Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dolmades with Minced Meat (Bulgarian Sarmi with Vine Leaves and Meat)


Dolmades (called in Bulgarian ‘Sarmi’) are perceived as a strictly Greek dish, which is a kind of misunderstanding. Rice stuffed grape leaves (which are vegetarian and very tasty) or meat stuffed vine leaves are specific for all the countries on the Balkan peninsula and are widely served in Bulgaria and Turkey. In fact, they are probably part of the heritage of the Ottoman cuisine (even the word 'dolma' used in Greece has a Turkish origin) and every nation has adapted the recipes in line with the specific taste of the population. Stuffed grape leaves take a little bit of time to prepare and require some patience, but nothing is as tasty as the slow food prepared at home. Meat dolmades are served warm with a dollop of yogurt and vegetarian dolmades are served cold. Another very tasty dish prepared during the winter months in every Bulgarian home are the Sauerkraut rolls with chopped meat. Unlike most of the popular recipes for stuffed vine leaves I pre-cook the rice and the minced meat which provides a far better and intense taste.
Vine leaves
Dolmades with mince

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Baked Carp with Tomato Sauce for Saint Nicholas Day

Baked carp
As I wrote last year, St Nicholas day is one of the widely celebrated feasts in Bulgaria and according to the tradition carp shall be served on the table.
Frankly said, we eat carp only on this day of the year - we definitely prefer the sea creatures or the fast-swimming freshwater fishes like trout. Carp is kind of lazy freshwater fish which tends to contain a lot of fat and has often a kind of strange taste, referred to as muddy. I prefer smaller carps, slightly above 2 pounds (about 1 kg), which contain less fat. 
Today I prepared my carp with some tomatoes and oregano and it was light and tasty.
Baked carp with tomato sauce

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mario Batali's tomato sauce with carrots - naturally sweet and tender

This is the perfect tomato sauce for spaghetti, pizza and meatballs in tomato sauce. There is a 'secret' ingredient which provides natural sweetness and silky taste - carrot. You do not see the carrots in the sauce, but you will deffinitely taste the difference. It is a basic tomato sauce and I've prepared it many times without remembering the source, but I read somewhere lately that this is a Mario Batali's recipe which is quite possible - he knows best how to prepare Italian food. The only difference between his original recipe and this one here is that I add some tablespoons of butter which, according to my opinion provide even more silkyness to the sauce. Enjoy!