Slovene Orehove Rezine / Walnut Syrup Cake Recipe

There is something about delicious, moist, cake which makes me reminisce of summer holidays spent in Kranjska Gora.  The first time I arrived, Mira, the Grandmother, had created possibly the most intricate and exquisite cake in honour of my arrival.  I was quite blown away but I was soon to realise that cake is a longstanding tradition of the region.  The Slovenes certainly put our fairy cakes to shame!  This festive period I decided to do a little baking of my own and in honour of the Detela family I baked a Orehove Rezine, a walnut cake with a superbly sticky syrup.  I must say though, I thoroughly cheated by using a mixer but you can use a mixing bowl and wooden spoon and do it the old fashioned way too!

Orehove Rezine

Here’s the recipe…


175g walnut pieces, broken up

150g butter

150g soft light brown sugar

60ml set honey

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

50g plain flour

50g wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

65g polenta

75ml milk

For the syrup

90g golden caster sugar

60ml set honey

120ml water

For serving

Sour cream

Lemon rind


Heat oven to 180°C

Place walnut pieces on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes

Put butter, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, flours (including bran pieces) polenta, nuts and milk into mixer and mix until a smooth consistency is achieved

Grease and line a cake tin

Fill the cake tin with the cake mixture

Orehove Rezine

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes

To make the syrup,

To make the syrup, put the sugar, honey and water into a pan, gently heat until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer for five minutes

Turn off the heat and when the cake is ready drizzle over the cake

Orehove Rezine

Serve with a dash of sour cream topped with lemon rind

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Delightful Russian Plum & Almond Tart Recipe

I like to make the most of plums being in season as they are quite easily one of my favourite fruits.  Although I am not a huge fan of desserts I thought I’d try out a Russian recipe which uses gorgeous, juicy plums and almonds, another favourite of mine.  First you make a basic pastry, then an almond mixture, on top of which you place the plums. After baking and glazing the tart is ready to be devoured.  Trust me, this will prove to be a real family favourite.


For the dough

200g plain flour

115g butter

60ml sour cream

For the topping

60g caster sugar

50g butter

2 eggs

115g ground almonds

8 plums

100g Plum jam

Handful of flaked almonds for decoration


Mix the flour and butter in a bowl until you the mixture has a breadcrumb consistency

Add the sour cream to the dough

Russian Plum & Almond Tart

Roll dough into a ball, put in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Beat 50g caster sugar into the butter

(save the remaining 10g of sugar for sprinkling over the tart before cooking)

Beat the eggs and add to the sugar and butter, alternating with the ground almonds

Mix well

Russian Plum & Almond Tart

Roll out dough and place on an oiled baking tray

Spread mixture onto dough, leaving a 5cm border which will be turned in later

Spread the cut plums over the mixture

Turn in the sides of the tart to create a crust

Russian Plum & Almond Tart

Sprinkle the remaining 10g of caster sugar over the tart

Bake for 45 minutes in an oven on 180°C or until golden brown and cooked through

Heat the jam in a saucepan

When the jam has a syrup consistency push it through a sieve and then use it to glaze the tart

Sprinkle over flaked almonds

Russian Plum & Almond Tart

Serve with choice of double cream or custard

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Zapekanka iz Tvoroga – Baked Russian Cheesecake Recipe

Tea, for the English and Russians alike is the highlight of the day.  I love tea too.  I’m quite partial to Whittard’s Caravan Russian Black Tea, served with a slice of lemon. And while all manner of biscuits or cakes may be great to eat while enjoying your favourite warm beverage, there is nothing better than a simple Russian cheesecake.  A true afternoon delight…

Zapekanka iz Tvoroga - Baked Russian Cheesecake Recipe


15g butter

2 slices of white bread, blitzed to breadcrumbs

4 eggs

500g ricotta cheese

(unless you are lucky and live near a Russian supermarket which sells proper cottage cheese)

90g caster sugar

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 tbsp semolina

75g currents

1 tsp vanilla extract


Soak currents and lemon rind in lemon juice and vanilla extract

Separate the eggs

Beat egg yolks with caster sugar, ricotta and semolina

Add currents and lemon rind to egg yolks

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed

Gently fold in egg whites using a metal spoon

Zapekanka iz Tvoroga - Baked Russian Cheesecake Recipe

Grease loose-bottomed cake tin with butter

Generously apply breadcrumbs to the tin

Pour mixture in to tin

Heat in oven on 175 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes or until golden brown on outside and set inside

Zapekanka iz Tvoroga - Baked Russian Cheesecake Recipe

Serve dusted with icing sugar and garnished with assorted berries such as blueberries, bilberries, strawberries or raspberries (or a mixture of any of those mentioned)

Zapekanka iz Tvoroga - Baked Russian Cheesecake Recipe

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Croatian Citrus Ricotta Squares

This super light cheese cake has a sponge base and top and has a creamy filling with just a hint of ricotta.  It makes a great little dessert after a heavy meal and goes well served with a few seasonal berries such as blackberries, cherries or strawberries, soaked in a little cherry brandy (marsaka).

Croatian Ricotta Citrus Cake
Croatian Citrus Ricotta Cake

Read more…

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Plum Streusel Slices

This recipe is of Saxony/German origin where fruit desserts are very popular.  A basic pastry base is used, with a plum filling (although apricots can be used if preferred) and topped with a streusel/crumble topping.  I am not normally a fan of fruit desserts, or desserts in general, but my Mother bought me 1 1/2 kg of plums and I sickened myself of eating them for breakfast.  I tried this recipe to try to use some of them up and was pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients (makes 14 slices)

225g plums, stoned and chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

100g caster sugar

115g butter

1 egg yolk

150g plain flour

For the topping:

150g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

75g butter

50g soft, brown, light sugar

50g chopped hazlenuts


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Grease and base an 8-inch square cake tin

(I used a round enamel one but if you want to cut the streusel into slices a square tin is easier)

Put lemon juice and plums into saucepan and heat on low heat for 5 minutes

Lemon juice & plums

Add 50g of caster sugar to plums

Simmer plums until very thick

Leave to cool

Beat the butter and 50g caster sugar together in bowl

Beat in egg yolk

Mix in flour to make soft dough


Press mixture into base of prepared cake tin

Bake for 15 minutes in the oven


Remove from oven and spoon over plum filling

(Tip:Do not put the filling all the way to the edges as it will ooze when it cooks and become difficult to cut into slices/remove from tin)


For the topping:

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl

Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs

Stir in brown sugar and chopped nuts


Sprinkle topping mixture over the plums

Press topping down gently


Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned


Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then cut into slices (or portions)

Remove from the tin when completely cold



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Royal Tokaj Wine Company

There are two drinks for which Hungary is most famed: Unicum and Tokaj. I detest the taste of Unicum. When the King of the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared that it was ‘unicum’ or unique, he was right. Actually, many East European tipples do have a similarly distinctive and herbal taste but this is quite frankly, truly revolting.


Tokaj, on the other hand, is perfectly pleasing. I am not normally a huge fan of dessert wines, but the Royal Tokaj Blue Label from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company 25cl, from Waitrose, £10.99, is by far my preferred choice. I particularly like to enjoy it with plum dumplings, a traditional Hungarian dessert (the recipe of which I will post soon!)

The bottle is small and perfectly formed.The glowing amber tone is beautiful and reminiscent of autumnal leaves; its taste is warm and rich.As I said, this wine is enjoyed with desserts, such as the traditional plum dumpling, and is perfect for cold evenings in.

However, for me, it reminds me of the warm summer morning breeze in Lvov. After arriving at 7 AM on an overnight train from Kiev, having been mugged (not violently thankfully), my travelling companion and I got horribly lost and spent three hours wandering the streets desperately trying to find the main boulevard. At 10 AM we finally reached the main squares and, more importantly, the boulevard which boasts many restaurants serving fantastic Ukrainian cuisine. We settled in a restaurant for a few hours and, looking at each other, believed, despite it being 10 AM, considering our ordeal, it was not too early to begin drinking fortified wine. This particular bottle of Tokaj tastes similar to what I consumed on that day in Lvov and so reminds me of a pleasing, satisfying time, combined with an incredible sense of relief.

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