Bulgarian Salad

Bulgarian Salad

This is a version of a Bulgarian Tomato Salad (Shopska Salata). I added in rice and chickpeas to make this filling enough to be a full meal. I will definitely be making this again and regularly. Love this!

So I have not done the whole shutdown living right at all. Some people have used this time to learn new skills or finally start work on that project or get fit or get a whole new lease on life. I took a different path.

Well, no that’s not a good metaphor. I did choose a path. I climbed a tree and contemplated just how changed our world is. Not by the coronavirus. No, that would have been too related to our present reality. And possibly useful. No.

How I spent the shutdown

I’ve been thinking about how this is really is the Information Age. Did I not realise this before? Well see, when I heard people calling this the Information Age before I’d say, “No, this is the Age of Noise”. Because all the 24 hour news cycles and ocean of information online often seem to say the same thing. Except with different bits and baubles added. There’s a lot more noise than actual information.

And I’m adding to the noise. This recipe is just a variation of a salad I found online. A yummy variation of a deliciously simple salad.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticising making noise. I’m very noisy. In every which way possible.

But for some reason it was only during this shutdown that I finally realised that the noise isn’t an impediment to the existence of an Information Age. It’s a consequence of it.

Yeah, I’m a bit slow at times.

Worrying about the Information Age

But the thought that really knocked me for six was this; In terms of how information is being traded – and hoarded – the behaviour seems much more feudalistic than what you’d expect from a market place supposedly governed by free-market capitalism.

Access to knowledge and information can be jealously guarded by those at the top. That’s obviously always been the case. But there are now ways to track and monitor individuals in our world which are deeply concerning. And there are also ways to manipulate or distort the content or information a person is receiving that are also very troubling.

I’ve really been bamboozled by these thoughts. Because it seems clear that these new technologies necessitate major changes to our competition, contract, property (both intellectual and real) and privacy laws. And we need changes to how things are structured both at a local level and globally. In particular, we need to limit a company’s or an individual’s ability to access, hoard and control multiple types of data about other individuals or groups. And failing to make these changes poses a threat – not just – to our liberty but also to our sense of reality itself.

Do I really know what I’m talking about?

Well, I’m not certain. See I was so thrown by these thoughts that I fell out of my metaphorical tree. Broke my metaphorical coccyx bone. And have been concussed ever since by the jolt to my brain. Metaphorically speaking.

What’s the cure for metaphorical concussion?

small metaphorically concussed kitty
Metaphorically Concussed Kitty

OK. So to begin with – as in for the last three to four months I tried the controversial – but popular – cure of … sitting around eating lots and lots of yummy food. Of all kinds. I ate healthy food and junk food. In large quantities.

To be honest if I hadn’t also stopped exercising I think I’d be fine now.

But stop exercising, stop walking, stop moving from the sofa, is exactly what I did do. And no exercise combined with a metaphorical concussion tends to make a body very anxious. And a little short of breath. Which during a global pandemic involving a virus that attacks the respiratory system is not the best way to be.

So, the cure for metaphorical concussion … ?

Get literal. I can’t do much with my metaphorical body. I’m not even sure it’s a thing really…

But my actual body is, I think… And I think I can do something with that. Hope so anyway.

So for the month of August I’m going to eat salad for one of my three meals a day and go for a walk every day. I might try doing more. But at this moment I feel that’s all this metaphorically concussed kitty can manage.

So back to the recipe

This is inspired by a dish from Bulgaria

I haven’t been to Bulgaria yet. Unfortunately I’ve only been to a fraction of the EU states. I’ll change that as soon as I can. I didn’t realise there was so much to see there. Absolutely beautiful. I also found this great post covering the top 10 dishes in Bulgaria.

Their cuisine seems to share a lot with Greek cuisine. They seem to favour some sweeter flavours though – and I’m not complaining. Both cuisines look – and taste – great to me.

So the Bulgarian tomato salad uses Bulgarian sirene cheese and as I couldn’t find that in the shops I used feta instead.

I cooked the brown rice in stock with a bruised garlic clove and stirred in a squeeze of some fresh lemon juice as it cooled. I used chicken stock because that was the stock I had to hand. But you could use vegetable stock or just water. But using some stock will give a deeper flavour to the rice and the dish as a whole.

Ingredients for Bulgarian Salad
Brown rice, stock, chickpeas, lemon, bell peppers, cucumber, feta, parsley, chives, red wine vinegar, sunflower oil, salt and pepper
oops forgot the tomatoes
Oops, I forgot the tomatoes…

Bulgarian Salad

Serves 2 - 4

Bulgarian Salad

Ingredients

  • brown rice measured to 275ml in a glass measuring jug
  • 1 pint (570ml) of chicken or vegetable stock or hot water with a pinch of salt
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 (400g) tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber , chopped
  • 1 yellow green and red bell peppers , cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • Feta cheese (crumbled)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly in a sieve. Heat some oil in a saucepan. Add in the rice. Pour in the hot stock or water, and the garlic clove. Bring to the boil.
  2. Leave it boil for a couple of minutes, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to a low setting and leave to cook until only a tiny amount of water is left - 20 minutes. There will be holes between the rice grains where the steam has pushed through - and just a tiny amount of water left.
  3. Stir in the chickpea and leave to cook uncovered until the water has all boiled off - about 5 - 10 minutes. When done, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Squeeze a little lemon into the rice and stir in. Leave the pot to cool - 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Make the salad dressing by putting the vinegar, oil, a generous pinch of salt, a pinch of freshly grated black pepper, chives and parsley into a jar. Seal the jar and shake it until the dressing has well combined.
  6. Stir half the dressing into the cooled rice. Then add in the chopped cucumber, diced bell peppers and halved tomatoes. Taste and add as much of the rest of the dressing as you like - I added in all of it.
  7. Then crumble in as much feta cheese as you would like. Taste and add in more salt and/or pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Notes

This will stay good in the fridge for 2 days.

http://twimii.com/recipes/bulgarian-salad/

Salad Dressing
A simple but gorgeous dressing made with red wine vinegar, sunflower oil, chives, parsley, salt and pepper.
Mix half the dressing into the rice and the chickpeas.
Mix half the dressing into the rice and the chickpeas.
salad done
Mix all the veg into the rice and chickpeas. Stir through the rest of the dressing and crumble the feta through the salad.
bulgarian salad plate
This is so good! I think I’m going to make this every week. Love it.

 

 



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