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Srbija 2020

Jamie ‘F’ Oliver

“Pukka tucker mate”, “Scrummy” “Lovely jubbly” and other Oliverisms have been being used wantonly in my flat since the arrival of a Christmas parcel bearing a copy of a Jamie Oliver cookbook. Despite my best efforts at avoiding some of the more annoying Oliverisms (and most fall into that category) I have begun to talk like a lad from Essex and have found myself adopting the more annoying ones all the more. I suppose it’s because I am actually quite excited by the prospect of trying out some of Mr. Oliver’s recipes. After nearly exhausting my culinary ‘repertoire’ I think that I was in need of some inspiration. And it has been Oliver’s inspiration that has either avoided me, or been avoided by me, for several years.

Why a copy of a Jamie Oliver cookbook was to land in my mailbox this year and not a previous one is beyond me. The guy has been something of a phenomenon for at least four years now in the UK, but my parents obviously felt as though this was the year that I truly needed his guidance. Perhaps one too many mentions of an imminent take-away had prompted the present, as it was not something I would have asked for myself, despite being quite chuffed with it now. I have held back from purchasing anything of Jamie’s because I have always responded with sensitivity towards my mate Greg’s implacable hostility to the man he calls “Jamie Fucking Oliver”. He suffered a terrible trauma a few years back at the hands of “Fucking Oliver” after he had failed to purchase for his mother his much desired cookbook. He had waywardly opted for the slightly cheaper Gary Rhodes cookbook (a poor substitute in culinary as much as fiscal terms) and been forced to watch his mother reject it out of hand. To make matters worse for my competitive friend his elder sister had proceeded to purchase and deliver the desired edition. His anger at the rejection and his epithet “Jamie Fucking Oliver” had stuck with both of us ever since. Since that day I had thought of Jamie in the light that Greg had so kindly shined upon him, but there was little reason to hold anything against the guy. That was until I realised the ingredients I would need to make Pan-roasted Guinea Fowl with Pomegranates and Spinach.

The problem with a lot of Jamie’s recipes is that they can be heavy on the imagination and light on the reality, especially when it comes to hitting your local C Market. I know that you can probably substitute a lot of the ingredients in the recipes, but it’s not quite the same when Monkfish becomes fish fingers and Cannellini Beans pasulj. So I have been flicking my way through the book working out what is possible at C Market, Maxis and Mercator and which recipes fall into the not-a-hope-in-hell-in-Serbia category. Unfortunately, a number fall into the last category but with a bit of intuitive substitution I reckon that I might just have most of the do-able recipes worked out by the New Year. The only thing is that I am still a little in the dark about what some of the ingredients are in Serbian. I suppose that I should BabelFish them or something, but where’s the fun in that?

The first of these unknown ingredients is Fennel. I kept on coming across this bloody herb Fennel again and again in Jamie’s cookbook and I couldn’t for the life of me describe it. “Something like Rosemary” was the best I could muster. Then there was the Sage, Thyme and other assorted ingredients and herbs which I would scarcely be able to identify let alone translate, most of which ended up being described by me as having Rosemary-like qualities. Perhaps I should have bought a Serbian version but then I would be buggered on the translation in the other direction. I also have this sneaking suspicion that some of the very herbs that are giving me such problems identifying are going to be falling into that final category I mentioned earlier. I suppose that I will have to make my way down to my local supermarket and see. Any suggestions on Jamie’s choice in Belgrade would however be appreciated.

So I should be spending the New Year merrily cooking up some new creations, mixing in a sprinkling of alcohol and Oliverisms.

One of the best parts of the present however is going to be the next time someone asks me how relieved I am to get away from English food/cooking. I’ll ask them if they know that the most famous chef in the world is from England. Oh the irony…

Anyway I’m off to C Market to try to recreate some pukka tucker…

Hope this helps:

Fennel is morač (or komorač).
Sage is žalfija.
Thyme is timijan.

Dunno where you can find them, though.

BTW, thyme is also called

BTW, thyme is also called "majčina dušica".


tako se zove "mother of thyme". Timijana ima vise vrsta. Kao i bosiljaka (basil).


How do you say Nutmeg in Serbian ?
And am I right to think that Cilantro (Corriander) in Serbian is "Koriander" ?
Herbs and Spices are such a freakin' mystery of translation. Types of fish as well. Sometimes trees and plants too. But Herbs and Spices definatly the worst.

nutmeg = mushkatni orascic

nutmeg = mushkatni orascic (sorry nemam odgovarajucu tastaturu)

Thanks !

What about Saffron ?
I gotta get a bigger dictionary!

That's easy!

In Serbian it's "šafran", :)

Glad I could help.

Fish names

Catfish - Som
Pike - Štuka
Oslić - Hake
Perch - Grgeč
Bass - Brancin (check it)
Carp - Šaran
Trout - Pastrmka
Sturgeon - Kečiga
Sole fish - Riba list
Sculpin - Škrpina
Eel - Jegulja
Picarel and any other small fish you much in a newspaper cone with greasy potato chips - Girice

send more requests if necessary

OK, idemo ovako:

Conger eel - ugor
Morray eel - murina
Cod, Hake, Haddock - verzije bakalara, ukljucujuci oslica
Grouper - kernja
Mullet - cipol (kefalo na grckom)
Mackerel - skusa
Bonito - palamida
Wrass - rainbow wrass (knez)
Pljosnate ribe: Turbot, Plaice, Sole, Halibut - Plat, Iverak, Plastusa...
Goose fish - grdobina

Nutmeg is called muskatni

Nutmeg is called muskatni oraščić. It is quite easy to find in well, even average supplied serbian shops. Alas, it seams that over some time our national cuisine has lost tendency to use fine herbs. Socialistic economy did not support fine cooking, thus offer in markets was restricted to the basic spices. As most of the population moved to towns, previously common-used thyme, basil and dill for example, grown in almost every garden, became kind of exotic. However, it seems that serbian population is nowadays re-descovering these and many other "magical" ingridients so well known by our grandmothers.
Concerning Jamie O., he is more a showman, well-packed commercial product than a real cook. Young, modern, charming, knows how to party but still has a total control over his pans. Ok, he brought some swing to otherwise boring TV cooking, but when you spend like a 80 pounds for the piece of tuna fish, or 40 pounds for a piece of meat and 40 more for a few slices of ham you use to wrap that meat in, than you have one extremly expensive meal. Just add a few really fresh rucola leaves, some extra balsamico vinegar and voilá. To ruin that, you need to have an extra talent.

An idea

Hi Nicholas,
what you can do in the future when it comes to aromatic herbs' names is to adjust google to look only for Serbian pages. There are good gardening pages that include both Serbian and English names for the herb.
Or, find the Latin name on google and look for the Serbian pages again. I know this sounds nerdy but it works!


That's a very good idea. Find the Latin name, then search only Serbian pages for that name.


One good idea is to look at the google pictures of fennel, dill etc and then go to Merkator and look at that fridge with strange extremely expensive veggies to see if anything is familiar (I am sorry, but I can't believe fennel has a gold nugget inside to be THAT expensive)

You can find many...

....of the things you are looking for at Kalinic pijaca. There are people there who specialise in exotic spices and herbs. You can even find fresh Cilantro at Kalinic. If they don't have it there, then try some of the health food shops in Belgrade. Although you may not always be able to find the vegetables or types of fish you would like, you will find that most of the spices are available. As a last resort, I would recommend heading over to Novi Beograd's Chinatown, where you can find all sorts of spices.