Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Balkan style leek pie (Pita)

I have always been fond of baked goodies, especially my grandma's pies. However, while watching her how she prepares them, I had decided that I will never make one with my two hands.
The reason?
It is tedious and ungrateful task to throw the dough sheets in the air in order to make them thin, and most importantly, not breaking them.
No way Jose, that's not my style! (Have I mentioned that I lack patience in certain areas?)
On the other hand, I have grown up in a household where the rule was: "If you can't do it right, don't bother doing it at all".
However... a dear childhood friend posted a recipe which looked and 'sounded' like my grandma's pies and I decided to try it out.
Fortunately, there was no flipping dough in the air and stretching wafer thin sheets.
My friend's pie can be found here, and mine is translation only, as I didn't add or subtracted anything.
So, here we go.

You will need:

1 cup of 200 ml capacity which will be used as measure.

Ingredients for the dough:

2 cups lukewarm water
6 cups flour '00' type
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
250 grams butter


4 leeks, washed and chopped
pinch of salt
about 300 grams cheese (Feta style)
little oil for frying the leeks


First, the filling is done by frying the leeks on a little oil with pinch of salt. The leeks are fried until soft, taking care not to change the color.
After the leeks have cooled down, mix the crumbled cheese into them.
In a deep mixing bowl, mix all of the dough ingredients except the butter.
When you have obtained elastic and smooth dough (not sticking to your hands and mixing bowl), divide the dough in 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other one.
Take the smaller ball and roll out 1/2 centimeter thick sheet. Grate some butter over it and flip the ends toward the center, forming a rectangle.
Grate some butter over the folded pieces and fold the lower end up to the middle of the rectangle, grate again some butter and fold the upper corner to cover. Now you should have small rectangle.
Repeat the procedure with the larger dough ball.
Line baking dish with greaseproof paper.
After you have done all of this, sprinkle some flour on the working surface and start working with the smaller rectangle, taking care that the end you folded last should be on the bottom.
Roll out shape slightly larger than the baking dish and put the obtained sheet into the baking dish. Spoon the filling over it and even out with a back of a spoon.
Repeat the rolling procedure with the larger rectangle and put over the filling, forming 'waves' with your hands into the dough.
Seal edges and bake into preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) until golden.
Take out of the oven and let the pie comes to room temperature before cutting.
Enjoy with some yogurt or kefir. I sure did :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crispy chicken fillets

I have been busy with my assignments and other stuff, my health seems to take unexpected turns, but there is always something nice to make up for all the not-so-nice things.
I have given up on TV long time ago, and probably will give up on the newspapers too (although I'll be still buying them, Fluffy seems to like tinkling on them).
I was in the pet shop few days ago, buying treats for Fluffy and talking to the birds and bunnies in the shop. And then, hubby saw this little bugger in the budgies cage, and I just knew that I had to take him home :)
So, my bird cages are all occupied now and their occupants happy and chirpy.
Another thing that makes me feel better is cooking. From simple things for quick bite, to things that take hours on the stove or in the oven.
However, since I don't have the luxury of time these days, it is mostly quick bites that are being prepared.
I am not a fan of fish, but every now and then I get the craving, but again, I didn't go to the fish shop to buy me some fish and the next logical thing was to dig in the freezer.
I came out with 2 nice thick chicken fillets and defrosted them. But I wasn't going to cook them the 'traditional' way in egg and flour, so improvisation was in order.
The original fish recipe I wanted to make is found here, but mine is in completely different species, so I will type it out how I made it.

For 2 people you will need:

2 chicken fillets (each cut into 2, like butterflying them, but cut all the way through)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup instant potato mash flakes
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper t taste
Oil for frying


Mix the potato flakes with oregano and the Parmesan.
Pat dry the chicken fillets after cutting them up and season them with some salt and pepper.
Heat some oil in a frying pan.
Dip each piece into the beaten egg and then into the mash/cheese mixture and place it gently into the frying pan.
Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side and after taking them out, put them on kitchen paper to drain from the excess oil.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sütlaç (or that's rice pudding for you and me, darlin')

For the past week I got craving for anything dairy. I like dairy, mind you, but I just couldn't get enough for the past 7 days.
And then it dawned on me that I don't have just to gulp all the milk, kefir and yogurt that I can lay my grubby paws on, so it was rice pudding time!
I believe that every household have their favorite recipe and method for making S
ütlaç, but I like mine the most :) Especially doused with some cinnamon and sometimes bitter cocoa powder. There are no strict rules for following in my recipe, it is really simple, heartwarming and really, really tasty. It is important however, to use the same cup for measuring the ingredients. ( E.g. You don't need 200 grams of rice, the cup capacity is 200 ml)

Here we go:

For 4 persons you will need:
1 cup (of 200 ml) uncooked sushi rice (or any starchy short grain rice will do)
1 1/2 cups (of 200 ml) water

3 cups (of 200 ml) milk
3 tablespoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon cooking oil, NOT olive oil.


Wash the rice under running water and put into pan. Add the water, milk, sugar and oil and start stirring. Cook on low/medium fire until the desired consistency is reached and about 3/4 of the liquid is absorbed.
I like my rice pudding a little bit on the runny side, so when I see that the rice is al dente, I turn off the fire and cover the pot. Enjoy sprinkled with some cinnamon, cocoa powder, or you can add teaspoon of rose water if you wish.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I simply love peppers. All shapes, colors and sizes, that is except the green bell peppers which have somewhat bitter taste and I'm not that fond of them.
While shopping in supermarket few days ago, I came across some real yellow and red beauties and it was love at first sight. I bought 2 of each color and armed with my 'prizes' came home and stashed them into the fridge with intention of roasting them and make salad with them.
However, the day was filled with other important things to do, so the roasting was to wait.
My husband doesn't open the fridge that often. First of all, he's completely clueless when it comes to preparing food and second, he has areas of the fridge which are 'no go zone' to his paws :)
He saw the peppers and stared like minute in them and asked when we'll be eating stuffed peppers.
So, my roasted pepper salad was not meant to be, and instead I made the stuffed peppers according to my mum's recipe.

For 4 people you will need:

4 medium colored peppers (about 250-300 grams each)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
500 grams grounded beef
2 handfuls of uncooked arborio or other starchy rice
2 teaspoons Knorr Aromat (or Vegeta, or zacin C, or Dafinka)
pinch of salt
VERY generous pinch of dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
pinch of chili flakes
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 whole tomatoes to serve as lids


Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion. Stir well all the time, so the onion doesn't change color.
When the onion has softened, add the grounded beef and stir well breaking the meat into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon.
When the meat has browned, add the raw rice, salt, black pepper, Knorr Aromat, chili flakes, oregano and ketchup and give good stir. At the very end, add the paprika, stir again and set aside.
Now it's good time to preheat the oven to 200 grades Celsius.
Wash and dry the peppers and with knife carve the upper part of the pepper (around the handle).
With the help of tablespoon put equal parts of the stuffing into each pepper and then halve the tomatoes and push into the opening to prevent the filling from falling out.
Arrange the peppers on baking dish and add about a glass of water.
Put in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes and then turn over, so they become charred on each side.
Bake for another 20-30 minutes until the peppers are soft to touch.
Serve with crusty bread and green salad and enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Speedy Lasagna

I don't like Mondays by default. It has nothing to do with the working week starting. Remember...I'm not into paid labor these days.
It has to do with people rushing like possessed, speeding like lunatics and the general feeling of anger.
However, since my classes are on Mondays, I use the opportunity to observe a lot and then vent with my friend Anna. Anna is one of those people that has calming effect on others. She has huge smile and endless patience. Oh...and she REALLY likes purple color :)
So, last Monday in one of the Supermarkets, there was special offer on storage boxes which incidentally were purple.
Anna needed to buy some and I decided to tag along for company and picking some bits and pieces to fill the fridge.
Usually my cupboards are stocked and bursting at the seams with the staples like pasta, tinned fruit and veg, canned fish and other imaginable groceries.
However, it is on few occasions that fresh, bronze drawn pasta is available (and dirt cheap) and since I was in the right place at the right time, I picked up 2 packs of lasagna sheets.
Hubby is not fan of lasagna, but I really do like it, so that means that I have leftovers frozen for another 3 meals for myself.
So, here's my speedy lasagna recipe which tastes absolutely delicious with some grated cheese on top.


Pack of 5 fresh lasagna sheets (250 grams)
250 grams grounded beef (or whichever you prefer, turkey, chicken, pork)
Jar of tomato sauce with spices (350 ml) + 100 ml water
1 pack of Béchamel
sauce (500 ml)
200 grams Asiago cheese (grated)
3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
some olive oil for frying the meat and greasing the dish


Preheat the oven to 200 grades Celsius.
Put the meat to brown on 1 tablespoon olive oil. When it is browned all over, pour the sauce and water and stir until it is heated through.
Grease lightly baking dish (30 x 20 centimeters) with some olive oil.
Put the first pasta sheet on the bottom, ladle some of the meat sauce over it, pour some of the
Béchamel sauce and sprinkle few tablespoons of the Asiago cheese.
Repeat the process with the next 3 sheets (by this time the meat sauce should be spent).
Cover with the last pasta sheet, pour some of the Béchamel and top with grated Asiago and Parmesan cheeses.
Put in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden on top.
After taking the lasagna out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes and then slowly cut the portions.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I came upon this falafel recipe about a year ago when searching for chickpea recipes. My husband is not very keen on trying new foods, but once he likes them, then he asks for them on regular basis. However, the falafel is not on his list of favorites, so I'm making it for myself as comfort food.
I won't be typing the recipe, as it is already available on the above mentioned place.
I haven't been 'creating' in the kitchen for the past week or so, it has been mostly convenience foods like ravioli (handmade, but not by me), quick bites of chicken in the oven (nothing to brag about), some steamed vegetables with garlic olive oil (my blood pressure is thankful) and pizza made using ready made bases.
The thing i, I'm getting in one of 'those' periods when things are piling up and cropping up unexpectedly and I'm stuck with my graduation thesis which causes some heart palpitations, nights of insomnia and generally mood associated with spoiled brat, but multiplied by several thousands.
My husband is silently worrying about my sanity, but dares not question my decisions, tantrums and all other trimmings. Bless his heart, he's trying his best to cheer me up and lift up my spirits and I am grateful for that.
I don't want to bore the readers with episodes of personal meltdowns, but I really need to vent sometimes. Thanks goodness for friends and family who are lending sympathetic ear and nod their heads in understanding.
Until next time, wishing you the best!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baked Macaroni

There are certain foods that evoke good memories. There are other foods that bring back nightmares, like fish bone stuck in one's throat.
Some foods will put you off for life, and other foods will be on the menu for years to come.
I always liked dairy. Cheese, milk, yogurt, you name it, I love it. So it doesn't come as surprise that this dish is one of my all time favorites. It is really easy to make, doesn't cost much and it is delicious. No complicated sauces, endless stirring and exotic spices. Just plain old cupboard and fridge staples.

For 4 persons you will need:

400 grams macaroni
300 grams feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs
750 ml milk
salt to taste
little oil to grease the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Boil the macaroni al dente according to packet instructions, drain and set aside. Lightly oil a baking dish taking care to oil the sides as well.
Put the drained macaroni and crumbled feta cheese and mix with a wooden spatula and let them bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk together with little salt and pour over the macaroni.
Return to the oven and bake until golden and the milk has evaporated.
Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Be careful what you wish for! (Blueberry Muffins)

Few days ago, I stated that I love rain. I still stand by that statement, as long as it doesn't rain indoors.
We were waterproofing the roof and done some other works, ready for the raining season, however, the rain found a way to creep up from other unexpected places.
So, I'm sleeping nicely last night, thunders, lightening bolts and all the trimmings, but ultimately, I had to face the music of mopping endless buckets of water in the bedroom and the ground floor as they were quite flooded this morning.
Finally, after drying the floors (thank goodness, no carpets or parquet flooring, just plain old ceramic tiles), I went to the charity shop to drop off some donations and in the process got ingredients for blueberry muffins. Of course, that was premeditated!
I need to make clear that this is not my own recipe. The original recipe is found on Joy of and the author of the recipe is Gail Sher. ("From a Baker's Kitchen". Aris Books. Berkeley: 1984).
However, I had made little change and instead of using white, I used brown sugar.
So, here's the original recipe as written by Gail Sher:

Blueberry Muffins:

240 ml. plain yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
60 ml. corn or canola oil (I used sunflower oil)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
260 grams all purpose flour
100 grams granulated white sugar (I used 80 grams brown sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 grams fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the yogurt, lightly beaten egg, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Remove 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and toss it with the blueberries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Gently stir in the blueberries. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Piroshki (Pirozhki)

I love rain. Let me rephrase that. I really love heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightening bolts that rip through the sky and in night time they cast daylight in my rooms.
I'm not a summer person, and everything that is not summer puts me in a good mood. Especially a good thunderstorm.
As luck would have it, yesterday was one of those days. Although it was not severe thunderstorm, it did the trick for my mood.
In a lovely evening like that, there's nothing better than staying in and getting busy in the kitchen.
It was Piroshki evening then :)
This recipe is kinda old, and when I say old, I mean more than 20 years old. It was printed into a booklet by the company "Podravka", while they were promoting 2 of their products: "Vegeta" and "Digo yeast".
It was lovingly prepared by my mother and I still have the recipe in the original, unedited version.

So, for 12 medium sized piroshki, you will need:

1 sachet (7 grams) instant yeast
1 tablespoon "Vegeta"
2 tablespoons of milk at room temperature (to 'feed' the yeast)
150 grams potato, boiled and mashed
50 grams of cubed butter at room temperature
150 milliliters of milk
2 egg yolks
350 grams all purpose flour.

And for the filling you will need:
120 grams cubed Cheddar cheese
120 grams cubed ham
120 grams Greek strained yogurt (or soured heavy cream)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
freshly grounded black pepper to taste.

Vegetable oil for deep frying


In a small cup mix the dry yeast with 2 tablespoons of milk, cover it and let it bubble.
Mix the flour, Vegeta, cubed butter, mashed potato and egg yolks. Add the yeast and the 150ml of milk and bind well. Let it rest for 35-40 minutes while you're preparing the filling by mixing the cubed ingredients with the sour cream/Greek yogurt.
When the dough has rested, take it out from the bowl, cut out 12 even sized pieces and roll each piece on slightly floured surface into rectangular shape, about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. Put about 1 tablespoon of the prepared filling in the middle and close the piroshki well bu lightly pressing.
As you go along, let the piroshki rest on a lightly floured tray/plate.
Heat the oil well in a pan and according to the pan size, drop 2-3 piroshki in the hot oil until they come out golden on all sides.
Remove them with slotted spoon and let them drain on kitchen paper towels.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In your face Marco Polo!

It is hard enough to explain the concept of aging and death to a child that understand how things work. It is even harder to explain all of that to a six years old child, particularly if it's a girl, as girls are "supposed" to play dollhouse, mothers, nurses and not watch mini series about the travels and adventures of Marco Polo in the distant year of 1982.
Well, at that time, I had set my mind to get married to Marco Polo, eat all the tasty spaghetti that he brought over from China and possibly turn into complete nomads with few little Marco juniors or Martina juniors in tow.
However, he should have looked as young as I knew him from the mini series by the time I got old enough to marry him.

Fast forward about quarter of a century, here I am, not married to Marco Polo, but still eating the spaghetti and other forms of pasta which have evolved over time. Now did the pasta making evolve, that is completely different thing to debate and it won't be here and now.
There I am yesterday, all sleepy and zombifyied (yeah,it is my word, get over it) flipping through pages of ads that I have to analyze and write up the analysis, when all of a sudden I saw that it is 6:45pm and started panicking, at the verge of throwing a hissy fit.
It was not an advert that put me to the panic, but the time. You see, in 'normal' world 6:45pm is nothing to be panicking about, but on the rock I'm calling home means that the shop will close in exactly 12 minutes.
It's now or never! Grabbed the first semi-decent top and flew away of the door to scavenge some raw ingredients and make dinner.
I found some mushrooms that have seen better days (fresh veg day is Monday,NOT Tuesday), piece of pork that was so sad, I could practically see the piggy crying, and the mood struck me for twisted macaroni which were available at the veggie shop.
Armed with my 'prizes', I came home and new sauce was born!
After I made the sauce, I let it stay in the pan and set out to cook my twisted macaroni. The water boiled, I threw the macaroni in, cooked them for 10 minutes (al dente as instructed on the packet), took a photo to put it in the blog and ready to dig in!
First bite went down, oooh, bliss, it was the sauce! And then a forkful of macaroni. Ewww...tasteless and not al dente!
I thought hard and harder where I went wrong, and then had the moment of 'a-ha!'
I checked the packet for ingredients, production and other particulars and on the very bottom was written with teeny weeny letters "Made in Turkey"!
In your face Marco Polo! EVERYONE can make pasta! (But how it tastes, it is completely and utterly different story).
So, here is my recipe for the sauce from which you can add or subtract ingredients at your own convenience, but please, do read where the pasta is made!

Ingredients for 2 persons:

150 grams macaroni
150 grams mushrooms, sliced
100 grams pork fillet, cubed
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly grounded pepper to taste


Fry the chopped onion on the oil, stirring constantly so it won't change the color. After the onion is softened, add the cubed pork and fry until browned all over. Put the sliced mushrooms and stir constantly until the water has evaporated. Add the cubed tomatoes and paprika, give it a stir and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Boil the pasta according to packet instructions, drain, put in your plates, put some sauce over it and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

These boots are made for walking...and...Instructions are made for reading

I woke up with the sniffles this morning. Serves me right, went to classes yesterday, got soaked to bare skin, sat on the draught for 3 hours and after coming home, I was attempting to make dessert.
Whew... talking about woman obsessed.
I let my walking boots dry, had warm shower and what seems like bottomless cup of hot tea and after 15 minutes of rest, set to make the dessert. You see, it is second time that I am making this dessert, but unfortunately, few months ago my camera gave up on me and couldn't snap the pic.
However, this time my camera is working (yeah, the battery has been replaced and the instruction state: charge ONLY when almost empty), but my dessert doesn't look like the first time or like the original.
Why? Because I didn't follow the instructions! I was so sure that I knew what I'm doing, that I managed to make travesty of perfectly simple and delicious recipe!
It clearly states: "5. Using a spatula, fold in the cooled chocolate with the remaining half of freshly whipped cream."
But instead of cooled chocolate, I put the warm chocolate in the whipped cream and the result.... Read your instructions darling! Or you'll end up with microscopic chocolate balls mixed in the cream.
Of course, it is still perfectly edible and all, but it's not like the first time and I didn't have strawberries to decorate it. They're out of season now, so I guess I'll be waiting till mid January or February to make it again. But then, I'll make sure to follow the recipe and won't get cocky know-it-all smartypants!
Thanks everyone for stopping by and reading my rants and raves. Your comments are valued and appreciated and you can write in English, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, heck, even in Italian.
Until next time,
Love and peace to all x x x

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bread rolls (Kifli)

Back again on the comfort food page. One of my absolute favorite comfort foods are the home made bread rolls or kifli as we call them in my homeland. There is something about them that brings good memories and pleasant feelings whenever they smell divine in my kitchen.
I remember the very first time I made them for my husband, he couldn't get enough of them! And then every single day for the whole week he wanted kifli for dinner!
It is simple to make them, really, and it might be that their simplicity is the key for success and climbing on the list of favorites of those who tried them.

So, without further ado, here's the key to success and nice memories:

1 to 1,5kg plain flour
1 cube fresh yeast or 1 sachet instant yeast
2 cups vegetable oil
2,5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
600 ml. lukewarm water
1 egg (for egg wash)
250 grams baking margarine or butter
250 grams feta cheese or whatever filling you wish to use
sesame seeds/fennel seeds (optional)


Make soft dough from the ingredients. The dough has to be soft, but not sticky, and knead until it is smooth. Leave the dough to prove and double in volume, about 1 hour or so, should do the trick.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Depending on the size that you want, tear small balls of dough, flatten them and using rolling pin make oblong shapes.
At the top, make few incisions with a sharp knife, making sure that they don't cut through, about 2-3 centimeters is about right.
On the bottom of the flattened dough, put 1 teaspoon of the filling of your choice and start rolling towards the top, ensuring that the fold has to be on the bottom of each bread roll.
Lay them in non stick baking tray (or lined with greaseproof paper) until you use up the whole dough. Whisk the egg (or the yolk only) and with brush put some of the egg wash over each bread roll. At this point you can put some sesame seeds or fennel seeds over each bread roll and then tiny pieces of the margarine over each roll.
Depending on the oven, usually it takes 40-60 minutes to bake them, but good indicator that they're ready is the red-brown color on the top.
After taking them from the oven, cover them with damp cloth and another dry cloth and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.
They keep well up to 2 days covered in plastic bag or container and can be frozen and used up within 3 months.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kusksu bil-ful (Broad Bean & Pasta Soup)

As everything else in Malta, dishes are differently made in each and every family. I guess it has to do something with preferences :)
Some like it hot, some like it sweet, but at the end of the day, everyone is around the table.
I was thinking of re-naming this blog "How to make dish in under 60 minutes on a budget" but it wouldn't be true to the name, as sometimes the ingredients know how to get a bit expensive, but I guess that is just the basic supply and demand circle.
So, today I had places to be, people to see and things to do and I completely forgot that at point and time I have to re-fuel in order not to get too jumpy and twitchy. It is not a pretty sight, take my word for it.
So, with less than an hour to prepare something tasty and no time to shop and unfreeze stuff, I just grabbed the first things from the vegetable drawer in the fridge and thought of Kusksu.
You see, the word kusksu is used to define small, pearl like beads of pasta and I believe it is of Middle Eastern origins.
This dish in Malta is usually connected with Good Friday and spring, since it is the time of the fresh broad beans.
OK, OK, I won't go into story telling, so here is the recipe:
To feed 4 persons, you will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 liter of water
1 biggish red onion (about 150-200 grams) chopped
2 small zucchini cubed
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 cup of garden peas
1 small tin (or 200 grams fresh/frozen) broad beans, shelled
3/4 cup pasta beads (kusksu)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
salt and pepper to taste
200 grams of ricotta, cubed
1 egg per person


Put the cubed potatoes in a pot and pour over the cold water and stock cube on medium fire. In a pan, fry the onion on the olive oil, taking care not to change the color, add the sugar, salt, pepper, mixed spice, the tomato paste, zucchini and stir well. Add 3-4 tablespoons of water, stir again and pour the mixture in the pot with potatoes.
As soon as the mixture is boiling, crack the eggs one by one and remove them as soon as they're poached (or you can leave them tad longer if you prefer hard boiled).
After removing the eggs, add the ricotta and leave it for 3-4 minutes and remove it after that.
When the potatoes are about done, stir the pasta beads and peas and leave it for another 2-3 minutes. At the very end, add the broad beans and cook for further 3-4 minutes.
Pour the soup into plates and add the reserved egg and ricotta in each plate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sweet simplicity

Why is it that only we're pressed for time, we remember to cook something tasty, healthy and very nourishing? At least, that's the case in our household...
I remember my mother having full time job, taking care of the household, doing million chores and still every single day having prepared something healthy for lunch and dinner. Fortunately, we were not very picky eaters, although I had issues with stew, my brother with meat, my dad with spinach and my mum with milk and yogurt. Still, she found the time to make something for everyone, not forgetting for a moment that healthy food was the main issue.
I was flipping trough my books and papers yesterday and completely lost track of time, so I just opened the fridge to see if I can manage something quick.
I had bought some rabbit liver few days ago, and thank goodness that it comes in teeny tiny packets of 250 grams, so it defrosted in matter of few minutes.
I won't be giving any recipes for the preparing of the same, as it was the simplest of cooking with ingredients found in almost every household.
Little white wine, some seasoning, minced garlic and voilà!
I was in mood for green veggies, so just popped them in the steamer for couple of minutes and I felt it was the best meal I had eaten in months (hunger does that to you sometimes).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Froġa tat-Tarja (Maltese omelette)

Comfort food. Need I say more?
Although I have certain preference for almost all things sweet, every now and then, I have craving for savory foods and even meat sometimes!
I must admit that for the past 11 years I have eaten meat on maybe 15-20 occasions and has nothing to do with health reasons, it is rather the taste that puts me off.
Back to the froġa now... First time I ate this it was in my mother-in-law's house and I didn't really like it. I have certain dislike of foods that have to be eaten hot, and that was until I realized that I can eat it cold at home!
You see, out of politeness my first ever froġa had to be eaten hot.
Away with good manners and many other things and let's tickle some taste buds.
Pretty much every Maltese family has their own way of making this simple dish, and that means mine is different from my mother-in-law's.
OK,OK... Here I go:

For 4-6 people you will need:
500 grams angel hair or spaghetti (dried weight)
4 medium eggs
250 grams ricotta cheese
6 heaped tablespoons Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
50 grams cubed smoked ham
50 grams cubed cheddar cheese
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
25 grams butter
2 tablespoons olive oil.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and let it drain in colander.
Whisk the eggs and mash the ricotta into the eggs, add salt and pepper and the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Add the completely drained pasta into the mixture and coat well, so there's no liquid left into the mixing bowl.
In deep frying pan add half of the 25 grams of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat well until the butter has melted.
Spill the pasta mixture into the frying pan and let it fry on moderate fire until the bottom side is crisp. (You can gently lift one end to check that).
After the bottom side is done (golden color), tip the froġa onto flat plate and add the remaining butter and olive oil into the pan and return back the froġa to cook on the other side.
That's it. Very simple, quick and nourishing meal that you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, hot, warm or cold.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carrot & Ginger Muffins

Every now and then, I just feel the need for comfort food. However, since I have been ordered to actually eat 3 times a day and 2 snacks in between, things are getting boring. (By boring I mean 'healthy' food).
Since I (almost) completely gave up cooking in summer, now that the weather is getting back to normal, I can keep the oven running all day long!
Today was one of those days when I was not sure what I feel like eating and raided the cupboard. I came up with some usual ingredients and a bottle of unopened ginger powder. So, I flipped few pages of my cookbook (an old and really shaggy diary) and there were in all of their glory, Carrot and Ginger Muffins.
They're really easy to make, taste delicious and can be kept for 2 days (in case they last that long).

For 10 biggish muffins you will need:
225 grams self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ginger powder
170 grams brown sugar
230 grams grated carrots
50 grams sultanas
2 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
6 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line muffing tin with paper cases. Mix the dry ingredients with the sultanas and carrots.
In separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs and orange juice and fold gently with spoon into the dry ingredients. Mix through, but not too much, as you will end up with chewy muffins.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool completely and store in airtight container for 2 days.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cornbread and mission for golden ingredient.

There is something beautiful about Autumn. It brings happy memories of fallen leaves and all colors that only Nature can come up with. Being Autumn, it means also that it is harvest time and that brings more memories...of corn this time.
I woke up with strange craving for cornbread. As fate would have it, my recipe book is nowhere to be seen and I am little bit picky when it comes to my cornbread.
I set to look up recipes online which would jog my memory and then remembered that my dear childhood friend Natasa might have one on her blog.
Now it comes the spooky part... I was prepared to search and search, but as soon as I clicked on her blog, there it was in all of its glory! Proja!
So, the hard part was done and the search for the ingredients proved to take small dark shop as the top shopping destination. The large shops in the vicinity didn't have polenta!
I got little bit discouraged and wanted to give up, but then remembered the tiny, badly lit shop opposite the parish church, and as one would guess, I got my polenta.
While I'm typing this, my cornbread is baking happily in the oven and I cannot wait for it to be done.
Another good news is that my camera is all better now, so the photos will follow :)
Peace to all and I'm off to peek through the oven glass and wait for my cornbread to be done.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When things don't go well

I haven't posted anything recently,because of one reason. My beloved camera decided to stop collaborating with me and I don't really like posting without pictures. Until I figure something out, I will happily read other blogs and try the recipes :)
Love and peace x x x

Thursday, July 8, 2010

For those long summer days

Wine as nice as it sounds, is not one of my favorite things. I've often hear comments of the type: "It is impossible not to like wine", "What do you mean you don't like wine?" and some more.
Well, being grown up doesn't really make you like things! The only time I like wine is when I pour some expensive-ish wine over pork chops or chicken livers. Period.
I like glass of bubbly every now and then, but that's just about it.
However, visitors often bring me wine and sometimes I end up with quite few bottles on my hands before I manage to give them away.
Last Christmas, my husband's niece and her husband gave me one of those expensive-ish wines and by Zeus, I had to try it!
I tried it and didn't like it, so I decided to try my hand in making a cocktail with it.
Thing is, I had seen this cocktail being made on TV for what it seems centuries ago and the presenter said it is called "Philomena cocktail".
So, all you need is bottle of red wine, cold Fanta orange, glass, teaspoon and endless patience coupled with steady hands.
Pour 3/4 Fanta in the glass and take dry teaspoon which you'll keep at an angle in the glass,taking care the spoon not to touch the Fanta.
Get the bottle of wine and pour very slowly onto the teaspoon. It is very important to pour really really slow.
Unfortunately, since I was home alone, there was no one to take photos of the method, so there are only the end result pictures.
Well...enjoy your Philomenas responsibly :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Somewhat different wedding

OK, as I mentioned before, while the eternal hell (which is also known as summer) is here, I won't be going anywhere near the cooker. It is not enough that inside the house is 36 Celsius, and to add cherry on the cake, there are the marches and the endless noise of the village feasts.
Now...there was interesting twist to summer (which I really,really dislike) when I got wedding invitation. You see, I have been living here on the little rock for almost 11 years and haven't been to a wedding here, so I didn't know if I'm looking forward to it.
It was my husband's niece's wedding and staying at home was not an option. Being summer, the only thing I was looking forward was the wedding to be in the evening and it really was!
The interesting twist was that the bride and the groom had decided to go for a beach wedding on the sand and explicitly demanded the guests to be in smart-casual clothes and flip flops or barefoot :)
It was really nice that the wedding place was at the north of the island and there was nice cool breeze all the time. Not so nice for my hair do, which had little locks at the ends when I left from home, and by the second hour was frizzy and messy, but nobody seemed to care. Everyone had the fun of their life!
The newlyweds arrived on water jet and started greeting the guests which were scattered around the beach. The beautiful sunset and lighting was picture perfect!
About the food there is nothing much to say. It is not like the Balkan weddings with 5 meal courses. All is finger food and the catering staff makes rounds every few minutes with full trays of nibbles.
However, the bride and groom had came with a nice idea of setting wine bar, cocktail bar and regular drinks bar, the cocktail bar being the most popular.
The guys were making mean mojito's sex on the beach and myriad of other nicely colored exotic cocktails.
There were fire jugglers and the bride and groom were releasing mini air balloons in the air as well as fire flowers in the water.
I'm sorry that I didn't try the wedding cake, as it was already 3am when we left and I was exhausted.
Well... I'm looking forward to the other 2 nieces getting married on the beach.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wishful thinking

OK...Now that the exams stress is (almost) over,I was thinking of getting busy in the kitchen.However,the weather has it against me and besides the humidity which is killing us,the heat is unbearable.
As much as I love my baked goodies,I guess we'll be sticking to salads and nothing more.It is really silly that in winter,when I can bake till my heart's content,I'm stuck with zillion assignments and preparations for the winter session (yep...exams) and then when the summer session is over,it is too hot to stay in the kitchen and do some baking.
Fortunately,I am about to graduate in February 2011 and I will still have time to bake something before the heat starts somewhere in May.
If the wind and rain gods decide to make appearance,I shall go in my kitchen and make something nice.
My husband is in love with Macedonian food which in no way is fast food.It is prepared slowly and lovingly and maybe that is the reason it tastes so good.
Even with ingredients of inferior quality!
Whenever we go to visit over there,we do bring some spices and beans (Tetovsko gravce) home and we ration them so they last until the next visit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cheater's Burek

Well,I found the photos of my famous burek that my husband loves dearly.Thing is,we have reeeaalllyyyy hot and sticky summers here and my beloved husband loves to eat burek in summer.Needless to say,every time I'm making burek in summer he has to compensate it with some 'bribe' in the form of a handbag,shoes or jewelry.
This burek is really easy to make (if you have filo pastry in the freezer) and all it takes it's about an hour or so to prepare from scratch to the plate.
All you need is (love,of course!):
400-500 grams filo pastry
1/2 kilo fresh (or 250 grams frozen) spinach
150 grams feta cheese (or any white crumbly cheese)
250 ml. icy cold water
130 ml. vegetable oil (do not use olive oil for this one)
some butter for greasing the baking dish

You can use whatever filling you like: minced meat;leeks & eggs;sauerkraut;cheese,ham,mushrooms & ketchup,etc...Let your taste buds run wild :)

Prepare the filling first by sweating the spinach with few drops of oil.When cool,crumble the cheese and set aside.
Put the cooking oil in the cold water and stir vigorously so it will look like foggy emulsion.
Grease the baking dish with some butter and spread 2 sheets of filo pastry overlapping each other and sprinkle with the water/oil mixture.
Put another 2 wrinkled sheets of filo and again sprinkle little of the water/oil on each.
On the fourth sheet put some of the filling and cover it with another 2 wrinkled sheets of filo (yes...on EVERY filo sheet goes water/oil).
Repeat the procedure until you have 2 filo sheets left.The last 2 are to cover the burek and then you fold nicely the overlapping ones from the beginning.Sprinkle generously with the water/oil which have to be at its end now and bake in preheated oven 180 C for 30-40 minutes.
Note: After the first 20 minutes in the oven, you have to turn the burek on a dish or a pan and put it t bake the other side for the remaining time.
Result: Yummy and finger lickin' good!

Food for thought

I was thinking yesterday of a favourite dish of mine,mushroom biryani.And everything would have been just fine if today was not public holiday!Being public holiday means that I cannot put my hands on the main ingredient (fresh mushrooms) and it is bothering me a lot.The cherry on the cake is that I'm studying for an exam which I have to take on Friday and everything seems to take wrong turns when I'm studying.Did I mention that there are 2 piles of laundry to be taken care of?
It is funny how all things are popping to mind when I'm at my worst.
I wanted to upload some photos of dishes I had made (and took photos of) some time ago,but I think I'll do them later.
Oh...and I forgot to mention...Although it's easier for me to write in English,I do speak Serbian,Croatian and Macedonian,so questions and comments are welcome in those languages.
Well...until next time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And now...we begin

OK...I've been playing with the idea of writing a blog for long time.Truth to be told, I had one account, but unfortunately I had forgotten the email address and password, so I couldn't be bothered to search for it. Instead, I will try to arrange this one as soon as the circumstances permit. It is going to be mainly food related and flavored with personal opinions. Until then, peace to all! Didi x x x