Cheers to the New Year with pomegranate syrup - Brindisi all'Anno nuovo con lo sciroppo di melagrana - Nazdravimo Novoj godini sa sirupom od nara!

Folk custom says to eat food in form of many grains on New Year’s eve, it should bring you prosperity and wealth in the new year! I offer you many grains to drink, a healthy pomegranate syrup that will be a treasure for your soul!
During this year and especially during its last month we have baked so, so many perfumed cookies and tasty pastry, we have invented and tasted plenty of new recipes, we were surprised by excellent skills of our colleagues and friends bloggers, we have shared our simple and complicated recipes and suggestions….it was very rich year and all our work and dedication to our hobby deserve a toast. Because our hobby is beautiful, we cook, we take pictures, we enjoy doing it, we comunicate with each other, but it is also demanding and requires a lot of time and commitment.
Therefor we need a lot of new energy and serenity. We need another interesting year that will inspire us more and more, because at the end we create the beauty and we offer it to the world!

Have a wonderful and very happy New Year!


Cocoa and hazelnuts cookies - Biscotti al cacao e nocciole - Keksi s kakaom i lješnjacima

This year arrived to its end...only few days left and it will be over for good! I bet you are all thinking of how good, or bad it was. Well, I'm doing some similar thinking, but I don't want to make plans or firm projects for the new year. Nowadays it makes me unquiet, what if these plans turn to be wrong, or something goes in bad direction, it happens sometime...I don't want things to go wrong anymore, I've decided to live my life day be day, I will change my plans and my thinking each time it will be better then persecuting old ideas. Every new and fresh idea means new beginning and it's fantastic!
But before the new year begins you still have time for last baking and some more cookies will never be too much. You can offer them to your guests, or you can still make some eatable gifts for New Year's eve.  
Hurry up, but don't eat them all by yourself. These cookies are so tasty and remain friable for days. All flavours are well mixed and cocoa flavour doesn't cover the taste of hazelnuts. I like them very much!


Merry Christmas - Buon Natale - Sretan Božić

My Christmas wheat is so, so luxuriant and high this year!
I will transfer it into bigger vase in January, I'd like to see golden sheaf of wheat next summer. Mr. M. and me, we like to experiment planting all kind of plants and seeds in our "garden" on the terrace and see them grow and bloom. The terrace is our courtyard, we observe how seasons are changing and plant life is transforming.
Now our garden is all wet and gray, but soon it will be born again and it will bring us new wonderful surprises and happiness!


Makovnjača Christmas braid – Makovnjača l’intreccio Natalizio – Makovnjača Božićna pletenica

Today is my birthday and this is my birthday gift to you my dear friends! 
I usually don't like to mention my birthday, it's not my nature and it's the wrong moment, because everybody is expecting something more important, Christmas is arriving, but this time it's different, I'm really happy to share it with you. It was a tough year and I, ...we all need peace and joy!
Makovnjača is my favourit Christmas cake, it's so simple, so soft, so, so, so full of poppy seeds, I really adore it. I usually only roll the dough and bake it in the plumcake tray. This time I wanted something different and really sensational. When I started to think about this braid, I didn't condisdered that I want my makovnjača to be very soft, full of poppy fillling and that to make a braid with it might be a bit more difficult. But I love complicated stuff, right, so even if every first idea seams to me so easy...in my head only!...sometimes it turns not to be easy at all. I immagine the perfect picture of my future creature and fascinated by expectations I forget any possible problem, apparently I never see problems and I even don't want to see them! My desire is to get the best result. This time I was lucky, my expectations have been fulfilled!

The dough I made was beautiful and velvety soft, poppy filling was dense enough, so I didn't though about the fact that once rolled and cut in half, the snaky dough would be disobedient. We, me and the snaky dough, fought for just a short while, I was more determined and once I've placed the dough on the baking tray it started to raise and its layers pushed out plenty of poppy seeds that decorated the braid.
I hope you like it as much as I do!


Herb teas - Tisane - Biljni čajevi

Winter is time to enjoy different herb teas, especially warm, but also cold, served with some cookies or sweets, or alone, as digestive, depurative, relaxing and refreshing.
In very next days we will eat much more  then usually, we will exaggerate with all kind of sweets, salty stuff and spices and our bodies will need a lot of liquid, but not only. We will need to eliminate superfluous substances we will ingest with food and beverages, so let's make a good provision of herb teas that will help our bodies to survive the holidays without much suffer.
Nowadays there are a lot of variety of herb teas, but I think that the best ones are the most simply ones, especially if you can harvest them by your own. It is not easy, because you need to reach clean environments without pollution and you need to know when is the very best moment to harvest different herbs. Fortunately we can find plenty of herbs teas in shops and in the pharmacy.
My family still use to harvest a lot of herb teas, I have got some from my mother, some from my aunt and from my cousin and I have also prepared my own herbs provisions.
I really like to prepare a cup of herb tea from time to time and drink it warm and without sugar, especially in the evening before I go to bed.
Christmas is near and we also need something special, there are some special mixtures of herbs and fruits that will satisfy all your senses. These mixtures produce so nice and perfumed steams and will make your enjoy evan more your flavourful cup of winter tea!


Saint Lucia's day and Christmas wheat – Santa Lucia e il grano di Natale - Sveta Lucija i Božićna pšenica

Every year on Saint Lucia's day I'm sowing my Christmas wheat. This is an old Croatian tradition and even if I'm not religious,  I learned this custom from my mother and it is something more then simple religious stuff. I like to watch it burgeons and grows day by day. I like to observe how beautiful and incredible is the nature, it never ceases to amaze me!

Happy Saint Lucia's day to you my friends!

Winter pie - Crostata invernale - Zimska pita

I must admit that I don't like dried figs, I don't like figs at all, neither Mr. M. likes them, but ... then I've baked this pie and I must admit that I liked it, I liked it a lot! Mr. M. is still hesitant, so I think he basically doesn't like it.

All started with Lara's proposal to use dried figs for December round of our contest "ajme, koliko nas je!". Lara is writing Slatki blog (Sweet Blog!) and she is my new friend, for the moment just a virtual friend, but I have the impression that we will meet soon!
But what to do with dried figs? What can I prepare with the ingredient I never ever use....My parents adore dried figs, so do my parents in law. We have a big white fig tree in our "garden with the view" (you all remember why I call it this way, don't you?) and every summer when I go back from holidays I bring plenty of figs with me to Italy and everybody is so, so happy to receive fresh and ripe figs as a gift! Our fig tree produces small, but very flavourful figs (everybody says so!), but my mother doesn't dry them, she use to prepare a jam occasionally. I also prepared it once, because some figs smashed during our return trip, but then this jam went back to Croatia, because I didn't ate it! This is all my experience with figs.
I couldn't miss this challenge and I have decided to try to prepare something with dried figs despite I don't like them, so I mixed figs with almonds and oranges and the result is very good, I'm satisfied because I have prepared a real winter pie and it is another good idea how to recycle your dried figs if you don't finish your Christmas provisions.


White chocolate balls filled with candied orange zests - Palline di cioccolato bianco ripiene di scorzette d'arancia candite - Kuglice od bijele čokolade punjene kandiranim koricama naranče

I hope snow will arrive soon, I like listening the snow falling silently and covering the ground with its soft and cold coat. And it paralyze all around, the traffic, the business, the people, the chaos...all is still and intact...it's perfect! For the moment I wish all this will last for ever, but suddenly the snow melts and this magic atmosphere disappears. 
When I thought about this recipe I was thinking about snow and winter and Christmas season and the expectations that are growing inside of us in these days. Therefor every little ball is hiding a surprise. It would be too simple without it. The combination of flavours I've used match good together. It's a perfect Christmas chocolate candy!


St. Nicholas is arriving - Sta arrivando San Nicola - Dolazi nam Sveti Nikola

St.Nicholas is announcing Christmas gift giving season. He is the first one that arrives in December, quietly, during the night and leaves simple presents to children and to some adults too.
When I was a child I was happy to receive St.Nicholas gifts: some tangerines, some candies and cookies, but all of us children feared to receive thin whip as a sign of bad behavior. Every 5th December eve before going to bed I readily cleaned my largest boots and placed them on the window sill with the hope to find them full of gifts the morning after.
These sweet memories make me still think that St.Nicholas will remember my home address again and again, and he does, maybe not every year, but from time to time he stops at my window sill and leave a simple gift for me.
This simple and perfumed sugar candies are for you, St.Nicholas was so busy this year and he asked me to help him. He trust to see smilie on your faces, because we all need St.Nicholas special gift in these days!


Ajme, koliko nas je! - Pripremali smo crveni radić

Moram priznati da je ovo bio težak zadatak, ali na kraju sam ipak vrlo zadovoljna da sam vam predložila ovu neobičnu i vrlo sezonsku namirnicu!
Ja obožavam boju i svestranost crvenog radića i sigurna sam da ćete ga od sada i vi nastaviti kuhati, a ne samo od njega pripremati nekuhana jela i da ga više nećete izbjegavati na tržnici! Samo je stvar navike, pa će onda i njegov "lagano" gorak ukus ubrzo postati ugodan.
Meni je najglavnije da sam ovoga mjeseca srela puno dragih ljudi u blogosferi i puno novih prijatelja i nadam se da ću vas jednoga dana uspjeti i vidjeti! Drago mi je da vas nisam previše uplašila s mojim izborom, pa evo predstavljam vam najhrabrije učesnike: . . .

* * *

I must admit this was tough challenge, but at the end I'm very happy I have proposed this unusual and top-seasonal ingredient!
I adore the colour and versatility of red radicchio and I'm sure from now on you will all continue cooking it, not just preparing uncooked dishes with it, or even avoiding to purchase it! It's just a matter of habit and also its "slightly" bitter taste will soon become pleasant.
The most important experience this month is that I found a lot of nice people in the blogosphere and a lot of new friends that I hope to meet one of these days too! I'm happy I have not scared you too much with my choice, so I present you the most couragous participants: . . .