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  • iulia 8:59 am on June 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    elderberry (soc) flowers syrup 

    last week when we made the strawberries jam I also started to make elderberry syrup.


    I was searching the internet for recipes. I knew the basics from my mom and grandmas… but not details. never made it on my own from A to Z.

    found different recipes with different styles of cooking, quite different quantities for the ingredients.

    Step ONE: collect and clean flowers

    I collected a LOT of flowers – the red and blue big plastic containers were full.

    while Ronen was keeping the jam to cook, I was separating flowers from their stems. this was a looooooong proces – some good hours.



    Step TWO: maceration

    I put flowers. added lemon juice and boiled water, to sit for five days.

    there were two big glass jars and the biggest pot were full with flowers. I put juice from two lemons in each of the jars, from four lemons in the pot.

    I mixed the contents each day, during the five days, at least twice a day.

    the next day after assembling these contents I felt like adding more lemon juice: the same quantity as the first round, in each of the containers.


    Step THREE: cooking

    yesterday we got to the cooking phase, rocketing again.

    I filtered the liquid which was already yellow and beautifully smelling of elderberry flowers. squeezes the flowers.

    used the plastic sieve and white cloth (my mom brought us for bread covering) for sieving. there was 15 l of liquid.

    added 6 kg of white sugar and put it to boil. the big-tall pot was full to the top.

    this resulted in 18 l of syrup, not so thick.


    Step FOUR: bottling

    we then sterilize and cook the bottles again.


    what I’ve planned to be around 4-5 litres of syrup (at the moment Icollected the flowers) it got to 18 l :).

    that was quite and estimation… we have for some years now!






  • iulia 7:53 am on June 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    strawberry jam 

    we did this last week…


    ingredients: 10 kg of strawberries from Ildi and Levente, 1 kg of white sugar, 600 gr of raisins (mixed: gold and brown) and juice from two big lemons.

    first we cleaned the strawberries, put them to sit for one day, with sugar.


    in the last phase of boiling I mixed it a bit, to make it a bit saucy and still have the beautiful chunks in it :).

    the whole thing resulted in 8 big jars, 9 small and 3 little ones…. and a bit of extra for our first taste… in a Bhudeva cake.


  • iamronen 7:40 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink |  

    Zacuska 2015 

    This has been a prosperous jam year: mullbery jam, elderberry jam and pear jam are stocked up in the summer kitchen.

    In addition abundant corn relish and tomato sauce batches have been prepared.

    It’s now time for the zacuska … and I am approaching it differently this year … for a couple of reasons. First is that I had a sad zacuska making experience last year. I lost three batches of zacuska (one with mushrooms and two with beans) that spoiled (there is a theory why, but that is another story. Second, there are alternatives Last year I collected a few options which provided a richer palette then zacuska spread. This includes things like humus, lentil paste and and a bean-paste which is like zacuska … but is made in fresh batches using freshly cooked beans together with a pre-made zacuska. Bottom line there is less need for making a ton of zacuska in advance.

    So this year it is down to three things:

    1. Classic aubergines and peppers zacuska.
    2. Bhudeva classic roasted peppers in wine and honey zacuska.
    3. Pepper and tomato sauce – a liquidy zacuska used for making the bean paste.

    I have recipe’s for the first two. The third Andreea and I made in the past but I don’t have the recipe. I am going to ask Andreea is she can find it and Annelieke if she has a general direction she can suggest for making it based on her familiarity with it and her cooking skills.

    I will be getting the produce for the first two tomorrow and making them in the coming days (probably with Iulia’s help as she is planned to be here in the coming days). The third I hope to do during the next couple of weeks.

    After that there is pickling … and preparations are pretty much done for this abundant winter.



    • annelieke 7:48 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can you publish the “classic” zacuska recipe here, Ronen? Good starting point for adaptations……

      • iamronen 8:00 pm on September 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is the recipe for the bean zacuska that spolied twice last year:


        • 1kg beans
        • 2kg round red peppers (gogosar)
        • 2kg long red peppers (capia)
        • 1kg onion
        • 1kg carrot
        • 2-3 heads of garlic
        • 1 liter oil
        • 1 liter tomato sauce
        • salt + pepper


        • cook beans until soft
        • roast both peppers (optional)
        • chop onions
        • chop peppers
        • chop carrots
        • put everything except the beans in the pot
        • cook for ~1 hour
        • add salt and pepper
        • add beans
        • cook until desired thickness
        • pack
        • iulia 7:32 pm on September 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I share my mother-in-law recipe here too (I like it’s taste):

          2.5 of white onions
          5 kg red peppers (gogosari)
          500 – 600 ml oil
          1 liter tomato juice
          5 kg roasted aubergines
          salt, pepper

          I like it’s taste, I also like it cause it’s not oily (my mom puts 1 litter of oil in her recipe and it gets oily).

          We also played with beans for some of the aubergines: 800g cooked beans in place for half of the aubergines.
          With beans it gets even more non-oily, as beans absorbs liquids.


          cook beans until soft
          roast aubergines, clean, wash, drain
          roast peppers (more tasty, clean them) or not
          get everything in the shredding machine (onion – separate, pepper, aubergines, beans)

          Cook onion in oil; add peppers. Boil until peppers are soft (stir(?) / amesteca constantly). Add the rest of the ingredients (keep steering). Boil for everything to come together, taste for salt and pepper.

          Then the sterilizing process…

          Out of this we got about 18-20 jars – 400 ml each (smaller ones).

          We also did some batches like:

          only with beans (no aubergines),
          with some (harvested from the forest) cooked & shredded mushrooms instead of beans.

          PS: we always did like 3-4 batches at the same time (in a 50l cast iron boiler), don’t know if this counts for the great(for me) taste! 🙂

      • iamronen 9:21 am on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        the “classic” is, as I understand it, based on aubergines and peppers and this is the base recipe I am using. This year I have decided to remove the green peppers (ardei gras) and put it only roasted red peppers (gogosar). This is the only real zakuska I am making I’ve opted for a larger 1.5x batch.


        • 10kg aubergines
        • 4kg peppers ardei gras (green peppers)
        • 4kg gogosar (fat red peppers)
        • 1kg carrot
        • 3kg onions
        • 1 liter oil
        • 2 liter tomatoe sauce
        • salt + pepper


        • roast aubergines + peppers roasted
        • blend aubergines + peppers
        • chop carrots
        • chop onions
        • warm up a pot with oil and add onions
        • add everything else and cook and stir until desired thickness
    • annelieke 8:04 pm on September 9, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Mmmmm, looking forward to taste this year’s results 😉

      Comparing recipes and imagining variations possible based on a standard batch of zacuska, I have the following suggestions:

      » No garlic, can be added fresh all winter and has a better taste raw and fresh.
      » In the bean pastes we made last year, I liked the extra tomato flavour. No need to add more tomato juice to the standard zacuska. It can be added while preparing a fresh portion of a zacuska variation (beans, mushrooms, ………), by soaking the beans (or mushrooms) in tomato juice, or, in the case of the bean paste, when it needs more liquid anyway, thin with tomato juice instead of water after cooking the beans.
      » Instead of starting to blend aubergines and peppers, start with oil and chopped onions (sauté them lightly). This adds to the full taste.
      » Use more carrots, 2-3 kg instead of 1kg. This will give more sweetness to the basic zacuska and will help to compensate for the “floury” taste of the beans. I think the taste gets more interesting and subtle adding more carrots then adding more peppers.

      Enjoy the making!!!!!!

    • annelieke 7:25 am on September 10, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Ah, and I agree with the pepper decision, only red (gogosar)

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