Our cuisine is a treat for the eyes, a wealth of different aromas and a mixture of primal and authentic tastes, which impress your palate. In its core it is very simple. Its basis are home-grown ingredients.
Leavened and unleavened delicacies from the oven, made form rye and buckwheat flour, enriched by curd cheese, cracknels, herbs and dried or fresh fruit. Gibanica (a layered pastry with poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins and cottage cheese), pogača (flat cake), postržjača (flat bread with bacon and garlic), potica (rolled cake with walnuts), kvasenica (pastry with cottage cheese), žganci (buckwheat spoon bread), krapci (doughnuts), solenka (long salty pastries), various kinds of bread … These are only a few of our countless delicious dishes.
In our cuisine and also on our fields pumpkins have an important place. Pumpkin oil is because of its unique aroma, taste and appearance essential in every kitchen in Prlekija. Do you know meat from tünka and zobl?
Clever farmers discovered centuries ago a special way of curing and conserving meat in wooden containers called tünkas, which prevent contact with the air and give the meat a special aroma.
Čurke? Prezvuršt? Sireki? Pocane murke, a summer specialty? If you do not try at least one of these dishes on your travels in Jeruzalem Slvoenia, it is as if you have never visited us at all. Perhaps you will be so impressed that you will want to learn to make these tasty dishes by yourself. Our cuisine and customs that are intertwined with it are a legacy that is still very alive in our part of the world, which you can taste yourself when you visit our numerous events.
ZOBL AND TÜNKE MEAT
Zobl is a sinfully delicious speciality that is spread on home-made black bread from a traditional tiled stove. Zobl is white minced lard, usually without pieces of meat, prepared from cooked bacon. After being cooked, it is cut up and some salt is added. It has to cool down, spices can be added and then it is ground. Pork fat is a part of every diet, it is healthy. But unfortunately, due to the strong influence of industrial food providers in the last decades or two, it has been driven out and degraded.
Tünka meat is also a famous culinary speciality of Prlekija. Records say it has been prepared in this region since the 15th century. The basis for it are the finest pieces of pork meat of appropriate size; these are salted and submerged into brine for 14 days. The solution is made of salt and boiling water with laurel, garlic, pepper and onions (lük). While marinating, the meat needs to be turned every day.
When the pieces of meat are taken out of the brine, they are usually washed out, some are even immersed into clean water for a few hours. The meat is drained and dried, hung in a chimney to be smoked or »pozelha« (some are also not smoked) and then dried in the air. It is sautéed in the stove, cooled down, submerged into a wooden bucket called tünka, and filled with lard – zobl. The meat is well covered and no air can get in contact with it. The quality of the home-grown meat gives it a special structure and forms a unique flavour.
PUMPKIN SEED OIL
Pumpkins are a very old plant. During centuries of cultivation man cultivated many varieties which differ in shape, colour, size and, last but not least, in taste.
Pumpkins were first brought to Europe by Columbus and his successors. Over the course of the 17th and 18th century the pumpkin grew deep roots in agricultural. There is no good explanation of the origin of pumpkins with unshelled seeds. These pumpkins with unshelled seeds arose through mutation at the end of the 19th century, most likely on the territory of today’s Slovenia.
From this pumpkin variety we make precious pumpkin oil as we did more than hundred years ago. To squeeze one litre of the precious dense pumpkin seed oil we need 2.8 kg of dry seeds.
The seeds contain a lot of plant proteins and unsaturated fatty acids, as well as high mineral levels of magnesium, calcium, silicon, selenium and zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and E. They contain a rare cucurbitin amino acid that is particularly effective in inhibiting the growth of the prostate gland.
Doctors recommend the consumption of pumpkin seed oil at poor bladder functioning and for lowering cholesterol levels. Vitamins have a beneficial effect on the nervous system and increase muscle strength.
It’s always a bit tricky with pumpkin seed oil – it is oil, but it is much more than that. Because of its rich flavour and taste it could be classified as a spice, a delicacy.
The first characteristic that stares out is its intense and mysterious colour. At first glance it is greenish, but when you take a better look, there are intense shades of red – blood red. This is real pumpkin oil of Slovenian origin. The unique climate gives us unique red pumpkin seed oil. Real pumpkin oil is viscid, dense and therefore flows "quietly". It has a very aromatic nutty scent (of green shells and leaves) and taste of roasted hazelnuts.
Pumpkin oil is not only a seasoning in salads (with potatoes and onion, cabbage, beans with onion, tomatoes, green salad and others), but it is also excellent for frying (mixed with white, sunflower or rapeseed oil). Try a fried trout with buckwheat porridge and enjoy it with some dry or medium-dry Rhine Riesling! It is excellent in various spreads or salads with young unripened cheeses.
What about desserts made from ground pumpkin seeds that do not contain gluten. What about ice cream with pumpkin seed oil?!