© Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
Sometimes I have to pinch myself, I still can’t believe I’m living my European dream. While I still adjust to this new chapter in life, I have been fortunate enough to be taken under the wing of one of my very first English students. She invited me into her home and taught me how to make Bramborová Polévka (Potato Soup) and my all time favorite sweet and traditional treat that is unique to the Czech Republic, Kolach!
I think one way to really understand and appreciate a new culture is through food, and learning how to make one classical dish (from any culture), especially when living abroad, makes the experience feel like home (it certainly does for me). You can find Kolach in any bakery, it’s a round, disk-like pastry that’s filled with poppy seed, sometimes apple jam, or sweet cream (Tvaroh) and walnuts, fresh apricot jam. It’s insanely delicious and I definitely eat it nearly every other day. So, to be invited into my students’ home to cook with her, to talk about life, love, family, travels, is such an incredible memory that I hold dear to my heart. Plus, this weekend is a special weekend -it’s the Royal Wedding!
© Kolach Dough, Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
© Sweet Tvaroh and Lemon Cream, Lucia Saldarriaga Photo
Before I went over to her house, I spent the morning watching the Royal Wedding! I’m a big fan of the new couple, I grew up idolizing Princess Diana for her boundless and genuine empathy and kindness, and she was so unbelievably beautiful. I know I still have my Princess Di Beanie Baby bear in my bedroom back home in the states. I imagine she (and any non-royal woman who becomes a royal) sacrifices so much of their privacy and independence, but I think there’s so much potential to use your title, new life -and luck- towards assisting and advocating on behalf of others (orphaned children, the elderly, people of color, individuals with disabilities, etc). As a grown woman, I also can’t imagine the pressure and public scrutiny that she was under but I think her compassion and desire to help the most disenfranchised populations of people is something that I feel deeply connected, it still profoundly speaks to me in a way that I hope to make my life mission -to advocate for and to help people who need assistance the most.
I think it’s also so exciting and modern that Meghan Markle is a former actress (turned princess) and that she and Prince Harry have this interracial union and are taking the Royal Family into a modern era, their story is fit for a fairy tale. I just think it’s so beautiful.
I’ve posted the recipe below, could anything be sweeter than love?
(Royal Wedding) Kolach
1 Pinch of Sugar
1 Teaspoon Flour
1 Teaspoon Milk
*Mix first 4 ingredients and let grow!
Mayonnaise (for Dough):
500g Soft Flour
150g Oil (Sunflower, Vegetable or Canola Oil, no Olive Oil)
1 Pinch of Salt
+1 egg scrambled (set aside for brushing the dough)
- for the 300 ml homemade mayonnaise: (combine 150g Oil & 2 eggs in a bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until foamy and frothy and the consistency of mayonnaise)
(Classic) Poppy Seed Filling:
200g bag of Poppy Seeds
1 Tbsp Boiled Coffee Grounds (for taste)
1 Splash of Milk
1 Tbsp (more or less for taste) Sugar
1.a) Preheat the oven to 180°C or 356°F
1.) Mix flour, sugar, mayonnaise, the 1 egg and rising yeast together in a mixer until soft and even. *please note, that you may need to add a few pinches of flour here and there, the dough should not be liquid nor too hard.
2.) Lightly dust flour on an even surface of (clean) counter space and fold in flour onto surface.
3.) Line a baking sheet with wax paper and begin forming the dough into circles. Pound he dough flat to form a thin crust.
4.) Brush the crust with your (extra) scrambled egg (when the dough bakes it gives it a nice browned crust).
5.) Add Poppy Seed Filling (or favorite assortment of fillings)
6.) Bake for 20 mins
7.) Share with your friends and family while watching the recap of the Royal Wedding! Yummmm…
Additional Fillings that we made-
Apple Crumble Filling, Tvaroh/Sweet Cheese & Lemon Filling, Plum Filling, Mixed Plum and Poppy Seed Filling, and a Ground Walnut Filling. *I’ll post these recipes at a later date 🙂