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Sunday, 23 June 2013

It's hot work, this preserving lark.....

Had a call over from our lovely neighbour, Venka the other night. Dave had gone out to the bar to see if he could find a Brit for some advice on our internet package. I was finishing making some apricot and plum chutney and sweating like a pig,
 and Venka wanted us to go round for a drink. I was a bit wary as there is usually more to these visits. I managed to get across that Dave was out having a drink with someone, but she insisted I go round anyway. So quick head dunk and change of clothes off I went. I sent Dave a text and tried to phone but was low on credit. When I turned up there was the usual rakia, a bottle of bright green lemonade and a huge plate of dressed cucumber with four olives....on four plates. Venka was looking out for Dave and I couldn't get her to understand that I couldn't get him on the phone. There were plates of preserved meat all circling Dave's plate, getting warm. Eventually managed to get him and much to everyone's relief he was soon there, phrase book in hand. I am still shy about trying anything I am not sure of, but can often get the gist of a conversation before Dave, though he know how to say more. Sitting with Venka and Jordan (who's English is restricted to "Liverpool" Manchester United" and "Sunderland") was a bit of a strain for an hour. Another plate of cucumber was produced for me as I don't eat meat, and Dave got stuck in to the meats and rakia.Venka went back in to the house and came back with two plates of figs in syrup, bottled the year before, for her and me. They were delicious, but incredibly sweet, and there were four. I managed to get Dave to eat one, and struggled through three. He didn't realise how many rakia he was drinking, or that Jordan was only having half tots. He knew the next morning though!!!! In fact he realised when he nearly ended up wobbling into their petunia bed when we left, at 11.45. Unheard of! Dave was invited to watch Jordan make rakia. He makes it out of any fruit available, which at the moment is apricots and little plums, which he gathers as windfalls. Later his better stuff will be made from his own grapes. And they explained why they were having fires on the yard, Venka had started bottling veg, which I presume is why we have not been given any courgettes lately (We can get our own, obviously but only if we want them) Very sensible doing all that hot stuff outside, I am looking out for a gas ring to do the same. Of course I didn't come away empty handed, I had a bottle of freshly processed beans and some eggs in a bag to get home, never mind an inebriated husband. His headache the next day was a lesson to him...that rakia is too easy to drink!

Dave was feeling very delicate till lunchtime. I decided to have a bread baking day to get some of the freezer space filled, and made a pizza for lunch, which helped. More sweating.
                                        Some of the bread, which will join the cheese and onion bread and unbaked fruit ring in the freezer..

Isn't it just the way though? We had just finished the pizza and Venka brought across some of her own(far superior) cheese bread, hot from the oven, along with a plate of porridge and yet another cucumber.
As Dave was feeling better by this time, and taking his cue from Angel, the neighbours' son in law, we decided it was time to pick some apricots. They were falling at an alarming rate even though a lot are still hard.

Of course, what is picked then has to be processed, so I tried my hand at bottling, got a load of jam on the go, and loaded the dehydrator all before 9am. I was a bit worried about my floating apricots but Venka's beans were also floating so it must be ok. I didn't want to pack them too tightly as they bruise if you look at them.

 There are still loads on the tree, so I think I'll just freeze some. We don't eat a lot of processed fruit and veg, but might do in winter when there is no chocolate in the offing.

Dave has been clearing the area where the old woodshed disappeared from with the intention of making it a place to sit out of the sun during the morning, and hopefully, if we can get the vine under control and make a garden there, a private place for any visitors to sit if they want to be alone.

This is Eric, the smallest mantis ever, but brave enough to take on the camera!

1 comment:

  1. Love reading your blog, Ron and I think you are very brave but secretly we are just a bit envious.
    We wish you all the luck and success in your new venture.