I dream in Croatian, and I dream very often
– Fran Mazuranic
And yes, the Croatian Friday mouse was like a dream. A dream that came with lightly roasted capsicum and eggplant relish (ajvar), tuna cucumbers, a touch of salty bitter grilled sardines and lemon, the soft touch of a spinach pie (soparnik) and as a grande finale the sweet and soft Rozata. Well fed and in perfect Easter mood we continue our tasty travel around the world. But first of all the recipes, then scroll down to find out how many mice this Friday mouse got and where we’re heading next!
While coking you can listen to music from Croatia from our Spotify playlist!
For the dough:
- 300g (~2 cups) plain flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- ~150ml (~2/3 cup) water
For the filling:
- Large handful kale (or similar green vegetable)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, to serve (optional)
- Add the plain flour, olive oil and salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually adding the water, knead the mixture with clean hands until it comes together into a dough. The dough should be moist but not overly sticky, so you may not need all of the water (or you may need a dash more!).
- Continue to knead for a few more minutes, until the dough is fairly elastic. Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rest for 1 hour.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Remove any tough stems from the kale, and chop the leaves. Add the finely diced onion, garlic and parsley, along with a tbsp of olive oil and a touch more salt and pepper. Mix well, and set aside.
- When the dough has rested, transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the mixture in two, and roll the first section out to your desired size (the thinner the better).
- Transfer the rolled-out dough to a sheet of baking paper, and add the kale filling, making sure it’s spread out evenly to the edges of the dough.
- Roll out the second piece of dough in the same way, and place it over the kale filling.
- Using a rolling pin, press the two layers of dough together over the filling, pressing out as much air as possible and tightly sealing the edges. Make a few small holes in the top of the pie with a fork.
- Bake at 190°C for around 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Cut into diamonds with a pizza cutter, and serve warm, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil if desired.
Roasted capsicum and eggplant relish (ajvar)
- 450 g (about 2) red capsicums
- 1 eggplant
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Place capsicums and eggplant on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender and skins have blackened slightly.
- Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. Remove and discard eggplant skin and capsicum skin and seeds, and roughly chop.
- Process eggplant, capsicums and garlic in a food processor until smooth.
- With the motor running, gradually add lemon juice and olive oil until mixture is thick and creamy.
- Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir in most of the parsley, reserving a little to serve.
- 4 cucumbers
- 300 g mashed tuna
- Cup of bulgur
- Sour Cream
- Leafs of fresh parsley
- In salted water, cook some bulgur spice (the average ratio should be 3:1).Leave on room temperature to cool down.
- Mix the bulgur with mashed tuna, adding sour cream. Minced parsley should also be added to fish. On a side-note, if you don’t have access to fresh tuna, you can use the one in the can, but it will most certainly lack the taste of the real thing.
- Use kitchen knife to decorate cucumber skin with the pattern of your liking.
- Cut the cucumbers on four pieces, so that they are easy to pick by hand and eaten in two or three bites.
- Use spoon to remove the interior, and stuff the void with tuna.
- Refrigerate before serving, and do some additional decorating with un-minced parsley leafs.
Grilled Sardines with Charred Lemon and Chile Sauce
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 3 medium lemons
- 2 medium-hot dried chiles, such as arbol, stems removed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- Kosher salt
- 16 whole cleaned fresh sardines
- Heat frying pan with a little olive oil.
- Cut 2 of the lemons into 1/4-inch slices and halve the other. Grill the lemon slices and halves until they have nice grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes per side for the slices and 3 minutes total for the halves.
- Then carefully grill the chiles until lightly charred, about 1 minute (if you have a mesh grill insert, use it to keep the chiles from falling through the grate).
- Mince one-quarter of the lemon slices and transfer to a small bowl. Chop the chiles into small pieces (for less heat, remove and discard the seeds first).
- Add the chiles to the bowl, along with the 1/2 cup olive oil, parsley, garlic, shallot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk to blend and set aside.
- Season the sardines with 1 teaspoon salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. Grill, turning once, until the fish are just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
- Arrange the remaining three-quarters of the lemon slices on a platter and top with the grilled sardines. Drizzle the sauce over and around the sardines, reserving any extra to serve on the side. Squeeze the grilled lemon halves over the platter.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 500 ml milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons rose liqueur (or dark rum)
- To make the caramel place sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and let it dissolve. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the syrup turns golden brown. Do not stir.
- Remove from heat promptly and carefully divide the hot caramel among 4 ramekins. Be quick because the caramel hardens really fast. Turn the ramekins upside down so the sides get covered too. Allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. In a medium saucepan, heat together milk and 6 tbsp sugar, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and vanilla sugar. Whisk just until the mixture comes together making sure it doesn’t froth.
- Add lemon zest and rose liqueur and stir to combine.
- Finally, pour the milk in, mixing slowly to combine. Strain the custard through a sieve and pour into 4 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish, making sure they don’t touch each other.
- Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish until 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water on the custard.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the custards are almost fully set.
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove the ramekins from the hot water bath. Let them cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, invert the custards onto serving plates. The caramel will pool around the inverted custards. Serve immediately.
We enjoyed our Friday mouse with Hungarian Chapel Hill sparkling wine. Zagreb was a pleasant suprise and got this many mice:
Next stop Istanbul!