– This post is a sponsored collaboration with Lidl Sverige –
Overnight the temperature dropped 10 degrees and we woke up to a glistening cold and white Narnia forest. We had an errand “in town” (meaning the closest gas station 20 min by bus away) so just when the first rays of sun hit the tree tops we were at the bus stop hopping from one side to another to stay warm. Ten minutes later the bus passed the harbor, and the sky was burning with the most magnificent sunrise! Oh how I wish I had brought my camera in that moment! But I guess some things are meant to be etched into your mind rather than preserved through technology.
This morning would turn out to be one of those times when mindfulness are almost forced onto you. When it’s this cold (-10’C/14’F) and you have 1,5 hour outside to pass before the returning bus arrives, it is impossible to not be acutely aware of the immediate now. The numbness of your feet and the hurting beauty of the white and dark green tree crowns bathing in golden light. How badly you are craving a hot cup of cocoa and to close your eyes and sleep under a warm blanket just for a moment.
My desire of a slower everyday life seems to have been heard, if so only through small events that adds up to the consequence of me gaining this hour and a half out in nature in the freezing cold, which ultimately changed my plans for the day and forced me to listen to what I really need.
Now, instead of jumping straight into the work tasks I was gonna do for the day, I’m sitting with my feet up on a stool by the fire, sipping a herbal concoction I just made with the last, sad thyme and rosemary sprigs from the kitchen counter. I’ve started to realize that the ability to drop everything and enjoy moments of rest in the everyday is not something that will come to me as a reward after many years of perfecting my schedule. These moments have to be claimed, daily. Regardless of what other pursuits they might interfere with.
This year I’m teaming up with Lidl, to inspire you to take it a little easy over the holidays. To let go of the pressures on yourself to cook the perfect Christmas dinner or come up with the perfect gifts. And likewise to demand less of your family members. Most of us are probably having a hard time right now, with a heavy workload and decreased immunity, winter blues and tiredness. Some of us might even go through some seriously difficult things.
To demonstrate their vision of a stress free Christmas for everyone, Lidl has created a music video in collaboration with Emily Roberts. You can also read more about the campaign & Santa Clara on Lidl’s website and in my blog post about a stress free Christmas.
At Christmas Eve (we celebrate on the 24th) the one thing we always take time to enjoy in the midst of all the ambitious food preparations is to gather around the fire in the late afternoon with our cups of mulled wine and some cheese and crackers.
The simple moments of togetherness, something warm to drink and something small to nibble on has always been my favorite ones. It way outmatches the mighty dinner buffet we enjoy later in the evening.
Having that moment together by the fire will build up those energies way more than stressing over being the perfect host or fitting in all the typical holiday activities in one day.
These small, in between moments are the moments I’ve been focusing on when developing my winter recipes this year. It’s the nourishing soup you enjoy after a long walk on boxing day (when you need a break from all the Christmas food), or the cookie you dip into your coffee cup in the morning. It’s the 10 minute dessert you whip up when your patience for making caramels or st lucia buns are 0%. It’s the sweet and fragrant blood orange & rosemary jam you let simmer on the stove while slowly stirring when you need a bit of cooking therapy, before plunging into the family conversations again.
What small moments like these are your favorite during the holidays?
Cooking has always been my therapy, and therefore something I rarely stress over. If only the thought of spending 3o min by the stove to make your own jam before Christmas freaks you out, then please skip it! Buy a nice couple of cheeses and a store bought jam instead. Just like Mary wrote, I would hate for this blog to be a cause of stress for you.
But if you, like me, find comfort in cooking, then I hope I can inspire you to carve out this time in the kitchen for yourself, stirring a pot of hot citrusy marmalade while letting your mind wander.
This slightly tart blood orange jam with hints of rosemary is a nice addition to the cheese spread. It pairs well with both mild cheeses such as Camembert, but also salty, aged cheeses like Cheddar or Gruyère. I like to serve it with my homemade seed crackers, but any salty cracker would do. Serving the jam & cheese with a light mulled wine adds an extra layer of cosiness and holiday vibes, but feel free to go with whatever beverage that does the trick for you :-)
Notes: 1) The rosemary makes this jam just a little bit more interesting, but if rosemary is not your cup of tea, feel free to omit it. 2) I like my jam pretty tart, so I only added 2,5 tbsp sugar. You can of course add more if you like it sweeter. 3) This recipe makes one rather small jar. Simply because I don’t want you to spend all of Christmas Eve peeling oranges ;-) Also, it’s bursting with flavors so one jar goes a long way!
Blood Orange & Rosemary Jam
makes one (very) small jar
5 blood oranges, flesh only
3 – 4 tbsp raw sugar, according to taste
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves
a tiny pinch of salt
Peel the oranges using a sharp fruit knife. Make sure to cut away as much of the white as possible. Cut out the slices like you would with a grapefruit (see the photos), so that there are no peel or white parts in the jam (that would make it bitter).
Place orange slices, sugar and rosemary leaves in a small saucepan. Gently bring the pot to boiling, then lower heat to medium low and let simmer while stirring occasionally. Remove the top foam by scraping it off with a spoon. Add more sugar if you like a sweeter jam. The jam is ready when it’s been reduced to a jam-like consistency, about 20-30 min.
Let cool completely and serve with cheese on crackers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Ps. Over the holidays I’m definitely gonna try this jam along with the traditional rice pudding (“ris á la malta”) we often eat this time of year in Sweden. For some reason I think it would be soo good! <3
This post was created in collaboration with Lidl Sverige as a part of their Santa Clara campaign. As always, all opinions are my own.
All photographs, recipes and content are Cashew Kitchen originals, unless otherwise indicated. Feel free to go wild on pinning, but always link back here and credit Cashew Kitchen when sharing. Thanks!