Monday, June 29, 2015

Zheleznitza - Kupena Hut

Yesterday husband and I hiked the steep path from the village of Zheleznitza to the training base of the National Sports Academy - Kupena Hut and the nearby peak (with unknown to us name). The weather forecast promised more rain and cold, as was the entire last week, very un-end-of-June-like. But this time the forecast was wrong and the weather turned out just excellent for hiking in open areas - a bit cloudy, with temperate temperatures and no rain. The path is very steep and fairly difficult and we used our new trekking poles for the first time. At the beginning of the track the poles were actually a nuisance and we quickly folded them back in the backpacks. But when we reached the steep slopes and especially the uneven and stone terrain at the end of the track the poles came very handy. And they were simply indispensable for climbing the peak, which we did without any track, traversing right through the bushes and stones.

A very pleasant surprise - a medicine box, equipped with basic pain killers and bandage necessities
A woodpecker
The hut is right in the middle of the photo. We climbed the green peak to the left.

I should try to learn and recognize the medicinal herbs, of which the mountain is abundant. I gathered only thyme, as I know it, but the manager of the hut serves a divine tea, made from the herbs around the hut.

Lilium jankae - a rare flower, included in the Red list of endanger species

Almost there :)

The peak with no name we climbed without track

The hut - training base for the National Sports Academy, where we had some rest and lunch. I took the picture midway climbing the peak.
Off-track hiking

The ridge of Vitosha.

I know you can't see it, but there is actually a doe running away from us right in the middle of this picture (a brown spot with some white on its rump):

The view from the top

The clouds from Cherni vruh gathered above us, the wind at these 2000m altitudes was cold, but thankfully no rain.

Cherni vruh in the distance

And back down to the hut and then to the village of Zheleznitza. Down the slope the trekking poles were even more useful, providing lateral stability and ease on the knees.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Beaded Phone Case

I tried my hands at beaded knitting again - a beaded phone case. First I chose how I wanted my case to look - black with a light green Greek key ornament. Then I made a chart and bought the beads. The green beads turned out to be too transparent and the ornament is not clearly visible and I don't like the quality of the beads - they are not equal in size and not quite round - but that was to be expected, as they were really cheap.

Then I strung up the beads, following the chart from the end to the beginning, forming a stack of beads (first in - last out). My thread is YarnArt Violet, 100% mercerized cotton, 50 g = 270 m and I used 2 mm (US 0) size needles.

I knit the case flat in garter stitch, placing the beads every other row, only when knitting from the right side.

This is the wrong side - garter stitch, no beads.

I also added soft lining and a small zipper.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


It's the season of cherries and we are trying to make the most of it. This means, most of all, eating fresh cherries, of course, but also preserving cherries and making cherry pies and cakes.
Last year I got hooked on making jams and this year I made cherry jams too.

Cherry Jam
  • 1000 g of pitted cherries (I don't have (or need) a special tool to remove the pit, instead I use a safety pin, it's surprisingly easy, though messy)
  • 500 g sugar
  • 1 even teaspoon lemon acid

Cover the pitted cherries with the sugar, stir and leave in the fridge for the night or at least for 4 hours. On the next day bring the cherries to boil, reduce the temperature and leave to simmer for 30-40 min. Stir regularly. When the density is to your satisfaction, add the lemon acid, boil for 1-2 min more and switch off the hot plate. Fill the jam in jars while still hot, close the lids and turn the jars upside down to cool.

We prepared six small jars and the children already ate one of them for breakfast - they love pancakes and sandwiches with homemade jam.

Cherry Cake

This is a recipe I came up with to make use of some half a kilo of cherries we had left in the fridge the other day.
  • 400 g pitted cherries
  • 200 g sugar
  • 200 g flour
  • 50 g wheat semolina
  • 50 g oil or butter
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 ml milk

Cover the pitted cherries with the sugar and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Beat the eggs, add the oil and the milk. Mix the flour with the semolina and the baking powder, add the cherries and stir. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture.

Pour the batter in a cake form and bake in a preheated oven at 180C until ready.

The cake is very juicy and with a fresh summery taste, ideal for morning coffee or milk:

Cherry Smoothy
  • 250 g pitted cherries
  • 250 g yogurt
  • 250 g milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar

We used to make smoothies with milk or water, but after I came upon a recipe, combining yogurt and milk, this is how we prepare smoothies with fruit at home these days. And it makes so much sense - fruit acid curdles the milk, but when the milk is combined with yogurt, which is in a sense already curdled milk, the mixture becomes homogeneous and tasty. The same recipe can be applied to strawberries, peaches, apricots, etc.

Mix the cold ingredients in a blender, serve immediately and enjoy :)