Monday, 1 February 2016


You know you have hit the jackpot with your kids when they come asking over and over and over and OVER again for that one dish you made awhile back. I felt so incredibly happy last week. My children had friends over a play date and the girls asked for some snacks. I had blueberry muffins and some crackers. All of a sudden Annabel asked me if she could please have a piece of banitza. I had last made it 10 days earlier so the fact that she wanted some.. Oh, pure heaven for my soul! For me this dish represents my roots - it is a dish I grew up with. It is suitable for breakfast, snack time, lunch or dinner! People back home make/buy it all the time. When I first moved to the UK I struggled a bit to find the right filo pastry sheets so I started bringing some with me every time I went back home for a holiday. Even now I prefer the Bulgarian pastry sheets to the ones you can buy here in any supermarket - the Bulgarian ones are thinner and drier which results in a crispier bake. However, my kids love both versions equally and it is a dish which now once again has a prominent place in our diet.  I mean what is not to love? Flaky pastry layered with crumbled Bulgarian soft cow's cheese ...mmmm, I am craving some just writing about it! This is a nice change from the usually sweet afternoon snack my kids have and it is one they absolutely love and enjoy. I guarantee you every Bulgarian woman (and probably the majority of men) can do this dish in their sleep - it is not complicated at all. You need about half an hour prep time though so roll up your sleeves and give it a try!

2 packs of filo pastry sheets or 500gr
4 eggs
250-300 gr Bulgarian cow's cheese or Greek salad cheese
250 gr yoghurt
140 gr melted butter


Take the pastry sheets out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you need them. Butter a roasting tin really well. Cut the pastry to fit the tin, saving all extra pieces.
Beat the eggs with a fork until foamy. Add the crumbled cheese and yoghurt and mix well.
Put one sheet on the bottom of your tin. Spread melted butter over it. Put another sheet, add some more butter. Put another sheet - add a layer of the egg and cheese mix.
Another sheet goes on top, more butter follow. Every third layer should have some of the egg and cheese mix. Continue until all mix has been used up. I use the cut out pastry in every middle layer to make sure it is all used up. You should aim to finish with three sheets of filo pastry on top of each other. Once this is done cut it into nice big squares before putting into a preheated oven to 190C. This helps in creating an even bake. Bake for at least half an hour or until the pastry has turned golden brown.
Take out of the oven, sprinkle with some cold water and cover with a tea towel until it has cooled down. Remove from the tin, cut again into squares and serve.
In Bulgaria for breakfast you will have it with some yoghurt or with ayran (a yoghurt drink). It will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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