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Monday, 30 September 2013


I must apologise to those regular followers of my ramblings, this seems to have turned into a foodie Blog! There is little going on lately so I have to decide whether to cease posting for a while or continue with mainly food posts.

Of course, food is a very important part of what we came out here for. We want to be as self sufficient as possible, so all the practice cooking what we have growing is experience from where I can take the best bits to give us a good diet with what is available (and some nice treats too!). Some things work and some are best avoided. And although we want to eat seasonally, our British tastes, which we have practiced for over fifty years, means we would like to spread the bounty over the year and have a more mixed diet over the twelve months. But we really want to do it to our taste, with fresh veg all year rather than a lot of bottled or frozen. Anyway, I will get it out of the way for now.

I am feeling very happy that we can make an interesting meal having made everything myself. This week we had a cheese platter with three home made cheeses, herb and garlic ricotta, a more mature cheese and a fresh one. We had it with some of the quince paste and some caramelised walnuts, brioche style rolls and walnut rolls. Lovely and very satisfying.....and no butter!
Autumn has come in with a splash. We need the rain but it's getting a little cool at night too. The birds seem to have deserted us, though we still have tree sparrows and woodpeckers, and the great tits have returned. The trees are dropping their leaves and the wheat in the fields is growing well, ready for the harsh winter weather. We are having our fires put in this week. This is costing more than we hoped as the chimneys need attention. They are both too low and one needs re-building as it's too narrow. At least we will have a fire upstairs while the builders are here a week later, so can be comfortable up there.

In the garden not much is happening. The brassicas are growing well, the Tuscan black kale is lovely and the broccoli is very strong. We (Dave) picked the largest of the cabbages today. It's huge and could keep us going for a month! I just hope we aren't presented with a barrel for making sauerkraut! We know it should have been picked earlier, but with Jordan spraying for flea beetle a month without eating is a must. There will be no chemicals next year.

Note even Dave is not in a T shirt! We are waiting for the garden to be ploughed now, and have onion sets to go in over winter, and will get garlic next time we go to market. For an outlay of three quid we can get enough sets of both to grow enough for the year....providing we do it properly. We have space for the plastic greenhouse which will go up in the new year. With spring being earlier here we can get things in during March and the greenhouse will give us a head start.

The chicks are doing well, growing like mad. They can be funny, one had a spider this morning and was charging around followed by the other six wanting a piece of the action. They didn't get any. The older chicks are really active and I can see them flying over the barrier soon. Luckily we can see in the shed before opening the door. Solo has developed a twisted foot like Silver. No idea when this happened, or why, but being a light framed bird it shouldn't matter too much. She will be staying with us anyway. The laying hens have slowed right down, we are only getting two or three eggs a day now, as opposed to five.

The dogs are a lot more lively now it is cooler and lots of playing is happening with all the extra space they have. They are also eating better with Bella being a lot less fussy. The mud they are bringing in will no doubt wear me down....but it will soon be spring!

And finally, as I like to do, I will end with a foodie theme. I bought some thin Bulgarian pastry last time we went shopping, in a mad moment, and as it needed using today I made a walnut baklava. Gorgeous, a real pick-me-up!


  1. Hello ex-pats!

    Am absolutely loving your blog-do NOT desist from posting! In fact, I asked on your Lab Rescue blog post if you could (just in your spare time!)put up some of the recipes that have worked well.The photos of the wildlife, food and of course the dogs, are wonderful. What an inspiration you all are!
    Sue and Kizzy

  2. Thanks Sue.
    A lot of the recipes I get from the internet, as in I decide what ingredients I have and put them in to google. But I could do some links. Bread and stuff is just chucked in a let's see way. It's only really cakes and some preserves which need recipes. This life suits me down to the ground, though I don't know how Dave will cope with no strenuous work to do over the winter!

    Nice to hear from you, love to Kizzy.

    Dave, Sara, Bonnie and Bella

  3. Keep the blogs coming Sara. I so look forward to hearing how things are going with your new life. Julia, Barney and Bessy. Xxx

    1. Thanks Julia. Bonnie and Bella feature in the next update.

  4. No no no no - do NOT stop posting. I need my regular fix of Bulgarian life. As I said before I am looking forward to the winter posts. That will be the real test and I'm eager to see how you both cope with it. I'm also looking forward to posts about the house, the village, the snow and maybe lots of pictures too. :)
    Don't beat yourself up about what is in effect a public diary. Everybody likes to read someone else's diary!

    1. Thanks Farmergeddun, will do my best. In a strange way I am looking forward to snow for the first time in years. No need to go out in the car every day, no horse to see to twice a day, no wondering how I am going to get to work for 5am as I was last year in all that awful weather. Instead, stoking the fire and venturing out when I have to, and taking photos.

  5. This is a great read... especially as I am still nearly a year behind.

    (**No comments about what happens next please**)

    I am not a foodie, and certainly have no interest in gardening... but I am loving the postings, and keep wondering how big your freezer is. :)

    I like to cook occasionally, mainly greek food, so the mention of Baklava really has my taste buds working overtime.

    I am hoping that winter goes well for you... no comment please or you will spoil my reading :)

    and even if it didn't... what you will learn will set you up for a better time this coming winter.

    keep writing... along with cooking it seems you have found another talent.

    1. It's a good job I do like cooking as you will find out. But like you I really love the freshness of a lot of Greek food and we often have adaptations of old favourites, and still seek out Greek olives and oil as we are used to the taste. There are some similarities as would be expected being next door. But we don't eat out here except when we go to the neighbours so it's hard to tell really.

      Thank you for your lovely comments.