Fried fish with polenta & garlic sauce

The small sweet fish (carp, sardines,caras(is this a word in english?:))) eaten with creamy polenta and garlic sauce called “mujdei” is easy to make, “light” and delicious. As probably all traditional  Romanian dishes, is also very cheap.

For example 8 sardines cost 8 RON /1.8 euros/$2.5, polenta is made from corn tassel (1kg costs 3 RON/0.75 euro/$1) and garlic (1 garlic flower costs 1RON/ 0.25euro/ $0.33).

If we make a small total, a meal for 2 which is ready in less than 30 minutes will only cost you 12 rON/ 2.80 euros/ $3.83.

Enjoy:)

Blackberry BIO Jam

Straight from the Apuseni mountains of Romania, last summer we have gathered 5kg of blueberries!!! It was an adventure going hiking, enjoying the extraordinary vistas and why not, eat some blackberries. There were everywhere! So we couldn’t just pass them …next step, gathering for 2 hours enough to make a great BIO jam.

Ingredients: blackberries from the mountains, slices of 1 lemon, and some sugar (around 3kg max).

Enjoy!

Green nuts – my personal favourite treat

What I love about Romania? Well, one of the things I love most and this dates of course from my childhood..green wallnuts, or let’s say the core but when the walnuts are still green in the trees.

How you obtain the great thing? You simply take a knife and carve the core out of the walnut peel it and eat it. It’s great!If you don’t have such young fruit, you just take a hammer, like I did, and just break the nut, take out the core thing..and eat!

yummy!

seasoned with red organic wine made from grapes straight from your own private garden..I would call it a night!

P.S. Most people like the green nuts jam as it is considered a delicacy in Romania. It looks like this and you will find recipes all over the blogosphere..

Wedding Traditions – before the wedding

Starting April, the wedding season in Romania is ON, and it will end only at the end of October…if not even November. As I haver recently participated at 2 weddings myself, let me tell you about Romanian wedding traditions as they are a lot and quite nice.

So it is said that the future groom has to go and ask for the bride’s hand from her parents, and only after their consent he has to buy the ring and propose to her. In our days, this part is skipped and the groom asks directly the girl. If she says yes, then the next step is to find the future spiritual parents, the Godmother and the Godfather.

The young couple traditionally has to go with some gifts to the future spiritual parents to ask them to assume this role in the wedding. If they accept the gift, then they accept to be Godmother and Godfather.

This step is quite difficult as the Godmother and the Godfather have certain financial obligations to the bride and groom and with the difficult economical situation, some may even turn down this role. So basically they have to buy the wedding candles, to pay for the bride’s veil, “turta”(sort of bride’s cake), the religious service, to bring some guests on their behalf to the wedding and to give a bigger gift at the end of the wedding.

Traditionally they are the Godmother and Godfather of bride/groom’s parents, or other relatives and they used to be older people and also richer:)  Nowadays, usually they are good friends of the young couple, with one condition: they have to be married.

After the spiritual parents are found, then it comes the event planning crap as everywhere I guess. In the next post I will write about the wedding day itself.

Baked in the oven -LAMB

This is the traditional meat that is cooked on Easter and I usually hated it! Until this year when it was really well done (the cook is in the picture, a big THANKS), so now it’s my favourite. I can’t wait to make it again and again and again…

So here’s the simplest recipe in the world: chop the meat in somewhat little pieces to get done really well, mix with salt, pepper, fresh mashed garlic, thyme and a glass of wine; put the mixture in a bag and keep in the fridge until the next day.

Take an oven tray, put the meat and a little oil and water just to cover the meat and then cook for about 2 hours in low heat. With around 15 minutes before it’s done, add another

glass of wine.

Then enjoy in Romanian style with mamaliga (polenta) and pickles (cucumbers and melons in the picture).

 

 

 

 

 

Picnic @ Mogosoaia

As this is a National Holiday aka day off for everyone, what could the people do? I can tell you what me and another few thousands people from Bucharest did: went to Mogosoaia, a nice palace located just near the capital.

It was picnic day organized by the city hall, 32 degrees Celsius outside, so it was crazy! I really liked thefolkloric dances and singing performed by local artists on the stage in the courtyard of the palace.

By the way, the construction is beautiful in a special Romanian architectural style called “brancovenesc” (or Romanian renaissance)  after Cruler of Romanian Country, Constantin Brancoveanu who had build it in 1702. The palace had been destroyed or damaged several times, occupied by revolutionaries in 1821 or nationalised by the comunists in the ’50s, but now has been restored and it represents a touristic attraction for Bucharest. Now the authorities are working on the lawns and the huge park around.

The statues above with no heads are representing the Brancoveanu family which has been decapitated by the sultan of the Otoman Empire for treason. The Romanian Principates used to be under Otoman occupation between the XV and XIX th centuries.

Below, some pictures of the people doing barbecues, playing sports, or just enjoying a great day out. You can also see the big line on the grilled steaks and “mici”

Easter Feast

Appetizers..natural and traditional…work well together and look great. This is what you will probably see on every Easter table in Romania.

So..it’s fresh cheese, cucumbers, radishes, dyied eggs, meatballs, some lamb meat specialty we call “”drob”‘, olives, cherry tomatoes and roes home made.

As dessert we have a special baked cake, a sort of Italian panettone, only it’s Romanian.

 

Barbeque National Day: May 1st

So much for the religious holidays and traditions! Once May 1st arrives, the summer season is on and what more asppropriate way to celebrate than with a barbeque?

 So on this day, all Romanians go to a picnic and make a barbeque with: chicken thighs or wings, pork and of course “mici” (minced meat looking like small kebabs, mostly from pork). They are very popular, cheap and go perfectly with fresh white bread and mustard.

Alongside with the meat, you will also see on the grills champignons, potatoes made in the charcoals, all seasoned with tomatoes and cucumber salad.

Do not miss if you want to see the real Romania on 1 st of May. Unfortunately as everybody wants to sit on the grass and make a fire in the woods, the results are real disasters for the environment so hopefully in the future everything will be better organized.

Easter Traditions: Egg Painting

This is the first an most important tradition on Easter in Romania and it is usually performed on Thusrday before Easter. Usually the eggs are red, but people are creative so…

Here’s what we got this year…

At first you have to degrease the eggs, this means basically wash them with some dishwashing detergent. After that, you have to boil them untill they are hard.

The warm eggs are then put into the prepared egg dye. The colors and the instructions are on the pack, so just follow the instructions, then combine the colors as you like.

Gently put the painted eggs on a newspaper to absorb the excess water.

Now we need them to be nice and shiny so just anoint the eggs with bacon or pig lard and they will look like this:

When you’re done, don’t forget to make cross with an egg on your face so you can be healthy and pink in the cheeks all summer.