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!), πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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

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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.

filling

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.

filo pastry

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,

the pie

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Have a great day everyone!

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ™‚

One Greek One Serbian

I’m talking about food! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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.Β  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.Β  This is perfect for cold Autumn or Winter days when you want your belly warm, full and happy. πŸ™‚

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,Β  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.Β  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! πŸ™‚

Busy Days

I have a writing block. For some reason, I get stuck every now and then, not being able to write in English, even though I have so much that I want to share with you. I don’t know how to start a blog post, I don’t know how to express my feelings. And it annoys me. A lot. But, that is the case right now, and all I can do is to try to make a few sentences and post the photos for you to see, and hope for this to go away until my next post. πŸ™‚

So, what have I been doing lately? Well, first it was my Birthday on September 18th. I made my self a lovely chocolate cake, and was quite pleased with my first sugar lace decoration ever! πŸ™‚

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Then I cooked and cooked as we had guests almost every day. Friends, my parents, hubby’s parents, lunch, dinner, breakfast, cooking, baking, oh it was so much fun! Yes, I mean it! It was fun! I love to cook, and with this Autumn atmosphere it feels even better! The weather was mostly sunny these days, a bit cold, leaves are just starting to change color, and that’s the only part of Autumn that I like. That is the time when I feel very homy and all I want to do is cook and bake. Not good for my figure though, I should be avoiding bread and cakes, but, oh dear, it is so hard! I should’ve taken photos of all the food I prepared as I know some of you would love to see how we eat here in Serbia. I promise I’ll start taking the camera with me to the kitchen. πŸ™‚

I received a heart warming mail, two gorgeous hand painted cards from Terri, my Internet friend who’s drawings and paintings are gorgeous and a constant inspiration for me.

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She was so kind to send me the cards that I loved the most, although I love everything she does, and I’m always jealous because I can’t paint like that. πŸ™‚ But look at those beauties! I’m going to frame the flower and have it on my bedroom wall, and the tree is going into my diary so that I can always have it with me. Thank you Terri for this wonderful gift!

Speaking of bedroom walls, I’ve decided to do another recycling project, using different sizes of styrofoam (because those were the only pieces I had) and paper from an old book and a music sheet. It started like this:

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I glued the papers onto the styrofoam, actually the papersΒ  were glued to each other as the styrofoam didn’t want to “accept” the glue, and then when it dried, I painted the whole thing with some white paint watered down a bit, and at the end with shimmery finish. So I got a lovely jewelry holder:

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I hope that you can see the papers coming through a bit. Here is the one for my necklaces:

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The problem with my walls is that they are made out of concrete. And if I’d want to put something on my wall, I would need a special drilling tool for that, which I don’t have, and to call someone (and pay for it) to come and drill a hole or two every time I want to hang a picture or something else is pain in the… πŸ™‚ So I glue things on the wall with double sided tape. Good thing with my jewelry holders is that they are light and easy to glue to the wall. I will show you the whole wall once I have all the photos and pictures on it, glued of course. LOL!

Oh, my writing block is subsiding! :))

Anyway, I have some Art Journal pages to show you also, from different journals.

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Have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚

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Fresh from the oven

I’ve been making some Christmas ornaments today, but they are not finished so I can’t show you that, hehe. Instead I decided to share with you another thing I made today, and that is Β Cheese bread. It’s one of those things that I don’t have a recipe for, I just mix a few ingredients and see what happens. And it came out great!

Here’s what I did:

About a table spoon of dry yeast, a tea spoon of sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg, about 400 ml water, 1/2 cup flax seeds, 1/2 cup butter, and cheese as much or as little as you like – I’ve put about 1 1/2 cup of crumbled cheese. Now, I’m talking about “white” cheese, and here we have some gorgeous cheeses; for this bread I used mixed cow and sheep cheese, but you could use Feta or any other. The point is that it has a nice flavor. Then add flour until it’s very hard to mix it with the spoon but still too sticky to be kneaded by hand. Leave it to double in size, then bake at 200 C. All you need with it (well, I didn’t need anything, LOL) is some nice Prosciutto and a glass of beer! Or maybe just yogurt. πŸ™‚

Bon appetit!