Albania is located in the continent of Europe. It has Serbia and Kosovo to the north, Bulgaria and North Macedonia to the east, Greece to the southeast, Italy to the far southwest, the Adriatic Sea to the west, and Montenegro to the northwest.
The capital is Tirana (Tiranë).
The official language is Albanian.
The climate is characteristically warm, dry in the summer and mild, wet winters.
The staple foods are lamb, chicken, cabbage, potato, carrots, garlic, vegetables, rice, pasta, eggplant and so much more (http://www.albaniainside.com/en/tourism-info/kuhnya.html).
TAVË KOSI (Albanian Lamb with Yogurt) (https://www.myalbanianfood.com/recipe/albanian-tave-kosi/):
– 1.3 lb. (600g) diced lamb
– 1.4 TBSP (20g) butter
– 2 TBSP olive oil
– 1/3 C (70g) rice
– 2 tsp Oregano
– 1-3/4 C (450 ml) boiling water
– 2 cloves diced garlic
- In a large pan (with a lid) melt the butter and olive oil together then add the diced lamb. Brown the lamb on a medium heat, this will take around 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, oregano, 1-1/4 C (300ml) of water and season with salt and pepper. Mix well before covering with the lid. Leave to simmer for 50 minutes mixing a couple of times ensuring the lamb doesn’t start to burn.
- The juices should have nearly all boiled away so another ¾ C (150ml) of water should be added along with the rice. Mix altogether, bring to the boil, place the lid on and leave for just 10 minutes. It’s advised to check at around 8 minutes – you want the liquid to be evaporated with just moist coating of oily water left over the lamb and rice.
- Place the lamb and rice into a casserole dish, the mixture should fully cover the base and have at least 2 inches spare for the yogurt. Alternatively, you can split into four ceramic bowls.
MIXING THE ROUX:
– 3-1/2 TBSP (50g) butter
– 2 TBSP Flour
- In a small saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat and then add two tablespoons of flour while continuously stirring for two minutes (add a little extra flour if needed). The roux should not be thick but not too runny, the color will darken slightly. Pour the roux into a bowl and keep to one side.
– 3 C (750g) Greek yogurt (weigh the yogurt on kitchen scales rather than using a liquid jug)
– 6 eggs
- In a mixing bowl add the yogurt, eggs and season with salt and pepper. Mix together then add the roux continuing to mix fast for a minute to ensure the roux and yogurt are thoroughly combined.
2. Pour the yogurt mixture over the baked lamb and rice and sprinkle on a little oregano.
- Place on the bottom shelf of the oven on 180 degrees for 35 minutes then move it up to the middle for a further 10 minutes. The Tavë kosi is ready when the yogurt has risen up high and a golden crust formed.
2. Leave to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
I will be honest, this tasted VERY good. Much more than I thought it would!
BUKE SHTEPIE (Albanian Home Bread) (https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/albanian-home-bread-buke-shtepie/):
– 5 C bread flour
– 1 packet Instant Yeast (Rapid Rise)
– 2 C warm water
– ½ C milk (room temperature)
– 3 TBSP olive oil extra virgin
– 2 TBSP butter
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1 TBSP salt
- Mix milk and 1 cup of water then add yeast, mix well so there are no lumps. Set aside.
- Mix 5 cups of flour with salt and sugar in a big mixing bowl.
- You can mix with your hands or using a spoon. Video shows how you can make the dough with your hands, it’s sticky at first but totally worth it. Start by creating a small crater on the flour mound. Add a little bit of the yeast mix and start mixing slowly.
- Continue alternating slowly between mixing and adding more of the yeast mix. Fold more flour into the mix each time.
- Continue the same motion of folding flour and forming dough while adding the rest of the water and olive oil. At this point you should have mixed everything together. The dough is initially sticky and you need to work it with your hands into a more elastic shape and less sticky.
- At the final step add just a handful of flour over the dough, it helps create the final dough shape and remove it from the bowl. Sprinkle just few drops of olive oil in the bowl, spread it at the bottom of the bowl and then place dough back in.
- Cover the bowl and leave it in a dark, warm area of your kitchen for the dough to rise. In my kitchen this process takes about an hour. However, it can take longer than that depending on the temperature of your room. Usually, I gauge by the size of the dough. You need to let it rise to twice it’s size.
- Once dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and into a working surface, I prefer wood. Knead the dough for few minutes. Then roll it into a tube shape and cut it in fist size rolls, about 12 -13 rolls.
- Melt the butter and spread some on the bottom of the baking tray. You can choose to bake this bread into a loaf or rolls, it’s your choice. I prefer rolls because they’re easier to store once baked.
- Knead each roll by folding the sides in and then kneading down, repeat few time, and finish by making each roll into a round shape. Place on the baking tray. Repeat with all of them. Place the rolls about an inch apart if you can. If your tray is smaller than mine, the rolls will push into each other once baked but you’ll be able to pull them apart.
- Use the rest of the butter to coat the surface of each roll, use your hands or a brush.
- Place the tray in a warm place in the kitchen, dough needs to rise a second time. This time it won’t double but you still need to see a noticeable difference. Usually, I let it rise for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (about 200 degrees Celsius).
- Once dough has risen, place the tray in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the rolls take a light reddish-brown color, very light.
- Insert an oven safe dish in the oven the same time you insert your bread tray. This second dish needs to have 1-2 inches of water in it, nothing else. The vapors from the water will help that the bread doesn’t dry up too much while baking.
- Once baked cool bread in a cooling rack, then place in a basket and keep covered with a linen towel. Serve warm with cheese, butter or your favorite sides!! Enjoy:)
These rolls turned out super good as well.
– 1 C (125g) plain flour
– ¼ tsp salt
– 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
– 5 eggs (whites and yolks separated)
– 1 C (200g) caster sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/3 C (80g) milk
- Combine the plain flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form. This takes around 1 – 2 minutes. With the machine still running, add ¼ cup (50g)caster sugar and beat on high until egg whites are stiff (1 minute).
- Beat egg yolks with ¾ cup (150g) Caster sugar on high speed, until yolks are a pale yellow (This takes 2 minutes).
- Stir in milk and vanilla.
- Gently add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture bit by bit. Use a metal spoon or spatula for this.
- Then gently fold in the egg white mixture. Use a metal spoon or spatula for this.
- Pour into your prepared dish and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
– 1-1/2 C (410g) evaporated milk
– 1 tin Condensed milk
– 1-1/4 C (300ml) double cream
- Once cooled for 15 minutes, pierce all over with a fork. In a large cup combine double cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk and drizzle over the top of the cake. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Whipped Cream Topping:
– ¾ C (200g) double cream
– 2 TBSP caster sugar
- In a large bowl combine double cream and sugar and whip on high until thick. This takes around 3 – 5 minutes. Keep a very close eye on it though . Reserve some and add to a freezer bag and place in the fridge.
– 1 C (200g) caster sugar
– 1/3 C (85ml) water
– 1 C (200ml) double cream
- Make a Caramel by heating the sugar and water till it is a deep golden color. This will take some time. 5 – 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and pour in cream a bit at a time stirring all the time. If you do this stage too quickly, the caramel will seize. But you can add it back to the heat to gently reheat. Decant the caramel to a heat proof bowl and leave to cool completely.
My skills for using the whipping cream on top and to swirl it leave a lot to be said, however; the cake was delicious!!