Archive for Food

Beetroot & Curry

I have just pulled a few new potatoes as well as thinned my carrots and beetroots. And since it has been pissing down all day, I got wondering what
I should be doing as going outside was definately not on the cards.

So apart form pickling beetroot I have never really eaten any other way so I decided to what if anything can be done with them. You would be amazed! Well at least I was.
I have scoured the internet (google) and what seems to be highly recommended is to cook them as you would roast potatoes. This has been put on the back burner, as
although it is raining the idea of getting the wood burner going would have the men in white coats at my door.

The other reciepe which seems popular is to use them as a main inregdient in chutney, each list of ingredients required though I did not have available, and
I am not due to go into Kardjali for another three weeks, and I cerainly won’t be waiting that long to try something out.

My first pickings

So I have modified the plethora of recipes and came up with my own version. For once not a total disaster in fact as I don’t know what the original would have tasted like
I am actually quite please with the results. This is what I used (per jar)

  • 2 medium beetoots finely chopped
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 teaspoon of madras curry powder (all spice not available in my cupbord!)
  • 10ish mini carrots from the thinnings
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (you are supposed to use demera – I went for white with bits of coffee mixed in!
  • 1 potato diced to small bits.
  • Ordinary vinegar – again all the recipes I saw suggested white wine vinegar, or some other such rubbish – use what you have I bet you can’t taste the difference.
  • Bit of water – Straight from the tap.

Stick it all in a pan and cook slowly for an hour or so, then stick in a jar and Bobs your mums brother. I am told that as with homemade wine the longer you can leave it
the better it tastes. Here is what is left of mine:

Empty jar

Free Lunch

There is no such thing as a free lunch or so the saying goes, well I have disproved the rule. There is in fact such a thing as a free lunch if like me you are lucky enough to live near Hussain the ‘Hodja’ (Imam).

Yesterday on his way back from doing Imam duties he dropped by to say hello, or at least I thought he did, then between my bad Bulgarian and his attempt at ‘charades’ he managed to communicate to me that I needed to fetch him a large bowl and a spoon.

I quickly went inside and found a soup bowl and a dessert spoon, ‘golyam, golyam’, (big, big), again I returned with a serving bowl and serving spoon ‘ah tacka’ (not really sure what this means, but sort of ‘there you go’)

I place the said items on my garden table and he was busy opening one of his many bags, my serving bowl was then filled to the limit with beef and rice, and then duly left without saying another word!

I still do not know why he felt the need to deliver me food, perhaps I was looking a bit thin. It was however greatlyfully recieved and I can’t wait if he decides to pop by again!

PS I would like to say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this blog/website, some have asked for more pics, all I can say is I ate all the food before I had chance to take a picture! Also I find people who constantly go round with a camera in front of there face taking pics ‘beef and rice’ are a bit sad. If you want to know what it look likes, well it was beef mixed with rice – that is lumps of brown mixed with lots of little white bits! There is also more pics on the forum which is linked to on the left hand side!

I Am Stuffed

 The holiday season comes to an end, this year I was lucky enough to be invited to the Bairam festival at my neighbour Ilyas house. He had mot of his family coming over, there were about 30 people in all.

Everyone was very welcoming, and interested why I had decided to come and live in rural Bulgaria. I have trouble explaining this most of the time but when I tell them that the UK is nothing but large cities, which are noisy etc, they soon come round to my way of thinking. Village life is much better. “Sello Jivot Po Hobavo!” (Village life is much better)

Before we went to the feast though it is customary to deliver ‘chapatis’ to all your neighbours. Here is my collection this year, this I should point out was minus the 8 that I managed to eat before turning green!

Pile of Chapatis

So back to the feast, I was quite hungry and not sure what to expect. First of all, 16 of us were knelt around a large circular table on the floor. The first dish up was a kind of hot rice pudding, with a side salad of fresh tomatoes and the obligatory half a loaf of bread. So I tucked in. Not knowing how much was to come (I should have watched evryone else though, as they knew and were pacing themselves!)

After everyone had their fill, the rice pudding was replaced with beef and potato casserole, salads were refreshed, more bread was placed on the table! Still quite peckish though I ploughed on, with much encouragement from my host. The beef was really good so I didn’t need much encouragement! (I still had not caught on that most people were taking it steady!)

The beef casserole was whisked away, and out came a gigantic ‘Banitsa’, a sort of cheese pastry. Again thinking this might be near the end I filled up as I am not big on desserts.

The banitsa though was soon replaced with the main course! Large half kilo lumps of steak cooked over rice. Ilyas insiisted that I eat at least two steaks. At this point I started to worry. The waistband on my trousers was being put under quite a lot of stress! Surely dessert next!

Oh No! Out came a pasta dish cooked in youghurt! Saying I was full, everyone in the room decided that they no longer understood a word I said, and so I was given an extra large portion!With bread!

At last the pasta was taken away, and this time replaced by Baklava, the sweetest dish I have ever eaten, I could feel my teeth corrode as I took a mouthful!

Ilyas then gave me the tour of his garden whilst ‘the women cleared up!’. He said he was very impressed with amount I had eaten, and that the second feast of the day was to held at his wifes brothers house and would I like to come. At that moment in time just the thought of eating made me turn green! I politely refused saying that I had a lot of work to catch up with (sleep off the food). So a top tip if you are ever invited to Bairam with a family make sure you pace youself as you are in for at least 5 or 6 dishes. Only when the baklava cake comes out do you know you are nearing the end!

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