See more recipes in the award-winning cookbook, Cook Eat Slovenia, available here
You may also be interested in how to make traditional Slovenian Easter eggs.
Easter, the most important Christian holiday, marks the end of the fasting period that starts on Ash Wednesday.
The holiday is an excuse for our family to celebrate together at a table full of Easter delicacies. In preparation, each member of the family is assigned a cooking project, which is lots of fun. The women decorate the Easter eggs, bake the potica, prepare the horseradish dips, while my dad boils and slices the ham. We may be peculiar but, like many other Slovenians, we eat ham with the potica rather than bread. I remember what Grandpa Rudi taught us about the symbolism of every dish: potica represents the crown of thorns, eggs stand for drops of blood, horseradish root for the holy nails and ham for the body of Christ. He often joked that blood should be represented by red wine, which sure enough, became a must at every Easter breakfast, but only for adults.
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) smoked ham
Lay ham in a large pot and cover fully with cold water. Cook for 60 minutes at medium heat. When cooked, take off the heat and leave the ham to cool in the water. I like it lukewarm and sliced thin. Pure perfection.
Horseradish with Apples
There is no Easter breakfast without horseradish. You can prepare it by just grating it, finely or coarsely, or with the addition of grated apple, if pure horseradish is too strong for you. This amazing root will kick your breakfast experience up a notch.
30 g (1 oz) fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
1 apple, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Apples and horseradish must be grated to equal thickness.
Horseradish with Sour Cream
60 g (2 oz) fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
6 tbsp sour cream
Pinch of salt
Mix the ingredients well. Feel free to change the ratio between horseradish and sour cream to your taste.
You might know Špela Vodovc from the Cook Eat Slovenia cooking and hiking tours she’s been running for a number of years, or from the cookbook of the same name that came out last year. It’s a beautiful book, full colour, well written and well made, with an excellent selection of tried and trusted Slovenian recipes for all seasons and occasions.
The book itself has won three awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2020, for best translated, best self-published, and best food tourism cookbook for Slovenia, and as the second best in the world for food tourism, and third best for self-published. I have a copy, and it really is a thing of beauty, with photography by Mateja Jordović Potočnik, cooking and food styling by Špela and her mother Branka Vodovc and Špela Vodovc, and design by Gregor Žakelj. You can pick up a copy at various stores in Ljubljana, or order one online here, but for the next few weeks, as we’re mostly stuck at home and not eating out, Špela has kindly offered to share some of her recipes with our readers.