On the 23rd of December, we were invited by our Norwegian friend and his wife to celebrate the Norwegian Christmas eve by eating Lutefisk. Lutefisk is made from aged aka rotten white fish and is gelatinous in texture and has an extremely strong and pungent smell. Our friend said that it is one of Norwegian Christmas tradition so we tried it.
It is eaten with lots and lots of bacon and bacon oil and accompanied by boiled potatoes and peas.
You can eat anything rotten when you have Aquavit.
Merry Christmas from Dubai! We are busy opening presents now while husband cooks the SOS.
I will share some of the stuff we are making for the celebration.
I made these for the Norwegian Christmas on the 23rd at our friends house. I followed Nigela's recipe and cut the brownie in the shape of Ginger Bread Men using my cookie cutter. Decorate with strawberries and white icing!
It's been sunny, dry and beautiful in Dubai lately and it does not really feel like Christmas for us since we are used to the cold snowy Christmas. To help us get in the spirit of the season, we have been listening to Christmas songs non-stop since the beginning of December. Here is one of our favorites.
Radio Santa Claus from the North Pole!
Christmas is almost here! We are almost done decorating our tree though according to my husband, it is still lacking some ornaments. Well, it looks pretty full to me... Christmas ornaments are something that we will slowly accumulate/collect over the years so we are happy with our tree for this Christmas.
We are also busy baking Christmas cookies!
Since I am Japanese, Christmas is not really a family holiday. In Japan, it is rather like a Valentine's Day, a very commercial holiday for couples. It is romantic nonetheless though you get bombarded with ads for Tiffany's, etc. as the ultimate token gift for love. But my brother and I were little kids, my parents did a good job of making the Santa Claus fantasy come true. We would place a plate of cookies and a glass of milk by the window (Japanese houses do not really have chimneys) for Santa and my father would make sure to have a bite and leave some crumbs to suggest that Santa had indeed been there during teh night. On Christmas day, we would each get a boot full of candies and chocolates and some toys. Great memories, indeed.
Christmas for my husband, however, is a HUGE deal and he is into recreating the Christmas that he's had all through his childhood and into his adult life. Now that we have a two-year old who is kind of understanding what Christmas is all about, it makes creating the Christmas fantasy that much more exiting for us, especially for my husband.
So, I wanted to share some of his family's Christmas traditions that he would want to incorporate into our Christmas this year.
SOS: S..t on a Shingle
Well, this is what the military called this creamed chipped beef on a toast. On Christmas morning, my father-in-law, still in his pajamas would make this SOS while we take a break from opening our presents. This is not my favorite dish, I must to confess but I am all for keeping the tradition going if it makes my husband happy.
We are still wondering where to get chipped beef in Dubai though. Stay tuned if we will be able to recreate this Christmas tradition.
Recipe from Polly Salama @ Food.com
1/4-1/2 cup margarine or 1/4-1/2 cup butter
1 (12 ounce) jar dried beef
4 green onions
2 tablespoons flour
1 pint milk
5 -6 slices toast
1 Cut the beef and onions very fine.
2 Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet. First add onions for 1-2 minutes then add beef.
3 Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir well to cook the flour and melted butter, be sure it doesn't stick or burn-stir constantly.
4 Gradually add the milk, continue stirring until the mixture boils, then turn the fire down and cook slowly.
5 It should thicken enough to be a good gravy consistency.
6 Serve over toast.
7 Some people serve it on the toast with chopped hard boiled eggs.
Photo: Sweet and Savory Life
This is one of my favorite breakfast recipe. I learned it as a teenager staying with the American family who hosted my father as a student! In their 80s now, they are sweet Oregonians, very Americana and still represent the best of American for me.
So, this will be my contribution to our Christmas tradition along with some eggnog :-)
Recipe from Taste of Home
Our 27 month old son goes to this wonderful music class called Kindermusik in Jumeirah (a neighborhood in Dubai) run by a wonderful teacher Ms. Liz. He aboslutely LOVES the class and sings and dances to all the songs with such enthusiasm. On December 8th, Kindermusik hosted a holiday open-house to all the kids and parents and guess who was there? Santa! I guess Santa wanted to make a stop in warm and crisp and sunny Dubai. The weather cannot be more gorgeous right now!
Here is a little girl who is telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.
I am learning all the nursery rhymes/songs in Dubai because the expatriate community here is predominantly British and they dominate the field of children's activity groups and classes. For example, in my son's swimming class, different ''swimming'' techniques are taught through nursery rhymes. There is this one move where the kids sit on the edge of the pool, raise their arms and sing the ''Humpty Dumpty'' song and jump in the pool. At the beginning, I was just mouthing the words pretending to sing the songs but now both my son and I are fully capable of singing most of the songs.
But if someone asked me what my favorite nursery songs were, I would have to say Renee & Jeremy's 'Welcome to this World', one of the songs on their ''It's a Big World'' DC. This song really brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it...
My friend hosted another and last Christmas craft session this Monday. This time was decorating Christmas cookies!! She had pre-baked the gingerbread men and sugar cookies shaped like Christmas stockings and prepared all the toppings (which our toddlers ate instead of used for decoration).
How pretty are these colored cherrios? They are perfect for craft projects!
I wanted to share my thoughts on what to get my mother in-law who is unfortunately going through another round of chemo to treat her metastasized breast cancer around her intestines. She is back home now but bed-ridden and commutes to the hospital for her chemo sessions.
Let's see what we came up with so far...
Since she spends so much time in bed...
Silk pillow cases which feel amazing on the face and helps fend of the wrinkles, too! $23.
I want this myself. A 100% Cashmere eye mask. $22.
A L.L. Bean Fleece Robe! This looks so warm and cozy. Perfect to sit on the couch by the fire and watch the chick flicks! $74.
Sex and the City movies AKA Guilty pleasure chick flicks. My mother in-law is a very educated, well-read and cultured person but I wanted to get her some ultimate chick flicks that she probably will not get herself. I know she will love them.
I think she would like this Leather Journal/Sketch Book since she is an artist. $25.