First really warm spring sunny days made me think of summer. It’s approaching so quickly. Two, three months. I’m counting my days by the pages I’ve written. By the books waiting to be read. A morning. An afternoon. A night. Whole day. Day by day. And one month has past. One month after another. Where have they gone?
After today’s four hour Easter breakfast at my grans I’ve been wondering why can’t we just have a normal coffee & cereals breakfast… Too much of everything. Except for bread…
The base. The life. Nothing more. Just people to share it. Braids, easter buns and potica. It’s a part of our tradition. And this year I let the real masters in our family do the thing.
I went for something else. Simple. Savory. The best to be shared with the people you love. Bread.
- 40 g fresh yeast
- 350 g plain flour T500
- 150 g wholegrain spelt flour
- 10 g salt
- 2 eggs
- 120 g butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp honey
- 150 -170 ml milk
- 1 egg for egg wash
- Prepare yeast: crumble the yeast, mix with 50 ml of warm milk and 1 tsp of honey. Let double in size.
- Mix both flours and salt. Add the yeat mixture, beaten eggs, butter and the rest of the milk (depending on the flour you will need more or less of it, so add some 100 ml at first and then you’ll see if it needs more). Mix and work the dough. It takes some 8 – 10 mins. It should be very soft, but not sticky. Form a ball and transfer to a bowl sprinkled with flour. Let rise.
- Divide the dough in three parts if making three different fillings* (check below). Roll out to about 0,5 cm thick into a rectangle. Spread one of the fillings, leaving aprox 2 cm blank on one side of the dough. Roll. Use sharp knife to cut lenghtwise. Open each side facing up and make a braid. Transfer to a baking tray and let rise.
- Meanwhile preheat oven at 220ºC. Before putting the braids into the oven, brush with egg wash. Bake for 10 mins, then turn the tin and bake for another 10 mins. Reduce the heat to 190ºC and bake for aprox another 10 mins.
* this was enough for 3 braids
1. Brie & pecans
- 200 g of brie cut into pieces
- 3 handfuls of roughly crushed pecans
Sprinkle equally over the dough.
2. Black olive pesto
- 250 g pitted black olives
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
Mix everything into a smooth paste using a food processor.
3. Sundried tomatoes & mediterranean herbs
- 200 g sundried tomatoes (from oil, drained)
- 5 small capers
- 2 tbsp dried mediterranean herbs
- 1 big garlic clove
Mix everything into a smooth paste using a food processor.
Fall. In full colours.
I gaze upon the sky.
Bright blue sky. Red, orange and yellow.
That’s what I see. Smiling.
A cold breeze spinning around the fallen leaves.
A reflection on the surface.
Calm. And free.
Far away from this world.
This fall seems different. I’ve never seen it in such beautiful colours. Or maybe I just wasn’t looking… The light, the smells, the last fruits of the nature before the winter, the cosiness and warm, strong, colourful food. Earth. Pumpkins and grapes, reflecting its colors in the sky.
- 500 g spelt flour
- 300 g pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 20 g fresh yeast
- 50 ml milk
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 8 g salt
- 10 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil
Focaccia with grapes, mozzarella and rosemary
- 1 mozzarella
- fresh rosemary
Focaccia with sage, feta and pecans
- fresh sage
- 100 g feta
- 2 handfuls of pecans
- Cut pumpkin in bigger pieces. Use hokkaido or butternut. Remove the seeds. Sprinkle with some oil and salt. Bake at 200°C until soften (around 30 – 40 min).
- Let cool the pumpkins. Remove the skins and puree using a hand blender.
- Prepare yeast: mix 20 g fresh yeast, 50 ml warm milk and tablespoon of agave syrup. Let double in volume.
- In a big bowl mix flour and salt. Add yeast and 300 g pumpkin puree. Mix and knead. Gradually mix in 6 Tbsp of pumpkin seed oil. The dough for focaccia should be very soft and not firm. Let rise.
- When doubled in volume, gradually mix in another 4 Tbsp of pumpkin seed oil while kneeding.
- Divide the dough in smaller parts. Add some neutral oil, like sunflower, to the baking sheet. Using your fingertips flatten the dough to aprox 1 cm thick. Testo razdelimo na več manjših kosov. Z oljem namažemo papir za peko ali pekač. Garnish. Let rise.
- Preheat oven to 230°C. Leave in the baking tray so it gets warm. Take it out of the oven and place on focaccias on baking sheets. Bake 10 – 15 min at
Buckwheat pie with beets and red onion
• 375 g buckwheat flour
• 125 g butter
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
•5 to 6 Tbsp water
• 4 to 5 red onions
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 2 Tbsp balsamic glaze (or aged balsamic vinegar)
• 2,5 dl red wine (like cabernet, merlot)
• 400 g raw grated red beet
• 1 big garlic pod
• 3 eggs
• 40 ml cooking cream
• 70 g feta
• fresh thyme
• salt, pepper
• handful of walnuts
• feta, fresh mint and thyme to garnish
- Dough: mix flour, salt and baking powder. Add cold butter cut in cubes. Mix evenly with fingers. Add water. Kneed and form a ball. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Chop onions. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil, add chopped onions and stir fry for 1 – 2 mins. Add salt and continue stirring. Than add butter and balsamic glaze. Cover for couple of minutes and continue cooking. Start adding the wine, but not all at once. Keep sauteing until wine has evaporated and onions softened.
- Grate raw beets. In a big bowl mix grated beets, sauted onions, chopped garlic, eggs and cooking cream. Add feta and thyme. Salt and pepper according to taste.
- Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out in between two sheets of baking paper. Remove the upper sheet of paper and transfer the dough to a pie mold. Bake in preheated vent oven for 5 mins at 190 °C.
- Take the dough out of the oven, add the filling and garnish with feta and walnuts in the middle. Put back in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 mins at 190 °C.
- When baked, garnish with fresh mint and thyme.
This recipe was made for Spar Slovenija and their magazine Dobro zame.
I’ve been just too busy lately, so I’m leaving you with this. Makes a perfect combo with a glass of cold prosecco. And (I actually can’t believe I’m saying this since it’s like 35ºc outside) is totally worth of heating up the kitchen.
Lots of ice cold Prosecco!
And enjoy the summer!
- 100 g wholegrain spelt flour
- 50 g butter
- 40 g ground walnuts
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 4 – 5 big figs
- 80 g sheep’s milk cheese
- 3 Tbsp balsamic glaze
- fresh thyme
- two handfuls walnuts
- Mix flour, ground walnuts and salt. Add cubes of cold butter and mix evenly. Add and egg. Wrap in plastic foil and let sit in the fridge for 30 mins to 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper.
- Cut figs and cheese. Put in the middle of the dough, sprinkle with salt, fresh thyme, balsamic glaze and roughly crushed walnuts. Fold in the dough.
- Bake at vent option at 190ºC until cheese is lightly browned (about 20 – 25 mins).
The sun right now is absolutely amazing. It actually made me clean up my balcony and this is what I found. A surviver. Tarragon that has successfully made it through another winter.
One of my favourite Easter cakes is tarragon potica, a traditional rolled cake that is similar to gubana or in the end, to babka. It’s usually filled with fresh cheese like ricotta or sour cream, sweetened and mixed with tarragon. I added some homegrown lemons that I was offered at Šibav vinery on my weekend trip to Goriška Brda. And they were just like pictured: bright, juicy, full of flavour.
- 500 g wheat flour T400
- 40 g honey*
- 1 tsp salt
- 30 g fresh yeast
- 80 g softened butter
- 1,8 – 2,2 dl warm milk*
- 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp rum
- peel of 1 organic lemon
- egg yolk + 2 Tbsp of milk for brushing
- 15 g finelly chopped tarragon
- 2 Tbsp sugar (I used sucralose instead)
- peel of 2 lemons
- 1 small egg yolk
- 3 Tbsp drained ricotta
* The original reipe has 60 g of sugar. The quantity of milk depends largley on the quality of the flour. Plus if using honey, you will need a bit less liquid. Add gradually!
- Mix fresh yeast, 50 ml warm milk and one tablespoon of honey. Let double in volume.
- In a big bowl combine the two flours and salt.
- In a seperate bowl mix softened butter using a hand mixer. Gradually add eggs, rum and lemon peel.
- Mix the rest of the milk and the rest of the honey so it dissolves evenly.
- Add yeast and egg mixture to the flours. Add milk gradually, not all at once. Mix with wooden spatula. When the ingredients start to combine, start kneading. Flour the working surface. It takes something like 8 – 10 mins for gluten to activate, so you’ll be probably kneading for about 10 mins. The dough should be firm and silky.
- Let rise. When doubled in volume, divide in three equal parts and knead once more. Make three rolls and roll them out lenghtwise. Than add some filling in the middle, close up and roll and braid. Let rise once again.
- Before baking, brush with mixture of egg yolk and two tablespoons of milk.
- Preheat oven at 200°c and place in a baking tray filled with water to create steam. Bake for 10 mins, than lover the temperature to 180°c and bake for another 15 – 20 mins.
These days we had our first snow this winter. If the Christmas wasn’t white, at least New Year will be. It will be cold they say. It doesn’t really matter. I managed -40ºc in Montreal last year. I fear nothing!
And this will be the first New Year after four years I’ve been spending it away from home. I am really happy and excited about it!
It’s funny how I never had the idea of organizing a good dinner before going to France couple of years ago. I like the idea of organizing a New Year’s dinner at home before going out. But the last thing I want is to spend my evening in the kitchen cooking, preparing plates and serving. So, do it yourself/themselves convivial dishes are a must.
Baked soft french cheese such as Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel served with some good french bread (aka sourdough) is simple and cheap solution that needs only a trick or two to turn it into a most luxurious dish. And it will keep you away from kitchen, being able to hang out with your friends while spreading the soft cheese over your slice of bread, splashing it down with some good red, being in the middle of the action.
It’s a recipe you can use in every season. Put on some mild olive oil and rosemary in the summer. Top it with figs and honey. Stick in couple of garlic cloves and thyme in the autumn. Or do as I did, being inspired by my travels to Canada: cranberries, pecans and maple syrup.
- whole soft french cheese like Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel…
- handful of dried cranberries + water to cover them
- 3 Tbsp roughly chopped pecans (you can also replace them with walnuts)
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup (or use agave syrup instead)
- Roughly chop cranberries, cover them with water and cook over a medium fire to get a jam consistency.
- Unwrap cheese, put it on a sheet of baking paper. Top with cranberries, chopped pecans and drizzle with maple syrup.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180ºc for 8 – 10 mins.
- Serve with some good grilled bread and a glass of red wine.