September 2014 archive

Saying goodbye to Summer.

The end is here, Sunny Beach is boarding up its shops and restaurants, hibernating until next spring. I don’t mind the change, it’s fun having a whole city to yourself. Though Sunny Beach might look like a zombie apocalypse movie set during the fall and winter months, this is the time when the locals come out to play, stray dogs and cats return (with many new offspring), the smell of roasted peppers on open fires wafts through the air and loud gypsy music booms out of construction sites, no need for quietness now that the tourists are gone.

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Saying goodbye to Alexander the local taxi driver/homemade moonshine provider.

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John, the daytime bartender at Iglika.

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One of the last busy all inclusive resorts.

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Almost time to change my wardrobe to fall colours.

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Our seaside walk towards St. Vlas. Sorry our camera has spots, it’s driving me nuts!

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It’s so beautiful here!

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Yes, the sea really is this colour.

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The hike from our house to St. Vlas  and back is about 16 kilometers, which I usually do in flip flops. Our step counter says that we spend almost 1200 calories on these walks, luckily there are several beach bars along the way where we can regain said calories (and many more) with huge cold beers.

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What’s really cool about our area is that not one building looks alike. This one has a ski lodge feel.

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Contemporary West Coast.

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Is that a lighthouse?

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Herring in oil and vinegar, roasted pork and cabbage with ham and roasted pepper stuffed zucchini with a pile of cheese.

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The cutest man ever.

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This bar has been abandoned for over 2 years, too bad because it looks really cool.

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Enjoying the last few sunny days of summer.

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We went on a nice walk around New and Old Nessebar. There are still lots of tourists milling about.

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I have to pet every single cat I see, thankfully Matt also loves cats and waits for me.

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Old time Nessebar! It’s so pretty!

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What a splendid day. It’s amazing how much fun we have!

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Old man stealing my spotlight.

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New cat toy?

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We bring our book readers with us everywhere we go intending to read for hours but we always end up having deep conversations and telling jokes instead.

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Summer never ends on the Black Sea.

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Oven beef jerky.

I’ve made beef jerky in a dehydrator several times, we even made a huge batch for our wedding. This time I’m trying it in the oven, I hope it works out, wish me luck.

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The best fajitas in the world!

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Marinate the meat in paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, fenugreek, salt, soy sauce, pepper, hot chilies and oil.

Using the same spices (minus the soy sauce) first cook the onions, then the mushrooms, next the peppers, the sausage and last, the pork and chicken. Cook the veggies and meat about 3/4 of the way and let rest in a warm oven while you make the salsa.

Salsa: In a hot dry pan, grill (until almost black) 5 cloves of garlic, 5-6 hot peppers and a large tomato. Blend with a chopped onion, salt, smoked paprika and lime juice.

Warning: super fun Pierogi Party!

I’m going pierogi crazy. I had a lot of dough left over from last night’s dinner so I decided to make more! 

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Dough: flour, 2 eggs, salt and water. Knead dough, wrap with plastic wrap, place in fridge for 30 minutes then roll smooth and cut to desired size.

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Why make one filling when you can make five!

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Ground pork spiced with cumin, cloves, nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon, star anise, salt and pepper.

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Roasted butternut squash with sage.

Tomato, caramelized onions and dill.

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Mushroom and sauerkraut.

Strawberry jam with frozen strawberries.

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Labeling them was a good idea except they all looked identical.

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I fixed my problem with a few creative fork crimps.

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I boiled the pierogies (they are ready when they float to the top) and served them with yogurt and fried bread crumbs.

Dill and butter white fish with chantrelles and butternut squash done 3 ways.

The white fish is cooked in the oven with butter and dill. The chantrelles are pan fried with butter, garlic and parsley.

Oven roasted butternut squash: stuffed in homemade pierogies, roasted with ginger, sugar and walnuts, pureed with sage and cream.

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Pierogies are actually very easy to make; flour, 2 eggs, salt and water. Knead dough, wrap with plastic wrap, place in fridge for 30 minutes then roll smooth and cut to desired size.

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Goulash with egg noodles.

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For best results, marinate the beef in paprika, soy sauce and oregano the day before.

2-3 cups stew beef, cubed (bite sized)

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, cubed (small)

2 celery stocks with leaves or a few sprigs of lovage

4 cups beef stock

4 large cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons paprika + 2 tablespoons for the flour coating

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon fenugreek and/or thyme

4 whole cloves

2 bay leaves

salt, pepper

flour

For cooking: oil and butter or goose fat

Egg noodles (papardelle)

Peas (optional)

  • Mix flour, salt and paprika in a bowl.
  • Coat the meat with the flour mixture.
  • In a large pot brown the meat (at high heat) on all sides in oil and goose fat.
  • Remove from pot.
  • Lower the heat to medium.
  • Cook onions in the same pot with the drippings until they turn translucent.
  • Add the carrots, garlic, celery and a little butter or goose fat with the onions, cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the meat, seasonings and stock.
  • Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced. (This should only take 1 hour if you have a pressure cooker).

To thicken the sauce make a roux:

  • Equal parts flour and butter or goose fat.
  • Heat in a pan (medium heat) and whisk until smooth.
  • Let cool for a few minutes then slowly whisk the roux into goulash.

Serve on top of thick egg noodles and add peas and/or sour cream.

The best BBQ lime, chili, garlic prawns.

Oh my God. These prawns are out of control, a real 5 star quality dish. DSC01257

Make a big bowl of marinade then place 1/3 of the sauce (before it touches the prawns) in a different bowl and reserve it for later.

Marinade:

-cumin

-cilantro

-soy sauce

-lime zest and lime juice

-Thai chili peppers (keep whole and remove before cooking)

-lots of honey and/or sugar

-fresh hot peppers

Wash the prawns; remove the little legs and cut along the back making sure the remove the black membrane, marinate for 30 minutes.

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Skewer prawns onto bamboo skewers (soak in water for at least 30 minutes before hand) then grill on a hot BBQ for 1-3 minutes on each each side depending on the prawn size.

Toss the hot prawns in the reserved sauce and serve.

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Homemade crackers!

Feta cheese, goose fat, rosemary, salt, baking powder, lemon juice, paprika and water. Mix dough, set aside for 30 minutes.

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Roll out the dough, cut with a cookie cutter and cook for 10-15 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

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Smoked salmon, Tyrokafteri and cucumber bites.

What the heck is Tyrokafteri you might ask? Well it’s a delicious feta, hot pepper and olive oil spread I discovered in Greece last year. Mash high quality feta and chopped hot peppers (I used my tiny peppers from my balcony garden) in a mortar and pestle while slowly adding good olive oil.

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