They say easy as a pie, I would say, easy as a rice pudding. This simple dish has many variation and names between continents and countries: Arroz con leche in Spanish, Budino di riso in Italian, Risogallo in Greek, Sütlaç in Turkish, Syltjash or Tameloriz in Albanian, Duadhapak in Indian and many many more.
The beauty of the rice pudding is that it is simple and lets you play with spices and toppings. Some of my favorite spices to add are cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or vanilla. I love to top it with nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachio etc.
This rice pudding recipe is the one I’ve grown up with, and I really love it. I’m really curious though to try the Indian rice pudding with saffron and nuts, so I guess will be talking about rice pudding again soon.
I’ve always loved the simplicity of galettes. They require few ingredients and the end result is so rewarding.
This time I’m sharing with you a whole wheat cherry galette recipe, which is a summer favorite of mine. Choose the sweetest cherries you could find, get bored pitting them, make a sweet mess around and treat yourself with a nice piece of cherry galette straight from the fridge.
This cherry galette is made using whole-wheat flour for a healthy twist, but in case you want to keep it classic you may use this basic pie crust recipe. The filling is easy peasy, just pitted cherries mixed with some sugar and cornstarch.
I hope I’ve tempted you to switch your oven on these hot days.
One of the perks of being a food blogger is that all your friends share their thoughts and experiences on food and special food products with you.
The latest wonderful gift I got were homemade Jufka. Jufka are Albanian traditional pasta, cooked especially on Diber, made with fresh eggs, milk and wheat flour. Dried Jufka keep well for months and are traditionally prepared with meat, chicken or lamb in the oven.
Since I do not eat meat recently, I had to find a creative way to prepare Jufka. And since they are a traditional Albanian product I thought I should combine them with another Albanian delicacy, dried porcini mushrooms from Puka. Porcini mushrooms are one of the best you could use, with a deep earthy flavor and full on proteins and potassium. The result was amazing. I can’t wait to make them again. If you are curious to try other traditional recipes, you may find many of them in the blog.
One of my favorite traditional dishes is japrak (dolma). It is prepared in spring when the nature is so generous with greens. Japraks (dolmas) are cooked in all Balkan countries, Middle East and Central Asia. They’re basically vine leaves stuffed with greens and rice. Many recipes call for meat, but I prefer them without.
I’m pretty sure japraks bring a lot of memories to all of my Albanian readers and will make curious the others.
I’m sharing with you my family recipe of japrak with just a small change. I added a little bit of ground cumin and powdered garlic for flavour. Japraks seem difficult to prepare, but believe me they aren’t. They just require time and patience, but the result is so rewarding. They’re perfect with some yogurt or Albanian cold yogurt soup, for which I will have a dedicated post soon.
Asure is a special dessert with eastern origin that is traditionally cooked also in Albania. The dish has a fascinating story behind.
When Noah and his animals were running out of food, he mixed whatever was left and cooked them together to feed his companions. The result was asure, a beautiful and so adaptable dish.
The original recipe calls for many ingredients, different types of beans, grains, fresh fruits, dried fruits, fruit juice and different spices etc, while in my family we only use wheat, walnuts and cinnamon and thicken it with corn-starch. Sorry Noah… The recipe is so easy and it makes enough to serve a crowd since traditionally asure is made to share with relatives, neighbors and friends. I usually put it in small jars, since is easier to share and also they are so cute.
Sometimes I get nostalgic about moms cooking and try to recreate her recipes. I end up calling her to check if I missed something, which for sure always happens. Mom starts explaining in her way, without mentioning concrete measures or amounts at all, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, even when she talks about baking.
Most of the times I end up in a real mess, since I haven’t yet understood, how little is mom’s little.
Anyway, I was pretty lucky with this Bundt cake, which used to be my favourite years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I still am in love with it, but I’m saving the 5 stars for another dessert which I will share in a future post.
So, the cake came out perfect, moist and fresh and chocolaty, quite as good as mom’s. Continue reading
I love learning about traditional recipes and experimenting with them. They are paths to the past and make me understand and love Albanian culture and culinary even more.
Red wine liquor is one of the recipes I’ve had so much fun with, because, you know, it includes wine.
It’s practically wine, cooked with sugar and cloves which is kept in the fridge and served chilled, in small glasses, since it is quit sweet. It was offered to women guests when they came over to visit during the communist regime,while to the men we offered raki. At that time there were few choices of drinks and food and people had to get creative with what they had in hand.
This liquor is a great way to use leftover wine or a wine you don’t like very much, since the cloves and sugar change the taste. It makes also a great edible gift along with some homemade cookies.
If someone asks me, which is my favourite recipe ever, my answer will be without any doubt “Pispili”. It is a traditional dish cooked in many regions of Albania in different ways, but they all have something in common, they are made of corn-meal and leafy green vegetables. Even the name differs from region to region, you may find it under the name “Pispili”, “Brushull” , “Pacarak” and possibly many more that I haven’t heard.
My mom makes an amazing Pispili, almost every time I go to see her. So, I basically eat Pispili every week. The recipe has evolved through years. We now use polenta instead of corn meal, and also add some feta cheese.
The recipe is very easy to follow, the hardest part is to clean the greens 😛 We use spinach and spring onions, but you may use whatever greens you like, sorrel, nettles etc. I sometimes like to add mint for some extra flavour. You may even replace the spring onions with leeks, but personally I do not like it.
If you’re looking for a light and healthy dinner do not miss Pispili. It pairs perfectly with yoghurt and is better eaten fresh, but in case there are some leftovers they still taste great, the other day warmed in the toaster.
Pumpkin pie is one of the most popular autumn dishes. There are many varieties sweet and savory that are traditionally cooked in Albania, but they all require filo dough. Since filo dough is a bit time consuming to make, I prefer going with the western version that is made with pie crust. It is still very delicious, but it is easier to make.
Every Halloween my aunt makes a very nice halva with Pumpkin 🙂 I had never tried to make it myself, till last week, when I got a big pumpkin and I had to find some creative ways to cook it.
The recipe is easy to follow and needs few minutes to prepare, so I thought why not share it with you. This pumpkin halva calls for semolina flour which gives a very nice crunchy texture to the halva and grated pumpkin which gives an amazing aroma and flavour.
Ingredients Continue reading