Tarator – Chilled Cucumber Soup

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days.

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes… Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners.  It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Personally I was avoiding this dish for quite some time now, the idea of a yogurt soup simply didn’t appeal to me very much, but then came that moment when visiting friends and I was cornered with no escape, the dish sat before me on the table coaxing me to try and surrounded by expectant faces waiting to see my reaction to eating it. To everyone’s joy, there was no screwed up face just wide eyes and that feeling of hmmm… more… now I’ve tried it, there is just no going back… it is definitely staying on the regular “go to” menu in our household.

One thing to have in mind, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the more intense the flavours…

The recipe below is for quite a large portion but we usually keep it in the fridge for up to a week, as the intensifying of the flavours works for us rather well, and it’s wonderful to be able to just open the fridge and grab a bowlful when you want a snack or a starter. If you think it’s going to make way too much for you or you just want to try and see if it’s for you simply halve the ingredients and prepare a smaller serving.

Ingredients:

  • 800ml Greek yogurt
  • 400ml filtered chilled water
  • 4 large garlic cloves; minced
  • 1kg cucumbers
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill; finely chopped
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper (optional)
  • Ice cubes – for serving (optional)

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Method:

Wash the cucumbers (do not peel) then grate half of them; the remaining half chop into cubes. Place them in a large bowl and add the salt – let them rest like this for at least 5 minutes so they can start to absorb some of the salt.

In the meantime, mince the garlic and finely chop the dill and add to the cucumber mix.

Add the yogurt and water to your cucumbers, season with fresh cracked pepper and mix well.

Serve well chilled or even better over some ice and enjoy the cool sensation.

See, told you it was easy, now go and enjoy!

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

How To Barbeque Like a Pro – 7 BBQ Tips

Using a barbeque might seem like a very straightforward method of cooking while in fact it’s actually quite complicated and not so easy to master. We love BBQ,  not only in summer but all year round, so I’ve decided to put an action plan together for anyone who wants to BBQ like a pro.

Using a Barbeque might seem like a very straightforward method of cooking while in fact it’s actually quite complicated and not so easy to master. We love BBQ and not only in summer but all year round. So I’ve decided to put an action plan together for anyone who wants to BBQ like a pro.Get the right BBQ

You will never be able to achieve the perfect barbeque meal without the proper tool for the job. The gas barbeques might be tempting due to the clean looks and easy cleaning and start up, but please for the love of all things good do get a proper charcoal one… if you are only tempted by a gas BBQ then save yourself the money and just cook your food in your kitchen cooker instead.

Invest in natural charcoal

These days’ as money is tight for most of us, shoppers are tempted even more by those special offers and super saving deals and prices that look cheap but look beyond that… actually read what’s inside the box. Always buy natural charcoal, yes, it will most likely cost you more but at the end of the day you will eat food cooked in its smoke… so make sure those fumes aren’t harmful.

Plan ahead

Like most cooking, BBQing requires preparation too. Yes, you can just pop a slab of meat on it and hope for the best but think how much more delicious it would be if marinated overnight or kept in some dry rub.

Treat it as an art

Art can’t be rushed and neither can BBQing; it’s an art and it needs time. If you only have an hour and fancy a burger you will be better off using your cooker and a heavy bottom frying pan…

Learn cooking times

There is nothing worse than those burnt on the outside and half raw in the middle pieces of meat that often get served up on your plate. It’s essential to know about temperatures but even more importantly knowing how long each type of food needs to cook in order to be just right. I’ve found an excellent BBQ cooking time table over at Recipes4us but if they are a bit too much for you, why not check this short video prepared by My Voucher Codes.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting

Cooking should be fun, so should BBQing. Don’t just blindly follow the recipe, experiment, add some new spices or veggies into a mix. Be adventurous and I am sure the food will reward you.

Maintain your BBQ

I know how things go… you “slave” the entire day on top of a hot BBQ, eat what you prepared and then decide “I’ll clean it tomorrow”… well, resist the urge to do so. In order to maintain the integrity of your BBQ it needs to be cleaned and it’s easiest straight after the cooking is finally finished – use only natural cleaning products or just water if you can get away with it. Never use sharp abrasive brushes on your racks, they will damage or even remove their non-stick coating. Take good care of your BBQ and in return it will take good care of your food and therefor in turn, you.

What do you like to BBQ, what do you use and where do you do it?

Is there anything else you would add into my list?

* This is a collaborative post.

Chickpeas & Pomegranate Salad with Lime Dressing

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…Ingredients:

For the salad

  • 6 sweet colourful baby peppers
  • 1 tin unsalted chickpeas
  • 1 tin black beans
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • Handful of fresh curly parsley

For the dressing

  • 2 limes; juiced / ~40ml lime juice
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tbsp raw runny honey

Method:

First let’s prepare the dressing.

Pop all ingredients into salad dressing shaker and mix well.

Put aside and let it “marinate” for a bit.

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

Now, for the salad itself.

Open both the chickpeas and black beans and drain whatever liquid is in the tin, wash the beans well and then drain again to reduce liquids added to the salad.

Peel and deseed the pomegranate. Pop its fruits into the bowl you intend to mix the salad up in.

Wash and finely slice the baby peppers leaving them in rings.

Finely chop the handful of parsley stalks.

Finally add the drained beans.

Gently mix or toss all ingredients, add dressing to taste and enjoy!

If you are quick enough when dealing with the pomegranate this light meal shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to prepare! Lately I am finding that I am going totally mad for pomegranates but I am still searching for the perfect way to peel and de-seed them.

Just in case you are wondering, I didn’t forget about adding salt, pepper or any other spices; it’s just that they simply aren’t needed here. The ingredients and the dressing work together so perfectly that there really isn’t any need for additional flavours.

Super quick and easy, this colourful and delicious summer salad will surprise you with its flavour combinations – juicy pomegranate, crunchy peppers and soft chickpeas combine with sour lime, sharp mustard and sweet honey… and this is only the beginning…

My Top 9 Delicious Dairy Free Homemade Popsicles

My Top 9 Delicious Dairy Free Homemade PopsiclesToday I would like to share with you a selection of delicious, dairy free, healthy, nutritional, tasty and super easy to make popsicles, which will be perfect for the coming hot summer days. They are so good they can literally become life changing whether it becomes the perfect bargaining chip whilst negotiating with difficult kids, a shared moment between lovers as they sit in the garden bathed in the light of a lovely sunset or becoming the best ever dog owner (with the sugar free version) when your hot pooch pounces onto one and licks it all up for the next hour.

Blueberry Dumplings A.K.A Pierogi z Jagodami

Blueberry dumplings A.K.A. Pierogi z JagodamiPierogi are a traditional Polish meal. Usually they would be filled with potatoes and cheese, sauerkraut or minced meat but come summer time when fresh fruits are in abundance we like to make a sweet version and stuff them with which ever fruits we have… blueberries being my favourite choice.

The recipe below will make around 50 dumplings, it might sound like a lot but believe me once you actually start eating… it really isn’t all that many.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1/2kg flour
  • ~250ml warm water
  • 1tbsp melted butter
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • ~300g blueberries

For serving:

  • 250g double cream
  • Sugar; to taste

Method:

Wash and dry the blueberries; they need to be totally dry.

On a large flat surface place your flour; make a well in the middle and add the water, butter and salt. Use your hands to combine the ingredients and when it has formed knead the dough.

At first the dough will be very sticky but as you knead it will become a wonderful soft and playful dough and then you will know it is ready for rolling – you can view step by step pictures on how to make it here.

Take part of your dough and roll it flat; use a large round cookie cutter (or pint glass or a coffee mug) to cut out the round shapes.

Each round “pierogi” to be needs to be filled with around 1 teaspoon of blueberries. Make sure you pinch the end tightly so your creation doesn’t fall apart during the cooking process – again for step by step pictures on how to fill pierogi please see my Russian Style Dumplings post.

Once formed place your pierogi on a lightly floured surface until you are ready to start cooking.

You will need a large, and I really mean it… a large cooking pot, filled with water; ideally wide and not so high. Add a pinch of salt to your water and bring it to a boil.

Once the water is boiling gently place each pierogi in; just a few at the time so the water surface isn’t too crowded.

Allow them to boil for a few minutes – 2 or 3 should do the trick.

Once they swim to the top use a slotted spoon and fish them out.

Make sure that are dry before serving.

Serve with cream and sugar and enjoy a traditional Polish taste.

Blueberry dumplings – Pierogi z JagodamiHave you ever made pierogi at home?

If so, what is your favourite filling?