Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prawns saganaki (Garides saganaki)

I tasted garides saganaki for a first time about eight years ago. On the Halkidiki peninsula, Greece. 
In a restaurant which tables were about 2o meters away from the sea. On the beach. We were barefoot, we ate the dish with fingers, soaking huge pieces of bread into the tasty sauce. We were young and free and happy. I will always remember this feeling. This will always be a dish which makes me feel good. Every time I wish to experience the whole atmosphere from those days, I prepare garides saganaki at home. And it works. 'Saganaki' comes from the Greek word 'σαγάνι which is a two-handled pan or dish. Garides saganaki are shrimps, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and covered with feta cheese. Greeks serve it right out of the skillet with bread to soak up all the delicious juices.  So do I.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse should be perfect. It is one of those sweet treats which are supposed to make you say "Mmmmm!" when savouring it. Chocolate mousse lovers know - this is not something you eat when you lack of time, it needs proper attitude. It could bring a sexy end to an intimate dinner or be the perfect beginning of the weekend day served with a cup of coffee. So the recipe for chocolate mousse has to be perfect, the mousse should fill the mouth with creaminess and the mind with airy dreams.
I've wanted to make chocolate mousse since months, but just in principle. I had no idea which ingredients would make the best recipe. And one day I saw a recipe here and decision was taken.  A lot of heavy cream? OK, I agree.  Mascarpone instead of eggs? Well, this is my dessert. Luscious and fluffy, it is so good, that I think it should be served straight, no need of additional cream or fruit above. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pork and leek stew (Kavarma)

If you sit in a restaurant in Bulgaria and ask for something typical for the country, Kavarma will be most probably one of the dishes offered. It is a rustic stew for meat lovers which pairs soft pork and leek. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chocolate biscuit cake and the joy to have a grown-up daughter

Do you know how Violet made my weekend sweet and nice? With a sweet surprise - she prepared chocolate biscuit cakes we both enjoyed both weekend-mornings with our coffees. It is soo good to have a grown-up daughter - she is like a good friend to me, she understands my feelings, my monthly mood swings, she is a good shopping adviser. And also a great kitchen girl. 
This is the source she used for preparing the cake (called in Bulgarian sweet salami because of its shape).
So I had my first piece of chocolate biscuit cake as a surprise on Saturday morning and there is no sweet salami home yet. And I should admit, men at home don't like such treats. But we both shared two cakes with lots of coffee cups, without blaming ourselfs. This sweet salami is rich, very rich, but it is so tasty. And who cares about calories if they give you such satisfaction.
Violet has a birthday today - she is getting sixteen. 
Happy Sweet sixteen, V. I am so happy to have you in my life. Love you so much.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

I don't have much time to prepare all the winter dishes I like- spring has nearly come, so I have to hurry. Nearly twenty days until the end of March, nearly twenty dishes to savour. 
One of them deffinitely Zuppa Toscana. Zuppa Toscana is a winter soup. Based on rich and nutritious ingredients like bacon, sausage, potatoes and heavy cream it is best enjoyed when the weather outside is cold. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Head cheese, Pig brawn, Pacha or Sülze

PachaIt is a peasant food. Does not have to look pretty, is prepared from humble ingredients, but tastes amazing. The poor man's food has to be cheap, filling and nutritious. Low cost, high taste.
Every country has that sort of simple recipes representing the culinary traditions of the native folk. This local dishes are a nice reflection of the taste of the country and people continue preparing them like their mothers and grandmothers did. 
PachaHave you ever heard about head cheese? No? What about pig brawn, pacha, fromage de tête or Sülze? 
Every country has an own name for this dish, but recipe is nearly the same. Parts of pig head and/or pigs trotters, boiled for hours with vegetables and spices, chopped to small pieces, cooled down and packed in a jelly. Refrigerated and served at room temperature. But also delicious served as a hot steaming soup sprinkled with hot pepper flakes and garlic-vinegar sauce. The very fact that so many countries in our industrial society still have it on their menu speaks for itself. It is good.
You have to overcome some prejudices to enjoy this dish at a full. The gelatin contained in the feet and the area behind the ears of the pig sets the brawn. The steps of preparing the dish are time-consuming and your hands will be, hmm, not very clean while you debone the hot feet and cut the ears in thin slices, but it is totally worth it. 
We enjoy Pacha with some mustard and pickled cornichons. At least once every winter.