Going Back to My Roots

When I was growing up we had really long summer holidays in Bulgaria.

We would break up mid June and start school again on 15th Sept . Imagine that! Heaven for kids – hell for working parents.

My dad’s parents used to live in this very secluded tiny village that was on the boarder with Greece. They used to provide everything for themselves.

They had this massive garden filled with any vegetable you can imagine, watermelons, melons, cherry trees, apples, grapes, plums etc etc. It was huuuuuuge

I used to love those summer holidays….

Although I used to really miss my parents for the first few days, once me and my sister were left there – it was amazing!

My nan and granddad were tobacco leaves producers, that was basically the whole villages’ subsistence.

Tobacco leaves had to be picked very early in the morning, before sunrise nad before it starts getting really hot and unbearable for everyone to stay in the open fields.

My grandma used to prepare us breakfast the night before and leave it in this special cupboard where every time when I used to opened its doors I couldn’t wait to see what she’s made for us.

She used to be a master of making a very traditional Bulgarian dish called Banitza.

Banitza is usually made with filo pastry (which she used to make herself) eggs and feta cheese. And there’re also a lot of varieties like added spinach, or a plant called dock (one of the highest in iron), butternut squash and many, many more

And no one else could make Banitza like my grandma! No one!

Over the years I stopped eating it…

Partly because no one else could make it as tasty as her and (bigger) partly because I thought it didn’t serve me well.

It had gluten, it had diary, it had butter - it contained everything that I thought was not good for me.

But I really wanted to be able to allow my kids to have a taste of this amazing memory of mine (they never got to meet my grandma) so after a lot of experimenting and overcoming the fear that it might “kill us” I managed to partially recreate the amazing taste of Spinach Banitza.

I hope you enjoy it!

Spinach Banitza

(the quantities are quite small because I only had some leftover filo pastry sheets but it filled out a 20x20cm dish) and sorry, I'd actually eaten a few pieces before I took the last picture 😀

​Ingredients:

6-7 sheets of filo pastry cut to fit

30g of butter (approx.)

150g feta cheese (approx.)

100g spinach

3-4 eggs

½ glass of sparkling water

​Method:

Melt the butter and using a brush cover the base of the cooking dish.

Place a sheet of filo pastry (if too thin, use 2 at a time) and brush it with butter again. Then sprinkle some feta cheese and some spinach leaves (it’s actually tastier if its wilted but I’d forgotten to do that).

And then add more filo pastry and repeat the process. Finish with a piece of filo pastry on top brushed with butter.

Cut it up in square and let it bake in an oven (approx. 150’ if using fan oven, 180’ otherwise)

Once it’s all nice and golden, whisk the eggs with the sparkling water (that’s where my protein shaker becomes very handy) and pour the mixture on top.

Place the banitza back in the oven for further 10-15mins until the eggs are cooked.

Once it’s ready, take it out, wrap in foil and then with a towel and let it set for 10-15 mins.

Bon apetite!

All my love

Elena

Love, Peace and Laughter

P.S Getting out of that mindset that there’re are bad foods, wrong foods and foods that can kill my progress or… me has been one of the most freeing and rewarding feeling ever. What food is still holding you back? Let’s talk about how you can move past that mindset so you can enjoy what you eat and make piece with food and your body

Elena Terziyska

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