Spring calling!!!

Today i have a guest post from the lovely Natasa Sepic.
Natasa has been occupied in preparing to launch her own website for female entrepreneurs and revolves around quite a unique concept. Watch this space for more on that! She has also been thinking of starting her own blog, but hasn’t made any progress yet but i really hope she will soon. She comes from the gorgeous country of Slovenia and harbours dreams of going back with her husband Sankalp to make a home and family. I hope your dreams come true Nats!
…. And thanks for this 🙂
 
“I am writing this after a bit of a delay. At the start of February, Neha asked me to write something for her, and I had this perfect idea of what to write about, but I got lazy and occupied with my own stuff (not sure which would be more accurate to say) and I missed out on writing about all that happened in that month.February presents itself with two opportunities for me, at the least, to indulge; my husband’s birthday followed by Valentine’s Day. With the amount of sweets consumed in these two days alone, the entire month of February feels like festive December to me.

If I was back home, in Slovenia, there would be another occasion on the calendar that calls for sweet indulgence, especially doughnuts – February is time of the CARNIVAL spirit in Slovenia.This carnival, Pust, is similar to Halloween but the closest to Carnevale di Venezia. The main difference is that ours occurs at the end of the winter and is a call for spring to arrive.

You have to be creative, especially if you participate in one of the many costume contests. Many organizations and associations co-operate and work around a central theme – the strength is in numbers. Traditional masks are ALWAYS present while some decide to get their inspirations from topics that are current (politics, events et al).

The most traditional or well known costume/ensemble is “Kurent”.
Photo source: Wiki, Kurentovanje (http://goo.gl/od96T)Scary, aren’t they? Well, they’d better be, they have to chase the winter away and invite the spring to blossom. And they are quite loud – have you spotted the huge bells? 🙂

When I was a child, February always was the best month ever! The most exciting, even better than December. In December all the celebrations are very homely and which child wants to be at home? Each February we would get into costumes, some bought and some made at home. I remember, I was once dressed as a DAISY, donning a huge floral hat. I had most of my costumes made at home as my Grandma was magic with design and tailoring.

Looking back, it was like orchestrating a small business plan. Me and two of my friends from the same village, were strategically planning our territory. We visited each house, hoping to get some goodies. We never were one of those kids who would just appear at the door and wait to receive candies and money. We did a whole performance and that we’d rehearse beforehand. We knew how to play the wooden flute and we practiced songs and lyrics. It always was a success. How can you say NO to three cute girls who appear at the door in their costumes with well rehearsed song and tune?

We always managed to fill our baskets. In the evening we returned back to base (one of our homes), where our parents helped us count and split all the candy and money into 3 equal parts. February is a very cold month in Slovenia and we always warmed up to homemade traditionally inspired goodies and hot tea.

doughnuts   miskeflancati   
Kurenti” always do a good job at scaring the winter away. Once Spring has arrived, some parts of Slovenia are already in full bloom prompting people to go out on the meadows and pick flowers and leaves for a colorful spring salad.
spring salad

The ingredients for this spring salad are pretty visible 😉 I must add that the rucola like leaves are actually dandelion greens. They taste a little bitter, but are rich in calcium, iron and loaded with antioxidants and minerals.

I’d like to share with you today, a recipe to a traditional Pust pastry called Flancati. As I remember from my childhood, this will be an instant hit with the kids.

flancati 1flancati 2
Flancati

Ingredients:
– 500 grams of flour
– 200 grams of butter
– 2 tablespoons of sugar
– pinch of salt
– 2 whole eggs
– 100 ml of white wine (optional)
– icing sugarMix flour, eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter (and wine).
Knead until you get a smooth dough and let it rest for at least half an hour.
Roll out the dough and cut small rectangles and score twice in the middle (as shown below), then fold both edges into the cut to get the shape. Don’t worry about the shape too much, everyone does it a little bit different. One way of folding them is shown here below, the other (easier) way would be as seen above (photo next to doughnuts).


Once all the rectangulars are shaped, heat up the oil. Tip: add a pinch of salt to the oil, it will limit the foaming.
Gently place the flancati into the hot oil and fry till golden brown. Remove from the oil, place them on paper towels and dust them with icing sugar.These are very easy to make, are crunchy and deliciously sweet.

Dober tek!”

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