I’ve been working here at Spoon PR for three weeks now and to be honest, all this talk of scrumptious foods is really making my mouth water. I’ve always been a food-fan. Seriously, I love food and especially home-made food. Mmm, the thought of my grandma’s traditional Bulgarian cooking brings me back to my childhood and makes my stomach rumble. So the other day, in a sudden outburst of melancholy for my nana’s cuisine, I decided to wake up at the crack of dawn and master up one of my nana’s specialities; home-made Banitsa. Say what now? No there are no typos in there; this is the name of what is probably one of Bulgaria’s most famous culinary extravaganzas. I am sure many of you have tasted a Turkish Burek or the sweet version thereof found in Italy’s burricce. Well, believe me, Banitza is 10 times better.
Made with various layers of crunchy filo pastry, (I usually make them myself because I don’t like the dryness of the ready-made ones) and a deliciously salty Bulgarian white cheese, also known as ‘sirene’, Banitsa is a dish most enjoyed when warm. You can have it for breakfast, as a snack or as a starter. Most households in Bulgaria serve Banitsa whenever they have people over at home, and that’s practically every day. Believe, we eat a lot of Banitsa in Bulgaria. There are hundreds of corner shops all over the country selling this truly delectable treat. You can always use Greek Feta cheese as a substitute but I find the Bulgarian ‘sirene’ has a slightly more distinct salty flavour to it which makes the pastry all the more irresistible by even the most health-conscious food lover. It is especially delicious paired with a refreshing bowl of Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt!
On that early morning last week, Banitsa cooking as I am finishing off my morning ritual, I excitedly take a deep breath in the kitchen indulging on the luscious scent of the melting butter and I leave home with my treat packed away. I get onto the tube to head to work and I can just feel the hungry stares from my fellow commuters as they take in the irresistible aroma coming from my freshly baked Banitza. But I am a tease so, naturally, I don’t let them have any and at the next stop, I get off and head into my office. I lay my treat out in the office and within minutes, I find only crumbs left behind. That’s the secret of the traditional home-made Banitsa, it’s truly irresistible.