Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Hailstones!
Well the world cup is over, Annie has gone back to the UK.
So I am getting back to normal routine in Samodiva. I lost a bottle of whiskey to Osman, who seemed quite surprised that I paid up our bet.
(I went for Argentina getting further than Germany, only for them to meet in the quarter finals and lose by the odd goal or 4!)
The weather here has been quite erratic this month (July 2010), some days we have the normal and expected 30C and sunny, then the next day we have a complete
downpour with hailstones. This is great for some things in the garden but is having quite a negative effect on others. My potatoes are are doing great as
they love all the extra rain, but my tomatoes and cucumbers are yellowing off and not producing as much fruit. The peppers have just started flowering and
small peppers are showing through. I have pulled some onions for ripening in the sun before stringing them up. My red onions seem very popular with my
neighbours so I have let a few go to seed and hopefully I will be able to provide a few onion sets to all that want them.
Whilst Annie was here we went to a restaurant in Djebel and had Chak-Ma-Lak (I think this is how it is pronounced) which was delicious.
This is a traditional dish from the Kardjali area, so I presume that it is a mix of Bulgarian and Turkish cuisine. We definitely had the
Bulgarian version as it was pork based. The dish contains an egg at the base, on which is a thick layer of something made with corn flour,
on top of which grilled pork sat. The juices from the meat permeate through the corn flour base. It is really good eating for something that
seems such a basic idea. The doughy base also ensures that you don't remain hungry for long. I will see if I can track down how it is made and
provide a recipe at a later date.
As this month provides fresh salad from the garden on a daily basis, this gives us most of the nourishment needed, especially when the weather
behaves itself and it is hot and sunny. That and my new favourite dish - tarator. Cold yoghurt and cucumber based soup of sorts.
There are some great Bulgarian recipes in this book.
The glut of tomatoes are also being bottled to provide nourishment through the winter as well. There are many recipes for doing this but it really
is down to taste, the procedure is quite basic but the results are great.
Contrary to popular belief there is no need to buy expensive kilner jars to do this I have used everything from jam jars to glass drinks bottles,
all of which have kept the contents fresh. The only thing that I have to purchase is new lids when the rubber seal goes, and these are just sto-tinkie
(pennies) for a packet of 20. The lids normally last two or three times each as well.
The basics of bottling food. Boil it all up, put it in a clean jar, seal with a lid. How hard can it be. The base of all my preserves are tomatoes,
to which can be added peppers onions, garlic, and pretty much whatever you want. The traditional way to eat these; when opened place in a saucepan
and add an egg, heat through whilst stirring. This makes the sauce very creamy and is eaten with the obligatory half a loaf of bread. They are also
great as a base for curry!
I have even got round to finishing my dining table it has only taken me two years on and off!