How to describe this wonderful day, a crazy adventure, a friendly cook up, a wild fire party, a tastey escapade!
The team was all female, Maura, Phedra and the Kotlich Cook, the temperature, over 30 degrees in the shade, the race, to make a delicious Beef Guljash from lighting the fire to tasting, 4 hours. There were 40 competitors with their little fires and health and safety nowhere to be seen. What fun!
The great fire maker, or better know as the husband, got us going well and then wandered off to cheat/check up on the competition. There was every shape and size of Kotlich and cook. Several looked as if they regularly won competitions, with long wooden spoons and big tummies with glorious aprons tied tightly around them. Several excellant moustaches tinted red with Paprika. We did only discover one other female competitor, it seems to be a male hobby, cooking in THE KOTLICH. We all took it in turns to snoop and find out what the secrets were. Some had lots of bones, others shanks of smoked bacon yet another floating peppers of multiple colours.
We had been trained up the day before by George, don't use a stock cube make your own seasoning, peel your tomatoes and make your own tomato juice, don't use stuff from a carton, always keep the side of your Kotlich clean so you don't have loads of dark slowly burning stuff stuck to the side, and finally don't add your Paprika till 15 mins before the end, it always goes brown and bitter if added too soon. HELP!
When we discovered we were next to last years winner we really thought we were onto something good. About half way through the time allotted we all tasted each others Guljash, about 4 of us. "Mmmmmm nice, interesting, are you using Oregano?" was his comment! Nothing more and no tips as to how we might make our Guljash into a winning recipe!
The afternoon got hotter and hotter, my warning to others about not cooking a Kotlich with bare shins began to tell on me as my legs began to singe every time I attended to the Kotlich. We lazed in the shade of our patriotically decorated umbrella as the fire died down and the Guljash cooked slower as we added the secret ingredient. Our final touch was some dark plums picked that morning from the orchard at Stara Moravica. We thought that this might be the winning ingredient. I must say it was the most delicious Guljash I have made yet. BUT obviously Backa Topola is not quit ready for a sweet and sour beef guljash yet. We headed home tired and happy before the results were given out. We had received our diploma for entering the competition. It will be framed and hung in a place of honour in my home. When we rang the next morning we were told nothing about the guljash, BUT we had won the prize for the most "happy, cheerful or merry" team!! (I looked it up in the dictionary to make sure we really understood) What a glory, to be the most MERRY team.
We tried many local wines, one of which was the up and coming Zvonko Bogdan, 2011 Rose which suited the hot weather, keeping us on our toes and cool inside.