Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas 2015 - Our first in Hotnitsa, Bulgaria

Christmas is upon us now and the festivities are hotting up. We gave our first dinner party for two ex-pat friends, Warren & Sylvie by way of a thank you for giving us information about doctors, dentists etc and also they showed us some good dog walking territory.  They asked us to go for a walk with them and their two dogs.  I think they would like to socialise their dogs a bit more because in Bulgaria a dog is kept as an alarm and not a pet.  The meeting was unsuccessful for their dogs because they were both gnashing and snarling at Bracken and so could not be let off the leads to meet him.  Bracken was completely indifferent towards them - aloof is the word!
 Walking between homesteads towards the field walk - I suppose you call this a street!
 This is one of the fields we walk around - could be the edge of the world
 Frosty December morning
   The field on the right had just been ploughed
I didn't take any pictures of the dinner party because we don't know Warren and Sylvie very well and I didn't want to put them off. However I served a main course of chicken breast stuffed with my sisters wood roasted peppers, mozzarella and basil then wrapped in panchetta (but I couldn't get panchetta so I had to use parma ham).  I accompanied this with boulingere potatoes and a crisp salad on the side.  Nothing was left and I do like a good eater.  For desert, I asked my sister Sara to show me how to make Creme Caramel (don't do puds) which I now know must be the easiest pudding in the world.  Next came the cheese board with a French, an Italian, a Bulgarian and a home made cheese on it (the home made being from Sara and her goats - bit like Boursin)  All was washed down with some nice red and crisp white wine and a good night was had by all.

If you want to know more about Sara's adventures with the good life, see:

The following night we had been invited next door to have "Rakia".  This always means that you are invited for a meal which starts with Rakia.  Every Bulgarian household makes their own version of this drink with whatever fruit they have in abundance.  Radco made this batch with white grapes and he informed us it was 43% proof.  It certainly packed a punch but was very like a nice whiskey.  Pepa made us a lovely meal which started as all meals do in Bulgaria with a salad.  Unlike Sara's neighbour's who serve pickled vegetables to start, Pepa served a coleslaw made from carrot and beetroot.  Much nicer if you are not so keen on vinegar.  For the main course we had chicken coated in herbs and served with potatoes roasted with dill.  If that wasn't enough, we then had a piece of traditional Bulgarian Christmas cake.  Apart from the Rakia, Radco served us some of his home made red wine which he has promised to show GJ how to make next year.
Radco, Pepa's Mum, Me and Pepa
We have been doing a bit of work on the garden getting my seed beds  sorted which will actually be within the poly tunnel frame.  Sara's husband Dave has been helping GJ to clear it all up.  The previous owners grew fruit trees which have subsequently been planted in the garden but they were grown in pots in the tunnel and they had put down a plastic membrane and then used a lot of roof tiles (left over from when the second barn was demolished to make way for the straw bale house) to cover the whole of the tunnel.  These all had to be dug up and stacked and look what we found under one of them
We didn't mean to wake him but we picked him up carefully and put him in the sunshine and he was soon scuttling away to find another resting place.
GJ tidying up the wrecked area of poly tunnel
Dave doing the heavy work.  That rocking required here

.......or here.  Note my new rug bought from Bulgaria Buy and Swap - Just like Windermere seek and sell.

Last Monday was the "kill the pig day" for a family down the road.  The crowds gathered (5 adults & 2 kids) and the pig bought it!  By the time GJ got down with his camera, they were cleaning the pig ready for the butchery.  He didn't think it appropriate to take photos but for all of you who may now be squirming, this is how the Bulgarians live.  They grow and rear what they want to eat.  No waste.

On a lighter note, last night was the village Christmas party.  A great time was had by all and here are some pictures (and later a video).
Warren and Sylvie in the front, Tanya, the Mayors secretary taking photo's whilst the Mayor himself is helped into some rather large knickers that he won in the raffle - Superman style.
 GJ sitting next to Annie May, a very nice American lady
 Chris and Karen from up the road
Ivan who works for Chris - also won a pair of pants - big character this fella!
The dancing starts - from the back left Keith (partner to Tanya), the lady with grey hair is another immediate neighbour, next is Annie May and then Warren doing his thing whilst Chris and Sylvie have a giggle about something 
Then the entertainment started with 2 locals dressed up doing a jig around the dance floor wearing funny costumes.... yes that was a bloke
 And the lady next to the hat stand (left) is another neighbour called Evanka whose turkeys were using our garden.  Funny, they seem to have disappeared now!
 These were the raffle prizes that I won, the little square is a 2016 calendar - quite humbling really.
Just to finish as I write this on Christmas Eve, what could be better for lunch than a fish finger buttie
Hoped this video works?

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun, looking forward to hearing all the details.....but you were never any good at remembering names!