Rice Rolls with Almond Tamari Chilli Dip

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It’s been raining for at least 10 days straight now in Ljubljana or at least I feel like it has been. And especially on such grey, cold, autumn, rainy days, I think we should try and bring a little sunshine in our lives with the food on our plates. These delicious spring rolls are the perfect way to do it because you can use any color vegetables you like and because they are so easy to make. The best part about these spring rolls, though, is the dip which was (again) inspired by Barbarella – Green Chef. Continue reading

Zelnik {Spelt Phyllo Pastry from the Balkans}

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It’s been more than a month since we’ve returned from our longer trip to Macedonia and I hate to admit it, but up until now, I haven’t made any of the recipes I’ve learned to make when I was there. So last week, out of nowhere, I decided it was time to make the “zelnik”, bought a bunch of leeks and planned on making it once in the next few days. Well, that “once” happened to be the same day at 10 p.m. because (as I mentioned in my previous post) I get really impatient when it comes to cooking and want to make everything right away if not sooner. It may not have turned out as perfectly as the one I made in Macedonia under the watchful eye of my boyfriend’s mother, but it tasted really good.

For those of you who don’t know, zelnik is a traditional pastry from the Balkans composed of thin layers of phyllo pastry filled with different ingredients, usually combinations of white cheese, eggs, sorrel, browned meat and leeks, sometimes also brined cabbage and spinach, from which the dish derives its name: “zelje”means spinach. Zelnik is served with yoghurt and is best eaten warm. Continue reading

Smoked Salmon Dip

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This is the quickest and most simple dip recipe I’ve ever made but at the same time so flavorful and delicious. It will take you about 5 minutes to prepare this lovely side dish if you follow this recipe but will leave your guests asking you for more and wanting to get the recipe.

Ingredients:

200 g cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers

100 g smoked salmon, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Combine first four ingredients with a stick blender and pulse until blended. Stir in salmon. Serve with vegetables, grissini or bread.

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Quiche Lorraine

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Ever since I’ve been to Paris, I wanted to make a proper homemade quiche. My brother made Quiche Lorraine a few times before following this recipe and it was really delicious so I decided to just substitute the regular flour with spelt flour and gave it a try. It turned out really delicious and it’s great because you can serve it either hot as a main dish for up to 5 people or as one of the many snacks for a dinner party because it tastes just as amazing cold.

Ingredients:

For the pastry

175g spelt flour

100g cold butter, cut into pieces

1 egg yolk

3 tbsp cold water

For the filling

200g baked ham, cut into small cubes

80g Gauda, grated

200ml sour cream

200ml cooking cream

3 eggs, well beaten

pinch ground nutmeg

Instructions:

1. For the pastry, put the flour, butter, egg yolk and 4 tsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button, process until the mix binds. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather into a smooth ball, then roll out as thinly as you can. Butter a 24 cm round loose-bottomed tin and transfer the pastry into the base. Trim the pastry edges with scissors (save any trimmings) so it sits slightly above the tin (if it shrinks, it shouldn’t go below the level of the tin). Press the pastry into the flutes, lightly prick the base with a fork, then chill for 10 mins. Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. Line pastry case with foil, shiny side down, fill with dry beans and bake on the hot sheet for 15 mins. Remove foil and beans and bake for 4-5 mins more until the pastry is pale golden. If you notice any small holes or cracks, patch up with pastry trimmings. You can make up to this point a day ahead.

3. While the pastry cooks, prepare the filling. Heat a small frying pan, tip in the baked ham and fry for a couple of mins until it just starts to colour, but isn’t crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Grate the Gauda. Scatter the hald of the cheese and baked ham over the bottom of the pastry case.

4. Using a spoon, beat the sour cream to slacken it then slowly beat in the cooking cream. Mix in the beaten eggs. Season (you shouldn’t need much salt) and add nutmeg. Pour the mixture in the tin and scatter over the remaining grated cheese and ham over the top, then carefully place the tin into the oven. Lower the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Bake for about 25 mins, or until golden and softly set (the centre should not feel too firm). Let the quiche settle for 4-5 mins, then remove from the tin. Serve freshly baked or cold.

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Braided Spelt Bread

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There’s nothing like the taste and smell of freshly baked homemade bread. And there is something special and really pretty about its braided version. I’ve never made bread using fresh yeast before but I’ve always wanted to. There’s no better timing for delicious homemade bread than a New Year’s Eve feast, when all your family gets together and enjoys a great time and meal to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new one. If you are the first one in your family to get up in the morning, baking this bread on a Sunday morning for your family to wake up to is also a great idea. The recipe I’ve found was for one big braided loaf of wheat bread but I decided to make small spelt versions of it. They looked and tasted divine!

Ingredients:

500g spelt flour

1 tsp Himalayan salt

90g sour cream

1,2 dl warm water

1,3 dl warm milk

21g fresh yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

0,5 dl warm water

Milk for glazing

Instructions:

1. Mix 0,5 dl warm water, sugar and fresh yeast to activate the yeast (it should take about 10 minutes).

2. Place the flour in a plastic bowl for dough raising and make a well in the center. Place the salt on the edge to prevent it from getting in contact with the fresh yeast mixture in the beginning. Once the yeast is activated, pour it in the well and add the sour cream. Mix well, then slowly start adding the warm milk and water and knead until soft dough is formed. I highly suggest using a stand mixer with a dough hook in which you should knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It really makes a huge difference and I would not suggest you skipping this step.

3. Allow the dough to raise for 1 hour in a covered bowl in a warm place. The dough will raise to double its size. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Divide each peace into three pieces and roll each one into long strips. Braid them and place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Cover with clean cotton cloths and let raise for additional 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

4. Once the breads have risen, uncover them and brush them with milk. Place the tray in the heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, reducing the heat to 180 degrees Celsius for the last 5 or 10 minutes.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles and Bacon

IMG_7060Autumn is such a lovely time of the year to me. The nature turns into all these lovely bright colors, you can smell chestnuts roasting everywhere, the rain makes the world smell so amazing, the wind messes up your hair but you don’t really mind.. ah, I really am a hopeless romantic. One other thing that I find so great about Autumn are the warm and homely meals that fill our homes with amazing smells and our stomachs with undescribable warmth.  This here is one of those meals.

Idea from a Bon Apetit recipe.

Ingredients (serves 1 as a main or 2 as a side dish) :

250 g Brussels sprouts

1/2 medium onion

2-3 handfuls chanterelles, washed and roughly chopped

bacon, cut into small pieces

olive oil

salt, thyme and cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Wash the Brussels sprouts and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan.

3. Cut the onion and add it to the pan in which you cooked the bacon and cook it until golden.

4. Add the chanterelles, salt and thyme and cook until all the water from the mushrooms evaporates.

5. In the meantime, in a separate pan, heat some olive oil and add the cooked Brussels sprouts. Add some cayenne pepper and grill until golden brown.

6. Add the bacon and chanterelles to the Brussels sprouts, give them a quick toss and serve immediately.