Archive for the ‘Sofia’ Tag
For my final day in Varna I Visited the Maritime Museum, which was a cheap and informative experience, even if it did gloss over the slightly dubious parts of it history around the first and second world wars. I’m not going to expand on that though as it’s not what my blog is about. It is a cheap way to spend an hour or so, the entry price is 5leva around GB£2.20 and there are some interesting things inside and out to look at. I didn’t spend too much time taking photos as I wasn’t hugely inspired by the displays outside and inside photography was not permitted. there are photos and more information on the link above if you want to get a better idea of what there is to see there. the only criticism I would give is that there is little of any interest to children or to people who don’t like display cases filled with various medals, uniforms, weaponry, scale models and pieces of ships and boats. This isn’t a problem if you like that sort of museum, which I do. I once spent over an hour looking in detail at a display of 20 various aerospace engines where they showed how they had evolved and developed from piston engines to modern jet engines.
After the museum I went to find something to eat. Varna has quite a few restaurant chains which are fine but they are over priced and the food it pretty standard wherever you go. I had spotted a canteen style restaurant on the high street the previous day and it looked busy, which is always a good sign in my opinion. Having travelled a bit the rule of thumb I like to observe is if its busy with locals it must be OK. I wasn’t disappointed either. there was a selection of dishes on offer. 3 soups , Chicken, Vegetable and one with Pork which I chose as Bulgarian pork is very good as I have discovered during my stay here. There were several main dishes to choose from. there was a chicken in a creamy sauce, breaded squid, bratwurst sausages all accompanied by dill potatoes, fried potatoes or rice and lamb with mushroom rice which I opted for. i also had a dark Kamenitza beer which is my favourite beer out here. My choices came to a total of 10.75leva GB£5.50 ish. the food was brilliant and the server at the counter even put up with my awful Bulgarian when I was ordering (there was a lot of me pointing and saying please).
After my meal I went for a wander and purchased a book to read as I had a couple of hours to kill before my wife and I were scheduled to fly back to Sofia. I chose A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, having seen the film i thought it would be nice to compare the two. i was lucky the book shop i found had a fair selection of English language books to choose from. Many classics and the entire Harry potter series, J. R. R. Tolkien and Fifty shades of Grey to name a few. There was also the Complete works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, I tried to read some of this before and found it very hard work. Still i’m pleased with my choice, it’s a great book and even without seeing the film it conjurers up vivid mental images, which is a little uncomfortable at times. I sat in a café for two hours reading and drinking Café Latte (i didnt have any Drencrom, Velocet or Synthmesc in my milk plus coffee)
So onwards to Varna international airport. On arrival at the airport we discovered our flight was the only outbound flight for the evening which was pretty crazy. everyone was very chilled out and as passengers gradually arrived it meant there was never a delay for anything. the 35 minute flight was smooth and the Bulgarian air staff were great. we touched down at Sofia in the snow and were out the airport and in a taxi within 10 minutes. We always use O.K. Taxi’s at the airport as they are honest. there are lots of scam artists at the airport waiting to separate unsuspecting tourists and business people from their cash. As per usual there was a taxi tout trying to get our trade as soon as we stepped into the arrivals hall. we ignored him and walked straight to the proper taxi rank.
OK, so on Friday my wife, her two friends and I went to a Balkan cooking class. I took a couple of photos and wrote a blog entry. I have had a few friends ask for the recipe for the pumpkin desert we made and have also been made aware that I didn’t take any photos of the food we made at the class. My parents are here in Sofia for the week so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.
here is the recipe with photos to accompany it. I hope you enjoy it.
- 1000 g of pumpkin peeled and seeded
- 500 ml of whole milk
- 100 g of chopped walnuts
- 50 ml runny honey
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (I have added this to the recipe)
- 1 tablespoon of icing sugar (we used granulated sugar in the class)
you will need a baking tray big enough and deep enough for the pumpkin to cover the base. the one we have is approx 30x20x5cm and it was fine. I’d recommend a non stick one to make the cleaning easier. I’m going to assume people have everything else.
Here we go!
Now is a good time to preheat the oven…. 180ºc on the fan assist setting.
Now chop the pumpkin into roughly 2cm sized chunks (its a rustic dish so no need to be too accurate)
Place the chunks into the baking tray.
Now its time to add the spices to the milk.
Give the milk and the spices a whisk together in a jug (they won’t dissolve into the milk but it makes it easier to get an even amount through the dish)
Pour the spiced milk into the tray the pumpkin should be about 0.5cm proud of the milk
Dust with icing sugar (i say dust this looks more like a snowball fight!) this will caramelize during cooking.
Then into the pre heated oven for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft…………………..
45 minutes later.
You should be able to easily crush the pumpkin with a fork
there will also be a skin on the milk and some colour on the pumpkin.
Something like this.
Add the crushed walnuts, i chopped these down a bit nut kept them big enough for some texture.
Then drizzle with runny honey.
Finally serve and enjoy.
I hope you enjoy this if you make it.
Thanks to Angel from the Balkan Cooking Class for teaching me this recipe (i hope you don’t mind my changes)
and thanks to Chi my good friend who inspired me to write this blog entry.