Category Archives: Macedonian Cuisine

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

I have a pretty cool Dad. He is the one person that will give support whenever it is needed. Moral support, that is. I always admit to him that it is because of his support that I have often succeeded in most things that I attempted to do. All I need is his “OK”, and I’m almost at the finish line holding a trophy.

But, my Dad is also a very funny guy. He tries. Last night he called me and asked to talk to Ana, who is 20 months old. During their conversation (I wish I had taped her trying to tell him that we had cake), he asked her if mommy had prepared dinner.

She responded with, “kay! kay! kay!”. “Do you mean, cake?”. “Your Mama made cake?”. “DA!”. (Macedonian for YES!).

My dad was at the front door in 20 minutes? My mom right behind him. Anything for cake!

My mom though, the not-so-supportive one, as always, found a problem with the cake before she even tasted it. Before she even saw it!

“Tell me is this egg-free or something?!”. “Yes mom, it is…it’s Lent.”.  “Oh yeah… then it’s taste-free right?”.  “Woman, give it a chance!’.

So she did. Verdict? She loved it. That means a lot coming from someone like her: She is 110 pounds, and always has been, and will not put anything in her mouth that is labeled fat-free, dairy-free, etc… She’s just naturally thin. Lucky her!


If you love coffee, and if you love a cake to accompany that coffee, give this a try. It’s a very sweet and moist cake, with a delicious combination of orange and raisin flavors.

P.S. I made this after the sun went down so I wasn’t able to take pictures while I was making it. I apologize.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

You will need:

  • 4 cups Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Light Brown Sugar for the top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 375.
  • In a large, deep mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds, and zest.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the orange juice and the baking soda, then add it to the flour mixture; mix well.
  • Mix in the apple juice and vanilla extract.
  • Dust the bottom of 9×13 cake pan with flour, then pour in the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top with a handful of light brown sugar.
  • Put it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with a cup of Joe.

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Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Honey Ginger Cookies

I needed to make  a quick trip to the grocery store last night, and as I was rushing through the aisles I literally ran into an old acquaintance and knocked down the cereal box that she was holding.

After the, “I’m so sorrrryyy! OH HI!! How are you!?”, we got into a catch-up chat and at one point during the conversation I asked her if she was following Lent.

Verbatim: “Are you following Lent?” Her response, “No!? What channel is that on?!?”

Before I allowed myself to LOL, I listened to my question in my head and it still sounded correct. I proceeded – with a chuckle – to rephrase my question and then we LOL-ed together. 🙂

Lesson learned: I’m not Grammar Girl. (I still don’t know if I worded that question correctly, and “LOL” has become a part of my every day lingo…)

…And speaking of Lent… here’s a batch of cookies that I make every year during Lent; they are mildly sweet, incredibly soft, and extremely tasty.

Honey Ginger Cookies

You will need:

  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of Sprite

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and ginger; mix and set aside.

  • In a separate mixing bowl combine the honey, vegetable oil, and sprite.

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until you get a shiny cookie dough.
  • Put the dough in the fridge for about half hour.

  • Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin.
  • Get a round cookie cutter to cut out your cookies and place the cookies onto a silpat mat or ungreased baking sheets.

  • Bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let stand on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  • Serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

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Apple-Coconut Bites

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Why? How?

To begin, apples contain vitamin C, and vitamin C greatly improves our immune system. Secondly, apples are rich in flavonoids which are said to prevent heart disease. And finally (well not really – I can go on and on but for the sake of keeping your attention, I’ll just make this the last reason), apples, believe it or not, can satisfy a craving for chocolate! Thus, if you’re trying to watch those calories, but can’t get your mind off chocolate, have an apple and forget about that Snickers/Twix/Hershey’s bar.

I try to eat one apple a day, every day, whether the phrase holds true or not. But…there’s always a “but”… there is one sort of apples that I can’t eat:

Red Delicious.

Yeah. Red Delicious, in their raw state, will not make it anywhere near me. I just don’t like the bread-y texture. But the emphasis here is on the word,”raw”.

When my dad brings apples to me, he always, and I mean always, brings me batches of Red Delicious apples, knowing that I don’t like them. I am going to make an assumption here and say that the reason why he continues to buy these for me is because he likes what I end up doing with them. He will never admit to this, but I can’t come up with any other reason as to why he persists with these apples.

When I saw the basket in front of my garage door the other day, I knew that dad was most likely craving an Apple Pie or Apple Cake, but since I just made that for us not too long ago, I looked through my recipes for apples and picked out one that I had not made in ages. This recipe was featured in one of the many Macedonian Cookbooks that I have, and it was part of their Lenten Series Recipes.

These Apple-Coconut Bites are very sweet, a bit crunchy, and extremely refreshing and delicious.

Apple-Coconut Bites

You will need:

  • 4 Red Delicious Apples, peeled, cored and grated.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 Orange, zested and juiced, you will need the zest and the juice
  • 1/2 cup of almonds (or any other nut that you prefer), chopped
  • 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a 2 quart saucepan bring together the water and the sugar and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for a minute longer and add in the grated apples.
  • Mix in the orange zest, orange juice and the chopped nuts.

  • Continue to cook over medium heat until the syrup has been absorbed by the apple mixture. This might take around 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down a bit before putting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, mix together the coconut and cinnamon, and put in a shallow dish.
  • Pinch off a bit of the apple mixture and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. This will be a sticky situation, so if you prefer, you can use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves.
  • Put the apple bites into the coconut mixture and roll around until coated.

  • Place all the apple bites into a plastic container, cover, and allow to set in the freezer for 2 hours, or put them in the refrigerator over night.

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Roasted Carp on a Bed of Caramelized Onions by Sitno Seckano

You know that “oh-wow” feeling that you get when you first run into a certain food blog? You know what I’m talking about, right?

Of course you do!

That is what I felt when I first stumbled upon a blog that had this gorgeous photo of a baklava on the front and then a mouthwatering recipe to follow. The moment I set eyes on that blog I knew I was in love with it, and with every recipe and photo thereafter.

Because I feel that I should not keep these great foodies all to myself, I finally found the courage to ask them to be my guests here at Diethood.

It is my great pleasure to finally introduce to you one of the most fabulous Macedonian kitchens in the blog world, Ситно Сецкано – Sitno Seckano (Seet-no Sets-kah-no). This duo, or is it a trio (?), of foodies never cease to amaze me with their wonderful food creations and stunning photos.

Their kitchen consists of centuries old Macedonian dishes, as well as modern, but they will also surprise you with an American staple, such as a peanut butter cookie, or an Italian tartlet.

I have been following them for a long time and I could not be happier when they accepted my guest post invitation.

Please welcome Bojana, Maja, and Daniel!

Hello Everyone!

We are so excited to be Kate’s guests today. We come from the same country as Kate, Macedonia, and we hope you enjoy our guest post!

Kate, thanks so much for having us here!

About Us

Sitno Seckano (which means “finely chopped” in Macedonian) is the blog of two food-obsessed sisters. We are inspired by lots of chefs and home cooks, and love finding unusual foods, thinking about what to cook next, and people enjoying our kitchen creations. We read food blogs every day so we asked each other; how come we don’t have a blog when we cook so much and so often? Thus, in March 2009, Bojana started the blog with a post on honey and oatmeal pie.

Bojana lives in Skopje, Macedonia and Maja lives in The Netherlands. Daniel does most of the photos. We want to share our ideas, recipes and the food we’ve enjoyed.  Sitno Seckano is like an extension of our individual kitchens where you are always welcome!

And now here’s the recipe:


Roasted Carp with Onions

Macedonia is a landlocked country but the rivers and lakes have several delicious freshwater fish. Carp is an oily freshwater fish which is available in the rivers in Macedonia. The carp fish contains high amounts of calcium and protein, and fatty acids which help prevent heart disease. While there are free-floating bones in the flesh, this fish is very tasty, especially when prepared in the following way.

This is a traditional Macedonian recipe; we hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

You will need:

  • 1 – 1.3 kg. (2 – 2 ½ lbs.) whole carp
  • 1 kg. (2 lbs.) white onions
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. paprika powder
  • 3 – 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. all purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  • Dice the onions and add them to a frying pan in which you’ve first heated the oil.
  • Sauté the onions for about 10 – 15 minutes on medium heat until they are soft and translucent, but not brown.
  • Add the salt, paprika and black pepper.
  • Brush a deeper roasting pan with oil and transfer the onions to it.
  • Place the cleaned fish over the onions.
  • In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of water with the flour and lemon juice and pour over the fish.
  • Roast for 1 hour in a pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F).
  • You can add couple of tablespoons of water to the pan if your onions start to dry up while roasting.
  • Serve with crusty bread and red wine (or beer).

  • Serves 4.

Enjoy!

Please don’t forget to head over to sitnoseckano.com for more of these delicious creations!

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Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Guest Posts, Home, Macedonian Cuisine

Macedonian Pastry Shop: Tolumbi

Before I continue with today’s post, I would just like to show you a picture of our weekend that was filled with fun, music, food, and love. Lots of love. And it was one of the reasons why I was missing from the blogging world for a couple of days; My daughter, Ana, was one of eight flower girls at my best friend’s wedding!

The beautiful bride, me, and Ana

Congratulations Julie and Riste! I wish you a lifetime of happiness, health, and lots of kids! I love you!

Onto the Tolumbi (Toe-loom-bee)!

A Macedonian Pastry Shop, or a Слаткарница – Slatkarnica (Slaht-car-knee-tsa), is a spot for, first and foremost, excellent sweets, then a great cup of espresso or cappuccino, accented with a yuppy decor, good looking chairs, sofas, and a delicious conversation.

This is my favorite Pastry Shop/Cafe in my hometown of Bitola, Macedonia.

photo credit

Moreover, a Macedonian Pastry Shop does not serve just Macedonian pastries; you can find a variety of delicious sweets, from tiramisu to eclairs and macarons, to baklava and ravanija.

Even though we Macedonians make use of the great variety of fruits, nuts, and spices that are cropped all over the country to prepare our traditional desserts, there are also desserts that are produced in Macedonia but are typical to all the countries from the Balkans and beyond. Such a dessert is the tolumba, which is believed to have Turkish origins.

Tolumbi are one of the most sought out for desserts that can be found inside of the fridge at any local pastry shop in Macedonia. This is a delicate pastry dough which is dropped into hot oil, soaked in a sugar syrup, and enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.

To keep it light, I do not fry the tolumbi; mine are baked. There is a slight difference in texture (no crunch :(), but for the sake of healthy eating, some things have to be compromised. The good news is that the delicious taste is still there.

And I should tell you that my mother just about murdered me when she saw that I baked the tolumbi. She was beside herself, “How dare you mess with the classics… Tolumbi are always fried!”, was her response. Oops…

Tolumbi

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs

For the Syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 slices of lemon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together, set aside.
  • Mix the water, sugar, oil and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
  • Add in the flour mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan.

  • Transfer the mixture into another bowl and allow to cool.
  • Add the eggs one at a time to the cooled mixture.
  • Place portions of the mixture in a piping bag with a wide star shaped tip.

  • Pipe out the mixture onto a baking sheet, each cookie should be about 4 inches long.

  • Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

In the meantime prepare the syrup.

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and lemon slices.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to completely cool.
  • Place cooled syrup in a deep bowl.
  • Place the cooked tolumbi into the syrup and let them sit in there for 30 minutes.
  • Remove tolumbi from the syrup and drain.
  • Place on a plate and serve.

Fried Tolumbi:

  • Pipe the mixture into a saucepan containing hot oil, cutting the tolumbi to about 4 inches.
  • Cook until golden in color.
  • Cook 4 to 5 tolumbi at a time depending on the size of the saucepan.
  • Place the tolumbi into the cooled simple syrup and let sit for 30 minutes.

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