May 9, 2014

Time of the Gypsies - Ederlezi


Gypsies/Romas/Gitanos/Tziganes/Cigani, how much you know about them?
However you call these people, or this ethnic group, they are still mystery and very little is known about their history, customs and their real life.  What is known and what is reality is, that they suffered a lot troughout the history and they are still unfairly treated in many parts of the world, even in very developed countries.
This week Gypsies celebrate their most important holiday – Ederlezi, along with some other ethnics groups around the world, as this day is also known among Christians as Saint George’s Day.
I know that Mother's Day is around a corner, but I always wanted to dedicate one of my posts to these folks. I met some of them in the past, and developed loads of sympathies and understanding for their temperament and nature. No offence to moms, as I am one of them, but Gypsies deserve to be mentioned, at least equally. Somehow,"Liberté, ÉgalitéFraternité"   and "Brotherhood and Unity" was imbedded in my core.

It is believed that the Roma people originated from India, which they left around the tenth century. Causes of migration of Roma are one of the greatest mysteries of history. Today, they live all over the world, and most of them are in Europe. It is difficult to determine with certainty the number of Roma in the world but according to unofficial data, UNICEF estimates that this number is between 400,000 and 700,000.


The Ederlezi celebration begins the evening of the 4th of May and lasts all night and in the morning on May 5, all gypsies’ community go to picnic, to a meadow with natural water.  At that place they do ritual washing, as described and shown in EmirKusturica’s movie “Time of the Gypsies”. Older people go to the cemetery and mourn their dead. After daybreak they go to the market and buy a lamb (Bakhrengoro dive), white, because black is considered a "bad luck." Lamb is brought home alive. The house and garden are decorated willow branches, a symbol of health and fertility. The next day, on St. George's Day – May 6th, is an early rise when they wash their faces "to be healthy and rosy like the Easter egg”, with some good herbs and flowers. The lamb is prepared for a slow roasting over a fire. For a lunch roasted lamb is served with young spring vegetables, a piece of bread and a dessert. Besides lamb roasts, specialty of Ederlezi (Đurđevdanski) table is also lamb “sarmica” – rolled lamb jacket filled with rice, onions and seasoned well. In the same way lamb stomach - bumblebee - topped with sweet milk and eggs and baked.
The second and third days are left for guests to come. It is said that Ederlezi - Đurdevdan lasts as long as the lamb, and the lamb’s head is eaten on the third day.



It is very difficult to speak generally about the Gypsy’s kitchen. The entire body of the Roma people, scattered from India, through the Middle East, and throughout Europe, under the influence of historical, religious and other occasions, was forced to adapt all over the world. Changing the language, changed the customs, habits, and consequently eating habits. Poverty, nomadic life, or life in small almost non habitable Roma settlements, where there is no room for garden cultivation or farming also dictated how they will shape the traditional Roma cuisine.
The kitchen Roma prevail dishes made from vegetables and meat, various stews, stews, or spicy soups or just simple grilled roasted meat or vegetables over a fire. Roma cuisine dishes are mostly medium to very hot and in general prefer cooked meat. In Balkans, Sataraš (Ratatouille type dish) is regarded as the national Gypsy dish, cabbage rolls - Gypsy baking. One of the interesting Gypsy culinary characteristics is that the meat is hand minced and never grinded. The Roma tradition is that dishes where food is cooked is used to serve it on the table and from which it is that food eaten.
Roma people love celebrations and Roma’s music is probably one of the most temperamental in the world, any region they populate. From Spanish (like Gipsy Kings), Russians (Les Tziganes Ivanovitch) to brass bands and virtuoso trumpeters of Balkans, Gipsy music is today widely popular and replicated all over the world and in any type of music. Some recent popular music like a hip-hop, started inserting parts from Roma’s music. If you want the best party, look for Romas performers and music. Flamenco is often associated with the Roma people of Spain (Gitanos) and a number of famous flamenco artists are of this ethnicity. Balkan’s bras music is performed everywhere on Balkan and even have its own festivals like one in Guca-Serbia where the best performers are usually Romans performers.


Every year, Ederlezi is celebrated in Vancouver, with big music and dance celebration, organized by Sljivovica band. As I already talked about them on many occasions. They allways try to bring international guests for this event and usually one of them is Roma trumpet performer from Eastern Europe. I must say that after years, this, now regular yearly event, can definitely be considered as one of the best in this town. What’s also a big plus,  that it is consistent in its quality and quantity with great international music performers, ethnic dance lessons and amazing fun that lasts until “early” morning hours.  Here, great entertainment is guaranteed, so no lack of  “voice and legs” enthusiastic public, which equals  night to remember. So I’m looking forward to go this year as well.

From Sljivovica-Ederlezi concert

Roma Kitchen

Soup Fantasy - Gypsy style

quinoa or other ancient grains for cooking
1/2 kg of leguminous vegetables
(Red, green, yellow and brown lenses
peas, white and colored fine beans, barley,
2 dried turkey drumsticks
1 carrot chopped
1 celery stick chopped
pepper
parsley
2 onions chopped
1 garlic minced

Soak grains, cereals and vegetables in cold water and let stand for 1 hour. In iron cast or copper pot, heat the oil and cook chopped onion. Respectively, add pepper, seasoning, chopped parsley and other vegetables. Add soaked cereals, grains and vegetables without liquid and pour 4 liters of water. Finally, add the turkey legs. After the soup boils, let it simmer for about 2 hours.


Macaroni and cheese - Gypsy 



1 kg of macaroni
200 g cheese (best is katskaval, soft as mozzarella etc)
2 eggs
200 g chopped smoked ham/bacon/prosciutto
2 dl milk

Pepper, salt, smoked hot paprika
Cook pasta to be somewhat soft, and drain. Pour it into a greased baking dish. Grate cheese over the noodles and add the chopped ham or bacon, add pepper and hot paprika and then mix. Add whisked eggs and milk together and after 30 minutes of baking at 170 ° C., remove from the oven.

Gipsy Goulash

500 g onions
2 green peppers
2 red peppers
100 g lean smoked meat/bacon/ribs
350 g of beef for stew
350 g pork hocks
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons sweet paprika
2-3 tablespoons stock
5 five tomatoes
pepper
1 teaspoon of flour.

Peel the onions and cut into thin slices. Wash peppers, slit, cleaned of stems and seeds and cut into strips. Cut Bacon into cubes and cook in hot oiled deep stew pot. Stir the meat, cut into coarse cubes, and fry it quickly on all sides. Add the onion, peppers and finely chopped garlic. Simmer on low heat. Stir in soup stock. Add peeled tomato cut into cubes. Stir it into the stew with salt and pepper and sauté for another 15 minutes. Mix flour in a little water with continuous stirring and add slowly into the stew. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens . NOTE: The real Gypsy stew cooked Gypsy way is cooking in pot hanged over the fire ... Picnic idea..


Gipsy cake

For the dough:
      550 g flour;
250 g granulated sugar
150 g butter
250 ml milk
200 g of chocolate (grated)
2 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons vanilla sugar
peel from 2 oranges
rind from 2 lemons
nutmeg (a pinch)
cinnamon (a pinch)
for the glaze:
400 g of powdered sugar
6 tablespoons rum
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of juice concentrate from raspberries
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
In a bowl, beat butter (room temperature) with sugars, add eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour mixed with baking powder and milk. Add mixed mass to the grated chocolate, orange peel and lemon peel cut into small cubes (in how much it's complicated, you can instead buy 100 grams of candied fruits lemon and orange), stir and pour into a rectangular oiled baking pan. Align the surface of the cake and let it bake in the preheated oven above 200 ° C. After 10 min, reduce the temperature in the oven at 180 ° C and bake for 15 minutes more.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Powdered sugar, mix with rum, water and extract of raspberry. Mix until combined.

Baked cakes transfer to a tray and pour over still hot prepared glaze. Leave to stand for 5 minutes at room temperature and let the cake cool. 

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