Is Bulgaria Great?

This is it. Dear readers, the reason why I haven’t been posting for two weeks is because we were busy with making our class movie. This is supposed to be the last post. I can’t believe it.

In the following video you can get an idea of what this studying abroad experience meant to me.


During this spring semester I’ve been cooking for this blog. Sometimes it made me happy, sometimes not. On most occasions I had a visitor. For instance, Renee Strik who comes from the Netherlands and showed how to prepare a typical Dutch dish. We students miss that food we get back at home.

“In Holland we have a lot of choice what to do on bread, cause we’re big, good bread eaters,” Renee said. “So, that’s what I do miss. And also the bread, I miss that too.”

Very soon every student from AUBG will return home or go abroad to work during the summer. Those not returning home probably will miss their mom’s cooking. I find one thing really weird. Men are considered better cooks than women, but children keep saying stuff like Ekaterina Tchelidze from Georgia:

“I’m not really a good cook, but my mom is and I always try to learn something from her,” said Ekaterina.

Or Ediobong Ebiefung from the States, who also likes his mother’s cooking.

“At home my mother usually does the cooking,” Eddie said. “When I’m at university I usually go to cafeteria. But when I’m at my home I usually eat whatever my mom makes.”

So why is it that men are considered better than women? I think that it’s a way to make a man feel good about himself. I don’t want to admit that cooking skills depend from which gender are you. If you’d like to, please feel free to rate my cooking skills. To do so you must visit me in Latvia. (Or here, in Bulgaria. But hurry up – I ain’t got no time.)
Until then come and see what I’ve cooked so far.

Advertisements

Eating good in the Wild

StorifyToday I learned how to use Storify. You add your Twitter account, click on “create story”, put some keywords in and grab the tweets that you need.

This is a great example how a journalist can produce a story using tweets.

Layered Rye Cake

Miracles do happen because I met a Latvian  in Blagoevgrad. This town is so far away from everything, that I didn’t expect to meet someone from my country! Elīna Rūperta is a 21 years old European Voluntary Service volunteer in Bulgaria. We made a Latvian dessert together – the Layered Rye Cake.

I’ll always remember the first time I ate the Layered Rye Cake. It was in Italy where unexpectedly I met another Latvian. Her name was Ieva and she’d been living in Torre Pellice for nine years already. I visited her only once, but the food, the atmosphere and the company was so special that I could never ever forget it.

This dessert brought old memories to me. This time I ate the Layered Rye Cake in Bulgaria. (In fact, I’d never eaten it in Latvia!) It was lots of fun to make it together with Elīna. She lives in the most beautiful house ever, and the view of her balcony is simply breathtaking.

I think that we did a good job, said Elīna.

Do you want the recipe? Here it is:

The Layered Rye Cake [Rupjmaizes Kārtojums]

500 g cream

1 jar of sour marmalade (the more sour it is, the better)

a bit sugar

400 g rye bread

First, crumble the rye bread and put it in the oven which should be around 100° C hot. Then whip the cream, while you’re doing it add the sugar.

In a bowl start making the layers in this order: whipped cream, the roasted bread crumbles, marmalade, a bit more crumbles. And then again and again until nothing is left over. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Decorate the dessert with currants. The sour marmalade and the sweet whipped cream should create a balance!

See ya!

Fajitas

Norma comes from Mexico City, the capital of Mexico. She came to Bulgaria to study in the American University of Bulgaria. Some weeks ago I wrote about a Taste fest in our university. Norma prepared many delicious snacks then and I invited her over to cook something from her own country.

Norma said that the foods she prepared for Taste fest were more tasty because of the spices and additional ingredients. We made it out of chicken and pepper. You can add, of course, way more stuff. Such as beans, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes and so on. The ingredients are diced, fried and wrapped into a warmed-up Tortilla.

For me this was a very delicious meal. I was surprised at how simple the recipe is. But I have to confess that I’m eating meat again.

Maybe some of you remember that I vowed to be vegan during February. And I did! I kept that promise. By the time February was over I began using milk products now and then. On rare occasions I ate meat too. And always felt guilty afterwards.

So, what do I do now? Do I start a vegan, or at least vegetarian diet again?

Fresh and healthy salad in 10 minutes

This is the coolest thing about cooking – you are the boss.  You choose everything on your own, every single detail.

 

AB

 

So I fixed salad for my lunch. According to my roommate Renee, whom you already might know from another post, in spring it is best to eat light food.

I usually go for more lettuce and salad, yeah, lighter stuff.

Me too. I eat lots of apples back at home. We grow our own apples, cherries and other berries. (Rhyme again!!!) This summer I want to push my family to grow potatoes again. We used to, but we stopped when it became time consuming, and nobody really had the energy to go and take care of the plants.

Nevertheless, my mom and my brothers always made sure that we eat organic food, bought from neighbors and friends. Many things we get from the store anyway. Like milk products and bread. We used to own goats, but it became too difficult as well.

My family members are involved in their works and their own projects, so our goats were sold to some friends of us. They are in good hands. Like all earthlings should be.

Greek adventure

Some days ago I got to be in Greece and spend some days with a Greek family. Those days were beautiful, emotional, sunny, sometimes rainy and sometimes confusing.

Important: the following video includes excerpts from the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival TV spot + the theme from “Zorba: The Greek”!

I feel very blessed that I got to experience all these days. The main purpose of this trip was the 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. I have to tell you, it was something rather spectacular. We got to:

  • See movies who told stories that matter. These stories changed my heart. They made me appreciate the life that I have. They show you the realities of people who live far away and sometimes their voices aren’t heard.
  • Meet amazing, sincere and inspiring directors. „Ash” is a documentary about the Iceland volcano’s eruption. The movie follows three families. You’ll see beautiful landscapes. Steve Hoover, who’s movie “Blood Brother” made everyone cry and think about his life.

“Don’t expect people to care, just keep going and work hard,” said Steve.

  • Be in civilization back again. Our little town Blagoevgrad sometimes is too small and too grey.

I was Couchsurfing. It again proved to be better than staying at hotels. It’s:

CHEAP

 (Because our family was awfully great cooks, and we ate our meals at home + CS hosts don’t ask money from you. Which make you feel bad. They give so much and receive so little. …)

ADVENTUROUS and  SPECIAL.

The Greek Goods

 So, Dear readers, I encourage everyone to do Couchsurfing. You can both host in your home. Maybe you have a spare couch, bed, where a visitor could sleep. If you are traveling, then it’s a great way how to experience life, people and a sense of freedom.

Crostata di Ricotta

Lija is my cousin. She was born in Sweden, grew up in Latvia and now lives in Germany. She is a very special person. She has traveled a lot, met many persons and gone through a lot of experiences.

We cooked together a Crostata di Ricotta. Everyone said that it’s very good, because they were being nice. Actually it was a bit of a failure. We had the white of egg leftover and poured it onto the cake. Which was not smart. The cake tasted a bit like an omelette.  Next time we’ll know better. Life, huh?

Never melt the butter if it’s not meant to be melted!

CROSTATA DI RICOTTA

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter, broken up into bits
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) brown sugar
  • An egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/8 pounds (500 g) ricotta, well drained
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 pound (150 g, about 6 ounces) bitter or milk chocolate as you prefer, shredded
  • A splash of the sweet liqueur of choice, for example Alkermes or Cointreau (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Another quarter cup of shredded chocolate

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C)

Begin by making a crumb: Put the flour, unsalted butter, dark sugar, egg and baking powder in a blender and whir in pulses until you have fairly fine crumbs.

Wet a sheet of oven paper, twist dry, and use it to line a 9-inch (22 cm) pie pan. Cover the bottom and sides of the pan with a little more than half the crumb mixture.

Combine the ricotta, white sugar, shredded chocolate, and — if you are including it — liqueur. Mix well and spread the mixture evenly over the crumb crust.

Cover the ricotta mixture with the rest of the crumbs, and bake the cake for about 40 minutes.

Remove it, and when it has cooled to warm sift the powdered sugar over it, and then sprinkle the chocolate too. The original post here.

To be honest, this is not the recipe I used. It was from an Italian cooking book and was slightly different. Anyway, it’s very much the same. Enjoy!

Pasta. Peanuts. Coconuts. Journey.

Totally nuts!

I’m impressed how much we have learned in the Multimedia class. Apart from the technical stuff, this class has made some significant changes in my life.

  1. I’m not afraid of cameras anymore.
  2. I feel stronger and happier, because I’ve changed my eating habits.
  3. It’s the one class which I really look forward to, as Monday comes.

I think that’s enough for a wonderful journey.

My dear readers and followers, I’m so glad that you’ve joined me and that you’ve been commenting these posts!

Carrot Ribbon Pasta Bowl with Coconut Almond Satay

This week I tried something new – raw food. Actually it’s just salad. You pay attention that you don’t cook or boil anything.

Was it a salad? (Laugh.) Yes, I like it! And I like the peanut butter in it. And I like mushrooms. And I like that it’s not cooked, that it’s raw, because it’s healthy.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Carrot Ribbon Pasta

5 to 6 cups (packed) Carrot Ribbons

Coconut Almond Satay Sauce:

Yields roughly 1 and 1/4 cups total (you will only need about half batch of this sauce for today’s complete recipe)

1/2 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp Almond Butter (you can either purchase or make this yourself) – substituted with Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Date Paste

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar //or// Lime Juice

3 Tbsp minced Green Onion //or// minced Garlic to taste

1 tsp Curry powder

1/2 tsp pressed Ginger

1/4 tsp Cayenne powder

2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (optional)

1/4 c Coconut Cream, melted (you can either make this or use store bought)

1/4 c Water

Salt to Taste

Assembling your Pasta Bowl:

1 c packed chopped Spinach

1/2 c dried Crimini Mushrooms (I substituted with champignon mushroom)

1/4 c minced Mint

1/4 c mined Cilantro

1/4 c minced Chive

Methods/steps

Carrot Ribbon Pasta

1) Grabbing one end of the Carrot (preferably the end with a stem that you would otherwise cut off – this will act as a convenient “handle” while you rotate it)

2) Proceed to peel downwards on your veg, rotating it as you go

3) Continue peeling the veggie until you’ve reached the core or until you can no longer get ribbons

Coconut Almond Satay Sauce:

1) Whisk all of the above ingredients together evenly.

2) Transfer to an air tight container and place sauce in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes (or more) so the flavors can fully develop. Your sauce will thicken as it chills.

Assembling your Pasta Bowl:

1) In a mixing bowl combine the following: All of the Carrot Ribbon Pasta and All remaining herbs and veggies

2) Once you’ve tossed together all of the above veggies you can add the Satay sauce. Mix into your veggies roughly 1/2 to 3/4 cups of the Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

3) Tenderizing the Carrots: Let your veggies sit for about 5 minutes after they’ve been dressed with the sauce — this is where the magic happens! Your carrots will naturally tenderize and become so gorgeously wonderful!

In class video editing

Cooking is the subject of Eat. Pray. Cook! blog.

Learning backpack journalism is the goal.

Yes!

We did a lot of fun stuff in Multimedia Journalism class on Monday.

  1. We made a video, combining audio and photos in Windows Movie Maker.
  2. Then we received Kodak cameras and learned how to shoot a 5 shot video. Now I know how to use Youtube editor. We had trouble with adding audio files. Turns out – the only option is to use Youtube’s audio files (most of them are crappy).

https://i1.wp.com/www.mobirolla.com/wp-content/uploads/Kodak-Playtouch-Pocket-HD-camcorder.jpg

A meal for your skin

How about an afternoon, spent cooking and enjoying a vegan meal?

Me and Mikael Rose Corbin (USA) decided to cook together. Mikael actually knows all about what’s good for you, what’s not, what contains more fat and what contains more carbo. I’m still trying to understand the rules of the game and grasp the meaning of healthy living. She’s really into healthy lifestyle and all that.

I meditate often.

Mikael made the cooking fun. Back at home she’s even performing in her kitchen!

Think of being back home in my own kitchen and I dance in my kitchen all the time, so it [cooking with me] was very therapeutic and very nice. I felt very peaceful and relaxed.

She’s taking a break from a stressful lifestyle back at home. Mikael forgot about herself and didn’t eat unless a friend would remind her to. I’ve had that kind of work overload, and you are way too worried  about deadlines & co to pay attention to secondary things. Wait, did I just say that food is secondary? Sometimes it is.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This is the first meal that I really consider a part of my growing as a cook. It’s the only one that was a bit challenging and a real meal too. It contains protein and calcium (beans), carbohydrates (brown rice), good things for your skin (avocado) and all the vitamins that spices can give you.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

4 peppers, tops cut off and cleaned out
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups or 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 diced avocados
2 cups tomato sauce
Spices: 1 tablespoon chili powder and cumin, ½ tablespoon oregano, curcuma and salt and pepper
Consider substituting these ingredients with you favorite ones!

Directions

Preheat oven to 250° C
Saute onions and garlic until golden brown. In large bowl, mix spices, rice, beans, onions, garlic and avocado to create filling.
Stuff each pepper with the filling until full.
Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the insides are gooey and cooked.
Just before peppers are finished baking in the oven, heat up tomato sauce in sauce pan.
When peppers are done, you can either slice in half or serve whole. Ladle tomato sauce over top for a delicious and balanced meal.

Make it low-carb by replacing the cup of rice with either a cup of vegetables or another cup of beans.

I got this great recipe and slightly changed it from here.