I grew up eating Dalmatian food, met my husband and was introduced to food from Medimurje, made by my mother in law, then went to Pula and got to eat food from there also. Every region has different food, and all of it is truly amazing.
As my husbands parents live in Croatia we visit quite often. Last year we went on a six week holiday there and it was amazing. We traveled through Istra and Dalmacija, it was amazing. The food we ate, so good. The people, the places, truly a country people should put on their bucket list.
Now I know I was not born there, but being Croatian is a feeling. I grew up with a love for a country, for it's traditions, for it's food, all because of my parent's and how they spoke of it, how they raised me, don't get me wrong I love Australia also, but Croatia will always be special to me. On my last visit I would walk around my mum's village and get teary, I would walk and think my mum used to play here as a kid. I visit her village and I belong there, so even though she left in the 60's, when I go back you have a sense of belonging, you have family there.
Watching the World Cup this year was amazing, watching Croatia play, watching them with pride. Watching the country celebrate when the players came home, it was truly special. What was extra special, is my kids had such pride in their background, they showed a love for the country also. That is why I say it is a feeling, something in you, Croatia is in your blood.
Now a lot of the food I grew up on was pre cookbook and the internet era. My mother, God love her, is an amazing cook, the food she made us was delicious. We had such a variety of food, and there was no recipes, she just made things. I am not even close to being that good. To this day I have no idea how she learnt to cook so well, I put it down to loving her family and making sure they had the best. My dad when he was younger cooked also, it was whichever parent came home first from work started dinner, my mum is very organised person.
Dinner time: this was a time my mother said was family time. We always waited for the last person to get home before we had dinner. This is something I now do with my family, we always sit down together for dinner, we eat, we talk about our day, and spend a small time of our day, gadget free, just spending time together.
My husband, he loves to cook also. On days when I don't feel like cooking he'll throw together a meal that is delicious. He loves making soups and stews, but he really can make anything.
So here are things I grew up on, things I was introduced to after meeting my husband. Now some may say not everything is traditional to Croatia, but what I have learnt since starting this little adventure, is that food crosses many borders, so this is more about what people are eating in a country, rather than where it originated.
Chicken Livers and Onions
Simple Fried Chicken
Octopus and Potato Salad
My Mum's Octopus Salad
Roast Pork with Sauerkraut
Mince and Potato Pita
Mince Stuffed Capsicums
Fried School Prawns
My Mother in Laws Goulash with Trganci
My Mother in Laws Cabbage Soup
Cuz Pajz-Cabbage Soup
My Dad's Lentil Soup
Chicken Soup with Griz Knedle
Beef or Lamb Soup
Beef and Bean Goulash Soup
Easy Baked Goulash
Cheese and Zucchini Pita
Chicken Paprikas with Pljukanci
Ricotta Filled Crepes
I love to chop up garlic and parsley, cover with extra virgin olive oil, then pour that over the fish, once it is cooked.
Since I got this recipe from my mother my husband has taken over making it from me. Every time we have cuttlefish he now takes charge in the kitchen. He has added anchovies and chilli to my mum's recipe and improved the recipe, even though it was already brilliant. He loves this recipe.
Here is the recipe:
1/4 cup plain flour
Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
Lemon Slices, to serve
Garlic Aioli, to serve
Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer to 180C.
Place the flour in a mixing bowl and toss in a few whitebait at a time. Coat the whitebait, shake off any excess flour and place on a plate. Don't pile them on top of each other, or they will stick together.
Add the whitebait to the hot oil in small batches and cook for around 4-5 minutes, or until the fish turn golden brown. Place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Season with salt and pepper, serve whitebait with lemon slices and dip into garlic aioli.
They came to Australia, married, worked to support their family and cooked dinner for us every day. It was a rare occasion that we had take out. This soup was something my dad made for us, besides barbecues this was his signature soup. He was a great cook when he was younger, now he leaves the cooking to mum.
I am lucky that my husband enjoys cooking also. Quite often, weekends especially, he is in the kitchen with me and we cook together. He is the no measure just throw it in kind of a cook, I'm a recipe kind of a gal, so when he cooks something it can always be interesting trying to remake it.
Here is the recipe:
300 g potato
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste
Wash and cube the potatoes, then place in a pot, cover with cold water, add salt and bring to boil.
Wash the silverbeet, remove the stems and chop the leaves into 3-4 pieces lengthwise. You can add the stems, I quite like them.
When the potatoes are about 10 minutes away from being cooked, add the silverbeet on top of the potatoes.
Cook until the potatoes are done and the leaves are a lovely rich green colour and have wilted.
Drain, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, add crushed garlic, if using, season with salt and pepper.
This soup is something my mum taught me, I have been making it myself for 18 years now (since I got married) and it really is something my family loves.
This is a dessert that I serve when we have a light dinner. It can be served hot or at room temperature, it is loved by both my family and friends.
Crepes are probably my families favourite thing to eat. My kids when I make them graze on them all day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They LOVE them.
As for the fillings, if I'm going sweet, I love lemon and sugar, that is my favourite. My kids love nutella. My husband loves his Croatian plum jam. It is endless the amount of things you can do with a simple crepe. I use this recipe to make the Smoked Salmon Pancake Rolls on this site. I love them filled with a sweet ricotta mixture that I bake. I also use crepes instead of cannelloni shells when making my spinach and ricotta cannelloni crepes, and most recently I use crepes in my savoury crepe recipe. So a simple crepe can be sweet or savoury.
It is fabulous, now I know why you can find this dessert all over Croatia in every cafe or cake shop you go to. The custard is probably the best custard I have ever eaten. It is so light and the lemon zest through it makes it unbelievably delicious.
I used store bought puff pastry, feel free to make your own.
This is the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party. It looks like it is big and heavy, yet one spoonful and you realise it is so light and just beautiful.