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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Just A Click Away From Over 2,000 Croatian Recipes & Videos







One of the very easy and simple recipes taken from www.finirecepti.com. Grilled Croatian sausages, peppers and potatoes, video at the bottom.





This one is a humanitarian post, believe it or not. Why humanitarian you may ponder? That's a good question. Well you see, I was just doing some channel surfing earlier and came across that program again called "Carnival Eats" on the Food Network. I watched it for about 25 minutes and was basically grossed out. I then changed the channel and there was another similar show going on, (there's actually a few of these "carnival eats" themed programs for some reason, you can hit the link to see what I mean, but at your own peril, you've been warned) And then I suddenly felt dizzy, nauseous and repulsed. For a moment there I didn't know what was going on, where was I? Was it a terrible joke? Do these foods and some of the people really exist? I didn't know what was more disturbing, the dishes being presented on paper plates and containers and in waxed paper or the almost orgasmic delight and moaning of the people after gorging huge mouthfuls of the "carnival eats", taking another huge syrupy or greasy mouthful before even finishing the first one, like they hadn't eaten in a week. I had to immediately drop what I was doing and quickly do this post, first Croatian food story, recipe or article that I came across, anything recipe related at all. I felt like something terribly wrong was going on that was destroying the very fibre of civilization and society. How so?




I couldn't even make this stuff up. What kind of degenerate and deranged twisted minds would even concoct such evil horrors and absurdity? Image: designhermomma.com




Because every food and dish concoction that was being presented mostly consisted of 1) lard, 2) sugar and 3) different kinds of syrups, sugars and lards, and a couple had chocolate dipped bacon included as an extra ingredient. (One was sort of like deep fried sugar with sugared bacon and lard syrup on it) I've come across carnival foods a number of times before and some of it I don't mind, the usual cotton candy, something on a bun, popcorn, candy apple etc, why even once when I was at the Calgary Stampede I came across things like donut burgers, cricket pizza slices and buckets o' bacon was very popular, and some other weird food stuff, (among other terrible sights I won't even attempt to mention and instead try to forget, some inebriated mouth full of everything specimens even spilled some of their "carnival eats" on my jeans and it almost turned into a fracas or melee, they were lucky), but still I had to post something immediately. I decided right then and there it was time for another Croatian recipe post to save peoples food souls, to combat the diabolical "carnival eats" on television with some Croatian food, to set things right again in the universe.




I dunno, a large bird leg, or a leg torn from the carcass of some kind of trapped and wounded mammal, a laboratory genetically engineered mutant crack and molasses dipped chicken wing or quite possibly something in a cone or a cone-ish-like napkin cone with artificial chicken flavour. (Perhaps even just ground sugared bacon pressed into the form of a giant squab leg then covered in larded chocolate sauce)




Even around here there's plenty of ethic television programs, and you'll notice most of them have allotted time for cooking or even have a cooking show included. I think that's because there's a niche for people who want to know how to make the various dishes instead of always paying for them in restaurants, or eating canned and frozen versions all the time. As in actually get their hands dirty, do some chopping and learn to make the dishes from scratch like in the days before hoverboards. And the interesting and cool thing is, with Croatia's long maritime history and proximity to other neighbouring nations, some of the dishes can be very similar, the gastronomy can vary in choices and ingredients greatly as in from plenty of lobster, fish, mussels, crab, shrimp and other seafoods in the coastal south areas, to plenty of beef, lamb, pork, poultry, cheeses and other main course choices in the northern regions. Just an all around very eclectic gastronomy experience, ingredients and main courses, without even getting into the pastries and sweet stuff.





One of the seafood dishes, spiced mussels and žgance/polenta. Complete recipe and video at www.finirecepti.com





Anyway, so then I came across this. A new website that just started up, as in just days ago. Croatian TV chef Almo Čatlak this year completed 10 years of his cooking show ‘TV-kuhanja’ (TV-cooking) and I've used a few of his videos at previous posts. There's plenty of food and recipe websites in Croatia and food/cooking themed television programs, Masterchef Hrvatska (Masterchef Croatia) has been popular for a number of years now, and so here's one more to add to the list.

Čatlak’s television program over the years guided viewers how to prepare a meal from start to finish in a 3-minute video clip, and were broadcasted on the state broadcaster Croatian radiotelevision (HRT) for the past decade. During that time Čatlak produced over 2,000 videos, and now the TV chef has decided to publish all of his recipes on finirecepti.com portal. Good to know.




Another very simple white beans, cheese and pasta salad. Complete recipe and video at www.finirecepti.com.





Čatlak’s recipes include everything from simple, quick everyday meals, to more complicated festive delicacies, cakes and jams. Along with his team of chefs Miro Biondić, Ivana Vukmanić, Tomislav Špiček ,Slavko Večerić and Lidija Kralj, they prepare everything from beef, pork, poultry, lamb, seafood and even vegetarian main dishes to pastas, rice, soups, salads, sweets and every possible side combination, including special children's menus. The videos include many of the well known traditional Croatian dishes, but also some newer creations with personal twists or added ingredients. Some of the recipes are also a fusion of Croatian dishes with other national dishes, some even with various Asian or Mexican dishes etc. At the end of the day, the viewer/cook has a large selection of dishes to check out and try out, complete with the ingredient lists and preparation instructions.

The website is in Croatian naturally, however Google translate will take care of everything. Some other previous food related posts are at the bottom. The reader should find the recipes at least as interesting as deep fried and sugared gummy bears or battered camel testicles with lard sauce and chocolate larva bits, probably some worth considering come the holidays anyway.




Before you get the wrong idea, Chef Almo Čatlak's recipes and dishes aren't just complicated creations oriented towards only the adult television crowd, but even those just starting out. Image: mojzagreb.info.



And also as well as being a chef author, he's part of numerous charity and other initiatives and programs directed towards...basically about being able to cook in your own kitchen. (It's a Croatian right and probably in the Croatian constitution)





A lot of the dishes shown on the website and shown here is the stuff I grew up on, so I know what I'm talking about when I say they taste good. It's a funny thing, because a lot of the dishes are actually just simply made very common dishes you would come across as ol' time Croatian home cooking, simple and readily available ingredients and nothing really fancy, but it could easily sell well in a fancy restaurant too. Same thing goes for a lot of the dishes you fork over big bucks for in some restaurants, most of the dishes are essentially just very old recipes and meals that were eaten for centuries by serfs, peasants and the common folk, probably with mead, beer and of course wine. The fancy looking and great tasting seafood dishes? just something thrown together by fishermen depending on what they caught. There simply were no chefs running restaurants during medieval and renaissance times surprisingly.

There, I feel better now knowing I've done my part in helping to save the world and many food souls.



More videos/recipes: www.youtube.com/c/FiniReceptibyCrochef

www.finirecepti.com

www.facebook.com/crochef




The video clip showing how to prepare the easy recipe shown at the top. For more recipes/videos just click onto www.finirecepti.com.



What the heck, here's a few more. An old and more traditional Croatian dish of stuffed peppers. (Punjenje paprika) Interesting sidenote, this dish became especially popular since the 17th century because during the Ottoman Muslim jihads into Europe, many areas near the front lines at times  didn't have anything but peppers available. So early Croatian soldiers food then became more popular later in other places. They can be made with different varieties of peppers and the filling can also include rice also. If you're not familiar around the kitchen and the ingredients, then I highly recommend doing some practice "Punjene Paprike" HERE. See also previous stuffed peppers post HERE.



Another very common and traditional Croatian dish of cheese štrukli. This variation is called Zagorski štrukli from the north western Zagorje region.



Another easy but tasty dish, a warm asparagus salad (not a large salad...a warm salad) with turkey breast and spring onions. Full recipe at www.finirecepti.com.




This seafood dish sounded like a good combination to add here, a thick fish soup with leeks, slanina/špek (smoked and salted bacon) and various spices.



Rožata is a custard pudding that's especially popular in southern Croatia and the Dubrovnik region, similar to flan and crème brûlée. Here's one version to make it. (Warning, eating this too often will make your ankles fat so you won't be able to dance, make and eat in moderation) Full recipe at www.finirecepti.com.



And lastly, another good seafood dish of sauted mussels and squid rice with shrimp, like a seafood risotto. You will find seafood dishes like this and other ones more common along the coastal areas, because there's not all that many shrimp, clams or lobsters in the lakes and rivers of the northern Croatian regions. This one actually looks so good that when you're finished making it, you can just Tweet a photo of it and don't even have to eat it. It would still be worth making probably. 



As a sidenote and like I mentioned at a previous post, Croatian gastronomy is even highlighted as a strong feature of Croatian tourism, because you have to let the people know what the hell exactly the traditional food is like there. This is a recent clip from newly updated official website croatia.hr.















Here's just a few links to get you started if you're interested in trying out some other Croatian recipes and dishes:














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