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Observations on life in Bulgaria from a fifty something ex pat who fell in love at first sight! More Info

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February 2012
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Living in Bulgaria, a village life

Exciting times ahead & A Recipe

February 28, 2012

Spring is coming, soon we all hope. This means we are now thinking about what to plant & what will be preserved.  I thought as I was blogging recipes what better thing to blog here at this time but my own recipe for no onion chutney. Why no onion, Isn’t chutney made predominantly of onion? Well for people like me who can’t tollerate onions it means we lose out on lots of lovely foods. After all most cooking has an onion base. Eating out can be a nightmare & food can become rather bland & dull.

Thank goodness I can have garlic. We grow lots of garlic which keeps the cost down & thankfully it can be planted twice a year, so that keeps me going. I use garlic in practically everything instead of onion.   I realised while looking for my first ever chutney recipe that there was nothing out there for people who can not eat this gorgeous root vegetable.

So for those of you who cannot eat Onion, here you are &  for those of you who can, just add an onion & reduce the garlic :-)

Apple, Marrow & Plum Chutney

2 Heads of garlic, crushed & chopped
1 lg Marrow, peeled & chopped (scoop out seeds, wash, dry & store for planting)
500g-1kg Plums
2lb Apples, peeled cored & chopped
1lt  Vinegar
1tbsp Ginger
2tsp Cinnamon
2tsp Allspice
1tsp Nutmeg
1kg Sugar
2tsp Salt
Put the plums in a large pan with a little water & heat till the plums soften. Turn of the heat & skim out the stones.
Add all the ingredients, except the sugar, stirring after each add.
Bring to the boil, then simmer till all is soft. Keep an eye on it & stir frequently.
Add the sugar & stir till it is dissolved. Cook till it is thickened, the apple has cooked down & you can run a spoon through leaving a channel behind.
Spoon into sterilised jars, wipe rim & seal the lid & leave to cool down.You will hear thejars pop as they cool & seal. Check they are sealedby pressing the centre of the lid. This should not move or pop

I love this part of  living in Bulgaria, as I am sure lots of people do. The ability we have to become small home farmers, the space we gain outside, which means we can go back to our roots or learn a new way of life. Iam very proud of my growing, preserving & cooking skills here.  Some people don’t get it, that is fine, but many do & in fact also raise livestock to eat.  There is something so amazing about growing & providing your own food. Creating different taste experiences, colours & there is nothing that pleases me more than laying up a table with home grown & homemade meals, bread & preserves.

My mum is very proud of her daughter who grows her own produce & preserves & bakes. The fact I have always cooked & could always bake doesn’t come in to it, as with most of us I had a business to run & a house & husband to keep in line lol. I have always loved entertaining & Baking for the grandchildren etc but having the time to put the love in everyday was hard.I eventually managed to pull it all together in the evening meal stakes after my husband had a heart attack.  

So life here is just fantastic for people who want to develop, experiment, learn & enjoy the kitchen. To learn how to plant, grow, nurture & eat their own produce. To always learn & grow themselves. Never think you know it all, never pretend you know it all & allways take advice & learn from others. It makes us better people. Here in Bulgaria, I have learn’t to enjoy the garden, enjoy the kitchen, entertaining in a more relaxed environment & to always absolutely encourage others.

I am very excited as sowing & planting time is coming. We have Garlic which has been sitting nicely under the snow & will soon be hanging in my cellar. The new fruit bushes will be ensconsed in their new homes, Vines will be straightened & pruned, ground will be ploughed & poles collected for supporting the hundreds of tomato plants

by Joanna Rosina. Find out more about Joanna Rosina here.