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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Pup and lovely veggies

Well, I can safely say I will not be buying too much pasta any more. I was under the impression that it was more trouble than it was worth to make your own, and I know Mum had a pasta machine but we never really got to grips with it, though to be fair Mum wasn't a big fan of pasta other than macaroni. After trying some tagliatelle the other day and a quick spag with super fast cherry tomato and olive sauce with the other half today I am a complete convert! I have a plan to make some ravioli to have in the freezer for days like today when we were out unexpectedly. Watch this space!

It disappeared so fast there are no photos!!!

We were out at the bakery cafe/bar this morning with the neighbours and half the OAPs in the village. It seems they often have a get together for chats, and Venka took along some very sweet biscuits, tiny little melt-in-the-mouth morsels with tooth rotting amount of sugar and decorated with very hard, brightly coloured sugar balls. Along with coffee the cafe provided hot and salty freshly made was so moreish. I only had a taste of the sweet stuff, but I couldn't leave the popcorn alone. I thought two baskets was an awful lot for seven people, but Ivan (a new friend) and I polished nearly a whole one by ourselves, while Jordan, who has a famously sweet tooth, and the other ladies seemed to prefer the sweet biscuits. Margareta, Ivan's wife, got well into the language books Dave takes everywhere with him. Lots of laughs and warmth, curiosity from some of the other customers, our lack of Bulgarian conversational skills no barrier at all. We agreed a name for the neighbours' new puppy, settling on Molly, though it seems that is quite a difficult name for them, Jordan didn't even try to get his teeth around it and I suspect he will call it Dog! Venka is keen for her to learn to sit as our girls do. We will be working on getting them to have it neutered and more socialised than normal so that Venka doesn't get frightened of her.

We met the puppy, a small and wriggly round black and white fluff ball who will no doubt turn out quite large, last week when Dave was trying to fix up a strip of electric fence to stop the dogs from coming into the garden. She is adorable of course, what puppy isn't, but Venka seemed worried that Bonnie might swallow her whole. We knew she had one, we had heard it crying in it's lonely kennel on the animal yard. We had also heard it yelping one night and Dave saw a dog running away. It seems that dogs have been coming in and stealing the pup's food, but today Venka said that the electric fence seems to have stopped it, so Dave has exteended the fence to include the end of the garden where the chain link is only a metre high, it will only be switched on at night and when we are out, and is for several reasons. One, to stop dogs pinching poor little Molly's food, another because dogs are pooping in the garden, leaving sheep wool filled poo everywhere which apart from carrying parasites, may be attributed to our dogs and that is not on. Also, though our girls don't go down that way as it is fenced to keep them off the mud, the stray dogs tend to just plough through the mesh and easily get tangled, or may get caught on our side and that is a worry when we let our girls (and boy) out. The other concern is that we have a lot of chickens running about, and easy meal for a hungry dog. Hopefully they will soon learn that it is a good idea to avoid our patch!

We had our first cauliflower this week, only because it was being ruined by rather large cabbage white caterpillars which had pooped on the curd. In another life I probably would have thrown it away, but now I just cut off the ruined bits and soak the rest in salt water. I can tell you it was very nice. I have never grown them before and we have a few but the others are looking clean so far so can grow some more. We also had our first grown sprouts. They were not looking promising, rather blown and I only took them off to have a little look before throwing the plant to the chooks. But after peeling away the loose leaves there were tiny, firm little sprouts hiding so the plant, and others, have been reprieved for now. We have hopefully still got a bit of growing weather but if not we will at least have some for Christmas day.
Not the prettiest, but tasted great

Only the potatoes were bought, even the beans for the sausages were our own, Lovely with chilli jelly

I have used the last of the apples, making a double batch of apple chutney which will have time to mature properly with the pear before going off to the car boot sales next year.  I am not sure if there will be much of the chilli jelly left, it's rather nice if I do say so myself, great with veggie sausages. That really should be all till next year now, I have no more standard sized jars.

Poor old Bonnie's old bones are feeling the change in the weather, poor old girl is joining us with aches and pains, needing a good stretch and massage to get going in the morning. Bella and Splash get going by having a good play, Splash being a better size for Bella to play with though he can be a bit rough with her. I have been waking very early, around 3am, and unfortunately once he knows you're awake Splash goes into play mode, purring very loudly. So there have been some early mornings and once he and the dogs have been fed and the two young 'uns a play, they are soon snoring leaving me waiting for daylight! Grrrr....

We have changed the sitting room around. The heat from the fire was having trouble reaching me around the corner so rather than wait till the weather goes too cold I have swapped places with the telly for the winter. The animals were a bit put out at first but have soon come to rather like the new arrangement. Bella and Splash take turns sitting on the back of my sofa looking out of the window. Bonnie is basking in uninterrupted heat coming from the side of the woodburner and Dave is learning to turn a different way to use his computer.

While the furniture was out of the way, one wall has had a coat of green paint which has given the room a bit of a warmer look. The rest will have to be done but it will probably have to wait intil we stop using the fire so much. It'll keep.

And the big news of the day....roll of seems we are having our stone road re-done, with a proper surface of asphalt. Whooppee Aren't we posh! We will not hold our breath!


  1. Molly looks adorable, even if she'll be a terror in the near future lol

    1. Yes indeed, and I will sleep easier knowing she has a soft and thick built in duvet. I have to admit I have been wringing my hands worrying about her being alone out in the cold, but that is what they are bred for. Sometimes I am so British!

  2. The puppy is adorable and I am glad you are watching out for his welfare.
    I love popcorn but have never had it with coffee before! Seems an odd combination, but it must have been good.

    1. We will try with Molly, but it will be difficult to change the thinking of the older Bulgarian, but I think she would like the dog to be more like our lab.

      Salty popcorn and coffee (strong and black) is surprisingly good!

  3. That pup is so cute! You certainly seem to be doing a lot of cooking lately as well as your usual preserving. I had a quick look at your previous posts. Glad you can get glace cherries - they are not easy to come by in France either and when I have found them (as well as candied peel) they cost an arm and a leg. Thank goodness for Lidl! (who also now stock chocolate Digestives) :-)

    1. Oh yes, and our's has cheddar and Long Clawson Stilton next week! At the equivelent of 6 euro for 225g I won't be buying the stilton as you are paying for a jar, but it makes my mouth water....

      I am lucky to have the time to do as much cooking as I want and use our own produced ingredients when I can, the hens ae still giving more eggs than we need and I buy sacks of bread flour and have surprisingly good results using it for everything! With those two things I can do so much! Of course in summer we eat mostly salad and veg so do less cooking

    2. Our Lidls do these foreign food promotions every now and again and I make sure I receive their email so I get warning - once in a while they do a British one and then we go and bulk buy cheddar which is really good value. I can get it from other supermarkets but it costs a bomb. We buy kilos of the cheddar when they have it! It doesn't seem too popular amongst the locals, funny that. :-)

    3. Same here, but the 'English' week only happens once a year. You can guarantee there will be at least one Brit in there when you go and as you say, good value. But the cheese they have next week is the 'Deluxe' range, more expensive and brought in for Christmas. There are so many cheddar starved Brits here I am surprised they don't stock it more often, though like you, we can get it from Kaufland, expensive. The flavour is too strong for Bulgarians, they prefer plastic cheese or feta style. There is more Italian and French, but expensive too. But we appreciate it when we get it!