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.












TURKISH 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.
tulumba


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbs of unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 3 tbs semolina
  • 1 tbs of corn starch
For the syrup
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
***1 cup is 250ml cup

Preparation:

Syrup
  1. Put water and sugar in a pot over medium heat  
  2. When syrup starts to boil, add lemon juice and turn of the heat. 
Dough
  1. Add water in a pot and put on fire. 
  2. Add butter in the hot water and let it melt. Add flour and stir with wire on medium heat 
  3. When mixture becomes soft and non-sticky, transfer to another bowl so it will cool down faster. 
  4. Put cooled dough in a mixing bowl and start to mix with a mixer. Add semolina and starch.
  5. Then start to add eggs gradually, one by one. Mix well until mixture becomes smooth.
  6. Fill your piping bag or tulumba syringe with the mixture. 
  7. Pipe the dough and cut with an oiled knife or scissors directly in the cooking oil which shouldn't be put on fire, turn on the hotplate after you add tulumbas in the oil. 
  8. When they are fully fried, take tulumbas out and directly transfer into the cold syrup Leave 2-3 minutes, then transfer tulumbas to a plate. 
  9. If you prepare larger quantities, first cool down the oil for frying, then repeat the procedure. 
  10. Pour the rest of the syrup over the ready tulumbas.
Enjoy!