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VillageFeast for iPhone

If you’re a Village Feast Facebook follower you may have noticed a recent post about working on a new version of the Village Feast website for iPhone, or any smart phone for that matter…well it’s finally here! What this means is that following recipes from your phone is much easier, you no longer have to […]

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Easy Cucumber Salad (Krastavica Salata)

Nothing could be more refreshing than a crisp cucumber salad – perfect for Australia’s sticky and humid summer days.

Served as a pre-meal appetiser with a ‘rakija’ if you so desire, or simply in place of a garden salad with whatever you’re having for lunch or dinner, I could easily eat this salad every night of the week during summer, and the beauty of it is that it only takes a few minutes to whip up.

The secret to a really good salad is super fresh and cold cucumbers, old and rubbery ones that are served at room temperature just don’t seem to have the same impact. The cucumbers I often use are from my mum’s veggie garden, they’re a long white fruit with thin skin that doesn’t require peeling (although I prefer them peeled), I think the variety is called ‘Armenian cucumbers’. You can also use nice fresh Lebanese cucumbers as most supermarkets don’t seem to stock the Armenian variety.

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Big Macedonian Breakfast

Not for the faint hearted, a big Macedonian breakfast is just that, BIG. Big flavours, big servings and definitely big on calories. Eggs, kolbasi, bread and feta, balanced with the sweetness of fresh tomato. Of course there are no hard and fast rules, depending on the season extras can include grilled or fried chillies, ajvar, fried tomatoes and ham.

According to my dad, the Macedonian breakfast is a meal fit for a king, in fact, he’d often exclaim to my mum “Vesa, even the Prime Minister doesn’t eat this good!”.

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Seriously good banana and pear bread

Is there such a thing as a ‘banana bread connoisseur’? If there is, I think I’m one of them, as I’ve certainly consumed my share of banana bread, especially during pregnancy!!

This is a seriously good banana bread, adapted by Tana Ramsay’s banana and apple loaf recipe, the only difference being that I prefer pear over apple and enjoy the crunch of walnuts too.

If you’re planning a brunch or afternoon tea for your Christmas celebrations, this would make a lovely addition. Bake the day before and toast before serving with a knob of butter and dusting of icing sugar. Alternatively, you can always save this recipe for another day when you need to use up bananas and pears on the turn.

Be sure to have a gorgeous Christmas and New Year!!

Love, Suzanna

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Macedonian ‘French Toast’

I was the kind of child that didn’t care what others thought, I proudly took mum’s home cooking to school for lunch. This included anything from maznik, sandwiches with salami, feta and olives, or during winter I’d take a thermos of kompiri mandza (potato stew). To my surprise, I was the envy of my friends who were stuck with devon sandwiches…yuck!!

Similarly, Gjurgia, this weeks guest recipe contributor was called ‘fancy’ buy her school mates when she feasted on her mums Macedonian ‘French Toast’. The irony for her was that her packed lunch was a cheap alternative for her mum to make, especially since they didn’t have much money in the early days.

Although this is a breakfast dish, I’ve been know to enjoy it for a quick lunch or dinner. Unlike ‘French Toast’, this Macedonian alternative is served savory rather than sweet. So instead of drizzling with honey or maple syrup, its a crumbling of feta cheese. Try this for an easy and impressive brunch for friends, they’ll never go back to sweet French Toast again!

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I’m back…and Anna’s Walnut Shortbread

Who would have thought that it’d take me five months to find the time to start cooking again! Up until now I’ve been in survival mode, learning how to be a mum, and I’m sure you’ll forgive me for choosing sleep over cooking.

So the good news is that I’m back. I’m also totally loving being and mummy to my little bear, and the even better news is that like his mama, bebe Bastian has a hearty appetite and loooves to eat. And thank goodness, as it’s nice knowing that I’ll have some help eating all my kitchen experiments in the years to come.

Thought I’d kick off with a lovely recipe for these delicious Walnut Shortbread Biscuits. Anna, a long time family friend was kind enough to bake a batch when Bastian was born and I kept them in the freezer for unexpected drop-ins. And seeing that Christmas is just around the corner, I think they’d make a perfect Christmas treat too!

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Here’s what I cooked up!

Introducing my latest creation, our beautiful baby boy!!

‘Bastian Ivan’ arrived on Wednesday, 1 June 2011 at 3:44AM. He weighed 3.83kg and was 53cm long.

I’ll be taking some time off from Village Feast to enjoy motherhood and spend this precious time with my little man. In the meantime, enjoy the 85+ recipes already here at Village Feast.

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Pumpkin Slice (Tikvarnik)

Here I am, just over 38 weeks pregnant and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our bundle of joy! While we wait for his/her arrival, I thought I’d post a feature recipe from a fellow Macedonian, living right here in Sydney.

This recipe has been passed down to Natalie from her baba, who according to Natalie always makes it with such dedication and ease. What I love most about this recipe is how simple and healthy it is – a welcome change from the sugary cakes I usually indulge in. I also love the intense orange colour of the pumpkin.

I baked my Tikvarnik in a regular round cake tin, however, you can bake yours in a rectancular tin and cut into square or diamond slices.

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Macedonian Sweet Bread (Kozinjak)

The lead up to Easter is a time of fasting, reflection and sacrifice, but come Easter Sunday, the celebration and feast is on!

As part of my families Easter tradition, in the early hours of Sunday morning, following midnight mass, we devour Baba Tala’s incredible kozinjak.

Kozinjak is a heavenly sweet bread that everyone adores, so much so that my cousin has renamed it kozin-’yum’! I like to think of kozinjak as Macedonia’s version of a hot cross buns, but oh so much better!

Baba Cveta, my grandfathers sister taught Baba Tala how to make kozinjak as a young bride. The recipe has been in the family for over 60 years and I’m extremely excited to be able to pass it on for others to enjoy.

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Pan-fried Mushrooms with Onion (Przeni Pechurki)

There’s only a couple of foods I haven’t been able to stomach during this pregnancy, and one of them is mushrooms. Under non-pregnant circumstances I love, adore, and crave mushrooms, so you can imagine my confusion when my taste buds suddenly said “mushrooms – NO”. Why can’t I eat mushrooms?

After months of avoiding cooking them, I thought I’d attempt to make mushrooms again. Surely I’d enjoy them just the way my mum had always made them. Seeing her recipe is so simple to make and given the fact that David has been begging me make mushrooms for months, I gave it go.

So there I was, standing there with a beautiful looking pan full of deliciously golden mushrooms, determined I’d devour in a matter of moments, sadly it was quite the contrary, I just couldn’t do it! David on the other hand assured me that they were heavenly, I guess they must have been, considering he ate them all in one sitting!

Oh well, here’s hoping that post 13 June, I’ll be scoffing down yummy mushrooms again.

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