What are the flavours of the forest? Colourful and fresh! You can be convinced of that in November during the traditional Radovljica Month of Local Cuisine.
This year the restaurants and inns that participate in the Taste Radol'ca collaboration have got their culinary inspiration from the diversity of the wealth of the forest that surround our towns and villages.
At Kunstelj Inn we look forward to being creative using the fruits of the forest. We pick a variety of forest herbs and other wild ingredients in the nearby forest, such as wild garlic, rowan berries, nettles and spruce tips, which we use to enhance the flavours of our dishes. Read on to discover how you too can use them in your cooking at home!
At Kunstelj Inn we adore the delicious and aromatic flavour of wild garlic. We pick it in the forest in spring and use it to make wild garlic soup as well as a tasty wild garlic spread, which we like to spread thickly on slices of fresh homemade bread.
Try the recipe: Wild garlic spread
Chop the wild garlic and mix it with the curd cheese and salt.
The fruits of the rowan tree are actually bitter and tart, however, did you know that if you freeze them for a few hours they become sweet? Rowan berries are usually used to make tea, compote and jam, while they also make an excellent addition to chocolate. At Kunstelj Inn we preserve them and use them to give a special touch to wild game dishes.
Try the recipe: Preserved rowan berries
Make the sugar syrup by heating the sugar in water at a ratio of 1/1. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Clean the rowan berries and cook them in boiling water for two minutes then drain and add them to the sugar syrup and cook for a further 5-8 minutes.
In addition to giving us a considerable sting, due to their numerous beneficial properties nettles are used in medicine as well as in food. At Kunstelj Inn we pick nettles in spring, summer and also in autumn, since it's said that the damp autumn weather does them good. We use nettles in sauces, spreads, salads and in the preparation of our excellent potato and nettle štruklji.
Try the recipe: Potato and nettle štruklji
Cook then mash the potatoes while still hot. When they have cooled add the flour and one egg. Bring the mixture together to form a dough (take care not to knead it too vigorously). Saute the onion in olive oil then add the nettles and a little chopped garlic. Mix together three tablespoons of cornmeal and two eggs. Roll out the potato dough to a thickness of 0.5cm then spread over the nettle mixture. Roll the dough into a 'swiss roll' shape, then wrap it in cling film and cook it for 30 minutes in boiling salted water.
Spruce tips are good and healthy. They should be picked in spring when they are bright green and soft. They should be mainly picked from the lower branches, however, when doing so it is necessary to ensure that they are picked from a number of different trees that are not too young. At Kunstelj Inn we love curd cheese spread with fresh spruce tips, raisins and honey.
Try the recipe: Curd cheese spread with fresh spruce tips, raisins and honey
Mix all the ingredients together well and the spread is ready to be eaten!
Have you ever heard of vinegar made from spruce tips? At Kunstelj Inn we will be using it in one of the dishes on our Taste Radol'ca menu. Do you think you would be able to work out which dish it is hidden in?