Yordanovden in Bansko

Hehe, the headline is a bit misleading. St. Jordan’s day is a big thing in many places here – and for the last 8 years or so I have celebrated it in the village Dobarsko, usually carrying one of the two old church icons in the procession from the church to the artificial lake, where the priest would through a cross into the waters and young men would try to recover it.

This year, however, Father Nikola has not invited me as the guest of honour – and I was quite happy because it gave me a chance to rest. De facto, he did not invite me the last two years either because my role at the festival in Dobarsko is long commonly accepted. Time to make myself a bit rare for the people to appreciate my involvement again…

Last evening ended at the Irish Harp where my friend Crispin held a company party and had the decency to invite me to join them. Here he is with two of the boys working for him:

I should say that Crispin lives here since years but I only met him last summer. We have shared many a pleasant pint and evening on the main square and he has become quite dear to me. He is also the only English person that I have met in Bansko with a “proper” education and who speaks my beloved “Queen’s English” with all its nuances and rich vocabulary :) Sadly, when we are together we more and more resemble Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show (to the ladies, I guess)…Thank you, Crispin, for being my friend.

And I did have the “cheap” steak I was planning on yesterday. A British-cut rump-steak:

Perfectly rare! Normally rump steak is moderately tough but very tasty (American cut). A perfect rump-steak must include the “round-cover” for me, the rather thick fat lining on the outside. It gives the whole thing taste and keeps it from getting dry. If you use a dry piece like this it’s better when fried in butter than from the grill. Well, still a great piece of meat, considering we are in Bansko!

So, today no excursion to Dobarsko – only down to the market in the centre (where I now park in a private backyard not to have to pay the ridiculous parking fees in our new “blue zone” – I think I will have to write about that soon)).

I live with the seasons and cook and eat what nature provides us at any given point in time – and what I have preserved in autumn to have in winter when few things grow. But, obviously, there is no escape from modern times! What did I see on our Sunday market? Huge strawberries (about 1 ounce each) at 25 Leva per kg! Who would possibly buy this tasteless shit? Well, modern times.

So, as I said, I live with what nature gives us – and actively take advantage of promotional offers of Lidl and Penny :) At 8:15am I bought some rather nice freshly baked ciabatta at Lidl’s for my breakfast and as they have a promotion for freshly baked white bread at 39 stotinki (20 cents) I bought three breads. Not for eating, really. But for “raw material”. As everything in my modest kitchen is made from scratch, life is much easier if I have pre-prepared things in my storage-cellar. So, I cut one loaf into small pieces to be dried and then ground into “breadcrumbs”. One loaf I cut in thin slices to be used for Bavarian dumplings and one loaf I cut off the bread crust and cubed it for croutons (like tonight I will be cooking a leftover piece of pumpkin into a soup and croutons will be a perfect accompaniment).

Soon I have to think about something with walnuts as my massage lady continues to bring me bags of peeled walnuts from her garden – they have 5(!) walnut trees. Locally it is very popular to salt and roast the walnut pieces and have them as “meze” with pork cracklings, rakia and so on. I am just not used to this and do not have enough guests to get rid of the masses of walnuts this way. I keep telling my massage genius to spare me with her stuff – but (the story of my life) women don’t seem to take me serious :)

I also still have about 1 kg of raw chestnuts left over from my stuffed duck. Next week I may look for some victims and invite them to an evening with roasted chestnuts, prosciutto crudo, Italian or French hard cheese and red wine. Fortunately, I only buy best quality, that I check carefully, so my chestnuts don’t have any maggots inside (like 90% of the others on the market do) and I am not under time pressure to use them :)

Tomorrow I will be in Sofia on some errands and I am certainly not well prepared. When I come back in the evening I will realise what I missed to accomplish. In the future I need to make something like a task list with things to buy or accomplish when in Sofia. To be prepared! Something that does not come easy to a Banskalia like me, as we prefer to live the moment and deal with things as they come. “Ще се оправим” (we will manage) is our motto! Hehe!


Have a good night…I had my pumpkin soup in the meantime, talked to my sister for hours, emptied a bottle of red and generally had a pleasant evening. See you soon…








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