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Q&A with author of ‘How To Eat Your Christmas Tree’ Julia Georgallis

‘How To Eat Your Christmas Tree’ is the brand new book by Julia Georgallis, packed full of recipes you will learn how to recycle your Christmas tree by cooking. We’ve caught up with author Julia Georgallias to hear all about the book and more.

Image Of How To Eat Your Christmas Tree Book
Image credit: How to Eat Your Christmas Tree by Julia Georgallis, (Hardie Grant, £11.00), Photography: © Carmel King. Illustrations: © Maru Studio, Jessica Hart

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How did you come up with the idea of How To Eat Your Christmas Tree book?
 
“The How to eat your Christmas tree project started in the winter of 2015, when designer and friend, Lauren Davies, and I were sitting around the studio we shared in East London thinking about how Christmas is so brilliant but often overshadowed by how wasteful it can be. We wondered if we could eat our way out of this and found that we could indeed! For about 6 weeks, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying to cook with pines, firs and spruces that we found growing around London – some of the things we made initially were awful – a thoroughly terrible Christmas tree scotch egg that tasted like grass will stay forever on the tip of my tongue. But eventually, we nailed it and served up a delicious, 5 course, coniferous supper club.  I continued to run the dinners each year around December/January as a way of asking people to rethink waste at Christmas time. After five years of experimenting with different recipes, I decided it was time to spread the word of tree and collated all the dishes in a cookbook so people could get creative in their own kitchens! I am really excited to see others’ take on the recipes and whether there are other aspects of cooking with Christmas trees that I haven’t thought of.”
 
What’s your favourite recipe from the book?
 
“I would say the Christmas tree cured fish recipe is up there, as I love the way it fits the brief of the book perfectly – it really is a great, simple way of reusing trees, especially ones that have been indoors for a while and are starting to get a bit dry. The flavours of pine, spruce or fir work so well with fish, it’s a real treat and I’ve made it a couple of times for Christmas day.”
 
What type of tree is your favourite to cook with?
 
“As far as I’m concerned, Blue Spruce is the king of all edible trees and I am obsessed with the Spruce ice cream recipe – it is incredible how it almost tastes of vanilla. In fact, I have recently learnt that vanilla flavour was initially synthesised with pine bark as natural vanilla itself is very tricky to harvest – the flavour profiles are surprisingly similar.”
 
We’d love to know what’s next for you Julia?
 
“Like many others, the pandemic has called a lot into question for me, career wise. I’m entrepreneurial by nature, with my fingers in lots of pies, but I’m currently in the process of streamlining and winding down some projects that I have been running over the last few years. I also have just moved back to my native London after almost 3 years abroad, so next year really is a blank slate for me, which is both scary and exciting. Over lockdown, however, which I spent alone in my flat in Lisbon, I began working on a project called ‘How to eat alone…’ which I will pick up again once Christmas is over. I can’t wait to see where it goes and the subject matter is incredibly close to my heart.”
 
And finally, we like to ask everyone we interview – What’s Christmas like in the Georgallis household?
 
“I blimmin’ love Christmas! It’s usually an absolute riot and I celebrate it each year with about 15 of my extended family (plus any pals who don’t have anywhere to go on Christmas day). All of us pile into my mum’s house in North London for a bijillion hours of eating and drinking. It is excellent – but it can also be exhausting. This year, however, looks to be a very different, much quieter Christmas with all the pandemic restrictions in place, so my mother, my puppy Ivy and our family cat, Fossil and I will most likely spend it in Suffolk with my sister, who is a junior doctor there. Perhaps it will be good to have a bit of a rest!”
 
The new book is set to be released on October 29th 2020 on Amazon for £8.99* on Hardback and £5.82* on Kindle Edition. *Prices correct at the time of publication.

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