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May 24
The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Saint of the day:
Saint Sarah the Egyptian

Gypsy's Pilgrimage in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Saint Sarah, also known as Sara-la-Kali 
("Sara the Black", Romani: Sara e Kali), is the patron saint of the Romani people. The center of her veneration is Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer,
a place of pilgrimage for Roma in the Camargue, in southern France. Legend identifies her as the servant of one of the Three Marys, with whom she is supposed to have arrived in the Camargue.








The Gypsy's Pilgrimage for Saint Sarah and Saint Mary Salome

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France







Romanian Cheese Doughnuts – Papanasi


  • 500 g/ 1.1 lbs/ 2 ¼ cups cottage cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • a few drops rum aroma

  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ ⅓ + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar

  • 230 – 250 g/ 8.1 – 8.8 oz / about 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (regular teaspoon, not measuring one)

  • cooking oil for frying the doughnuts

  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz smetana/ about 1 cup (or crème fraiche) to serve

  • whole fruit runny blueberry jam to serve
    (or sour cherry, blackberry, black currants jam etc)


  1. Drain the excess water from the cottage cheese. Give the cottage cheese to a bowl. Add the eggs and the rum aroma, the granulated and vanilla sugar. With an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until you obtain a rough paste. The cottage cheese should not be turned into a smooth paste, just blended a little bit in order to make the cheese balls a little finer.

  2. Mix about 230 g/ 8.1 oz of the flour and the baking soda and give them to the cheese mixture. Mix with a spoon.

  3. Flour the working surface and your hands generously. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and

  4. knead it lightly to form a ball. The dough should still be somewhat sticky, yet manageable. Add the remaining flour only if absolutely necessary, only if the dough sticks so much that you will not be able to work it at all.

  5. Divide the dough into 9 balls. Roll 8 of the balls into thick sausages and unite the sausage ends to get a circle with a hole in the middle. Use the last ball to make 8 little balls, which will be used to top the papanasi.

  6. In the meantime, heat the oil in a pot. Use enough oil to have about 5-6 cm/ 2- 2.3 inches of it in the pot. To check if the oil has reached the right temperature, insert a toothpick in the oil, if there are blisters forming around the toothpick, you can start frying the papanasi.

  7. Only fry two or three papanasi at a time, depending on the size of your pan, do not overcrowd the pan, the papanasi should be able to move around freely. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Turn the doughnuts with a slotted spoon a few times in between and fry until the papanasi are golden brown. It took me about 5 to 7 minutes for one batch, but keep a close look and take them out as soon as they have a nice golden color. Or leave them longer if necessary. The little balls will need less time, about 3-4 minutes or so.

  8. Place them on plates lined with kitchen paper and pat them dry in order to absorb some of the excess oil.

  9. Serve warm topped with smetana and blueberry jam. Place the little balls on top and top them with a little smetana and jam as well.






Sweet Cheese and Raisin Pastries (Poale-n brau)


  • 6 cups of flour

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • zest from one lemon

  • 60 g fresh yeast 2 oz or 1 1/2 package of active dry yeast

  • 100 g 3.5 oz golden raisins


  1. In a big bowl, add the flour and form a well in the middle. Crumble up the fresh yeast and add it in the well. Pour the water over the yeast and stir it up until the yeast dissolves.

  2. Add the oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and half the lemon zest to the well. Using your hands mix everything together and continue kneading the dough for about 10 minutes.

  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it up with a clean towel, or plastic wrap and let it double in size, in a warm place.

  4. While the dough is rising, we can make the cheese mixture. In a medium bowl, add the ricotta cheese, raisins, remaining sugar, 1 egg, remaining lemon zest and mix it all together. Place the cheese mixture in the fridge while the dough is rising.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

  6. After the dough has doubled in size, roll it out in a long rectangular so that it's about 1/4 inch in thickness. Using a pastry cutter cut it into squares that are 3' x 3'.

  7. Take each square and roll it up until it's 6' x 6', it will be quite thin, but don't worry as it will rise quite a bit more.

  8. Place 2 tsp of the cheese mixture in the center of each square. Fold over each corner of the square over to the middle and pinch in the middle to make the dough stick. Now fold each newly formed corner over to the middle again and pinch it in the middle. Make sure you pinch it well, otherwise the dough will open up.

  9. Repeat with remaining dough and cheese mixture.

  10. Brush the pastries with egg wash and let the pastries sit out for another 10 minutes so they rise a bit more.

  11. Bake in the oven for about 30 or 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

  12. Cool on wire racks and sprinkle with powder sugar if preferred.






Goulash - Gypsy Comfort Food 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 onions, sliced thin

  • 4 tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 – 28 ounce can of tomatoes, whole

  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup beef stock

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 teaspoon salt (divided)

Maize Porridge Recipe

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • dash of pepper

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup fine corn/maize meal


  1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions in oil until soft, stirring frequently, then remove and reserve.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine paprika, pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Coat beef cubes well with spice mixture, then sear over medium heat, in the same pot until browned on all sides.  Return the onions to the pot, add tomato paste, tomatoes, garlic, beef stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

  3. To cook stove top: reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally between 90 minutes – 2 hours.  OR if working with a  Dutch oven bring your Goulash to a boil then cover and place a pre-heated 300°F (150°C) oven for 90 minutes – 2 hours.  When fully cooked the meat should be tender and the sauce will be thick and rich.


For the Maize…

  1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan bring the milk and butter to just under a boil then reduce the heat to medium low.  

  2. Add your salt and then slowly add your maize meal, stirring constantly.   

  3. Whisk for a few minutes until smooth and lump-free.  

  4. Simmer for 7 – 12 minutes until cooked.  Stir occasionally and add more milk if you find it too thick.

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