In 1967 actor David Niven was asked for his favourite festive recipes for a newspaper article. As David’s second wife was Swedish, he explained their British/Swedish Christmas fare as follows, “Traditionally we have Swedish food on Christmas Eve and toast each other with mugs of glögg. After doing the whole Swedish bit, we celebrate Christmas Day with a typical English dinner of turkey and plum pudding. We wind up tons heavier, not speaking to anyone.”
I know the feeling David! It’s all on the way very soon…
One of the recipes David shared with food writer Johnna Blinn was this lovely rice pudding. Traditionally eaten at Christmastime in Sweden I made a vegan version for Bibelot and it was absolutely delicious. Don’t forget to add the single almond!
David Niven’s Julgrot (Christmas rice pudding)
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 cup water
- 5.5 cups plant milk
- Two pieces of cinnamon stick, each about 1.5 inches long
- 1 tsp. salt
- Scant tablespoon of sugar
- 1 almond
- Scald rice with boiling water. Melt half the amount of butter, add to rice and water. Boil for 15 minutes (or until water is absorbed.)
- Add plant milk and the cinnamon stick, cook slowly for about 45 minutes (or until rice is tender and milk has been absorbed) stir often to avoid scorching.
- Season and add remaining butter. Pour the porridge into deep dish and serve with cold milk and sugar.
- Traditionally, the family cook adds a single almond to the rice. Tradition rules that the one who gets the almond is to be the next one married in the coming year.
The classic Hollywood movie to watch during the festive season would be It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
But to accompany David’s Christmas rice pudding I would propose The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
David Niven plays a priest who is visited by an angel, personified by the wonderful Cary Grant.
There are echos of It’s a Wonderful Life in this later movie, you might even recognise a couple of the child actors. It’s a cosy, feel-good Christmassy movie, perfect for Christmas Eve. If you fancy a double bill, Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1988) would be great alongside The Bishop’s Wife. Angels, angels everywhere!
For a festive tipple why not rustle up some of David Niven’s Julglögg (Christmas wine) too? It’s recipe of the month over at the Silver Screen Suppers blog.
Here’s a link to the recipe of the month – Recipe of the Month – David Niven’s Julglögg (Christmas wine) – Silver Screen Suppers
Have a lovely Christmas – cheers!
Eating and drinking like the stars of yesteryear…