Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gingerbread men cookies without molasses

Merry Christmas, everyone! I wish you holidays with lots of sweets and a Happy New Year! 
Here is a recipe for gingerbread cookies men without molasses. This is the source for the recipe (in Bulgarian).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fried Fish Roe (Ovas de Peixe Fritas)

Fish roe
Like many other tasty dishes, this one does not require from the cook to have a diploma from a famous cooking school. In fact, the fried fish roe could be added to the group of "Cucina povera" dishes, which means cheap, simple, fresh ingredients prepared in a simple way, which satisfy the taste even of the fussiest eaters. You can use any type of fish roe. The thousand tiny eggs are delicious fried à la Meunière in a little butter or dipped in egg and breadcrumbs or a little flour. 
I had carp roe, because I was lucky enough to have a female carp for Saint Nicholas day. I know, it would be better, if I had left it intact, in its membranous sack, but, frankly said, at first I did not intend to prepare the roe and when I anyway decided to make a try with this recipe, it was too late concerning its integrity. But it is a delicious discovery and next time I will be definitely more careful.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Greek Halva with Nuts and Orange Taste

Greek halva with nuts and orange taste
The end of the Nativity fast is coming soon. This fasting season (one of the four canonical fasting seasons in the Church year) prepares the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches for the Nativity of Christ - 25th of December.
Meat and dairy are not permitted throughout the whole fasting period (from 15th of November until 25th of December). 
There are many feasts in Bulgaria in December and one of them is Ignazhden - the 20th of December, the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. It is believed that the Virgin's labor pains started on this day and continued until Christmas. The Christmas and New Year festivities start on this day and according to the old traditions in Bulgaria, Ignazhden is perceived as the actual beginning of the New Year. There is a very interesting belief connected with this day - it is very important who will first enter the house on this day - if it is a good and lucky man or woman, the following year will be good and there will be success and lots of luck in the house. 
The Christmas eve dinner contains only no-meat and no-diary dishes and today's recipe is a good option for a dessert -  Greek Halva with lots of nuts. Greek halva is a semolina pudding - sweet and tasty. Similar to the famous Baklava, Halva is a dessert with Arabic origins, but it was adopted in many cultures like Greek and Indian. Unlike the Indian badam halwa, which is prepared with milk and ghee, this recipe does not contain dairy products.   

Greek Halva

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nutella Filo Pie with Pistachios

Nutella Filo Pie
We prepare a lot of filo pies in Bulgaria. Filo pie with cheese, eggs and yogurt is one of the traditional Bulgarian dishes served on the New Year's Eve, but also all throughout the year. Filo pie with spinach, filo pie with leek, filo pie with shredded pumpkin (obligatory dish for the Christmas eve), zucchini filo pie - we are a nation of filo pie lovers. But recently I found another recipe in one of my favorite blogs - Dulces Bocados , which is absolutely tasty and can be prepared in less than an hour (with baking time included). 
Does it have a lot of calories? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes, yes, yes.
Nutella and Pistachios


Friday, December 06, 2013

Carp for Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nikola
One of the traditional Bulgarian feasts is Nikulden, the day of Saint Nicholas, which is celebrated every year on the 6th of December. Icons of this saint can be seen in nearly every Bulgarian church. The name Nikola is one of the most popular Bulgarian names. St. Nicholas is the patron of the sailors and fishermen, but also of the bankers and all the people working in the financial business, so many people celebrate today. 
Bulgarian tradition postulates that there shall be carp on the Saint Nicholas dinner table. 
Carp, cooked in dough, the so-called Ribnik, is one of the most popular dishes for this day.
Some people, who do not like the specific taste of this slow-water fish buy other types of fish, but carp is a rule according to the tradition. Carp with many scales. Because the more scales the carp is covered with, the more money will bring Saint Nicholas to the family throughout the coming year. Some scales are thoroughly washed and everybody put one scale in their wallet with the purpose to attract money.
Fish bones shall not be thrown in the garbage, they shall be buried or thrown into water in order the harvest to be good next year.
Saint Nicholas is also the patron saint of Russia and protector of all children. 
Every year children throughout the world clean their shoes the evening before the 6th of December, because they know, all the good children receive small gifts, sweets and candies in the morning.
Carp scales - the more, the better