Thursday, 7 January 2016

Happy New Year from Hotnitsa

The last time I updated my blog was on Christmas Eve so I thought I had better catch up.
We spent Christmas day in Polski Senovets with my sister Sara and BIL Dave.  When we arrived there was a familiar smell of roasting meat coming from the kitchen and Sara had been working hard on producing some canapes for starters.  There were blinis with various salmon/fishy toppings, cocktail sticks with steak strips and a horseradish dipping sauce, devils on horseback and homegrown beetroot and homemade haloumi cheese sticks.  All very moreish.
We had roast pork which Sara had sourced with crackling. Lush!

In Bulgaria it is hard to find pork with crackling fat because usually the fat is rendered down to make lard.  Sara was given a bottle of it by her neighbours but as she is vegetarian she has passed it on to me - I hope it lasts a long time because I will only use it for roasters on special occasions. The sprouts by the way were home grown by Sara, home made bread provided bread sauce and stuffing balls, home grown red cabbage and potatoes for the roasters and mash - only a small meal then!  Dave made crackers in the true Good Life fashion.

I do love to see people opening presents no matter how small!
Yeah! there was a whole box of digestive biscuits in there - his favourites!
We were still having good weather between Christmas and New Year so we cracked on with some gardening.  The poly tunnel is all cleared now so it was time for some rotavating.
Some smashing soil, not like in the UK where every time I put a spade into my back garden, I hit a rock.
On boxing day we were invited to meet Radco and Pepa's son and daughter, both of whom speak English 
By this time Radco had met Bracken and he had obviously gone home and told the rest of the household that he was "friendly" so their daughter asked if she could come across and meet him.  I didn't realise the whole family was going to troop over, still Bracken took it all in his stride and offered each of them his favourite ball.
Yet more work in the garden stripping down all those branches into kindling and logs and this is before we started polarding the mulberries
One down, only another 10 or so to do
And yes in the first picture, I even have washing on the line, the heat of the midday sun did most of the drying.  We still managed to eat our lunches outside:

 Left: Meatball soup for GJ and Sara's homemade ricotta with garlic & herbs and wood fired peppers.

Right: Spanish Omlette

On New Year's Eve, Sara and Dave came to Hotnitsa for lunch.  I did a whole leg of lamb with boulingere potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veg.
Excuse the measuring jug but most of my kitchen stuff is in a lock-up in Flookburgh! - we even had to have square Yorkshires.
We had been invited out to an ex-pats house for a 'Fondue Night' but declined because I was too tired (and too stuffed) after the lunch but we did stay up until after midnight when all around us were fireworks going off - Bracken went galloping around the garden getting very excited but I think that's the gun dog in him.  Strangely enough, we didn't hear another dog bark which considering they all live outside and all start at the slightest sound, I would have thought we would have a chorus.
And then it got frosty....
...and then the snow came...
Poor Kevin
And now for some random pictures...
just thought this looked nice
Sara's Christmas pressie - a new rug which Bracken is generously leaving hair all over
Lovely grass outside the front door - very statuesque
Look what we found when we opened a manhole cover!  There is two in there (sorry Helen Whitehead)!

Thanks a lot to all those who take the time to read the blog, it makes it worthwhile writing it and of course it will be a good reference guide for us when the garden starts growing and I can log where and what is growing.
Happy New Year to everyone/anyone
Helen, Graham and of course Bracken.


  1. Doesn't the polytunnel area look tidy on the photos. Hopefully five months time you'll have loads of tommiess in there.

  2. And also can the above please have some bits from the idea where he wants to put them but he's quite taken with it

    1. If we don't need it, you can have anything!

    2. If we don't need it, you can have anything!

  3. Enjoy your blog (and sister) ...I live in Kentucky, a long way from Bulgaria. The country seems like a very interesting place to live. Thanks for sharing your life in a new country! Interesting!

    1. Thanks for your comments. When you think how different Bulgaria is to the UK (and USA) you can imagine the changes we have made. Haven't looked back yet though.

    2. Thanks for your comments. When you think how different Bulgaria is to the UK (and USA) you can imagine the changes we have made. Haven't looked back yet though.