Croatia (I) – Split

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A beautiful country known for its beaches and islands, Croatia has become a popular tourist destination. More popular destinations in Croatia include Split and Dubrovnik. Day trips to nearby islands or waterfalls are often made from these places, but if you are looking for a chill holiday, you can turn those day trips into overnight stays.

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Possible day trips from Split include
1. Plitvice
2. Krka waterfalls
3. Omis
4. Hvar

Possible day trips from Dubrovnik include
1. Mljet Island
2. Elafiti Islands

However, I did not manage to fit all these trips into my itinerary for Croatia but I’ll be writing in detail about the trips I managed to make. One thing I realized about Croatia is that there is limited information available about the destination itself, so I’m trying to plug in the gap here to make it easier for future travellers:>

Split
Top things to do in Split would be to

(i) hike up Marjan hill for the great views
(ii) wander around the town
(iii) visit the markets

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The hike up Marjan hill was tiring but well worth it because of the gorgeous view. There are many viewpoints on the hill overlooking the Adriatic sea, making it a relaxing afternoon trip. As the sun sets, head down the hill and have dinner at Konoba Marjan which is conveniently located at the foot of the hill. If prices aren’t to your liking, there are many other good restaurants located on that street, one of which includes Café Sperun.

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Wandering around Split by foot is one of the best things you can do in Split. The Diocletian Palace or what remains of it, makes a nice attraction and photo. I suggest passing up on the Diocletian basements because there isn’t much to see. Besides the palace, there are small narrow streets with interesting restaurants and random flea markets. There is also a Zara and Bershka for the shopaholics like me. Prices of these shops are definitely cheaper than in Singapore/ Asia.

Must visit markets in Split would be the daily market located near the bus terminal and the fish market located in the Diocletian palace compound. The daily market, opened from 8am to 2pm, has a section dedicated to fresh produce and local products, and another section dedicated to souvenirs. So if you’re looking for trinkets to buy back, the daily market is the place to go. The fish market is an interesting sight, with the fishermen displaying their catches and using metal weights to weigh the fish. If you stay in a self-catering apartment/ airbnb and love to cook, do consider purchasing some fish or mussels from the market and head home to cook. We did just that, and bought 2kg worth of mussels at only 15 kunas per kg. It was our first time cleaning and cooking mussels but the hearty pot of mussels at the end was worth the effort. Though our airbnb host left a bad review for us for messing up her kitchen. Oops!

Food recommendations

1. Buffet Fife
Very popular amongst tourists and even locals because of its generous portions. Trust me, the portions here are gigantic for the price you pay. I ordered a fish soup and grilled bream, cooked Dalmation style at prices easy on the pocket. Croatian fish soup reminded me of home because soup is such a Cantonese thing and a regular feature at home cooked meals. The fish soup, served in a huge metal bowl, was very tasty and had rice in it. Our fish came in a large silver platter, with 2 fishes for each person. In Croatian standards, 2 fishes is a double serving. Restaurants usually serve 1 fish per portion. In some sense, you win some and you lose some because the fish wasn’t the best I’ve tasted but with that price and portion, Fife still wins my heart.

Trumbićeva obala 11, 21000, Split, Croatia
+385 21 345 223

2. Konoba Marjan
Marjan is THE place for fish. Portions are comparatively small though but the fish you get is one of the best in town. I tried the fish platter for two which was a nice, holistic tasting platter of ocean fish. The platter had scampi, Class I fish like Tuna (with a delicious sear) and Class II fish like hake. Service was fantastic too, with the waiter patiently bringing out the catches of the day on a silver plate and explaining it to us twice with a wide smile on his face.

Senjska 1,Split 21000, Croatia
+385 989 346 848

3. Appetit
This eatery is located on the second floor of the building but do not fret, because it is super easy to spot. It can be found in the same building as Billa in the Old Town. Their prices are standard, about 120 kunas for a fish main and 90 kunas for a risotto. Must tries are their grilled fresh fish and the cuttlefish black risotto. The risotto was the best I’ve tried in Croatia.

Ul. Pavla Šubića 5, 21000, Split, Croatia
+385 21 332 549

4. Kantun Paulina
Looking for Croatian street food? Pauline serves authentic Cevapi, a minced beef sausage that is pocketed in warm fluffy bread, topped with the local red pepper salsa, at 25 kunas. The perfect thing to get if you need a quick meal on the run or maybe some fuel after climbing Marjan Hill.

Matošića ul. 1, 21000, Split, Croatia
+385 21 395 973

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Matcha Cake with Sesame Frosting

I fell in love with the Matcha-Black Sesame Frosting when my father scooped
both those flavours into the same bowl at a dinner buffet in Hokkaido. Have I told you how delicious Hokkaido ice cream is??? It was so good that I even ate it for breakfast hahahaha.

Anyway, the combination is so amazing, it definitely needed to be translated into a cake form.

Y’s birthday was today and tadah, no surprise that he loved matcha (everyone does) so it was a perfect opportunity to use the matcha and black sesame that I brought back from Japan.

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At first, I was going to follow mynameisyeh’s recipe to the T but the cake didn’t seem very nice to eat. It looked pretty but there’s more to cakes than appearances right? (as with everything, I hope)

So I was basically free styling a matcha cake and hoping that everything would turn out good, especially since it was someone else’s birthday cake.

I figured buttercream could be replaced with yogurt, since the purpose of both ingredients was the same, which was to make the cake moist. In addition, I replaced the boiling water with boiling milk to add more taste to the cake. Lastly, the directions in the original recipes were so vague, I had to come up with my own way of making the cake, with past experience of course.

So I present with you my Matcha Cake with Black Sesame Frosting 🙂

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Makes 3 layers of 6 inch round cake or 2 layers of 9 inch round cake

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
4 tbsp matcha
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup boiling milk
4 tbsp black sesame, toasted
2 cups butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
2. Line a 6 inch round tin with baking paper
3. Sift plain flour, baking soda, baking powder and matcha powder together. Mix in salt.
4. Using a paddle attachment, beat sugar and oil until smooth and well-mixed
5. Add yogurt and continue beating for 1 minute
6. Add in eggs one by one until well-mixed
7. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
8. Fold in the boiling milk
9. Pour batter into lined baking tin (divide batter into 2 / 3 batches depending on tin size) and bake
10. Check for doneness at 25 minute mark
11. Beat black sesame, butter and icing sugar together, adjust icing sugar according to desired sweetness
12. Frost the cake and enjoy!

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Focaccia Bread

Sorry for the really really long hiatus ): My family is without a helper right now so I’ve been busy doing house chores and cooking the meals. It’s been super tiring cooking most of the meals and running around, so much so that I can see why being a housewife is a legit job all by itself. Hats off to all stay home moms!! On the bright side, I’ve been learning chinese cooking from my mother and trying out new recipes! I now pride myself in ‘marriage worthy veggies’, knowing how to stir fry my chinese vegetables and turning purple cabbage edible. More on my veggies later 🙂

Also my 21st birthday just passed so I was a bit busy preparing my food for my party. It was a two day baking fiesta, consisting of carrot cake, lemon cake, earl grey tea cake, chocolate chip cookies and pizza. Decided to treat my friends to all my home baked stuff to show my appreciation for their wonderful presence in my life :))

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Thank God for my mother and D for being kitchen assistants 🙂 Also, D came up with a super awesome drink combination of sprite, lemon and mint. Try it out if you need respite on a sweltering hot day (which means tomorrow).

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Anyway!
Today’s post is on an amazing focaccia bread that I made for my family for lunch. I was a bit fearful and skeptical about how it would turn out because I never ever had affinity with bread making. But this bread is soft and pillowy. Topping it off with roasted garlic and onions made it perfect 🙂 Can’t wait to make this more often just that I’m not really in the mood of cleaning up ten million baking equipment right now hahah but do try this out if you love bread and have lots of time to spare, waiting for bread to rise. It’s worth the wait.

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Focaccia Bread
from Epicurious
40cm x 30cm focaccia bread

Ingredients
350ml cold water
20g instant dry yeast
625g plain flour
13g salt
70ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

Directions
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
2. With a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. Turn up the speed by 1 level and kneed for another 10 minutes until dough is smooth.
3. Transfer dough into a lightly greased mixing dough and cover loosely with a cling wrap. Wait for the dough to double, approximately for 1 hour.
4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Punch down and flatten onto lightly greased baking tray. Spread till approximately 40cm x 30cm, not taller than 1/2 inch.
5. Brush with olive oil and proof for another 15 minutes.
6. Place desired toppings on dough and proof for another 20 minutes.
7. Bake at 210 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and brush with olive oil. Cool before serving.

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