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CHRISTMAS

Recipe: How to make Swedish Christmas rice porridge

With Christmas just around the corner, here is a recipe for traditional Swedish festive rice pudding.

Recipe: How to make Swedish Christmas rice porridge
Swedish rice pudding. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Risgrynsgröt (rice porridge) has been an important Swedish dish for centuries. It can be served at any time of the year, and is almost always served at julbord (Christmas buffet). 

Summary

Serves 4 large portions

Cooking: 45 minutes

Total: 45 minutes

Ingredients

150g pudding (short-grain) rice

300ml water

½ tsp salt

700ml milk

1 cinnamon stick

1 ½ tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

15g butter

ground cinnamon for dusting 

Method

1. Put the rice, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add the milk and cinnamon stick. Mix well and heat until the mixture is hot, but don't let it boil.

3. Cover again and leave the pudding on a very low heat until the rice has absorbed all the milk. This will normally take between 30 and 45 minutes. Don't stir the rice and keep it covered as much as possible. 

4. Once the milk has been absorbed, remove from the heat and leave covered for another 10 minutes. Then stir in the sugar and butter.

5. Serve lukewarm, dusted with ground cinnamon. At Christmas, hide an almond in the pudding before serving.

Tips

– Take care in stage 3 as the pudding will burn very easily.

– This recipe is based on a traditional Swedish recipe which was for 4 people, but I think it could easily serve 8.

– A creamy cold version, called Ris a la Malta, is served with a fruit sauce and is perhaps even more popular.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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