Winter at Melanya Mountain Retreat began much later than in the UK. When the first disruption began in Scotland and spread south it was still 25 degrees c in the Rhodope Mountains. Quite balmy! You’ll be glad to know temperatures are now more in-line and drop much lower at night as Melanya sits 1000 metres above sea level. Thankfully the wood burners kick out lots of heat and are good for cooking on too. A tasty pot to have on the top is Vegetable Hotpot with Cheesy Dumplings made with home grown organic garden vegetables:
1 tblsp oil
1 onion, sliced
200g / 8 oz carrots, sliced
4 large tomatoes or 1 can chopped tomatoes
300ml (1/2 pint) stock
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mixed herbs
125g / 4 oz green beans/peas
50g / 2 oz self raising flour
25g/ 1 oz butter
75g / 3 oz cheese, grated
½ tsp mixed herbs
Heat oil in a large pan, add onion & carrots and fry moderately for 5 mins.
Add tomatoes, stock, puree, paprika, herbs and seasoning and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 15 mins then add beans/peas.
Meanwhile make the dumplings by sifting the flour into bowl, add butter and crumble together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1/3 cheese together with herbs, salt and pepper and mix in. Gradually stir in up to 4 tblsp of water to achieve an elastic dough. Careful not to beat or you will lose the fluffiness.
Shape into 8 balls and place on top of vegetables leaving room to spread as they will double in size. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 mins. Occasionally stir the base to prevent sticking but be careful not to sink the dumplings. Serve with fresh bread or mashed potato.