Warm Onion Sauce

Serve warm onion sauce as an addition to cooked meat and other foods. In making of this sauce pay attention to the density. The sauce should be neither too thin nor too thick. Usually it is made to have consistency as cream.

In Croatia it’s usually served with cooked meat from the chicken and beef soup. It’s rich in flavor and it complements cooked meat and vegetables perfectly!

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.

Ingredients

serves 10

  • 5 finely chopped onions
  • 5 tbsp lard/butter/oil
  • 10 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • water or broth enough to get the necessary thickness
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley leaves for garnish

Preparation

  1. In the frying pan on heated oil fry sugar until golden.
  2. Add finely chopped onions and simmer until golden.
  3. Add flour, fry until golden as well.
  4. Add water or broth and a tablespoon of vinegar, salt, and let it to cook on low heat until you get the wished consistency. When you pour the liquid onto the onions, it is necessary to add it little by little, while stirring well, otherwise the lumps will create.

Before serving, whisk the sauce and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Tip: you can chop onions in the food processor to speed up the process and get finer onion texture.

What is your favorite sauce or gravy?

Chicken and Beef Soup with Semolina Dumplings

Every Croatian Christmas table has a rich soup made with meat, dumplings or noodles, and vegetables. Soups are usually made from chicken or beef, but for Christmas both types of meat are used for richer, festive taste. Meat used for soups has to have bones for that strong, flavorful taste of a home made soup.

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.

Ingredients for the soup

serves 10

  • 1 kg chicken meat with bones
  • 1 kg beef with bones
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 4 medium parsley roots
  • ½ kohlrabi
  • ¼ cabbage head
  • ¼ kale head
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 potato
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 black pepper grains
  • salt
  • 2 liters of water
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley leaves for garnish

Preparation

  1. Wash the meat briefly in cold water and place it in a pot of cold water. That way the soup will have stronger flavor.
  2. Fry the whole onion on all it’s sides in a dry pan.
  3. When the water comes to boil, add cleaned, length cut vegetables, salt, black pepper grains and previously fried onion, all except tomato. Tomato is added when other vegetables become soft.
  4. When the soup comes to boil again, set heat to low and let it cook for 2 more hours.
  5. Before you strain the soup, add small glass of water and let the soup sit aside for a bit, this way the soup will be clearer.
  6. Take the meat out, strain the soup and cook in semolina dumplings.

Along with homemade soup noodles, dumplings are most common addition to Croatian soups. If you don’t have one or the other, soup is considered “empty”. There are three types of dumplings that are made: liver semolina dumplings, simple semolina dumplings and flour dumplings. In the old days when people had their own chickens running around, liver semolina dumplings were more common. These days, you buy chicken without the insides, and simple semolina dumplings are more common.

Ingredients for the dumplings

  • 1 egg divided
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp semolina
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Preparation

  1. Mix oil and egg yolk until foamy.
  2. Add semolina, salt and parsley.
  3. Mix egg white until stiff.
  4. When all is well combined, stir in gently stiffed egg white.

Make dumplings with teaspoon and put one by one into boiled soup. Cook them for about 15 minutes until they are soft and tender. Watch out not to overcooked them because they will fall apart.

Serving
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Do you prepare soups for Holidays? Which one is your favorite?

Stuffed Christmas Turkey with Croatian Flat Bread – Mlinci

What would Christmas be without turkey on the table?! This is a traditional turkey recipe from Northern Croatia made with Mlinci, all time favorite. To make a flavorable turkey, you need to get your hands “dirty” 😀 All the flavor comes from the spices you rub inside and outside of it.

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.

Ingredients

Serves 8-10

  • 1 turkey 3-4 kg
  • 600 g (4 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 10 g (2 tsp) salt
  • 400 ml (1 1/2 cup) of lukewarm water
  • sunflower or vegetable oil per taste (you can substitute with butter or lard)
  • 2 slices pancetta/bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • herbs of your preference (oregano, thyme, parsley)

Preparation – flat bread

  1. Mix flour, salt and lukewarm water to make a smooth dough.
  2. Divide it into 8 equal parts and each roll out thinly into 40×32 cm (16×12 inch) size.
  3. Spread each dough on a baking sheet and bake it at 230 °C (445 °F) for about 7 minutes.
  4. When they are done, break them into large pieces and set store them in food container until you need to serve them.

Preparation – turkey

  1. Couple of hours before roasting the turkey, you need to spice it up. Rub thoroughly the salt inside and outside of the turkey with addition of herbs on the inside. Also, for turkey to be juicer, make little pockets on the outside with the knife in which you press thinly sliced pancetta and garlic.
  2. Stuff the turkey with the bread and bacon stuffing. Close it with toothpicks or cooking thread.
  3. Put the stuffed turkey in a baking pan, pour over hot oil and bake for about two and half, three hours on 200-220 °C (390-425 °F). To make sure that the turkey is done, stab the white meat with the fork. If the fork enters easily, the turkey is roasted.
  4. During roasting, slowly pour the oil on the turkey for the first half hour, and when you run out of oil, continue with water. After one hour, every half hour use the liquid in which the turkey is baked for pouring.
  5. Cut the flat bread into small pieces and cover with boiling water. Leave them a few minutes in the pan to soften (not too much) and then drain well.
  6. Remove the portion of the turkey fat liquid in which the turkey was roasting and pour over the flat bread in a serving dish.
  7. Cut the turkey and serve with mlinci.

Tip: You can make Mlinci ahead and have them stored in a container for days before using.

What do you traditionally eat for Holidays?

Poppy Seed Squares

Many European countries use poppy seeds in desserts. I use it often because of its specific flavor that I really enjoy. Did you know that poppy seeds are rich source of thiamine, folate, and several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc?

For this gluten free cake, you will need little time to prepare and even less to indulge 😀 Choice of jam is up to you. I used homemade sour cherry jam since sweet and sour complement each other creating a divine taste 🙂

Poppy seed squares

Ingredients

  • 7 eggs divided
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 140 g (10 tbsp) butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 200 g (1 1/4 cup) ground poppy seeds
  • zest of one lemon
  • jam of your choice (I used sour cherry jam and it was perfect!)
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate
  • 100 ml (1/4 cup) whipped cream

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Divide eggs in two separate mixing bowls.
  3. Separately whip butter until foamy.
  4. Beat egg yolks with 6 tbsp of sugar until foamy.
  5. Add whipped butter to the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Combine poppy seeds with baking soda and lemon zest and add to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
  7. Mix egg whites with 6 tbsp of sugar until stiff.
  8. With a spatula add beaten egg whites to the batter.
  9. Bake in a baking pan covered with parchment paper for about 40 min until golden brown.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate glaze. Heat the cream up to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate broken in pieces. Mix until chocolate is incorporated.
  11. Spread your jam of choice on the baked cake and pour chocolate glaze on top.

Enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea!

Have you ever tried a poppy seed dessert? What was your favorite?

Mixed Berries Pavlova

Australians and New Zealanders still argue over who invented this cake.

Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. In her honor, they created this famous cake during or after one of her tours.

I guess we’ll never know who really made it first. We can just enjoy the cake 😀

I used mixed berries for this Pavlova. Berries have that sourness and freshness that goes perfectly with sweet meringue. You can use any fruit instead.

Since you only need egg whites for this cake, you can use the yolks to prepare soft and crumbly jam cookies.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider)

For the cream

  • 600 ml (2 1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 300 to 400 g ( 2 to 2 1/2 cups) mixed berries

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 140 °C (285 °F).
  2. On baking paper, draw a circle 18 cm in diameter.
  3. Mix the egg whites until you get a very stiff mixture and little by little add sugar, vanilla and vinegar, and mix until the mixture is firm.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the drawn circle, straighten a little and dry for 60 minutes at 140 °C.
  5. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the crust in to dry a bit more.
  6. Take it out and leave it for a few hours to dry.
  7. Remove it carefully from the baking paper.
  8. Beat the heavy cream with one tablespoon of sugar and spread over the baked meringue.
  9. Decorate with fruit of your choice and place in the refrigerator to cool well.

What is your favorite fruit to use on the Pavlova cake?

Marble Cake

The first print references to marble cake began appearing in the last quarter of the 19th century. One popular variation of this recipe during Victorian times was “Harlequin cake”, which was baked with checker-board patterns. Early recipes use molasses and spices to achieve the dark-colored batter.

Today, we use cocoa and it tastes like a having a piece of chocolate with your sponge cake 😀

This, easy to make, simple cake is usually served around Easter, but I usually make it on the weekends when I don’t plan on baking but still crave something sweet, since all the ingredients are in my staple.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs divided
  • 280 g (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) vanilla sugar
  • zest from one lemon
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 10 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 280 g (2 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 10 g (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp rum (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Separate egg yolks form egg whites in two separate bowls.
  3. Mix in self standing mixer or with electric beater egg yolks and sugar until foamy.
  4. Add vanilla sugar, lemon zest and butter. Mix until combined.
  5. Add progressively milk and oil, and at the end alternately mix in flour mixed with baking powder.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  7. With spatula, mix in egg white mixture in the egg yolk mixture until combined.
  8. Divide prepared batter into two parts.
  9. In one part add cocoa and rum.
  10. Greased pan sprinkle with bread crumbs, pour the yellow batter and then the brown batter.
  11. Bake the cake in preheated oven at 200 °C (390 °F) for 20 min and another 30 min on 150 °C (300 °F) until golden brown.
  12. After the cake is done, cool it off on the rack.
  13. Before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Do you have your go to cake when craving something sweet?

Cheddar Biscuits

As a cheese lover, I am always looking for cheesier recipes. These delicious cheddar biscuits were a great find. They are so good, you can eat them on their own 😀

Easy to make, made of only three ingredients, they make a great snack for kids’ lunch box, Friday movie night or for no reason at all 😛

You can find original recipe in Croatian on Instagram from bake_me_by_nina.

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 120 g (1 cup) cheddar cheese
  • 200 g (1 1/2) sour cream
  • some milk for coating
  • salt, pepper, thyme or other spices as desired

You can use any cheese you like, but cheddar has that nice aroma, especially if you use old cheddar instead of mild.

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Break the cheese into chunks and place it in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor grate it. It’s great.
  4. Add flour to the processor.
  5. Add salt, pepper, thyme or other spices to taste. I added 1 tsp of thyme and I loved the flavor.
  6. Mix cheddar with flour and spices until cheddar gets crumbly.
  7. Add the sour cream and mix until combined.
  8. Place the dough on the floured surface and roll the dough, 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. I rolled mine thinner and they were extra crispy!
  9. Make biscuits with round mold, sized to your preference. I used a shot glass 😀
  10. Place them on prepared baking sheet and coat them with milk.
  11. Bake 13-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve them with various dips, butter or eat them on their own!
Our recommendation is to try them with Hot Cheesy Crab Dip 😀

Which dip do you recommend?

Fig Tartelettes

In Croatia, getting fresh produce was easy and accessible. Many of our friends and acquaintances had their own gardens and orchards sharing their produce. I got some fresh figs from Dalmatia as a gift and they ended up in tartelettes 🙂
They were as sweet as honey, and as smooth as butter. Enjoy this easy to make tartelettes recipe and try it out with other fruits if you are not a fan of figs 😉

Ingredients (for 6 tartelettes)

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 220 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 130 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 5-6 fresh ripe figs
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • oatmeal for sprinkle

Preparation

  1. With electric mixer, in a bowl, mix together flour, salt and sugar until combined.
  2. Add butter, and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually stream beaten egg into the flour mixture and knead until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk.
  5. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  6. While the dough rests in the fridge, prepare the filling.
  7. Mix figs with maple syrup with hand mixer until smooth.
  8. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  9. Butter a six mold muffin pan.
  10. Take the chilled dough, make six equal balls and put each in a muffin mold. Spread the dough in each mold with your hands. Make sure that you covered the whole mold.
  11. Divide the filling so that each tartelette has enough and sprinkle them with oatmeal.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

This seasonal dessert pairs very well with Chicken Paprikash as main course.

Do you have access to fresh produce for your cooking creations?

Blackberry Oatmeal Squares

August screams blackberries! This summer fruit, full of dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K makes it a great choice for making desserts, jams and other sweet goodies.

These easy to make squares can make a quick, healthy, snack for any occasion. You can substitute regular flour and oats with gluten free options according to your preference. For the crunch feeling you may substitute ground walnuts with chopped ones. For that matter, use a nut of your liking. Walnuts are my favorite 🙂

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (1 1/2 cup) oats + handful for sprinkling
  • 220 g (1 cup) firmly packed brown sugar + 1 tbsp for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30 g (1/3 cup) ground walnuts
  • 230 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300 g (2 cup) fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar for tossing the blackberries
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
  2. Cover the baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil.
  3. In a small bowl, toss blackberries with sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In the standing mixer bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts. Mix until fully combined. You can use a hand electrical mixer we well.
  5. Add the softened butter and beat on low speed, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Spoon half of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Gently press mixture into bottom of the pan.
  7. Top with the coated blackberries.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining oatmeal mixture. NOTE: do not press down on the mixture.
  9. Sprinkle with some oats and sugar.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.

What else would you use blackberries for?

Strawberry Balsamic Tart with Mascarpone Cream

Strawberry season is at its peak and there is no better time to share this tart recipe with you. Since my birthday is at beginning of June, I always had strawberry birthday cake as long as I can remember. They bring beautiful memories of my childhood birthday parties and are for sure one of my favorite fruit. I love preparing desserts with them 😀

This simple and delightful tart is perfect for warm spring or summer days. Strawberries and balsamic are epic together, and the addition of fresh basil leaves takes this tart beyond the cake 😉

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Tools you need

  • Mixing bowls in different sizes for all three components: pastry, strawberries and mascarpone cream.
  • Chef’s knife comes handy for cutting the strawberries
  • Cutting board; also useful for cutting strawberries
  • Round tart pan. I recommend two piece pan for easy slicing
  • Measuring spoons because it’s baking, and measuring is the name of the game 😉
  • Measuring cup. See previous point.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. Burns hurt and take time to heal. You don’t want to take time off from baking, do you?
  • Whisk to beat the egg.
  • Electric mixer to mix the cream until smooth and fluffy!
  • Spatula for smearing the cream on the tart easily and beautiful.
  • Zester to zest the zest
  • Lemon squeezer to squeeze the… you guessed it, lemons.

Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 220 g (2 cups) pastry flour
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 130 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the balsamic strawberries

  • 800 g (5 cups) fresh strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 fresh basil leaves

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  • 300 g (1 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 65 g (8 tbsp) powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 180 ml (12 tbsp) heavy whipping cream

Preparation

For the shortcrust pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  2. Butter a 26 cm round tart pan.
  3. In the bowl mix together flour, salt and sugar until combined.
  4. Add butter, and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Gradually stream beaten egg into the flour mixture and knead until the dough just comes together.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk.
  7. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Roll the chilled dough on a piece of lightly floured baking paper in a 30 cm circle.
  9. Transfer the rolled dough to your tart pan and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cut off excess dough and prick the bottom with a fork.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the balsamic strawberries

  1. Put the strawberries into a large bowl and add sugar and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Bruise basil leaves between your fingers to release the flavor and add to the bowl.
  3. Toss it all together.
  4. Leave it to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes and then strain.

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  1. In the large bowl mix with electric mixer mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice and beat until creamy.
  2. Add heavy cream and beat on high until you get a fluffy filling.

Once cooled, fill the pastry with mascarpone whipped cream and decorate with marinated strawberries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving or until needed.

Do you have special cake memories form your childhood?