The English-Bulgarian Aubergine.
I cannot move on from the eggplant story which has
occupied the last few days without a British episode. The British, it seems,
were later in taking up the eggplant than were Americans.
The preferred name in Britain for the
fruit-vegetable is the French aubergine,
and interestingly, the dark purplish colour called by this name was popular
long before recipes for the real thing began to appear regularly in newspapers
Smatterings of recipes appear for the
eggplant/aubergine in British newspapers of the 1950’s and ‘60s, but I hit the
jackpot in The Times of May 04, 1959 with a feature which showed the British
interpretation of Bulgarian cuisine. I am is the short introduction, a recipe
for Aubergine Pie, and my choice of two more of the recipes included in the
During a recent stay with a cousin
from Sofia I noticed the infinite pains she took in preparing vegetables the
Bulgarian way. Meat or cheese were important components in her many delicious
luncheon dishes, but the subtle flavour of the vegetable was never swamped.
With essential ingredients such as
aubergines and green peppers now so readily available, these recipes will be
found interesting and different.
½ teaspoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoonfuls bread crumbs
Char three of the aubergines under a
fierce grill. When one side is tender, turn and grill again. Split the skins
and scrape out the pulp with a silver spoon. Fry the onion quickly in the oil
until golden, add the parsley, minced beef, grilled aubergine pulp, salt and
pepper, and cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly.
Peel the other three aubergines, and
slice. Beat two of the eggs, dip the aubergine slices into the flour, then into
the beaten egg. Fry in hot oil.
Line a casserole with a layer of
fried aubergine slices, cover with the meat mixture, and top with the remaining
aubergine slices. Beat the remaining eggs with more salt, and pour over the
whole. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake in a moderate oven for one hour.
½ teaspoonful chopped parsley
Cut around the stem of the peppers
and remove the centre and seeds. Combine the minced beef, rice, tomatoes,
parsley, sugar, salt and pepper, and half fill the green peppers.
3 tablespoonfuls corn oil
½ teaspoonful chopped parsly
Fry the onions gently in the oil
until golden; add the tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, water
and vinegar and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Put the filled green peppers in a
casserole, pour the tomato sauce over, and bake in a moderate oven for 30
minutes. Lift the peppers gently out of their sauce. Beat the eggs, and pour
the hot tomato sauce on to the eggs before beating vigorously.
Replace the peppers in the casserole,
pour the tomato-egg sauce over them and return to the oven for the sauce to set
– 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
1 tablespoonful corn oil.
Good pinch of black pepper
Wash the leeks and cut away most of
the green leaves. Boil the leeks in a little salt water until tender. Drain,
squeeze, dry and chop. Add the minced beef, oil, salt, pepper, and egg. Shape
into oval cutlets, dust with flour, and fry in hot oil.
Olive oil was still something people bought - when they ever bought it - in small bottles from Boots the Chemist, presumably for some arcane medicinal purpose.
I remember the tiny bottle of medicinal olive oil - it was for earache, I think
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