Friday, August 30, 2013

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 and cookbooks.

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 article:-

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.

6 large aubergines
2 tablespoons corn oil
½ teaspoon chopped parsley
Good pinch black pepper
4 eggs
2 tablespoonfuls bread crumbs
1 lb raw minced beef
1 onion sliced
½ teaspoonful salt
4 tablespoonfuls flour
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.

8 peppers (green)
½ lb raw minced beef
2 large tomatoes chopped
Good pinch salt
2 oz raw rice
½ teaspoonful chopped parsley
1 teaspoonful sugar
Good pinch black pepper
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.
2 onions sliced
3 tablespoonfuls corn oil
½ pint water
½ teaspoonful salt
¼ teaspoonful paprika
2 eggs
3 tomatoes chopped
½ teaspoonful chopped parsly
½ gill vinegar
Good pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
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.

3 lb. of leeks
1 tablespoonful corn oil.
½ teaspoonful salt
4 tablespoonfuls flour
½ lb raw minced beef
1 egg
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.


Lapinbizarre said...

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.

Roger Mortimer

The Old Foodie said...

I remember the tiny bottle of medicinal olive oil - it was for earache, I think