Bulgarian style Christmas Eve with a Swedish twist

By ani - December 26, 2017

This Christmas was our first one as a family of three so I was extremely excited about it. As Vicky is still quite little, my husband and I have decided not to travel back to Bulgaria, but stay in London and spend some quiet and relaxing time at home, just the three of us. Even though we were going to be on our own, I still wanted to follow the Bulgarian customs and prepare a traditional, vegetarian meal for Christmas Eve. I believe that it’s very important for us to follow our own traditions in order to preserve our cultural heritage, especially while we are living as expats.

According to the Bulgarian customs, the Christmas Eve meal should be vegetarian and include an odd number of dishes (7,9,11, etc.), which encourages abundance in the coming year. Thus, our menu consisted of beans soup, stuffed cabbage, pickled cabbage appetizer, nuts, traditional home-made soda bread and not so traditional Swedish style spicy biscuits. The most commonly prepared Christmas desserts in Bulgaria are baklava and sweet ‘banica’ (a traditional filo pastry) with apples or pumpkin, however, I decided to spice things up a little and prepare the so popular festive ginger buscuits instead. Although I baked cookies for the first time, I dare to say they turned out quite delicious, very crunchy and didn’t last long.  You can find the recipe at the end of the post.

Another interesting tradition we follow on Christmas Eve is that we hide a coin in the soda bread that symbolizes prosperity and whoever finds the coin will be rewarded with good fortune in the coming year. And guess who got the coin? … myself, of course. So I am now pretty much looking forward to a good and prosperous year ahead – fingers crossed.

What Christmas traditions do you follow? Please let me know in the comments below.

Vegan Swedish-style spicy biscuits

100gr brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
5 tbsp water
5 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp mixed spices ( I used Schwartz Ground Mixed Spice)
1 tsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
240gr plain flour

Mix the sugar along with the water, honey and oil in a saucepan and simmer slowly until it gets melted. Turn off the heat and add the flour with the baking soda and all the spices. Mix well with a wooden spoon until you get a soft dough. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C and bake until the biscuits are golden brown.  You can serve them plain or decorated with different toppings such as icing, chocolate or nuts.

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