Italian panettone (Dreamstime)
Blog Words : Food & Drink | 24 December

3 alternative recipes for Christmas

Sick of sprouts and turkey? Sample one of these three festive meals from around the world for a different type of feast this Christmas

1. Portuguese Christmas Eve codfish

Traditionally in Portugal, families celebrate Christmas Eve by attending Midnight Mass, after which, they gather around the table to have supper. The main dish of this meal is the Christmas Eve codfish.

Serves: 6


1200g codfish filets
Salt, qb
3dl olive oil
Parsley, qb
Pepper, qb
500g medium-sized potatoes
60g onions
350g carrots
500g Portuguese cabbage
6 eggs

qb – quanto basta, meaning as much as needed/to taste


1. Boil the codfish (already de-salted) in water with salt, a splash of olive oil, parsley and pepper.

2. Peel the potatoes and onions. Peel the carrots and clean the cabbage. Wash all the ingredients and boil in water with salt.

3. Boil the eggs separately, for 10 minutes.

4. In a pan, heat the olive-oil and the sliced onions. When the onion becomes transparent, add some of the water used to cook the codfish. Allow to boil until this has reduced by half.

5. Place the codfish, the vegetables and the sliced boiled eggs in a serving dish.

2. Swedish Köttbullar (meatballs)

Köttbullar or Swedish meatballs must be prepared, above all, with love. This is why “Mom’s meatballs” are a widespread concept in Sweden, and there are many different favorite recipes. Some people feel there should be grated onion in the meatball mixture itself, while
others prefer to dice the onion and fry it separately. Some people feel that their meatballs should be served with thick brown gravy, while others prefer it with a thin meat juice. As part of a smörgåsbord buffet, it is better to skip the gravy altogether.

In southern Sweden many people prefer their ground meat with a little more fat, but the further north you go, the less pork you will find in the meatball mixture. However, bread or rusk crumbs allowed to swell in milk are as important as the lingonberries on the side. They give Swedish meatballs their special soft consistency.

Serves: 4-6


500g ground (minced) beef/pork mixture
250ml milk
150g white breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 onion
salt, white pepper
ground allspice


1. Finely dice the onion and sauté gently in a little butter without browning.

2. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk.

3. Blend the ground meat, preferably in a food processor, with the onion, egg, milk/breadcrumb mixture and the spices to the proper consistency and taste. Add a little water if the mixture feels too firm. Check the taste by test-frying one meatball.

4. Then shape small meatballs with the aid of two spoons and place on water-rinsed plates.

5. Brown a generous pat of butter in a frying pan, and when it "goes quiet" place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides. Shake the frying pan often. Serve with potato purée or boiled potatoes and raw stirred lingonberries.

3. Italian Panettone


2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
250ml lukewarm milk
350g flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
3 tbsp candied citrus peel (chopped)
50g golden raisin
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1 orange, zest of
1 lemon, zest of, grated
1 tsp vanilla

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

confectioners' sugar


1. In a bowl, sprinkle yeast into milk; let stand for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture.

3. Using a wooden spoon bring enough of the flour into the yeast mixture until a soft paste is formed (you won't use all of the flour in the "sponge"); cover with a towel and let this "sponge" sit till frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.

4. Mix in the flour from the sides of the well to form stiff dough.

5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead till smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Put dough in a bowl and cover; rise till double (about 1 hour).

7. Now for the fun bit... Punch down and rest for 10 minutes.

8. Grease a round mould, a deep cake pan, or a small saucepan about 8" across and 6" deep with softened butter; line the base and sides with baking parchment so that it extends 5" above the top.

9. Knead 7 tablespoons soft butter, eggs yolks, sugar, citrus peel, raisins, nutmeg, lemon and orange zests, and vanilla into the dough until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes.

10. Shape the dough into a round loaf; place in prepared mould. Use the tip of a sharp knife and cut an "X" across the top; cover and let rise till doubled, about 2 hours.

12. Brush the top with the egg glaze that has been mixed well.

13. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes; until a pick comes out clean.

14. Remove from mould and let cool in the baking paper on a wire rack.

15. Dust top with confectioners’ sugar to decorate.

These recipes have been supplied by Sunvil Discovery, their exclusive new programme to promote local foods Sunvil Supper Club, and the West Sweden tourist board.

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