Lunch Time!

Hello lovely people! Here I am with another recipe for you. 🙂

                                                       Stuffed peppers!

We love them here in Serbia. And also in this household. They are pretty easy to make, they can sit in the fridge for three or four days, they can go into the freezer, and they taste soooo good!

People use all kinds of peppers for this dish, in most cases it’s bell peppers, but I like the ones you see here. So, use peppers that you like. 🙂

Here is how I made them: I fried two chopped onions, medium size, in a little bit of oil, just till it became translucent, then I added one big shredded carrot and three thumb size pieces of chopped celeriac, fried that for a minute or two more, than added 500 grams of minced ( pork and wild boar) meat (again, your choice – pork, lamb, beef…) , one table spoon of paprika, and fried that for a couple more minutes.

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I took that off the heat, then added one cup of uncooked rice, salt and pepper, and combined well. Tip for you: add a bit more salt than you normally would because the rice and peppers need it also, not just the meat. 🙂

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I washed peppers and took the stalks out ( by pressing the stalks into paprika ). Then, with a tea spoon I stuffed them with meat and rice, but not too much and not too dense, just lightly so that the rice could be cooked with enough space to expand. Tip for you: put the stuffing without pushing it with the spoon, just shake the paprika to set it.

I closed the openings with slices of tomato and put everything in a slightly greased baking dish or a pan.

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I added two cups of water into the pan and covered it tightly with tin foil. It went into the oven for about 45 minutes on 180 – 200 degrees Celsius, and after that my peppers looked like this:

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I then took the tin foil off and put the peppers back into the oven to bake until they looked like this (about twenty more minutes) :

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And that is the recipe for stuffed peppers, my way. You can also use the courgettes instead of peppers, as well as eggplant, although the taste will differ. But these are also yummy. So have fun, make a whole bunch of these beauties, and you won’t have to cook for another three days! 🙂

Have a great day! 🙂

Mincemeat Pie

Here in Serbia all pies are made with filo pastry. It’s not that we don’t know how to make an American style pie (I love those pies!), 🙂 but if you ask for a pie here, this is what you’ll get – weather it is sweet or salty, with cheese or meat, or with fruit, it is always made with filo pastry. And we have lost of different types of filo pastry. Some are paper thin and they are used for making Baklava, some are pretty thick and used for Gibanica. The main recipes are the same, but everybody here has their own tweaks. Some pies are made by rolling the pastry, some by putting the pastry flat in the baking pan. For Burek for example, it’s needed to make the pastry from scratch, which is something a very few people know how to do (except professional bakers of course).That’s why we buy Burek in the bakery. 🙂

And we are mad about our pies. They are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pretty easy to make and serve to a crowd of people or to bring to a party or a picnic, great when warm and fresh but also the next day.

And here is how I make my mincemeat pie. 🙂

For a big pie (serves ten to twelve people easily!) I used 1 kilogram of filo pastry, not too thin of course.

filo pastry

For the filling I used 800 grams of minced meat (pork or beef , or a mix), about four big onions, two cloves of garlic, two medium potatoes, salt and pepper.

Chop the onions and fry them in a pan where you added about half a cup of oil. You will need that much oil because this pie needs it but also because you won’t be using it much later in the process. So, after the onions are softened, add chopped garlic and meat. Try to break up the meat so it’s not lumpy. Then add grated potatoes and fry for a three or four more minutes, until it’s all combined.

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Then add salt, and you will need to add a bit more than you like, because the pastry isn’t salted and also the eggs and milk you will add at the end (you will see later) will be unsalted too, so you will have to make up for that. And one of the most important things when making this pie is to add at least one, maybe one and a half tea spoons of ground pepper. You need it to be not overwhelming, but to taste the pepper when the pie is done.

I start by oiling the baking pan and then putting three sheets of pastry with just a little bit of sprinkled oil between them.

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As you can see, I didn’t want them to be completely flat because this way I get a better texture when the pie is done.

Then I take the filling and add a little bit of it here and there.

the pie

Then add two more sheets of pastry, or three if it’s very thin,

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and repeat the process until you use all your filling and pastry, but leave three sheets for the top!

Now to finish the pie: whisk lightly five eggs with a fork, add about 200 ml of milk and 200 ml of yogurt, or just milk, or just yogurt, or yogurt with sparkling water. 🙂 I used all three – water, milk and yogurt. But you can use what you have on hand. Then pour that over your pie and (very important!) cut the pie to allow it to soak that milk and eggs a little.

the pie

Leave it for ten or fifteen minutes, and then bake at about 190 C (375 F) until it’s nice and golden on top. 🙂

You may have to adjust the temperature of your oven because every oven is different; another useful information- you can make the pie several hours before baking (or make it in the evening to have it the next day), just don’t add eggs and milk until it’s ready to go into the oven. If you make it the night before, wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge.

Most people like the edges, I like the soft middle part. 🙂

the pie

It’s rich and it needs beer or wine! LOL!

the pie

It is SO good! I had to make it big this time because we had guests and I wanted to serve them something delicious but also to serve them just one thing, and this pie is really enough on it’s own. You don’t need anything else with it, except maybe a salad. And yogurt for the kids. 🙂

That’s how we eat here in Serbia, and in my home. Not all I cook or bake is “strong” like this pie, but we do love our traditional food with lots of flavors.

I hope you like this recipe and I hope you will try making this pie. You will love it!

Have a great day! 🙂

One Cake and Two Bags

I have been doing a million things lately, sewing, cooking, baking, spending time with friends, etc. But I didn’t photograph much, so here are the things I did manage to photograph. 🙂

A cake recipe that is so versatile and easy to transform into many things. Here is the basic recipe:

5 eggs

1 cup of oil (sunflower oil or any neutral oil)

2 cups of milk or yogurt

4 cups of white sugar

2 tsp. of baking powder

6 cups of flour

 

Mix the egg whites first, add sugar and mix until they form soft peaks, add yolks, mix some more, then add everything else and mix until combined. It’s that easy!

Now, you could add fruit to the cake and bake it; you could add cinnamon or vanilla extract, or absolutely nothing at all and make a nice spongy cake to have with milk for breakfast; if you bake it half way through and add shredded apples with a little bit of sugar, then of course finish baking, you have a different cake; maybe add some chopped nuts and raisins; make muffins, or just bake a sponge and cut it in half so that you can add cream of choice and icing on top…You see, there are so many possibilities with this recipe! You could even adjust sugar and oil content.

What I did this time was that I reduced sugar a bit, and oil, and I added whole wheat flour instead of white one. Then I added plums, sprinkled a little sugar on them, and baked it. It turned out amazing! Believe me, this recipe always works.

Cake

Cake

After the cake was eaten 🙂 my husband asked me if I could make him a bag. He wanted a messenger bag with lots of pockets. I’ve never made a messenger bag before, but that didn’t stop me. A little bit of Internet research, and we have a first not so perfect bag

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and then a second very good one!

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I am very happy with this one, and my husband loves it! He loves the first one too, but the second bag is much sturdier and has more pockets. I combined the cotton fabric with leather to give it a bit of interest, and even though my stitching is not absolutely perfect, it’s not that noticeable. I’m a perfectionist, so when I say it’s ok, then it’s ok. lol! I am so happy hubby likes it. 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

We Love Kale!

Do you eat your vegetables? 🙂

I love to have a lot of vegetables in every meal. I do love meat, but if you’d give me just a piece of meat on the plate, I don’t think I would be able to eat it. There has to be cooked vegetables with it, and a fresh salad of course. But I also think that not every meal has to have meat in it. There are many vegetarian options that are just delicious! Like this one!

You will need kale, of course.

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Chopped into small pieces.

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Chop onions and garlic, or leaks ad garlic, or all that together 🙂 and fry them on a little bit of oil, just until they are softened.

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Then add kale and cook it for a short time, for about 4-5 minutes. You want it to be green and a little bit soft, and to take all those flavors form onions and garlic. Add carrots and seasoning.

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Then put it into a baking dish, sprinkle as much cheese on it as you like,

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and then pour a mix of eggs and milk over it. Or use cream and eggs, or yogurt and eggs…what ever you like. I used about 400 ml milk and three eggs because I wanted it to be less fatty. 🙂

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Bake at about 200 C or 390 F until it’s golden.

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Yummy! 🙂

You can also add other things to this dish, like bacon or small chunks of meat, or to keep it vegetarian you could add peppers, cooked rice, or potato. So many possibilities! I like to experiment and play with food. 🙂 How about you?

 

 

The Easiest Bread Ever!

I wanted to share with you the easiest bread you’ll ever make. It takes about ten minutes to make the dough and there is no kneading involved!

Take a bowl and pour 400 to 500 ml of lukewarm water in it. Then add 10 grams of dried yeast (or fresh one), one table spoon of sugar, one tea spoon of salt, 4 or 5 table spoons of olive oil, and then the flour. Now, for this bread I used about one cup of rye flour, two cups of regular all purpose flour, and whole grain wheat flour. You can use which ever you like, it doesn’t make much difference, except the fact that whole grain is healthier. 🙂

Start adding the flour to the water little by little (that means about a cup at a time). Nothing special about that, it’s just to make it easier for you to combine everything. You should have a very thick dough, so when it gets too hard to mix it with a spoon, but too sticky to knead it (which you won’t do, of course), it is done. And when I say “too hard to mix with the spoon” I mean it should be sticky but able to hold the spoon upright, like this:

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Trust me, there is no way you could do wrong here, less or more stickiness, it doesn’t matter. 🙂

Then, take a baking dish of your choice, (I like to use my Grandmothers 30 cm in diameter baking pan), brush it with oil and pour the dough in.

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That’s it! It took only ten minutes!

Another trick: if your kitchen is not very warm, or if you are in a bit of a hurry, here is what you can do, and that’s what I did today – turn on the light in your oven, and only the light! That will give enough warmth for the bread to rise quickly. Leave the bread in the oven to rise maybe half way (you don’t have to leave it to double in size which is usually the case with any type of dough), and THEN turn the oven on 190 C or about 370 F without taking the dough out of the oven. As the oven warms up the bread will rise even more. So you see, you make the dough, put it in the pan, put the pan in the oven, and that’s it. After about 40 minutes or when the bread is lovely and golden and smells like heaven, take it out and enjoy!

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I never ever cut fresh homemade bread with a knife. 🙂

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A little bit of butter is a must.

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And while you wait for your bread to bake, you could have a wonderful healthy fruity snack.

Mix one apple and one banana in the food processor, with a juice of one lemon and one orange. Add honey to taste, pour into a bowl, add as much raisins as you like, and a Tbsp of pollen.

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Enjoy! 🙂

One Greek One Serbian

I’m talking about food! 🙂

One of my favorite Greek recipes is for a delicious cheese in olive oil. It’s simple and fast to make, you could store it in the fridge and use it in so many ways.

There are many ways to make this, but here is what I used:

Pepper, garlic, onion, bay leaf, chili peppers, and of course cheese. It’s important that the cheese is not soft, but I think Feta could work well too. I have here cow cheese. Goat cheese is the best. 🙂

Cheese in olive oil

Simply cut the cheese in cubes, layer them in a jar with everything else in between, and pour olive oil to cover it well.  Put the lid on and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days before using it, to let the cheese soak up all those lovely flavors.

Cheese in olive oil

Use it with anything – as a side dish, as an appetizer, in your sandwich, on pizza, on toast… And the best part is that when you eat the cheese, you get the most fantastic salad dressing ever! Try making different combinations – with herbs, with olives, etc.

The other dish, the most famous Serbian one, is “Prebranac”. People from all over the world who came to Serbia and tried it are all in love with this dish. But be prepared, it’s not a light one.  This is perfect for cold Autumn or Winter days when you want your belly warm, full and happy. 🙂

If you want to feed an army, you will need one kilogram of white beans, and at least one kilogram (it’s better to have a bit more) of onions.

First, slice the onions

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And cook the beans

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Put the beans aside and fry the onions in oil (a generous amount of oil is needed, at least one cup), until they are soft.

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Then add 2 or 3 full table spoons of paprika and fry that for a short time, not over a minute,  just to warm up paprika and make it more fragrant. Be careful, if you burn paprika, the dish will taste horrible. Add salt and pepper to taste, having in mind that it will spread onto whole dish.

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Then take a baking dish, grease it, and put half of the drained beans first, then the onions, and finish with the second layer of beans.

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In the photo above you can see the unfinished second layer. Cover it all up with beans, and then take the water that you cooked beans in, and pour until it’s just covering everything.  Then put it in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius (I think it’s about 430 F) and bake until the water is almost completely evaporated. It shouldn’t take long.

You will have an amazing meal!

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And it’s always always served with cabbage salad. Just cabbage with olive oil, apple vinegar, salt and pepper.

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Have a great day! 🙂

My Goulash

If you like delicious, heart and belly warming food, food that asks for a nice glass of wine with it (and in it, LOL!), then this is for you. 🙂

As usual, I don’t have exact measurements for the ingredients, but as we say here in Serbia, the best food is made without the exact recipe. But I’ll try to give you some directions with the photos.

First you’ll need a bigger pot in which you’ll put about six or seven table spoons of oil and add one big onion, chopped. Fry that for a couple of minutes.

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Then add as much bacon as you like :), or about 300 – 400 grams, cut into small cubes. When bacon is fried a bit, add chopped carrots, leek, red and green pepper, and fry that again for a couple of minutes. I used about four peppers in total, one whole leek, two medium carrots…you get the point. You can put the amount you like. You can also add mushrooms into this dish, but I didn’t this time.

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The best goulash is made with two or, even better, three types of meet. I used beef, pork and wild boar, but if you don’t have wild boar you could use lamb, it is absolutely delicious in this dish.

So, I added about 500 grams of each meat, chopped into small pieces,

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and one glass of white wine, four bay leafs, ground pepper, salt, one big spoon of paprika, one chopped potato and chopped celery (root, about half a cup).

Put the lid on top, cook on medium heat, and forget about it for one to one and a half hours. After that time, the meat should be very soft when you pinch it. Or you could and should try it, check if it needs more seasoning, and you’re done. The amount I cooked was enough to serve about eight very hungry people, but since it’s a “strong” dish, you could serve it with potatoes, rice, or pasta, and then you have it for even more hungry mouths. 🙂 But the great things is that you could cook a large amount, freeze portions,  and when you reheat it, no one will know it wasn’t cooked minutes ago. 🙂

Of course, when the goulash is ready, add chopped garlic and parsley before you serve it.

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In my defense, I’ll say that we had guests and I needed this amount. 🙂

They loved it! 🙂