British Ambassador Emma Hopkins shares her favourite Bulgarian recipes
Emma Hopkins OBE was appointed Her Majesty's Ambassador to Bulgaria in May 2015. Since then, she has been exploring Bulgaria, its people, culture, landmarks and, last but not least, its cuisine. She openly professes her love for Bulgarian food and adds with a smile: "I prefer Bulgarian vegetables, because they are more delicious than UK ones."
With the help and expertise of the British Residence's staff, Ambassador Hopkins has also been learning to cook traditional Bulgarian dishes. Cooking Bulgarian food gave her an idea for a creative outlet and, since August, the British Embassy in Sofia has created a series of videos on its social media channels dedicated to Bulgarian cuisine. In them, Ambassador Emma Hopkins shares her favourite Bulgarian dishes and how they are prepared. The dishes covered so far are: Gyuvetch, Lozovi Sarmi and Mlechna Banitsa.
One of the ambassador's and her children's favourites is Gyuvetch. Some of the vegetables used in the video are even grown in the Residence's garden.
600 gr pork tenderloin
300 gr green beans
2 medium sized onions
4 medium-sized tomatoes
1 garlic cloves
500 gr potatoes
250 gr tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste
Cut the pork into cubes or small pieces and fry in a pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes or until brown. Add the vegetables and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt/pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200° C. Transfer the content of the pan into a baking dish and cook for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme before serving.
Lozovi Sarmi is a traditional Bulgarian dish made of vine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables. The vine leaves used in the video are freshly cut from the Residence's vine.
15 -20 vine leaves
1 medium-sized onion
1 or 2 carrots
1 medium-sized tomato
200 gr rice
salt & pepper to taste
Steam the grape leaves. Finely chop the onion, carrots and tomatoes. Fry the onion and carrots in the oil on low heat until brown, add the rice and water. Boil until the water is absorbed and add the herbs. Use the mixture to fill the leaves, wrapping them very tightly like small bundles. Put them in a pot, fill with water so the bundles are fully submerged and boil for about 45 minutes at 170° C. Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven in a casserole pan full of water. Lozovi Sarmi are best when served with some yoghurt on top.
Mlechna Banitsa is a typical Bulgarian dessert which is made with custard and broken filo pastry.
180 g sugar
100 g butter
100 g filo pastry
1 l milk
The baking pan is coated with butter and the bottom is covered with 2 sheets of filo pastry. The remaining sheets are crushed in medium sized pieces on top. The baking pan goes into an oven for 15 minutes at 170 C. Break the eggs in a bowl, then add the sugar and whisk well until you get a smooth mixture. Add the milk and mix once again to make the custard. Pour the mixture over the filo pastry and add cubes of butter on top in order for it to brown off once it's in the oven. Put in the oven again, this time for 30 minutes at 170 C. The dish is served chilled with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.