Czech Sauerkraut Soup (Zelňačka)

Delicious with rye bread and beer on the side.

It’s mid-September, and the temperatures in Czech Republic have dropped, making it feel like autumn already. As it has rained a lot, a nice big pot of warming hearty soup was on my mind. So, I decided to make and share the recipe for a classic Czech sauerkraut soup called “Zelňačka”. As I mentioned in my posts for Szeged Style Sauerkraut Goulash and Hopl Popl, sauerkraut is a powerhouse of nutrition with lots of antioxidants. Delicious klobása (kielbasa), spices, and optional mushrooms also provide a big kick of autumn flavors. For a small meal, in itself, the recipe serves five or six people. As a first course, closer to eight.

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Apricot Almond Clafoutis with Marzipan (gluten-free)

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Apricots are now becoming plentiful and inexpensive at farmer stands and markets where I live in the Moravian region of Czech Republic. I couldn’t resist buying a huge bag, so baking with some was a must. A Czech recipe I found inspired me to make this lovely clafoutis (sometimes spelled “clafouti”), full of almond flavors to compliment the apricot beauties. Of course such a dessert is best with some nice almond liquor involved, and it also includes little bundles of marzipan throughout.

I’m a big fan of anything custard-like, so I obviously enjoy clafoutis of various sorts. I posted a recipe for an Almond Berry Clafoutis in the past, which is slightly thickened with a bit of wheat flour. However, this apricot almond version uses only ground almond flour in its place, making it gluten-free. One could exclude the marzipan from the recipe, but I strongly advise not to, because it’s so so good! The recipe only requires about 50 g (2 oz), so a small store bought pack is more than enough. Or if you want to make homemade marzipan, check out the recipe in my post Marzipan Hedgehogs. My blog contains four different recipes that include marzipan, so ideas for any excess are here. Yes, I’m a big fan!

Apricot Clafouti ingredients display

Apricot Almond Clafoutis with Marzipan (gluten-free)

Ingredients (6 to 8 servings):

  • 8 to 10 small/medium apricots, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons of almond liquor (i.e. Amaretto di Saronno or other), separated
  • 5 tablespoons granulated or cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) light cream (10% milk fat)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 80 g (hair under 3 oz) almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 50 g (2 oz) prepared almond marzipan


Apricot Clafouti marinadeStep 1 – Wash, dry, then halve the apricots and remove and discard the pits. On a rimmed plate or dish, big enough to hold them mostly single layer, put the apricot halves cut side up and then evenly drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the almond liquor. Let sit to marinade for 30 minutes.

Step 2 – In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of the almond liquor.  Add the almond flour (finely ground almonds) and mix again. The batter will be thin. Let the batter rest as you proceed with next steps.

Apricot Clafouti marzipan in centersStep 3 – Preheat the oven to 200 ˚C (395 ˚F). Thoroughly grease the inside of a baking dish with butter. You can use a 9.5-inch deep dish round pie plate or similar capacity dish (7 min to 9 cups). I used a 26 cm long x 17 cm wide x 5.5 cm deep rectangular casserole. Arrange the liquor marinated apricots on the bottom of the baking dish, cut sides up, leaving any marinating liquor aside. Then mix the reserved marinating liquor into the rested batter and let rest briefly again.

Step 4 – Take the prepared marzipan and lightly press a small piece (~ 1/2 teaspoon worth) into each apricot half, where the pits used to be. When they’re all filled, pour the completed batter over the apricots, smoothing down any froth or bubbles, as possible.

Apricot Clafouti batter over fruitStep 5 – Put clafoutis in the oven and first bake for 15 minutes at preheated temperature (see Step 3), and then turn down the oven to 185 ˚C (365 ˚F) and bake about 25 to 30 minutes more, when the top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and put the baking dish on a rack to cool. The clafoutis height will deflate slightly as it cools. Once cooled, refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Before serving, you can dust the top of the clafoutis with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve each piece with whipped cream (my favorite), sour cream or plain yogurt.

Refrigerate leftovers as you’d do with any other custard-based dessert.

Secrets to the Best Fried Pork Cutlet/Schnitzel (Smažený řízek)

Fried breaded meat cutlets (or schnitzels) are extremely popular throughout Central Europe. Actually, pretty much throughout the world. You can find these on pub (hospoda) menus throughout Czech Republic. Pork cutlets are a go-to meat choice, but chicken is also popularly used. Veal is not as common, as it is in Vienna (Wien), Austria. My picture above shows a pork cutlet. So you may ask why I post a recipe that so many people already make. My answer?

Here are valuable secrets for the best schnitzels ever!

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Wholesome, Delicious & Easy Homemade Granola

All natural goodness and worth the splurge!

I’ve always liked granola and tried making it homemade a number of times, but this version is the best I’ve ever had! It’s more than worth the splurge. Yet it has some healthy additions that help offset any guilt. Sometimes I do indulge in eating it in a little milk, but a little goes a long way as it’s so flavorful, crunchy, and satisfying. It’s also perfect sprinkled on top of yogurt or ice cream or as part of a parfait.

This homemade granola is super easy to make. You can vary the nut, fruit and seed options, but I strongly suggest considering all (or at least some) of the ones I use. It’s a perfect combination! I’ve been making it frequently as I have a very large supply of honey in my pantry. Beekeeping is very popular in Czech Republic, where I now live. My brother also keeps honeybees in New Jersey, in the US. It’s a good practice as the honeybee populations are crucial to maintain in the world. Plus, honey tastes marvelous!

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Czech Hopl Popl (Ham, Sauerkraut and Dumpling Mish Mash)

Hopl popl is basically the equivalent of the English words “Mish Mash” and is one of many Czech comfort food meals. Here I used potato gnocchi, but leftover Czech bread or potato dumplings (cubed) can also be used. They are combined with sauerkraut, browned onion, caraway seeds, and whatever flavorful pork product you have on hand. Some sour cream on the top is optional, but tasty. It’s definitely a low cost meal that fills you up. Though it may look quite unhealthful, remember that sauerkraut is a powerhouse of vitamins.

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To my blog followers – Changes to blog niche

During the course of the five years posting on “Bird Flight” blog, my focus has gone from mental health issues and experiences (mainly bipolar disorder) to more travel, world cultures, and culinary/recipe offerings. Indeed, I enjoy posting about all kinds of things, but believe I should pick a more specific niche for this particular spot. I’ve decided to retain this blog, but mostly for just travel and culinary-related posts. For mental health topics, and light journaling purposes, I’ve created a separate blog on WordPress, and have done an export/import of select posts, accordingly.

Other reasons for the split above?

  • I’m yearning for more anonymity in regards to my mental health-related postings. Some may have noticed this category of posts absent, lately. There is more freedom with a degree of anonymity.
  • My followers, and other visitors, may be frustrated with the previous “hodgepodge” of posts here.
  • I may be able to grow this blog (and an additional new one) further with a more focused niche. There will also be more room improvement of both blogs.

So how might that affect my blog followers?

Well, you surely have a choice to make. Maybe decide to remain a follower here (with the focus on travel and culinary stuff/recipes)? Perhaps learn more about my new mental health focused blog (that includes all past ones of the niche)? Or, unfollow this blog completely or even remain a follower here AND follow my new additional blog? Regardless of the choice, I understand.

Where is my new solely mental health-related blog?

I will not provide a link here, for obvious reasons. However, if you wish to be notified in private, I can provide that info (at my discretion) via private message. I can be contacted through the CONTACT form on the menu bar or by clicking here.

So what’s been up with me, lately?

Well, besides just baking Christmas cookies and cooking Czech dishes? LOL! I’ve also spent a full year living in a new country. About a year ago, my husband and I made a big move from the US to Europe. Yup, Czech Republic. It’s been quite a stressful and also peculiar experience, particularly since we did it during a once in a century pandemic. 

Hearty thanks to all who’ve supported me here over the years! I look forward to a continued interaction with many on one of my blogs, and of course plan to follow others’.

– updownflight

Szeged Style Sauerkraut Goulash (Segedínský guláš)

Winter is a great time to enjoy Central European goulash. Previously, I posted a recipe for a beef goulash famous in the Czech city of Znojmo (with pickles). Find it by clicking here. Below, I share a pork goulash inspired by one made famous in Szeged, Hungary (with sauerkraut). Truth is, there are many types of goulash served throughout Central Europe, including Czech Republic. Perhaps I’ll post about one of these others in the future.

Czechs love their sauerkraut, and in addition to it just tasting so good, it is full of nutrients.

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Leftover poppy seed or walnut filling muffins

What can I do with leftover poppy seed filling or nut filling? These muffins may be your answer! They are quick and easy to make and even freeze well. I had some of both of these fillings leftover after making filled Czech Christmas cookies. Other recipes that may leave such leftovers include Czech kolache (koláče), filled sweet yeast-based buns (buchty), or even strudel (závin).

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Psaníčka, Šátečky a Koláčky (Envelopes, Scarves & Koláčky Cookies)

Left to right: Koláčky, Envelopes, Scarves, & Triangles with various fillings

These filled cookies are another recipe including farmer cheese (tvaroh). The individual names only refer to the styles of folding the dough around their fillings – their shapes. The dough is the same for all. You can choose the filling(s) and mix and match between different folds/shapes. The main sweetness for the cookies comes from the traditional Czech fillings and later confectioner’s sugar dusting.

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Marzipan Stuffed Dates with Candied Fruit (Plněné datle)

Dates are popular treats at Christmas time throughout the world. It’s definitely the case in Czech Republic, where I’ve seen beautiful ones in holiday baking sections at grocery stores. Here they are stuffed with marzipan that has a bit of orange essence, and then top with candied fruit, another ingredient you see a lot of in Czech stores around the holidays. Though any candied or dried fruit works well, I particularly love to use the combination of candied orange peel and halved dried cranberries on top. If you have the marzipan ready and handy, these are quick to make.

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