Merry Christmas!

12/27/2018 11:07:00 PM

Merry Merry Christmas! Obviously as you've seen from my Christmas Markets post, we're in Germany so our celebrations are a bit different from most years. Let's take a look!

Before we left for Europe, we did an early Christmas lunch with my parents and exchanged gifts. It was a small but special meal: roast turkey breast fillet with sage and onion stuffing (purchased from Peter Bouchier), Nigella's roast potatoes, red cabbage, gravy, and asparagus topped with burnt butter and garlic. With just four of us eating, I didn't think it made sense to roast a whole turkey, and the rolled turkey fillet was so much easier for cooking and carving. I legit think I'll be doing rolled turkey breasts for Christmas from now on. (And indeed, I liked it so much that I bought another stuffed turkey fillet for my Thanksgiving dinner the following week).

Christmas Lunch

And of course last week I flew to Germany! Hooray! The previous few months went by so quickly that I didn't really have time to prepare mentally for the trip, and it sure was a shock coming into a European winter. It's so dark sooo early! But on the positive side: I arrived to giant tins of Christmas cookies and rum balls made by my sister-in-law. Amazing! Side note: I now have big plans to do a huge Christmas cookie tin next year.

Christmas Cookies - Weihnachtsgebäck

And on our first full day here, it SNOWED! Squeeeee! The snow only lasted a day, and it was too warm for a white Christmas, but still I'm so thrilled we got some snow!



Snow in the local nature reserve

At home, the Christmas tree is up. And it's a real tree. (I took this photo before we all piled dozens of presents under it!)

Oh Tannenbaum oh Tannenbaum

In Germany, Christmas goes over three days. There's Heiligabend (Christmas Eve), followed by the first Christmas holiday (25th December), and the second Christmas holiday (26th December), and as far as I can tell, most people split up the celebrations between different parts of the family over those three days.

On Christmas Eve, Sandra's sister and her family came over for lunch, and Sandra made her Grandma's Kartoffelsoße (bread dumplings with a potato sauce). This is a plain-looking but super-delicious homey recipe that Sandra's grandma used to make that is beloved by the girls in the family. It's a labour of love - a lot of work goes into the dish to make the relatively cheap ingredients flavourful and special. The carb-on-carb goodness is total comfort food!


We did presents in the afternoon, and had a dinner of Rinderbraten (roast beef), asparagus in cream sauce.

Rinderbraten, Kartoffeln, Spargel

On Christmas Day itself, we took it easy, eating leftovers (and for me, eating biscuits) and chilling out at home. I've been totally loving these Elisenlebkuchen that I bought at the Heidelberg Christmas Market. They're like a deluxe version of gingerbread - they're based on almond and hazelnut meal, so they're really moist, and they're full of wonderful rich spices. I've even bought some Lebkuchen spice and Oblaten (the wafer base) so I can make these at home!

Elisen Lebkuchen

Sandra also bought a heck of a lot of shortbread (in beautiful tins!) from Fortnum and Mason, as she was in London for a week before coming to Germany. Yay! We haven't tried them all yet, but I got stuck into the traditional shortbread fingers on Christmas day and they are perfection.

Fortnum and Mason Shortbread

Fortnum and Mason Shortbread

In the evening, we lit a fire outside and drank Glühwein with Sandra's uncle, aunty and cousin. Sandra's mum made my favourite potato salad for dinner (the secret ingredient is BACON), and we ate it with Frankfurters and bread. So delicious!

Outdoor fire thingo

Potato salad, bread, Frankfurter, Glühwein

On the second Christmas holiday (i.e. Boxing Day), we had a big turkey lunch with the extended family. Lunch was a team effort between Sandra and her mum, and it was fabulous! With the turkey, Sandra's mum seasoned it simply with salt, pepper, oil and paprika, then wrapped it in foil and cooked it at 200C for 30 minutes a kilo. Then the foil was removed, Sandra basted it in butter and popped it back in the hot oven until the skin crisped up.

Turkey in the oven

We also had dumplings (both potato and bread), red cabbage, and gravy.

Turkey Lunch!

Turkey Lunch

Later that afternoon, we did more gifts and were sitting around chatting, when we all felt like a little something something sweet. All the shops were closed, so I decided to make WAFFLES!!! These were German style - the fluffy light crispy type, made with white flour and lots of butter in the batter. We served them with icing sugar and Nutella. I was happy to contribute something to all the deliciousness, haha. (I'll try this recipe again at home with my waffle iron, and if it's just as good I'll share the recipe here!)


And those were our Christmas celebrations this year! If you do celebrate, I hope you've had a lovely time with friends and family. Merry Christmas!

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  1. I've never had Christmas in Europe but I'd love to one year! I've had it in the snow (Japan and America) but there is something about being in Europe for Christmas that seems so lovely!

    1. Yes it's so magical! And so many of our Christmas traditions come from Europe, so it's so nice to see and experience them there!



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