Spring Pasta Salad

This is one of those dishes that you make from what you find in the fridge! Fresh seasonable vegetables make this cold pasta salad a perfect lunch or dinner during spring and summer.

I love to use macaroni or penne pasta for these salads, but there are some other fun pasta shapes that would be perfect, like farfalle, cavatelli or rotini. You can make your own unique salad each time changing pasta types and vegetables 😃

Ingredients

  • 250 g (2 1/2 cup) pasta of your choice
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) gauda/cheddar cheese diced or grated
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) cooked ham diced or grated
  • 1 medium tomato, cut in cubes
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut in cubes
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut in cubes
  • 2 spring onions ( leave green parts for garnish)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta as per instructions on the package.
  2. Cut all ingredients and place them in the large bowl.
  3. Mix in cooked pasta with chopped ingredients.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. At the end mix in yogurt and mayonnaise.
  6. Cool in the fridge before serving.
  7. Before serving, garnish with green parts of spring onions.

This salad is also perfect for parties, BBQ or potlucks!

What would be your perfect pasta salad?

Ham Pie, Parisian way – Le clafoutis au jambon de Paris

When I started learning French in grade school, one of the first things I enjoyed was finding French recipes and translating them to Croatian.
When I got older, I enjoyed making them into food 😀

This is one of my favorite dishes to make with leftover ham form Easter. You can serve as breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner 😄

Ham Pie, Parisian way

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 500 ml milk
  • 150 g ham
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp grated cheese (cheddar, Gouda or something similar)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C (395 °F).
  2. Grease the baking pan with a little butter.
  3. Cut the ham into little squares and place it on the bottom of the pan.
  4. In a big bowl mix butter, grated cheese, milk, flour, salt and pepper.
  5. Add whole eggs and mix well with spatula until the mixture gets smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture on the ham.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados or red peppers!

What is your favorite ham dish and why?

French Potatoes

Just like French Salad, the name for this dish didn’t come from France. I imagine (this is not historically verified 😝), that Croats during the Napoleon invasion learned new dishes from Napoleon soldiers and made their own version of french “Potatoes au gratin” which they called french potatoes.

This is another great dish to use up leftover hard boiled eggs from Easter. Also, instead of sausages, you can use the leftover ham or slices of bacon!

Ingredients

serves 2

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 sausages of your choice
  • 500 ml sour cream
  • 100 ml milk
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • dash of vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Cook the potatoes in their shells. Let them cool off before peeling.
  2. Slice the cooled potatoes as thin as possible but not too thin so they don’t fall apart.
  3. Boil the eggs until hard boiled.
    Tip: Add 1 tspb of vinegar in the water for easier peeling of the egg shells.
  4. Cut the hard boiled eggs as thin as possible but not too thin so they don’t fall apart.
  5. Cut the sausages, about half a centimeter wide.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  7. Grease the baking dish with vegetable oil.
  8. Mix the sour cream and the milk in a separate small bowl.
  9. To assemble the dish, first place potatoes, than the eggs and finally the sausages. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Cover with half of the sour cream and milk mixture and repeat the process until you use up all the ingredients.
  11. Season all the layers and sprinkle with a dash of oil at the end.
  12. Bake around 20-25 minutes until you get the golden brown crust on top.

Serve with your favorite salad. Usually we have green lettuce with vinaigrette dressing, but any seasonal salad would go perfectly with this dish.

What is your favorite potato dish?

Deviled Eggs with Easter leftovers

Easter passed, you enjoyed coloring the eggs and now you have extra you don’t know what to do with? Fear not, this beauty is not far out of reach 😄

Filling for these eggs is very simple, but flavorful. The trick is in that horseradish. Don’t miss the opportunity to try it. Traditionally, we always have fresh grated horseradish for Easter breakfast, so I like to use it in other Easter dishes. Deviled eggs are perfect way to incorporate it and have no food waste.

You can add other ingredients if you wish. I suggest tuna, capers or olives, anchovies, ham, cheese… the options are endless.

Devilled Eggs with Easter leftovers

Ingredients

  • 10 eggs
  • 50 g mayonnaise
  • 100 g sour cream
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp grated horseradish
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • radishes for decoration

Preparation

  1. Hard boil the eggs. Peel them and cut them in half, lengthwise. Tip: put 1 tbsp of vinegar in the water in which you boil the eggs for easier peeling 😉
  2. Take the egg yolks out carefully and place them in a bowl where you will prepare the filling.
  3. Mash the egg yolks with a fork or through a strainer for more smoothness.
  4. Add all the other ingredients and season to taste.
  5. Fill the egg whites with small spoon and decorate as you like.

I was trying to get the boat look with the radish being the sail! How do you like it? 😃

Tip: Put the filling in a zip bag, cut the edge and make swirls for a fancier look!

What do you like to do with leftovers?

Chilli Con Carne

Zvonimir and I are really hooked on this one. It is one of our favorite dishes ever, just can’t get enough of it! The only problem we have is the spiciness – Zvonimir likes it spicy and I don’t 😀

Are you a team spicy or team not so spicy?

Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients

  • 500 g ( 2 cups) minced beef
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • chili powder to taste
  • chili flakes or spice chili for spicy version
  • 250 g (1 1/2 cup) pelati tomatoes
  • 500 g (2 cups) red kidney beans, canned
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • salt, pepper, sweet paprika to taste
  • sour cream/yogurt and shredded cheese of your choice for sprinkling

Preparation

  1. Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan.
  2. On a medium heat saute the onions until soft. Add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the beef, turn the heat up and saute until the meat gets brown.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder and sweet paprika.
  5. Stir well, add chopped red pepper and saute for another couple of minutes. Stir well, add pelati tomatoes and water or beef stock to cover all the ingredients.
  6. Cook for about 30-40 minute covered on lower heat.
  7. Add red kidney beans 10 minutes before its done.
  8. Try and season some more if necessary before serving.

Serve with sour cream or yogurt with shredded cheese of your choice. We used low fat sour cream and Gouda cheese.

What is your favorite dish you cannot resist?

Croatian Leek Stew

Croatians love all types of stews… with all types of sausages and breads 😀
Leek stew is one of my favorites, love the smell as much as the taste.

Did you know that leek is one of the national emblems of Wales?! According to one legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.

You’re eating history…

Leek stew, Croatian way

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 3 sausages
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 2 medium onions
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • sweet paprika to taste
  • Vegeta to taste (Croatian must have spice mix)

Preparation

  1. Wash the leek well and slice them 5-10 mm (1/4 inch) thin.
  2. Slice the bacon to half inch pieces and chop the onions finely.
  3. In a large saucepan simmer the onions with the bacon until onions get soft.
  4. Add the spices. Stir well.
  5. Cut potatoes in bite size pieces and add to the pot. Simmer for 5 min.
  6. Add sliced leek and cover with water or chicken broth.
  7. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are nearly done, add sliced sausages and cook for 10 more minutes.
  8. Stir occasionally and season more if necessary.

Serve hot with homemade bread and enjoy!

What is your favorite stew?

Croatian Potatoes – “Restani Krumpir”

One of many traditional ways to prepare potatoes is restani krumpir 😀 Basically, it’s cooked potato sauteed with onions. So delicious!

Best way to enjoy these wonderful potatoes is with sauteed sauerkraut and sausages! I guess this is another one of many Austrian influences Croatians adopted throughout history 🙂

Croatian Potatoes -

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes
  • one large onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or lard (do not substitute with olive oil or butter in this case)
  • 2 tsp red sweet paprika
  • salt and black pepper to taste

If you like spicy food, add some chili powder or cayenne pepper as well!

Preparation

  1. Cook the potatoes in a shell and then cut in cubes.
  2. In the meantime saute chopped onions in the large pot until almost brown and soft.
  3. Put the cooked potatoes on the brownish onions and add the spices.
  4. Use spatula to brake the potatoes until incorporated with onions.
  5. Serve hot as a side dish with your favorite meat.

Tip: They go perfectly with cabbage rolls – Sarma 😉

What is your favorite potato dish?

Cabbage Rolls (Sarma)

#1 Croatian comfort dish! We cannot imagine starting the New Year without sarma. It originated in Turkey, and Croatians adopted it during Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

I believe this is the most popular dish in Croatia. It is so popular that one of the biggest Croatian rock bands Hladno Pivo (engl: Cold Beer!) dedicated a whole song to it, a song called Sarma 😀

Cabbage Rolls with Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sour cabbage head
  • 20 g of smoked bacon or speck, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 500 g ground pork
  • 170 g (2/3 cup) white rice
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • smoked ribs or meat (optional and recommended)

Preparation

  1. Remove bruised leaves from cabbage and cut out center core. Separate cabbage leaves and rinse them briefly to reduce sourness.
  2. Saute bacon and onion until golden. Add half the tomato paste. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with salt, pepper and paprika. Add ground beef and pork along with bacon mixture and rice. Mix thoroughly until combined.
  4. Place heaped tablespoon of stuffing at core end of each cabbage leaf and roll carefully, tucking in ends.
  5. Place rolls in layers in Dutch oven or large pot.
    First layer at the bottom: chopped unused leaves.
    Second layer: the rolls.
    Final layer: smoked ribs or meat. Repeat the process until you run out of the ingredients (usually twice).
  6. On top add remaining tomato paste with bay leaves and add enough water to cover the rolls.
  7. Cover and simmer on the stove for 2 to 2-1/2 hours on low to medium heat.

It is usually served with mashed potatoes. You know the drill 😀 Cook potatoes, mash with some butter and sour cream. Season with salt!

Tip: Try them with Croatian potatoes: Restani Krumpir! 😉

What is your ultimate comfort dish?

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?

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?