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Tuesday, 21 January 2014


A couple of posts ago I mentioned that we had invited Baba Danka over for a return visit and we thought it was all organised. I wanted to make something we would have for lunch. while using ingredients similar to what the Bulgarians might use. So instead of filo type pastry I made short crust, instead of sirene cheese (like feta but lighter) I used the last of our precious cheddar, and with eggs and a bit of German ham made a quiche....or should I say egg and bacon flan? With a leek version for me. I opened the last of the pickles Venka gave me, and made luscious chocolate brownies. At the same time doing the biscuits for Venka's party.

Dave saw Baba Danka with her wheelbarrow going down to the village to get her chicken food and after speaking to her he thought she was coming round later, but it was not to be. The sooner we learn conversation instead of just words the better! I have to say the quiches and especially the brownies were simply delicious.

The shortbread recipe is worth passing the link on. It keeps crisp a long time if properly stored...and if it is not eated immediately. For chocolate I substituted some of the corn flour for cocoa. I used double quantity in the Kenwood Chef with the K beater on gentle till it all came together.

And those delicious brownies. I don't add the choc chunks as they are not needed, they are great without.
I also used cheaper chocolate, not high cocoa butter chocolate, and used third milk and two thirds-ish dark.

We had a shower of much needed rain in the early hours of yesterday, which led to a particularly interesting sunrise. No amazing colours but beams of light reaching upwards instead of downwards. Took masses of photos, as you do, but they don't really capture the drama. Here are a few.

The mist came down and we went off to the timber yard for some t&g, via the river. Dave had his usual dip then drove the car close to the water and gave it a bit of a swill off.
By the time we got home the sun had come out and it was another glorious day. The birds have started singing, not the robins, blackbird or thrush as in the UK but great and blue tits and tree sparrows chattering and chirping. It was still uplifting. A wander round the garden revealed lots of bulbs poking through the grass, daffs, tulips and grape hyacinths, and these little beauties which unfortunately are coming up just where the dogs charge around the big box bush! I don't know how many of the bulbs will actually flower, but when we dig the borders for flowers we will split and feed what we find in hope for next year.

The broccoli seems to have picked up a bit with the shower. I had noticed the few leaves on the kale were wilted, but it didn't occur to me that they might be short of water. The fog and dew just touch the surface so the ground is rather dry further down. The onion/garlic/strawberry patch has been given a dressing of wood ash. The onions are not showing much green growth, but there were a fewlying on top which have amazing roots for such tiny seed onions, as have the garlic which also had a few on top. No idea what can be pulling them up, but can't blame the dogs as it is fenced against them. I would like to put some red onions in if I can find any sets.

All the seeds indoors in their little mini greenhouses are up, some really tiny seedlings. But they are drawing towards the light so while the weather is  still good they have gone into the greenhouse where the peas are starting to sprout as well as other veg. I will be clearing the 'craft' table in the spare room in case everything has to come in, and hope it will not be for long. If it is we will have to set up a foil reflector behind them.

The wilted cutting Baba Danka gave us at the end of summer is growing away well. Still don't know what it is, but will find out. It looks as if it may be a type of geranium.
Dave has been cracking on with the new chicken house and we can now separate the youngsters from the adults. There is massive tension between Sevi and the eldest cockerel chick, which is not good for either of them, so better to separate them off before threats turn to batterings. We have moved the original deluxe nest box from the chick pen to the new one as the eldest hen chicks will be thinking of laying soon. Dave has built a more basic open one for my hens with an extra large segment for the big girl (Dave has re-named her Chubba, as she weighs a ton! Her original name, Silver, has been given to the lightest chick) Hopefully the trend for untrampled eggs from Chubba will continue. There is a big strong door and a strip light as the window doesn't let in a huge amount of light. just some holes to fill before we can let anyone stay over night.

 A pile of chicks...
And Trouble, who keeps flying out of Sevi's way, having a nap on the wrong side of the fence.

The young lad (above) who is causing the problems is going to a new home at the weekend, but there are three more a month younger coming through to take his place, as well as one chick we thought was a hen, and although looks like a hen and acts like one, has a couple of sickle feathers in it's tail and a few glossy feathers on it's neck. It is still quite dainty in comparison to it's hatch mates, but is not looking hopeful and she will be he. Shame as it was earmarked for a friend.

So the older chooks are enjoying a bit of peace, except for Ebony the Shumen who has been fascinated with the chicks all along. She is pacing the fence looking for them.


  1. the quiche looks really yummy, must make one for us as it's a while since we had a quiche.

    Still bitter cold here in Canada, bundled up against the northerly winds. More snow forecast over the weekend ((SIGH))

    1. Ahhh, well, Dave might have been topless earlier this week but we have 20cm of snow forecast for tomorrow, after a night of rain. Then night temps down to -13. It had to come some time!