The Christmas and New Year period is always a busy time, perhaps even more so for me as I’ve always celebrated two Christmases and on the odd occasion a second New Year too. So as always I celebrate my Croatian heritage with Christmas on the 25 of December and my Ukrainian roots with Christmas on 7 January. What made it particularly hectic in 2011/2012 was that I celebrated both in two different countries. Not to mention I cooked and prepared the traditional 12 course meal for Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. Yes 12 individual dishes...well actually 16 to be precise.
Rather than me tell you, let me show you my international festive season...
Christmas time in Paris beside the Champs Élysées.
Almost every main street in Paris gets into the spirit, as did my local street.
Fly to Split, Croatia for Christmas. Oh how lucky am I that my family comes from such a beautiful part of the world.
I decide to stay in Diocletian's Palace for a couple of days. A UNESCO world heritage listed site, which was built in 305 AD. It is effectively a walled city along the harbour.
The Palace as it use to be.
Christmas tree and lights in one of the squares within the Palace.
Exploring some of Split, climbing about 750 steps to the top of the city.
And the view...
Christmas Day lunch with the 'kolachi' (cakes) in the middle.
The family... my Baka, and my cousins.
My cousin in-law (with a big wheel of cheese) and my Teta.
Yum...sarma (sour cabbage rolls - top right) my favourite!
Back to Paris for New Year...where nothing much happend.
Fireworks have been banned for New Year...disappointing, but the Eiffel Tower is always pretty, even at midnight.
The preparations for Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner begin.
The table setting to accomodate 12 cources for six diners.
A selection of dried fruits and nuts
1. Kutya (Кутя) – cleaned wheat with honey, poppy seeds and walnuts
2. Osaladsi (Оселедці) - pickled herring served with gherkin and onion on light rye bread
3. Kolcheny Losos (Копчений Лосось)– smoked salmon served on horseradish layered tradition baguette with caper berries
4. Malenki Platsky (Маленькі Пляцкі)– mini zucchini and sweet potato rissoles served with Ajvar (roasted capsicum spread).
5. Borsch (Борщ)– meatless beetroot soup
6. Fillet Triska (Філе Тріска) – almond crusted sautéed cod fillets, served with Baklazhan below
7. Baklazhan (Баклажан) – known as Poor Man’s Cavier – eggplant, tomato and onion relish
8. Kasha (Гречана Каша)– buckwheat and potato croquets served with Dushena Fasolya sauce below
9. Dushena Fasolya (Душена Фасола) – smashed white beans with sautéed onion and parsley
10. Holubtsi (Голубці)– cabbage leaves rolled with vegetables and rice, drizzled with a wild mushroom sauce
11. Varenyky (Вареники)– traditional steamed Ukrainian dumplings filled with mashed potato, served with sautéed onion, accompanied with Kvasna Kapusta below
12. Kvasna Kapusta (Квасна Капуста)– warm sauerkraut salad with carrot, chilli and sautéed onion
Solodky Varenyky (Солодкий Вареники)– traditional steamed Ukrainian sweet dumplings filled with cherries served with a blackberry coulis
Pampushky (Пампушки) – Ukrainian donuts filled with plum povodl
Makivnyk (Маківник) – poppy seed scroll cake
Lots of champagne and vodka over a long dinner...best friend Petey and I taking our usual pouty pic, with my Christmas pressie...a new fur hat
My Christmas tree. A brilliant Christmas with family and my friends!
If I thought that was a hectic time...next, moving 2 hemispheres, 3 cities (Paris, Melbourne, Sydney) in 4 weeks...and a trip to London in the middle of it!
Still lots to do in Paris. Keep you posted!