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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Twelve days before Christmas

Twelve days before Christmas we made the gingerbread dough for building our traditional gingerbread house. It needs to stand in the fridge over one night at least, so it's a good idea to start early with the preparations.

Eleven days before Christmas we made the traditional pork roll, or rullsylta, which is a piece of (organically reared) pork belly that is seasoned with a mix of Christmas spices. It is a very old and traditional cold cut, with the Danes and Swedes using a different recipe to the one we use here in Finland. Once the meat has been boiled it is placed underneath a press over night before it is ready to eat in thin slices on home made Christmas bread.

Ten days before Christmas we baked the pieces for the gingerbread house, but for some very odd reason the dough didn't set properly. It needs to be hard enough when the pieces came out from the oven that they don't bend, which it wasn't, so we ended up making gingerbread cookies instead.

Nine days before Christmas we made a new dough and left it to set in the fridge while I went out for a very, very long walk. It was the first sunny day in many weeks and I tried not to be disappointed with the lack of progress in building our gingerbread house.

Eight days before Christmas we made all the pieces for the gingerbread house anew and decorated them. Gelatine leaves are used for the window, and a drop of white wine vinegar is added to the icing sugar to make it brightly white. Then it is left over night to make sure they set and become hard enough to withstand the glueing process.

Seven days before Christmas Boomer managed to climb up on the table and eat several of the gingerbread pieces, but obviously he blamed it on the chicken. Luckily we still had leftover dough in the fridge and could make new ones.

Six days before Christmas we could finally glue the gingerbread house together with melted sugar - not as easy a process as it sounds! The pieces break so easily that it is nerve-racking, and the joy when it is successfully done is immense.

Five days before Christmas we took in the Christmas trees and decorated them. Not to worry though - we have acres and acres of untouched woods and there is no one who would even notice that three little trees are missing.

Four days before Christmas and it was the longest night of the year, Winter solstice. We celebrated it as tradition has it with a sauna in the evening to wash away last years worries and troubles in accordance olden times new year celebration, as from now on the days will begin to become longer and lighter again.

From then on tranquility descends over the houses on the farm. Christmas week is spent eating sweets, taking long walks and simply enjoying precious family time. With that I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas 2020!

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