There is something incredibly satisfying about feeding your family good food – by putting in the effort to say: I made your favourite dinner and I love you.
Food has been so central to my upbringing. My mother is Macedonian, Greek and Serbian, so there is a lot of cultural significance that comes with food, and many of our traditions centre their celebrations around food: spending weeks making chourek at Easter time, and these irresistible Greek almond biscuits at Christmastime. These are one of my mum’s specialties. She has always made a couple of massive batches of kourabiedes during December, and they never manage to last the month. Every family has its own recipe for these – this is ours. Make sure you don’t accidentally inhale before eating and choke on the icing sugar!
Along with food being a strong link to my cultural background, food has always been front and centre of my mind in everything I do. Travel, for me, has always been food-centric – exploring markets and supermarkets in Japan, eating every eclair I lay eyes on in France, lining up for pastéis de nata (far superior to the traditional belem, if you ask me!) at Manteigaria in Lisbon. It has taught me so much about family, patience, focus and fun.
So many of my memories are surrounded by food. My baba, who was particularly special to me, was always in the kitchen. Always wanting to nourish and satisfy her family. It was her way of showing us that she loved us deeply. This is something that she has passed along to me – feeding people is how I display my love. When a friend has a new baby, I am always on food delivery. When someone has a birthday, I spend days baking a delicious cake to celebrate. When my daughter was born, I spent weeks prior stocking my freezer full of pre-made meals so that my partner and I could enjoy our newborn bubble. There is something incredibly satisfying about feeding your family good food – by putting in the effort to say: I made your favourite dinner and I love you.
EMELIA JACKSON’S NEW COOKBOOK FIRST, CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR IS OUT NOW.
450g unsalted butter, softened
170g icing sugar, plus 500g for dusting
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons plum brandy (or any spirit of your choice)
1¼ tablespoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
700g plain (all-purpose) flour
230g slivered almonds, roasted
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone baking mats.
Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. This is the most important step of this recipe – you will need to beat it for a good 8–10 minutes or until the butter is as pale as it can be. Mix in the egg yolk, brandy, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
Add 600g of the flour along with the almonds and mix to a soft but not overly sticky dough. If the mixture is too soft and sticky, mix in the remaining flour.
We bake our kourabiedes in an “S” shape, gently rolled into a log and curved by hand, but you can gently pat the dough with your hand and cut it into any shape that you like. Arrange the shapes on the baking trays.
Bake the kourabiedes in batches for 15–18 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. Allow to cool for 5–7 minutes (they should be still warm) before liberally dusting with the extra icing sugar – and I mean liberally! There’s no overdoing the icing sugar here, so go for gold.
Published in ed#676