World on a Plate: Croatia

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A few weeks back Expedia asked me to take part in their World on a Plate challenge and create a Croatian inspired dish. Obviously, I said yes. I last visited Croatia in 2005 (wow, 9 years ago, that needs to change) and have shared a few of the photos throughout this post. The people were friendly, the towns were beautiful and of course, the food was delicious. I couldn’t wait to get started on creating a couple of Croatian dishes.

Expedia teamed up with the wonderful Taste Croatia and sent over a hamper of goodies to kick Croatian adventure off. The selection included things such as fig jam, fig cake, white truffle oil, chocolate spread, pumpkin seed oil and much much more. It was a very generous package and I’m planning to do a few separate reviews on my favourite items.

After a lot of research I decided to make two dishes; Cabbage Strudel and Cevapi – Balkan Grilled Minced Meat. I used the recipes which I’ve linked you to but altered them slightly. Never be afraid to make changes to a recipe – if it calls for something you don’t like then simply change it for something else.

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Before we get started I must tell you about this cheese. This was part of the hamper from Taste Croatia and it’s Dinarski Goats and Cows Milk Cheese. This is a strong cheese which is delicious to have little bits of while you’re cooking or with a bowl of olives and large glass of wine.

Right, now it’s time to get onto the dishes.

Cevapi Ingredients: 

500g Pork Mince 
500g Lamb Mince
1 Onion 
5 Springs of Parsley 
1/4 cup hot water 
1/2 tsp baking soda

Original recipe without my changes.

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Finely chop the onion, garlic and parsley – add into the pork and lamb meat.

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Mix the baking soda and water together then poor into the mixture.

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Lightly combine with your hands. Be gentle!

Leave the meat mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours – overnight is said to be even better.

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Form the meat into a little kebab shape and place on your baking tray.

Turn the grill to a medium heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side – turn ’til they’re a deep brown colour.

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Remove and enjoy with salad, bread or even chips. There was enough for two meals here, the mixture keeps fine in the fridge for a couple of days. They’re delicious and vey easy to make. I’m sure I’ll be making them throughout summer for friends and family.

Right, now we’re onto the strudel, this is also very easy and tasty.

Cabbage Strudel Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage 
1sliced onion
Pinch of salt
1/3rd of smoked chorizo
1 teaspoon paprika
4 sheets of filo pastry – I used Jus’Rol

Original recipe
without my changes.

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First off, you need to shred the cabbage – I strained out the moisture but you could do it properly and pop it into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave for an hour or so. Then give it a good squeeze.

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Next it’s time to add the paprika, salt, pepper and chorizo (Kulin Galovic – we’ll be buying more of this). Give it a good mix and pop it into a skillet or large pan with a splash of oil. The original recipe calls for sugar, but I didn’t bother with this. When the cabbage is tender remove from the pan and leave it to cool.

Heat up the oven to 200 degrees.

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Take a baking tray and begin to layer the filo sheets while brushing each one with oil – this ensures they’re real crispy. Once the cabbage has cooled you can place half of it on top of the filo sheets. Fold the sheets around the cabbage and place seam side down on the baking sheet then brush with oil. Bake ’til golden – around 20 minutes.

I managed to make three meals out of this and found that the mixture kept well for 2/3 days.

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This was a really delicious meal and we enjoyed it with fresh salad. I’m sure I’ll be making it again but probably throughout the winter months.

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I want to say a huge thank you to Expedia for setting me the challenge and bringing back some wonderful memories of Croatia. I’ll be back next week to share the Croatian dessert I made. In the meantime, check out all the wonderful holidays available in Croatia, that’s probably how I’ll spend the rest of my evening.

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