VASILOPITA-FAMOUS NEW YEAR'S CAKE

In anticipation of the incoming winter holidays, I wanna share with you a recipe for Vasilopita - famous Balkan New Year's cake, mostly prepared in Greece. Vasilopita means "Saint Vasilij's cake (St.Basil)." Vasilopita is baked with a coin inside, so it is believed that the one who gets the coin will have luck in that year. Cutting the cake is very important and brings fun at home and in the workplace of various companies. Receiving the coin is accompanied with a gift, usually a small amulet for happiness. Most families in Macedonia prepare maznik with coin on St.Vasilij's day, which we celebrate on 14th of January (old calendar), but many families prepare the Vasilopita for the New Year's day.

vasilopita


Ingredients:
  • 375 g butter left at room temperature
  • 750 g sifted self-rising flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 200 ml yogurt
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 150 g ground walnuts
  • 2 sachets vanilla sugar
  • powdered sugar for topping
Preparation:

  1. Divide the eggs into yolks and whites. Mix the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a bowl with an electric mixer. Whisk until the mixture is very thick and shiny. Place the bowl aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the butter and sugar for about 20 minutes, until the butter is creamy like whipped cream. Slowly add the egg yolks one by one.
  3. Pour in the orange juice, the vanilla sugar, the orange zest, the yogurt and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the sifted flour and blend, using a wooden spoon or spatula. Add 1/3 of the egg whites and lightly mix. Repeat with the rest of the flour and egg whites. Add the walnuts in the end.
  4. Pour this mixture in a round baking pan (app. 32 cm diameter) previously coated with butter.
  5. Put to bake in a preheated oven at 200 C degrees, then lower the heat to 175 C and leave to bake for about 1 hour, until the pie is well baked. Check of the pie is ready with a toothpick. It's important to notice that you mustn't open the oven while vasilopita is baking.
  6. Let the pie cool down, then insert a coin wrapped in aluminum foil inside the cake.
  7. Place the vasilooita on a serving plate and sprinkle with icing sugar all over.
Enjoy!

EASY TASTY ROLLS WITH COTTAGE CHEESE AND PARSLEY

Delicious and tasty rolls, easy to prepare and even easier to eat :) Prepare them as an easy lunch, for breakfast or for dinner. Filling is optional, I've made them with cottage cheese
salty rolls



Ingredients:
  • 1 package of filo dough (500 g)
  • 1 cube yeast
  • ½ liter of warm water
  • 10 tablespoons flour
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 ml oil
Filling:
  • ½ kg cottage cheese 
  • fresh parsley
Preparation:
  1. All ingredients (except for the filo dough of course) are mixed together in the larger container and the resulting mixture is left to rise. Let it stand for a while.
  2. Mix the cottage cheese with chopped fresh parsley. Add salt if it's not salty enough.
  3. Then, take the filo dough and coat each layer with the risen mixture. Line up three layers and apply filling on every third layer. Roll.out a roll and place in an oil coated pan. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the layers. You'll get 5-6 rolls. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes at 170 C degrees.
  5. Combine with  yogurt.

БИТОЛСКА ПИЦА

Ова е нешто што јас го нарекувам "Битолска пица". Првпат ја направив вчера, откако го прочитав рецептот во една од моите омилени групи за готвење на FB. Ги променив состојките малку за да се добие повеќе вкyсот на македонска храна :). Бев воодушевена од резултатот и изненадена од брзината на припрема. За полесно сечење на состојките користете сецко.


Состојки:

За тестото:
  • 240 г брашно
  • 120 г растопен путер или масло
  • 4 лажици вода
  • половина лажиче сол
За фил:
  • 200 г сецкана шунка
  • 200 г кашкавал за пица
  • 3-4 јајца
  • 1 павлака (200 мл)
  • 3-4 маслинки
  • 1 парче сецкан праз (по желба)
  • 1 црвена пиперка
  • 1 зелена пиперка
  • оригано
Начин на подготовка:
  1. Исецкајте ги состојките за филот во саканата големина и облик и измешајте се заедно со јајцата и павлака.
  2. Подгответе го тестото со мешање на состојките за тестото и раширете го во подмачкана тава. Нека не ве загрижyва некомпактноста на тестото, такво треба да биде, ова не е класично тесто за пица.
  3. Истyрете го филот врз тестото, наросете оригано и ставете да се пече во загреана рерна на 200 C степени.
  4. Проверете со чепкалка за заби дали е готова пицата. Тестото на крај треба да биде потврдо.

MACEDONIAN PIZZA - EASY, FAST, TASTY


This is something I call "Macedonian pizza". I first tried it yesterday, after I read the recipe in one of my favorite cooking groups on FB. I changed the ingredients a bit to get more Macedonian kind of food :) I was thrilled with the result and my pizza was gone in 60 seconds. I was surprised how quickly I made it, maybe in 10 minutes only. I used blender for chopping the hard ingredients.
macedonian pizza


Ingredients:

For the dough:
  • 240 g flour
  • 120 g melted butter or oil
  • 4 tbs water
  • half a tsp salt
For filling:
  • 200 g chopped or sliced ham
  • 200 g cheese for pizza
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 sour cream (200 ml)
  • 3-4 olives
  • 1 piece chopped leeks
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper

Preparation:

  1. Chop the ingredients for the filling in desired size and shape and mix everything together with the eggs and sour cream.
  2. Prepare the dough by mixing the dough ingredients and spread dough in an oiled pan.
  3.  Pour mixture over the dough and put to bake in  preheated oven at 200 C degrees.
  4. Check with a toothpick if it's ready.

CHOCOLATE BALLS WITH WAFERS (no baking)

I made these delicious sweet balls couple of days ago. I had 200 g of stale wafers and I hate to eat stale wafers and I didn't want to throw them away, so I needed a way to use them somehow. I had this recipe and I've made some little changes in the list of ingredients by adding the wafers. The result was delicious easy dessert of about 40 balls that were gone in 2 days :).

wafer chocolate balls

Ingredients:
  • 200 g crushed biscuits
  • 125 g butter
  • 2-3 tbs sugar
  • 100 g crushed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds)
  • 100 g grated cooking chocolate
  • 200 g wafers
  • 120 ml milk
Preparation:
  1. Ground biscuits, chocolate, nuts and wafers. I used electric blender and ground them separately.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and milk together. Don't boil the mixture, just warm it until everything is melted.
  3. Gradually add liquid to ground ingredients and mix. Leave 2-3 minutes to soak well and then form balls from the mixture.
  4. I dipped balls in coconut, but you can use melted chocolate, ground biscuits or nuts for decoration, it's your choice.


GRANDMA'S KASHA WITH CHICKEN

This is the easiest meal that I remember my grandma used to prepare when I was a kid. She
usually prepared kasha with kjofte and I prepare it that way many times. I prepare kasha with chicken when I have chicken leftovers and my family loves it. Basically, kasha is prepared with fried flour and water, thickened to a roux consistency. And the best taste of kasha gives the garlic, I always use fresh garlic, it's the best.


Ingredients (for 2 people):
  • 3 tbs flour
  • cooking oil
  • 1 flat tbs vegeta
  • 5-6 chopped cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbs tomato sauce (or eventually ketchup)
  • any kind of cooked chicken cut into small pieces 

Preparation
  1. Pour cooking oil in a pot and when oil becomes hot, add the flour and stir with a wire. Stir constantly and be careful not to burn flour. Reduce temperature and stir until flour changes color to yellowish (3-4 minutes)
  2. Pour some water and continue to stir. Gradually add water and if kasha is too thick, add more water to dilute it. I never measure water so I can't tell you exactly how much water you need. Basically you need to make it look as in picture. Cook for several minutes until it thickens. 
  3. Add vegeta (mixed spices with salt), chopped garlic and tomato sauce in the end. Add chopped chicken and leave to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately. 
Enjoy!

BAKLAVA WITH SOUR CHERRIES AND POPPY SEED

Baklava is a very tasty specialty and I've already shared 2-3 baklava recipes here. But baklava with sour cherries is an amazing pleasure 🙂 I've said many times that I love poppy seed so I added some in this recipe. Of course you can prepare this baklava without poppy seed and keep the cherries only. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the filling:
  • 14 layers phyllo dough for baklava (the thinner ones, not those for pie)
  • 500 g cherries without seeds
  • 300 g sugar
  • 100 ml oil for cooking
  • 100 g bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sachet baking powder (10 g)
  • 2-3 tbs of poppy seed
For the syrup:
  • 400 g sugar
  • 300 ml water
  • 2-3 slices of lemon
Preparation:
  1. First prepare the syrup - mix the water with the sugar and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the lemon slices and cook for a few minutes.
  2. Beat well eggs in a bowl, beat until foamy. Add the sugar, cooking oil, bread crumbs and baking powder and stir all well. Add the poppy seed and stir.
  3. Apply a thin layer of oil in a baking pan and place 2 layers of phyllo. Add 2-3 tbs of the filling and apply all over. Add the filling on every layer and add 1/3rd of cherries on the 4th layer, on the 8th and on the 12th layer. The last layer is not coated with the filling.
  4. Before baking, cut baklava in desired forms and put to bake at 200 C degrees until t gets a nice rosy color. When cooled a little, pour over the previously prepared syrup.
  5. Serve baklava when all syrup is soaked and when completely cool. It's the best to serve the next day.
Enjoy!

8TH OF DECEMBER - THE DAY OF ST.KLIMENT OHRIDSKI (ST.CLEMENT)

8th of December, is the day of St. Kliment Ohridski (Clement from Ohrid) - the miracle-maker.

The name of St. Kliment Ohridski the miracle worker is the name of the first Macedonian writer, teacher and cleric.
He was a student of Saints Kiril and Metodij (Cyril and Methodius). After the death of St. Methodius, Kliment, under the pressure of the Germans, embarked from Moravija to the south. He crossed Danube with Gorazd, Naum, Sava and Angelarij - together called Petochislenici, staying as a guest at the king Boris from where he went to Ohrid in the area of Kutmitchevica, where in 886 forms the Ohrid literary School or commonly known as the first Slavic University, from which emerged 3,500 ready students.
st.kliment

Clement is known for having created the Cyrillic alphabet, which is based on the Greek alphabet letters, but modified to adapt to the Slovenian phonetic characteristics.

Besides church and pedagogical activities, especially enlightenment teaching, Clement developed rich literary activity. He was an author of many educational and eulogies writings as: Cyril the Philosopher's praise, praise of the Prophet Zachariah and St. John, praise of Cyril and Methodius, John, Michael and Gabriel. But in his works prevail instructive words that generally refer to Christian saints, St. George, St. Thomas, Sv.Antonij, then words dedicated to the Virgin Mary and words devoted to the events of the life of Jesus Christ.

Presumably, St. Clement was born around the year 830/840. He was buried in the grave that he prepared himself in the church "Sv. Panteleimon. Later, the Holy Church had removed the day of his holiday on his name day, and the day he departed (July 27 / August 9) is celebrated the memory of the Seven Saints (Saints Cyril and Methodius, Clement, Naum, Angelarij, Sava and Gorazd) and the memory of the holy martyr Panteleimon.

He died on July 27th, 916 and was buried in the tomb dug with his own hands in the church dedicated to St. Panteleimon at Plaosnik.
Church St.Kliment on Plaoshnik

St. Clement with St. Naum were the foremost disciples of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius. They were helping the Solun brothers in achieving the Moravian mission for twenty years in Great Moravia. St. Clement is the patron of Ohrid and entire Ohrid region. The legends tell that whenever an accident was overhanging over the city, the spirit of the saint would appear and saved the city from suffering. Names that celebrate this day are: Kliment (Clement), Klime, Klimentina ...

MADZUN - HEALTHY GRAPE SYRUP

Madzun, a concentrated grape juice, is a natural energy source which is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is obtained by thickening of squeezed grape juice. It contains natural sugar-glucose, which is immediately absorbed into the blood and then quickly in the body.

Grapes are a natural source of energy, a good laxative, thus, they’re toning the stomach and intestines and ease chronic cases of constipation. Grape juice is refreshing juice in patients with fever. It is also great for improving the immune system of children.

Grapes are rich in bioflavonoids, antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. They help the body fight cancer and heart disease. Therefore, it is recommended for the treatment of hepatitis, cirrhosis, depression, heart failure, anemia, strengthening immunity - the organism becomes resistant to diseases. Sufficient quantity of 30-50 ml of madzun is enough to maintenance immunity, and an amount of 100 ml for recovery and restoration of the organism.

Ingredients:
  • 6 kg of black grapes (you’ll get about 1 kilogram of madzun)
Preparation:
  1. Crush and strain the grapes through several layers of gauze in a big pot.
  2. Boil the resulting juice on a medium heat until it obtains consistency of honey. Constantly collect the fluff from the surface of the juice using tea strainer. Be careful not to burn the juice.
  3. Once it’s well cooled, pour it into sterilized jars or bottles.
In the past, our grandparents did not have sugar in abundance as today. The poor suffered for a grain of sugar, they hid it from the children, locking it in the old cupboards. They gave to the children to try just a bit of sugar and a little more for holidays. Sweets and cakes were prepared with madzun. Modern science has proved this diet extremely healthy. Over the years it thickens and turns into pure grape.

Prepare your vintage madzun in late summer and consume it during the whole year..


EASY ZEBRA CAKE

Baking desserts is not really my thing. I avoid sugar and preparing sweet things. But I do enjoy light desserts which are easy for preparing and don't contain too much sugar. This dessert has been prepared in my family since I can remember. When I was a child, I would've eaten from the mixture before it was baked, hiding from my mom and waited in front of the oven to finish baking. My mom prepared it very often. If desired, you can also add nuts, and dried fruits.

zebra cake



Ingredients:
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 ml milk
  • 200 ml sunflower oil
  • 300 g flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 sachet baking powder
  • 2 tbs dark cocoa
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar
Preparation:
  1. Whisk eggs and sugar. Add milk and oil and mix well.
  2. In another bowl sift flour with baking powder and vanilla and add to the eggs. Beat until smooth, but not too long so you'll avoid the appearance of air bubbles in the mixture.
  3. Divide mixture into two equal parts. Add cocoa to one part and mix.
  4. Oil and sprinkle with flour the bottom of a 23 cm round pan.
  5. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of the light mixture straight in the center of the pan. Then right at its center (of the light mixture) pour 3-4 tbs of dark (cocoa) mixture. So the procedure is repeated until the two mixtures are finished.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 180 ° C until ready. 
Enjoy!

DELICIOUS BREADED CAULIFLOWER WITH CHEESE

This was my first time of preparing cauliflower this way. The thing is I boiled cauliflower the previous day which I combined with fish. This cauliflower was a leftover and I needed to come up with an idea how to use it the next day, I didn't wanted to throw it away. So I decided to transform it into a breaded cauliflower. In the end, I added grated cheese after I turned off the hotplate and believe me, it was delicious. I'm looking forward to make it again.
breaded cauliflower


Ingredients:
  • cauliflower around 500 g
  • 1 egg
  • flour 
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • oil for cooking
  • grated cheese 
Preparation:
  1. First, divide cauliflower and put to boil shortly. Don't boil for too long, you don't want it to be too soft. Mine was already soft since I prepared it the previous day so I had some hard time with cauliflower falling apart.
  2. Drain and dip each piece first into flour mixed with salt, then egg and breadcrumbs at last. 
  3. Place directly into a pan with heated oil to fry. Fry each side well and in the end, add grated cheese above and turn off the hotplate. Cover the pan with lid and leave for 5 minutes so the cheese will melt. 
Enjoy!

SWEET PIE WITH PUMPKIN (ZELNIK SO TIKVA)

Zelnik is a favorite sweet or salty delight, often prepared by our mothers and grandmothers. The smell of pie always reminds us of home, warmth, childhood and family. Depending on season and available fruits or vegetables on the market, you can prepare a tasty filling for your pie. This time I decided to prepare a pumpkin pie.
pumpkin pie

Ingredients:

For dough:
  • 500 g flour (and a bit more for sprinkling)
  • 1/3 cube of yeast1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 50 g margarine for sprinkling
  • 50 g oil for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cube margarine for coating crusts
For filling:
  • 1 kg cooked, cleaned, drained and mashed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • a little milk
Preparation:
  1. Knead dough from 500 g flour, yeast (previously activated), salt, sugar, one egg, 2-3 tablespoons of oil and 250 ml of lukewarm water. Knead well until smooth.
  2. Divide the dough into 16 balls and roll out a small crust from each ball. Coat each crust with margarine and place one over other. The last 8th crust shouldn't be coated with margarine. Repeat the same with the other 8th balls. Let them stay in the fridge and in a meantime prepare the filling. 
  3. Boil, clean, drain and mash the pumpkin. Add 2-3 tbs of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 eggs and a little milk. Mix well.
  4. Then, roll out 1 crust from the first 8 layers and place it in an oil coated baking pan. Add the filling.
  5. Roll out a large crust from the other 8 crusts, place over the filling, make wrinkles all over the crust and make turns at the ends. Sprinkle with melted margarine and oil.
  6. Bake at 180 C degrees until lightly browned.
    The same dough can be made with different filling: minced meet, leeks, spinach, cheese ...
  7. Enjoy the beautiful pie.

NO FLOUR DELICIOUS APPLE CAKE (GLUTEN FREE)

This is a light and tasty dessert without flour and gluten free. I was a little skeptical when I first tried to prepare it since it doesn't contain flour, but I was thrilled how good it was. Simple and delicious easy cake with apples which becomes soft and juicy the next day after preparation.
apple cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups crushed walnuts
  • 2 cups corn semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sachets baking powder
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar
  • 5 grated apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • chocolate topping or icing sugar or cream for topping
*1 cup is 250 ml

Preparation:
  1. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar with a mixer. Once everything is well whipped, add all other ingredients and mix well.
  2. The prepared mixture is put in an oiled pan and baked in preheated oven at 200 C degrees. Check with a toothpick whether it is baked well. 
  3. After cooling, coat with chocolate topping, powdered sugar or cream. 
  4. Consume the next day when it gets juicy and tastes like it was poured with sorbet.

Кекс со јаболка без брашно

Состојки:
  • 2 шољи мелени ореви
  • 2 шољи гриз
  • 2 јајца
  • 1/2 шоља млеко
  • 1 шоља масло
  • 1 шоља шеќер
  • 2 ќесички прашок за печиво
  • 2 ќесички ванилин шеќер
  • 5 рендани јаболка
  • 1 лажичка цимет
  • чоколаден прелив, шеќер во прав или шлаг за одозгора
Припрема:
Се матат јајцата со шеќерот и ванилиниот шеќер со миксер. Откако ќе се изматат добро, се додаваат сите останати состојки и се меша добро. Подготвената смеса се става во намрсено тавче и се пече во загреана рерна на 200 степени. Се проверува со чечкалица дали е печено добро. Откако добро ќе се излади се премачкува со чоколаден прелив, растопено чоколадо или шеќер во прав. Се конзумира наредниот ден кога станува сочно и добива вкус како да е потурено со шербет.

PERFECT TRILECE RECIPE

This is an excellent recipe for a perfect Trilece. A tres leches cake also known as pan tres leches ("three milks bread"), is a sponge cake or butter cake soaked in 3 kinds of milk: condensed milk, plain milk and heavy cream. That's how it got it's name - tres leches cake meaning 3 milks cake.
Trilece is a very popular dessert in Macedonia, people went crazy for this mouth melting easy soft dessert and this is the perfect recipe which you can easily prepare at home and thrill your loved ones. Here I used milk in powder instead of condensed milk.

Ingredients:

For biscuit:

  • 6 eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 200 g flour
  • 1/2 sachet baking powder (5 g)
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (10 g)
For topping:
  • 400 ml heavy cream (hopla)
  • 300 g milk in powder
  • 800 ml of plain milk
For coating:
  • 300 g ready caramel cream, available in all stores, buy a good one
Preparation:
  1. Whisk the egg whites and gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar.
  2. When well scrambled, add yolks one by one, stir and slowly add flour mixed with baking powder. Stir gently with mixer turned off.
  3. Pour the mixture into a rectangle baking pan coated with baking paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 180 C degrees. Let the biscuit to cool down a little and then stab it with a toothpick all over so it can later soak the milk better. Remove the biscuit from the pan together with the baking paper.
  4. Then, pour the cream in the same pan, spread it all over and return the biscuit in the pan with the upper part turned down. Again stab the biscuit with a toothpick and let stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Put milk in powder in 150-200 ml of milk and mix it well. Add this mixture to the rest of the milk (the rest 600-650 ml) and put on a stove to warm up. Pour warm milk over the biscuit and let it soak well.
  6. Apply the caramel on top.
Enjoy this beautiful dessert!

ТРИЛЕЧЕ

Одличен рецепт за совршено трилече. A tres leches cake, исто така познатa и како pan tres leches, е пандишпан торта натопена во 3 видови на млеко: кондензирано млеко, обичнo млеко со над 3% масленост и слатка павлака. Така трилечето го добило своето име што во буквален превод значи торта со 3 млека.
Трилече е многу популарен десерт во Македонија, лесен десерт кој се топи во устата, а ова е совршен рецепт кој може лесно да се подготви дома. Во овој рецепт наместо кондензирано млеко користев млеко во прав како подостапна варијанта.

Состојки:

За пандишпан:

  • 6 јајца
  • 100 г шеќер
  • 200 г брашно
  • 1/2 ќесичка прашок за пециво
  • 1 ќесичка ванилин шеќер
За прелив:

  • 400 мл хопла
  • 300 г млеко во прав
  • 800 мл обично млеко
За карамел:
  • 300 г готов карамел, достапен во сите продавници, одберете подобар
Начин на подготовка:
  1. Изматете ги белките и постепено додавајте го шеќерот и ванилиниот шеќер.
  2. Кога добро ќе ги изматите белките, додајте ги жолчите една по една и продолжете со миксирање. Додадете го постепено брашното измешано со прашокот за пециво и мешајте со миксерот исклучен или на најслаба брзина.
  3. Пренесете ја смесата во правоаголен сад за печење обложен со хартија за печење и печете околу 20-25 минути на 180 C степени. Нека се олади малку, а потоа избодете го пандишпанот со чепкалка за заби низ целата површина така што подобро ќе го впие целото млеко подоцна. Извадете го пандишпанот од тавата заедно со хартијата за печење.
  4. Потоа, турете ја хоплата во истата тава и вратете го назад пандишпанот превртен од другата страна и повторно избодете го со чепкалка за заби. Оставете да отстои 15тина минути.
  5. Млекото во прав се раствора во 150-200 мл млеко и се меша добро. Оваа смеса додадете ја на остатокот од млекото (600-650 ml) и ставете се заедно на шпорет да се загрее, не да врие. Жешкото (не врело) млеко потурете го врз целиот пандишпан и оставете да впие добро.
  6. На крајот нанесете го карамелот. Уживајте во прекрасниот десерт!

TODAY IS MITROVDEN - GREAT MARTYR DIMITRI

Today Orthodox Christians celebrate the holiday of St. Great Martyr Dimitri or Mitrovden.

Mitrovden is a great Christian holiday dedicated to the holy martyr St. Demetrius, which is celebrated on November 8th. The holiday is celebrated in the whole Balkan Peninsula. Traditionally, Mitrovden is referred to the beginning of cold weather (winter). 

St. Dimitri was born in Solun (today Thessaloniki), in the third century. He was the only child of the Solun voivode. After the death of his father, the Caesar Maximilian set Dimitri on the same position as his father and especially recommended him to persecute the Christians. However, Dimitri not only hasn't prosecuted them, but confessed and preached faith in the risen Christ publicly. As soon as the Caesar heard about it, when returning from a march, went to Solun to investigate the matter. He called Dimitri who has not denied his faith and even persuaded Caesar in the senselessness of idolatry. Maximilian was angry and threw Dimitri in prison, and after several days Dimitri was killed. Some Christians took his body and buried it. On that place was erected a church and later a big church, which to this day is located in Thessaloniki. His relics are also located there.

Apart from the usual custom of wearing bread and wine in the church (which is bread is sanctified, this holiday is also celebrated in the family, and does not relate to any special rituals or rites. The evening before the holiday, the closer are invited with bread or some other object. On the day of glory is given lunch that serve greasy food, unless the holiday falls in the day when fasting. Also guests come and the next day in morning. Otherwise, all the people who called Dimitar, Dimitri, Dime Mitre, Mitra, Dimitra or some other variation, celebrate the name day, which is done at night.

EASY AND FAST DELICIOUS CHICKEN IN SAUCE

One of the fastest and tastiest dishes that one can prepare and call it a descent lunch :) I call it "lunch for lazy housewives" :) I came back from work in 6 pm yesterday, I had bought the chicken steak the day before and prepared it immediately, I didn't even change my clothes. It took me around 7 minutes to cut the meat and to mix the ingredients, and the overall cooking time was around 40 minutes. This dish would be great combined with mushrooms, I don't eat mushrooms so I never use them, but if you decide to add some, add them together with the chicken.
chicken in sauce


Ingredients:

  • 700 g chicken steak
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 sour cream (250 ml)
  • 2 sachets of instant cream soup or I used 1 sachet of chicken mix for sauce if available in your place
  • spices: salt, black pepper, parsley
  • olive oil, a piece of butter
Preparation:
  1. Chop steak in medium sized pieces, add salt and black pepper and fry in hot oil mixed with butter.
  2. If you're adding mushrooms, add them now and fry together with the meat. 
  3. Mix sour cream with the instant cream soup, add water and add them to the pan. Stir well and add more water if needed. Leave to cook for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Finally add chopped garlic and parsley and stir the sauce.
  5. Serve warm and combine with boiled potatoes, cauliflower or broccoli. 

Enjoy!

ZELNIK (PIE WITH EGGS AND CHEESE)

As I have mentioned before, this is my mother's recipe and it's the best!. Believe me, I've tried many different pies, but this one is my benchmark for pie!You can add spinach in the mixture, I didn't have one now so I prepared it without it.

Ingredients:

For filling (or optional):

  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g white cheese or 300 g cottage salty cheese
  • 1 pack sour cream (250 ml)
Preparation:

Mix eggs with the cheese and add the sour cream. Add a little oil on the crust before applying the filling .

For dough:
  • 1 kg of flour
  • 500 ml lukewarm water
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • pinch of yeast
  • 1 margarine / butter 250 g, divided in half
Preparation:

1. Mix all ingredients and knead until dough is smooth, split into two balls and let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
2. Roll out a 2-3 cm pastry from one ball and coat with half butter. Cut a smaller circle in the middle and cut in rays the remaining ring.

3. Each piece of the ring is placed on one another in the middle and then closed.

Put the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for at least half an hour.
4. Repeat the procedure with the other ball.
5. When the dough is nicely chilled, stretch a crust the size of the tray, put the bottom crust on a greased tray, add the filling and place the second layer. Seal the ends spirally.
6. Cut down the top layer with a sharp knife into pieces the size of your choice, so the pie won't swell while baking.
7. Bake at 200 C degrees in preheated oven, until pie gets a beautiful golden color.

Enjoy!


MACEDONIAN RISOTTO

One of my favorite vegetarian dishes and one of the fastest to prepare. I basically like to prepare meals that contain rice and this one is one of my favorite and my kids love it! I usually prepare it when I want fast and light lunch. The meat version of this dish would be combined with pieces of chicken, first boil the chicken, cut in pieces and add pieces of meat in the rice 20 minutes before it's done. This dish is prepared in a pot.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice (cup size is 250 ml)
  • 3-4 carrots chopped in pieces
  • 1 head middle sized chopped onion 
  • 1-2 chopped peppers 
  • 1 larger chopped tomato
  • spices: vegeta, 1 tbs red pepper, a little black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • fresh parsley

Preparation:

  1. Put some cooking oil in a pot and fry rice for 5 minutes with constant stirring.
  2. Then add all the chopped ingredients: carrots, onion, peppers, tomato. Stir.
  3. Add water and spices and mix.
  4. Leave to cook at a medium heat and don't forget to stir occasionally. Cooking time is around 30-45 minutes. If you want a more liquid dish, then add more water. 
  5. While cooking, check if there's enough water. I like this dish more thick and more risotto like.
  6. If you want to add chicken meat, do that as I first mentioned, 20 minutes before the end, add boiled and cut in pieces chicken meat.
Enjoy!


ROASTED JUICY PORK RIBS IN OVEN

Tasty, juicy, soft. Baked dish for the heart. Indispensable delicacy on every major celebration or for Sunday lunch with your family. These baked ribs will delight you and anyone who tries them. Many times when you cook pork meat, it turns out dry and hard right? That can't happen if you're preparing these pork ribs, just follow the instructions. It takes a little more time for baking and the preparing time is short.
roasted pork ribs


Ingredients:
  • 1 larger piece pork ribs
  • little cooking oil
  • a little salt, black pepper, Vegeta, red pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 glass beer (200-250 ml) 
  • 1 glass water

Preparation:
  1. Nicely rub meat with spices (salt, dried vegetables (vegeta), black pepper, mustard and paprika) to well penetrate the meat. Coat with cooking oil and allow to stand for at least 2 hours before baking. You can also leave overnight.
  2. Place meat in a baking pan and pour with water.
  3. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in oven to bake at a high temperature, about 230 C degrees for an hour. During this time the liquid in the pot will start to boil and then reduce the temperature to 150-160 C degrees and leave to bake for at least 3 hours.
  4. Remove aluminum foil and let bake meat uncovered to get a little color. At the end, pour approximately 200 ml beer over meat and put back in the oven to quietly evaporated almost all beer. Be careful not to evaporate all liquid, and if dry, add more water and bring the liquid to boil. 
Enjoy!

ROASTED CHESTNUTS

Roasted chestnuts are a major symbol of autumn. My favorite autumn smells are those of roasted pumpkin and roasted chestnuts. 
Chestnut trees grow naturally in Macedonia, usually in the higher mountain areas.  Many times I've picked chestnuts myself and I enjoy collecting them. I hope I can pick some this Sunday if the weather is good :)
Amiable mighty chestnut (Castanea sativa) is a natural source of energy and health that we need in the first cold days when adapting the winter. Also, its "cousin," wild chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is extremely healing, although it's not edible.
roasted chestnuts
Roasted chestnuts on a hotplate

The fruits of chestnut purify the blood and strengthen immunity, they are hard to digest, but provide a lot of energy because they contain a lot of carbohydrates, proteins, sugar, fat and fiber.
The ancient nations used chestnuts to strengthen the body, while in the Middle Ages, these fruits were used as an important commodity in the diet of poor strata of society. It is known that the Roman Emperor Caesar ordered to burn the forests of chestnut trees in the areas he conquered, only to destroy food sources of natives.

Chestnut is very nutritious and contains valuable minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, almost all groups of vitamin B. The fruits are used in the diet in different ways - boiled, roasted, in the form of puree, dried for flour, in many sweet and savory dishes, as chestnut honey.

Roasting chestnuts on a hotplate
Roasting chestnuts at home is not hard, but many people avoid it and boil chestnuts instead. For me, the only good way to eat chestnuts is the roasted way.
  1. For start, you'll need fresh chestnuts and knife. Cut every chestnut a little in width. 
  2. Then, arrange chestnuts on a hotplate and roast them on both sides at medium heat. Be careful not to burn them. 
  3. When ready, put them in a bag or in a bowl and cover with towel. Leave chestnuts covered for several minutes, they'll peel better this way.

Roasting chestnuts in an oven   
  1. Cut every chestnut a little in width. 
  2. Then put the chestnuts in a pot, add water and some salt. Let them simmer until the water boils, then remove and place in oven at 220 C degrees and bake for about 15 minutes. 
  3. When they are ready, leave to rest for 5 minutes, then enjoy tasty chestnuts.

11th OF OCTOBER - DAY OF THE MACEDONIAN UPRISING

Today Macedonia marks 75 years since the start of the anti-fascist uprising and liberation war.

On October 11th, 1941, veterans of the First Prilep Partisan Detachment, attacked the Bulgarian police station and telephone-telegraph network in Prilep, which marked the beginning of the uprising of Macedonia against the Bulgarian, Italian and German occupiers for liberating the country. The next day, on October 12th, Partisan Detachment burst the first gun in Kumanovo.
11 october

11th of October is an extension of freedom traditions of the Macedonian nation permeated in Karposh, Razlog, Kresna and Ilinden Uprising and in the efforts for social and national liberation invested in the Balkan wars and the World War I.
With the decision to join the anti-fascist coalition, Macedonia took the side of progressive mankind, against fascism as the darkest ideology of contemporary history and strongest denial of civilization and democratic values.
Macedonians alone fought for their freedom. The first partisan who started the fight, the National Liberation Army of Macedonia, at the end of the four-year war has grown into a well-organized army, 110.000 army with military formations of the highest ranks as corps and divisions.
58,000 people were interned during the occupation of Macedonia and despite the atrocities that the invaders were doing on the innocent civilian population, the country suffered huge economic damage. The crown of the fight are decisions made on ASNOM in 1944, when ideals for establishing the Macedonian state became alive.

BAKED PEPPERS WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY

Did you know that Macedonian pepper is unique? Everyone that lives outside Macedonia, when they first try Macedonian peppers, say that they don't taste like the peppers they're used to eat.  Macedonian pepper is one of  Macedonians benchmarks.
This is one of the many different dishes one can prepare or invent with peppers. Baked peppers in different forms go excellent with the main dish or as an appetizer or simply as a salad. Which form is my favorite? Warm bread, peppers and cheese. And a glass of red wine :)
baked peppers

Ingredients:

  • 20 red and green peppers, if desired, add 2-3 chilly peppers
  • chopped garlic 
  • chopped parsley
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • vinegar
Preparation:

  1. Bake peppers on a grill or a hotplate, and put in a nylon bag. Leave 10 minutes then peel and clean from seeds.
  2. Chop peppers or cut in stripes.
  3. Add chopped garlic, salt, oil, vinegar and add parsley in the end. Mix gently.
Enjoy!

PROJARA (SALTY CAKE WITH EGGS, CHEESE AND SPINACH)

Proja is Macedonian salty cake made of corn flour. It's also widely prepared all over Balkan countries. It used to be very popular during poverty period after WW2, but today it is used as an everyday meal. The fancier variant of proja is called projara, so I think this recipe is more for projara than proja. I've included here yogurt, eggs, spinach and nettles seed. It's vary fast to prepare and I usually make this salty cake in the morning for breakfast, while everyone is still asleep.


Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs 
  • 150 ml oil
  • 1 cup of yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup acidic water
  • 200 g white cheese 
  • handful of spinach (or more)
  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 sachet baking powder (10 g)
  • 2 tbs nettles seed (optional)
  • pinch of salt
Preparation:
  1. Mix the eggs and salt, then add all the other ingredients to obtain a compact mixture. 
  2. Add the cheese, chopped spinach and nettles seed in the end, mix nice, pour in greased pan (sprinkle sesame seed om top if desired) and put to bake. Bake at 220 C degrees for about half an hour. Check with toothpick if the cake is ready.
  3. Optionally you can add other green leaves, leeks, olives, ham. I've tried different combinations and they are all very tasty.
     

TOP 7 DESSERT WITH SHERBET (with recipes)

I have certainly mentioned before, that my favorite desserts are those prepared with sherbet. I loved baklava, tulumba, kadaif, ravanija even since I was a little girl and nothing has changed so far. I feel great pleasure when I eat a dessert with sherbet, I love how it melts in my mouth, I love its' juiciness and how it calms my senses. For those who don't know what is sherbet, it's basically a boiled mixture of water and sugar which can contain small amounts of vanilla or lemon juice. Sherbet is used to pour over a dough which soaks the sherbet. My love to sherbet desserts inspired me to prepare this Top 7 list of the most popular sherbet desserts.


1. BAKLAVA (THE PERFECT RECIPE)

Baklava is another pastry that is typical of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. Today, it is one of the most popular desserts in Macedonia. It is a rich sweet pastry made of layers covered with sherbet (syrup) which seduces with its taste.
This is the perfect recipe of baklava. You can find the phyllo dough for this recipe in the freezer section of most grocery stores.  


2. ROLLED BAKLAVA (MY MOM'S RECIPE)

My mom has been preparing this baklava for ages and I always thought that her baklava is the best. When I was a kid, I would've stick my fork right in the middle and eat my piece by unrolling baklava until I've reached the very center :) I've later tried other types of this great dessert, but this one still takes a special place in my heart.


3.TULUMBA

Tulumba is a one of the best dessert in the world. Simple and sweet, there isn't a human being that can resist the irresistible taste of the sweet dough covered with syrup (sherbet). Tulumba originates in Turkey and it's mostly found in all cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. It is one of the most popular desserts in Macedonia. There are many recipes for tulumba, some of them are good, some of them are awesome, but the best recipes are kept a secret and there is a great truth when it's said that if you want to try good tulumba, visit a specialized pastry shop. This recipe is the closest I could get to make a tulumba just like from a pastry shop. Follow the instructions carefully.



Ravanija is an old traditional dessert which is widely prepared in all countries that were under Ottoman empire. It's one of the most delicious desserts, it's easy to prepare and it's a must try sweet.



A little forgotten recipe from our grandmothers - tatlija. I remember my dad used to use this word tatlija when we were kids and sometimes when we were unhappy with the meal, he would say: "Well, what do you want instead, maybe some tatlija huh?". That was ironically said of course :)  



6. SIMPLE COOKIES WITH SHERBET (HEDGEHOGS)

This is my aunt's recipe, she says that these are the fastest and the tastiest cookies. I believe her in the "tastiest" part, cause I can eat several at once :) These are mouth melting and kids love them because they look like little hedgehogs :)


7. KADAIF
 
Kadaif is a delicacy that is made of special thin noodles, usually mixed with almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts and always topped with sherbet (syrup). Although the roots of this dessert come from Palestine, thanks to the Turkish occupation, it spreaded in the Balkans and became one of the most  favorite sweet treats.