This coming Sunday I have invited the whole big family over for dinner. We`ll be 7 adults and 5 kids around the table. When cooking for such a large group, I try to prepare as much as possible in advance. This way I get to spend more time with my family and keep the stress-level to a minimum.

I plan to serve a small aperitif and then a three course meal. The main course will be served family-style, meaning that the casserole will be placed on the table and everyone serves themselves. You can see the full menu with links to recipes at the bottom of this page.

I come from Norway, but I seldom cook completely traditional Norwegian dishes. What i like to do is to make my own spin on known dishes by adding ingredients often used in Scandinavian cuisine. For example, this Sunday I will serve brownies with lingonberry cream for dessert.
But firsts first so let`s start with the aperitif.

Offering your guests a small tasty treat when they arrive is a lovely way of welcoming them to your house. Toasting with each guest is like saying “Thank you for coming”. It kicks of the dinner-party, the guests talk amongst themselves, admires the table you decorated so carefully and it provides you with a get-away into the kitchen to lay the last needed touches on the first course.

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For this aperitif, I will use rosemary, which is an ingredient that sparks the appetite.
Roasted pecan nuts with fresh rosemary and semi-dry Prosecco with one rosemary sprig in each glass. For the children I will prepare a sweet lemonade and they also will have a sprig of rosemary in their glass – if they want to.

Salmon is well known to most people and loved in Scandinavian countries. For the starter, I would like to serve Smoked Salmon Mousse, rye bread and maybe a sprout salad.
You can easily make the mousse two days in advance and keep refrigerated.

For the main course I choose my favorite comfort food: Stew.
Since it`s winter season, I will make this Wild Winter Stew with venison and pumpkin, which will add some nice color. Laurel, star anise and dark chocolate will give the sauce that extra comforting feel. You can get the sauce and meat simmering early in the day – the longer it simmers the better really – and then add the pumpkin when you sit down at the table for the starter. If venison is not your favorite, you can also make this with lamb shoulder. Serve the stew with nordic “flatbread”.

As mentioned earlier in this post, I will serve Brownies and Lingonberry Cream for dessert.
I have added a little cinnamon to the brownie and the lingonberry are mixed with lightly whipped cream as a topping. The brownie can be baked a day or two in advance of the dinner. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic. Make the creamy lingonberry topping on the day of the dinner.
A strong cup of coffee would be just the perfect addition to this dish.

After all this food and long hours at the table, you might want to invite your family out for a Sunday stroll. Fresh air and movement never hurt anyone, I think.
Yes, it might be windy and a little cold outside, but as we say in Norway:
“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”.

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