Chestnut bread - Pane di castagne - Kruh od kestena

Walking in the forest is so therapeutic for my soul, it removes the melancholy of these autumn days. It's a joy to breathe fresh and moist air. The scent of musk and mushrooms is so sweet and pleasant and the rustle of leafs and branches under my foots is the only sound I can hear around. The slowly movemente of trees is just a reaction to air fluctuation, but it's so soft and subtle.
I love my "new" forest, I always need to have the forest close to me. In this place I find the peace of mind. It's amazing how similar my Italian and my Croatian forests are. Same trees, same humus, same scent, same fruits....chestnuts, rosehips and plenty of mushrums under bronzed leafs.
Another thing I find so therapeutic is keading the bread, touching the warm dough and smelling  the warm perfume of the fresh baked bread. And while I was walking in the forest harvesting chestnuts, I was thinking about this bread, rustic bread made of these sweet fruits. And I couldn't wait long before making it. And it was really good and tasty. I almost didn't have time for taking pictures of it, because autumn afternoons (especially weekends!) are often dark and grey. But the real excuse is, that we broake it and eat it still smoking hot!


Proja, traditional Serbian corn flat bread - Proja, la focaccia di mais serba - Pirotska Proja (za "Patin petnaesti")

My uncle bakes the best original "proja" I've ever tasted. It is amazingly soft and tasty and it's really difficult to get a cornmeal dough with soft texture. My mother still keeps his handwritten recipe as a souvenir and we all love my uncle's specialty served with a cup of good yogurt for dinner. Often the cornmeal is used only for the cornmeal mush combined with some sauce, well...a lot of sauce, or with plenty of melted butter and cheese. And I can assure you, it is divine when served with a good braised meat and vegetables. So is "proja" too, served with good cheese, or thin slices of lard it is really divine, especially if still hot!
This time I offer you a kind of very, very rustic "proja" recipe. It comes from an old cookbook wrote by Serbian author Spasenija Pata Marković and it's part of the contest I found in the web - more precisely in this foodblog. Since some time I like to take part of these easy and amusing contests and to meet nice and very able cooks from all over the Balkans. This is my contribution to this round of "Patin petnaesti" contest.
The recipe is really simple and it's made with old-fashioned ingredients, ingredients that I don't use in nowadays cooking, but the flavours are genuine and we should discover them again. I'm trying to do this!
As the recipe is just a part of the joke, and this post would appear poor without pictures, I went to the countryside to find some corn left after last summer harvesting. I "stole" some leftover corns from the moist ground, as this time the setting had to be as much rustic as possible!
My advice is to serve "proja" until hot, or to reheat it, because it harden quickly and cornmeal flavour is more intense if the dish is hot.


Roasted pumpkin seeds - Semi di zucca tostati - Pečene sjemenke buče

Pumpkins are finally all around in the market and it means eating baked pumpkins, boiled pumpkins, braised pumpkins and all possible sweet and savoury, old and new pumpkin dishes. I simply adore pumpkins and dish after dish I've learned how to use it in many ways.
When I was a child I didn't eat pumpkin at all, I didn't like its sweet flavour and I couldn't imagine a savoury dish can be prepared with the sweet vegetable. I remember large fields full of big orange fruits laying idly on the ground and waiting to be piled un in the courtyard. I guess pigs were enjoying the view of piles of orange and crispy fruits, but I was always a bit negative. I liked the colour, the shape and the big size was so amazing to me, but I didn't like the taste of it. The pumpkin was only good to get the roasted seeds to be munched during long winter months...but nothing more, I was strict at that time....then things changed. And changes brought new experiences!
So I started to cook and to experiment all kind of culinary combinations and then I found the sense of the sweet-in-savoury dishes. I embraced pumpkins, let's say it was an inspiring change in my culinary evolution.
To be loyal to my cooking philosophy, I'd like to introduce this year pumpkin season with simple and very basic no-waste idea. Nowadays there are many varieties of pumpkin in the market, not just the big, orange ones that I remember. The best one for me is the green Japanese pumpkin, Kabocha and its seeds are also the best to get your home-made roasted seeds.


Summer memories - Ricordi dell'estate - Sjećanja na ljeto

I need to remember summer time, sunny, bright and colourful. I need to remember joy and happiness. It was dreadfully warm and billion of mosquitos "fell in love with me", but I beared the tremendous itches and continued walking around in the forest and in my parents garden through the grass and plant without thinking about it.
Sea water had healing touch, for my body with billion stings and the exhausted soul. It was hevenly fresh and pleasant.
I need to remember these moments! Autumn is slowly introducing its nature. I'm feeling the breeze all around and morning air is misty. Few hot late summer days left and finally autumn will triumph with its gray and damp touch. Summer is definitively over now, but autumn will give us plenty of generous gifts. I cherish the new season, the one I love most of all!


Buckwheat cake with plums - Torta di grano saraceno con susine - Kolač od heljdinog brašna i šljiva

New season started and the summer is definitively over. You can feel it in the air, fresh breeze cooled down days and nights, but trees are still green, foliage has still not changed colours to autumn shades. Daylight is shorter and moonlight is so, so bright.
Now I can definitively say I have finished my summer supplies of  fruits and vegetables. At least I have consumed  the fresh ones (still some tomatoes left, there are such a plenty of them this year), but I still have some deep frozen left, because I didn't want to waste any of them. Last Saturday I baked this rustic cake with plums and it was so good that I baked the second one the very next day. I find that buckwheat flour is excellent for so many recipes, both, sweet and savoury. Its rustic flavour is amazingly delicate and the cake remains soft for few days.
Try it yourself and you will fall in love with buckwheat as well!