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!