Somethin' to say? Was zu sagen? Des choses a dire?

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hungry?Thanks to Tina Concetta Marzocca.

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simple local vegetables

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

JAZZY....BALKAN cooking.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans
..No - not Balcony cooking, and I have no doubt that the family "Bal" can indeed cook....! No - this is a little piece about a generally "undefined" area of the world, partly "Western" partly "Eastern" which covers a large area, has multi-religions, multi languages and multi coloured people living within its undefined borders.. which in any case are rather fluid. The map above is roughly correct, although many people class even parts of the following amongst the general description:

  • caucasus

  • former yugoslavia

  • arabian peninsula

  • baltic states

  • former soviet union

  • In view of this, it can be understood that many dishes from the "region" 

  • differ depending on the Religious influence, and cultural aspect.

  • One of the most well known dishes amongst the hundreds of thousands

  • came up in a recent "party" or "jazz jam" meeting where 

  • ćevapčići..... 

  • ....was prepared and served and enjoyed by the guests. 
    An interesting point was that one of the invited guests, which I - unhappily - was not one of (!) popped 3 or 4 of the things  (one after the other) in her mouth, crunched and munched, declared the things as "fantastically good" and then was amazed to find out they were made from minced lamb meat - lamb being something she detests!
    "You made me eat lamb...and I enjoyed it.....?"
    Of course just more proof that generalisations should be avoided, in everything, but there are probably simple reasons.
    Balkan dishes tend to be made from "minced" or "chopped" meats, of all types, and this is where the Religious aspect comes into it. Muslim believers are not allowed the unclean Pork, others are refused the sacred cow - so no beef - yet others are ruled by the local production be that pork, beef or generally lamb or mutton,  ...even goats meat, not forgetting veal and other meats....and Balkan dishes can be made from ALL of these. 
    On top of that, the dishes tend to be highly seasoned and/or spiced...
    One example can be found on this link along with many other Balkan recipes, but don't forget that this is an American site therefore directed more towards the American palate (?) rather than the original ones: http://www.hotburek.com/Preparation.html
    In fact I personally have never eaten them in this "original" fashion, but it certainly can't be bad  http://sarajevo.wordpress.com/2006/06/14/cevapi-house-list/
    The point is that a great deal of "paprika", garlic and other strong tasting ingredients are used in the production of all Balkan dishes, which can have a tendency to "disguise" the true taste of the meat, rather in the same fashion of the Indian "curry", and the accompanying dishes depend also on each region, I know that plainly boiled rice is a very popular side dish.
    Of course not everybody in this large area of the world eats just that, they have a variety of all sorts ,  from soups through to desserts and even their own variety of coffee preparations, ,,also known as "Turkish" or "Balkan" coffee. Very strong, try to avoid drinking to the bottom, there is about an inch or so of very thick deposit.....! 
    wines and particularly spirits   and my particular favourite from there.....Plum - or rather- Damson brandy - very addictive stuff!
    To finish it all with, they also have, area to area refined their own cigarettes....which I used to smoke regularly.
    Like everything and everywhere, there are local varieties of the same dish, so - I'm afraid - you're just going to have to go there yourself. It's big enough to have a good choice......
    Of course - you could otherwise try to get yourself invited to the next "Jazz-Jam Party", and if you succeed....let me know how.....!
    I couldn't twist an invitation...not even with ALL my contacts!
    .....please..!
    Bonne Appétit....
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    (iwmpop) mrlemarquis.    -     Vauvert,France      -      Juin 2011 

    2 comments:

    yvesfrancois said...

    i wish you were there Ian, was a fun night, there will be more, and i LOVE slivoitz, but when i was in France i found a drink i love as much or perhaps even more - calvados - and it even cooks well. the chef of course needs a drink to inspire him ... we had brazillian cachaça the other night as well ...

    I.W Mitchell (mr le marquis) said...

    Of course, as the author and editor of this Weblogsite, I must remain completely neutral, rather like the 3 monkeys' - see no/hear no/speak no ....etc.
    I'm pleased to see nonetheless that reports were confirmed and the evening was a roaring success.
    I agree totally with "yves francois" - Calvados is indeed a delicious tipple, and extremely useful in the kitchen for the "flambéeing" of dishes such as grilled meats with cream sauce "bonne femme" or many others. I'll be doing an article concerning the "flambéeing" of meats and desserts, both in the kitchen and at table in the near future. Calvados is, of course an apple alcohol, clear in colour, which brings a smile to many peoples' faces in many circumstances - the Chef's as well....!

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    ******* iwmpop (mr le marquis)- Vauvert, France - Janvier 2011