Twelve dishes of Christmas

Dish #2


Another must have on a festive table is Vzvar [Vzvar] взвар.

A great alcohol and sugar free alternative to mulled wine or hot Toddy.

It is traditionally made with dried fruits and honey. You’ll only make it better by adding cinnamon, cloves, anice seed- the choice is yours.

We are offering you a recipe with dried apples. But you can also make it with a mix of dried pears, cherries or prunes.

200g dried apples

4 tbs honey

1.5l water

Soak the apples in boiling water for about 4hours . If you’re planning to add aromatic herbs or spices, add them when you pour the boiling water, so they can infuse the drink. After 4 hours sift the mixture and add the honey. Mix until the honey is diluted.

Enjoy hot or cold!

Traditional Russian Christmas dishes

In the run up to Christmas we are offering you twelve traditional Russian Christmas dishes, both healthy and indulgent.

12 days following Christmas Day were considered Holly days, or Святки [Svyatki]. This is where the tradition of having twelve festive dishes on the Christmas table stems from.

Traditionally all food would have been prepared before the first star sets in the sky on Christmas eve.

The main dish would be Сочиво [Socheevah], or Кутья [Kootyah].

Сочиво, or кутья

This a delicious sweet dish, that can equally be eaten for breakfast, desert or at a Christmas table. Totally vegan as well!

  • 1 cup coarsely ground wheat grains
    100g poppy seeds
    100g walnuts or almonds
    2-3tbs liquid honey
    pinch of salt
    a handful of raisins (optional)

Rinse the wheat grains and soak them in boiling water for one hour. Rinse again and boil on medium heat until fully cooked.

Soak poppy seeds in boiling water for 15mins and then mash them with a spoon.

Add honey and mix well.

Add the mixture to the wheat .

Lastly, add raisins and chopped nuts.

Tip: *make sure the honey mixture is warm when adding it to the grains, so that they can absorb the sweetness of honey.

**You can easily substitute wheat for a cup of rice or 150g pearl barley. It will taste just as nice.


Russian words and phrases at Christmas and New Year

 A few Russian words and and a bit of cultural insight to help you make the most of talking to your Russian friends and neighbours over Christmas and New Year time

The most anticipated and loved holiday in Russia is

НОВЫЙ ГОД [novi god] -New Years Eve.

To wish somebody a happy New Year, say

С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ! [s novym godam!] Happy new year!


As the Cremlin Clock strikes 12-no joke, every household will have a live broadcast from the Red Square- you’ll hear Russians shouting

С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ! С НОВЫМ СЧАСТЬЕМ! [s novym godam! S novym shchastyem!] Happy new year! Happy new happiness!


As the Soviet legacy is slowly becoming a thing of the past, Russians are warming more and more towards

РОЖДЕСТВО [razhdiestvoh] Christmas,

which Russian Orthodox Church celebrates on the 7th of January!

ВЕСЁЛОГО РОЖДЕСТВА! [vyesyolava razhduestva!] Merry Christmas!


The Russians are not too bothered about Christmas gifts, but we wouldn’t advise you to pay urn up at a New Year’s Eve party if you don’t have

НОВОГОДНИЙ ПОДАРОК [navagodniy pahdahrahk] New Years present.


Did you know that Russian Santa Claus is actually called Father Frost? That’s

ДЕД МОРОЗ [dyed mahros] in Russian.


And, he is not accompanied by the Reindeer. He has a granddaughter called

СНЕГУРОЧКА [snyegoorachka] Snowgirl

to help him.


Just like we do over here, Russians looove some snow over the Christmas holidays.

СНЕГ [snyeg] snow❄️❄️❄️


And of course, they never forget about Christmas tree, which is

ЁЛКА [yolkah].


НОВОГОДНИЕ РАСПРОДАЖИ [navagodneeyeh raspradahzhi]

are now part and parcel of Christmas festivities. They usually start after NYE and are hence called New Year sales.


Interested to learn more? Check out our website and book your 50% off trial lesson.

Keep checking for our weekly language blog posts and culinary Wednesdays.


If Belka the dog could conquer space… Then you can conquer Russian… EASILY!