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).

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

Where to spend Easter in Romania

Easter is the most important religious holiday in Romania and I think in the Orthodox Church in general and it’s related to a lot of traditions.

If you want to experience  true Romanian Easter, at least the Resurrection ceremony, you have to do it in a Moldavian monastery. We have so many and they are all so beautiful that you will definetely be impressed, no matter which one you’ll choose.

And don’t worry, they are a lot, no exageration, I only went once in a trip and visited over 20 monasteries, only the most important ones here: Manastirea Varatec – Manastirea Agapia  – Manastirea Neamt – Manastirea Secu – Manastirea Sihastria – Manastirea Voronet – Manastirea Humor- Manastirea Arbore – Manastirea Putna – Manastirea Sucevita – Manastirea Moldovita.

    

Anyway, there are many websites with photos and tourist info regarding the monasteries, but what I want to show you hopefully in my next post will be a traditional Easter family celebration with real people, real food and places.

1st pic from here, usefull webiste: http://www.romanianmonasteries.org/bucovina/all-bucovina-monasteries

The Easter Fast

The Easter Fast  is the longest and toughest fast from the Orthodox calendar. It lasts 7 weeks (26 Feb-15 Apr this year) in which the believers and keepers are forbidden to eat meat, dairy or any food that contains animal fats. Besides the alimentary fasting, they also have to behave moraly, repent, stop making sex, go to church, do good deeds.

Why I am writing about this religious custom? It is because this tradition is so big that influences food producers to launch new fast items (soy, vegetable pate, vegetable cheese, vegetable ready meals, sweets etc)  and retail companies to order and fill their shelves with vegetable based products.

Many regular consumed products throughout the year are receiving stickers “de post” (for fast) and are highly promoted. So what Romanians eat these days? A lot of french fries, rice, vegetable stew, vegetable margarine, soy schintzels, beans, cabbage, spinach, eggplant salad, vegetable soups, biscuits salami, jam and more.

Twice in this period, it is allowed to eat fish: on “Buna Vestire” (the Good News, March 25th, when Virgin Mary was announced to be Jesus Mother, by Archangel Gabriel) and also on”Florii” (the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem a week before his crucification). On these 2 occasions, you will definetely smell fish everywhere in Romania, even if you are in a big city or in the smallest village.

As I think about these traditions, they are of course old, and people let’s say are not so into religion and penitence anymore, but at the end, these small things keep us unite and our history as nation alive. Through small customs like what we eat on a certain date and how we behave, I think all Romanians are connected.

Oh, and i forgot to say how healthy is to fast and how good can the veggies taste:) Check out some nice recipes here.