Where to buy ‘A Taste of Slovakia’

Since it was published several months ago, A Taste of Slovakia has landed in a number of selected bookshops and stores around Slovakia, as well as some other parts of the world. I thought you might want to know where the book can be found, so here is a list of places that sell it:

Slovakia

Kníhkupectvá Artforum (Artforum bookshops):
https://www.artforum.sk/katalog/99614/a-taste-of-slovakia

Oxford Bookshop, Laurinská 9, Bratislava

Bratislava flagship restaurant, Námestie SNP 8, Bratislava

Včelco Smolenice shop, Továrenská 10A, Smolenice:
http://www.vcelco.sk/kontakt.php

Podpolianske múzeum Detva

Kníhkupectvo Slobodníková (Bookshop Slobodníková), Tatranská Lomnica

Tatranská informačná kancelária (The High Tatras Information Centre) Starý Smokovec

Knihkupectvo Rajec (Bookshop Rajec), Námestie SNP 2/1, Rajec

United Kingdom

The Sonam Halusky Shop, 132 Upper Richmond Road West, London:
https://www.halusky.co.uk/czech-slovak-foods/a-taste-of-slovakia.html#.WW-lj4iGPIU

Australia

The Marie Linke Photography Shoppe:
http://phototreks.net.au/product/a-taste-of-slovakia/

Photo courtesy of Marie Linke (www.phototreks.net.au)

United States of America

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
http://www.ncsml.org/product/taste-slovakia-cookbook/

I’ll be adding to the list as/if it grows in the future. If you know about a bookshop or a store that would like to sell the book, or if you wish to have your copy delivered to your postal address, please leave a message at

cookslovak@gmail.com

or in the contact form below:

 

Home-made Chocolate Ice Lollies

With the arrival of summer, life seems to slow down in Slovakia. It’s not only because our summers can be very hot, which naturally hinders more strenuous activities. It’s also that the two-month’s school holidays put all parents into a relaxed mode, which often makes us think about occupations unlikely to come in mind at other times of year.

It might be a Slovak habit only (please correct me if I’m wrong) to engage in a sort of house cleaning in the summer that basically involves reaching into the dusty corners of your closets and cupboards to sort out things you don’t use on a regular basis. These household excavations often bring to light items you’ve been missing for months, if not years. Sometimes you come across handy gadgets you forgot you possessed. Like this vintage set of ice lolly moulds my mum gave me as a Christmas present ages ago.

Buying ready-made ice cream seemed more convenient when I was a young mother of three. Now that I have more time on hand, I finally feel like trying out my own. From a dozen or so recipes that came with the Tupperware® set, I have chosen one my kitchen was best stocked for.

Chocolate Ice Lollies are easy and quick to make, although you have to allow extra time for freezing. Don’t despair if you don’t have these old-fashioned Tupperware® moulds, they can be replaced by used ice cream tubs or pots.

DSC_0045Home-made Chocolate Ice Lollies

Makes:  over 6
Preparation time:  20 minutes
Freezing time:  overnight

  • 200 g castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 ml cooking cream (12% fat content in Slovakia)

Method:

Take the cream out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the sugar until smooth and foamy. Stir in the cocoa powder and pour in the cream. Gently whisk to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spatula until it comes to a simmer and thickens to custard-like consistency. Put aside and let cool.

Fill the clean and dry moulds (ice cream tubs or pots) with the chocolate mixture, leaving about 3 mm space below the rim. Put on the lids and place in the freezer for a few hours (ideally overnight).

Serve with fresh fruit of your choice.

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Home-made Chocolate Ice Lollies

Hmmh … they don’t look as perfect as store-bought ones, but my ice lollies have a nice chocolaty taste and, together with fleshy apricots, a dash of Home-made Strawberry Jam and an addition of vanilla wafer rolls, they make for a cool summer dessert.

I have to tell Mum about my first ice cream making experiment.

Choosing the right flour

Despite the latest trends and fashions, which have put this ingredient on the list of most evil enemies in our diets, the Slovaks are not ready yet to have flour removed from their kitchens. Very few of them would think of replacing traditional wheat flour with gluten-free substitutes unless gluten is a serious health issue.

We tend to think of flour (múka in Slovak) as powder milled from grains, especially wheat and rye, so anything like banana, rice or tapioca flour raises eyebrows and is looked upon with suspicion. There are a few Slovak websites and food speciality shops that sell them, but they come at monstrous prices, because they have to be imported from far-away countries. Moreover, these gluten-free flours don’t produce the fluffy cakes or crusty breads we love so much.

Wheat and rye, on the other hand, have been grown and cultivated in Slovakia for centuries. Wheat and rye flour are therefore widely used in our traditional cuisine. That said, most Slovaks will only need four main types of wheat flour in their cooking or baking:

Pšeničná múka hladká (Fine Wheat Flour 00 – Extra) is made of soft summer wheat and has a protein content of around 10%. It is white in colour and milled to very fine powder. We use it for baking fine cakes and pastries like sponges and strudels, or to thicken soups, sauces and dips. Pšeničná múka hladká 00 Extra has a low gluten content and is similar (though not identical) in texture to cake or pastry flour. The closest German variety would be Flour Type T405, and it would correspond well to French flour T45.

Pšeničná múka hladká T-650 (Fine Wheat Flour T-650) is also milled to fine powder, but it’s stronger, slightly darker, and has a higher gluten content, which makes this flour suitable for bread baking. Gluten is one of wheat’s proteins that gives dough elasticity, helps it rise and keep its shape. We also use this flour for our traditional honey cookies, or to coat food before frying. Pšeničná múka hladká T-650 is similar to the French T65.

Pšeničná múka polohrubá (Semi-coarse Wheat Flour) is made of soft summer wheat, it is white in colour and milled to a slightly coarser consistency. It has an overall protein content of around 9.3%. We often use it in fruit and chocolate cakes.

Pšeničná múka hrubá (Coarse Wheat Flour) has an overall protein content of around 9.8%. It is popular for noodles and other Slovak home-made pasta. It makes a wonderful Wheat Kasha, traditionally eaten for breakfast. We also use it to dust baking bowls and dishes after greasing them, which helps prevent the baked food from sticking to the dish.

Unlike in other western countries, wheat flour in Slovakia is never sold with a leavening agent. We add baking powder to the flour at the final stage of dough mixing to ensure the best rise.

No baking powder is used in our breads. They are either made with yeast or sourdough. One of the most desired Slovak breads is a potato one, which has mashed potato added to the flour.

Rye bread or wheat-rye bread, which is made of wheat and rye flour mixed at different ratios, has been part of our diet from times immemorial.

In the last couple of decades many Slovaks have developed a strong liking for whole wheat or wholemeal food products. Whole wheat and Graham flour, which are both made by grinding the whole wheat without the bran being removed, have become very popular as healthier alternatives of wheat flour. Together with a recently added spelt flour made from a grain related to wheat, as well as various flour mixes for home baking, they are easily available in most shops and supermarkets in Slovakia. Not only do these flours have a higher protein content (above 11%), but they are also richer in vitamins and minerals. I often add them to the white wheat flours when I’m making pizza or other yeast-based doughs.

I have also started using wholemeal flour in halušky (halushki) – traditional Slovak pasta – to increase its nutritional value.

Home-made Strawberry Jam

The strawberry season is in full spate, and this year’s crop looks very promising indeed. After abundant rainfall in the early spring and the recent string of warm, sunny days, our strawberry fields and gardens have filled with sweet, fragrant berries all ripening at the same time.

To collect the large crop while it’s in the best shape, the fruit farms in Slovakia invite the public to come and pick the strawberries themselves. In practice it means you’re allowed to enter the fields, eat as much as you wish, and you only pay for what you take away. You’re supposed to bring your own buckets or bowls, and pick all the strawberries in your assigned row.

Strawberries perish quickly, so you have to consume or preserve them really fast. They’re great in yoghurt, whipped cream, and all sorts of cakes. You can freeze them or make them into delicious jam. And that was what I had in mind when buying a basketful of the cheeky-red fruit from a local farmer. Besides, my supplies of home-made jam are dwindling.

Home-made Strawberry Jam

Home-made Strawberry Jam

  • 1 kg fresh, ripe strawberries
  • 400 g granulated sugar

Method:

  1. Wash the jars and lids separately and let them dry off on a dishtowel.
  2. Remove the leafy tops from the strawberries. Check for any bruises or blemishes and either cut them out or discard the berry. Rinse the strawberries under running water and transfer into a bowl. Add the sugar and stir well into the berries. Cover with a lid or a dishtowel and let stand overnight in a cool place.

 

7. Fill each jar just below the rim, and screw on the lid while the jam is still hot. Let it cool at room temperature. A slight popping sound you hear in the cooling stage indicates that the lid has sealed well.

8. Put the cooled jars in the fridge if you prefer, but I usually keep mine in the pantry. Sugar is an excellent preservative, and if you use fresh, well-cleaned fruit and cook it to the right thickness, your jam will keep for quite a while. I recently finished a jar of Blacberry Jam made two years ago, and it was still in perfect condition.

As you can see in the photos above, we in Slovakia reuse jars from jam, honey or other preserves, like lemon curd etc. Instead of sterilizing them, we thoroughly wash the jars and lids after use, and leave them dry off. Then we will keep them with their lids on in a cool, dark place. They usually sit on a specially assigned top shelf in our pantries.

Bytča Palace – food for the mind, body and soul

You’ll probably agree that the best way to learn about a country is to explore it through all your senses. Whether it’s sightseeing, visiting festivals and listening to local folklore, learning traditional crafts or tasting regional specialities, you’re bound to get something new and exciting.

The manor house in Bytča and an adjacent wedding palace have quite a few stories to tell, and a great deal of architectonic features to feast your eyes upon. On top of that, there’s an elegant restaurant with a wine bar right next to the palace – a mystique place steeped in history offering a very authentic dining experience.

‘U Palatina’ or At the Palatine’s restaurant and wine bar in Bytča

Once a home of the noble Thurzo family, the manor house was designed by an Italian master builder and completed in 1571. When Juraj Thurzo took over the estate after his mother’s death, he added a beautiful Renaissance building to the family residence. Built in 1601, the wedding palace served representative purposes, as well as a wedding place for Thurzo’s six daughters.

Juraj Thurzo was a powerful Hungarian magnate with a strong interest in the arts and sciences, who spoke 5 languages and was appointed the Palatine of Hungary under the reign of King Rudolf II.

Wedding Palace in Bytča (Photo courtesy of Bytča Town Council)

Much of the palace’s original beauty was lost under the succeeding proprietors, whether it was for careless, incompetent use of the premises or inept restoration. It appears that the latest major repair between 2008 – 2009 has brought this architectural gem closest to its original state – at least that’s what experts say.

The palace grounds, including the grand Renaissance gardens, are open to the public all year round. The palace interior can be seen free of charge from Tuesday to Sunday (9am – 5pm). In the spring and summer months there’s a host of events organized both outside and inside the palace, like the traditional food and crafts markets, concerts, educational programmes and, as you might expect, wedding ceremonies for the general public.

Of course I couldn’t leave the palace without trying the ‘U palatína’ (At the Palatine’s) restaurant. They offer international cuisine, regional specialities, house desserts and a fair range of salads, altogether with a wide selection of wines from Slovakia and abroad. Yet I was more tempted by their seasonal menu, which featured asparagus in a variety of light, nutritious dishes, so I went for Steamed Asparagus with New Baby Potatoes in Hollandaise Sauce.

I had to give it a definite thumbs-up, as the asparagus had been cooked to perfect tenderness and the buttered potatoes melted in my mouth, not to mention the sublime hollandaise sauce. It was exactly what I wished for on this warm spring day – a simple yet satisfying late afternoon meal that would keep me going for the rest of the day.

On leaving the restaurant I made a mental note to try and make hollandaise sauce at home while asparagus is still in season.

Wine tasting at the castle

I’m planning to include a chapter about Slovak wines in the next cookbook – a daunting task for someone as inexperienced in the field as I am. All I knew about wine until recently was that it came in two colours – red and white. After last weekend’s wine tasting event at Červený Kameň Castle (Red Stone Castle) I feel a little more knowledgeable.

Yet the wine alone wouldn’t have exerted such a pull on me. There would have to be more on the list if I was to take a combined train-bus ride there and back again within one day. The public invitation on Malokarpatská vínna cesta (Malokarpatska wine journey) website which, unfortunately, doesn’t have an English version, promised local home-made specialities and traditional crafts markets in the castle courtyard. Plus the weather forecast was for a dry, balmy Saturday – such a rare and precious phenomenon this spring that it finally became the deciding factor. I had no desire to stay within the walls of our urban home.

I went down to the castle cellars straightaway in the hope of doing some decent photography before the crowds arrived. I knew it would be a challenge. I have a good camera, but no special lighting equipment, so shooting in dark places is a nightmare. I took dozens of pictures trying to figure out what would work best until I finally settled with the camera’s two built-in programmes.

The famed castle cellars were subtly illuminated in some corners, but that was barely enough for good photography. I discarded half of the pictures on the site, and half of the rest back at home.

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More than an hour into my troubled shooting experience, and I felt drained. When I let myself taste what I had paid for at last, my spirits were immediately lifted. Not that wine is my wish drink, mind you. I hardly ever drink booze, but if I have to choose, I always go for red wine. That said, I only needed a glass to make me feel merry, especially when that glass had come from different varieties.

Fortunately, there was some excellent food being served with the wines, and I did help myself to quite a few titbits which, together with cold fresh water, took the edge off the booze.

If you accept that no wine sampling in Slovakia will ever be complete without wholesome food, or vice versa, then the same goes for music, singing and dancing. After all, it’s another joyful way to effectively blunt the intoxication. Supposing you manage to make it to the dancing floor, of course.

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Yet I couldn’t stay to document the final stages of wine tasting at Červený Kameň Castle. I had to set on a walk to catch a bus connecting to my train. Too complicated? No, it wasn’t. The weather followed the plan and happily kept to the forecast. Before I left the castle cellars, I stopped to buy a bottle of red wine at one of the stalls. The young couple wouldn’t let me have it without sampling. OK, while I was at it, they explained the vintage’s special features, which I quite understood then and there, but couldn’t remember when I was back home.

 Their Alibernet is now sitting in our bar waiting for the right occasion.

Bear Garlic Pesto

I’m well-stocked with bear garlic right now. Two of my friends have brought handfuls of the herb straight from their gardens, the bright green leaves still glistening with raindrops when they came. Bear garlic, wild garlic, ramsons or whatever you like to call it is prolific after all the rain we’ve experienced in Slovakia this spring. The soil is moist, the temperatures have risen lately, and that’s exactly what this newly discovered ‘superherb’ needs for its growth. I use it almost every day now to add a colour and an extra kick to the family meals. Bear garlic is perfect in soups, scrambled eggs, to sprinkle over home-made pizza, or liven up salads. This year, while trying to put to good use the plentiful supply I have been given, I experimented with bear garlic pesto.

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued for the diversity of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they contain.

Unlike in most pesto recipes you’ll find on the Internet, I used pumpkin seeds instead of pine nuts, and replaced olive oil with a rapeseed one. Both in the attempt to utilize what I had on hand in my kitchen, but they also turned out to be ingredients native to Slovakia. Pumpkin seeds usually come shelled in packets of 250 g, and rapeseed oil is procured from the locally grown rapeseed plant, which is in full bloom now, flooding our countryside with golden yellow hues.

DSC_0106

Bear Garlic Pesto
Serves 8

  • about 100 g bear garlic leaves
  • 50 g pumpkin seeds, dried and shelled
  • 50 g Parmesan or other hard cheese
  • about 150 ml oil
  • salt and lemon juice to taste

Method:

Put the pumpkin seeds in a saucepan and dry-roast over a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent burning. Take away from the heat and let cool.

Grate the cheese finely.

Remove the stems, wash the bear garlic leaves and chop them on a board. Place in a bowl with a little oil and use a blender to break the leaves further.

Grind the pumpkin seeds (I did it in my nut-grinder, as I don’t have a food processor) and transfer to the garlic mixture. Pour in some more oil and blend again. Add the grated cheese with the rest of the oil and blend further.

Finally, add the salt and the lemon juice to taste, and give your pesto one last whisk. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve on a toast, a slice of fresh bread or with your favourite pasta.

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If not used, cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

I found out that the pesto tasted even better on the 3rd – 4th day when all the flavours had sunk in.

Shoolantze – Slovak rolled pasta

An English-speaking lady with Slovak roots has contacted me recently asking for two ‘very Slovak’ recipes her Grandma used to make. Although I didn’t recognize them by the names given, they sounded like some sort of pasta dishes, so I asked for their description. It turned out that the first one was, in fact, a very old name for Halushki, and the second dish is very likely to be what we call Šúľance (transcribed into English as Shoolantze) today.

Šúľance are little pieces of pasta that get their name from the rolling movement (šúľanie in Slovak) applied to the dough by hand in the process of making. Most Slovaks will serve šúľance with ground poppy seeds, which are very common and popular in Slovak cuisine, but my Mum would often top them with home-made breadcrumbs or even ground walnuts. Whatever topping you’ll choose, melted butter is the vital ingredient to give ‘shoolantze’ that delicious velvety finish.

DSC_0109

Šúľance or Shoolantze
Serves 4

  • 600 g potatoes
  • 200 g coarse/strong/bread flour*
  • pinch of salt
  • about 150 g ground poppy seeds or breadcrumbs
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • powdered sugar for dusting
*The amount of the flour may change slightly according to the type of the potatoes, as well as the flour used. Anyway, the instructions and pictures below should be a good guide to what you need to achieve in the dough.

Method:

Clean the potato skins with a damp sponge and place in a pot. Fill it with enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to the boil, adjust the heat and let cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer.

Drain the potatoes and let cool down until they are cold enough to handle. Peel them and mash with a potato masher or a fork. Add the flour and a pinch of salt. Work into a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Cover with a dish-towel and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, grind the poppy seeds, or dry-roast the breadcrumbs in a saucepan over a low heat. Remember to stir the breadcrumbs all the time to prevent them from burning. Set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge and transfer onto a floured rolling board. Dust your hands with flour, sprinkle some over the dough and divide into 8 parts – sort of balls. To make shoolantze, gently roll each ball into a long rope of 1 cm thickness. Cut into pieces about 5 cm long, dust with flour and put aside on a floured surface.

When you have used all the dough, bring a large pot of slightly salted water to the boil. Turn down the heat and throw the shoolantze in it one by one. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to throw them in two or three batches.

Stir gently and cook each batch over a medium-low heat until the shoolantze come up to the surface. Take them out with a sieve or a slotted spoon, and transfer onto plates. Stir in a tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover and keep warm.

When all the shoolantze have been cooked and buttered, sprinkle each serving with the ground poppy seeds or the roasted breadcrumbs. Dust with the powdered sugar and pour the rest of the warm melted butter over the top. Serve immediately.

I hope the lady who was an inspiration for this post will find what she was looking for. Thanks to her, I have rediscovered a delicious meal I haven’t made for ages. True, I had to call my Mum to tie up a few loose ends, but I believe the recipe we have put together for Shoolantze will delight many of those with a sweet tooth.

Bird’s Milk

It’s time to cook something eggy, because it’s Easter and we want to put all those yolks and whites left after decorating our Easter eggs to good use. So why not prepare Bird’s Milk – a simple yet nutritious dish which is said to have originated in France, but my mind will always associate it with my Grandma’s rural kitchen in the south of Slovakia.

Bird’s Milk (or Vtáčie mlieko in Slovak) has different names in different countries. In France alone this classic dessert appears under two names as Œufs à la neige (which translates as ‘snowy eggs’), or Île flottante (Îles flottantes in plural) – the latter being the source of the English name for Floating Island(s), a popular dessert made of whipped egg whites (meringues) floating in a custard sauce. Is that why the French call this sweet sauce ‘crème anglaise’ in return? While I wait for someone to answer my question, let’s see what we need for a Slovak version of Îles flottantes.

DSC_0098

Bird’s Milk
Makes 4

For the cream:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 400 ml milk
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ‘meringues’:

  • 4 egg whites
  • a packet of vanilla sugar (20 g)
  • a pinch of salt
  • cinnamon to drizzle
  • berries of your choice

Method:

To make the cream, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and stir evenly into the egg mixture.

Heat the milk in a pot over a medium heat until steaming. Set aside. Pour a few tablespoons of the milk into the egg mixture to warm it. Stir gently and transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to the warm milk.

DSC_0084Place over a medium-low heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts thickening, continue cooking for another 5 – 10 minutes until you achieve almost cream-like consistency. Remember to stir well all the time. Don’t let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

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‘Vanilkový krém’ stands for vanilla cream or custard in English, while the French often call it ‘creme anglaise’.

Divide the warm mixture into dessert bowls and let cool.

In the meantine, make the ‘meringues’ by whisking the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla sugar and put aside.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Take large spoonfuls of the ‘egg snow’ and arrange them in rows on the tray. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, put in the baking tray and turn down the heat to 100ºC. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the meringues are crisp and lightly browned at tops. Let cool at room temperature.

Cover the cooled cream with the meringues, drizzle with the cinnamon and top with the berries. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

And if you ask me why the Slovaks call it Vtáčie mlieko (Bird’s Milk), I can only give a speculative answer. Those fluffy ‘meringues’ sitting in the vanilla cream remind me of bird feathers, and I’d swear I’ve heard it on some occasion that they can be shaped and decorated like birds. I may give it a try next time. 😉

Decorating Easter cookies

As Mother Nature is awakening after a long winter sleep, so is our need for more warmth, sunshine and brighter colours. Not only do they show on the streets, in the parks and more still in the countryside, the spring colours also enter our kitchens, land on our tables and brighten up our food.

I have always wanted to show you the art of traditional honey-cookie decorating in Slovakia, but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Then I came across Alžbeta’s fanpage and I knew she was the right person to tell the story.

Alžbeta is the Slovak name for Elizabeth and her honey cookies are as divine as the name suggests. When I got in touch with her to make an appointment, I didn’t know what a beautiful corner of Slovakia this would take me to. Perhaps that is where Alžbeta finds inspiration for her work?

Alžbeta is a mother of four and a busy housewife, who turns into a cookie fairy in the quiet of night.

She and her family live in Kremnické Bane – a village close to the spot that was declared the geographical centre of Europe back in 1815. The ride through the vast, undulating meadows dotted with fir trees and charming chalets leaves me wondering how many more treasures like these I have not seen yet – despite my extensive travels around the country. I make a promise to return, as there is no time to explore the place now. I have come for honey cookies, and I want to make the most of the visit. A batch of freshly baked cookies is already waiting to get a festive coating.

Alžbeta gets her gear ready. The first step is making the white icing. All you need at this stage is:

  • 1 egg white
  • icing or castor sugar (about 130 g)
  • a bowl and a whisk or fork
  • plastic zip bags (10 x 15 cm)

The exact amount of sugar will depend on how thick you want your icing to be. The more sugar, the thicker icing you get.

Method: 

Now that you’re ready to start decorating, follow these tips from Alžbeta to achieve the best results:

  1. Take the bag with the icing in one hand and twist it slightly with the other one. Press the icing down towards the tip of the bag, and use sharp scissors to cut a hole in it. A small hole is good for criss-cross patterns, ’embroidery’ or ‘painting’, you’ll need a bigger one to cover or fill in larger spaces.
  2. If you don’t use all the icing, zip it up in the bag and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Remember to stir it well, or place the icing in a new bag before you use it again later.
  3. For colour patterns, use natural food colourings, which come in the form of powder or gel in Slovakia, and stir them into the white icing evenly. Be careful to let the colour pattern on the cookie(s) dry for at least 24 hours before applying another layer or a different colour.
  4. To create a nice, clean pattern, hold the bag closely above the cookie, move your hand slowly as if drawing, and let the thread of icing fall down while fixing or turning the cookie with the other hand.

I’ll be sharing the recipe for our traditional honey cookies on a different occasion, but the tips & techniques given above can be applied to any cookies, so if you want to channel your creative energy onto your favourite ones, feel free to experiment.

Traditional honey cookies from Slovakia

 Good luck!