November 2015 archive

Tapas & San Sebastian style pinxtos party for my birthday!

It took me 3 days to plan, shop and prep for his party but it was totally worth it.

DSC01424

 

The house always looks like a mess while I prep, I need a much larger kitchen!

DSC01426

 

I started to roast and toast days before the party.

DSC01418

 

Fennel, orange and arugula salad.

DSC01427

 

Pickled fish, green onions, roasted red peppers and cocktail pearl onions.

DSC01436

 

Pickled leeks, hot pepper, anchovy and olive.

DSC01438

 

Oyster mushrooms with bacon and roasted peppers with garlic.

DSC01443

 

Olive tapenade.

DSC01450

 

Caramelized onions with goat cheese and thyme.

DSC01453

 

Mushroom pâté with toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds.

DSC01459

 

Gazpacho jelly with hot peppers.

DSC01465

 

I also made gazpacho shooters with bacon, patatas bravas and sangria.

DSC01472

 

Yummmmmmy

DSC01473

 

DSC01474

 

DSC01475

 

DSC01476

 

Dj Nick, Vera, Carina and Matt!

DSC01483

 

Dj Nick was super happy with the tapas.

DSC01488

 

Amalia’s bar.

DSC01504

 

My personal hair stylist gave me a beautiful Spanish inspired hairdo.

DSC01502

 

Dramatic pose.

DSC01508

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!

DSC01517

A few phone photos from my girl weekend in Sofia with Krassi, Eli and Maya.

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.

2015-11-13 21.50.42-2

 

2015-11-14 16.49.47-1

 

View from Bulgaria Mall.

2015-11-15 11.48.40

 

View from Maya’s aunt’s apartment.

2015-11-14 10.50.11-1

 

25 degree weather in the middle of November!

2015-11-14 13.40.44

 

Eli and Krassi at a TERRIBLE restaurant.

2015-11-14 15.07.23-2

 

Eli!

2015-11-14 16.44.03-2

 

Quick lunch in Plovdiv on the way back.

2015-11-15 17.11.32

 

My favorite pizza and beef Carpaccio.

2015-11-15 16.19.07-1

 

2015-11-15 16.20.32-2

 

2015-11-15 17.12.25-2

Duck confit with Julia Child’s Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian).

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!

DSC01383

 

Duck confit is very easy to make but I will warn you that it can take up to 4 days to make.

Duck Confit
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
4 hr
755 calories
1 g
289 g
44 g
84 g
13 g
303 g
238 g
0 g
0 g
24 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
303g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 755
Calories from Fat 392
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 44g
67%
Saturated Fat 13g
66%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 18g
Cholesterol 289mg
96%
Sodium 238mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 1g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 0g
Protein 84g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
5%
Iron
46%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 duck legs
  2. 500g goose or duck fat (enough to cover the legs completely)
  3. your favorite French marinade ingredients.
For example
  1. -2 cloves of garlic
  2. -salt & pepper
  3. -herbs de Provence
  4. -olive oil
Instructions
  1. 1.Marinate the duck leg in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
  2. 2.Lightly wipe off the marinade and place in a deep oven dish (make sure the dish isn't too big).
  3. 3.Cover the legs completely with goose or duck fat.
  4. 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. 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. 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.
beta
calories
755
fat
44g
protein
84g
carbs
1g
more
Amalia and Matt's blog http://mattandamalia.com/
Tian de Courgettes
Write a review
Print
1256 calories
114 g
151 g
57 g
73 g
35 g
909 g
2530 g
25 g
1 g
18 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
909g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1256
Calories from Fat 498
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 57g
87%
Saturated Fat 35g
176%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 151mg
50%
Sodium 2530mg
105%
Total Carbohydrates 114g
38%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 25g
Protein 73g
Vitamin A
53%
Vitamin C
109%
Calcium
215%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. -1 cup white rice
  2. -2-3 large zucchinis, shredded
  3. -1 large onion, diced
  4. -3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. -1/3 cup milk
  6. -3/4 cup Parmesan
  7. -salt & pepper
  8. -a pinch of nutmeg
  9. -oil or butter for cooking
Instructions
  1. 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. 2. Parboil the rice by cooking it for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. 3. In a hot pan, cook onions until soft.
  4. 4. Add the garlic, zucchinis and seasonings. Cook for 6-8 minutes.
  5. 5. Stir in the rice, milk, half the cheese and zucchini juice.
  6. 6. Place in an oven dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  7. 7. Bake in a medium heat oven for 30 minutes, or until top has browned nicely and the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
beta
calories
1256
fat
57g
protein
73g
carbs
114g
more
Amalia and Matt's blog http://mattandamalia.com/

Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part one.

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.

DSC00002

 

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.

DSC00003

 

DSC00006

 

Not everyone likes getting their picture taken at work.

DSC00008

 

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).

DSC00009

 

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.

DSC00012

 

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.  

DSC00015

 

A young Bulgarian girl who really wanted us to take her picture.

DSC00016

 

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. 

DSC00025

 

Another house used to live here.

DSC00031

 

DSC00032

 

DSC00036

 

DSC00037

 

DSC00045

 

DSC00046

 

Next on our tour, sushi and drunken walking…

DSC00042

Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part Two.

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.

DSC00053

 

I’m telling a fascinating story here…I’m pretty sure I’m drunk.

DSC00068

 

Yup, drunk.

DSC00091

 

5:55pm, yay we made it!

DSC00127

 

I don’t have any sushi photos but believe me it was delicious!

DSC00140

 

DSC00144

 

DSC00148

 

DSC00160

 

We stopped at the indoor market before it closed and stocked up on snacking sausages. Smokey, ooey gooey homemade sausages, drool!

DSC00162

 

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.

DSC00165

Strolling around Sofia in the fall. Part three.

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. 

DSC00458

 

DSC00407

 

Once in a while you can find little cafes, Bulgarians are crazy about cafes. 

DSC00419

 

DSC00423-2

 

DSC00425

 

All streets lead to Vitosha street, the main pedestrian road lined with shops and cafes.

DSC00433

 

DSC00439

 

Next post will be about our magical train ride. Many pictures to come….

DSC00446