Thursday, 24 January 2013


I was a good high school student. Rarely did I skip class, I always did my homework,  joined clubs (I wasn't much of an athlete; was always given the position of “manager”) and was respectful to my teachers. Much of my behaviour was because of my mother.....I was too afraid of her wrath if I  strayed (those of you who went to high school with me can vouch for all of the above statements, including the one about my mother!) I got pretty good grades, and I worked hard for them. So, I still can't figure out just how I managed to miss the fact that Yugoslavia is no longer a country. I should have learned this is either geography, or at least world issues. Well, I guess the map in the kids room is a few years old!

Researching this meal was a bit challenging, as there is very little on the Internet regarding Yugoslavian cuisine. So we then looked at the 6 countries that make up the old Yugoslavia (Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and M....)  for some inspiration. Here is the menu we put together:
Appetizer: Cevapici with Ajvar the one “classic” Yugoslavian dish I was able to find.
Main Course: Leskovaccka Muchkalica (Pork & Paprika stew)
Dessert: Tufahije (Bosnian Poached Apple)

Even harder than researching the meal, was finding something to drink! After harassing the good folks at 3 different LCBO's (and discovering their on line search engine, complete with inventory and location) I was able to find a wine from both Croatia & Macedonia. I also splurged on a on a treat from Serbia, Stara Sokolova Medovina; a plum & honey liqueur that “strikes a perfect chord between the honey of the Mediteranean and plum brandy. Every sip opens with the bright, natural sweetness of honey and is filled in by the full, fruity base of the underlying spirit” It was very nice with dessert, and I enjoyed another couple of sips in a hot bubble bath days later.

The Recipies

Cevapcici- Basically a skin-less sausage made up of a combination of meats. I found a few different recipes and merged them together to come up with this:
                     1lb ground pork
                     1lb ground beef
(use any combination of meats you'd like, lamb was in many of the recipes I came across)
                     1 minced onion
                     3-4 cloves minced garlic
                     handful of minced fresh parsley
                     1 tsp baking soda
                     1 egg, beaten
                     ½ tsp each: paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, pepper
Combine all ingredients. Shape the meat into finger like sausages, about 4” long. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan. Cook sausages, turning until done. Many recipes called for cooking on the grill, which I would have done if it wasn't winter.
Serve as an appetizer with a side of Ajvar for dipping (which we did) Would also be nice in a pita with the Ajvar, lettuce, onion and sour cream or tzatziki.

Ajvar- this was like a cross between baba ghanoush & roasted red pepper dip

·         2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds 
·         6 large red bell peppers
·         Salt and black pepper
·         1 garlic clove, finely chopped
·         Juice of 1 lemon
·         1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
·         1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet with a lip to catch any juices, and roast until their skins blister and turn black, about 30 minutes.

Place roasted vegetables in a paper bag and let them steam for 10 minutes.

Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your ajvar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and lemon juice, and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly.

Transfer to a glass dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Tufahije- Bosnian Poasched Apples
I found this recipe on; it is from chef Julia Jaksic, a New York City chef of Croatian-American descent. The dessert is popular in parts of the Balkan where it was introduced during Ottoman rule, but is originally from Persia. Whereever it came from, it sure was delicious! And I got to buy a new kitchen tool to do it right, an apple corer......or as Fin calls it “the apple core gun” How have I lived without this tool?

                     6 golden Deliciuos apples, peeled and cored
                     2 cups suger
                     2 cups water, or enought to cover apples
                     1 tbsp lemin juice
                     ½ cup ground almonds
                     ¼ cup ground hazelnuts (I used pecans, as that what was in the cupboard)
                     2 tsp cinnamon
                     2 tbsp creme fraiche or Greek style yogurt
                     whipped cream

Apples: In a saucepan large enough to hold all the apples, mix together sugar, lemon juice and water. Add apples, weighing them down with a plate on top. Make sure apples are completely covered with liquid. Simmer on medium heat until apples are tender, but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove them from the water, and place them on a rack to cool. Reserve the poaching liquid.
Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together nuts, cinnamon and yogurt until smooth. Fill the cooled apples with this mixture.
To serve: Pour reserved poaching liquid over apples, and top with whipped cream. Yum!

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