In our country, it is said that Saint Valentine bring the keys of roots.
People from this area have known him before church, and his name was Zdravko.
He was one of the saints in Slovenian old mythology.
Zdravko was a saint of good health and was a patron of beekeepers and pilgrims.
14.th of February was celebrated because nature starts to wake up from winter sleep, and plants, fruits, vegetables start to grow after this day. It meant a beginning of work in vineyards and fields.
And then catholic church took over the area and Zdravko lost his old Slavic name and became a Valentine.
The celebration of it remained the same: you can still find a mark on Slovenian farm calendar that you should start planting your seeds and working in the fields and vineyards. The most optimistic and impatient of them all – people of Bela Krajina, say that Valentine’s day means beginning of spring.
But it is also connected in love affairs in some kind. It is known to us that on that day, and two more days after (12 of March and 22nd of March), birds start to mate.
And not only celebration, Valentine was privileged – like he was in times when his name was Zdravko, to look after sick, old, epileptic people, and to guard those people and children that had problems with their abdominal cramps. His mission was always to protect livestock from cattle plague. People in Škocjan (a beautiful village which you should visit if you ever get carried into Slovenia) every evening still pray to their saint Valentine and recommend themselves for health.
Valentine is worshipped the most in the region of Primorska.
He opens a season of feasts!
For me, the best way to celebrate a Saint Valentine’s day is to go to village Šmaver (something even google maps has trouble to find) and join them at their traditional feast of “štruklji”. Many people from this area (Nova Gorica region) go on the hill of Saint Valentine, wherein a “big house” they bake thousands of “štrukljev” (and no matter how many of štruklj they make … they always run out of it).
Children are not forgotten: they all get sweets, cakes and štruklje from their loved ones.
So hereby I share with you recipes so you can make your own “Štruklj” with your loved ones, and afterward go on some hill and eat it. 🙂
(“Struklji, pronounce as shtrooclee)
Struklji are a “multi-purpose” dish: they can be served as a side-dish
with any dark meat and a heavy sauce, as an independent
course (usually with a salad) or as a dessert (with a sweetened cream
sauce or just dusted with sugar).
The dough can be made from buckwheat or wheat.
- Buckwheat dough
1 kg buckwheat flour
0.1 kg wheat (“white”) flour
1 liter boiling water, slightly salted
Scald the buckwheat flour with boiling water, mixing with a wooden
spoon, allow cooling just enough that you can knead the dough with
your hands. Knead in the wheat flour and roll out the dough about 2-3
mm thick immediately, cut off any thicker or crooked edges and spread
the filling (see further). Roll the dough and prepare for cooking (see
- Wheat dough
0.5 kg “soft” wheat flour
2 Tsp lemon juice
2 Tsp vegetable oil
warm water as needed
a pinch of salt
Mix the flour, eggs, oil, lemon juice, salt (with your hands!),
adding enough warm water to form a thick, but pliable dough. Knead
well until the dough is smooth. Form one or several “buns”, oil
the surfaces and allow the dough to rest for at least one hour on
a surface dusted with flour.
Roll out the dough just to make it flat, then continue stretching
it using the backs of your hands, the dough should be stretched to
approximately 1 mm thick or less. Cut off the thick edges, spread
with filling and prepare for cooking.
There are five different ways to fill your Štrukelj
- Walnut1/2 liter freshly ground walnuts
0.25 l heavy or whipping cream
3 Tsp dry breadcrumbs
lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
add 0.1 kg sugar (if intended for dessert only)
- Walnut and honey1/2 liter freshly ground walnuts
6 Tsp honey
0.08 kg softened butter
3 Tsp dry breadcrumbs,
- Cottage cheese1 kg fresh, smooth, unsalted cottage cheese (pot cheese)
4 Tsp whipping cream
3 Tsp dry breadcrumbs
50 g melted unsalted butter
add one cup raisins or sultanas, soaked in dark rum (for dessert only)
0.2 kg sugar (for dessert only)
- Tarragon6 Tsp freshly chopped tarragon
0.1 kg softened unsalted butter
0.1 kg sugar
- Tarragon (my favorite!)
Mix:8 Tsp freshly chopped tarragon
0.25 kg fresh unsalted cottage cheese
0.25-liter whipping cream
3 Tsp dry breadcrumbs
0.15 kg sugar (for dessert only)
Wish you a very happy merry Valentine’s day! 🙂