Uforic Food Cafe Torquay

Ruza’s recipes

Hi, my name’s Ruza and I’m a stressed cook

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I’m a stressed cook and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Kitchen Anxiety Disorder (KAD) has been a recurring issue for me lately. The thought of slaving away in the kitchen after a hard day’s work when I could be going to the gym or watching TV like my beloved husband does, with legs stretched out on the coffee table and ice cream in hand, gives me anxiety attacks and makes me angry. I wonder why I bother to cook healthy meals when our favourite pizza joint is just around the corner?

I love food so much that I drool over food porn every day but procrastinate when thinking about the kitchen.

I’m sure many of you have felt the same way – the busy life of working, running a family or just eating healthy can be too much, leaving very little time to make meals.

Growing up, I enjoyed eating home cooked meals thanks to my own mother, who on most days for the past 30 years of her married life, has delivered home-prepared meals made from scratch.

Born and raised in the Balkans, for her there is no such thing as a meal on its own – say soup or steak, or God forbid, takeaway food.

Oh no. After clocking up a full day of work, she is happy to hit the kitchen whether cooking for one or ten, starting off with an entrée (like goulash) followed by a delicate burek (thin pastry filled with meat or fetta cheese and spinach).

Out of breath yet? She then finishes her food orchestra with a cake and Turkish coffee. You guessed it, homemade.

So, why do I burn myself on saucepans and feel guilty when tucking away leftovers in the freezer? Because I’ll never be the ideal working wife that my mother is. I will never enjoy the thought of serving three dishes each night. And yet, I can’t stop being my own worst critic.

Do you feel the same? Tell me how you cope!

For all those caffeine lovers out there, here’s a different take on your daily hit: Turkish coffee, which is very popular in the Balkans and amongst my family.

Turska kava (Turkish Coffee)

  • 1 litre water
  • 1/3 cup finely-ground Turkish coffee
  • Sugar, to taste

Method

Pour water in a dzezva (a long-handled copper pot – you can buy one from Middle Eastern shops) and stir in a teaspoon of sugar over medium heat.

Once it starts boiling, add the coffee (you can add more if you like yours strong). It’s best to use freshly ground coffee that is usually finer than espresso coffee – you can find it in specialty shops or at supermarkets.

Stir it in and keep the pot on reduced heat and make sure the coffee doesn’t boil over.

The trick is to keep it long enough on the heat and take it off once it looks like it’s about to boil over.

Scrape the foam off with a teaspoon and pour into three to four small cups.

Follow with coffee and sweeten if desired.

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The ground will usually settle at the bottom of the cup after a minute or two and once you’ve had the coffee you can turn the cup upside down, leaving it for a couple of minutes to settle. You can then attempt to read your cup if you believe in superstition!

I do it for fun but I’m far from a reader!

My mum has a mill in which she manually grinds the coffee beans – it’s such great fun and gives the arm a bit of a work out!

The best thing about the mill is that it looks great in the kitchen as decoration!

P.S. I’m doing the World Vision 40 Hour Famine this Friday to Sunday. I’m going without food for 40 hours to raise money to help kids around the world who are  suffering from chronic hunger. This is a cause close to my heart as I was caught in the 1990s Balkan war in Sarajevo at the age of eight.

My goal is to raise $1000, so I would appreciate all your support as a family of five can be fed for a month on $40.

Could you please support me, and them, by making a donation?

You can do so via this link: http://www.worldvision.com.au/40HF/ProfilePage.aspx?preferredurl=Ruza40

Thanks, and I’ll let you know next week how much I’ve raised and how it went!

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Fancy some tea?

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I’m a TOFI – that’s thin on the outside and fat inside.

I was born with a sweet tooth and have always had a weak spot for chocolate, and not just any kind, but the best Belgian that melts on your tongue.

However, the craving for cocoa and sugar has slowly diverted towards fluffy pastries and cakes. Oh, my mouth waters just by thinking about rich chocolate cake and scrumptious cinnamon rolls, washed down with earl grey tea.

I can have them at any time of the day – for breakfast, with lunch or as a little bedtime snack (hiding in the kitchen so my husband doesn’t see me).

Those who know me best are fully aware that I adore high tea sittings where little light biscuits, pastries and smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches are served on the best silverware, accompanied with the greatest selection of tea and coffee.

My friends know me so well that they even took me to a high tea sitting for my hens day last year! Read about that little adventure here.

I recently attended The High Tea Party at the luxurious Langham Hotel in Melbourne with friends Julie and Alison (pictured below)

Picture: The High Tea Party

The all-day event did not only include a high tea sitting but fabulous activities and stalls making it the perfect excuse for a girly catch-up.

We sipped on sparkling Rosé, tasted low-calorie cocktails, enjoyed beauty treatments and were given complimentary gift bags.

Picture: The High Tea Party

The highlight of the annual event was the beautiful ballroom where our high tea sitting was held, consisting of finger sandwiches, cakes, mini pastries and scones with jam and cream, accompanied by freshly brewed tea.

Picture: The High Tea Party

Growing up in Norway, we used to have regular visits from friends for some waffles, crepes or cinnamon rolls, with coffee. I guess this is where my love affair for high tea began – catching up with friends over simple good-feel food.

Picture: The High Tea Party

Event organiser Alison Dean tells me that The High Tea Party has been running since 2007 in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, attracting some 15,000 ladies.

This year was the largest ever, with more than 30 companies involved, showing off their products and services.

Picture: Alison Lee-Tet

The fabulous event takes about a year to plan which includes finding partners, companies and of course confirming the number of guests.

“I think this is a popular event because the ladies know they are having high tea and receive a gift bag but most of the other experience rooms aren’t really communicated so the ladies do get a surprise when they arrive, which helps with the day,” Dean says.

Picture: The High Tea Party

A team of ten chefs helped prepare the food that was all made fresh on the day.

Up to four pallets of Lindaeur sparkling wine was also served, so you can imagine our fun on the day.

Picture: The High Tea Party

Dean believes the spirit of high tea will continue for many years, saying the event is a special occasion where ladies have a “gorgeous excuse to catch up with the girls.”

Have you ever been to a high tea sitting? If so, what’s your favourite thing about it?

For all those sweet-tooth out there, here’s my favourite Norwegian cinnamon rolls recipe. Enjoy!

 Skyllingsboller (cinnamon rolls)

  • 1kg sifted white flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 150g butter, cut in cubes
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tsp cardamom
  • 6dl full cream milk
  • 50g fresh yeast

 Filling:

  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 100g butter at room temperature
  • 100g crystal sugar

Method:

Warm up the milk and blend the yeast in.

Blend all the other ingredients (except the filling) with the milk in a bowl and start working with your hand until a firm dough mixture starts forming. Keep kneading for about eight minutes until firm.

Leave the dough in the bowl, with a kitchen cloth over it, in a warm place for an hour.

Work the dough again, then leave for another 30 minutes to stand.

Divide the dough in smaller batches, and roll each to about a centimetre thick.

Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients and brush over the rolled dough.

Roll the dough into a sausage, then cut into five centimetre thick pieces. You can have them as thick or thin as you wish – I personally prefer smaller pieces so I can freeze them and use for later.

Brush with beaten egg and bake for 10 to 15 minutes in an already pre-heated oven at 220C.

Cool on a rack and enjoy with coffee or tea!

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Ruza – A Clash of Cultures

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Photo: Matthew Furneaux

Food has always been my connection to the outside world.

It is the one thing that easily kick-starts a conversation, connects cultures and brings people together. It even melts language barriers away! Trust me, I know this.

Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, raised in Norway and now married to a Persian in Melbourne, I am always exploring cultures through food.

Fleeing war-torn Sarajevo in the early 1990s, food soon became my family’s ticket to new friendships as our eastern European dishes became the talking point of our new neighbours in Bergen, Norway.

My passion for food began at the age of nine while in very unlikely circumstances. I was stuck in a basement during the bombing of Sarajevo and it was thanks to UNICEF’s food relief packages, which contained that universal comfort food, peanut butter. Licking the peanut butter off the spoons became a comforting distraction from the horror occurring outside and it inspired me to instead think of all the fun things I could make with this ingredient.

Moving to Norway and growing up in a household where food is made from scratch, I developed an early love affair with pastry making and spending hours kneading and rolling Norwegian Boller (cinnamon rolls) among many other things.

I am known as the ‘Dessert Queen’ within my circle of friends and family, because I use any occasion to whip up a tasty, new sweet-treat.

I like eating-out just as much as eating-in and living in Melbourne’s Ascot Vale means that I’m only a tram ride away from the city’s exciting restaurants.

My favourite thing to do on a weekend is to explore hidden cafes and eating outdoors has also become the norm for my husband Sam and I. 

Furthermore, living only ten minutes away from Melbourne’s historic Queen Victoria Market has its advantages. We have become regular patrons, frequently stocking up on fresh produce. Not only are we saving a heap, but we also love the market because it’s a place to meet with friends over amazing coffee and exotic lunches such as Turkish Pide.

So join me, on Uforic Food as I take you on a journey to the city’s finest (and often hidden) eating places, and share the cuisines that shaped the person I am today.

If you have a sweet tooth like me, then keep an eye out for my first recipe post next Wednesday as I discover everything sweet at the Langam High Tea Party in Melbourne.

So what’s your fondest food memory? And where do you like to eat out?

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