Being surrounded by food all day every day, I thought I’d be writing so much more this year. Wrong. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s fitting it in – I must get around to it!
I’ve always been full of admiration of people with children who manage to study – now, so much more so. And I’m a mere pretender – my “full time” course gives me Fridays off, I work very part time and I only have one midget to run around after. I’m in awe of those who hold down full time jobs, study and run a household with three or four children. Legends. I have no excuse for not writing.It was back to school yesterday after a week off post exams. While I know it’s not a med degree, I’m still stoked to have got over 90 per cent for both the Food Safety and the City and Guilds Level 3 exams – it would be fair to say that it’s been a while since I studied for anything. City and Guilds is an interesting system – exam questions are randomised from a large bank and no two exams are the same. So I guess I was lucky with how my questions fell.
I’d like to send a big shout-out to my wonderful friends who help with childcare and to the husband who does the morning drop-offs – I couldn’t have done it without you all. Half way there, four months to go as I now work towards my Diploma. There’ll be wine all round come October (and perhaps the odd drop before).
One of the things I’ve found more interesting than I thought I would have has been the food safety component (yes, I know I’m a geek). I’m now particularly eagle-eyed when I eat out. While some cafes/restaurants are pristine, I’m certain others are but a breath away from a food poisoning outbreak. Those tummy bugs we blame on kindy/crèche, are just as likely to be as a result of poor hygiene at the local.
One thing you’re not going to get at my place is food poisoning. I’m now like a woman possessed with my sanitizer. And while poorly cooked minced meat is a red flag for e.coli, you’ll have nothing to worry about if you cook today’s recipe properly.I’m going to share a dish that is popular in Croatia and one that my sisters have been asking me to post for some time. Cevapcipi (pronounced “chev-up-chu-chi”) is a skinless sausage that is common in many Balkan countries and is similar to koftas. Traditionally, it’s served barbecued and often in a pita bread or a wrap with onion (raw – blah!) and a yoghurt dip. There are countless recipes, but all are simple. The country or region you are in will dictate the combination of meats. I always use three. I also add parsley to mine for flavour and play around with quantity of paprika.
What you’ll need
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
250g minced lamb
1-2 small onions, finely chopped (I often use red onions)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Good handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
Healthy grind of salt and pepper
How to make them
Mix together the meats – I usually use plastic gloves to do this.
Add the other ingredients and mix well.Cover with cling film and pop in to the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to allow the flavours to develop.
Roll mixture into cocktail sausage size (think cheerios) and pop onto a plate and in the fridge until required.If using right away, roll in oil before cooking them.
To cook, you can:
a) barbeque them – make sure you use enough oil so they cook through and don’t burn or become too dry. Turn so they cook on all sides.
b) Cook on the stove top barbecue style – I find that while this works, the oil is a bit splashy for me and I’m not fond of the ‘fry’ smell afterwards
c) Bake for around 18-20 minutes in a 200C oven, turning once.
Which ever way you cook them, using a temperature probe to make sure the inner meat temperature reaches 75C ensures they are cooked.
I served these with a delicious home-made tomato sauce last night, using a frozen supply of my pre-cooked sauce, with the addition of butter beans for some texture.
For a change tonight, the little guy enjoyed these in some home-made tortillas (that recipe will come!) with a little sauce.
You’ll get to know what size to roll your cevapcici and how long to cook them for the more you make them – I always think they work best when served with a sauce (also good for covering up if they are slightly over cooked).