Our cool office mate Helene Jelenc aka Wandering Helene. Photo: personal archive.

You know there is LOVE in Slovenia, and that’s exactly what brought our office mate Helene to this country. Now with a surname Jelenc, this wanderlust anthropologist, travel blogger and freelancer met her now-husband at a friends’ wedding 3 years ago, and here they are, living in a house at the edge of Ljubljana with proper garden and even chicken. (Wandering) Helene loves to travel to new places, wander old streets, try new foods, and document her experiences through photography and writing. And apparently, loves traditional Slovenian food pražen krompir or roasted potato too! See her treasured recipe below.

What’s it like to live in Slovenia? How can you compare it to other places you have lived in?

Life in Slovenia is good! I lived in England for a few years before coming here so it is interesting to compare the two. I would say bureaucracy is an absolute nightmare everywhere but Slovenia excels in this arena. I was fortunate to speak the language in England, and so here that is an ongoing challenge but I am always learning. Besides that, Slovenian landscapes are like those I’ve seen in movies, the people are warm and welcoming, and Slovenian food is always a special experience. 

Helene Jelenc likes to wander – hence the Wandering Helene travel blog was made. Photo: personal archive.

What’s your favorite Slovenian food and drink, and what do you miss from elsewhere?

Pražen krompir (roasted potato) is my favorite. I chose it because I wanted to learn how to make it for myself! A self-proclaimed potato lover and aficionado offered me his prized recipe – see it below. But it is even better with Kranjska klobasa. I was never wild about sausage but you guys have something special there! Delicious. As for Slovenian drink, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t say wine! I haven’t tried a Slovenian wine I didn’t like yet. That said, I miss a lot of things from a lot of places. This is an unfortunate part of moving around the globe. I miss cheesesteaks, pirogies, breakfast burritos, stuffed french toast, and meat pies!

Where do you like to hang out in Ljubljana?

I really love spending time in the center of Ljubljana. Being outside and admiring the architecture and greenery during the summer never gets old. If it is a rainy day then I like to pop into a coffee shop, Pritličje is a personal favorite. 

If you had a friend or family member visiting for a week, how would you spend it in Slovenia?

I would probably try to squeeze in the highlights but also share unique experiences. We would start in Ljubljana sightseeing and eating our way around the city, then to Velika Planina for something special, a day hiking in Triglav National Park, drive down Vršič Pass and see the Soča River. Stop in Goriška Brda for some wine and food tasting and end it in Piran, my favorite seaside spot in Slovenia. I ran out of days. This is why you should come to Slovenia for at least 2 weeks!

Wandering Helene wants you to visit Slovenia – and spend at least two weeks here! Photo: personal archive.

Helene’s recipe for pražen krompir (roasted potato)

Ingredients for two people:

  • 0,5 kg of potatoes (you can always use more)
  • 1 onion (ratio of 5:1 potatoes – onions)
  • Pork fat
  • Pork cracklings
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Wash the potatoes, put them in a bowl and pour cold water (add at least two or more fingers of water above the potatoes to really cover them with water). Add salt and cook the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes (or as much time as it is needed for them to be cooked).

After cooking, remove the potatoes from the stove and pour the water out of the pot. When the potatoes are cool, peel them and cut it into thin pieces (a couple of mm thick).

While waiting (for the potatoes to cool down), you can also peel onions and cut them into thin slices. Add grease to the pan (not too much), and quickly add the onions (add some salt to release the water from the onions).

When the onions are browning, add chopped potatoes and cook, initially at low temperatures (till the potatoes are slightly brown or develop a crust). Then turn/stir the potatoes and roast them on (you can increase the temperature). Potatoes are then constantly stirred and rotated to roast evenly. Add salt while cooking (based on your preference). 

When potatoes are well-roasted, add the cracklings and keep on roasting until they are roasted as well (a bit brownish with a crust). At the end you add a bit of pepper.

Thanks for reading!

If you crave some more delicious experiences, come join our food tours! Also, if you need help with your travel planning to Ljubljana and/or Slovenia, do not hesitate to contact us as we do also offer these services. Cheers from the yummy side of the Alps!