November 2015 archive
It took me 3 days to plan, shop and prep for his party but it was totally worth it.
The house always looks like a mess while I prep, I need a much larger kitchen!
I started to roast and toast days before the party.
Fennel, orange and arugula salad.
Pickled fish, green onions, roasted red peppers and cocktail pearl onions.
Pickled leeks, hot pepper, anchovy and olive.
Oyster mushrooms with bacon and roasted peppers with garlic.
Caramelized onions with goat cheese and thyme.
Mushroom pâté with toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Gazpacho jelly with hot peppers.
I also made gazpacho shooters with bacon, patatas bravas and sangria.
Dj Nick, Vera, Carina and Matt!
Dj Nick was super happy with the tapas.
My personal hair stylist gave me a beautiful Spanish inspired hairdo.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!
I had such a wonderful time with these ladies! We visited about a thousand shopping malls, walked around town in the beautifully sunny weather, I made homemade pesto pasta for everyone, we drank wine, ate macarons and laughed our heads off.
View from Bulgaria Mall.
View from Maya’s aunt’s apartment.
25 degree weather in the middle of November!
Eli and Krassi at a TERRIBLE restaurant.
Quick lunch in Plovdiv on the way back.
My favorite pizza and beef Carpaccio.
This photo is very dark and it may look like I burnt the whole meal but in fact it was golden brown, crispy and delicious!
Duck confit is very easy to make but I will warn you that it can take up to 4 days to make.
- 2 duck legs
- 500g goose or duck fat (enough to cover the legs completely)
- your favorite French marinade ingredients.
- -2 cloves of garlic
- -salt & pepper
- -herbs de Provence
- -olive oil
- 1.Marinate the duck leg in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
- 2.Lightly wipe off the marinade and place in a deep oven dish (make sure the dish isn't too big).
- 3.Cover the legs completely with goose or duck fat.
- 4.Cook without a lid in the oven for 2.5-3.5 hours at the lowest setting. The fat should be bubbling and the meat almost falling from the bones.
- 5.Let cool. You can store the duck very simply by placing it in any container, covering it with the fat and keeping it in the fridge: as long as it stays covered with fat it will last for weeks.
- 6.To cook, remove the confit duck legs from their fat. Put an ovenproof frying pan on the stove until it is hot. Add the duck legs, skin-side down, and cook for 4 mins. Turn the legs and transfer the pan to a hot oven for 20 mins, until crisp.
- -1 cup white rice
- -2-3 large zucchinis, shredded
- -1 large onion, diced
- -3 cloves garlic, minced
- -1/3 cup milk
- -3/4 cup Parmesan
- -salt & pepper
- -a pinch of nutmeg
- -oil or butter for cooking
- 1. Shred the zucchini, add salt then place in a colander on top of a pot and drain the liquid (reserve liquid) for 20 minutes.
- 2. Parboil the rice by cooking it for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- 3. In a hot pan, cook onions until soft.
- 4. Add the garlic, zucchinis and seasonings. Cook for 6-8 minutes.
- 5. Stir in the rice, milk, half the cheese and zucchini juice.
- 6. Place in an oven dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
- 7. Bake in a medium heat oven for 30 minutes, or until top has browned nicely and the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
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Click image for Bankya
And more train
We officially have a “Sofia system”, meaning, we know where and how to have the most amount of fun in Bulgaria’s capital in the shortest amount of time. First, we try and arrive late in the afternoon on a Friday to pay the least amount of parking at our special secure spot (it costs a bank breaking $4 a day to park here, a travesty) close to everything (weekends are free). Our parking spot is close to the outdoor market, next to a metro station, near two supermarkets, easily walkable to the center and right in front of the world’s best pizza by the slice hut. After a few sips of champagne and one or two slices of heavenly pizza we grab our camera and head towards the action.
The outdoor market gets really busy on the weekends, locals come and buy fresh produce in preparation for their end of week parties with family and friends. Below is a long line up for a potato vendor. Though all the stalls sell potatoes, this one was especially popular this day.
Not everyone likes getting their picture taken at work.
Typical fall vegetables. I love the green tomatoes, people pickle them in vinegar and serve them with homemade booze called rakia (rakia is the national drink and tastes like jet fuel, we avoid it at all cost).
At the end of the outdoor market a lady sells the most succulent French fries. The potatoes are sweet, almost vanilla flavored and I’m pretty sure they are fried in goose fat. OMG! Seriously, these are the best fries in the world.
Next, I like shopping in the only Chinese store (that I know of) in Bulgaria. This trip I picked up a tub of Chinese style miso, spicy dried chilies with toasted sesame, a plum sauce and shrimp crackers. It’s really a challenge buying strange ingredients when the labels are written in Chinese and Bulgarian but I don’t mind coming home with a few surprises.
A young Bulgarian girl who really wanted us to take her picture.
Sofia is a strange place, such beauty mixed in with sadness. You can see impressively ornate Austro-Hungarian buildings and parliaments beside derelict abandoned homes, brand new flagship Mercedes zooming by old men begging for change, 6 foot tall supermodels dripping in jewelry walking past children with no shoes. None of it makes sense.
Another house used to live here.
Next on our tour, sushi and drunken walking…
Matt and I hate appointments, the responsibly of being at a certain place at a certain time is far too taxing on us, we like to live minute by minute when we travel. One of our favorite things to do in Sofia is pig out on sushi and rose wine and we discovered that by reserving online we can get 20% off the entire bill! So it was set in stone, 6pm at Happy Sushi, we had to be there rain or shine (how could we handle all this stress!).
We stopped at a cool underground pub along the way and chatted with a group of Austrian men who vacation together in a new country every year to drink beer and get away from their wives (I hear the wives have their own outings). I just love Europe and how easy it is to travel around here.
I’m telling a fascinating story here…I’m pretty sure I’m drunk.
5:55pm, yay we made it!
I don’t have any sushi photos but believe me it was delicious!
We stopped at the indoor market before it closed and stocked up on snacking sausages. Smokey, ooey gooey homemade sausages, drool!
We slowly made our way back to the camper and drank some more wine, ate snacks and watched a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain before falling asleep.
Another thing we like to do in Sofia is explore the residential areas (Matt calls them ‘suburbia’). Mazes of communist era block buildings with courtyards and playgrounds with old men playing cards and drinking coffee and rakia.
Once in a while you can find little cafes, Bulgarians are crazy about cafes.
All streets lead to Vitosha street, the main pedestrian road lined with shops and cafes.
Next post will be about our magical train ride. Many pictures to come….