It’s a nice rarity to cook for a country that I have actually visited. Especially when there is enough of a cuisine for me to have to change plans at the last minute because I couldn’t cope with how high in calories it would end up being. It’s a pity as I would have loved to have learned how to make my own bread dumplings, but maybe that’s something I’ll have to remember when I get around to crossing off Germany.
When you look at a map of Continental Europe, Czechia lays somewhere near the centre. It is, likewise, the centre of central European cuisine, of which Polish cuisine is also a member. This means that you are likely to see main dishes featuring pork (being a land-locked country, fish isn’t as high on the list of national dishes), cabbage, mushrooms and spices like caraway and garlic.
There are so many different soups on the list of Czech dishes that it felt like if I was not going to make roast pork with bread dumplings that a soup would be the way to go. There are also an abundance of desserts that it was difficult to pick just one, but then I realised that a lot of these would be shared with neighbouring countries like Slovakia and Austria – so I just went for the one that had the funnest name to say out loud.
In the place of the national dish of roast pork and bread dumplings (I know, I’m sad too) I, like I said earlier, thought it would be nice to make one of the many soups that Czech cuisine can offer. Since I ended up using 196 Flavors to find my dessert, it was only a hop and step to find this recipe for a sour soup.
One issue that I had with the recipe is that they are very conservative with the amount of liquid, so I kept topping it up during the cooking whilst being careful not over-dilute it. The main ingredients in this soup are sauerkraut, potato, onion, pork and a big dollop of sour cream at the end. The use of caraway seed, allspice berries and bay leaves not only made the dish taste beautiful, but made the kitchen smell amazing. If someone hasn’t yet made a candle with the scent of a Central European bakery, then I implore anyone reading this to start work on this immediately.
In terms of other dishes that I have had, this sour soup reminded be a lot of the bigos that I made for Poland. I guess that I probably should have opted for a soup without such a crossover in flavours… but it was delicious so what do I care.
Honestly though, how much fun is it to say bublanina. Especially when the translation of this name into English would be ‘bubble cake’. Like with the soup, the recipe for this came from the good people at 196 Flavors and I really took them at their word about using different fruit in it. As you might be able to tell from the picture, I opted for a mix of raspberries and peaches.
One alteration I made to the recipe was to replace the half cup of oil. I get that this is a moisture and a texture thing, but if there was a lower calorie way to achieve similar results I was going to take it – so I swapped it out for the same volume of apple sauce. It still made for a nice, moist cake but with a bit of extra texture thrown in by the small pieces of chopped apple.
This really is one of those cakes that I can see being trotted out at a moment’s notice (or when fruit is on offer) because it’s such a simple recipe and can be done with mostly store cupboard ingredients. Even more so if you use vegetable oil as originally intended. I already know another Czech dessert I am going to make for another nation, but I’ll talk more about that when it happens.
Due to a bunch of upcoming commitments (including a holiday and two birthdays) the next country is going to be the last one that I will be crossing off for a good long while. That puts a bit of extra pressure on the next nation, which statistically comes from the Americas, to be a good meal.