Is there a time, does any reader know, when the whole world is asleep? I’ve had bouts of insomnia at awkward hours; too early to make a din in the kitchen and too late to phone someone for a chat. So, I come online and all I find are creepy Goths gnawing at their wrists. Is there a time, an hour of the day, when only the underbelly of the world is awake?

I don’t know, but at these times I find the safest and quietest option is to go to the kitchen anyway, and make something very quietly. I have found that stirred dishes, like jams, preserves and chutneys, are a sure win. Roasting vegetables, too, is a good idea.

Pic: Shannon Vineyards

The South African Food & Wine Blogging fraternity recently lost one of its most stalwart champions, Dusan Jelic, who returned to his native Serbia. At his departure from our shores we all wiped away tears. But modern life has brought us the wonderful opportunity to stay in touch, and Dusan is able to share his constant hunt for food and wine news with us in ‘real time’ via Facebook and Twitter.
A few days ago, Dusan posted a link to what looked like the kind of cooking I like best, a short list of simple ingredients and an end result of the truest kind of food flavours imaginable; Ajvar. I couldn’t wait to make it and taste it.
This dish is endemic to Dusan’s world, eaten as a snack spread on home-made bread, or as a condiment with roasted meats, it is known as ‘”Serbian vegetable caviar” a very apt descriptor. …

Be happy back home,Dusan, with your beautiful wife and your gorgeous little boy, Stefan Luka. Au revoir, until then we’ll see you on the net. South Africa is poorer for having lost you.

Pic: Shannon Vineyards

And don’t forget, you still owe me the recipe for pogacha …

Oh, and for my readers, here is the recipe for ajvar:


And here Sally has put a Russian version:




50 Comments Add yours

  1. How sad to see friends leave but great to have the wonders of technology to keep us in touch!
    Off to have a look-see at the recipe.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, it would have been very sad to lose touch with him.

  2. Tilly Bud says:

    Sorry to hear about the insomnia.

    1. theonlycin says:

      No worries, Tilly, I have got used to it and use the time constructively 🙂

  3. leigh says:

    Sleep? Elusive, like butterflies.

  4. Tandy says:

    my heart stopped a moment when I read LOST. That looks like I could have it with lunch today please xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is so yummy and so full of possibilities, I am using some of it in a braised shin bake for tonight’s supper as I will be out all afternoon and supper needs to slow-cook itself in the oven. I also think it would be great on pasta for meatless mondays 🙂

  5. Colleen says:

    Awesome recipe. I will definitely try it…..thank you for sharing. And thank you Dusan too. Love that guy 🙂 I also like to work in the kitchen if I can’t sleep. Have a good weekend Cindy xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      You enjoy your weekend too, Colly 🙂 xxx

  6. bandsmoke says:

    How wonderfully delicious and such a tasty name “ajvar” 🙂 Dusan exudes great warmth in his pictures, I’m glad you are still able to keep in touch.

    1. theonlycin says:

      He really is a warm guy, bandsmoke 🙂

  7. Ah, this I’m going to make. i’ve heard of it before and it looks amazing. And anything to spread on toast gets my vote.
    I’m off to research the night-owl thing…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Kate, it keeps well in the fridge for a week and freezes really well, nice pantry staple to have on hand.

  8. slpmartin says:

    I shall give this one a try…let’s see who are my next dinner guests? 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Whever they are, they’re in for a treat 🙂

  9. SidevieW says:

    it looks amazing

    i have to admit I have woolworths chicken soup lined up for my supper

    1. theonlycin says:

      You are poorly, chicken soup is what you need 🙂

  10. earlybird says:

    I’m in awe that you make jam and chutney in the ‘dead hours’ – doesn’t the smell of sugary fruit/vinegary fruit wake the household? 🙂

    I think I’ll give Ajvar a try.

    Hope you get a night’s sleep tonight.

    1. theonlycin says:

      The house is sprawled so I don’t think they smell anything, besides, they sleep like stones 🙂

  11. Oh, I hate good bye’s but then – thankfully – other things come along and we move forward with the fond memories 🙂

  12. Oh, and then often we are able to move on and stay in touch with good memories via the internet 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, bless technology 🙂

  13. Tammy says:

    Insomnia can be a gift – the quiet time between night and dawn is where many secrets are told.

    1. theonlycin says:

      And it’s a time when solitude brings valuable introspection too, Tammy 🙂

  14. dearrosie says:

    I wonder what kind of dreams one would have at your house when the aroma of jam cooking or vegetables roasting wafts over one’s nose in the middle of the night???

    1. theonlycin says:

      Probably the dream that wakes me up and causes the insomnia 😉

  15. granny1947 says:

    You guys blow me away….I NEVER have the urge to cook when I can’t sleep!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Not? What do you do then?

    2. Linda says:

      I’m with you granny! I just stick to watching TV. I don’t want to cook ever.

      1. theonlycin says:

        Haha Linda, I sometimes watch TV too … the Food Channel 😉

  16. nrhatch says:

    From my perspective . . . the whole world is asleep at the switch all the time.

    We spend far too much time worrying about trivial concerns and not nearly enough time addressing the issues that really matter.

    As a result of our distraction, those in power stay in power . . . and “we the people” pay the price.

    1. theonlycin says:

      And we eat not enough healthy picnics?

    2. nrhatch says:


      I confess to being disappointed that we didn’t get a rocking discussion about capitalism and its shortcoming going today . . . but it is my own fault.

      What the hell was I thinking posting that type of post on a Friday ~ at the end of a long hard work week???

      My bad.

      Enjoy the weekend!

      1. theonlycin says:

        It was a VERY slow day on the blogs, maybe you should repost it midweek?

  17. Pseu says:

    Yum! That recipe looks lovely but I don’t think I can get all the ingredients here….

  18. theonlycin says:

    Of course you can. they are prolly in your garden right now!

  19. bluebee says:

    Enough antioxidants in that Ajvar for a month – how delicious, and the colour is beautiful on the table too 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Isn’t it just glorious? I aim to have it in my fridge at all times from now on 🙂

  20. Linda says:

    Slightly reminds me of something my grandmother used to make. I can’t remember what she called it though. It was spicy and hot I think. I never ate it. I have no idea why.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Not to late to start now 🙂

  21. souldipper says:

    There’s a comfort to knowing most of the world around me is asleep. There will be no demands for my time or attention. I turn on the light to read. Then Duc comes knocking at the window to be let in so he can have my full attention, be fed and play. *Feigning sleep*

    Here’s a gift for you for one of those sleepless nights: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/breads/r/pogacha.htm . I had to look it up so thought I may as well share it. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, going to try the recipe 🙂

  22. The Hook says:

    Someone looks happy….

  23. What a lovely send-off, Cindy.

    A nice post and appreciat the link to Balkan recipes. I will read that one through you can be sure …

    Jamie Dedes

  24. sonsothunder says:

    Whoops, apparently I thought I was commenting on this post last night…ooops, disregard the comments on your latest post, about how good the bread looks..(Especially, as there ISN’T ANY bread mentioned on it) Just apply it to this post instead.

    God Bless You

  25. libraryscene says:

    Must say that does sound yummy…veggie caviar, I like it ~

  26. Naomi says:

    You never cease to amaze, Cin. I’m hard-pressed to get creative in my kitchen during the day, never mind at midnight 🙂 This all looks delicious and best wishes go with Dusan and his family…

  27. pinkpolkadotfood says:

    When I can’t sleep, I read… To cook or bake will be to difficult for me…you are amazing, Cin!

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