22 February 2007

Pancake Day

This is Shrove Tuesday and it seems that in English speaking countries people eat pancakes. In Sweden it's called Fettisdagen (fat Tuesday) and people eat special buns called Semla, which are filled with marzipan and whipped cream. My experience with these has been hit and miss, so I really like the English tradition.

Now, pancakes. In Sweden they are eaten traditionally on Thursday after a lunch of pea soup. They come with strawberry jam or drottningsylt ("queen's jam") which is made on raspberries and bilberries/blueberries. And of course whipped cream. Most school kids and many adults tend to skip the soup part.

In England, Lundulph has told me, pancakes are eaten with just sugar and lemon juice, which is surprisingly nice.

In Bulgaria, you have pancakes for breakfast and the ultimate is with home made white cherry preserve. This preserve is such that the cherries remain whole, so that you can line them up on the pancake, then roll it and work your way through the cherries. Mmmm.

This year, Lundulph had to work late on Tuesday, so we postponed the feast to Wednesday. And it was a feast, Lundulph could barely move afterwards and neither could I.

He also said that it's a bit silly to put a recipe for batter in the cook blog, but I'm very proud of it because I've worked it out all by myself, without any outside influences and it's taken time to master all parts of the procedure. Though that's probably because we only have pancakes once a year. This recipe gives just over 6 pancakes, enough for two people to really pig out.


2.25 dl plain flour
2.5 dl water or milk
3 eggs
oil for frying

  1. With an electric whisk, blend flour, water/milk and eggs to a smooth batter.
  2. Brush a pan with oil and place on high heat. When it's hot, pour about 1 dl of the batter and swirl it around the pan quickly to cover it and form a thin cake.
  3. I use a non-stick pan, and less than a minute later the edges of the pancake come loose, so I quickly flip it.
  4. About 30 seconds later, the pancake is ready and I move it to a plate. Then brush the pan with oil again, before the next one.
The above amounts don't take long, but I recommend that the oven be preheated on low and that the ready pancakes are kept warm until all are done. They taste so much nicer when they are warm. And the crucial thing is to fry the pancakes on high heat and use a little oil for each one.

Now for the serving part. Last night we had a happy merger of Bulgarian and Swedish traditions. White cherry preserve (my Mum made some especially for us last year) and whipped cream. Also I used full milk, because it's the greasiness that makes it taste so nice. And I got Gold Top whipping cream. This is another interesting thing. The milk from cows from the Channel Islands, like Jersey and Guernsey, has a higher fat content than on the mainland UK and in old fashioned milk deliveries, the bottles would have a golden cap to differentiate from the regular silver ones. Well, they also make whipping cream and it is actually quite yellow in colour too. I whipped it with a little icing sugar, 1 tbsp per 1 dl cream. And here is the result, it was ever so tasty.

19 February 2007

Bulgarian Meatball Soup

This is the third week of making lots of soup to take with me as lunch to work. I must say it's great. The story behind this soup is that it's the only meat soup that I would eat as a child. And Lundulph can eat it without having to go hungry an hour afterwards.



300 g minced meat
1 egg white
salt, pepper (finely ground!)
plain flour for rolling


1 medium sized onion
1 - 2 carrots
1 segment stem celery
4 tbsp oil
1 l water
3 - 4 potatoes or
2 - 3 tbsp pudding rice or
1 dl noodles
salt, pepper, fresh chopped parsley

  1. Peel and finely dice the vegetables. If you are using potatoes, please keep them separate.
  2. Blend the minced meat with the egg white, salt and pepper. Then take a grease proof sheet of paper and cover well with plain flour. Now make small balls (small enough for a child to eat in one bite) and place on the floured paper. When all the mince has been rolled , gather up the four corners of the paper and shake carefully around, so the balls get covered.
  3. Fry the onion, carrots and celery in the oil for a few minutes.
  4. Add 1 l of water, and bring to the boil. If you can boil it in a kettle beforehand and add immediately, this will speed things up a bit.
  5. When the water boils, add the meatballs and let simmer for 5 - 6 minutes.
  6. Now add the fried onion and carrots and potatoes/rice and leave to simmer for another 20 or so minutes to make sure everything is cooked. If using noodles, add these after 10 - 15 minutes.
  7. Finally add salt, pepper and parsley, stir in well and take off the heat. Ready.

Additional to be done after the soup is off the heat.

Variant 1

1 egg yolk (from before)
1 egg
  1. Whisk these together in a cup, then carefully add some of the soup into the cup, a little at a time stirring constantly. Then pour everything back into the soup dish and stir through.
Variant 2

1.5 dl cold water
1 tbsp plain flour
  1. Whisk the water and the flour together to completely dissolve it, then pour into the soup and stir in well.
Since I don't like any form of celery, I never buy it, but I had some Jerusalem artichokes and I put one big one in instead.

Also, I had 500 g of minced meat, so I used 2 egg whites and used both yolks in the additional first variant.

10 February 2007

Crumble fruit pie

Lundulph has been asking for an apple pie for ages and I was originally going to do Delia Smith's recipe, but I can't be bothered with making a pie crust, so I decided to do the crumble instead.

Today I made one with apple and blackberry and one with just apple. I have two square pyrex dishes where the amounts below fit perfectly


750 g apples
250 g blackberries
4 - 6 tbsp caster sugar
ground cinnamon

7 dl plain flour
2 dl porridge oats
1.5 dl caster sugar
300 g butter at room temperature
3 dl corn flakes

  1. Butter the dishes and distribute the apples, a bit less in the dish where the blackberries will be added.
  2. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tbsp caster sugar over each dish. Then sprinkle cinnamon.
  3. Spread the blackberries evenly in one of the dishes.
  4. In a deep bowl, mix up flour, oats and sugar, then add the butter and rub it in until evenly mixed. It shouldn't be possible to form any dough, but it should remain in small crumbles.
  5. Add the corn flakes and carefully blend in, so they don't get too crushed.
  6. Cover the fruit in the dishes well and bake for 50 minutes at gas mark 7 (220 degrees C) in the lower middle of the oven. Time depends on how thick the crumble is, keep an eye on it and take it out when the crumbles are golden brown.
  7. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or custard.
The apples I used today are Bramleys from Lundulph's parents' tree. Lundulph had peeled, sliced and frozen them last autumn. I had done the same with some of the blackberries I picked. Because both apples and blackberries are fairly sour tasting, I've increased the amounts of sugar. Generally I'd use dessert apples for this crumble, like Golden Delicious and the amounts can be reduced a bit.

I think this pie would be good with pears or rhubarb too. Some raisins or other dried fruit could be added. Maybe chopped nuts too.

Due to the nature of these pies, serving them won't look very nice, unless they are done in individual ramekins.

I bought ready made custard, which I heated up before serving, but if I find a good recipe, I'll post it here too.

Tomato Sauce

Today is general cooking day, so that we have a variety of dishes to eat during the week, without having to cook them after a long day at work.

So I made a pizza this morning, a bean soup is on it's last 15 minutes and I'll make a crumble pie in a moment.

The pizza is the recipe I posted earlier, but like never before, I took the time to make a tomato sauce, rather than just blend the tomatoes.


2 small onions
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 can (400 g) tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
salt, black pepper, oregano, sage, thyme, crushed dried chilies (optional)

  1. Peel and chop the onions and fry on low heat in the oil, press in the garlic.
  2. Blend the tomatoes and add them to the onions, when they have become translucent.
  3. Add the tomato purée and the spices and leave uncovered to simmer on low heat until it thickens. I didn't time it, but I think it cooked for about 25 minutes.
I made the pizza dough in the bread machine and brushed the pan with vegetable oil before I put the dough in. Then I brushed the dough with oil again before I put on the tomato sauce. This way, the dough didn't go soggy.

The good thing about this sauce is that you can add finely diced potatoes to it and it makes a very nice sauce for Bulgarian meatballs.

5 February 2007

Lamb Steaks with Potato Wedges

Lundulph really likes lamb, have I mentioned that before? Well, I got some nice, lean lamb steaks the other day and cooked them yesterday.


1 tsp oil
4 lamb steaks
3 small onions
1 tbsp dried rosemary
black pepper

1 dl vegetable oil
1 kg roasting potatoes, I used Maris Piper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp mild chilli
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic granules

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes in wedges. Then steam or boil for about 5 minutes.
  2. With half of the oil, grease up a deep baking tin.
  3. Mix up all the herbs and spices
  4. When the potatoes are done, transfer them to the baking tin, spread the spice mixture, drizzle the rest of the oil over and carefully turn the wedges around so that they all get a bit of grease and spices.
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven at gas mark 6 (200 degrees C) for about 50 minutes, stirring the potatoes around once or twice.
  6. Now, cut out two sheets of aluminium foil and lay the one on top of the other in a cross.
  7. Put 1 tsp of vegetable oil on the top foil and spread it on the surface required for the steaks.
  8. Peel and chop the onions coarsely and place half of the foil, then sprinkle half of the rosemary over them along with some black pepper.
  9. Place the steaks on top, then cover with the remainder of the onions, rosemary and some more black pepper. The steaks I got were quite small, but had almost no fat on them, so didn't shrink.
  10. Wrap first one of the sheets of foil, then the other into a fairly air tight packet and bake at the lower middle shelf at gas mark 6 (200 degrees C) for about 30 minutes.
And here is the result:

Obviously I forgot the vegetables. I'd bought broccoli, mangetout and baby corn, but I'll have to use them for a stir fry or something.

Both Lundulph and I liked the potatoes so much that we had them for desert as well and put away most of them last night.

Having just discussed the potatoes with my Mum she recommends using margarine or butter instead of oil. This will prevent the wedges sticking to the baking tin. She has found a type of liquid margarine that works very well for this. I'll try to find some and experiment. My own idea on reducing the amount of fat used is to just brush the wedges lightly with oil, then add about 1 dl of water to the baking tin and cover with aluminium foil and then bake them. I think this will partly steam the potatoes and partly roast them. Then take off the foil when they are almost ready and bake them until they get some colour. I'll try this out as well and update the post on the results.