QUINCE PRESERVE (SLATKO OD DUNJI)

Quince preserve is one of the most prepared in Macedonia. Quinces are autumn fruit which grows in almost every house's yard. They smell beautiful, but they are too hard to be eaten raw, that's why quinces are mainly eaten as processed fruits.

Something about quince as fruit:
Quince is a fruit that is ripen from late October to December and has a real composition of useful substances. This fruit originates in southwest Asia and in ancient times was considered a symbol of fertility and a symbol of love and happiness.
Apart from the minimum amount of calories and fat, it is rich in protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and contains much tannin and pectin substances.
It mostly contains vitamin C, and carotene (provitamin A), vitamin B1 and B2, and niacin. It's rich in copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulfur and chlorine.


Quince seeds contain up to 15 percent oil and vitamin B17, which has anticancer action. Quince seeds are rich in fat, tannin, pectin, sugar, malic acid, emulsion and protides.
Because of this, quince is a very healthy fruit. Even the leaves and seeds are healthy, especially the fruit juice and syrup. Thanks to tannin and mucus, it has favorable effect on bowel performance and prevents infectious diseases.
Quince should be used as a drug or as auxiliary cure when it comes to the following diseases and symptoms: acne, anemia, diseases of the nose and throat (tonsils), bronchitis, cramps in the stomach, flu and colds, diarrhea, eczema, bad breath, skin infections, weak immunity, cough, nervousness, insomnia, burns, stomach problems and digestive system, problems with skin diseases, various infections, inflammation of the respiratory organs, accelerates wound healing.

Therefore we are advised to include quince in our diet or to use quince products, especially to use it as a dietary supplement for children. Naturally, it's the best to consume it fresh which is the only way your body can enter all the vitamins which it contains.



Ingredients:

  • 1 kg quinces
  • 750 g sugar
  • 1 lemon or orange
  • 1 package citric acid (10 g)

Preparation:

  1. Put sugar and 2-3 glasses of water to boil. It should become thicker, almost as syrup.
  2. In the meantime wash well quinces. Remove the seeds and the hard part around seeds. 
  3. Grate them on a grater or blend in a blender crushed.
  4. Add grated quinces in the boiling syrup.
  5. Add 1 sliced lemon or orange ​​and cook for about 25-30 minutes or until sweet achieves needed density.
  6. Before the end, add 1 packet citric acid (limontus). 
  7. Collect in hot jars, close and store.
Enjoy!

AMAZING CAKE WITH LEMON AND SOUR CHERRIES

A great recipe for fast cake with lemon and sour cherries. This cake is ready in no time and eaten in no time :) A great dessert for your morning coffee or for close guests.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • /2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder (1 pack 10 g)
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cleaned sour cherries

*1 cup (250 ml) is:

  • flour – 150 gr
  • sugar – 200 gr
  • powdered sugar – 140 gr

Preparation:

  1. Mix eggs and sugar with a mixer.
  2. Add the rest of the above ingredients. Don't add cherries now. 
  3. When mixture is well mixed add cherries.
  4. Pour into greased loaf pan or a few smaller ones.
  5. Bake at 180°C for about 40 minutes. Check with toothpick if cake is ready.
  6. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. You can also add cherry syrup on top for even better taste!
Enjoy!

SHARPLANINEC - NATIONAL DOG OF MACEDONIA

Sharplaninec is an indigenous breed shepherd dog, which comes from the mountain massifs of Shar Planina. Sharplaninec dog is a national dog of the country. Its name derives from the mountain Shar Planina. Šarplaninec breed was first registered and recognized by the World Federation Kennel in 1939 under the name of Illyrian shepherd.

Features of Sharplaninec:
Sharplaninec features high capacity and durability at low temperatures, geographical isolation, keeping the herd as well as dealing with wild animals (especially bears and wolves).

Color:
In Sharplaninec are allowed all colors, just not pure black, pure white and pure red color.

Look:
Proper sharplaninec must have a black face (black mask) and at least the area around his eyes should be black. The eyes should have a dark color with a circular shape. The ears should be attached to his head, the shape of the full head should be spherical (ball) and the dorsal line flat. The teeth should overlap (overlap of upper and lower jaw). The fibers in Sharplaninec must have a minimum length of 10 cm and tail should be a with length below the hock.

Height:
The height in females must be at least 58cm and minimum height in males should be 64cm

Weight:
Weight in males should be from 35 kg to 45 kg, while in females the weight should be between 30 kg to 40 kg

Character:
Sharplaninec features a stable character, should not to be aggressive when their owner is near and in case when their owner is not in their presence, their task is not to allow anyone to get close to the place they keep.

Sharplaninec in our country is mostly used as a guardian of livestock, especially sheep. This dog does not allow animals which it protects to be attacked by wild animals. When going out, in the hierarchy they are positioned to guard livestock (sheep) and "the chief" is always positioned in a so-called outpost position to observe the herd all the time and to give signs in case of danger.
Pedigree of this dog says that the dog can and is capable to adapt to all conditions when spending enough time in the place where the dog will live.

ASSUMPTION OF MARY (USPENIE NA PRESVETA BOGORODICA)

Orthodox Christians in Macedonia celebrate the great religious holiday Assumption of Mary (Uspenie na presveta Bogorodica). 28th of August is non-working day for all Macedonians.

From most holidays dedicated to the Mother of God, this one is the most important. That's why people also call this holiday "Great Mother" (golema Bogorodica). Beautiful paintings from this Biblical event can be found in Macedonian churches and monasteries, which are commonly found over the main west door of the church. The word itself means dormition or sleep. In other words, it's not death that is being celebrated, but the ascension of the Virgin Mary in the heavenly dwellings. It is her sleep that is being celebrated. Immediately after her death she was taken to heaven in Christ embraces, taken up with the body and soul. Her tomb was found empty on the third day. She becomes the first and biggest representative of people before God.

According to church tradition, Mary ended her life quietly and peacefully without any illness and suffering, and after the death of her son Jesus Christ, she often prayed together with the apostles to God to take her soul and move to heaven. She experienced old age. During a prayer on Leon Athos, the holy Archangel Gabriel had called her and said that in three days she will be moved from the earthly to the heavenly life. She told the news to the holy Apostle John, who, in turn, cared for her till the rest of her life. Holy Apostle John published the news, which soon spread and all came at Our Lady to 'honor her while still alive. All this happened in the house of the Apostle John where Mary gave her soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. She was surrounded by many angels and archangels. Great noise and a great cloud appeared, and all the apostles arrived to honor her. Among them wasn't present only Apostle Thomas. He was away from the other apostles, because he preached Christianity. First Mary lied on the bed and then came the Lord Jesus Christ in full daylight, she got up and said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in it." Immediately afterwards she again fell asleep.
When Our Lady appeared in her full glory and greatness to the people present in her tomb, then they believed she ascended from earth to heaven accompanied by angels and archangels, seraphims, cherubim and saints and that she made transition from the earthly to the heavenly kingdom, to eternal life.

FILIGREE - A TRADEMARK OF MACEDONIA (FILIGRANSTVO)

Filigree is an art with a long tradition. It is passed from generation to generation and requires a lot of patience, vision and above all, love in creating. Simple silver wires are intertwined miraculously. Each filigree has a history and heaviness in making it, and each one is unique, unique for its beauty and the mesh of the silver wire.
The main feature of filigree is knitting a very thin, already processed wire called "srma". Sometimes the wire is thin as a fiber. Filigree is considered one of the finest and oldest techniques when it comes to processing of metal. By the mid-nineteenth century, this technique was named as wire-craft or working with wire. In fact, filigree is derived from the Latin words: filum (wire) and granum (grain), indicating the thickness of the wire in the hands of the filigree maker.


Silversmith is an art craft that represents an entire group of trades: silversmith with casting and hammering items, filigree, goldsmith and jewelers. For making filigree is needed the purest silver from 1000 carats which is obtained by refining (hardening) of silver with lower quality.
Filigree jewelry box

A number of operations are used for preparation of jewelry, including: whitening (silver jewelry is cleaned, polished), burnishing (cleaning, polishing), gilding (process in covering with gold), molding (process of making molds for casting), tempering (purification of silver for getting more carats), wire spinning (two wires are joined into one) and others.

Filigree in Macedonia had the biggest flourishing in the Middle Ages, reaching its climax in the XVIII century and the first half of XIX century. Craftsmen have a large contribution to the economic development of Macedonia. However, with the introduction of machine-products, there's a sharp decline in filigree too. Serial products are cheaper than handmade. Being in such an unenviable position, in the second half of the XIX century the majority of silversmiths have closed their shops reorienting to other activities or left abroad. Only the stubborn survived, so there are rarely silversmiths in the cities today. In fact, today there are quite a number of filigree and goldsmith stores, but in essence, they are commercial rather than creative shops.
Filigree jewelry
But in the last decade, Crafts Chamber in Skopje is trying to preserve the tradition and culture through the creation of works of art to provide conditions for self-employment. "We want a place to show dexterity, quality, and art. Through filigree, skilled and diligent hands mixed tradition and culture of living with new, modern. People create products that are breathtaking and are a feast for the eyes and soul "- say from the Crafs Chamber in Skopje.The President of the Chamber of Crafts Nikola Petrov added: "We want to preserve tradition and culture through the creation of works of art to provide conditions for self-employment and increasing the standard of living. At the same time, we are organizing the promotion and sale of filigree jewelry, which develops sustainability professions in the field of artistic crafts. Filigree products, in turn, develop the brand in Macedonia which will be recognized in the world".

OHRID PEARL - UNIQUE JEWELRY FROM MACEDONIA

The world famous Ohrid Pearl is made from the scales of fish Plashica (bleak), endemic species of fish in the lake Ohrid. Skills for making Ohrid Pearl remain a secret family tradition that is inherited from generation to generation. Secret is carefully kept for almost a century. It's the light and uniqueness of the original Ohrid pearl, a jewel for which the city is also widely known. In Ohrid, in the old bazaar today, you can hear many tangled stories about the pearl. Talevi family is considered one of the few who zealously guard the tradition and the single recipe for manufacturing this beautiful and unique jewelry.


The secret story of the origin of the pearl begins with the scales of the Ohrid fish - bleak, but the method of processing and recipe for the glaze is a family secret passed only to male offspring.

It is only known that in 1924, recipe was bought from a Russian soldier who was staying in Ohrid and that Talevi family brought the material for making the pearl from Bethlehem.
This beautiful pearl in its beauty undoubtedly carries the secret of its manufacturing. For this pearl, experts would tell you that it last forever!


Many famous people could not resist the glow of this pearl. Queen Elizabeth, former Foreign Minister Anna Lindh of Sweden and former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Nadezhda Mihailova and many other famous names wore Ohrid pearl.

2 families are manufacturing original Ohrid pearl in Ohrid, Talevi family and Filevi family.


Talevi family


The family Talevi produces Ohrid pearls since 1924. The secret for preparing the emulsion is passed from father to son. The emulsion with which is coated the grain of Ohrid pearl, is from natural origin and made by extracting silver from the scales of fish Plashica. Kliment Talev is a second generation from family Talevi that makes the Ohrid pearl. His son Vane is the third and grandchildren Kliment and Mihajlo are the fourth generation. Talevi are especially proud that the Queen of England Elizabeth II wears Ohrid pearls, specially designed in their workshop.
Queen Elizabeth II wearing Ohrid pearl necklace

Kliment Talev

Filevi family

Among the contenders for the title "King of Ohrid pearls", with family tradition since 1928 is the family Filevi that manufactures Ohrid pearl. In 1928, Mihajlo Filev learns the secret of making pearls from the scales of fish Plashica. Filev family begins with making of pearls, transferring the skill from generation to generation. More than 80 years of manufacturing pearls, the Filevi family pearl jewelry becomes a leading souvenir in Ohrid, and refined by each new generation, becomes a part of the collections of many people in Macedonia and worldwide.
Filevi jewelry

ROSEHIP - DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY

Other names: wild dog rose, wild rose, dog rose, shepurnika, shipurina
Latin name: Rosa canina
English: Rose hip, Macedonian: shipka (шипка), shipinka (шипинка)

Rose hip is a permanent shrub with a height of 2 to 3 meters. In the first year appear straight branches that in the following years branch into multiple and withered hanging branches.The whole shrub is overgrown with sharp spines that are facing down. The leaves are odd feathers, gills with oval shaped and sharply serrated. The flowers are white to white-pinky color. The flowers are oval-shaped and contain a large number of hard seeds.
The flowers have a pleasing fragrance, and the fruits are with sour-sweet flavor. Seeds are odorless, but tea has many convenient fragrance.
Rose hip is widespread in Europe. You can find rose hip trees everywhere in Macedonia. In these parts it can be found in quite large quantities, and it grows in the hills, forests and other places. As a remedy are picked its fruits and flower petals.

It's a healing herb that mostly contains vitamin C. It is particularly important to say that with cooking, rose hip does not lose this vitamin. The tea is recommended for mothers during breastfeeding. Products from rose hip remove the so-called spring fatigue, paleness and reluctance, and any other problems associated with the lack of vitamin C.

It has also favorable effect on the digestive tract and excretion of urine without any irritation of the kidneys. Rose hip tea is recommended for prevention of stones in the kidneys and urinary tract.
Also acts on the purification of blood, and is used in processes of inflammation of the kidney, bladder and nephrons. Flower petals of rose hips are used for preparing tea for bleeding from the stomach, intestines, lungs and hemorrhoids, and against diarrhea and gut cramps. Mixed with other herbs is used in the treatment of other diseases.

MANAKI BROTHERS - INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

International Cinematographers Film Festival "Manaki Brothers" is the first and oldest world film festival celebrating the creative work of cinematographers. Launched in 1979 at the initiative of one of the main founders AFWM/Association of Film Workers of Macedonia, in the first half of its existence existed as review/meetings and then it began a competitive festival of Yugoslav cameramen/cinematographers in the category of short/documentary and feature films.

The festival was established in honor and inspired by overwhelming photographic / film documentary opus of brothers Janaki (1878-1954) and Milton (1880-1964), who with Film Festival "Bioscope" camera with serial number 300 of the company Charles URBAN, bought in London, just 10 years after the Lumière brothers in Paris, recorded the first documentaries in the Balkans in 1905 in Bitola and their first "actress" was their grandmother Despina which at 114 years of age was registered how she weaves in the yard of the family home. Therefore, they naturally laid the foundations of the upcoming festival in the city under Pelister, city of consuls, in Bitola, where brothers Brothers had a photography studio/shop and cinema.
International Cinematographers Film Festival "Brothers," which is held annually in Bitola is organized by the Association of Film Workers of the Republic of Macedonia.
Each year, the ICFF "Manaki Brothers" is held under the patronage of the President of the Republic and is supported by the Ministry of Culture. The festival, with its striking program, is becoming richer from year to year and it's attractive to both film professionals and film aficionados around the world.

Pillar of the festival program is "Camera 300" - the official competition of feature films from the latest European and world production. The cinematographers of these films contend for the Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300. Those are Festival awards awarded by an international jury of five members.

Beside the Official Competition, part of the Festival belongs to the program of short film, which has no competitivecharacter and shows a selection of the best performances of the film production in the last two years. Student Program "Manaki Brothers" is dedicated to young talents - students of film academies and schools worldwide. Within the festival program are also workshops, seminars, roundtables, exhibitions ...
The festival also awards Lifetime Achievement Award Golden Camera 300, which is reserved for the world's leading cinematographers. Until now, winners in the Club of the Greats are: Vittorio Storaro, Vadim Yusov, Raul Poor, Tonino Delli Coli, Miroslav Ondrichek, Henri Alec, Freddie Francis, Jiri Vojchik, Sven Nikvist.

The festival maintains close relations, cooperating with other festivals in the region and beyond. Since 2002, it is a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals. Over the years, ICFF "Manaki Brothers" gained many sincere friends in the area of ​​film from all over the world. Today, it enjoys a reputation as one of the few successful festivals, specifically honoring the art and creativity of the cinematographer.

FAST BISCUIT CAKE WITH INSTANT COFFEE (NO BAKING)

If you're fond of desserts that taste like coffee and if you want to prepare something sweet with not much mess, then, this is the right recipe for you.

Ingredients:

  • biscuits (lady fingers)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee

For cream

  • 250 ml oil
  • 150 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs cognac

Preparation:

  1. Dissolve instant coffee in warm milk and melt in biscuits one by one.
  2. Prepare the cream by whipping the sugar with the oil. Gradually add the eggs one by one and finally add cognac.
  3. Line in a glass pan a row of biscuits, a row of cream. if you want more creamy cake than use less biscuits and more cream.
  4.  Finish with cream, decorate with instant coffee or as desired and put the pan in the refrigerator.
  5.  Enjoy!

BITOLA CLOCK TOWER (SAAT KULA)

Clock Tower is the most recognizable monument that identifies Bitola. It is located in the center of the city, in the northern part of Shirok Sokak, around which there are numerous cultural and historical monuments, as well as new constructions. With its height, the city clock dominates the area and broadcasts popular music when ticking certain time.
Bitola Clock Tower
Although there hasn't been found any documentation for its construction, according to some unconfirmed scientific knowledge, it is considered that the clock tower was built during the Turkish rule in 1830, along with the church St.Dimitrija. It is said that during the construction, 60.000 eggs were used as a material for binding the blocks, collected from rural households in Bitola. Thus builders thought that the walls would be much stronger. These past centuries justified their architectural mastery.
Clock tower and Phillip II
Clock Tower stands at 33 meters, it is set on a square base, with 5.8 m width each side. From the north side there are semi-circular entrance through which can be gone up stone spiral stairs. Clock tower is divided into three floors and the top is the mechanism of the clock. The original clock was replaced with a newer one and much more precise during the Second World War. There are entrenched special metal plates on every side on which are mounted the hands of the clock and are inscribed Roman numerals from one to twelve. The top part is a small dome, which offers a beautiful view of the City of Consuls. The new clock was purchased by the Nazis, in gratitude to the citizens for building German cemetery for the victims of World War I, along with English and French cemetery.

In recent times the tower has been conserved and restored, but that didn't change the original look of the clock tower, which continues to be one of the most representative monuments of Islamic art. The park around the tower is a place where people gather every day and enjoy the beautiful nature.

STARA BITOLSKA CARSIJA (BITOLA OLD BAZAAR MARKET)

Bitola Old Bazaar market is located north from downtown. This part of the city kept many houses with traditional Turkish architecture and numerous monuments, mosques and baths, from the Ottoman era. Although with time the bazaar diminished, it still retained its original trade activity.

Old Bazaar is located on the north bank of the Dragor river that passes through Bitola. It is across the southern part of the city center which is built in the XIX century and with typical central European architecture. Bazaar features a mix of streets with short houses that are clearly identifiable in the urban landscape of Bitola. Bazaar was once much larger, but was demolished to make way for modern buildings.


Old Bazaar in 1914

Bitola became a real city after the Ottoman conquest in XIV century. Then, a large number of Turkish population moved in Bitola. Turkisn people especially traded wool and leather. Most of the public buildings in the bazaar were built in the XV and XVI century by local dignitaries.

According to a Venetian merchant who passed through the city in 1591, the bazaar already had the Bezisten (closed arcade market) and Caravan-Saray. Ottoman traveler from the XVII century, Evliya Çelebi, talks about 3,000 houses, 900 shops, 40 tea-houses, Bezisten (arcade) closed with iron gates and numerous other public buildings. At that time, Bitola had arout 70 mosques.
Bezisten

The trade activity of the city was much reduced by the Second Austrian-Turkish war from 1683 to 1689. Trade declines sharply. In the beginning of the XIX century, Bitola again finds its place as a major trade center. The involvement of foreign trade powers and regional politics, provide opening of new markets, so Bazaar little by little loses its status as a nerve center of the city because of the expense of the new sections built to the south.

In the height of its activity, Bazaar numbered 30 various markets, Ovci pazar (Sheep market), Drven pazar (Timber market), Mast pazar (Fat market), Ziten pazar (Grain market), At pazar (Horse market), Stocen pazar (Cattle market), Pekmez pazar (Jam pazar), Tus Market and many more. In the XIX century in the bazaar existed more than 140 trades in over 900 stores.

Today the bazaar is affected by the poor economic climate and numerous closed stores. Municipality and Museum, began action to renovate the Bazaar in 2009, which should last about ten years. Two marble fountains have been already restored by the museum.

PREOBRAZENIE (TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS CHRIST)

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated every year on August 19th or August 6th on the Julian calendar. On this day is celebrated the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, when the Lord appeared in His glory to the apostles Petar, Jakov and Jovan (Peter, James and John). For this event is spoken in three of the four Gospels: Matthew 17.1 to 9, Mark 9.2-8 and Luke 9.28 to 36.

According to the legend, to strengthen the faith of the apostles after his following suffering and death, the Lord Jesus Christ wanted to show at least some of his divine glory while he was still in human body shape. So he took Peter, James and John with him and went out with them at night on Mount Tabor and there he transfigured in front of them.
"And his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became white as snow, and besides him appeared prophets Moses and Elijah. ... Then, a bright cloud has covered the Lord and his apostles and voice came from heaven: "This is My beloved Son, listen to him." After they heard this voice, apostles had fallen on earth as dead and remained so, until the Lord approached and told them: "get up and do not be afraid" (Matthew 17). "
Monastery "Holy transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ" in Krushevo
Once they climbed off the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to speak about what they saw until he rises.
Although the event is traditionally believed to have occurred 40 days before the crucifixion of Christ, it is celebrated 40 days before Krstovden (Holy Cross day).

Grapes or other fruit are eaten on this day after the priest will sing and give blessings to the fruit. It is also a way to thanks God for the given fruits from the earth.

ALMONDS - TREASURE OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS

Almond trees grow naturally in Macedonia. They can be found on lower and rocky areas, but also almonds are industrially raised. Although it is considered tо belong to the group of nuts, almond (lat. Prunus amygdalus) is actually a member of the group of chestnuts fruits. In this sense, the almond is a close relative to plums, cherries, apricots and peaches.Almonds are useful and healthy foods that contain a lot of daily recommended amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino-acids.100 g of almonds contain 22 g of carbohydrates of which 12 g of dietary fiber, which is 49 % of daily fiber required.

Almonds are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. 100 grams of almonds contain:
  • 140% of the recommended daily amount of manganese
  • 75% magnesium
  • 60% copper
  • 50% phosphorus
  • 130% vitamin E
  • 51% Riboflavin (B2)

Prevention of heart attack
Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It is the type of acid which is found in olive oil and which is important for the prevention of heart attack. Several studies have confirmed that daily consumption of almonds leads to reduced risk of heart attack between 30 and 45%.
According to studies, if you dispose unhealthy saturated fats from meat and milk and replace them with adequate amounts of beneficial fats from almonds, the risk of heart attack is reduced by 45%.
Control of blood sugar
Several studies are designed to determine the impact of the almond sugar level in the blood. Studies have shown that consumption of 60 to 90 grams of almonds a day corrects the sudden rise of blood sugar.
Antioxidants in almonds
Today's unhealthy lifestyle, produces free radicals in the body. They are recently known as the cause of many diseases and the most difficult ones - malignant. To reduce the amount of free radicals and the damage that they can cause, you need antioxidants. Vitamin E is one of the oxidants that will help you in this, and almond contains a large amount of this vitamin. 100 grams of almonds contains even 131% of daily body needs for vitamin E.


Healing properties of almond:
  • Protects against stroke and heart attack
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Improves brain function
  • Protects against free radicals
  • Helps weight loss
  • Prevents gallstones, excellent source of protein, contains healthy fats, vitamins and minerals
Recipes

Almond milk
Almond milk is a great and healthy drink, especially if you have a problem with lactose from cow milk.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 4-5 glasses of water
  • a little honey and agave syrup, if desired
Preparation:
  1. Leave almonds soaked in water overnight. In the morning drain and place in a blender. 
  2. Add water and blend until almonds are totally crushed. 
  3. All this, strain well and sweeten as desired.

Almond oil

Almond oil can be easily made, but you need a little patience
  1. Put 1-2 cups almonds in a blender. You can add a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a little salt. 
  2. The whole process takes 10-12 minutes, so you'll need more time to turn off and turn on the blender.
  3. Grid almonds until you get the structure of oil.
Almonds are also used in production of cakes and sweets.

RED BUKOVSKA PAPRIKA (BUKOVSKA PIPER, BUKOVEC)


Bukovska red paprika is one of the most famous Macedonian brands which is known not only in our region, but even far away. Local seed and the procedure for its production, distinguishes these paprika from other similar spices at which people from the village Bukovo are very proud. Bukovska paprika got its name from the place of origin - village Bukovo, near the city of Bitola.
Bukovska pepper is a spice that is often used in the Macedonian food. But it is not only a spice, it's a part of the tradition and identity of the residents of Bukovo.

Similar spice is produced throughout the country, but Bukovska paprika is only produced in the village. This paprika is special, say the manufacturers. Spice is produced from indigenous pepper seed and preparation process of this spice is traditionally passed down from generation to generation.
People from the village Bukovo, still produce spice in the old traditional way..

The production starts with sowing of seeds in sun-drenched soil where more heat can be provided. After germination, peppers are transplanted into previously prepared surfaces. The harvest of Bukovski peppers is from September to early October. Collected peppers are hung in arrays then left to dry. To dry properly, the peppers should be exposed to heat and wind, but no more that 2-3 hours at direct sunlight a day. Drying process lasts for a month, and then peppers are moved to a dry place. Then dried peppers are put in batches and then crushed in a wooden bowl. The crushed peppers are then ground on watermill stones, creating the mealy form of Bukovska red paprika. Paprika for direct consumption, bukovec, is produced with an extended process of crushing the dried peppers along with the seeds.


SHEEP BREEDING IN MACEDONIA

Macedonian sheep breeding has a long tradition and it's supported by favorable natural conditions, meaning, flocks are raised in ecologically clean areas. Macedonia is located in the center of the Balkans, and more than 50% of the agricultural area (660,000 hectares) are alpine pastures. Pastures with 55,000 hectares of meadows, represent a great resource for development of sheep breeding. According to official statistics for the period 2000-2008, the annual average of sheep in the country is 1.28 million. 67% from them were breeding ewes (mostly dairy), 27% lambs and yearlings and only 6% were rams and sterile ewes. But it is only statistics, and the correct number of heads and farms is not known.


Sheep are mostly grown by the rural population, which gets good amounts of quality milk and meat from sheep. Total average production of sheep milk in recent years is about 49.6 thousand liters with an average yield of 57 liters per ewe. Individual sheep farmers produce 60 l / year while the sheep enterprises only 39 liters. Moreover, sheepskins are demanded in industry of leather products. Sheep give wool, but in our country it achieves high value. Sheep milk is processed into several specialties - soft white cheese (which is the most popular and sold in the domestic market, but small quantities are exported to neighboring countries), sheep's cheese, yogurt and whey. Very good product is also the young lamb meat. Soft white cheese together with the lamb meat, reflect the traditions and skills of shepherds. The quality of products is high valued on the domestic and foreign market, and today nearly 900,000 sheep give around 900,000 lambs and 40,000 tons of milk from which mainly is made soft white sheep cheese.

Macedonia has a history of producing lambs for export. About 80% of Macedonian lambs were exported to European countries, mainly in Greece (2,126 tons) and Italy (761 tonnes). Smaller amounts of lamb are sold in Serbia, Montenegro and Cyprus and especially in Croatia, which is becoming a significant growing market. Lamb meat is recognized as one of the main export of Macedonian agricultural sector, and that sector has great potential for expansion.

However, the weak production technology, hygiene and application of quality standards may be pointed as a significant issue. There is only one dairy in the country licensed to export to the EU, while two other processors possess a license for export to countries that are not EU members. More recently, manufacturers show a trend of increasing milk production and crosses with breeds of sheep that have high potential for milk production.

TARANA (TAHRANYA, PASTA IN THE SHAPE OF SMALL BALLS)

Tarana or tahranya is a kind of pasta in the shape of small balls, very popular here. There are people in Macedonia who prepare tarana at home, but I think it's easier to buy it. It's a cheap pasta, one package from 500 g costs around 1$, that's why I don't see a reason to make it at home. This is my way of preparing tarana and my family loves it!

Ingredients:
  • 1 package tarana (serves 4-5 people)
  • water as needed (follow the instructions on the package)
  • 1 tbs of oil and a pinch of salt
  • white cheese
  • 200 ml milk
Preparation:
  1. Put required water to boil, add a pinch of salt and 1 tbs oil and add tarana. Leave to cook and if you think there's too much water, just pour out the excess water. 
  2. Before end, add 1 glass of milk and leave to cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Tarana shouldn't be very thick, but almost liquid, it will thicken soon you'll see.
  3. Serve warm and combine with grated white cheese.
  1. Enjoy!

VEGETARIAN ZUCCHINI BURGERS

Tasty and a little different burgers, I guarantee you'll fall in love with these burgers even if you're not a vegetarian.


Ingredients:
  • 2 medium sized zucchinis
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 8 tablespoons semolina
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • some finely chopped garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 baking powder
  • fresh parsley
  • salt, black pepper and mixed spices (vegeta)
Preparation:
  1. Peel and grate zucchinis on the side of the grater with larger holes. Leave grated zucchinis to stay for 20 minutes to release water.
  2. Put in a large bowl and add all other ingredients. Mix well everything, you'll get a mixture not very thick, even a little liquid. 
  3. Heat oil in a pan and using a spoon take from the mixture and put in the pan, press well to form a burger and fry until burgers get a beautiful golden color on both sides.
  4. Align ready burgers on a kitchen paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Combine with sour cream and serve warm.
Enjoy!

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.


Ingredients:
  • 500 g of phyllo dough for pie (around 20 layers)
  • oil for sprinkling layers
For filling:
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbs of sugar
  • 200 g of ground walnuts
  • half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • half a teaspoon of cocoa
For the syrup:

750 g of sugar boil down to a thick syrup with 650 g of water, add 1 lemon cut into rings or slices and 1 pack of vanilla sugar (10 g).

Preparation:
  1. Divide layers into 5 equal parts, to later obtain 5 equal rolls (4 layers for one roll). If less layers in the package, reduce number of layers for 1 roll.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar, add nuts and spices. Divide filling into 5 parts. 
  3. Each layer sprinkle with a little oil and apply filling on the 4th layer and roll. Repeat the procedure 5 times. 
  4. Align rolls in a baking pan sprinkled with oil. Cut all 5 rolls to equal pieces. Sprinkle some oil on top.
  5. Bake baklava at 200 C degrees to get golden yellow color. Chill and pour over hot syrup. Leave to soak well then serve.
Enjoy!

MOUSSAKA WITH PASTA AND MINCED MEAT

This is an universal meal, for all ages and for any occasions, I just love it! Pasta combined with minced meat for me is the best.





Ingredients:
  • 500 g macaroni or other pasta
  • 1 tbs oil or butter
  • salt
  • 500 g minced meat
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 larger tomato
  • 200 g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable cube
  • finely chopped parsley
  • salt, pepper, a little red sweet pepper
  • and another 100 g hard grated cheese
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese

For béchamel sauce
  • 1 l milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preparation:
  1. Fry onions in oil, add the meat, cook for ten minutes, then add one grated tomato and 200 g chopped tomatoes and spices. Cook on high heat until all the liquid is cooked, add finely chopped parsley about 15 minutes before the end.
  2. Boil pasta in salt water and be careful not to overcook. Strain and add some butter or oil and gently stir. 
  3. Preparing the béchamel sauce: Heat butter and oil, add flour slowly and with constant stirring add the milk. Add salt and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens, remove from heat and add two mixed eggs and stir.
  4. Put half the pasta in a greased baking pan, sprinkle with half the amount of grated cheese, pour a little béchamel. Pour meat over, then the rest of the macaroni and cheese and pour all with béchamel sauce. 
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake at 200 C degrees for 45-50 minutes.
Enjoy!

MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE (KJOFTE VO DOMATEN SOS)

Simple, fast, no frying and delicious meat balls in tomato sauce! I usually combine them with rice or mashed potatoes, but I'm sure they also go great with pasta.
 
Ingredients:


For meatballs

  • 500 g minced meat
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta (mixed spices with salt)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • salt, pepper, a little red pepper

For sauce

  • 500 ml tomato juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 100-150 ml oil
  • 3 tbs flour
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • little red sweet peppers

Preparing the meat balls:

  1. Stir all the ingredients for meatballs and leave at least half an hour in the fridge, then shape the balls in the desired size.
Preparing the sauce
  1. Fry a little flour on oil, add the tomato juice, stir and slowly add water, then spices. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, add meatballs one by one, reduce the heat and cook at medium heat for about 40 minutes. Add fresh parsley in the end.
Enjoy!

SVETI PANTELEJMON (ST. PANTELEIMON, 9TH AUGUST)

Today Orthodox Christians celebrate the day of St. Panteleimon.  St. Panteleimon was born in Nicomedia in the III century. After birth, he was named Panteleon, meaning "in everything like a lion", but later the name was changed to St. Panteleimon, which means "all-merciful."

Even since he was a child, he was raised in the Christian faith, because his mother was a Christian. But she passed away when Panteleimon was still a child, and his father was polytheist who took his son in the temple and in the pagan school. Going to school down the road, Panteleimon met old Christian pastor Hermolaus who later will baptize Panteleimon.

Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon belongs among the most famous healers that healed with the help of God. He suffered during Emperor Maximilian when the inspection made terrible persecution of Christians.

St. Panteleimon is invoked in prayers when consecrating water and oil along with St. Hermolaus and other Martyrs and miracle workers. The most beautiful church dedicated to this saint is located on Mount Athos.

Macedonia striking buildings dedicated to St. Panteleimon is St. Clement's Church in Plaosnik, then the churches in Gorno Nerezi, Skopje, Veles, monasteries in Kocani, Stip and other places.


The memory of St. Klement is also celebrated on Aug. 9th who died on this day 916. Also on this day is celebrated the memory of the Seven Saints.

Names that celebrate this day are: Pantelej, Pande, Pano, Panka, Panto, Pancho ..

TRADITIONAL PITULICI PIE

This is a traditional Macedonian pie prepared from special kind of crepes which we call "pitulici". It is usually prepared with white cheese or with garlic combined with walnuts. I used to have a grandma who would wake at 6 am and bake these pitulici for hours and when we visited her, she always served us this pie.
First you'll need to prepare pitulici (crepes) and then bake them again with the filling.
macedonian pitulici

Ingredients:

For pitulici
  • 800 g flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • water as necessary to whip the dough just a little thicker than crepe batter, about 7 glasses
For filling
  • 500 g white crushed cheese or crushed garlic combined with walnuts
  • 150 g oil for spraying

Preparation:

  1. Prepare batter from the above ingredients to be a little thicker than crepe batter. Be careful not to remain lumps in the mixture. 
  2. Bake around 20 pancakes from this batter on just a little oil, add a drop in the pan before pouring each crepe. Crepes should be with a diameter of 23 cm. If smaller, bake more crepes. 
  3. Take a deeper pan with diameter 24 cm, oil it and put the first crepe, sprinkle a little oil, spread cheese (or garlic mixture), place the second layer and so long until all the material is used. If you use garlic mixture, add salt.
  4. Spray well the upper crust with oil.
  5. Cut pie with a sharp knife before baking. Bake in the preheated oven at 200 C degrees for about 30 minutes.
Enjoy!

7 REASONS FOR EATING FIGS EVERY DAY

It's a season of figs, paradise fruit which gives strength, maintains health and erases wrinkles. A plant that gives a lot and needs only a little - poor soil and a drop of water. Fig fruit is praised for its medicinal properties.


1. High levels of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the elements that protect our nerve system from stress. It is important for bones, immunity, brain health and nerve system. It promotes health and vitality, cures numerous diseases and significantly slows the aging process. Dried figs contain three times more magnesium than ordinary.

2. Rich in potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and vitamins B6, C and beta-carotene. Figs contain a very low fat content, and are richer in fiber than any other fruit and vegetables and therefore should be consumed every day. Pectin is a soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol, while tryptophan helps with circulation problems as well as insomnia.

3. The high concentration of natural sugars makes the brain work faster, to better receive classified information. Diabetics must be careful with consumption of dried figs which contain twice as much sugar than fresh.

4. Dried figs are an excellent source of many nutrients and also a practical nutritional meal for athletes and professionals, and combined with nut fruit can serve as an ideal snack. Tea from figs treat diseases of the liver, throat, respiratory organs, bladder etc.

5. Figs contain plant sterols which have been proven to have beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Plant sterols as stigmasterol and lanosterol found in figs, bind with molecules of cholesterol in the intestine, thus limiting its absorption.

6. Numerous studies have found potentially anticancer action of benzaldehyde and coumarins contained in figs. Compounds tested in scientific studies have shown promising results especially when it comes to prostate cancer and skin.

7. Fresh fig contains up to 80% water and 60% natural sugar. Sweet taste of figs perfectly matches with savory flavors, such as sheep and goat cheese, and can be added to various sauces or dishes. You can prepare sweet, compote, jam and fermented beverages from fresh figs.

CHURCH SVETA ANA (ST.ANNE) IN VILLAGE MALOVISHTA

Today Macedonians celebrate Uspenie na Sveta Ana (Dormition of St. Anne), the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For this occasion, Christians from all over Macedonia visit the monastery complex dedicated to St. Anne in the village Malovishta, Bitola, which is unique village within the National Park Pelister. The village is about 20 km away from Bitola.
Church St.Anna
The monastery complex is located at 1400 meters above sea level, about 2 km away from the village Malovishta in dense beech forest. The complex can host many visitors in its mansions, to "honor" them with fresh mountain air and cold and fresh mountain water from many sources. It is believed that church dates from the XVIII century.
Monastery complex is visited by many people
There is a belief related to the monastery of St. Anna saying that the monastery has a mysterious power to give offspring. Couples who have problems with the formation of the family, 6 vs. 7 August need to sleep at the church of St. Anne. And the legend says she'll hear and fulfill their prayers and will soothe and delight their souls...
Village Malovishta
You can find healing water near the monastery that comes from the root of a beech and it's been there forever.
Visit the monastery complex of St. Anne in Malovishta and feel the peace that will prevail in your souls.