| 95 The rst dish I recall frommy early life ismy father’spopara,whichhe often prepared for breakfast on Sundays and which we adored. As a baby he’d been left orphaned in the karst lands of the north of Montenegro, and that orphan’s poparawas oftenhis only hope that he wouldn’t starve to death that day. When he came to Belgrade and earned some money, he treated it like a best friend. He never forgot, andwe didn’t either, because he prepared it for us at least once a week, though in truth with a dose of decadence that was presumably vengeance for that moistened bread from his youth. Because we ate that dish for the poor like indulgent rich folk: with cheese, curd creamandbacon, whichwas always a favourite at our house. Andwhen a joint of pršut hamwould arrive frommyaunt inMontenegro, thecelebration was complete, so we laughed at dad as he recounted how popara for him was just water and old bread. He couldn’t even dream of pršut ham, but my brother and I dreamt of those packages that arrived fromMontenegro, rarely, but eagerly awaited. A fragrant joint, with a tough exterior, and inside soft and as red as a soul. Whennoone couldseeus, wewouldcarve SMOČANI KAČAMAK POTREBNO JE: 1 kg krompira, 500 g belog brašna, 200 g kajmaka, 400 g kolašinskog lisnatog sira, so PRIPREMA: Krompir oljuštite, isecite na četvrtine i skuvajte u slanoj vodi. Kad se krompir skuva i počne da se raspada, odlijte malo vode, pa na krompir sipajte brašno. Na sredini napravite nekoliko rupa da bi voda mogla da izlazi i preliva se preko brašna, pa kuvajte na tihoj vatri oko 45 minuta. Onda nekim tučkom sa ravnim dnom ili gnječilicom za pire tucite kačamak dobrih 20 minuta, dok ne dobijete homogenu glatku masu bez grudvica. Nikako ne mešajte! Pred kraj tučenja u većem tiganju rastopite kajmak, dodajte smesu brašna i krompira, pa mešajte dok ne dobijete loptu od testa. Dodajte i sir, pa nastavite da preklapate i okrećete dok se sve ne sjedini. Sklonite sa vatre i poslužite uz kiselo mleko. SLOPPY KAČAMAK INGREDIENTS: 1kg of potatoes, 500g of white our, 200g of milk curd, 400g of leafy Kolašin cheese, salt PREPARATION: Peel the potatoes, cut into quarters and boil in salted water. Once the potatoes are cooked and begin falling apart, pour away a little of the water and add the our to the potatoes. Make several holes in the middle to enable water to escape and pour water over the our, then simmer on a low heat for around 45 minutes. Then use a at-bottomed pestle or potato masher to beat the kačamak for a good 20 minutes, until you gain a homogeneous smoothmass free of lumps. Never mix! As you reach the end of the beating process, melt the milk curd in a larger frying pan, add the our and potato mixture, thenmix until you create a dough-like ball. Add the cheese and continue folding and turning until everything comes together. Remove from the heat and serve with sour milk. PRIGANICE POTREBNO JE: Œ jaje, 400 g brašna, 1 kašika rakije, 200 ml tople vode, 2 kašičice suvog kvasca, ulje, pola kašičice soli, pola kašičice šećera PRIPREMA: U brašno dodajte jaje, šećer, so i suvi kvasac. Postepeno nalivajte vodu i mešajte da dobijete smesu gušću od smese za palačinke. Na kraju dodajte rakiju kako priganice ne bi bile masne, pa posudu pokrijte krpom i ostavite da naraste. Kašikom vadite priganice i pržite ih u vrelom ulju. Poslužite uz kajmak, domaći džem ili med. PRIGANICE DUMPLINGS INGREDIENTS: 1 egg, 400g of our, a tablespoon of rakija brandy, 200ml of warmwater, 2 teaspoons of dried yeast, oil, salt, half a teaspoon of sugar PREPARATION: Add the egg, sugar and dry yeast to the our. Gradually addwater andmix to create a batter that’s thicker than a pancake mixture. Finally, add the rakija brandy to ensure the dumplings aren’t greasy, then cover the bowl with a cloth and leave to rise. Formdumplings using a spoon and fry them in hot oil. Serve withmilk curd, home-made jamor honey. iStock / Konstantin_Voronov