Christmas in London!!!
I am sitting on my couch, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows. The house still has all the Christmas decorations; we really need to do something about it. But I like it that way, so I think I can keep them for a few more days. I had a wonderful time during Christmas and New Year’s this year. Away from Athens, I missed my parents very much but I was in my new home here in London!
I made kourabiedes for the first time and shared them with my Greek neighbor – sharing food from home and memories is a magical thing. The recipe follows.
Mr N and I went to a classical music Christmas concert, cooked Christmas dinner, watched Christmas movies and (the part that I loved most) spent the next day enjoying the leftovers and sipping champagne.
My little sister visited us and we spent time together; I felt like I was 15 again, when we were both living in our home in Athens and we used to meet up in the kitchen to talk in front of our open fridge, eating cheese and marmalade or biscuits and milk.
2012 started while we were running for the fireworks, under a bridge by Borough Market. I’ve never had such an alternative NYE! Below is the Greek Vasilopita, a cake we cut on the first day of the new year.
And, as every year, things I will do in 2012:
Well, lots of New Year’s Resolutions dear reader but I’ll save most details for my moleskine:
To cook more and better; to be able to write using the words “juxtaposition”, “binary opposition”, “trajectory” and “dichotomy” like a proper anthropologist; most importantly, to take risks and fight; and to enjoy every minute of it!!!
Now to the recipe!
Kourabiedes are traditional Greek “snowy” cookies which are prepared only during Christmas. Along with melomakarona (another type of cookie with suryp) and diples (deep fried dough with honey), kourabiedes are the only way a (Greek) home can feel that it’s Christmas. You need good quality butter to make them; it makes all the difference. There are many local variations: some use a shot of cognac to flavor the dough, I found a recipe with anise seeds and there is also the matter of flour to butter ratio. This recipe is from Mr N’s family.
Beat 250gr of room temperature butter for 15-20 minutes until soft, fluffy and white. Add the zest of one small lemon and 40gr of powdered sugar. Continue, mixing in 400 grams of self-rising flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time. You want a
butter-smelling dough which will not be sticky.
Add 100gr of coarsely chopped almonds (depending on your preferences you can increase the almonds up to 250 gr in total).
Using a spoon for measuring, prepare small balls of dough (or larger if you prefer, but don't forget to adjust the cooking time) and place them on a buttered baking tray. Make sure to leave some space between them as they will rise.
Bake at 160C for 20 minutes or until they rise and look slightly beige in colour. Leave to cool and while still warm (not hot, straight from the oven) sprinkle lots of powdered sugar on top. Enjoy with a glass of mulled wine or milk and with your loved ones.
And although Christmas is over I am now going to eat another kourabie. I’m abroad so I can celebrate a little longer!!!
May we all have a Happy and Delicious New Year!