Christmas is almost here and with this special season comes culinary preparation. It is undoubtedly the most delicious time of the year. Meals that appear on the table are often prepared according to recipes passed down from generation to generation. There are certain products, including plants, without which Christmas would not be the same.
In many homes, Christmas Eve begins with the aromatic, intensely red traditional beetroot soup. Prepared with sourdough, it has a very distinctive smell, and its aroma is always associated with the atmosphere of Christmas. It is worth remembering not to boil the red beetroot soup when heated because it will lose its color. Another tip is to add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a grated, raw, peeled beet at the end of cooking. Just stir it, wait 2 minutes and it’s ready. This will make the soup intensely rich in taste and color.
Traditional beetroot soups often include dumplings. For those who want to try something different, a filling made of fresh spinach will be perfect.
200 g of young spinach
250 g of flour
40 g of butter
pinch of salt
100 ml of water
250 g of feta cheese
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of butter
a handful of chopped parsley
- Add salt to the sifted flour, mix thoroughly. Knead the dry ingredients with the butter.
- Add hot water and mix with a spoon until the ingredients combine.
- Put the dough on the pastry board and knead for about 15 minutes, until smooth.
- Put the cake in the fridge for about half an hour.
- Brown the onion, add the garlic, spinach, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Allow cooling. Then add the cheese and parsley and season to taste.
- Divide the dough into 3 parts and roll out into 2 mm cakes. Make circles with a narrow glass.
- Put the stuffing in the middle of the circle. Cover with a second circle and glue the layers together to create traditionally shaped ears.
- Boil in salted water for about 3 minutes until the dumplings come to the top.
In many homes baking gingerbread cookies is also a festive ritual. Not everyone has time to prepare them in advance so that they lie down and soften for a long time. In order to speed up this process, it is worth putting a piece of apple into the box with the gingerbread cookies. Then take them out after a day. The moisture from the fruit will “soak” into the gingerbread cookies and soften naturally.
We associate Christmas with the warm atmosphere and the aromatic smells of Christmas Eve delicacies. If we are looking for an original addition to Christmas meals, it is a good idea to benefit from the richness of vegetables and herbs. In winter we are more prone to infections and cooling down of the body. The ideal solution for winter is to use spices and herbs that have a warming effect on us. They add variety to the menu and have a positive impact on our health.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of the cinnamon tree. We all know cinnamon used as a spice, but we may not be aware that it is also a plant with tremendous healing properties. Cinnamon increases the antioxidant potential and protects against free radicals. Besides, it has anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. In the kitchen, it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. Cinnamon is an irreplaceable ingredient of gingerbread and mulled wine.
Ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect, is recommended for arthritis, and has a positive effect on the functioning of the digestive tract. Additionally, it has analgesic, anti-migraine, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It is a good idea to add a few slices of ginger to your food or tea to enhance their warming character.
Cardamom has a multidirectional, beneficial effect. It has a protective effect on the digestive tract, lowers blood pressure, and has immunomodulatory properties. It owes all these features to the presence of bioactive substances. Aromatic cardamom seeds are used in rice dishes, cakes, and also as an ingredient in drinks (mainly coffee). It can also be used for gingerbread and mulled wine.
Turmeric is a plant raw material that, in addition to its warming properties, is recommended in the fight against cancer. In cancer research, extracts of curcumin, an ingredient isolated from turmeric, are used. Turmeric is widely used in treating many diseases: inflammatory bowel diseases, pancreatitis, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, and even psoriasis. So let’s take advantage of its health-promoting effects and use it when preparing dishes. Ground turmeric is an excellent addition to soups and rice.
Carnation flower buds are used as a spice, and it is recommended to use them in their original, non-powdered form. It is worth keeping them in tightly closed boxes so that they retain their aroma longer. The main ingredient of cloves is eugenol, which has disinfecting and anesthetic properties. Other important active substances are sesquiterpenes, which have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Cloves have a sweet and slightly bitter or spicy aftertaste. The perfect recipe for cold days can be mulled wine or tea with the addition of cloves. Cloves combine very well with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Winter weather is conducive to discovering spicy aromas, not only in dishes but in holiday decorations too. An orange or cinnamon candle fragrant with cloves can create a pleasant, festive mood.
Although this year’s Christmas will be different in many homes, it is worth taking care of a unique, warm atmosphere, of which Christmas cuisine is an integral part. Let us take advantage of simple tips so that our Christmas Eve dinner brings us joy and happiness.
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