What is saffron?
Due to saffron's specific flavour, copper red colour and powerful unique aroma, it is recognized and appreciated throughout the world. Saffron is obtained from the beautiful purple Crocus flower. The red stigmas of about 150,000 flowers produce 1kg of saffron. The growing process is highly labour intensive as the planting, harvesting and separating of the stigmas from the flowers are all done by hand. Therefore it is the most expensive spice in the world.
Saffron was widely grown in Europe, mostly Spain and Italy, until the 1930 -40s, but due to increasing labour costs, production has decreased. The superiority of the European saffron is still recognized by chefs and consumers alike.
Our saffron is grown in the Southern part of Bulgaria, where the combination of Mediterranean climate and chemically untreated soils results in exceptional quality of the end product. We follow the European tradition in growing the precious spice - we plant, harvest & separate saffron manually, with great care at every stage of the process. We use the highest quality bulbs from Holland and do not use any harmful chemicals. We are a family owned company and we aspire to establish a brand of a superior quality European saffron, while creating long term sustainable employment in our community. All our saffron is 1st quality grade, qualified as per ISO 3632 standard.
As it’s name suggests, this preparation is from Milan in the Lombardy region of Italy. It pairs especially well with Ossobuco, another specialty of the region.
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the saffron and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice is well coated and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. After about 20 minutes begin to taste the rice. It is ready when it is tender and creamy, but still a little firm to the bite.
Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.
2. Add the wine to the rice, and then add a 4 to 6 ounce ladel of simmering broth and cook, stirring occasionally, making sure to wipe the sides and bottom of the pot clean as you stir, until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Continue adding the broth a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more.
The paella takes its name from the frying pan in which it is cooked and the Valencian version is made of chicken, rabbit and large white beans, typical of that region.
6 boneless higher-welfare chicken breasts or thighs, skin on, each quartered
freshly ground black pepper
plain flour, for dusting
100 g iberico chorizo, sliced
6 slices higher-welfare pancetta or streaky bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 litres organic chicken stock, hot
2 large pinches saffron
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
500 g paella rice
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, stalks chopped
2 handfuls fresh or frozen peas
10 king prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
500 g mussels, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, scrubbed, optional
2 small squid, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, halved and scored, optional
1. Preheat the oven.
2. Season the chicken pieces and dust with flour.
3. Heat a little olive oil in a large deep pan and fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Place the pieces on a baking tray and into the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Put the pan back on the heat. Add the sliced chorizo and pancetta or bacon and fry until browned and crispy. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.
5. Meanwhile infuse half the hot chicken stock with the saffron. Add the smoked paprika, rice and infused stock and leave to cook on a medium heat, stirring from time to time.
6.After 20 minutes the rice should be nearly cooked. At this point, pour in the rest of the stock along with the peas, prawns, and the mussels and squid if you are using them. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes more.
7. Finally, add the cooked chicken and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.
Baked Sea Bream With Tomatoes & Coriander
Sea Bream is a delicate and sweet fish that cooks lovely when the skin is crisp. Not only does it marinate well with saffron threads, it tastes fantastic with tomatoes and coriander.
4 potatoes (large, about 1kg/2lb 4oz)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 pinch chili flakes (dried)
1 pinch saffron
1 bunch coriander (roughly chopped)
4 whole sea bream (cleaned and gutted)
1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for greasing)
125 ml white wine
1 handful sun-dried tomatoes
1 handful pinenuts (toasted)
4 slices pancetta (or smoked streaky bacon)
1. Heat the oven.
2. Slice the potatoes thinly, put in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water.
3. Bring to the boil and drain, then lay onto the base of a lightly oiled large baking tray.
4. Scatter over the garlic, chilli, saffron and a little of the coriander.
5. Slash the fish through the flesh down to the bone – this allows it to cook evenly and quicker than normal.
6. Season and rub with the olive oil. Lay the fish on the potatoes and top with the lime juice, wine, tomatoes and pine nuts. Lay the pancetta slices over the fish and bake for 20-25 mins or until the fish is cooked through.
7. Check by pulling out one of the fins on the back, it should come away easily. Serve the fish scattered with the remaining coriander.
Flourless Orange Cake
A beautiful moist light cake with complex and full flavors of oranges and orange peel. Super easy to make and people love it! Serve in wedges with a mound of whipped cream or ice cream.
2 whole oranges with peel
1 pinch saffron
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups finely ground almonds (almond meal)
1 teaspoon finely chopped candied orange peel (optional
1.Place the oranges in a large saucepan, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and boil for 2 hours over medium heat. Check occasionally to make sure they do not boil dry.
2. Allow the oranges to cool, then cut them open and remove the seeds. Process in a blender or food processor to a coarse pulp.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Thoroughly grease a 10-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together using an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Mix in baking powder and saffron.
5. Stir in the pureed oranges. Gently fold in almond meal and candied orange peel, pour batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake until a small knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow the cake to cool in the pan.
Tap out onto a serving plate when cool.
Saffron crème brûlée with caramelised poached pears
Impress your guests with a rather refined dessert. The baked cream is infused with saffron and garnished with sweet lemon and vanilla-flavoured pears.
250ml/9fl oz whole milk
10 free-range egg yolks
175g/6oz caster sugar
750ml/1⅓ pint double cream
50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
For the poached pears:
4 pears, peeled, halved, cores removed
1 lemon, peel and juice
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
4 tbsp icing sugar
sprigs lemon verbena, to serve
1.For the crème brûlée, preheat the oven to 120C/250F/Gas ½.
2. Bring the milk and saffron to the boil in a pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool and infuse.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale, fluffy and well combined. Add the cooled milk and the cream to the eggs and sugar mixture, whisking continuously until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
6. Meanwhile, for the poached pears, place the pears, lemon peel, lemon juice, 150g/5½oz of the castersugar, the vanilla pod and vanilla seeds into a pan. Add enough water to just cover the pears.
7. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pear is tender (5-15 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the pear). Remove the pears from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper until cool. Slice into strips.
8. Dust the pears with icing sugar. To finish them you can use a chef’s blowtorch to char them a little.
9 To serve, dust the crème brûlées with Demerara sugar and use a chef’s blowtorch to char them a little. Garnish with the poached pears and lemon verbena.
How to buy:
Sopharma Business Towers, Trade Center, fl.2
5 Lachezar Stanchev St, Sofia 1756, Bulgaria
tel: +359 2 951 66 34
Sopharma Business Towers, Trade Center, fl.2
Sofia 1756, Bulgaria