I want rain! - 28 August 2010
It has not rained at all this month, which is quite typical for southern Bulgaria, although for a whinging 'pom' the novelty of 35C 'hot and sunny' everyday is starting to wane. I am not the only thing that has had enough of the sun. My garden (apart from the parts that get watered daily) is starting to resemble a desert scrubland, and the slightest spark would set it of in an inferno.
My two cats Dave & Alan think it is great, they lie around snoozing all day, which in the afternoons is pretty much all I am capable of. I have put the BBC's weather widget on the home page so you see the weather in nearest town from me - It at last is showing cloud with maybe the possiblity of RAIN in after this weekend! Coming from Swansea, it is quite strange wanting it to rain!
As part of my self reliant living in Bulgaria, this is the time of year to be harvesting the tomatoes, peppers, and cucmbers and pickle, bottle and preserve in any way whatever you can from the garden. Before I came here, this always appeared a difficult task, and one with a large initial outlay. How wrong I was. If you have never bottled tomatoes before, do not be put off thinking this is an arduous task, or that you will have to buy expensive 'Kilner' jars to achieve any success. You old dolmio jar will work just fine.
The traditional recipe here is quite simple but works well. First you pass your tomatoes through a mill, which removes the skin and seeds (A juice machine would be perfect if you have one), the tomato juice is the set in a large pan and put over a high heat until boiling. Then simmer slowly as you prepare the rest. Peppers are cut into strips and lightly fryed until softened, as are onions and aubergenes, in what ever quantity you have spare. Add some oil, salt and pepper to tomatoes along with you peppers and pour into your jars whilst the mix is still very hot! Invert the jars and cover until cool (overnight).
I made over 100 jars last year, which when needed are heated and mixed with an egg which makes a creamy tomato base, which can either be eaten direct or used as a sauce with a meat of your choice. They successfully store for upto two years with no problems. Out of my 100 jars only 2 went bad. Not a Kilner in sight!
Beans, corn and lentils are dried (see weather above) in matter of days and then stored in jars (mice proof - much to the cats dislike) until needed. The only thing I have in my freezer is meat!