World Cooking – Bulgaria

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Bulgaria
Progress: 115/193

Well, as I said last time, this was meant to be a trip to African cuisine. Sadly it has been over a week and the plantains that I bought are still not ripe enough – even though they have been confined to a closed paper bag with an apple for company. So I will get to that once they turn black and have them as a midweek country meal and continue on with the next country I was going to tackle: Bulgaria.

Given it’s position in Europe, you will find a lot of dishes in Bulgarian cuisine that would also see in the Balkans to the west, Greece to the south and Turkey to the south-east. There are a number of delicious pastries made using filo dough, grilled meats and vegetables and lots of things with yogurt.

Had I not looked into the food, I would have probably discounted Bulgarian food for being a bit boring, but wow I really would like to find a Bulgarian restaurant in London – especially given how it feels like a spin on Turkish food that I would really enjoy. Assuiming that what I made today is anything to go by.

Main: Mish-Mash

It is rare to find a dish with such an appropriate name. Especially when the name is actually Bulgarian and just happens to feel incredibly appropriate in English. This is not the prettiest dish to photograph, I mean this is essentially in the omelette family but is like a more well put together scrambled egg with roasted peppers and a lot of cheese.

That is not a complaint though. Mish-Mash (following the recipe from 196 Flavors) was a really delicious dinner. I can see how this would work in the UK as a breakfast dish as we tend to have eggs like this cooked in the morning, but the cheesiness and the sweetness from the roasted vegetables make this delicious any time of day.

Aside from just being a good and easy meal, this recipe also gave me the chance to try out something new: roasting peppers. This feels like something so many know how to do and, seeing how I did this to aubergines for Lebanon and that is definitely a more involved process given that vegetable’s bitterness. So yes, an easy new recipe and a new skill to boot.

Main: Banitsa

Like the mish-mash, this picture of the banitsa is not the prettiest. I probably should have taken a picture of the slice of banitsa I had for lunch the next day. Not only was it perfectly firm, unlike the first cut which was probably too fresh from the oven when I first ate it – but also tasted better. I thought I liked it fresher from the oven, but when I had it the next day the pie was less sour and everything has just… settled. So yes a lesson for next time: make sure to properly eat and photograph pies like this the next day.

Banitsa, recipe from Cooktoria, is a feta pie using filo, an egg-yogurt sauce and an incredibly amount of cheese. I know that, to make this authentic, I should have used actual Bulgarian cheese – but the recipe specified feta so I figured it would be fine. Given the amount of cheese and filo, to say this gives six servings id being rather generous – although I wouldn’t say no to a big slice of this again. Especially the next day, it was gorgeous.

I am hoping that the next food post I make will be about the African country I have been planning for, now, a fortnight. I am going to be keeping watch on the plantains and try and fit it in among the after work dinner schedule. Else, it is back to Asia where I am really running out of excuses to not make food from either India or China.

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