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Before Meat There Were Vegetables


With summer here, why not take advantage of the plentitude of vegetables in season and eat something light and healthy. One of my favourite recipes is a mixture of vegetable called like that: mixed vegetable casserole. It is a Bulgarian recipe from ‘The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking’, 1999. It is very tasty and quite easy to make plus it won’t keep you in the kitchen for long, mostly for preparing. After that you just ‘forget’ for about an hour and everything is done. Read hear how it’s made and enjoy.

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine
  • 115 g (4 oz, 1/2 cup) okra, halved lengthways
  • 225 g (8 oz, 2 cups) frozen or fresh peas
  • 225 g (8 oz, 1 1/2 cups) green beans, cut into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces
  • 4 courgettes, cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 450 g (1 lb) old potatoes, diced into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 397 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint, 2/3 cup) vegetable stock
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil
  • 75 ml (5 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
  • salt
  • 3 tomatoes and 1 courgette for topping

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/ Gas 5. Dice th aubergine into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces. Add the vegetables to a large ovenproof casserole.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes, stock, olive oil, parsley, paprika and salt to taste. Stir well.
  • Level de surface of the vegetables and arrange alternate slices of tomatoes and courgette attractively on top.
  • Put the lid on or cover the casserole dish tightly. Cook for 60-70 minutes. Serve either hot or cold with wedges of crusty bread.

Bon appetite!

Vegetalele la mare pret


Datorita caldurii foarte mari, care este o tema constanta nu numai in realitate dar si retetele mele recente, ma gandesc ce mananc. Rar,  carne dar zilnic vegetale. Profit ca sunt in sezon, se gatesc usor, te saturi fara sa simti ca te-a umplut de numai poti respira si te umplu de energie. O alta reteta pe care am incercat-o si care mi-a placut foarte mult este caserola de legume, sau legume la cuptor, o reteta culeasa si ea din aceeasi carte pe care o tot mentionez aici de ceva vreme, ‘The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking’, 1999.

O vreme vei citi aici multe retete vegetariene sau vegane pentru ca pe o asa vreme de vara, nu ma vad mancand si scriind despre carne. Nu ma atrage. Urmeaza acum o bunatate de mancare, cu multe legume, foarte diferite si colorate, sa le mananci cu ochii, nu alta, din bucataria bulgareasca. Sper din tot sufletul sa iti placa ceea ce urmeaza si sa te indemne sa petreci putin timp in bucatarie si langa aragaz, doar de dragul unei retete sanatoase si gustoase.

Legume la cuptor

4 portii

Ingrediente:

  • 1 vanata
  • 115 g (1/2 cana) okra (bamia), taiata pe jumatate, in lungime
  • 225 g (2 cani) mazare proaspata sau inghetata
  • 225 g (1 1/2 cana) fasole verde taiata bucati (cca 2,5 cm)
  • 4 zucchini, taiati felii de cca 1 cm grosime
  • 2 cepe taiate marunt
  • 450 g cartofi taiati cubulete
  • 1 ardei rosu, feliat
  • 397 g conserva rosii taiate
  • 150 ml (2/3) cana bulion vegetal sau apa
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) ulei masline
  • 75 ml (5 tbsp) patrunjel proaspat, tocat
  • 5 ml (1 lingurita) paprika
  • sare
  • 3 rosii feliate si 1 zucchini pentru decor

Preparare:

  • Incalzeste cuptorul la 190°C, gaz 5. Taie vanata in bucati de cca 2,5 cm. Pune toate legumele intr-o tava mare de cuptor sau caserola cu capac.
  • Toarna peste ele rosiile din conserva, bulionul vegetal, uleiul de masline, patrunjelul, paprika si sarea si amesteca bine.
  • Niveleaza legumele si orneaza alternativ cu felii de zucchini si rosii.
  • Pune capacul caserola sau acopera bine tava cu hartie de copt. Lasa la cuptor pentru cca 60-70 minute. Serveste fie fierbinte, fie rece cu paine.

Pofta buna!

Some Like It Cold


Too much heat will kill you. It is true with this weather. I feel like I melt in the hot air. I can not breath, I sweat and I want to sleep. I don’t even want to eat too much. The problem is that I have too. What do I want to eat? Watermelon, everyday, all day long. Yogurt, plain and fat. Fruits in season. Sometimes a barbecue. And then again watermelon. And yogurt. Speaking about yogurt I remembered that some years ago, I discovered an easy and fresh recipe with yogurt, just perfect for a hot summer day. Little did I know that it is a well-known sauce in the Mediterranean area known as tzatziki. I found the recipe in the book “The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking”, a book that provided and will give other recipes here.

I am talking now about a Bulgarian soup, also known by the name Tarator and I am sure that for days like these, when to be honest, I hate to stay in the kitchen and get hot by the oven, it is just one of the best ways to fill my stomach.

Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup/ Tarator

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 75 g (3 oz, 3/4 cup) walnut pieces
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) day-old bread, torn into pieces
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) walnut or sunflower oil
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz, 1 2/3) cups cow’s or sheep’s yogurt (my favourite one is Total Greek yogurt, the classic one)
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz, 1/2) cup cold water or chilled still mineral water
  • 5-10 ml (1-2 tsp) lemon juice
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz, 1/2 cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped, to garnish
  • 25 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) olive oil, to garnish
  • sprigs of fresh dill
Method:
  • Peel the cucumber. Dice the cucumber flesh and set aside.
  • Using a large mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and salt together well; add the walnuts and bread.
  • When the mixture is smooth, add the walnut or sunflower oil slowly and combine well.
  • Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and beat in the yogurt and diced cucumber.
  • Add the cold water or mineral water and lemon juice to taste.  If you prefer the soup smooth, purée it in a food processor or blender before serving.
  • Pour the soup into chilled soup bowls to serve. Garnish with the coarsely chopped walnuts, a little olive oil drizzled over the nuts and sprigs of fresh dill.
Bon appetite!

Caldura mare


“Termometrul spune la umbră 33° Celsius… “. Asa incepe celebra schita a lui I. L. Caragiale, “Caldura mare”. E atat de potrivita pentru vremea asta. Nu stiu cum sa fac fata la atata caldura, ma doboara. Stau si transpir. Daca alerg, mai simt briza. Daca nu, consider ca fac sauna. Trebuie sa imi pacalesc mintea ca am parte de o sauna si sa ma bucur. Cu exceptia statului la soare, pentru ca sauna nu inseamna statul la soare. Nu inteleg de ce trebuie sa fie atata soare, e prea multa lumina. 😉 M-am obisnuit cu alt climat, cu un cer mai innorat, care imi tine fruntea senina. Asta e vara in Romania si trec printr-o perioada de aclimatizare, dupa cativa ani cand, nu stiu cum am facut, dar am reusit sa ma mai ascund de ea. A fost bine, dar a trecut. Recunosc, sunt carcotasa, dar totusi, e caldura mare…

Ce sa fac ca sa o suport mai usor? In primul rand, ma infofolesc in haine din fibre naturale, port palarie, beau apa, merg pe la umbra atat cat gasesc, mananc pepene, mult pepene si alte mancaruri usoare. Una din ele, perfecta pentru asa o caldura maaaaaaare este cea care urmeaza. Este supa rece de iaurt si castraveti cu nuca, o reteta bulgareasca, gatita prima data in Londra. Mi-a placut foarte mult. Era ceva nou pentru mine. Ma gandeam, suntem vecini cu bulgarii si uite ca nu stim prea multe din bucataria lor. Imi pare rau ca nu sunt mai curioasa dar probabil ca atunci a fost momentul sa descopar o bunatate de supa. Si eu nu prea sunt cu supele dar asta mi-a mers la inima. Iar acum, pe arsita, se potriveste perfect. Reteta a fost culeasa dintr-o carte imprumutata de la biblioteca, (locul acela plin de carti, sali de lectura, liniste si racoare, calculatoare si iar liniste si carti, etc), ma scuzi, de caldura ma mai repet… Cartea se numeste “The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking”, o carte care a mai dat sau va mai da retete aici pe blog.

Daca stau si ma gandesc bine, de fapt supa aceasta e sosul tzatziki, adaptat. Bulgarii numesc supa tarator. Nu e rea ideea sa transformi un sos intr-o supa, iar pe caldura asta, e binevenita, supa adica. Te invit sa incerci, e foarte usor de facut si foarte racoroasa. Mancarea ideala vara.

Supa rece de iaurt si castraveti cu nuci/ Tarator

5-6 portii

Ingrediente:

  • 1 castravete
  • 4 capatani de usturoi
  • 2,5 ml ( 1/2 lingurita) sare
  • 75 g (3 oz, 1/4) cana nuci tocate
  • 40 g (1 1/2) paine, maruntita
  • 30 ml, 2 linguri ulei de nuci sau floarea soarelui
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz, 1  2/3) cana iaurt vaca sau oaie sau amestec (cat mai gras, sau daca e de casa, cu atat mai bine)
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz, 1/2) cana apa rece sau apa plata rece
  • 5-10 ml (1-2) lingurite suc proaspat de lamaie
  • 40 g (1/2) cana nuci maruntite pentru garnisire
  • 25 ml (1 1/2) lingurita ulei masline
  • frunze proaspete de marar

Preparare:

  • Curata castravetele de coaja si taie-l cubulete.
  • Intr-un mojar zdrobeste usturoiul si sarea bine apoi adauga nuca si painea. Daca preferi varianta puree, sau mai rapida, adauga-le pe toate ntr-un blender.
  • Cand le-ai maruntit, adauga putin cate putin si uleiul si amesteca bine.
  • Pune amestecul intr-un bol mare, adauga iaurtul si castravetele taiat cubulete.
  • Adauga incet apa rece si sucul de lamaie, amestecand continuu.
  • Pentru servire, imparte supa in boluri reci si decoreaza cu nuci maruntite, un pic de ulei de masline si cateva frunze proaspete de marar.

Pofta buna!

Si o zi racoroasa!