Me: It smells like the end of the summer.
Ivan: How does the end of the summer smell like?
Me: I don't know but you can feel it in the air. There is not a specific aroma but there are many fast changing odours. The wind is colder but pleasant. Thus all the flavours are somehow cleaner and deeper, and more distinctive. Unlike at the height of the summer when it's hot and all the odours are mixed and carried away in the thick air like a haze. Unlike the winter when your nose is chilled to the bone and all you can smell is the cold and the smoke from the chimneys.
It just smells like the end of the summer. And all my olfactive sensors are in anticipation.
We are having an early dinner then we set off for a walk at nightfall. When wandering about through the streets at dinner time you can literally taste the city. It's like a secret peek in other people's kitchens.
The neighbours from the left are grilling red peppers. Two metres away you can smell french fries. A step further someone is frying fish and from the next balcony you can hear the sizzling of the steaks on the grill. A couple of doors ahead there is another classic for this time of the year in Bulgaria – fried eggplant and one could really taste the tangy tomato sauce that accompanies it.
Hey, we've just had dinner and we are hungry again with all these odours in the air.
Back home, it's baking time...Graham crackers in the oven. Sweet aroma fills the apartment and like a tiny thread it's slipping out to complement the olfactive scenery.
Graham Crackers Recipe:
Makes around 7 dozens of 3x7cm rectangular crackers.
- 400 gr all purpose flour (half of the flour could be substituted with graham flour);
- 150 gr Muscovado sugar;
- 100 gr honey;
- 5 gr salt;
- 7 gr baking powder;
- 100 gr butter;
- 75 gr milk;
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract.
In a small bowl mix the milk, vanilla and the honey, then add them along with the butter cut in small pieces to the dry ingredients. Give it a couple of pulses to combine. Don't overwork it in order not to develop too much gluten. Bring the dough together and wrap tightly with plastic wrap or put it in a well closed bowl and then in the fridge to rest overnight (or at least 4 hours).
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Prepare a silpat or a paper sheet.
To roll the dough, lightly dust the counter and the rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough out to about 3-4 mm thick. Using a rolling cutter or a knife cut out 3x7cm rectangles, punch them with a fork or a skewer and transfer them to the silicon pad. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Cool on a wire rack. Then store in an air tight container.