Bansko Life

Somehow I have been busy lately without achieving much. And physically challenged with all kinds of little aches and pains that kept me from enjoying myself and from communicating.

At least tonight, however, I feel in great shape and in good mood. In the afternoon was a big town meeting organised by the mayor about the future of our skiing zone. A round-table discussion in our town-hall with experts from all over Bulgaria. Alas, I had booked a massage for this afternoon already a week ago. So, I decided to get my priorities right :) – and had the most wonderful nearly 2 hour massage instead of arguing with a bunch of nitwits. The massage makes my body feel like floating. Well done, Frank :)

And I had invited my friend Crispin for a Bansko-Thai dinner. A chicken curry:

Not the best I have ever made but quite edible. Crispin just left half an hour ago and I am now sipping a Jameson whiskey and am listening to an album of Madeleine Peyroux. And feel completely relaxed.

And I better be relaxed tonight. Because tomorrow I have a lot of work to do. Last night at the weekly rehearsal of my Star Merak choir one of the boys told me that they would be slaughtering a calf today.

In my youthful innocence – and after a few glasses of rakia – I opted to take the head and the tripe of the calf. And forgot about it again nearly immediately. But – no escape. While I was being reduced to a heap of groaning meat on the massage bed, my friend delivered the goodies.

Somehow I had not expected the head to weigh about 15kg and be about half a metre in length :) I have no pot that is big enough to boil it in:

And the tripe! Another 5kg at least:

The tripe is, of course, the biggest challenge – as it has not been washed properly and has a certain smell to it. Cleaning and washing it will take a substantial part of my day tomorrow. But I won’t be discouraged!

Having loads of local friends solved the pot problem within minutes. One of them brought me a steel “kazan” from a Bulgarian army kitchen, big enough to hold the head and the tripe…The question is now how to heat it. I might have to get my powerful gas burner that I use to distil brandy in my 60l still. But first I will try to combine several hobs on my cooker. We will see. Where there is a will there is a way.

So, the plan for tomorrow morning is clear: a decent breakfast to set the tone for the day. I will quickly rush to “Le Retro”, our French sandwich shop, to buy some baguette of them as I don’t have nice bread at home. During breakfast I will decide on how to cook the calf’s head and the tripe. The Bulgarian way – or the French way. Bulgarian is simpler and certainly tasty. French “tete de veau” and “tripes a la mode de Caen” is a lot more work but more refined :) But I should have Calvados for the tripe, which I don’t, and the alternative to cook it with French champagne is not really feasible (you need a LOT of champagne for 5kg of tripe!) as I have only three bottles left in my cellar.

The deciding factor on how to cook all the stuff will be whom I will be able to invite to share these delicacies with. Calf’s head is not everybody’s darling, nor is 5kg of tripe, despite that they are utterly delicious if cooked properly. So I will have to make a list of potential victims at breakfast and then start phoning around. My friend Crispin already said he won’t answer the phone over the weekend if he sees that I am calling :) Well, challenges make you grow. In a worst case scenario I can cook everything and then freeze it in portions…

Have a good night and dream about organic calf tripe (as I probably will)…





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