Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tavce Gravce

Tavce Gravce is a traditional Macedonian recipe which origins are from Macedonia and most of the Balkan countries have taken and changed the recipe by their needs. Many households in Macedonia make this dish by their own taste but this is the basic recipe, and to this you can add more vegetables or spices if you like. This is what you'll need:

500 gr. white beans
250 gr. white onion
meat (optional): bacon, sausages, smoked ribs etc.
1 clove of garlic
80 gr. sunflower oil
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of red paprika (powder)
fresh mint, and parsley.
1 tablespoon vegeta (optional)
salt and pepper

First wash well the beans then place them in a pot and add water to cover well the beans (let the water be 5 cm over the beans), then put them to boil. When it comes to a boil, boil them about 1-2 minutes then pour the water and add new water to it. Chop the onion in big pieces and add it to the beans. Also you add the meat choped in a bitesize pieces. Boil the beans until they are ready, but be careful not to overboiled it. The beans must be whole and soft inside, not a mush. Then to a hot pan add the oil and the flour and mix it well until golden. Then add the paprika, mix fast and add this to the pot. Add the minced garlic and the choped mint. Add salt, pepper and vegeta. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes. turn off the heat and preheat the oven to 250 C. Add the beans to a terracota baking pan and put them into oven. Bake them until the beans have little liquid and over the beans have formed a thin crust. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.

If you want you can add tomato, or dried peppers, or some other vegetables.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Zelnik is a Macedonian traditional food, it's made anytime in the year, especially in the winter, for Christmas Eve. Zelnik is a pastry very similar to banitsa, but the difference is the filo (it's thicker) and the filling. Also the zelnik has a bunch of filling in the center, and the banitsa don't . The filling often is spinach (and white cheese), eggs and cheese, leeks (and rice), grounded potatoes with black pepper, and in the winter, brined cabbage. In the past, when the people were poor (in war time), the filing was every "green" leaves that could be eaten (nettle leaves, dandelion leaves, beetroot leaves, etc). In the early age the Macedonian girls are thought how to roll the filo.
1kg. flour
1 package yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
warm water
For the filling you can use everything you like from things that I have mentioned above and how much you like (I can't tell exact quantity)
First in small cup dissolve the yeast with the warm water. Mix the flour with the salt and sugar, then make a hole in the center of the flour and pour the dissolved yeast. Add the water little by little and with your hands start to make a dough. The dough must be not very hard and elastic. Then leave the dough to rise. Knead the dough and take small balls (little bigger than a golf ball) and start to rolling them. The rolling is going on in several stages and in every stage the dough is sprinkled with flour until the filo is thin enough. After the filo is thin enough, it's sprinkled with the filling and sunflower oil, and then it's rolled up in thin roll. Also there are several techniques of rolling the rolls, and this is often made for better presentation. The rolls are put into a baking pan, until 15 cm diameter of the center is empty. Then it's made a smaller filo, it's placed in the center and filled with the remaining filing, then closed up with another filo. In the end the zelnik is sprinkled with sunflower oil and left to rest 30 min to 1 hour. After that, the zelnik is baked. At the time of baking, the zelnik is checked several times, and every time is sprinkled with little hot water mixed with sunflower oil. Of course, every family had it's own method of making the dough, the rolling, the filling and baking. But these are the basics of making zelnik. For breakfast it's eaten with Jogurt, and I love it:-)!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I must start with the ajvar (Macedonian: ајвар) because it's the most common food in Macedonia and the origins of this relish are probably from Macedonia. Ajvar populary is made in autumn, and all the family is involved in the process. Sometimes if the amount of ajvar is big, the preparation takes a whole day. It's made originally from red bell peppers, first grilled on a metal plate on open fire. Then they're placed in plastic bags and let to cool so they can be peeled easily. After they are peeled and cleaned from the seeds, the peppers are ground in grounding mill. After that, the mush is stewed in a large pot (commonly made from copper) on a very low fire with constant steering to avoid the ajvar from burning. At the time of cooking, a sunflower oil is added, and salt also. Then it's packed in glass jars and eaten in the winter. Many families in Macedonia add a garlic, chilli peppers (for piqant or hot variant), eggplant (baked, peeled and ground), and someone prefer to add tomatoes, carrots and some spices like bay leaf e.t.c. But the original recipe is made only from red bell peppers. It's eaten with white cheese, spread on a piece of bread. It's also used in preparation of some salads, served by the dishes, or included in preparation in some dish. Nowdays ajvar is industricaly maded, but the best ajvar is the homemaded ajvar because it has the right texture, taste of smokey grilled peppers, and it contains no seeds of little pieces black skin from the peppers. If the ajvar is not clean, the women who made it is consider not to be a real housewive:-)!


This blog is for everybody who wants to try something new and experiment with flavors and aromas. Let me introduce you to Macedonian food. As a Balkan cuisine, Macedonian cuisine has very similar things when it comes to the dishes, but the main difference are the ingredients and the spices. Also it may have the same names for the foods, but often it appears to be a completely different dish. The Macedonian cuisine has been influenced at the time of the Turks so it has many similar dishes, but a lot of them were changed by the time. So now are different dishes with the same names. And I must add that this cuisine is not one of healthiest, but it has a lots of possibilites for experimentating so you can make the dishes in a "light" version. In the Macedonian cuisine you'll find a lot of delicious dishes, salads and desserts. I recomend to try them, you won't regret it! Нека Ви е слатко!!!

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