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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bulgarian Keftedes or Kufteh (Bulgarian Burgers)

These will be on every Bulgarian village table & in every Bulgarian restaurant these will be on the menu. Most will have Cumin added but for me I prefer them without.
So, its a battle between Burgers & Keftedes. I prefer Burgers but love to be able to cook the Bulgarian version for my friends, they appreciate the effort I go to, to learn traditional village cooking. I do really like the moistness of these too. These are good Keftedes,  pleasing both us & our Bulgarian family.
I have made large keftedes in this photo but they can be halved or even halved again. So 1 Keftede can actually make 2 -4 depending on your appetite & taste.
Keftedes are found in many countries, here is my recipe.......
500g Minced Mutton
1 Slice of Bread
1 Egg
1 Onion, chopped sml
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed & chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt & Pepper
Fry light  or Vegetable oil
Soften the bread in some milk, then squeeze it out.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, use your hands. Form into balls then flatten.
Spray with fry light or brush with oil & on a very hot griddle cook for 5 mins or so on each side
The Bulgarians serve these with baked rice, but I serve them with Pasta with a tomato, basil & chilli sauce.

Yorky Pud's

These were baked in a muffin tin, came out huge
Who doesn't love a Yorkshire pud? But yet again this easy roast dinner accompaniment has been taken over by the frozen food section in the local supermarket. Easy to open a packet & shove them in the oven for a dinky pud to add to your plate. Very convenient, yes but as good as homemade, no way!
So here we are in Bulgaria with no convenient frozen packs & thank God for that :-)
I can't help but love these little puddings, with roast dinners, I also serve them up with sausages, pork chops, pot roast & filled with mince. Just on their own with gravy is lovely too, in fact anything you serve with veg & gravy :-D
I used to make them years ago then running my own business not getting home till 7.30pm 6 days a week I turned to convenient foods. Its easy to get used to second best when you are busy.
Being in Bulgaria living a country lifestyle means more time & enjoyment in the kitchen. Now this recipe is not for all you wonderful cooks out there its for us normals who need reminding of real food that doesn't come ready made from the freezer :-)

3 Eggs, whisked.
115g Plain flour.
Couple of grinds of, sea or rock Salt.
285g Milk, semi skimmed.
Oil for each mould (1 tbsp each)
Pinch Mustard powder
Whisk everything together & stand for 30 mins.
Pre heat the oven to 220c. Heat the oil in the tins for 5 mins till very hot & spitting.
Spoon the mixture very quickly into the oil, as you want the oil to be really very hot for all of them. Place quickly in the oven & cook for 15 mins.
I use a processor to mix mine now as my hands are not good enough & I can't get a big enough rise, but you can use a balloon whisk by hand or if you have good wrists a fork ;-D If you do mix by hand...... Mix the eggs into the flour then add the milk, salt & mustard & beat until smooth with no lumps.


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Pickled Eggs Various

Am I being typically English or just preserving something else? I hope this is still being typically Bulgarian, even though it's not something they do. I have given Bulgarian friends a jar & they were bemused but enjoyed them nonetheless. I think the reason Bulgarians don't pickle eggs is that they don't need to preserve them, whereas we like the taste!
Yes I love pickled eggs & they are a great food when I'm watching my weight but it never occurred to me, befor now, to pickle them.
I had a eureka moment when I was pickling cabbage & onions, as we have lots of eggs & we are given some beauties by friends who keep chickens. So along with the normal pickles & preserves I am adding eggs.
Here are a few recipes & I have to say one I am not keen on but each to their own taste!
Good old plain.........
Measure how many eggs per jar before cooking. I always measure half a jar of vinegar, this should be enough.
Per Jar
Hard boiled eggs, peeled.
6 Peppercorns
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt 
Chilli flakes (optional)
1 Onion sliced
Bring vinegar, peppercorns, sugar, salt & chilli to boil. Slice the onions into large thin slices, layer with eggs in the jar. Strain vinegar mix & pour over the eggs.
Seal in a sterilised jar & store in a cold place or fridge. Once opened store in the fridge
My favourite Egg is pickled in beetroot juice! After eating the beetroots don't throw away the juice. Literally all you do is put the eggs in the juice & store in the fridge. See my pickled beetroot recipe, after 2 weeks they are ready to munch.
These are my least favourite, too vinagery for my liking, but they are interesting & if you like the stronger pickle taste then these will be your kind of egg......
Eggs, hard boiled & peeled.
2 pints Vinegar
10 blk peppercorns
1 Chilli pepper chopped ot dried chilli flakes
2 tsp Allspice
10 Cloves
3 Cinnamon sticks
Place eggs in sterilised jars
Heat vinegar & spices until liquid begins to boil, then turn down & simmer for 10mins or so. Remove from heat & cool liquid, strain &. pour over the eggs making sure they are covered completely.
Seal the jar & store in a cool dry place. Leave for 2 weeks, minimum.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Marrow, Plum & Apple Chutney (no onion)

If you are a regular to this blog you know I am intolerant to onions & have to improvise without losing flavour. Chutney is a favourite preserve, I love making it out of all sorts of mixtures & this is one of my preferred recipes.
This chutney lasts forever & is fabulous in sandwiches, with salad, burgers you name it ;-)
2 Heads of garlic, crushed & chopped
1 lg Marrow, peeled & chopped (scoop out seeds, wash, dry & store for planting)
500g-1kg Plums
2lb Apples, peeled cored & chopped
1lt  Vinegar
1tbsp Ginger
2tsp Cinnamon
2tsp Allspice
1tsp Nutmeg
1kg Sugar
2tsp Salt
Put the plums in a large pan with a little water & heat till the plums soften. Turn of the heat & skim out the stones.
Add all the ingredients, except the sugar, stirring after each add.
Bring to the boil, then simmer till all is soft. Keep an eye on it & stir frequently.
Add the sugar & stir till it is dissolved. Cook till it is thickened, the apple has cooked down & you can run a spoon through leaving a channel behind.
Spoon into sterilised jars, wipe rim & seal the lid & leave to cool down.
You should hear the lids popping. When the chutney is cold check the jars are sealed properly by pressing the centre of the lid, it should NOT move.
Store for 3 months before eating, for all the flavours to develop.

Pickled Red Cabbage

Mmm Pickled cabbage, it sounds nice to me but I have only ever had sauerkraut,so when my friend said he liked pickled Red I thought I would make some.
At the moment I am a pickling addict, so I have looked at lots of recipes on the internet & made up my own. Try using your imagination too don't cheat & buy ready mixed pickling spices, its easy to experiment & you can make one jar at a time using different combinations, just remember to write them on a label, so you know what works & what doesn't!
Pickling in Bulgaria is a little different as the vinegar (otset) here is not as strong. Basically its salad vinegar (cheap) or wine vinegar (more expensive). It can still be done & is just as good but it will have a slightly different taste.
Don't listen to anyone who says you don't need to let it mature a week or two, you do or the vinegar will be over powering & the flavour will not be steeped enough.

1 Head of Red Cabbage shredded. remove hard core (outer layers removed)
Layer the cabbage in a bowl, layer cabbage then salt till finishing with a layer of salt. Cover with a plate. After 24 hours wash off salt & drain well.
Pack into sterilised jars, push down well.


Spiced vinegar
Small muslin square & string
1 pint Red wine vinegar
1 Cinnamon stick
2oz Sugar
4 Cloves
1/4 tsp Allspice
6 Black pepper corns
Med piece root Ginger, peeled & chopped
Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. In the muslin place all the spices, ginger & break the cinnamon stick adding to the spices, tie the muslin into a bag.

Add the bag to the vinegar, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.
Remove from heat. Pour over cabbage while hot & seal, or you can wait till it is cold. Try both & see which you prefer.
Wait at least a week before eating to allow flavours to develop.
Great for the up coming BBQ & garden party season.

This cabbage needs to be in the jar for a week minimum,  two will be better.

Friday, 24 February 2012

No Onion Chicken Chasseur

A very warming meal in winter, a meal light enough for summer & a great help yourself  pot for a garden party.
Chicken Chasseur is another easily prepared meal, it's not high on my special dinner party list but its very tasty & can be a great alternative sauce for pasta
Chicken, skinned, boned & cut into bite size pieces
Mushrooms sliced
1/2 pint chicken stock
Head of garlic crushed & chopped
Jar of Tomatoes
4 floz White wine
Olive oil or fry light
Salt & fresh ground blk pepper
2 tsp Tarragon
Cook the chicken in oil or fry light, turning & browning on both sides. Remove from pan.
Add to pan wine, stock, garlic, mushrooms & tomatoes. Stir together then add chicken  back to pan & bring to simmer. Cover pan & cook for 1hour.
Serve with pasta rice or mashed potatoes

Japanese Chicken Teriyaki

I love the taste of this dish. I used to have this on my numerous trips to Bali. It was what I would have after a hard days bargaining for stock. It has its own taste & goes just as well with pork. I serve this with noodles but it goes nicely with rice too.
I love the fact it is easy to make, tastes great & is quick to cook. Most ingredients are in our cupboards, so give it a go.
Oh & to make it a good meal when watching your weight, use liquid sweetener but if your not watching your weight use sugar.

Chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 Red pepper cut into thin strips
2 cloves of garlic crushed & a few spring onions chopped. OR  A head of garlic crushed & chopped, but no onion.
2 floz Soy sauce
2 floz Worcester sauce
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar or 1 tsp liquid sweetener
A little olive or sunflower oil for frying or use Fry light
Fry the strips of chicken in the oil or fry light, till meat is cooked through. Remove from pan & keep warm.
In the pan heat together soy, Worcester sauce, vinegar & sugar or sweetener. Add garlic & cook a couple of mins. Stir chicken back in with pepper & onion, if using. Cook for around 5 mins, stir frying till the sauce has thickened to your liking.
You can have the sauce thick & sticky or a little runny, your preference

Serve on a bed of noodles & enjoy!!!!!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Low Fat Chicken Jalfrezi (adapted from SW)

Living in Bulgaria means no lovely Indian take-away's I had never cooked a curry in my life till moving here as I still maintain you can't beat a really good curry house, unless you are Indian by birthright.
Also I have a dilemma sometimes , as being on a diet does not go well with eating Curry, so this is a low fat Jalfrezi, addapted from a Slimming world recipe.
If you follow slimming world then it is free on original. Count the rice as healthy extras. If your not watching your weight it is a very healthy alternative.
This is very tasty, & extremely easy to make, serve with boiled rice & make sure you remove all visible, fat & skin.
1 Onion chopped
1 Red Pepper Sliced
1 inch Fresh root Ginger peeled & grated
1 Clove Garlic crushed & chopped
Chicken, skin & fat removed Chopped in bite size pieces
Fry light
3 tbsp med Curry powder
4 Tomatoes core removed & chopped into 8's
1 jar or carton Passander or sml can tomato purée
1 tsp Paprika
Fresh ground Rock or Sea Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Mint
3 floz water

Spray a large fry pan with frylight. If you don't have this then dry fry in a good non stick pan, or use a little water to stop it sticking. fat really is not necessary. Add onion, pepper, garlic & ginger & stir fryfor5 mins.
Add the chicken & curry powder, stir well to coat everything, & cook a further 4 mins.
Add tomatoes, passander or purée & water. Bring to the boil & simmer for 20 mins. Season & stir in herbs. Serve with boiled rice.