This summer we had a very busy trip to Serbia. It was all about meting our friends and relatives and eating a lot of food. Although it sounds like a rather pleasant thing to do, it took a lot of planning, I have to say, we had a full schedule.
But, there were also days when we really wanted to skip the routine, we wanted to be alone, my husband and I, and do something for ourselves. One day we decided to borrow bikes from our friends and escape for a long ride to a forest on the other bank of the great river, Sava.
|The Sava river offshoot|
Sava is my favorite river. Although I grew up nearby, I discovered its beauty only in my teenage years. It is quite big, although this summer, after great heat and drought, it shrunk significantly.
As we rode by the river bank, we could see dry cracked soil, scattered river shells, and a lot of leaping frogs. No giant mosquitoes this time.
Before moving to U.S, riding bikes by the Sava river was one of our favorite activities. Surrounded by beautiful landscape, we had used to feel relaxed and energized at the same time. Now we wanted to recreate that feeling.
Given that just few days before this trip we had a long bike ride in Tuscany, from Florence to Siena, it was kind of interesting to compare landscapes of Italy and Serbia. While the heat was brutal in both countries, I definitely preferred flat Serbian road over hilly Tuscan one!
On our way, we noticed such a common scene for this part of Serbia, a stork and its huge nest on the village church belfry. That was so lovely. Hard to believe but I have never seen a stork in the U.S.
After an hour or so, we were at our destination, the forest called Bojčinska šuma.
Yep, we planed to go to this restaurant located in the woods, in a deep shade. Its name is Bojčinka koleba.
The restaurant had a very traditional decoration, and the food was traditional too.
Serbia is a country of good bread, and it is eaten in great quantity, that is so true.
When you come to Serbia you eat food that you cannot try anywhere else, for example fish soup from a picture above. And let me ask you, where can you eat delicious fish soup that costs less than $1? Only in Serbia.
Few more typical Serbian dishes that every expatriate craves:
Šopska salad, eaten as a side with any kind of dish in the summer time.
Ćevapčići, grilled sausage links made of ground meat, one of the best and most popular dishes you can eat in Serbia.
Sarmice od zelja, some kind of greens, zelje, unknown in the U. S, stuffed with ground meat. It is always served with yogurt.
Look at that roasted hot pepper with garlic dressing! Such a beauty! Find recipe here.
Beside eating good food, you can ride a horse here, or have a stroll in the woods...
And, you can visit a pig farm.
This kind of pig called Mangulica is a special one, indigenous to this region. It is black and rather lean, and great sausages are made of it!
Soon, it was time to start our ride back. The trip ended soon, but the good memories are still alive.
With so many things to do while in Serbia, we didn't have a chance to try everything we wanted to eat, so when I came back home to U.S., I was just making that food in my kitchen. One was a beautiful dessert, Krempita, puff pastry with vanilla custard, when I perfect the recipe I will share it with you.
The second dish was this Urnebes salad. It is very hard to translate its name, to be honest I don't even know the origin, or why it is named salad when obviously it is not. Urnebes is more like a spread or a dip. It is traditional Serbian dish that is served with Pljeskavica (Serbian burger), and Ćevapčići. Urnebes is spicy as the rest of food that comes from south of Serbia (like U.S., the food gets spicier as you go south).
You can use it with cooked smoked sausages and bacon, as I did, or as a dip for different raw vegetables.
1 large red bell pepper
200g Serbian white cheese, or Feta cheese
1 garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground dried sweet pepper, Paprika
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili or cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and back pepper to taste
Roast the whole red pepper in the oven. When it is charred and soft remove it from the heat and cool it down. Peel the dark skin, remove seeds and top, and chop finely.
In a bowl crumble the cheese with fork. Add paprika, chili, garlic, chopped red pepper and sour cream and mix it together until you get consistent mixture, or just mix it with a hand blender as I like to do.
Top it with paprika dust when serve.