancy pigs in blanket. A side of sprouts is another English tradition. This recipe is by Jamie and came as a recommendation from my dad. So our Christmas feast became a nice mix of English and Finnish traditional dishes.
Lanttulaatikko (The Swede Box)
- 1 kg of swede
- 3 tbsp of flour or breadcrumbs
- 1,5 dl/ half a cup of single cream
- 3 tbsp of golden syrup
- 2 eggs
- half a tsp of ginger, nutmeg and paprika
- some pepper
Chop the swede and boil in salted water. Mash thoroughly and add all other ingredients.
Pour in a greased oven dish and cook in 150C for 1.5 hours.
Porkkanalaatikko (The Carrot Box)
- 1 kg of carrots
- 2dl (1 cup) of porridge rice
- 0.5 litres of water
- 1 litre of milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
Chop, boil and mash the carrots.
Cook the rice in the water, until all water has absorbed. Add the milk and cook until rice is tender. Add the carrot mash to the milk.
Add rest of the ingredients, mix well, pour in a greased oven proof dish and cook in 150C for 1.5 hours.
And here are both boxes fresh from the oven. As you can see the swede box recipe made about half the amount of the carrot box so if you want them to be the same size, double the swede box recipe.
Euro Pigs in Blankets (for one)
- 2 sausages
- 1 slice of parma ham
- 2 slices of chorizo
Italian ham, Spanish chorizo and English sausages: I had to name them Euro Pigs. Lay one slice of parma ham for each sausage. Add chorizo slices on the parma ham and roll the ham around the sausages. I used sausages with caramelised onion flavouring, which worked really well with the ham and added a bit of something special to the flavours.
Honey Roasted Sprouts with Walnuts
- 200g of brussel sprouts
- Large knob of butter
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 1dl/ half a cup of unsalted walnuts
- Sea salt and black pepper
Parboil the sprouts. Put a roasting pan on a gas hob and melt the butter on it, then add the honey. If you don’t have a gas hob, you can do this in the oven or a frying pan. Add sprouts and coat them thoroughly. Add the walnuts and pop the pan in the oven. Roast in 175C until the sprouts are done and the walnuts are slightly toasted.
Here’s the final dish. I didn’t bother with gravy, as it can make everything a bit soggy. This was a delicious and as the “boxes” are not loaded with cream and butter the feast didn’t end up in a food coma.