Sunday, July 29, 2012

Home-made sour cherries liqueur

Sour cherry liqueur. Elegant liqueur for elegant occasions. You serve it in little glasses and sip it sparingly enjoying every drop. My Granny prepared it when I was a child and I still remember the big green bottles filled with sour cherries and sugar. As it is with many other good things, preparing sour cherry liqueur is a slow process. You need more than a month  between buying the fresh sour cherries and taking the first sweet sips from this drink. 
Vodka is the perfect base for it, because it hasn't own flavour and color.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My favorite sour cherry cake

The last sour cherries of the season. I picked them from our sour cherry tree, trying not to eat too many. I needed two cups for the sour cherry cake. My favourite sour cherry cake, the one my mother-in-low prepares. She knows I love it and so does everybody else in our family. Half of the tray is for me, the others share the other half. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bean and nettle soup with wild plums

We escaped from the heat in a large forest yesterday. The excursion took some hours along a fast flowing river under the shades of old trees and I was surprised to see new nettles  - fresh, soft and young. So I collected some handfuls. No, I did not have gloves, but my craving for nettles was so huge, that I took the risk. Yes, my finders have pins and needles now and they are covered with tiny red spots. But it was worth it. Coming home with my plunder, I decided to prepare a cucina povera dish from the Bulgarian cuisine - bean and nettle soup with wild plums. Although this dish consists only of simple ingredients, it has a rich and diverse flavor. With grassy softness of the nettles, fresh and sour taste of the wild plums and velvet base of the beans, it is deffinitely something to rememberThe perfect warm weather bean dish - good for vegans, vegetarians and everybody else. Recipe calls for crushed beans - the only reason for crushing beans is making them faster soft, if you prefer you can keep them whole. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sour cherry cake with buttermilk

Sour cherries are one of my favourite fruits. Probably that is one of the reasons I spent the other day around the stove trying two different recipes for sour cherry cake. This is the first one I would like to tell you about. It is based on the recipe for buttermilk blueberry cake I saw in one of my absolute favorite blogs. It does not look very attempting, but it is. You can feel the butter and the crust is crunchy. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mussels marinara

Mussels marinaraMarinara is one of my favorite sauces for mussels. Marinara means 'sailors' style' in Italian, so probably the sailors preferred to have mussels that way. Because of the wine as an ingredient. Or because mussels get hot and full of flavors. Mussels marinara are usually served over boiled linguine, but I love them so much, that I skip the pasta and sip the sauce of the mussels right from the shells. Or enjoy to wipe up the spicy sauce with a slice of crusty bread. 
MusselMussels marinara

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cold cucumber soup (Tarator)

Tarator is one of the most typical dishes of Bulgarian cuisine. It is a cold soup based on the combination of yogurt, cucumbers and garlic. Some olive oil, dill and crushed walnuts are the recommended additions to this summer dish which slakes the thirst in the hot summer days. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Yellow cherry jam with fragrant geranium

Granny prepared jams every summer. 
Cherry, yellow cherry, sour cherry, apricot... a lot of jams. I loved to be around her in the kitchen and to observe her skillfull movements which turned the fresh ripe fruits into jars full of summer. Especially the cherry jams, they really required patiency. We had no cherry pitter and she removed the pitted all the cherries with the ears of small hairpin, used only for these purposes. One after another. Gently touches, careful pressing of the little fruits in order not to destroy their tender structure. I was always around ready to eat any torn fruit which did not meet granny's criteria. But she was always very good and I had to rely on my fast reactions to take one while she turned her back to me. The best fruits of summer intended to send the summer message to all the other seasons. I really love to recall these moments. And inspite the fact that the shelves of the supermarkets are full of jams I prepare some home-made jams every summer and present them to the people I love. Like hitchhiking a time-machine which moves me back to the time I was a kid, Granny was alive and we were both in the kitchen surrounded by cherries. 
And I know from her - yellow cherry jam has to be flavored with fragrant geranium leaves. The scent of geranium provides the jam with rose-vanilla aromas and makes it taste homy.