Dear friends, this letter has been sent to you from Ljubljana
Slovenia and Slovenian Third Age University, a netwok of 52 universities
involved in numerous interesting projects. Have a look at a featured film we recently produced in the CINAGE project. This will give you a better idea of who we are and what we do.
is a South Central European country with a population of about two million. The capital city is Ljubljana. If you know Salzburg, you will easily picture what Ljubljana is like. There is a castle, there is a river, there is typical Austrian architecture in the centre of the town.
The Slovenian territory used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the latter's dissolution at the end of World War I. In 1918, In 1991 after a short ten-day war the new independent Slovenia was established. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy have made possible Slovenia's rapid transformation towards a modern democratic state. Slovenia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone and the Schengen zone in 2007.
In our baking group
there are retirees learning English.
Vera is a retired oncologist. She used to be Slovenian ambassador of knowledge. She likes studying. She‘s happy to have time enough to study something else but medicine, now.
Tatjana. She’s a retired economist who worked for LEK Bayer, a national pharmaceutical company.
Lučka is a retired engineer. She’s enthusiastic about different topics and English in general. She also works as a volunteer teaching English people with head injuries.
Vikca is a retired accountant She used to adore coffee. She used to be a coffee person, but this not the case anymore. She is very nice. Whenever I have a financial problem, I go to Vikca. She’s got grandchildren and a son who lives in Austria, and some grandchildren live in Ljubljana. She likes them a lot and we like her.
Jelka is a retired teacher of English. She’s got a grand daughter in China, A little Chinese girl.
Alojz, I do not know what to say. He’s got so many different degrees. He’s very smart, though he is not talkative.
Mateja, worked as a researcher for LEK, Now she is retired but she still teaches at a tertiary school young students of cosmetic. Her English is so good. She’s got a partner in Australia.
Jože is a mechanical engineer and he was also responsible for staff in a big oil company. Recently he has had some eye problems and we were worried, He is fine now. He is very kind.
Metka is our “Polish” girl. She speaks Polish and she is knowledgeable about Polish culture. It is not frequent that somebody speaks another Slavic language.
She used to work for a ministry and she had to travel a lot to meetings in Brussels.
Helena used to a have a high position in our national bank. She’s nice. When our group went for a study visit to New York we shared a room. She was great fun.
Franček is a retired mechanical engineer and so is Marko. They are both very sociable and they are now good friends. Franček helps me, his teacher, with all sorts of technical problems.
Miran is the philosopher of the group. He likes thinking, defining, understanding concepts. He used to be the deputy director of Slovenian Radio and Television responsible for technological matters.
Me, Dušana, a university teacher, specialised in adult education, I am also their teacher of English.
Marko, Alojz, Jože, Lučka in Freiburg
Medenjaki. Slovenian Cinnamon Honey Cookie Recepie
Do make sure they are 1/4” thick. These cookies are thick, cake-like and homey.
Use the same name brand cookie sheets otherwise the baking time will vary. Opening and closing the oven door to check on cookies is not the best!!
Always purchase two of the same baking pans/sheets.
We like to bake one pan at a time, when a sheet comes out, the other goes in. It makes for better baking.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup clover honey, or other mild honey
Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
GLAZE: 1 egg white beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Combine the butter and honey in a large saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in orange zest and let stand until mixture cools to room temperature.
Meanwhile, thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside.
Separate one of the eggs and set the white aside in a small bowl.
Add egg yolk and 2 eggs to the cooled honey mixture and beat with a wooden spoon. Stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours or up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Grease baking sheets and set aside.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. If it seems too stiff to roll out, knead briefly to soften slightly. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick, dusting rolling pin frequently with flour and lifting the dough to make sure it isn’t sticking.
Using a 2 1/4 inch plain round cutter or the rim of a small drinking glass, cut out the cookies. Transfer them to greased baking sheets with a spatula, spacing about 2 inches apart. Gather and re-roll dough scraps and continue cutting out cookies until all the dough is used. (If the dough is too soft and sticky to roll out, refrigerate it briefly.)
In a small bowl, beat together the reserved egg white and 2 teaspoons water with a fork. Using a pastry brush or a paper towel, evenly brush cookie tops with the wash.
Place cookies in the center of the oven and bake the cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or until nicely browned all over and just slightly darker at the edges. Remove baking sheets from the oven and let cookies stand 1 minute. Immediately transfer to wire racks and let stand until cooled completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Freeze for longer storage. Makes 35 to 40 (2 3/4 inch) cookies.
About Christmas in Slovenia
Slovenia is mostly a catholic country, so we celebrate Christmas. This is a family festivity. Even in the times of the socialist Yugoslavia it was celebrated in most families, though we were supposed to work the day before, some of us till 9 o’ clock p.m. There is no traditional Christmas meal, no turkey but maybe potiza, a nut cake, which is known in most countries of the Central Europe, just nicely laid table, with neat cuttlery and cristal glasses, candles etc. Of course, presents were and are distributed to each family member, nicely wrapped etc. The Christmas tree is decorated. There are Christmas balls on it, red and green and blue… When we were little children there were oranges instead of Christmas balls and candies wrapped in silk paper and hung on the Christmas tree. Over the last year the tradition of going to the midnight holy mess has come back.
The New Year Eve is more an occasion for outing. People spend several days in numerous spas, in the Alps or on the coast.
Questions we would like to ask you:
How do older people live in your country?
How do you celebrate Christmas?
Dear pen and cookie friends,
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year hoping to meet you some day.
Vera, Tatjana, Lučka, Vikca, Jelka , Alojz, Mateja, Jože, Metka,
Helena, Franček,Marko,Miran, Dušana
Author: SVN Slovenian Third Age University