31 January 2007

Bulgarian Lentil Soup

I made this last Sunday, and thought I'd already added it to the cookbook, but apparently not, so here it is.


1 medium sized onion
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 l water
250 g unpeeled green dried lentils
2 - 3 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot
2 small green peppers
1 small celeriac or 4 - 5 Jerusalem artichokes (optional)
salt, pepper, parsley, dill, savory

  1. Soak the lentils for at least 2 h in water, preferably overnight.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, peppers and celeriac or Jerusalem artichokes, but keep each separate.
  3. Heat up the oil and fry the onion in it. Press in the garlic as well.
  4. When the onion/garlic have gone translucent, add the paprika, stir vigorously for about a minute and add the water - you need to have these ready, if the paprika is fried for too long, it burns and doesn't taste as nice. The water can be cold/room temperature, but it would speed things up a bit if it's hot. I never bother with that, though.
  5. Add the soaked lentils and carrots and whichever of the herbs that are dried. Also add the celeriac, if you decide to use this. I don't like celeriac, so I don't use it.
  6. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
  7. Now add the pepper and leave to simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  8. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and leave to simmer for further 5 - 10 minutes. Also add the fresh herbs, after chopping them. This is a new invention, I had some Jerusalem artichokes left over and I added them and it tasted really nice. You can skip them if you don't like them. It's important not to let them boil for more than 10 minutes, so that they don't disintegrate.
The soup is now ready and is nice on it's own. Some people add vinegar just before eating.

As usual, Lundulph needs meat and this week-end I got him a nice piece of unsmoked gammon, which I roasted as recommended in Delia Smith's 'How to cook'. I got two pieces of aluminium foil, placed them in a cross, put a bunch of thyme, sage and black pepper in the middle, placed the gammon on top, then put more thyme, sage and black pepper over it and wrapped up the foil into a parcel. Baked in the oven at gas mark 4 (180 degrees Celsius) for 1 h (Delia recommends 20 minutes per 1 lb meat + 20 minutes on top of that). Then I unwrapped the gammon, scraped off the herbs on the top and put it back in for another 30 minutes on gas mark 7 (230 degrees Celsius) to give it a bit of colour. Not sure if this was a good idea, it just seemed to try out. Lundulph said it was rather nice.

Next time he's asked me to cook the meat with the soup, so that it can pick up some of the flavours. We agreed to try thin strips of chicken or turkey breast.

I had the last of the soup today, so there's nothing to photograph. Sorry, will try to remember to add some next time.

22 January 2007


This is a quintessential Bulgarian dish. Well, the name of the dish sounds Turkish, so the whole dish is probably Turkish as well.

It is eaten as a "meze", that is a starter to line the stomach for the rakia. Lundulph likes to dip bread in it. I like it as a spread on toast.

Note that the quantities are very approximate.


7 (500 g) bell peppers
2 (600 g) aubergines
1 large clove of garlic
5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 chili (optional)
3 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Roast the peppers and the aubergines. Lundulph and I took the trouble of bringing back a pepper roaster from Bulgaria. This is basically a cannon-shaped device with ceramic inner walls, metal outer walls and a lid. It is powered by electricity, when it heats up, peppers and aubergines are put in, the opening is covered with the lid and a few minutes later the vegetable comes out roasted. I've seen one of the celebrity contestants of Masterchef roast a pepper with a mini blow torch, but the easiest would be to roast the peppers and aubergines directly on the hob, if you have an electrical one, or on a dry pan on a gas hob. Putting them under the grill would probably also do the trick, they need watching and turning. They are ready when the skin goes black. Place them in a deep casserole dish and cover with the lid and leave for 15 - 20 minutes. The chili is optional, but if you choose to add it, it should be roasted in the same way. Alternatively dried crushed chili can be used.
  2. At this point, it should be very easy to peel the peppers and aubergines. Remove also the seeds from the peppers and rinse off any remnants of skin. This is quite messy.
  3. Now place in a deep bowl, add the garlic, olive oil and salt and blend to a cream with a hand blender. Or if you have a food processor, that works as well. Alternatively, chop everything very finely and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the chopped parsley and walnuts (we don't like kyopoolu with walnuts, so we don't put any in). Stir through.
If you do this quickly, the kyopoolu will still be warm when it's done and is very tasty with hot toast. But it's nice cold too. Store it in the fridge and stir through when serving after that.

I have successfully frozen it too, though it tends to go a bit watery afterwards. A better way is to roast peppers and aubergines, peel and wash them and then freeze in the right amounts. Then just blend together. As for garlic, if it's Friday, I tend to put more garlic in, as I like it as garlic-y as possible. Lundulph doesn't agree, reckoning the amounts I put in completely dominate the dish.

We had a Bulgarian meze dinner tonight with turshia, ham, toast and rakia, in addition to the kyopoolu. It was very nice indeed.

And what I fogot to mention is that on the picture above, I used 3 green, 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, which is why it looks a bit like poo. If you only use green peppers, the colour will be pine green and it'll taste less sweet. If you only use red peppers, then it'll be more orange in colour and taste sweeter too, of course.

An idea that just struck me is that if you cool it in the fridge, then pipe it onto small crackers or pieces of toast, it would make nice canapés.

14 January 2007

Ingredients 2


Sainsbury's have stopped selling grape seed oil in 1 litre bottles. This is very annoying indeed. But according to my Mum, the thing to cook with these days is oil made from rape seed. The reason for this is that this oil is rich in Omega3. This is not mentioned in Wikipedia, however, the page on Omega3 fatty acids does mention grape seed oil specifically.

Of course, the Wikipedia content should be taken with a pinch of salt and Sainsbury's are selling a vegetable oil, that according to the ingredients is made of rape seed and I've bought a bottle to try it out.

Before Christmas, I also bought a small bottle of toasted sesame oil and another one with walnut oil. I've tried the walnut oil as salad dressing and it was very tasty.

As for the toasted sesame oil, I'll use it next time I make stir fry.

Foil baked salmon fillet with roast potatoes

After my first week at my new job, I'll have to say that there won't be much time for cooking during the week and sadly, I'll mostly only make updates on the week-ends when I have time to cook.

Lundulph asked for a roast dinner, while I was making plans to use up at least some of the many salmon fillets in the freezer. Also there is half a can of goose fat left over from Christmas.

So today we're doing an alternative roast Sunday dinner.


roasting potatoes
goose fat
4 salmon fillets, preferably with their skin on one side
grape seed oil
crushed chillies
fresh coriander or parsley
black pepper

  1. First make the roast potatoes, because they'll take the longest, and Delia Smith's recipe is very good. Note that the link goes to a new version of the recipe with saffron. Just skip that bit and do the traditional ones.
  2. Once the potatoes are baking away, start preparing the salmon fillets. For each fillet, take a sheet of aluminium foil, large enough to wrap it up into a packet.
  3. Brush a little oil in the middle of each sheet and place one fillet in each.
  4. As Lundulph doesn't like pesto, his fillets are brushed with a little oil as well, then I sprinkle crushed chillies, salt, pepper on top and cover with the fresh coriander. Then I wrap the whole thing up into a packet.
  5. I like pesto, so my fillets just get covered with pesto and a little crushed chillies to give it a kick and wrap them up into a packet as well.
  6. The salmon packets take 15-20 minutes to bake, so they can go in at the very bottom of the oven with the potatoes. Or bake separately at gas mark 5.

8 January 2007

Swedish gravy

This is the famous "brun sås" that goes so nicely with Swedish meatballs. Literally it means brown sauce.
I have a large back of powdered stuff used in restaurants and it's slightly quicker to do, so I use that, but before I got access to the powder, I used the following recipe. It is from my home economics book, which it is for one portion only. The main advantage is that it won't have any nasty E numbers.


0.5 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cold milk or single cream
1 dl meat stock (= the fat from whatever meat was fried + water)
salt, black pepper, soy sauce

  1. Blend all ingredients and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes, until it thickens.
  3. Ready.
This is assuming you are going to use the gravy along with the meat you fry. Now for the Swedish meatballs, they come ready made from the shop and frying them in a non-stick pan doesn't give any fat to speak of, so I'd suggest using some butter. I'll give it a go next time I make meatballs and extend this post if needed.

7 January 2007

Bulgarian Meatballs/Meatloaf

One thing about my Mum's recipes is that one base can become several different dishes, I'm sure I've mentioned it before. This is one a like a lot. The mince mixture can be used either for meatballs or meat loaf. I think the meatloaf is more of a show off piece.


1 kg minced meat, pork is recommended
1 large onion chopped very finely
2 medium sized slices of dry bread
2 - 3 medium sized eggs
salt, black pepper, savory, parsley, cumin

Additional for the meatballs
plain flour
grape seed oil for frying

Additional for the meatloaf
2 - 3 hardboiled eggs
1 - 2 boiled carrots
1 can of whole button mushrooms
vine leaves in brine (optional)


  1. On the evening before you plan to cook them, dip the dry bread in water and squeeze out the excess. Then mix all the ingredients and leave to stand in the fridge overnight. At this point, the mixture can be frozen. It is very important that the onion is finely chopped, or the meatballs will fall apart.
  2. For meatballs: make largish balls, about the size of a golf ball, flatten a bit, roll in flour and shallow fry in a pan.
  3. For meatloaf: line a bread tin with vine leaves or baking paper, fill up to about one third with mince mixture, then line up the eggs, mushrooms and carrots, then top up with more mince. Cover with vine leaves, if you are using these.
  4. Bake in the oven at 175 - 200 degrees C (gas mark 5 - 6) for 1 h.

Kept in the fridge, the meatballs will last longer than the meatloaf, but both can be frozen.

When you slice the meatloaf, you'll get fancy eggs, mushrooms and carrot shapes in the middle. For a more everyday version, the eggs, mushrooms and carrots can be diced and mixed in with the mince just before making the loaf. The vine leaves are quite salty and give a nice flavour to the meatloaf, so I recommend you use them if you can. The meatloaf can be served with rice or boiled potatoes and bechamel sauce or Greek yogurt.

I personally prefer potatoes. I think Hasselback potatoes would also be good for a dinner party.

For the meatballs, a tomato sauce is nice, I'll add a recipe in a later post. I think ratatouille would work as well.

6 January 2007

Broccoli and Leek Pie

Hello and Happy New Year!

Lundulph and I went to visit my parents in Sweden and I've picked up a couple of new recipes.

Tonight I made one of them. Unfortunately I didn't watch my Mum make it and she wasn't too sure of the amounts, so I'm trying it out while I add some ideas from myself. So the amounts are a bit approximate.



150 g butter
0.5 dl grape seed oil
4 tbsp water
50 g wholemeal flour
250 g plain flour


300 g broccoli
5 - 6 leeks (about 300 g)
4 slices of ham
2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp water
black pepper
1 dl parsley

Creamy bit

4 large eggs
2 dl creme fraiche
3 dl semi-skimmed milk

  1. Melt the butter and oil for the crust. This is essential to speed things up and make a nice smooth dough.
  2. Mix up all the ingredients into a soft dough.
  3. Spread it in a deep baking tray, 35 x 30 x 3 cm and pre-bake it for 10 minutes on gas mark 6 or 200 degrees C. Then take out and leave to one side. My pie crust cracked in a few places, but I don't think that matters much.
  4. Wash and cut the broccoli and leeks into small pieces. Wash and chop the parsley coarsely.
  5. Fry the broccoli, leeks and parsley in the oil. Add the seasoning too. Fry until the water has evaporated, but keep stirring every now and then, so things don't burn.
  6. Cut the ham into small pieces and once the broccoli and leeks are done, take off the heat and mix in the ham.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, milk and salt into a smooth creamy mix.
  8. Now spread the broccoli, leek and ham mix evenly over the pie crust, then pour the creamy mixture on top, making sure the pie is evenly covered.
  9. Bake on gas mark 5 (or 200 degrees C if using an electrical oven) until the pie is golden brown.
There are two important aspects to the pie crust - first, the melted butter and oil makes it very easy to make the dough, rubbing solid butter into the flour takes a lot more effort. Second, the 10 minute pre-baking ensures that the pie crust will remain crunchy. If the fillings are done on top of the raw dough, it'll go soggy, possibly not even bake properly.

Adding the ham was my idea and it worked quite nicely. The wholemeal flour is optional and can be swapped for plain flour. My Mum didn't give any indication as to how much flour is needed. I thought 6 dl in total seemed OK, but I wasn't able to roll the dough. This could be due to using a bit of wholemeal or too much or too little flour on the whole. It was easy enough to just press into the baking tray.

Also tomato slices can be added on top and grated cheese.

Update 20th January 2007: My Mum has very kindly taken the time to measure the amounts for the pie crust and I've updated them above. The dough is not supposed to be rolled, but pressed into the baking tin, just as I explain above. Make sure it's thin and to make sure it doesn't crack, prick it with a fork here and there.