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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Cheese Scones with Flavour

Its very difficult to get a cheese here in Bulgaria that has any taste, well that is if you don't want to spend an absolute fortune! So these scones will have flavour even with a cheese that is not strong tasting on its own. Enjoy with a cuppa or you can have them for lunch with a meaty salad.

40g Butter cut into sml chunks
7 oz Sr Flour
Pinch salt
2 oz cheese grated
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Mustard powder
100 ml Milk
Mix together flour, salt, mustard & cayenne together with your hands then add butter & rub in with finger tips till it looks like breadcrumbs. stir in cheese & add milk a little at a time stirring with a knife till dough is soft.
Turn onto a floured top & knead gently. Roll out to required thickness & cut out. Place on a greased baking sheet brush tops with milk & bake in pre heated oven 220c for 10 - 15 mins.
Best warm with a spread of butter but just a nice on their own :D

Curried Mince with Potatoes & Spinach

It's fresh spinach season here so lots of lovely fresh grown & cheap Spinach in the markets. Iron packed & tasty I love it in this dish. This is a tasty & filling meal easy to prepare & goes down a treat!
I cook this as a healthy meal but you can add oil if you prefer.

250g Mince beef, pork or lamb (I use pork here in Bulgaria)
Frylight or olive oil
Chicken or beef bovril (healthy option) or oxo cube
1 tsp medium Curry powder
1 tsp Ginger or inch fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 pint water
Potatoes peeled chopped into quarters or new potatoes washed
Fresh Spinach
Spray a large fry pan with fry light, fry off the mince  drain the fat & place back in pan. Add garlic, mushrooms & if using, onion. Cook on a simmering heat till softened then add curry powder, oxo or bovril, ginger & cayenne. Mix in then add water & chop up tomato add this to the mix, stir then add potatoes cover pan & cook on a slow simmer for one hour.
Check liquid doesn't dry out.
 When potatoes are cooked add spinach & wilt.
Mix in
Serve on its own or with a salad.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Italian Pot Roast

This is my very favourite dish. My mum is my inspiration for this & I am amazed I can make it taste as good as her! My mum is a truly fabulous cook & can make anything. Mum makes the best pastry too & I have been bought up with no money but the most fabulous food & desserts. Mum has traveled the world in her later years & always bought back recipes from foreign lands. When everyone around me was eating meat & veg I was being treated to curry that blew your head off, this in the days when take away food was the chippie down the road or the pie, mash & liquor shop. I will never forget the curry where we were all jumping around as mum had used tbls instead of tsp! There was only ever two dishes she bought back which I really didn't like, a baked cheesecake from somewhere & a cataplana from Portugal, ughh to both of them!
I wish I had photos of the amazing black forrest gateaux she became renound for it was as tall as a skyscraper & was a moist creamy deliciousness. Mum also used to make me my favourite strawberry tarts, I so miss her fabulous cooking.

This dish is so blooming easy but people think it must be very difficult to make because it is so fantastic, to me this was mums signature dish & now it is mine. It's a definite dinner party dish, you don't need to be up to your ears in the kitchen for two days to impress :)
So this dish is made with Beef but I also use Pork & Goat The photo's here are with pork.

The relevant size joint of beef
1/2 cup Brandy or Rakia
1/2 a cup Red wine
Oxo cube
Peppers Red & Green chopped
Onion chopped (I omit these as I'm intolerant)
2 Cloves of Garlic
Ginger 1 tsp or fresh
Few fennel seeds
Place the beef in a casserole dish & add the brandy, wine, oxo, onion, garic, peppers, ginger, mushrooms & fennel seeds.
Marrinade the meat, covered, overnight. Baste occasionally & turn the beef half way through.  
Add water till it is 1/3 way up meatc.
Cover & cook in med - low  oven for 4 hours or more, turn halfway through
Check on gravy so it doesn't dry out & if it needs replenishing remember add water but also a little wine.
Take meat out & carve separately.
Thicken gravy with cornflour & pour over the plated meat, I use the term loosely as its so tender. Do NOT cook this all day as you will just cook out all the flavour of the meat!
If you are watching your weight you can serve without thickening as I do, but for dinner parties I always thicken it.
This can also be cooked on the hob... Place in stock pot instead Bring to the boil then simmer
slowly for two hours or more.

Serve..... best with roast potatoes & seasonal veg but can also be served with mash potato or rice.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

Mmmm I love this easy chicken recipe. you can almost add anything but there are a few basics that make it a Cacciatore, A traditional Italian dish you serve with any type of pasta. I think this is a warming meal in winter as well as a relaxed summer dish served with a side salad it makes great out door food!
It may be a traditional Italian dish but can be very easily adapted to be at home in Bulgaria. 

Fry light or Olive oil
Mushrooms sliced & chopped
Onion chopped
Pepper any type chopped
Garlic head crushed & chopped
Mushrooms chopped
Carrots x 4 diced
Chicken breast, 1 per person, diced
Large jar or can of chopped Tomatoes
Pepper, ground black
2 tsp Oregano
Bay leaf
3/4 cup Red wine
You can also add, black olives, ham & mozarela cheese.

Over medium heat in a large skillet. Brown chicken on all sides in fry light or
hot oil, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken. Add chopped onion, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender. Mix in the carrots. Stir in tomatoes, wine, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Add chicken back to sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaf and serve with spaghetti or other pasta.
You can also serve this with a side salad & roast potatoes.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Chicken Tarragon

This is a lovely clean dish, easy to make & tasty enough for a dinner party
6 Chicken drumsticks
1 Onion, I omit this as I am intolerant, just use extra garlic
1 head of garlic
2 - 4 Carrots chopped into rounds
Potatoes cut small if in season use new potaotoe's
1 - 2 Tsp Tarragon
Fry light or little oil
1 pint Chicken stock
Ground black pepper
Salt if you wish
On the hob, brown chicken in a little fry light or oil. Add garlic (& onion) & sweat down. Add carrot, tarragon then stock. Stir well then add potatoe's. Stir in. A few twists of black pepper & salt if you wish (I omit salt).
Cover pan & simmer on a very low heat for 40 - 60 mins but keep checking sauce, do not let it run dry.
Serve on its own or with salad or extra veg.

Peach & Plum Muffins

The markets in the summer here are full of lovely fresh fruits. Some of my favorites are peach & plum, both of which I have in my garden but we have had disappointing peaches for the last two years, so I buy lovely big juicy ones from the markets.

Here is a recipe for a lovely muffin combining both fruits.
A light alternative to serve with coffee, on a hot afternoon.

3 – 4 Plums chopped
2 Peaches chopped
1 Peach sliced
75g Butter or margarine
100g Caster sugar
225g Plain flour
3 Tsp Baking powder
225 ml Buttermilk, made with milk & lemon juice
1 Tsp Vanilla essence
1 Tsp Vanilla sugar
Toss chopped plums in vanilla sugar.
Cream caster sugar & butter together. Add flour & baking powder & fold in, don’t beat it.
Make a well & add milk & vanilla essence, fold in enough to just moisten the flour.
Add the fruit, fold in keep flour lumps.
Spoon mixture into muffin cases & add a slice of peach on top.
Bake in a pre heated oven 200c 25 minuets or 20 minuets for a fan oven
Until golden & risen, I test with a tooth pick.

Malko Praskova Keyk or Peach Muffins Gorgeous

These are my favourite Muffins, I just wish I could have used my own grown peaches but this year I have lost the crop to a fungal disease :-(
Cook these Muffins one day before you need them to develope the soft Muffin texture & for the flavour to come out.
These are my favorite Muffins, I just wish I could have used my own grown peaches but this year I have lost the crop to a fungal disease :-(

Cook these Muffins one day before you need them to develope the soft Muffin texture & for the flavour to come out.

Pre heat oven at 200c or 180c fan

2 – 3 Peaches Chopped.
75g Butter or margarine
225g Milk with a dash of lemon juice
100g Caster sugar
225g Flour
3 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp Vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
Cream together sugar & butter.
Mix in flour & baking powder.
Make a well & add milk, fold in, don’t beat it.
Add peaches & vanilla essence, fold in.
Spoon mixture into muffin cases, bake for 20 – 25 minuets until golden & risen, test with a tooth pick.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Upside Down Plum Cake

In the summer we have lots of plum tree's. Different varieties & sizes but all sweet. I tend to make lots of jam with the smaller variety both red & white but also preserve them for the winter.
I have used some of my preserved plums & homemade jam for this recipe but you can use the larger variety plum & either plum or mixed fruit jam.

 For the base
30g Butter softened
30g Demerara sugar
2 tbsp Plum jam
Plums halved & stones removed
For the cake
100g Butter softened
100g Caster sugar
3 Eggs
100g SR Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp Milk
Preheat oven 180c or 160c fan
Sauce..... Beat butter, sugar & jam together & spread over the bottom of a cake tin. Add the plums.
Beat together butter & sugar then add one egg at a time with a little flour & beat well.
Sift remaining flour, baking powder & cinnamon & fold in well. Spoon mixture over the plums.
Bake for 45 - 50 mins untill well risen
Serve hot with Mascarpone cheese, cream or custard

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Kavarma, a Traditional Bulgarian dish

Kavarma is a traditional Bulgarian meal & must be tried when you are here. Every region has its own recipe so you will come across different types of Kavarma in different restaurants let alone regions. It can be served with rice or with potatoes & vegetables.
Its delicious & can be made with other meats but this recipe uses pork. You will find restaurants here will have Pork, Chicken & veal.
You will need.....
3/4 kg Pork
Dash of  sun flower oil
4-5 Leeks
Onion I have omited this here as I am intolerant but add with leeks & Garlic
1 tbsp Tomato paste
1 tsp Red pepper
1 tsp pepper1/3 cup wine
1/2 cup water
Chop meat & remove excess fat, fry in a little oil. Remove & put aside in dish
Fry the leeks in the oil add a salt to taste, tomato paste & Peppers. Pour in white wine & water. Put meat back into sauce & stew on a low heat until the sauce has reduced but don't let it dry out.
Serve with rice or with potatoes & vegetables.

Chilli, Ristra's, Drying & flaking

Wow its been 5 months since my last food blog so here it is................
I grew my own chillies through the summer & as well as cooking with fresh chilli I also made chilli ristra's & hung them up to dry. I apologise for not having a photo of the Ristra's.
To make a chilli ristra you need to pick the chilli with a long stalk then thread a needle with cotton & pierce the stalk at an angle slanting upwards pull the cotton through then add the next chilli in the same way. Move the chillie's around so the ristra is evenly spaced & then hange it in a light but cool dry place that will get air around them. Do not use or keep any chillie's that have gone white as this is mouldy, throw these away as soon as you see them so they do not infect the other chillie's.
When the Chillie's are completely dried out you can chop them grind them or flake them & store for use in sauces & con carne's etc I also add a bit of a pep to mince with a little chilli.
If you can, wear gloves while doing this :)
Take the chilli & pull of the stalk. Split the chillie & remove the seeds then break up & put on a chopper grinder or Mortar & pestle. Grind or chop till you have the consistency you want then fill a jar with the chilli & some seed's (but not all).
Save some or most of the seeds for growing new plants.
 Please be careful or like me you will end up burning your mouth & worse very sensitive parts!!!! I have washed my hands 20 odd times & still I keep getting areas of burn, Please don't go near your eyes till you know for definite the next day that all the chilli oil has been washed away.