01 Dec Belgrade Cooking Clss
How do they get so much flavour into their meat dishes? What’s the secret recipe for the best pastries ever? We figured the best person to provide us with knowledge and answers regarding Serbian cuisine was a local food lover. Eager to have a hands-on food experience during our visit to Serbia, we contacted Take Me Cooking to arrange the best cooking class in Belgrade.
We met Vlad, our food-loving host in Zemun, a very cute, bohemian part or Belgrade. Within minutes of jumping off the local bus, we adored this colourful little town with cobble-stoned streets, small street-side cafes and locals going about their day. There wasn’t a tourist in sight – this was perfect.
The Markets & Bakery Visit
Vlad walked us through the local food markets to buy some fresh ingredients for the day. The produce was so vibrant and fresh. Vendors stood proudly behind their stalls, carefully polishing tomatoes and apples to entice more buyers. After carefully choosing the foods we needed for our cooking class in Belgrade, we moved on towards a small bakery close-by the markets.
Vlad chose two kinds of borek (pastries) for us to try. We shared one filled with cheese, the other full of spiced minced meat. Borek is the most typical Serbian snack, available at any time of the day. Locals commonly eat it with a side of drinking yoghurt, so this is how we enjoyed it too. I’ve eaten many of these pastries in a few European countries, however, I must admit that these were definitely up there with the best!
We continued towards Vlad’s home where our Serbian cooking class was to take place. We were welcomed into the green garden area at the rear of the house where we sat down in a comfortable shaded area. I noticed a fresh fig tree, herbs and a grapevine filled the yard. Vlad offered us tea or coffee, and of course, we chose coffee. Serbians make great coffee, short and strong.
After chatting with Vlad over coffee, we moved into the kitchen where everything had been set up for us to start preparing food and cooking! Vlad explained we’d be cooking some classic Serbian dishes today, including shopska salad, Karađorđe’s schnitzel, cevapcici and plum dumpling for sweets. This sounded delicious!
We started preparing the salad, we’d dress it later on when our main meal was ready. We sliced some onions, sprinkled them with salt and massaged this into the onions. On top of the onions, we filled the bowl with big cubed pieces of cucumber and tomato. This went into the fridge for later. Next, we peeled a couple of large brushed potatoes, cut them up and put them on the stove to boil as these were to be used in the dough for our sweets later on.
In the markets earlier, Vlad had asked the butcher to slice us three thin cuts of pork fillet. We each took a piece and bashed it out with a mallet, then spread the meat with kajmak cheese (an ingredient used in many Serbian dishes). Carefully folding the meat in, we rolled it and sealed the schnitzel with a little egg yolk. Into the flour, bathed in some egg mix and finally rolled in breadcrumbs, these guys were ready.