MACEDONIAN MAZNIK

Maznik is a traditional Macedonian swirl pastry, made of thin kneaded dough, filled with white cheese, spinach, leeks or minced meat and then rolled in a swirl form. It's very popular, like zelnik or burek. Homemade maznik is the best, you can't buy that good maznik in a store. This is one of the easiest maznik recipes, try it and impress your family or friends. It's not that hard to make it as you think, believe me.
maznik


Ingredients:
  • 700 g flour 
  • about 250 ml lukewarm water
  • about 200 ml of oil
  • pinch of salt
  • filling optional (spinach, cheese, minced meat, leeks, sauerkraut)
Preparation:
  1. Place flour in a bowl and add salt and water.
  2. Knead soft dough and add water if necessary until dough is soft. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Form 6-8 balls from the dough, then make small disks from each (diameter 15 cm) by pressing dough with your hands, then cover them with oil. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer disks to work on the middle of a table cloth, and roll out as much as greater crust as you can. Then gradually start pulling the edges of the sheet until you get a thin crust. Remove edges of the crust (you'll use them later). Sprinkle crust with oil and apply the prepared filling. Bend crusts in a roll form. Then bend in a swirl form and put in a oil coated circular baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle some oil and water on top before baking.
  6. Bake at 250 C degrees for 20-25 minutes until maznik gets a beautiful golden/red color.
  7. After baking, cover pie with wet kitchen towel, then serve. Serve with fermented milk.
  8. Make small balls from the thick ends of the remaining dough, coat with oil and leave to rest for half an hour. Stretch each ball the size of a hotplate and bake directly on the hotplate. Make tacos, they are delicious.



DELICIOUS TEA BISCUITS WITH GINGER AND CINNAMON

This is a recipe for delicious crunchy tea biscuits which are easy to make and even easier to eat, you have to try the recipe, they are very tasty. After baking, your home will smell wonderful, even the next day. I love the smell of baked cookies mixed with cinnamon. I baked these yesterday and when I got up this morning, my home smelled like in my granny's kitchen :)
tea biscuits


Ingredients:
  • 200 g butter softened at room temperature or lard
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • 350 g flour (you can put half wholewheat flour)
  • 1-2 tsp ginger in powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 sachet baking powder
Preparation:
  1. Beat eggs with sugar and add the butter.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix with a mixer, then knead the dough by hand shortly to unite. Put it in a nylon bag and let rest in refrigerator for half an hour. 
  3. Divide the dough into 8 or more parts, size doesn't matter. Roll out a crust with a thickness of 5 mm from each piece and make forms. The dough is divided into more parts because it is impossible to roll out crust from the whole dough with the same thickness. The remaining dough which remains from removing the forms is kneaded again.
  4. Line up cookies in a pan coated with baking paper.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 200 to 220 Celsius degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. If your dough is thinner, the baking time is shorter.
  6. After baking, when cool, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar or decorate as desired, I never add anything later because they are delicious as they are.
  7. Keep covered in a box, I have a tin box that I only keep for such cookies.
Enjoy!

CANDIED APPLES - A TASTE FROM CHILDHOOD

A dessert that will bring you back memories from your childhood. Candied apples or as we called them shekjerni jabolka (sugar apples) were my favorite dessert when I was a kid and I had the privilege to eat one only on holidays or when circus came to town, when they were available for sell. We ate them, our parents ate them and now our kids love them. Here's how to make them at home.
candied apples


Ingredients: 
  • 10 small apples 
  • 1 kg of sugar 
  • 10 sticks 20 cm long 
  • 1 sachet red color for food
 Preparation:
  1. Wash apples well, I suggest you use organic apples if available. Remove handles and insert a stick in the middle of the apple.
  2. Put sugar in a pot and caramelize it until it gets pale yellow color. Be careful not to burn it. Add red color, stir and remove from fire. 
  3. Immediately dip and roll each apple in the prepared caramel and place on a baking paper. 
  4. Leave to cool and to harden well.
  5. Enjoy the taste of childhood!

SPINACH WITH EGGS IN A POT

This is one of my favorite dishes. Easy, fast and healthy, ready in 30 minutes. I prepare it once a week and my family loves it! For 4 adult people, I suggest you put 1 kg of spinach, given amounts are enough for 2 adults and 2 smaller children.
spinach in pot

Ingredients:
  • 500-600 g spinach-cleaned and chopped
  • 3 handfuls of rice 
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • salt or vegeta
  • 1 flat tbs of red ground pepper
  • oil
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 glasses of warm water
Preparation:
  1. Warm some oil in a pot and add spinach, close the lid and fry for 2-3 minutes. Spinach will flatten.
  2. Add rice, carrots, red pepper, 1/2 tbs vegeta or salt (around 1 flat tsp) and stir.
  3. Pour hot water, stir and leave to cook on a low temperature.
  4. If necessary, add more water.While cooking, stir spinach 2-3 times so the rice won't fall at the bottom. Spinach should be thick with a little liquid in the end (as in pic).
  5. Before the end, add the eggs on top and leave to cook for 5 more minutes with closed lid.
  6. Serve warm with sour cream or fermented milk.
Enjoy!

EASY DELICIOUS HOMEMADE WAFERS (MY MOM'S RECIPE)

This is my favorite homemade wafers recipe. My mom has been preparing wafers this way for ages. When I was a kid, I was in charge in applying the filling, I enjoyed doing that. These wafers are the best eaten the next day, when they stick well. I used blender/chopper for crushing the nuts and the biscuits. The best part is that you won't make lots of mess in your kitchen, they are easy to prepare, don't require baking and the best part is that they are delicious! I usually cut one row and eat it, I can't eat just a piece or two :)
homemade wafers


Ingredients:
  • 500 ml water
  • 500 g sugar
  • 50-100 g of cooking chocolate
  • 250 g of butter (or margarine)
  • 100-150 g of crushed walnuts
  • 250 g of crushed biscuits
  • 1 packing wafers
Preparation:
  1. Put water and sugar to boil in a pot on a low heat for around 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from fire and add butter and leave to melt. Then add chocolate and stir until it melts.
  3. Add nuts and biscuits and mix well.
  4. When the mixture cools, take one wafer, add filling all over, then place other wafer and continue until you spent all filling and wafers. Cover with kitchen towel and put a heavier object on top to stick more easily. Leave overnight. Cut as desired and place pieces in a plastic container with a lid.


VODICI - THE DAY ST.JOHN BAPTIZED JESUS

Vodici or Bogojavljenie or Theophany, is the day on which according to Christian tradition, Sveti Jovan Krstitel (St. John the Baptist) baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River.
Vodici is celebrated two days. The first day January 19th is also called Male Vodici and the second on 20th January, Gathering of St. John the Baptist also called Female Vodici.
vodici

Traditionally today in Macedonia in almost all settlements, priests throw a ritual cross into a larger water - river, lake or pool, and people jump into the water and try to catch the cross. It is thought that on that day all waters are baptized and that the one who will catch the cross will have luck the next year.

This ritual symbolizes the entering of Christ in the River Jordan. In biblical Palestine, in Jordan, was heard the voice of the Holy Prophet John the Baptist, who called people to repent for their sins and receive baptism. He baptized people of Jerusalem and all Judea. The Lord Jesus Christ came to John at the Jordan waters. He recognized the greatness of Christ's divine nature and therefore he was saying, "Behold the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world upon Himself". He baptized Christ in the River Jordan.

Once baptized, he came out of the river, heavens opened and the Spirit of God as a dove in bodily form descended upon Him. Voice from heaven spoke, "This is My beloved Son!" The voice of the Father is referred to His Son, but because of him, he is calling all people of the world to become the sons and daughters of God.

With this holiday is given the meaning of baptism as one of the most sacred secrets of Christianity. Baptism means spiritual birth, the start of human life in faith. Therefore the godfather is considered the spiritual parent of the baptized and closest relative. With this holiday end not only the twelve unbaptized days, but also ends the festivities cycle that is associated with Badnik, Christmas, New Year (Vasilitsa) and so on.

TODAY IS VODOKRST (EVE OF THEOPHANY or BLESSING THE WATERS)

Today, 18th of January, is a strict post - Orhodox Christians in Macedonia and worldwide are celebrating Vodokrst (the Eve of Theophany) and tomorrow are Vodici (Theophany).
vodokrst
The holiday is known under the names Vodokrshtenie and Vodokrst or Vodopost (fasting with water), as the day of strict fasting, where one is only fasting with water.

On January 18th is celebrated the feast Vodici or Blessing of Waters. The Holy Church praises the strength and power of the Cross.

Baptism of water is performed and the power of the Holy Spirit receives healing powers. The feast was established in a memory of former rituals that were performed on that day when
people who accepted Christianity were baptized .

A day before the great Christian holiday - Vodici (Theophany), an
Theophany ceremony is performed on the feast called Vodokrst - Blessing of Waters.

TONIGHT IS ORTHODOX NEW YEAR AND TOMORROW IS VASILICA

According to the Julian calendar, Orthodox Christians will welcome the Orthodox New Year tonight (also known as old new year), which begins tomorrow on Vasilica (Vassilitsa).
Many Macedonian families celebrate Vasilica as a home feast, and those who bear the name of Sveti Vasilij Velik (St. Basil the Great), celebrate their name day. Similar to Badnik (the Christmas Eve), family dinner table also includes breaking bread with a coin which is divided to family members. It is believed that the one who gets the coin, will have happy and prosperous year.
On the occasion of the 3 Christian holidays: Orthodox New Year, the Feast of the Lord Circumcision and St. Basil the Great day, tomorrow in the temples of the Macedonian Orthodox Church will be served sacred liturgy of St. Basil.
St. Basil the Great is one of the three largest religious teachers of the fourth century. He was born in Cappadocia and finished school in Athens. He was a great Christian philosopher, and became famous as a bishop and defender of the purity of Orthodox teachings. St. Basil the Great passed away on January 14 in the year 379.
vasilitsa

Church says that the only justifiable tradition is that the bread with coin (or maznik with coin) is always prepared on Vasilica and it is linked to life story of St. Basil the Great. There is one event which tells that when a king who wanted to destroy the city was coming, St. Basil asked people to give some money (coins) to bribe the king in some way, to not hurt people. But, the king died and didn't come to the city, so Basil the Great confronted the dilemma of how to return wealth to the people. And not everyone gave the same amount. He ordered the city bakeries to knead bread in ovens and to put coins inside. Then bread was divided among people. And God's miracle happened and everyone was returned exactly the same amount of coins as they gave. Because of this dedication, we commemorate each Vasilica by placing a coin in the bread. We remember the miracle that God made through the holy Basil.
Besides the Macedonian Orthodox Church, according to the Julian calendar, religious holidays also celebrate the Russian and Serbian Church and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the monks of Mount Athos. Unlike them, the Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Georgian Orthodox Church follow the Gregorian calendar and celebrate Vasilica on 1st of January.

BEANS WITH RIBS

I like beans, but I like beans more when combined with some meat. I love the smell that dried ribs give to the stew, it's like a whole different meat. I've been waiting for this post for some while, it's ideal for snowy and cold weather.
beans with ribs


Ingredients:
(For 4-6 people)

  • 500 g of beans (tetovsko gravche)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 larger carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 600 g of dry, fleshy, ribs
  • 70 ml of oil
  • 2 flat tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon red ground pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf


Preparation:

  1. First clean beans from damaged grains, pour with hot water and leave to stand for 30 or more minutes. 
  2. Then, spill water and add a new lukewarm water and put beans on the stove to cook on low fire. Add washed ribs, black pepper and bay leaf.
  3. In a meanwhile, fry a bit finely chopped onion with finely chopped carrot and when softened, add to the beans. Check if beans need more water. Cooking time is around 1 hour or more, depends on how old are the beans.
  4. When beans soften and are almost ready, put some oil in the same pan where you cooked onions, when oil starts to warm up, add flour by constantly stirring, add grated garlic, red ground pepper, mix  all well and add to the beans. Add salt to taste (be aware that ribs contain salt) and leave to cook for 20 more minutes on a very low heat.
  5. Before serving sprinkle with some fresh parsley leaves.
Enjoy!

SNICKERS CAKE-DESSERT FOR EVERY TASTE

Snickers is one of the most popular timeless chocolates. There are various modifications of this well-known taste of peanuts, caramel and chocolate, customized for home preparation. This is a great recipe for a delicious Snickers cake. You'll need to prepare 2 fillings for this cake.snickers cake


Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 10 egg whites
  • 15 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 10 tablespoons crushed peanuts

For the filling with peanuts:

  • 1 l milk
  • 300 g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons starch (for densifying)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 bag of caramel pudding
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 250 g butter (or margarine)
  • 200 g of milk powder
  • 250-300 g of crushed peanuts

For chocolate filling

  • 5 egg whites
  • 15 egg yolks
  • 300 g sugar
  • 100 g cooking chocolate
  • 250 g butter (or margarine)

Preparation:

Dough

  1. Beat egg whites and add the sugar and vinegar and mix it all together until mixture turns into a solid foam. 
  2. Then add in the flour and ground peanuts and stir gently with a spoon to merge.
  3. Pour mixture in a pan lined with baking paper and place in a preheated oven at 200 C degrees. Check if it's ready with a toothpick. Leave to cool then divide dough in 3 equal stripes.

Filling with peanuts


  1. Caramelize 300 g of sugar in a pot placed on the fire, by constantly stirring. Be careful not to burn sugar.
  2. Then add 800 ml of milk, leave on low heat and boil until caramel is melted.
  3. During this time, mixl starch, flour, sugar and caramel pudding in 200 ml milk, and add this to boiling caramel with milk. Boil it as pudding and leave to cool.
  4. Mix butter with milk in powder until foamy. Add this mixture to the cooled pudding.
  5. Finally, add the crushed, roasted, unsalted peanuts and mix well all together with a mixer.

Chocolate filling

  1. Beat 5 egg whites with 300 g sugar and add 15 egg yolks and leave to cook a while on a steam. 
  2. Add the chocolate in the end. 
  3. Allow to cool, then add previously mixed butter.

Making the cake

  1. Apply a layer of filling with peanuts on first crust, then apply the chocolate filling.  
  2. Repeat the procedure with the second crust.
  3. When you align the 3rd crust, first apply the chocolate filling all over the cake, then finish with caramel filing only on top of the 3rd crust.
  4. Decorate as desired, with chocolate, ground peanuts, cream...

VILLAGE PAN WITH WILD BOAR MEAT (SELSKA TAVA SO DIVO MESO)

Meat from wild animals is a real pleasure for gastronomic gourmets. Due to its specific nutritional value, everybody can eat it - both children and the elderly, and its main feature is that it is low in fat and rich in proteins. Because this meat is harder than meat from domestic animals, it needs a little different preparation and its preparation takes a little more time. But the final product is really worth the effort.
village pan

Ingredients:
  • 1,5 kg wild meat
  • 1,5 kg chopped onion
  • 1 tbs Vegeta
  • 5-6 dried peppers
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tbs red pepper
  • 300 ml white wine
 Preparation:
  1. First,cut meat into small pieces, put in cold water, add a glass of wine vinegar and a clove onion cut into pieces and let stand overnight. The meat is ready for use the next day when it is softened and whitened by the previous procedure.
  2. Then the next day, put meat to boil for 2 hours. During boiling, the water should be changed 2-3 times.
  3. Once you cook the meat, heat oil in a big pot and pour chopped onion to fry and to soften a little. Add meat, chopped dried peppers, Vegeta (spice), black pepper, a little red pepper, bay leaf and mix. Frying takes about 30 minutes.
  4. After that the entire mixture is poured into an earthenware pan, add white wine and place in oven to bake for about 1 hour at 220 C degrees. I like it when it forms crust on top, if you want it crust less, then bake covered with aluminum foil and uncover before the end of baking.
  5. Enjoy this great Macedonian specialty.

ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS (BOZIK) - 7TH OF JANUARY

Today is a great day for all Orthodox Christians. Today we celebrate Christmas, which is considered one of the greatest Christian holidays, because on this day is celebrated the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. How important is this day for humanity is seen in that this day is taken as a key date, the cornerstone for computing of time, so we have the old and the new era, meaning time before and after the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is hailed with the words "Christ is born", to which is replied "Trully he is born." Happy name day of Hristo, Hristina, Bozin, Bozhana, Risto, Ristan, Cristina, Krsta ...

orthodox christmas


This holiday is also called the mother of many holidays because if we had not this holiday, meaning, if Jesus Christ wasn't born, there wouldn't happen his baptism, would not existed the Epiphany, nor Crucifixion and Resurrection, Ascension - Veligden, Pentecost, Transfiguration etc.

Today, Macedonian people with a lot of attention celebrate Christmas, the day of Christ's birth. Christmas is a day of the family, dedicated to close ones and it is the most joyful Christian holiday. On this day, Christians go to the church, light candles and give great respect to Christ and his work. A solemn liturgy is held in temples in the early morning.
As Christ was born in a cave near Bethlehem, warmed and illuminated by his parents, it is preferable to create that atmosphere in the home of every believer. With full table of delicious food and the obligatory presence of lamb and red wine, relatives show mutual love and faith, and love and trust to God's son Jesus Christ.

Today, forty days of fasting end.

History
Gospel texts testify that the Roman Emperor Augustus issued an order to conduct a census of people in whole empire. Each had to be registered in the city of their grandfathers. Palestine was then part of the Roman Empire which is why the righteous Joseph and the Virgin Mary of Nazareth went to Bethlehem to enroll in this city, because both were of David's genus.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room in the inns and houses for them, because the town had many people come for the census. Some good people wanting to help, headed them in a cave near the city where shepherds sheltered their flocks in storms. Bright light filled the cave and surrounding hills in the night, then the Virgin Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him and put him in a manger. Bright light has frightened shepherds with their flocks which slept in the open on the surrounding hills, but immediately the angel of the Lord comforted them by calling them the good news:

"Do not be afraid! Here, I'm telling you a great joy which will be to all people: because today is born in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."

Pastors immediately rushed to the cave where they found Mary and Joseph, with God-child, made a bow, and then spread the news of the birth of the Savior.

Immediately after that, arrived and the three wise men from the East who were guided from the unusual bright star in the sky and led them to the cave before moving in front of them when they moved and stood in place where they rested.

The birth of Jesus Christ was not known in the first three centuries, and this holiday wasn't celebrated then. The reason for this is the Christian view of life in times of slave society. At the request when to celebrate this day, the Holy Christian Church decided to take the date when in the pre-Christian era was celebrated the day of the new Sun which was on December 25th in the Gregorian or January 7th in the Julian calendar.

BADNIK (CHRISTMAS EVE) - 6TH OF JANUARY

Christmas Eve - a precursor of Christ's birth
badnik


Orthodox Christian believers today celebrate Christmas Eve, the day before the big Christmas holiday. According to the Julian calendar, each year Christmas Eve is on January 6th, and Christmas on January 7th - wonderful days when families expect and celebrate the news of Christ's birth in harmony.

On Christmas Eve, from the very morning the voice of children koledari is heard in every house, that with carols for health and prosperity symbolize the voice of angels for the birth of Jesus Christ. The hosts give chestnuts, walnuts, apples, pears, to preserve this beautiful tradition which is passed from generation to generation.
Children koledari

Macedonians celebrate these major holidays  with great respect, when everyone needs to forget the bad and to give  the opportunity to kindness. Even the unhappiest and the poorest people should put a smile on their faces. At least for the moment, everyone should learn to forgive and to open his heart to others.

Badnik (Christmas Eve)
Badnik is a holiday for the family. On this day people stay at their homes with their families. According to tradition, the whole family gathers around the dinner badnik table in the evening, which should be festive and rich, but lean. Christmas Eve marks the end of the 40-day Christmas fast. Housewives prepare baked beans, lean sarma, pitulici, potatoes and fruit and put on the table to be wealthier.

Customs may vary depending on the place, but almost every table has pogacha (bread), bread popularly called kravajche, in which is put a coin. Bread is divided to family members and one piece is left for God and one of the house. It is believed that the one who finds the coin will have health, happiness and success in the coming year.

Badnik table

After dinner, the food is not moved from the table, because it is believed that the Lord would come at night to feed. Others leave the food because they believe that will come the spirits of those who are no longer with us.

Christmas Eve is a night of peace, joy and unity when people greet the birth of Christ.

Today every Orthodox family decorate their homes with Christmas Eve branches (from oak) which symbolizes the expected news about the birth of Jesus Christ, and when the great Christmas holiday comes, people greet with the words "Christ is born - really born."
Badnik branches from oak

KOLEDE - NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE

Today, 5th of January is Kolede, the day before Badnik (Christmas Eve).
Traditionally on the eve of Kolede are held folk gatherings with burning fires in neighborhoods and streets in every city in Macedonia.
kolede


However in the early morning on 6th of January, children called koledarchinja will announce the birth of Christ.
Macedonian people honor these holidays with a lot of attention. Christmas is God's holiday celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. This holiday is the mother of all other religious holidays, since the birth of Christ is considered the beginning of a new era.

Today Orthodox Christians in Macedonia are gathered to burn Christmas Eve fire, which according to Orthodox beliefs, is a messenger of Jesus' birth. People are gathering tonight in the neighborhoods where they live, they light a fire, dance, eat, drink and enjoy traditional Macedonian songs.
This tradition, which is a part of the Orthodox tradition, symbolizes good luck, prosperity and health for families, and is thought to be several centuries old. According to folk beliefs, the fire removes evil and represents a messenger for a new life.

Pagan custom?

The priests are divided in opinions about lighting fires and general merriment. Some of them appeal to abandon the celebration of Kolede with big fires in public places, with parties where people are drinking alcohol, eating a lot of meat and listen to loud music, because this tradition is a pagan practice and is not in the spirit of Christmas Eve, when we need to show modesty and restraint, and fasted Badnik dinner as a hint of the great Christian feast, which should unite the family, and midnight Christmas liturgy must not be replaced with the neighborhood fires and the cult of warm brandy. But others argue that there is nothing pagan in this act of celebration. Different views of priests confused citizens, but people still light a fire on this day every year.