You know, the literal translation of kolač od šunke is ‘cake of ham’. Doesn’t have a nice ring to it, so seeing I’ve divided the ‘cake’ batter into four, they’ve been turned into muffins.
Savoury muffins win me over almost every time, especially when there’s cheese involved. Oh, and ham – which is the hero ingredient in these steamy little pots of goodness.
Wondering what the Croatian-looking comic book is?
Actually, that’s no comic book. For those that have been following me on Instagram, you may recognise it’s the same book I mentioned a couple of months ago – one I was about to be sent from my mother. This is a cookbook she was given by her mother back in the early 1980’s when Baka – grandma – was visiting from Croatia.
Nagrađeni Recepti Zlate Zlatarić
This is my attempt at translating the title:
‘Winning Recipes of Zlate Zlatarić – The Perfect Cookbook’ and I think zakusci means ‘buffet’ or something similar.
The one that Mum has now passed down to me is one of a bunch of other chapters that cover categories like soups, cakes, beef recipes and a few others. The Zakusci one I have is filled with ‘hors d’oeuvres, egg dishes, patés & other cold dishes for tea parties, preparation of fish dishes and salads.’
A pity my late grandmother didn’t have all the other chapters, as I’d love to be flicking through those, as well.
This is an old book. It has no real cover, the pages are dog-eared, almost brittle and sepia coloured with age. The year 1885 is printed in the back, which tells it may have first been published then, but I’m not entirely sure whether this one is that old. Still, it’s from a series of books with recipes that were made generations ago. Recipes that grandmothers made.
It’s recipes are written pretty vaguely, to say the least. Five or six lines of Croatian text that say little more than what ingredients are required, a few steps and the occasional reference to other chapters. A bit of a challenge for the everyday modern home cook that may rely on precise temperatures and measurements, or even a photo to get an idea of what it may look like. No photos here, I’m afraid!
The first recipe I’ve chosen to make is this – kolač od šunke.
In the beginning of the recipe it says to use 3 dkg (300 grams) of ‘butter dough’ from one of the other chapters – which I don’t have – so I used my intuition and knowledge to make it up myself. The rest simply mentions egg whites – or žutanjka (which means albumen), ham, the ‘powder from cloves’, salt, pepper and parmesan.
See what I mean about vague?
I’ve adapted the recipe to the best of my understanding, I may not have followed it exactly, but the ‘ham cake’ I pulled out of the oven is actually pretty good. Savoury muffins generously dotted with bits of ham, parmesan and my added extra of parsley. Simple, but ok.
Now, what to make next?