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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Pear & Ginger Upside Down Cake

This is a variation to the previous blog Pear upside down cake, the cinnamon is optional.
A delicious dessert with custard on the freezing snow filled Bulgarian nights, The villagers love it too!
3 pears, peeled, cored & sliced

175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour
1tsp cinnamon
1 - 2tsp Ginger
2dsp Golden Syrup or Honey
3 tbsp milk
Grease a 8” deep cake tin.

Toss the pears in the ginger & arrange the pears over the bottom of the prepared tin. Swirl over the syrup.
Using an electric beater or a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, adding them one at a time and mixing well after each one.
Add the flour & cinnaman to the bowl, gently fold it into the mixture, then stir in the milk.
Spoon the cake mixture evenly over the pears and smooth the surface.
Cook in a preheated oven at 160c fan or 180C for 45 minutes, until the surface is firm, and the cake comes slightly away from the sides of the dish.
Remove from the oven, let it cool, then turn onto plate.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Pear Upside Down Cake

It's pear season here in Bulgaria & my crop has been null & void, literally bare trees then i found a handful that had fallen from the top I have managed to get this one dish from them! The good old favorite upside down cake my favourite while growing up then like all the really good puds relegated to the "do you remember when"  & only dragged out every ten years! Well I can't think of anything better to do with a couple of pears
3 pears, peeled, cored & sliced
2 tbsp runny honey optional
175g Margarine
175g Sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour, sifted
3 tbsp milk
Grease a cake tin. If using honey line with baking paper
Arrange the pear over the bottom of the prepared tin and set aside. If using honey spread this over bottom of tin first

Using a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, adding them one at a time and mixing well after each.
add the flour to the bowl, gently fold in, then stir in the milk.
spoon the cake mixture evenly over the pears.

cook in a preheated oven at 180C or fan 160c for 45 minutes, until the surface is firm and the cake comes away from the side of the dish.

remove from the oven, leave to cool , then turn onto plate.

Serve warm with custard, cream or icecream

Saucy Apple Peach & Plum No Onion Chutney

Chutney is my new favourite thing to make & eat & I enjoy the fact you can make your own recipes easily & they work! I always thought people who made chutneys were something special but that is rubbish, its so easy, its a shame I have wasted years not making them! Well now I have so much fresh produce to hand its great making all these lovely flavoursome jars of fruit & veg mixes. I just need the room now to store them!
This is a lovely fruity chutney its a bit runny but makes a beautiful sauce to have with meat or salads.  Especially nice with Banitza.
This recipe uses Garlic instead of onion as I am intolerant but you can use onions instead!

Fruit to weigh total of 6lb
500ml Apple vinegar
1tbsp Ginger
2tsp Cinnamon
2tsp 5 Spice
1tsp Nutmeg
500gr Sugar
5 heads of Garlic,  if you are not intolerant use 1lb onions instead.
2tsp Salt
 Peel core & chop the apple, de stone the peaches & plums & chop these too. In a very large pan combine all the fruit spices garlic salt & vinegar, cook till fruit has softened, mashing the fruit on the sides of the pan so its smoother.

Add the sugar & stir till it has disolved bring to boil slowly then simmer till thickened & you can see the bottom of the pan when you run a spoon through it.

 Pour into sterilised bottles with plastic lids & seal for at least two months more if possible as chutneys get better with age. I always end up with a small jar of leftovers & have this if I cant wait for it to mature :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Plum & Apple Crumble or Sliven s Yabulka Sladkish

Normally a Bulgarian village meal does not end in a dessert unless its a special occasion then the cakes come out or it will be finished off with a cheese banitza. The funny thing is they have a very sweet tooth as you will find out when you buy a tray of tiny little cakes or biscuits! I have spent my time here introducing them to puddings they love them all & eat loads but never ever make them themselves. I have only had two desserts in two years & both were questionable & too sweet! One was bought to a meal & one was from next door as a thank you! I make desserts that can be easily made using everyday foodstuffs or using goods from the garden or small holding for instance there are lots of bees kept in the village so honey & the obvious fruit grown in all our orchards So here we are with our two most prolific crops this year, plums & apples………

This is a very popular dessert here & I hear lots of murmurings of mnogo hubovo mind you for the English it’s a bit like teaching your nana to suck eggs. Where did that saying come from my nana never sucked eggs or my mum, at least I don’t think so!

675gr Apples peeled cored & thickly sliced
12ish Plums lg purple like Victoria stoned & quartered
25g Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
2tbsp Water
280gr SR Flour
140gr Butter/margarine
140gr Sugar
70gr Oats
Pre heat your oven to 200c or fan 180c
Grease a baking dish
Put all the fruit in a pan with 25gr sugar, cinnamon & the water & heat gently till the fruit is soft & juicy.

Put the fruit in the greased dish

Mix flour butter & sugar together then stir in the oats. Make sure all the ingredients are combined well. Sprinkle crumble over the fruit & cook for 30 minuets.

Serve with custard or squirty cream (Bulgaria) If you are fortunate enough serve with single cream Mmmmm!

Traditional Bulgarian Banitza (Bahnitza) or Cheese Pie!

Banitza is one of the most eaten dishes here in Bulgaria. You can buy it everywhere, eat it hot or cold & it has many varieties of filling but most traditional is the cheese banitza. I have waited almost two years to make it because I didn't have a proper pan & didnt want to fudge it up. It is eaten as breakfast, main meal, dessert & a snack. I have had many, some have been dreadfull while others amazing. For dessert I have been given cheese banitza spinach banitza & pumpkin banitza.
I am pleased to say my recipe turned out to be amazing! If you like cheese you will love this. Why not use your favourite cheese instead of these & let me know how it turns out!

1 pk Filo pastry (you can also use the puff filo)
200gr Kashkaval or yellow cheese such as cheddar, chopped into small pieces
500gr Sirene cheese or Feta
7 eggs
100gr butter/margarine
1/2 cup Lemonade
1 cup Milk (you can also use yoghurt)
Preheat oven 200c or fan 180c

Mix 6 eggs blobs of butter/margerine, crumbled sirene & kashkaval cheeseswith the milk.

In a large buttered pan lay 3 leaves of filo greasing each piece before the next.

then spoon in a layer of the mixture. continue with this layering, doing three layers in all. Finishing with a layer of filo.

Lightly whisk the remaining egg  pour in the lemonade & pour the whole lot over the pastry making sure to get it all wet

Bake for 40 minuets or until golden

Monday, 13 September 2010

Oreh Keyk or Walnut Bar Cake

Walnuts abound here in Bulgaria & are lovely much better than the shop bought variety!!! I have a huge tree along with a few smaller ones so plenty of nuts available, this year though the crop has been bad I have only managed a few kilo's along with every other tree in the area. Thank goodness last years was bountifull & I am still using them in my baking. The Bulgarian's use Walnuts in many traditional recipes & it is a protected tree you can't chop them down.
This is a really nice bar type cake, in fact it's not a cake at all. Small squares or bars are the best way to cut it.
I make this with the walnuts from my tree, last years crop.

7oz Walnuts coarsely chopped
8oz Butter/Margarine
10oz granulated sugar
11oz Plain flour
Pinch salt
1 Egg separated
1tsp Vanilla extract
Pre heat oven to 180c, 160c if fan
Chop all the walnuts
Butter a cake pan I use a square one as its easier to cut in bars
Beat butter & sugar together till it is creamed. Mix in the flour salt vanilla extract & egg yolk till it is well mixed or blended. Mix the walnuts into the mixture making sure they are well mixed throughout.
Pour into a greased tin , level & press down firmly. Brush the top with the egg white if you wish
Bake in the oven for 30 minuets, check its cooked with a tooth pick if not dry continue for 5 minuets etc
Cooking time depends on how deep the mixture is so related to your tin size
Turn out to cool & cut into bars while warm, not hot!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Apple Marrow & Corgette No Onion Chutney

This chutney should be called Garden Chutney as it's made from produce grown in every village house across Bulgaria. The ingredients are normal for every home. Even when you are growing plenty on your property many more will be gifted via neighbours so lots end up in chutneys. this chutney is warm in a spicy way not hot a really nice acompaniment to bacon & eggs, salami or spread in ham sandwich etc even with a salad or just with crusty bread which is how I like it. 
2lb Apples
You want the above ingredients to come to 6lb total
3 heads Garlic
1 pint Vinegar malt
400gr Sugar
1tbsp Ginger
2tsp Salt
1tsp Chinese 5 spice
1tsp Cinnamon
1tsp Nutmeg

Peel deseed & chop the veg & apples. Place all the ingredients into a large pan  & bring slowly to the boil. simmer it gently for 90 minuets or so till the vegetables are soft & the chutney is thick enough to leave a channel when a spoon is drawn across the top.
Put into sterilised jars & seal & once cooled store in a cool dry place.
Leave to mature for two months or more

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Elderberry Jelly

Elderberry, this lovely looking berry grows profusely here in Bulgaria all along the hedgerows all over the village in fact my derelict house round the corner is over run with the wild bush during the summer. A beautiful looking bush & a must for finding something to make with them. I have no experience with wine making so new I couldn't do anything with them much this year (next will be different) so decided to make some jam & see what happens.
My neighbours were shocked when I gave them a jar of the Jam as they don't make anything from Elderberries. Such a shame as they are abundant & hold the promise of much.  I made this as a jam & quite honestly hated it so I gave a large jar away & was contemplating chucking the rest in the bin when an American FB friend clicked on my lightbulb moment when she said they fix messes with more sugar (Yes Vicki) well I didn't think it needed more sugar but got to wondering just what needed to be done as it had all the promise of a lovely sweet jam then had a bitter taste that took over! Kaboom strain out the berries & try it as a jelly!!!! Well folks now I can blog it as it is now something worth the effort & I will enjoy eating it & using it in cakes & puddings.
 I will find out the name for it as I didn't take any notice because I thought it was rank .....

Firstly please take note; The stalk branches leaves in fact every part of the bush is toxic so only use the berries!!!! Remove the berries from the stalks with the prongs of a fork.

2 kg Elderberries
2ltr Water
3kg Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon, optional
Wash the elderberries first then remove from stalks. Once you have weighed them put them into a large deep pan with the lemon water & bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer then cook them for 30 minutes. Press the berries on the side of pan to soften the fruit & release the juice.
Add the sugar stirring all the time till all the sugar is dissolved then bring it to a rapid boil for about 15 - 30 minuets. test the setting on a plate after 15 minuets if not set test every 5 mins, do not over cook!
When the jam is ready, ladle into a flour sifter over a large mouthed jug & strain the juice through pushing at the berries to get as much juice as poss out, do this part bit by bit, jar by jar. By pouring the jelly into the jar using the jug there is no spillage over the rim!!! Seal jar & leave to cool overnight then store in a cool dark place. Enjoy!!!!
This will make aprox 3 x 1lb jars of Jelly
I use the utensils I have to hand & a flour sifter large jug do the job nicely

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Shopska Salata or Shopska Salad :D

Shopska salad – Shopska is probably the most famous of Bulgarian salads,very refreshing & goes well with everything.
This is my personal favorite especially with all the lovely fresh tomatoes here & the creamy texture of the cheese.. We always have a bowl to share with our meal but invariably there is none left by the time our meal arrives! its also what we grow in the garden so easy & convenient.

Spring Onions
Sweet pepper/s
Sirene cheese (or feta)
Peel the cucumber, cube tomatoes and cucumbers, finely chopped onions and depending on the season either baked or fresh sweet peppers. layer in a bowl
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the salad & serve with oil, vinegar, lemon juice. I let individuals put their own dressing on as what one likes the other dislikes!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Yabulka s Sliva Ne Louk Otset or Apple & Plum No Onion Chutney

This is a recipe I put together today as I can't tolerate onions. It has been very difficult finding any chutneys without them. So this is a very fruity spicy Chutney just for me!
The fruit was all home grown even the raisins which dried up on the vine.

3 kilo Apples & Plums Split 50-50 or whatever split you have
350g granulated Sugar
2tsp Salt
400ml Cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground Ginger
1tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg

Peel & chop roughly the apples, de stone & roughly chop plums. crush & chop garlic. Put the fruit & garlic in a large pan mix together well. Put in each spice one at a time mixing each one in separately add in the salt & sugar then the vinegar, I did add some raisins that had dried on the vine this is optional!

Stir all the ingredients together then bring gently to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer the chutney gently  for 90 mins till chutney has thickened enough to leave a channel when you run a spoon across the top.
Put chutney into sterilised Jars & seal, leave for two months to mature, although if there is a little left over it is very nice!
Don't be too precious about the weights & measures
Dobur apetit!!!

Domatena Soupa or Tomato Soup

Every house in villages all over Bulgaria grow tomatoes & you will see in season beautiful tomatoes line the streets fill the markets big & juicy small round oval all shapes & sizes but fresh as you can get! Many things are made from these delectable little fruits they are preserved in jars made into a special Bulgarian sauce & I make lovely soups for winter warmth I also when I have the freezer room & the crop chop them fresh from the vine & freeze for use in mince sauce & chilli con carne. You will see Bulgarians with carrier bags overflowing with tomatoes coming from the markets even when they grow their own they never seem to have enough!
Easy peasy recipe for fresh tomato soup which tastes delicious & can be aded to if wished ie roasted peppers can be added I prefer the honest taste of the tomatoes!
I dont use weights & measures for this so just fudge it, you can't go wrong, but I will find a recipe with weights & put it underneath!

This is my recipe......
Garlic minced
Sunflower Oil for Bulgarian flavour or Olive oil
Basil dried or marjoram
Thyme dried
Salt to taste
Chicken stock
White Pepper
Onion diced & cook with garlic (I dont use onion as I cant tolerate it)

Mince or chop & crush the garlic
Chop the tomatoes small take out the hard bit inside
Mix up 2 pints or more of Chicken stock, use a good stock cube not a cheapie!

Heat sunflower oil in large pan & saute garlic. Add tomatoes herbs, stock & pepper simmer for 20 mins
If the tomatoes are not very sweet then add some sugar, I didnt need to.
Blend soup with a stick blender or pop into the processor & give it a few blasts.
Add some milk or cream when serving.
Freezes well, if freezing do not add the milk or cream
See I told you, can't get easier than that!!!!!!!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Tikvenic Tikva Banitsa or Pumpkin Pie


Or Tikva Banitsa. There are so many variations on Pumpkin pie but by far the tastiest for me has been the village Tikva Banitsa.
Pumpkins are another veggie grown in most village properties. Great big patches of green lilly pads (thats what they look like) in the summer crawling across the ground up & along fences & in the grape vines with little peeps of orange poking through then in the autumn as the leaves die down you are treated to their secrets with nobly crooked or perfect round bodies littering the mud floors. Beautiful orange green & yellows all shapes & sizes, all squash here are called by one name, not like us who have lots of names for different varieties. This year I have grown the orange round pumpkins as a trial I managed to get 12 decent size fruits lots were lost or came to nothing. Next year I plan on many more & different varieties too, all very exciting for a novice like me. I am particularly proud as I grew mine from seeds of the pumkins I cooked with last year. My favourite thing to cook with them is soup & scones but banitza is my next recipe to perfect! So much more to the humble pumpkin than a haloween lantern, just what have I been missing all these years! & please if you are in America stop buying the canned junk use fresh!!!!

I have been given two recipes. One a scrap of paper where I have scribbled ingredients & a get on with it attitude which I was about to do. The other a new friend has sent me a recipe from a Bulgarian cook book with the oven times & temps on, so I am combining the two & this is my Tikva Banitsa!
I dare say this will be changed & variated over the years & there are many Banitsa's out there including a no pastry Banitsa I am determined to make but I need the round Banitsa tin as it's a well runny affair!

Filo Pastry
Sunflower oil or melted butter
Pumpkin chopped into small chunks
8 - 10 oz Sugar to taste Brown if you have it, if you do use less of it.
5 oz Walnuts chopped
1 tbsp Cinnamon
Honey optional drizzle it over each layer

Oil pie tin well

Cook the pumpkin in a little water or steam till soft, drain it well push out some of the excess water
Mash the pumpkin then add the sugar & cinnamon & cook together over a very low heat stirring till all the water has gone.
Add the walnuts to pumpkin & mix it through well.
Layer the filo pastry & mixture oiling the filo on each layer don’t forget to drizzle with honey if you are using it!

end with a layer of filo & oil the top.

Cook in a pre heated oven 220c 425f till slightly brown then
180c 350f for 40-50 mins
Fan oven 200c then 160c

I cooked this today & got the thumbs up from my neighbours in fact they wolfed it down, so it must compare very well :D

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Potato & Vermicelli soup or Kartofi e Fide Soupa

This simple soup is a firm favorite with the our friends in the village if you have any leftover Goat or Chicken you can bung that in too!
A very rustic simple dish that is delicious I love it & will be making loads this winter but without the oil as it will be a frequent visitor to my table.
It's actually one of my favorites & very filling so if your having it as a starter you may want to dish up just a little. As with most village recipes there are no fixed weights & measures its mainly done on knowing or if like me, pure guess work!!! It always comes out perfect. I would have this as a main or a light lunch with crusty rolls from Kaufland Mmmm If I have friends from the village for dinner it will be the second course after the salade then would be followed by a meat dish. I serve it hot but most Bulgarians don't eat hot food,  so you would be very fortunate to get it barely warm, serve it with Limontus although i have it with fresh ground black pepper :D

1 kg potatoes, Peeled & cut into small cubes
4 x Spring onions ( if like me you can't eat onions use Garlic instead)
3 x Eggs
Handful Chubritsa/Savoury or Oregano
Oil For Bulgarian taste use Sunflower oil but you can use olive etc or if you want a healthier option it won't hurt to leave it out!
2 x Chicken stock cubes (if your using Bulgarian stock cubes leave out the salt)
3/4 tsp Limontus
Parsley, fresh if you have it

In a large pan of water bring to the boil salt, oil, & onions or garlic. When boiling add the potato boil until soft, then add the fide/vermicelli. In a separate large bowl whisk 3 eggs with the limontus (if you can get it) & add the chubritsa/oregano & whisk.
When the soup is ready add the stock cubes.
Take the soup of the heat & ladle some liquid slowly into the egg mixture stirring all the time,
 then tip back into soup & whisk.

Serve with limontus, black pepper & crusty bread!
Can use this recipe as a base for chicken or other meat soup just add precooked meat & bones to the mixture but I would recommend as is!!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Bourkanche krastavitsa e Otset or Pickled Gherkins

 Gherkins & peppers are a staple part of the Bulgarian diet always on the food table while the borkans are in the cellars & the shops are always full of the processed variety. Part of village life grow them then pickle them & put them on the table whenever anyone visits, these make up a messe with fresh laid hard boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika pepper. Mmmm I tell you we have a good life here! 
This is my village way of pickling & very nice they are too, you can add more sugar for a sweeter pickle, these are quite tart but go down lovely with a chasha of Rakia & a nice shopska salade

You will need.... per jar
5 cloves of garlic
fennel head
5 pepper corns 1 dsp sugar
1 dsp salt
5 dsp vinegar
1 asprin... optional

Fill jars with gherkins Add all ingredients & fill to top with water.
Seal jar & turn to mix all ingredients together. Stand jars in sun for 5 days & rotate the jars every day.
If you do not add the aspirin...... Place a cloth in the bottom of a large pan place the jars of pickles on & fill till jars covered bring to the boil & boil for 10 mins.
These pickles keep for at least a year longer actually, I am still eating the ones I canned last year & they are delicious!

Malko Godishninata Keyk or Anniversary Muffins

Its my Anniversary today so in the absence of my husband (who's working away in UK) & no outing to celebrate I developed this recipe & hope its nice!!!
The fruit is from my Garden
Malko Godishninata Keyk/Anniversary Muffins
230g Apples peeled & chopped
130g Plums large purple chopped
225g Plain flour
100g Caster Sugar
75g Butter or Margerine
3tsp Baking powder
Pinch Salt
2 tsp Vanilla sugar
1tsp Vanilla essence
225g Milk with dash of lemon juice or Buttermilk (I have never used Buttermilk)

Makes 10 muffins Preheat oven 200c

Toss chopped fruit in vanilla sugar.
Cream together Butter & sugar.
Lightly mix in flour, baking powder & salt.
Make a well & add milk mixture with vanilla essence, only moisten do not beat as you want the floury bits to make the muffin fluffy.
Fold the fruit into the mix lightly.
Spoon into Muffin cases
bake in preheated fan oven for 20 mins otherwise 25 mins
These muffins are best baked the day before eating as this enables the muffin to soften & the fruit to develop its flavour.
Enjoy xxx

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Courgette, Marrow, Cucumber & Apple Chutney or Tikvichka, Krastavitsa & Yabulka Chutney

My Bulgarian friends don't have an equivalent of chutney & have no idea what it is. They eat bread dry with every meal no butter or marg, chutney or jam, Although they do know jam & their Baba's used to make it, but  they don't seem to nowadays.
This is made from garden produce everyone grows
I have masses of apples in my garden & I'm not an apple eater so I do other things with them as I can't stand the thought of them going to waste. Last year we fed loads to the neighbours pig but this year I was determined to do as much as possible with what I have. So there will be various chutneys, cake, Rakia & Muffins along with any other recipes I can find, I may even do an apple pie mmmm.
Anyway back to this......
This is my own Chutney recipe & packs a bit of a punch, if that's not to your liking leave out the Cayenne pepper!
I gave the small jar to my friends & they said it was very hot, not many Bulgarians like hot!!! I left mine stored for a few months & it was not hot

2lb Apples
1 x Cucumber
1 med Marrow
1 x Courgette or 1lb if you can only get tiddlers
1lb 8oz Onions
1 pint Malt Vinegar
1lb Brown Sugar or golden sugar
1tsp Salt 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2tsp Ginger, ground

Peel, core, chop the apples. Finely chop the onion. Cut cucumber, marrow & courgette/s  in half, scoop out the seeds & peel off skin. Chop finely.
Place apples onion & veg in pan with the vinegar & bring to the boil, simmer till its soft.
Add sugar, salt & cayenne, stir till sugar has dissolved & continue simmering till the chutney has thickened.
make sure you stir it occasionaly to stop it sticking!
Pour into sterilised jars with airtight lids
Sterilise clean jars by 1/4 filling with water & heat full power in microwave for 4 mins, I do the lids by boiling them!

Easy Pickled Garlic Or Vinograd Bourkanche Otset Chessun

Garlic is a much grown vegetable here in fact there is two growing seasons, summer Garlic & winter Garlic & they have distinctly different flavours this is my winter Garlic, as yet I have not grown summer Garlic. Again Garlic is grown in every village & I think almost all houses. I know my friends eat it till its gone & will have skin permiating of the pungeant smell for weeks then all of a sudden its gone! Me I like to hang it & use it all year as I can't eat onions I use this instead so I have preserved it in different ways & also use it fresh from my garlic plaits hanging in my kitchen.
I have been waiting for my garlic to dry for a while now & have had it hanging plaited from hooks outside my kitchen. Well I finally got round to pickling some, talk about lots of faffing,
Here is the recipe, but it needs to be left in the fridge for two weeks to cure so be prepared!

Whole peeled Garlic Cloves
Whole Chilli
Red Wine Vinegar
Slices of Red Pepper
To peel the garlic, first break heads into cloves then place in boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge into cold water. Drain well & pop garlic out of casing, do this by squeezing gently from the thin end.
Now sometimes it wont pop out but it will peel easier!
When you have peeled your Garlic fill jars, Putting in one whole Chilli & some sliced Pepper, up to you what colour or you can mix it.
Put in one dessert spoon Salt in a large jar adjust for smaller jars & fill to top with Red wine vinegar, in Bulgaria I used the one with the red grapes on the label.& place lid.
Shake the jar/s to dissolve the salt & store in fridge two weeks to "cure".
This should keep almost indefinitely if covered & kept in fridge

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Italian Grape Cake

Oh my goodness this is theeeeee best cake EVER!!!! Thats if you like grapes of course.

Our grapes vines are mixed with both red, white, sweet and dry. I use the sweet red to make this cake and it is gorgeous. Its originally from the Italian vineyard area's of believe it or not, Italy  :-)
My mum gave me this recipe, its one she procured years ago on her travels there, when not many people had travelled to destinations outside England ooh many moons ago. I fell in love with this cake the first time she made it and it has been my all time fave ever since along with the rest of the family. So this is my mums recipe, made now from my own vineyard,  it brings me lovely memories every time I make it. My husband never had it till we moved here as it was always my mums special cake but with our vineyard I had to make it, it's now his favourite too along with the Yabulka! (Apple)
I hope you enjoy this recipe, if you like grapes then I guarantee you will adore this cake, it's really moist!

12oz black grapes
Heaped tsp baking powder
7oz Margarine
7oz Caster sugar
4 Eggs
12oz SR Flour
First you need to de seed the grapes, unless you have bought seedless of course!
Cream together sugar and fat.
Add 1 egg at a time with 2oz of the flour till its all mixed in.
add baking powder then grapes mix well to a stiff mixture
Pour into the greased tin andbake for 40 - 45 minuets at 180c or 160c fan
If not ready check it every 4 mins till it is cooked

serve this cold on its own or with cream or mascarpone cheese, Enjoy!

At the moment with no proper kitchen or storage space all I have available are these round tins but if you have a square cake tin this is best as you can cut the cake into squares, then it goes further!!!!

Vinograd Apple Cake

This is a traditional English recipe but I now live here and use village eggs and my home grown apples.
I am not a fan of the apple as it is, which is such a shame as we have masses, but in a cake, yum!
I have cooked many an apple cake here and it goes down very well with my Anglo/Bulgarian friends so I proclaim it as a soon to be traditional Vinogradian recipe. The recipe has been asked for and given to quite a few Bulgarians and is spreading round the region, the last one I took to a big celebration was talked about for weeks :-) Some English friends also adopted it and take it to all the Brit parties they go to so it is spreading through Northern Bulgaria. Try it and take it to your next Bulgarian party, they will love it.
This cake is delicious on its own, (I prefer it this way), sprinkled with icing sugar or served warm with ice cream and cream if you can get it or make it! So, perfect with café, as a hot or cold desert or just a quick snack.
It freezes well to so if like me you have a glut of apples batch bake and freeze to enjoy all winter!
Please don't use frozen or cooked apples as this cake is beautifully moist. If you use anything other than fresh Apples it will be horribly soggy.

225g Butter or Margarine
450g Apples peeled, cored and chopped small
Finely grated rind zest and juice of 1 lemon
225g caster Sugar
3 large Eggs
225g Flour (if not in Bulgaria SR Flour)
3tsp Baking powder or if using self raising use just 2 tsp
1 - 2 tsp Cinnamon
Put oven on 180c or 160c fan
Grease and line a 23 – 24cm cake tin
Toss apple in lemon juice. I do this while I am peeling and chopping so it keeps its colour.
Cream butter, sugar and zest until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time adding a little flour with each egg to keep it smooth.
Sift remaining flour, cinnamon and baking powder into the bowl and fold in.
Drain the apple well and stir into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into cake tin and level top.
Bake for 1 hour until well risen and brown. After 10 mins remove from cake tin, cool and dredge with caster sugar or icing sugar, if you have it.
If it starts to look a bit too brown while cooking cover with baking paper after 45 mins

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Traditional Baked Rice Pudding with Bulgarian Twist

Mmmmhmmm nothing better in winter or like today on an overcast day warming creamy smooth rice pudding, just like Mummy used to make! Oh but healthier I will put both healthy & unhealthy, has to be done occasionally, recipes here. Unfortunately I can't have the unhealthy one as I have not yet found what I need although I can get a litre of full fat Jersey milk from our friend Gosho the vet. made it with this once & it was truly lovely, I am always looking to make better & creamier rice pudding here in Bulgaria its a challenge!
Years ago there was a milk churner that turned full fat milk into cream, my Mum had one! Well I am desperate to find one as you cannot buy cream here not dairy cream its all long life made from vegetable fat??? Oh My Goodness!!!! You cannot substitute that for the real thing, so I get cravings! When I get to go back to UK I must go to Cornwall & have a proper clotted cream teas or if that's not possible I will get one in Rye or Battle when I visit my mum :D Right that's settled lets get on with the rice pudding!
I have one in the oven right now, can't wait!!!  I am looking forward to my soon to be born grandchild coming over to spend time with Nanna & feeding them traditional English heritage puddings I have such fond memories of my childhood based around food. Both my Mum & my Nan were cooks & my Nan always used to say "This is what they give mad dogs" ie; it calms the soul :D & I have to agree with her.

So, This is what you give mad dogs.....
For a healthier option.....
2 pints Semi Skimmed milk; or for even healthier Skimmed
4 oz Pudding rice; or if in Bulgaria just oris  :D
4 Tsp Sugar
Vanilla Essence
2 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
2 tsp Nutmeg or to taste the more nutmeg the better for the skin !!!!!
You can use mixed spice instead if your not making a skin.

Pre heat your oven to 170c
Grease a pudding bowl or dish with butter or margarine
Wash the rice & mix with the sugar & milk add vanilla, stir it well, mix into this the cinnamon depending on how much you like this spice its just as good without it but I love it, so for me I use lots but a little will do just as well.
Bake in oven 30 mins then give it a good stir then bake again 30 mins & another stir. After the second stir sprinkle over your nutmeg, a whole fresh grated nutmeg is best but ground nutmeg will do fine too.
Now bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours undisturbed. Enjoy hot or cold. Depending on what consistency you like
For a Bulgarian twist serve with Plum compote (see recipe blog all things Sliva) you can also serve it with just the plum juice so one day plums next day juice.

Once in a while recipe.......
2 pints of milk made up with... 1 sml can Evaporated milk then make up to 2 pints with full fat creamy milk
4 oz Pudding Rice
4 Tbl Sugar, you can stick to Dsp if you don't want it sweet
1 oz Butter
Vanilla Essence
2 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
2 tsp Nutmeg or to taste
You can use mixed spice if your not making a skin

Follow the same directions for cooking but dot with butter after all the stirring has been done, Enjoy!!!!!!
If the Evaporated milk is too much just use milk & pour a little evap over your individual serving.
You can also use single cream instead of Evaporated milk, hey whatever works for you personally I would try them all :D

Monday, 19 July 2010

Sliva....All Things far

Sliva Bulgarian for Plum.

We have had an abundance of Damson plums in my garden a mix of white, purple & red plums. Small medium round & oval-ish but all delicious!
There are still the odd few around, I had a handful to eat off a tree this morning but not enough to make anything now. Although I may be able to find some in the hedgerows to make a Plum Clafoutis a really delicious desert Mmmmm!
Good job then that I had been hard at work harvesting the tree’s I have & have managed to preserve lots of jars of both Compote & Jam so here are the recipes for both.

These are two VERY easy ways to preserve your plums! I wish I had done this when I had a very prolific Victoria plum tree in Droitwich Spa all I did with those was plum crumble or freeze plums for crumble, which of course is just as nice but boring after a while!


4 lbs (1.8 kg) damsons, not quite ripe
¼ pint (145 ml) water
4 lbs (1.8 kg) sugar for a tart plum, I use less for a sweet plum
Wash and wipe the damsons. Pick over to remove stalks & check for soft or bruised plums, discard.
Put plums into a pan with the water and simmer gently until the fruit is soft, pressing the damsons against the sides of the pan to break open and release the stones. Remove the stones.
Add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 - 14 minutes until the jam sets when tested, do this by dropping a small amount on a saucer you have put in the freezer, leave for a min or two & if it puckers when you push it with your finger it is ready. Remove the remainder of the stones as they rise to the surface.
Remove the scum if there is any.
Pot and seal while still hot.

If the jam is not set after 10 mins check it after another 4 mins

Compote is so easy & you use this for not only Plums but Apples, Pears, Cherries, Peaches, Apricots & any other fruits you may have an abundance of
First wash & sterilise your jars, I recycle all my jars from sauces , tomatoes & jam.
The dishwasher is a great way to clean & will sterilise but only if you are using then immediately. If not rinse jars again 1/3 fill with water & put in microwave for 4 minuets high power. I sterilise the lids by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl. Be careful when removing them from microwave as they will be very hot!

Check your plums do not use any that are bruised or showing signs of degeneration.
Wash plums, Leave the pips in.
Empty sterilised jars of water.
Fill the jar near to top with the plums, you can mix different varieties if you wish, then add 6dsp sugar fill to top with water so all the plums are covered seal lid on jar. Gently turn & rotate the jar to dissolve the sugar before you boil.
Line a large pan with a cloth, I use a tea towel, put in jars & fill pan with water to top of jars bring water to boil & boil for 20 minuets this will also seal the lids to the jars you will hear the pings as they are cooling & the lid will no longer depress in the top. Remove carefully from boiling water, I bail out water with a jug first till I can grab the jars safely with a cloth or oven glove. Put them on the side to cool, this will take quite a while.

The jars of fruit will last in a cool place for a good year or more, I keep mine in the cellar

This recipe is not Bulgarian but well worth making when you have an abundance of Plums. This recipe originates from France (Limousin)
You can use the plums previously compoted.  Also make with cherries, Mmmm

Plums, white or red
3/4oz butter
1oz plain flour
1oz caster sugar
3 eggs
350ml milk

Set oven at gas 4 180c 350f
Butter a shallow baking dish & add the plums
Mix the flour, caster sugar, eggs & milk until smooth & creamy
Pour mix over the plums & bake for 30 - 35 mins When cool dust with icing sugar or sugar.
Enjoy with thick Mascaponi cheese, Ice cream or if you can get it cream!