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?

Food in the Time of Self Isolation

In these unprecedented times when we want or need to stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary exposure to potential disease, our food habits have changed.

I see more and more people preparing their own dishes, looking for cooking inspiration all around them.

My foodie friend Joy Gordon came up with an idea to gather some of our foodie friends and make a magazine full of pantry staple recipes and help you all make delicious dishes with everyday pantry ingredients.

We made a FREE Magazine May edition – recipe compilation of pantry staple dishes to help you spice up your everyday cooking experience.

Recipes in this issue

Photo by Allie on Unsplash

In order of appearance

Homemade Bread
by Jasmina Brozovic

Fried Masala Eggs
by Indrani Sen

Breakfast Burritos
by Joy Stewart

Beef Stew with Polenta
by Jasmina Brozovic

Lobia Stew
by Balvinder Ubi

Baked Chicken with Vegetables
by Indrani Sen

Vegetable Egg Foo Yung
by Joy Stewart

Paneer Pulao
by Indrani Sen

Chickpeas Two Ways
by Renu Agrawal Dongre & Joy Stewart

Butternut Squash Halwa
by Balvinder Ubi

Contributors

At a different time we also collaborated on a book Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World with all proceeds going to Action Against Hunger but this Magazine is completely free of charge in an effort to help as many people as possible so please share with people who might find it useful using the share buttons on the site.

What are some of your favorite pantry recipes?

Bučnica: Croatian cheese and pumpkin strudel

This tasty and healthy dish is very popular in continental Croatia.
I have always made it with store-bought phyllo dough, but it just doesn’t taste the same as the one made with homemade pulled dough.
I never tried making the dough myself as it seemed very hard and demanding. Until now.

My mother-in-law visited us for Easter.
I succumbed to peer pressure and “gentle encouragement” and decided to give it a try with her mentorship. Bučnica turned out very delicious, and I was so proud 🙂

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Armed with this new experience, I have to practice some more to get a better grip of it 😀
The adventurous ones among you can try the craft of making homemade dough, and you will definitely be rewarded with an authentic taste, provided you don’t mess it up 😛

How this post works

We’ll split it into the part for the adventurous and part for the impatient.

If you are adventurous…

…follow instructions under Homemade pulled dough.

If you’re impatient…

…just use 500 g of store-bought phyllo pastry sheets (12-15 sheets) and skip to filling.

Which will it be? Tan-tan-tan!

Tools you need

  • Baking pan so you can twist your bučnica to perfection 😉
  • Mixing bowls. Perfect thing to make your Bučnica filling in (and the homemade dough if you dare to make it 😉 )
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them.
  • Measuring cups to, you know, same.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things
  • Peeler to peel the pumpkin. Doh.
  • Liquid measure cup helps you measure liquid ingredients easier, like water and oil.
  • Grater because it’s one letter away from being great, and you also need it to grate the pumpkin.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. ‘Nuff said.
  • Kitchen towels to cover your dough while it’s resting.

Homemade pulled dough

Ingredients

  • 500 g (3 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 300 ml (1 1/5 cup) of lukewarm water
  • some oil for coating dough

Preparation

This is for the adventurous. Proceed at your own risk. 😉

We won’t be using any machines. This is a manual process, so roll up your sleeves. You’ll use your hands and your senses. This can be an almost meditative experience. Or so I’m told…

  • Put flour, salt, egg and oil into a bowl.
  • Start kneading with your hand and gradually add water.
  • Continue kneading until the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl and the consistency is as soft as an earlobe. Secret tip from my mother-in-law’s book.

It sounds simple. It is simple. It needs feeling.

After you knead the dough, let it rest for half an hour covered with kitchen towel. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

To pull the dough properly, you need a large area, like a dinning table or a kitchen island. Use a clean sheet to pull the dough on.

Pulling the dough is an art in itself. Like kneading, it requires feeling and finesse. Pull it gently with your hands. Be extra careful not to create holes. Sounds simple. Is simple. Requires finesse.

After you pull the dough, sprinkle it with oil and then oil the edges.

Spread the filling like in the photo above.

Roll the dough by lifting the sheet the dough is on and let the dough roll over itself. You might need to help it with your hands if it doesn’t start rolling on its own. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense right now, you’ll know it when you see it. And don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect, it’s not supposed to.

Twist the snake-shaped roll into a greased baking pan to fill it tightly, like in the image below.

Coat with oil and it’s ready for the oven!

Filling

  • 1 small grated pumpkin or zucchini (about 500 g)
  • 500 g (2 cups) cottage cheese or tofu
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 250 g (2 cups) sour cream (soy for vegans)
  • oil or a little melted butter to coat pastry sheets

Bučnica can be salty and sweet, depending on whether you add salt or sugar in your filling. You can use any type of pumpkin you like. For vegetarian variant, instead of cottage cheese, use fresh tofu.

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Grate the pumpkin, lightly salt and leave it for 20 min to let the water out. Drain the pumpkin with hands to displace the remaining water.
  3. Drained pumpkin mix with other ingredients. Add sugar or salt, depending on whether you like it sweet or savory (I like the savory one!)

Rolling the store-bought phyllo dough

If you’re the adventurous type, skip this part and follow the steps for the adventurous under Homemade pulled dough above.

  1. Count the sheets. Divide into 3 or 4 equal batches.
  2. Spread one sheet and sprinkle it with melted butter or oil, place another sheet on it, also sprinkle with butter or oil, coat one part with the filling and fold into a roll. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
  3. You will get 3 or 4 rolls, depending on the pastry package size. My grandma used to make two sweet and two savory rolls by dividing the filling and adding sugar in one and salt in another part 🙂
  4. Place the rolls on the baking sheet previously smeared with oil or butter. Coat the rolls with melted butter or oil.

Now that the dough is rolled and resting in the baking sheet

  1. Bake about 30 minutes or until the surface is slightly brown.

If you’d like to make a proper sweet pumpkin strudel, replace the sour cream with the sweet cream, add vanilla sugar, and dust it with powdered sugar when it’s baked.
Serve the savory one hot with plain yogurt.

Have fun with exploring savory and sweet Bučnica 😀

I am really interested in your stories. Let me know how it went for you and did you make the adventurous or impatient variant. Sweet or savory?

French Salad

Do not let the title fool you – this fine salad has absolutely nothing to do with France. The secret lies in the fact that the French salad is called Russian salad (salade russe) in France. If you look around in their culinary dictionary under that name, you will find recipes that have approximately the same ingredients as French salad Croatians make. Now let see what the Russians have to say about it…

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For Russians, this salad has – you guessed it – a different name. It’s called “Salad Olivier“, named after the chef who created it in the 1860s. Lucien Olivier was a chef at the renowned restaurant, “Hermitage”, in Moscow. Shortly after Lucien created it, this salad has become the most recognizable restaurant dish. Its recipe was a strictly guarded treasure, and even to this day we do not know how this popular appetizer was really done. What we do know is that it contained veal tongue, caviar, lettuce, pieces of lobster, capers, small cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs and soy beans.

At the turn of the 19th/20th century, one of Olivier’s assistant chefs tried to get a hold of the recipe. At one occasion while the chef was gone, Ivan Ivanov, his assistant chef, took some of the dressing and realized what was the secret recipe made of​​. After that, he went to work in the competitive restaurant “Moscow”, where he served a surprisingly similar salad. After that, Ivan has even sold the recipe to some publishers and salad began to gain popularity. The result of its popularization was a change of ingredients – everything that was seasonal or expensive was replaced by more affordable ingredients and little by little, the “French” salad as we know it today came into existence.

This version was obligatory dish at ceremonies in Soviet Russia (especially on New Year’s celebrations) because all required ingredients were available in the middle of winter. In addition to Russia, it is a common guest on tables in Iran (where they add chicken bits) and in Spain and Portugal.

Tools you need

  • Mixing bowls to mix the ingredients in 😀
  • Large pot to boil the peas and the carrots in, and a…
  • Small pot to boil the eggs in.
  • Chef’s knife comes in handy for cutting eggs and pickles.
  • Cutting board also comes in handy for cutting the ingredients mentioned above
  • Measuring spoons because it’s meal preparation, and being precise pays dividends.
  • Measuring cup. See previous point.
  • Kitchen scale because cooking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots mix (approx. ½ kg)
  • 400 g (2 cups) mayonnaise
  • 1 small jar of dill pickles (or smaller)
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream (maybe a bit more, to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Hard boil eggs.
  2. Separately boil the carrots and peas in salted water. When cooked, strain and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the hard boiled eggs and dill pickles into cubes, preferably of the same size as peas, and mix together in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream, mustard, and a tablespoon of mayonnaise.
  5. Mix in with the vegetables and eggs, then add what’s left of the mayonnaise and mix until combined.

If you want a french salad with the twist, you can add couple of boiled potatoes and an apple of your choice (both cut into cubes)!

Chill before serving, preferably over night.

What other dishes with interesting history do you know?

Homemade Bread

For as long as we know, people made their own bread. In this day and age we are used to getting bread quickly and conveniently, in stores, bakeries and markets. There’s even a saying “The best thing since sliced bread”, which only puts an emphasis to the convenience we’re used to. Convenience of not only not having to bake our own bread, but also not even having to cut it. We buy it pre-cut, with slices’ thickness adjusted to our own personal taste.

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Unfortunately, as I am writing this, in March, 2020, there is a virus spreading around the world exponentially infecting everybody. Governments are waking up to the facts and a lot of people are “social distancing” and may decide not to obtain bread by usual means.

Now that the stage is set and the prelude is coming to a close, our hero, you, decides to take things in to their own hands and bake bread of their own. This breadless life will be no more.

No worries, our hero is not alone, there are helpful forcing guiding them, in the form of this post, and they can make it on their own, share the recipe with friends, and enjoy freshly made bread any day of the week.

This recipe is so simple and easy, and the bread is soft and moist! Get on a video call with your friends and social distance is no more.

Tools

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (400 g) of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with the spoon, do not use electric mixer.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave it to rise at least 4 hours, preferably over night.
  • Put the dough on a flour surface and form a ball
  • Heat the oven to maximum temp, my oven was at 270 °C (525 °F), and heat the Cast Iron pot in the oven, in which you are going to bake bread. The pot needs to have a lid and it must endure high temperatures.
  • place the dough on a parchment paper in a hot pot and bake covered for 30 minutes
  • after 30 minutes lower the temperature to 200 °C (390 °F), remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. This makes the crust nice and crunchy.

You can play with different flours as well, corn flour, rye flour etc.

How did this adventure go?
Have you ever baked bread before?
Tell us in the comments. We’d love to hear your experience.

Bread and Bacon Stuffing

Have some old bread that you don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away?

We’ll teach you how to spice it up with some bacon and other stuff to make a delicious stuffing for a bird roast.

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This is one of the best ways to use up old bread and to make your Sunday family dinner a little more special than it already is. If you still have some left, consider cinnamon french toast for desert 😉

Traditionally, this stuffing is served with turkey on Christmas as a part of Croatian culinary heritage. Great thing is that you can use this stuffing with any bird of your choice: chicken, turkey, duck… Just add sauce or gravy of your choice with a vegetable salad on the side and your family will be very grateful.

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.

Tools you need

  • Chef’s knife to cut onion, bacon and parsley
  • Cutting board to, yes, cut things on it 🙂
  • Mixing bowls. You’ll need to mix all the ingredients somewhere.
    Make sure bowls you use are adequately sized. There are few things worse than overflowing bowls.
  • Measuring spoons to, you know, measure things with them
  • Spatula makes mixing things into other things easier
  • Frying pan to fry onions, garlic and pancetta.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 slices pancetta/bacon
  • 3 slices of soft white bread
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Preparation

  1. Tear the bread into rough cubes and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Drizzle the cold milk on and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Finely chop the onion, garlic, pancetta and parsley.
  4. Whisk the eggs with a fork  in a separate bowl.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat and fry the onion, garlic and pancetta until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
  6. Squeeze the bread to get rid of the milk and place in a bowl.
  7. Tip the fried ingredients into the bowl with the bread.
  8. Add whisked eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until combined.
  9. Stuff your chosen bird with it and cook according to the relevant recipe.

What do you do with old bread?

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

Hungarians once ruled Slavonia, eastern continental part of Croatia. They must have had a great taste in food because you can still see their influence in Slavonia’s cuisine. Using liberal amounts of paprika and garlic, the cuisine is spicier than anywhere in Croatia. Also, if you want to make this dish really authentic, shop for a good, heavy cauldron and use open fire. It can make a great camping dish. Be responsible with fire.

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Chicken Paprikash is one of the most prepared stews in Croatia, along with two other spicy stews, Fish Paprikash and Čobanac. You should try them all when you get the chance. But first thing first…

Tools you need

  • Chef’s knife to cut all the vegetables
  • Large pot, about three liters or more to fit all the ingredients
  • Cutting board to, yes, cut things on it 🙂
  • Ladle to scoop the paprikash out of the pot and onto the plate once it’s ready
  • Peeler to peel the carrots
  • Measuring spoons if you’re a perfectionist and don’t want to guesstimate the spices 😉

Ingredients

Servings: 4-6 people

  • 1 kg chicken piece (breasts, back… with bones and skin)
  • 2 large onions, finely minced
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 teaspoons sweet ground paprika (red, dry)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chilli or hot paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 300 ml water or chicken broth
  • Vegeta seasoning to taste (usually from half a teaspoon to a tablespoon or more)
    You’ll find Vegeta seasoning often in Croatian recipes, especially stews and soups. It gives them a distinctive aroma that’s hard to replicate without it. It contains a mix of finely cut dried vegetables and spices. It’s also salty so you may want to put it in and give it a taste before adding salt.

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

There are many variation of this stew in Croatia. In Zagreb area instead of serving it with pasta, people add potatoes or home-made dumplings. But in Slavonia, they make it spicy and serve with noodles.

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add 2 large onions finely minced and sauté them until they are soft and transparent.
  3. Add chopped red peppers and carrots cut into slices.
  4. Chop the chicken into small pieces. Add chicken pieces and sauté it until the meat is white.
  5. Add wine and sauté it for 5 more minutes.
  6. Spice the stew with sweet and hot paprika, salt and pepper. The spicier, the better!
  7. Add water or chicken broth to cover the chicken.
  8. Cook for 50 minutes or until chicken is soft on low heat.

Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes!
As a salad, we recommend pickled red beet 🙂

Enjoy!

Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World

It’s a fabulous project with amazing people for a worthy cause!

And it feels great to be a part of it. Joined with over dozen people with their Christmas traditions, Zvonimir and I are very happy to present Croatian Christmas to the world 🙂

foodieschristmasrecipesbook

If you ever wondered what different people all over the world traditionally eat at Christmas time, this book is here to answer that burning question of yours 😉
It also gets you head in and hands on to experiencing it. Wanna change things a bit this Christmas? Or just make weekend cuisine memorable leading up to your Christmas traditional? It’s really up to you.

This book is more than a Christmas present or a great cookbook. With all proceeds going to Action Against Hunger, this, more than 400 pages book, with almost 100 recipes from all around the world, is a piece of art with charitable note. Action Against Hunger is a global organization that aims to save the lives of malnourished children in over 40 countries. You can feel a little bit better about yourself while you’re celebrating.

It is a privilege to be a co-author along with great contributors such as Azlin Bloor, Lisa Watson, Nomad Dimitri, Joy Stewart, Shana Shameer and Indrani Sen. Their food knowledge and experience is priceless 🙂

Available on Kindle on your favourite Amazon site: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon AUS.

Book Contents

Supporting Cast
Starters, Soups, Sides, Stuffing, Sauces and Gravies

The Main Performance
We’re not just talking turkey, baby!

La Dolce Vita
Because Life should always be sweet!

Time for a Tipple
Always Happy Hour somewhere, right?

Feeding a Crowd
Canapés and other party food for the planned and uninvited guests!

Gifts from the Kitchen
The way to anyone’s culinary heart!

Menu Suggestions
And Basic Recipes, because we pay attention to detail!

Available on Kindle on your favourite Amazon site: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon AUS.

Bon appétit!

Beef Stew with Polenta

We planned to make a traditional beef stew. We added some Mediterranean spices and pelati. We got stew Dalmatian way 😀
Anyway, try making this dish by replacing beef with octopus, squid or other seafood and you will get a genuine Dalmatian brudet.

(Zvonimir: Jasmina wanted a stew, I was in a mood for brudet, so we compromised 😀 )

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Beef stew with polenta

Tools you need

Ingredients

  • 600 g of beef chopped in small cubes
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-5 small tomatoes – pelati
  • 1.5 l of water
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs
  • mixed dry seasoning: thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil and oregano
  • 2 tbsp of sunflower oil

Preparation

Fry chopped onions and garlic on oil.
Add meat, salt, pepper and fry until golden brown, then add parsley and bay leaf with mixed seasoning.

Mix well and add pelati and water. Cook for about 40 minutes to an hour until the meat gets soft and tender.
Finally add a tablespoon of bread crumbs and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Add more spices or salt as desired.
Cook to the boiling point.

Polenta

Ingredients

  • 50 g of corn meal
  • 1 l of water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Preparation

Boil the water, add salt and oil.
Gently pour the cornmeal into the boiling water, stirring constantly, to avoid creating lumps.
Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning polenta.

Serve the stew with polenta by pouring the stew over the polenta. Lettuce seasoned with vinaigrette makes a great addition to a complete meal.

Enjoy 🙂

Hot Cheesy Crab Dip

Great party food or a perfect snack for a movie night!

I tried it at work when my colleague was nice enough to share her lunch with me (it’s a nice lunch too). I immediately fell in love with it and made some for Zvonimir and me the next weekend for our movie night. The dip is full of flavor and blends perfectly with crispy crackers.

Experiment and report back on your findings 😉

Crab Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix: Provolone, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Emmental
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 120 g crab meat, drained

Serve with crackers and/or fresh cut-up vegetables (carrots, celery sticks…). Don’t forget a glass of fine wine 😉

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix cream cheese product and dressing until blended.
  3. Reserve 1 tbsp each shredded cheese and onions for garnish.
  4. Add remaining shredded cheese, onions and crab meat to cream cheese mixture and mix well.
  5. Spread onto bottom of baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for 15 min, stirring after 10 min.
  7. Garnish with reserved shredded cheese and onions.

Let’s get dipping! 🙂