One more stew for luck: Greek beef stifado

While our taste buds were touring around Central and Eastern Europe, our only frustration was that so many countries had similar traditional dishes, mostly based around stewed meat and plenty of stodgy carbs (usually potatoes or a variation on pasta). In an effort to avoid making the same thing every time we reached a new country, we tried to vary what we made, including desserts, baking and even breakfasts in the mix. Understandably, we were pretty excited to have left that region of the world and get to the Mediterranean region (namely Greece), which would give us the opportunity to make a whole new range of meals. We could eat vegetables again! Olives, feta, seafood, fresh herbs! Light, fresh, tangy flavours that we’ve been looking forward to since ‘setting sail’!

So what have we opted for? Beef stifado. In other words, Greek beef stew. Served with pasta. However, this decision is not quite as strange as it may appear. Ash remembers enjoying a beef stifado at a tiny local restaurant whilst on holiday with his parents on the Island of Kalymnos (to the east side of the Aegean Sea near Kos) over 15 years ago, and has been going on about it ever since. The strong-flavoured and melt-in-the-mouth beef and onion stew with spices and a thick gravy was worth one more casserole… Continue reading

Budget Bulgarian: Mish Mash

When we saw that there was a Bulgarian dish called ‘Mish Mash’, our first thought was, ‘A dish with ‘mash’ in the title! WE MUST MAKE THIS.’

Our second thought, upon reading the recipe, was that we couldn’t quite figure out how this ‘Bulgarian omelette’ designed to feed four could only have three eggs, yet also contain three peppers, three tomatoes and nearly a whole packet of feta cheese. This was like no omelette we’d ever made before, and we weren’t sure whether to assume it would actually feed two, rather than four (partly because of there only being three eggs, and partly because we’re a bit piggish), or whether we should halve the recipe to make it a ‘Serves 2’. In the end, we went for the former: partly because three eggs is too difficult to halve, and partly because we’re a bit piggish. Continue reading

Simple supper: Romanian stuffed peppers

Although Romania has been reasonably prominent on our ‘To Visit’ list for a while now, we don’t actually know much about it other than that it’s where Dracula came from, and that there’s an ice hotel there. Both are very exciting, but neither gives much insight into the country’s cuisine. Fortunately, Google came to the rescue and provided us with a recipe for ardei umpluti, or stuffed peppers.

Unlike stuffed peppers we’ve made before, this one is served with a tomato sauce, and this is where the recipes we found differ the most. We opted for the one from which uses fresh tomatoes, but many other recipes used a tomato puree base. I suppose it comes down to what you prefer, and also what you have in the fridge. Otherwise, we adapted the recipe slightly, but it’s mostly as per the original.

We were lucky enough to find some enormous, locally-grown peppers at our fruit and veg market, although this did mean that we could actually have done with a little bit more of the stuffing. This amount should be plenty for normal sized peppers, but if you had any left over I suppose you could just fry it up like a mini burger or something. Conversely, we were also somewhat unlucky in that Miranda bought sour cream as an accompaniment (recommended in the recipe) but then forgot all about it. We don’t think it was really lacking anything without it though. We did heat up some dinner rolls to mop up the sauce, but as it happened, the stuffing kind of did that for us, so they weren’t an essential component either. Continue reading

Skinless Serbian sausages: Cevapcici (sausages) and ajvar (roasted red pepper sauce)

It’s been a pretty whirlwind couple of weeks in the Mash House! Since we cooked our Croatian food and started thinking about Serbia, Miranda has gone back to work after the summer holidays, Ash has been home from work with a stomach virus, and to top it all, we got engaged on 29 August!!

So, much as we had the best intentions to make cevapcici (Serbian sausages) with ajvar (roasted red pepper sauce) a week ago, we’ve had our minds full of other things. However, we finally got around to it last night, and enjoyed a summery Serbian feast. Continue reading