Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Flea Market in Sarajevo


Good news! We finally made it to the only flea market in Sarajevo. Here are a few things I noticed about the market which has a lot in common with other flea markets around the world. 

It is an outdoor market place located next to the field that is used for the used for car sales.

The flea market is open only on Sunday until 2 or 3 pm depending on the weather that day. 

The vendors range from Roma families that rent a place to sell unwanted household items they collected from the trash all around Sarajevo to individuals who want to sell either used goods or high quality items at low prices. 

All the shopping was done through bargaining. 


It was freezing cold outside, but it was pretty crowded at times. I was really happy to see that the flea market itself was functioning like a living organism which makes it possible for the city and its dwellers to recycle things. Because almost all the items on sale were the things you would throw away at spring cleaning or wouldn't dare to give to a second person just because they might be offended when offered such used clothes, toys, cosmetics, tools, gadgets,etc. Take a look at the photos below and you will understand what I mean. 

By the way, I find flea markets literally charming both because I have always been interested in objects with their own (hi)story and because they resist consumerism culture with all their might on their own.  



Shopping Tip

If you ever come across something you have been desperately looking for or something you fall in love at first sight, play it cool and hide your feelings. Calm down and approach the vendor/seller then. When they notice how happy you get over things, they start bargaining at a far higher price than you would.















Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Secret World of Arriety and the Raspberry Cake


Arrietty is one of our favourite characters. If you like animated fantasy films, particularly by Hayao Miyazaki, this film might be just for you. Arrietty which is classified under the titles The Borrower Arrietty in Japan and The Secret World of Arrietty in North America is based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton, an English author of children's books. It's about a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of a typical household, borrowing items from humans to survive. 

video

Well, we've been watching it for the last week and every time I watched it the main character Arrietty inspired me to bake something colourful with a special flavour and I ended up with this raspberry cake. Blow-minding!

Ingredients
250 g flour, add more if the batter is too runny
2 medium eggs 
140 cup caster sugar
140 cup vegetable oil
140 cup milk
1 bag of baking powder (13g)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rum aroma  
200 g fresh or frozen raspberries
powdered sugar, to serve
 

Directions
1. Heat oven to 180-190C and grease a 22 cm cake tin. 
2. Using an electric mixer, mix eggs and oil until creamy and then add milk, flour, baking powder, rum aroma, lemon juice until well combined.
3. Spread the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the raspberries over
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden
5. Cool on a wire rack until completely cold. Remove from the tin and and dust with powdered sugar to serve. 

   

Crescent Cookies with Apple-Cinnamon Filling


Here comes the second recipe for the same type of crescent cookies in my previous post. This time I made apple-cinnamon filling which definitely gave them far better taste. Delicious!

For the Dough 

Ingredients
500g plain flour 200g butter, softened
200 ml sour cream
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 small eggs
7g baking powder
lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar and ground cinnamon to garnish
Apple-cinnamon filling

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.  

2. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, zest and sour cream using an electric mixer.  
3. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix until it is well combined.
4. Divide the dough into five balls, cover with cling wrap or baking paper and put into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
5. Roll each ball into a thin (2mm) circle. Cut out smaller circles using a glass or cup.
6. Dot a small amount of filling at the bottom of each circle.
7. Cut stripes on the other side of the circles using a knife.

8. Roll each into a mini croissant shape.
9. Place onto a baking paper lined tray and into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden. 
10. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

For the filling

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups grated apples
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Heat margarine in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
2.When bubbling, add the fruit and sauté 4 to 6 minutes until softened.
3. Stir in all remaining ingredients and put set aside to cool on the counter or in the refrigerator.
4. When cool, fill crescents with desired amount.


 




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crescent Cookies with Plum Jam


 

It is quite satisfying to find ways of producing things which have a feeling of both your own cuisine and the cuisine where you chose to live. One of the main reasons is that it makes you realise how successfully you have become part of that place and also how cleverly you managed to integrate your cultural elements with the new ones. Sometimes you end up having to divert from the original recipe just because you have run out of one the ingredients - necessity is the mother of invention! At other times, you feel there is something missing in the recipe - usually the spices people use in Turkey. Thinking so, or realising that I've been doing so since I first came to Sarajevo, I found four 'kiflice' recipes which are slightly different from each other. They were all tested by one of my colleague's mother. Kiflice, by the way, is a traditional treat in the Balkans. If you google it, you may come across several recipes under different names such Serbian rolls, Croatian rolls, Serbian crescents or Croatian crescent cookies. Whatever the name is, it's almost the same thing. Well, I chose two recipes and made those fantastic treats immediately. They came out just perfect! Here you will find the first recipe I tried which uses milk. So now, you might wonder what is it now that I added to this recipe. It's the way I shaped them. When the dough is ready to roll, the recipe tells you to divide the discs into triangles, just as pizza slices and then roll them over. That's it. It lacks the elegance that their mind-blowing taste would make you associate with. That was what I thought, at least, and so I cut a few stripes on one side of each disc which gives each crescent a finer look. Graceful and delicious!



Ingredients:
500g plain flour
250g butter, softened
200 ml milk 

2 tablespoons caster sugar
14g baking powder
lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar and ground cinnamon to garnish
Plum jam for filling


Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, zest and milk using an electric mixer.
3. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix until it is well combined.
4. Divide the dough into four disks, cover with cling wrap or baking paper and put into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
5. Roll each disc into a thin (2mm) circle. Cut out smaller circles using a glass or cup.
6. Dot a small amount of jam at the bottom of each circle.
7. Cut stripes on the other side of the circles using a knife. 
 
 
























8. Roll each into a mini croissant shape.
9. Place onto a baking paper lined tray and into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden. 
10. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar.