Home Made Cured Meat

I have always been under an impression that making a decent cured meat at home without having underground cellars or owning some kind of special equipment was impossible. Therefore, every time we visit Italy for vacation, we buy some (as much as the air luggage could care) pieces of cured meat and “prolong the taste of the vacation” for a few weeks at home. And then begins the long waiting period – until the next vacation. When I found this idea in a culinary magazine, I simply had to try it to see the results for myself. To make a long story short – the result is amazing. My guests couldn’t believe that this was home-made and not bought at some deli. And the fun part – the toughest thing here is to find enough space in the refrigerator…. So, anybody up for some cured meat? 🙂



1 kg meat (*)
40 gr. sea salt
30 gr. sugar
4 gr. ground coffee
10 gr. black pepper, coarsely ground
10 gr. ground juniper berries (**)
5-6 bay leaves

* It is recommended to use a long piece of topside beef

Continue reading

Beef Stew with Dates and Brandy

This is a classical “Russian” stew, called in Russian “Jarkoie” – quite simple to make and very tasty when served hot (fresh from the pot).



1 kg of meat to roast (In my case, I used the brisket)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
3 garlic cloves
dried dates (*)
1/3 tbsp. brandy
1 sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper

* In my case, I have used the prepared chopped dried dates (they were sold in a pressed brick form in a vacuumed package, usually for making desserts). I’ve cut a small brick of approximately 2*8 centimeters. Instead you could use 10-15 dried dates, just peel them, remove the stone and either grind them in the blender with the brandy into a homogeneous mass, or just cut them into small pieces.


Cut the onion into small cubes. Cut the meat into larger cubes (approximately 2 cms). Peel the garlic clove, press them with the knife and then cut into small pieces.

Warm the oil in a heavy pot. Fry the onions until transparent. Gradually add the meat and fry the cubes on all sides. Add the garlic and fry until a typical fried garlic smell appears.Then add the dates and the brandy and bring to boiling. Add salt and pepper, put rosemary and simmer under closed lid on low heat for 2 hours (until the meat is tender).

In our case, the dish was served with fried potato wedges.

If you liked this recipe, check out the following related dishes:

8321705721_2d0fbf8367    8273981731_8d9111a790

Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..

Phyllo “Cigars” with Beef and Lamb

This is a very famous oriental (middle-eastern, I guess) dish made with Phyllo dough. The original ones are usually deep-fried in oil and, therefore, become very fatty. In my version, I sprinkled the cigars with oil and then baked them. The result is very crispy and much less fatty. The only downside 🙂 is the fact that rolling them is still a lot of work.


Ingredients (for 20-25 units):

600 gr. meat (lamb mixed with beef)
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12 sheets Phyllo

Salt and Pepper, as well as 1/4 glass of olive oil

The Process:

If your Phyllo dough is frozen (it is sold that way) – put in the fridge beforehand. Onion should be cut into small cubes.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions until they become transparent. Add beef and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the pieces of meat with a fork into gravel-like form.

When all the beef completely change color – add spices, salt, pepper; mix everything again and remove from heat.

Cool to the mixture to room temperature. Cut the Phyllo dough into quarters. It’s best to cut all the sheets at once (first cut into two rectangular halves, fold and stack these rectangles, then cut in half again into two squares). Beware, the dough is drying very fast, so while you wait for “rolling” the cut pieces of dough should be stacked and covered.

Now to the rolling itself:

Take one piece (quarter) of dough, and brush some oil on it. Do it lightly, being careful not to put too much oil and not to tear the “page” of dough. Then cover it with another square piece and brush it with oil as well.

Spread approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the meat mixture near one and and start rolling the cigar in the sequence shown below – first cover the part with the stuffing, then fold the sizes and roll into a tube.





Resulting rolls should be laid on a baking for covered with baking paper laid baking paper. Sprinkle some oil, preferably for a pressurized container (I used olive oil) and then bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 200C, until the exterior of the cigars turns golden brown. Serve hot – when they cool, the dough gathers moisture and looses the desired texture.

Bon Appetit!

Did you like this recipe? Do you think that you are going to cook it anytime soon? Have you already tried it?

Please leave us comments about your experience…..