Anna, otherwise known as Lila Ruby King is a lovely Australian artist, who makes beautiful jewelry and other things, now living in Athens, Greece. Happily, I've had the opportunity to meet Anna in Munich as she was attending a jewelry workshop and in Athens too. She is super talented as well as organized (her studio was amazing) - and she has a great sense of humor too ;)
Here's what Anna has to say about her Greek/Australian holiday traditions:
We don’t really have a Christmas tradition set in stone. Some years my husband and I go back to Australia to visit my family for Christmas, and my mum does do the traditional family meal, with Christmas pud and brandy butters and all.
I do still believe the summer Christmas to be superior to the winter Christmas, a nice long, sunny day, sitting outside, kids get to play with their presents in the park.
If we’re staying in the Northern Hemisphere, we really follow no tradition at all (except maybe to eat far too many of the Greek Christmas biscuits.) Usually I take it is a day off, to cook something new and creative I haven’t tried before, that may or may not be a success.
For the new year, I always have a few new projects I’m ready to try, and to keep going with a few new things that I started this year. I hope to get in a bit of traveling and to have more success with tulips.
One thing I love about Christmas in Greece are the traditional Greek Christmas biscuits, melomakarona and kourabiedes. Both are seriously addictive.
Here is the recipe for the melomakarona:
1 cup olive oil
6 TBS castor sugar
6 TBS orange juice
2 TBS ouzo (or brandy)
3.5 cups plain flour
1 TSP baking powder
½ TSP ground cloves
½ TSP bicarb. Soda
2 cups honey
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 TSP ground cinnamon
2 cups walnuts, chopped.
Biscuits: Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Beat together the olive oil, sugar, orange juice and ouzo.
Sift into the mixture the flour, baking powder, cloves and bicarb soda, and knead gently to combine.
Roll up approximately 2 TBS sized balls, and form into a flattened oval shape, and lay onto a baking sheet, leaving a few centimeters between each biscuit.
Bake for 30 minutes and leave to cool to room temperature.
Syrup: In a saucepan, mix the honey, sugar, water and cinnamon and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
Did the cooled biscuits into the hot syrup, using a slotted spoon, and allow them to soak up the liquid for about 30 seconds each. Serve on a tray, sprinkled with chopped walnuts.
Those Greek Christmas cookies sound amazing Anna! Thank you for sharing this recipe and I will be very, very tempted to make them soon (or maybe I should just send you my address ;) Thanks so much and I wish you and your family very happy holidays!