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Friday, 19 August 2011

Pork in a Red Wine Jus served with Crushed Minted Potatoes & Julienne Carrots

We make our own red wine from our grape vines every year & as we are not even little drinkers (social only) we have plenty which is nicely matured & plenty for me to cook with :-) This is a favourite mid day meal & cheap if you too make your own wine. If you live in Bulgaria & don't make wine then buy a bottle of red from the local magazin the cheapo 1-2 leva type.
This makes a beautiful meal & is a great dinner party dish & a wonderful comfort food. You can make it with chops, chunks, ribs etc its flexible.

Fry light or olive oil, just a little
4 x Pork chops no bone,
3 x Garlic cloves, large. Crushed & chopped
2 x Red or Green Peppers (Red if poss) Seeded & chopped
Mushrooms, can be left out. Sliced
Soy sauce or Balsamic vinegar
2 x Oxo cubes, beef
Red wine
Ground black pepper
Little salt to taste, if you wish. Personally I don't think its needed
Aprox 1/2 pint water, depending

New Potatoes

Spray a large fry pan with fry light or add just a little olive or sunflower oil, its just to stop the meat from sticking, we don't need all that unnecessary fat! Add garlic & saute lightly. Add meat & seal. Pour over some soy sauce or balsamic & cook for a min. Add peppers cook for a min then add mushrooms if using. Sprinkle over the oxo cubes & stir into mix then pour on a good amount of red wine aprox quarter to half a pint, stir mix & add ground black pepper, to taste & little salt if you wish, I leave out the salt. Cook this on simmer till it has reduced by half or more add water 1.4 pint to start then continue to cook till reduced. You may need to add the rest of water but its personal taste, dependant on how you want your sauce. I cook this so it is enough to give enough jus to have with every mouthful :-)
While you are waiting for this to reduce;
Wash & rub some new potatoes, do not peel unless you hate them this way. Pick some fresh mint from the garden, if you have it, & cook when you have added the water to the jus. Peel & slice the carrots into julienne strips, again cook when you are on the second reduction.
When everything is cooked, crush the new potatoes slightly on the plate, not in the saucepan.
Enjoy x     

Monday, 15 August 2011

Spaghetti MinceMash

Whenever I make mince there is always too much & we get so full we can't move. There is never enough for another meal or even a lunch for us both. So I put it in the fridge & within the next two days I pad it out, hence Mincemash :-)
An easy way to stretch the mince & change it's taste

Whatever left over mince dish you have
1 x Pepper chopped
4 cloves Garlic chopped
3 large Tomatoes, cored & chopped
1 Oxo cube
6 Mushrooms chopped
Black Pepper
Runner beans part cooked
Prepare runner beans & put on to boil. In a pan put all chopped veg, crumble over oxo cube, add 1/4 pint water & stir. Add herbs & any spices you may like & bring to boil. Cook for 10 mins then add in your leftover mince dish.
Bring back to boiling point & turn down to a simmer, strain & add beans & a little more water if needed. Cook till the beans are till the beans are to your liking
Serve with Spaghetti or pasta.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Slivovitza Traditional Bulgarian Plum Liqueur

Slivovitza (Slee-vo-vee-tsah) is a traditional Bulgarian liqueur or brandy. As with most traditions here there are many variations & mostly today the plum Rakia is made & called Slivovitza. This is almost a double made &  matured version for those who like a more matured tipple. We make our own Rakia every year with great success. Praised by Bulgarians which is an honour indeed. I make this with pre matured Rakia. This is practically the same as Visinata the traditional Romanian brandy also in this blog.
Use whatever weights you have but keep the percentage's the same.

My version;
4lb Plums
2lb Sugar for schnapps
2.5lbs Sugar for liqueur
32oz Rakia, Brandy or Vodka (Rakia or Brandy is better for this particular drink)
Wash the plums & keep the stone in. Fill a pot then cover with the sugar. Make sure all the plums are coated in the sugar. Cover the jar with muslin, if there is a hole in the lid place the lid on top if not, fix the muslin cloth so no flies can get in. Stir every day for two weeks to dissolve the sugar &  keep the plums coated. After a few days this will turn to a liquid as the fruit ferments. After two weeks fill the jar with Rakia & seal tightly. Leave to macerate for 3 months.
After 3 months remove the plums, strain the liquid through muslin cloth into clean sterile bottles (I triple filtered) & store. The sediment will settle again in the bottle so you will need to filter again. Carefully pour the liqueur through a cloth but leave the sediment in the bottom of the bottle
I found the plums of no use whole but the compote that is strained from the liqueur (1 litre from one pot) is gorgeous & this I have potted & refrigerated for use in desserts on sponge puddings or with ice cream. Lovely flavour, yes alcoholic but not gaggingly so :-) nice & sweet.