A seat at the table: Christmas

One thing we can all agree on I am sure is that at this time of year we all like to feast on good things, share our table with friends and family, and generally over indulge. Somehow, we are given license to become gluttons.

Breakfasts are not hastily grabbed. Whether it be bacon rolls (ie a bacon sandwich) on Christmas Eve, or two different types of sour dough (rye and caraway or just a simple loaf) left over from the previous day’s feasting, topped with smoked salmon for breakfast on Christmas Day, there is always something good to be found in the kitchen to start the day. This is necessary to sustain you if you are the one in the kitchen.

As people do in many parts of Europe, we celebrate Christmas Eve, opening our presents once the feast is over. Of course it is summer here, so things are slightly adapted to the season, with a new table runner from Bonnie and Neil with a strawberry print in keeping with the season. There are glasses for beer and snaps, and crackers because we need a little bit a UK tradition too.

The table is as usual too small for all the different dishes: 4 types of herring, smoked salmon, devilled eggs (topped with ‘caviar’ this year), meatballs, sausages, potatoes, ham, a bowl of coleslaw, a dish of mizeria, a Polish cucumber salad, and of course, a Janssons frestelse, that classic Swedish festive dish of potatoes, cream and ansjovis (NOT anchovies as I remind people every year, but little cured sprats, the curing liquid forming part of the dish). As there is no social distancing here in New Zealand at the moment, we were able to enjoy the feast with our friends (I had forgotten how much teenage boys eat – less leftover sausages this year!).

We had strawberries as befits the season, mincemeat pies, chocolate and some rather smelly but good cheese (a creamy blue and Galactic Gold from Over The Moon) for dessert. The feasting was repeated on Christmas Day at our friends’ house, with some wonderful little smoked salmon and crayfish canapés, chicken, ham and salmon with lots of trimmings, and a proper homemade Christmas pudding (unfortunately, my picture of this magnificent dish was too poor for the blog). We brought home some Christmas cake to enjoy with cups of tea on Boxing Day.

So that pretty much sums up our Christmas eating – leftover ham has been served with parsley sauce and will be turned into a quiche this evening. There is still a little cake, two mincemeat pies and a lot of chocolate….

What did you enjoy this season?

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. I love that you’ve had a mix of dishes from around the world! Our Christmas Day was just immediate family and we’d been eating ham in the days leading up to Christmas already. My favourite was our dessert- Pavlova and also cherries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband’s boss (before he retired) was Danish and her partner was from Norway, so I recognise some of these dishes…delicious! We had a very traditional Christmas, but I always include avocados and mangos in the salad, as I was born in Africa an lived there until I left school.


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