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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!!!!!!!