“Why on earth are you buying those hideous bowls?” My friend Tom asked looking down at me in disgust.
“They’re not hideous, they’re rustic” I reply unperturbed, turning one over in my hands.
“They’re rancid, with any luck they’ll all smash in your luggage on the flight home”.
“Jamie’s luggage you mean, I can’t fit them in mine… Hey, maybe I could make that soup we had last night in them?”
“That soup tasted like shit.”
“Did it? Are you sure? The bean one?”
“What bean one?… Oh, maybe I didn’t have that one” Tom said looking increasingly concerned at the mugs I had just precariously placed on top of the two bowls, four plates and skillet I was holding. The shop assistant anxiously hovered behind us, I turned and smiled at her – she did not smile back.
“What’s her problem?” I whispered, ” I’m not gonna steal them for god sake, we’re not 13 in Superdrug anymore… But you know, if they will insist on charging £9 for a masacara then what’s a teenage girl to do, right?”
“Think it’s the fact you’re clumsely walking around her delicate shop, in your ski boots laden with her precious pottery. You’re literally an English bull in her Bulgarian China shop.”
“Oh… Shall we come back tomorrow then?”
“Absolutely not. Come on, lets go and get you so drunk you forget all about these vile bowls.”
I didn’t of course and managed to transport them all safely back to the UK the following day. Aha! In your face Tom (although thank you very much for organising such a marvellous holiday, I really appreciate it.) I mean, was it bit smelly? Yes. Was the queue to the gondola long, arduous and potential life ruining? Perhaps. But seriously, what’s not to love about 30p cans of larger, open hot springs and processed cheese served with cornflakes and jam – simply excellent! So on that note, I will leave you with this rather delicious, traditional, Bulgarian soup, served in one of my ‘ugly’ bowls. Nasladi se! (means ‘enjoy’ in Bulgarian, obviously).
Bulgarian bean soup
Serves 4 / Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 50 mins / V Vn Gf Df ❄
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 medium, white onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 a stick of celery, diced
1/2 a de-seeded red pepper, diced
1 large tomato or 2 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, washed and drained
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 litre of vegetable stock (I used 2 Knorr stock pot)
Pinch of black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil to serve (optional)
V– Vegetarian Vn– Vegan Gf– Gluten free Df– Dairy free ❄– Freezable
❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
1. In a large pot, sweat down the chopped onion in a tsp of oil over a medium heat (add a dash of water to help the onions steam if they start to sizzle).
2. After a good five minutes the onion will have started to soften, add the finely diced carrot, celery, red pepper and chopped tomato. Season well with salt and pepper, give it a stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the strained cannelloni beans, a tsp of dried parsley, a tsp of dried oregano and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil.
3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a high simmer for around 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This may seem like a long time but the soup needs time to reduce down and thicken).
4. Once ready, take off the heat and ladle into bowls. Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley, a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
If you’ve had a go at making my Bulgarian bean soup or any of my recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com