Cooking 101

Here are some simple techniques and tips and step by step processes for new cooking enthusiasts, and others who might find it useful. 

Learn here how to make at home from the scratch:

grilled pizza,
cappuccino without frother, 
fresh pasta, 
homemade fillo dough and Balkan style pitas,
sour-cabbage rolls - sarma,  etc....

How to make and bake your own homemade bread is on special page Bread

Crepes 101

For all these young people starting to spend some time in a kitchen, this is a perfect start. It was my favorite dish when I was a teenager,.. and only one I could have make.
It so versatile, it can be savory, sweet, simple and very gourmet.. Mine first were made simple and dressed with a jam, sometimes advanced with honey and chopped walnuts - prepared and rolled like"palatschinkes". There are easiest to make and I suggest, if you starting to make crepes, that is the fastest and easiest way to have them in your stomach. Nowadays there are many spreads, like chocolate, hazelnut etc.. Dress your crepes with a spread you love. Today I usually go with my homemade dark hazelnut chocolate spread, not so difficult to make too.
While spending last summer in France, I discover few other options how to prepare them. The best way to learn is of course from the masters.

But first, batter and steps:

Sweet batter:
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp melted butter (or oil)
1 1/2 cups mix of milk and water
3 tbsp brandy or other liqueur

Savoury batter:
1 cup flour (unbleached)
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
3 eggs
pinch of salt
3 tbsp oil or melted butter

Put all ingredients together and mix them well

Have a good non-stick pan or thin iron cast.

Spread batter and bake for two minutes or until the top side is not liquid anymore

Flip and bake for one more minute on the other side

When crepes are made start with dressing them up the way you like or by some of my recipes provided:



How to make sushi

How to make sushi rice (su-meshi):

1. Wash the rice thoroughly changing the water several times until the water runs clear, then drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and set aside for 1 hour.
2. Put the rice in a deep pan and add 15 per cent more cold water than rice (for 200g/7oz/1cup rice you will need about 250ml/8fl oz/1 cup water). The water level should not be more than a third from the base of the pan.
3. Cover the pan, place over a high heat and bring to boil; this may take 5 minutes. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 10-13 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, still covered, for 10-15 minutes before serving.

TIP:  To cook Genmai (brown rice), wash and drain the rice, then put 2 parts water to 1 part rice into a pan. Bring to the boil, cover, then simmer for 40 minutes.Su-meshi (vinegared rice is the base for all kinds of sushi and it is essential to correctly cook the rice.As a guide to make hosomaki (thin nori-rolled sushi), 350g/12oz/1 3/4 cups short grain rice should make six rolls (about 36 pieces), sufficient to serve 4-6 people.

5. Cook the rice following the method, opposite. For extra flavour, add a 5cm/2in square of konbu (dried kelp) to the pan of rice and water, removing before the water reaches boiling point.
6. In a measuring cup, mix 45ml(3 tbsp) Japanese rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar), 37.5ml(1 1/2 tsp) sugar and 10ml(2 tsp) sea salt to the above amount of rice and stir well until dissolved.
7. Transfer the cooked rice to a wet wooden sushi tub or a large  mixing bowl, and sprinkle the vinegar mixture evenly over the rice. Using a wooden spatula, fold the vinegar mixture int the rice; do not stir. Leave to cool before using to make sushi.

How to roll sushi

After preparing sushi rice, now is good time to learn how easy is to make sushi rolls.

nori sheets,
cooked rice (su-meshi) - previous recipe,
filling : fresh raw fish(tuna, salmon etc.. cut into strips), cooked fish, seafood or meat, cut raw vegetables(cucumber, avocado, carrot, lettuce etc..)
dip: wasabi paste and soy sauce up to taste


 Take one sheet of nori (seaweed) - shiny side down, and cover with thin layer of cooked rice up to 2/3 of the width (moisten your fingers wile doing that ) .

Lay the filling down around 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the seaweed. Roll from the bottom pressing down to make the fillings stay in. As you continue to roll, pull the whole roll down towards the end of the bamboo mat. Spread a tiny dab of water along the top seam to hold the roll together. Set aside and continue with other seaweed sheets.

Roll (with your hands or with a traditional bamboo roller find in Asian food stores)

Roll is ready to cut!

Cut the roll with a sharp knife dipped occasionally in water.


How to make Grilled Pizza

Pizza with Tuna and truffles

1 can of tuna (possibly in olive oil)
1/2 onion, sliced in strips
2 tsp pesto,
1 portabelo mushroom chopped and cooked ahead
1/2 cup goat feta and reggiano cheese
1/2 chopped fresh tomato
1 tsp chopped truffles
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

How to make Latte or Cappuccino at home without Milk frother

You'll need only hand mixer, it's easy...
See here


How to make Balkan style
Pita/Strudel and Phyllo dough

The most popular Balkan dish, with a bit of Oriental and AustroHungarian influence and flair, you'll love it in any combination of ingredients.
My favourite definitely Sweet Sour cherry and Potato - Krompirusa (originaly called).


Sour cherry strudel



1.Prepare filling for your phyllo dough.

2.Make a dough at least one hour before making your strudel/pita.

Pita/Fillo dough recipe:

4 cups of unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups of cold water (approximately)
3 tsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt

Very easy, in a bowl, incorporate water and oil into the midle of the flour. Mix first with a fork and then with your hand. You have to get smooth and stretchy dough. Not to hard but not too soft either. The amount of water will depend on that. After mixing the ingredients and getting dough with a good consistency, let it rest lightly oiled and covered with a kitchen towel or a plate on a regular home temperature, for at least one hour or two.

Prepare big surface where you are planning to develop your dough (like a kitchen table covered with  clean white sheet).
When you become more experienced, you'll need smaller space, like me, I do my phyllo on a flour dusted kitchen counter.
Put 1/4 or 1/3 of your dough and start stretching, first with a rolling pin and than with your hands.
It takes time to become a confident dough developer. But it is well worth, because difference in a taste is same as difference between fresh and commercial pasta! Who ever taste it, knows what I mean.

3. Start stretching:

start stretching with your rolling pin in all directions

when is enough thin, use your hands and pull or stretch from the middle-out

dough is good when is see-through, don't worry about little holes, they'll disapeare when you roll the dough!

The dough is now ready to put your filling over. 

Equally spread filling all over stretched rectangular dough sheet, and roll:

How to make Pita / Strudel - steps

Start spreading part of your filling (see recipes below) on a prepared fillo dough. Use same amount as your dough. (Eg. if you made 1/4 of the dough, use 1/4 of the filling)

Try to equaly cover all your dough surface with your filling

                                                               Roll it from longer side

Prepare oiled pan. Rolled strudel/pita can be folded different way in circular or U-shapes, depending if the pan is circular or square shaped.

Circular way

After rolling pita into a pan, don't forget to sprinkle it generously with "Pita moisturizer"* and put into preheated oven.

Recipes to make Pita / Strudel

Pit or Strudel consists of fillo/pita dough and filling.

For a dough use homemade fillo made the way I explained earlier or fillo dough from a store prepared according to instructions on a package.

Make a filling and prepare dough according to the method for pita / fillo making here or according to the directions on your store bought fillo package. Pita fillings provided here are sized for 1/2 of the amount of pita/fillo homemade dough I described earlier (Fillo/pita dough starter).

After covering and rolling your pita and sprinkling it with Pita moisturizer*, bake prepared pita in the oven for about ½ an hour on 360 F (180 C). After it has been baked, take it out from the oven and sprinkle again with Pita moisturizer*, cover immediately with kitchen towels and let rest for 10 minutes. Thank cut it and serve.

Pitas (savory rolled pies)

Burek (meat pita)
In Balkan they say "There is only one Burek (male), everyone elses are Pitas (female)

1lb (0.5 kg) ground beef
2 tsp salt
1 onion chopped
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp cold water

Meat pita-Burek

Spinach pita

1/2 lb (250 gr) fresh chopped spinach
100 gr feta cheese crumbled
1/2 cup yogurt
2 eggs

Cheese pita

1 lb (0.5 kg) mixed cheese (100g feta, cottage baking fresh)
1/4 cup sour creme and yogurt
1.5 tsp salt (depends on how much feta you put)
2 eggs

Potato pita

5 big baking potatoes
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sour cream
1 big yellow onion chopped

Squash pita/pie

1lb (0.5 kg) chopped or grated fresh banana squash
½ lb (250 g) mix of tick yogurt Balkan style and cottage cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil


*Pita moisturizer:

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp oil


Strudels (sweet rolled pies):

Difference between dough for strudels and pitas is in thickness and sprinkle mix before it goes to the oven. Dough for strudels usually doesn't have to be that thin, although I make it the same because my family loves it that way. Before putting it in the oven sprinkle it with Strudel moisturizer that is similar to Pita moisturizer but it contains sugar, because strudel is sweet. Same steps are taken at the end and strudel is sprinkled again with sweet mix of water and oil. When is ready to serve, dust it with good amount of powdered sugar or mix of cinnamon and sugar.

Sour cherry strudel

1 lb (0.5 kg) sour cherries pitted chopped
1 grated peeled apple
1/4 cup ground walnuts
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Apple strudel

6 big sour apples peeled and chopped
1/3 cup ground walnuts or hazelnuts
1/4 cup raisins (soften in water previously for 1/2 hour)
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cinnamon
1 tbs breadcrumbs

Rhubarb apple strudel

1 lb (0.5 kg) chopped rhubarb
1 apple peeled and chopped
5 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup ground walnuts or pecans
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

*Strudel moisturizer:
1/2 cup water
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp sugar


Pasta making

From Prepared dough:

To final fresh pasta:

Pasta sauces recipes, Lasagna, Timpano etc, see more on my Pasta page..


How to make Sauerkraut rolls/Sarma

Take your prepared ground meat filling* (one tablespoon)

Place it on the bottom of the sauerkraut cabbage leaf
 (Sauerkraut - cabbage head previously has to be prepared for rolling: take off every leaf, put it in the pot with a boiling water for about 1 minute, wash off with cold water for about two more minutes, dry, cut out root of the leaf)

Roll it from one side to the other and close the edges by tucking them inside of the roll


Place the rolls in a rows in a big pot (clay is the best), following with little bit of smoked pork meat, rolls again over etc... Finish with leftover leaves. Fill with salted water to cover the rolls and cook after boiling for three to four hours on a low temperature.


Cold egg yolk is important ingredient in this sauce/dip.
Starts with whipping it and adding bit by bit of olive oil.
Add some garlic and salt
Enjoy with fish etc..


How to make 3D birthday cakes..

More of my cake designs see at my Cake page

How to colour Easter eggs (design)

For more, how to colour Easter eggs see here

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