174. Kittens with dirty bums, and other stories

by | Oct 19, 2018 | Bulgarian life, Food & recipes | 2 comments

You’ll have to forgive the slightly sporadic posting of late. Work is busy-busy to an almost oh-dear-I’ve-slightly-overcommitted-myself level. Which, as someone who has zero problem saying ‘no’, is unusual for me. Still, I’m not complaining. Work is what keeps us in cake, kittens and Ikea rugs, after all.

Speaking of cake, kittens and Ikea rugs…

We’re still diligently catching up on Bake Off every week and baking something inspired by the programme most weekends. Last week was vegan week, which isn’t really our bag. But based on a vegan mocha cake that Briony made, I baked a (non-vegan) coffee and walnut cake, made with walnuts from our garden and coffee from … well, Lidl, obviously.



I always enjoy sharing our cakes with the neighbours. You never know what their reaction is going to be. Bulgarian cakes in the shops tend to be glossy, heavily decorated concoctions that, to my mind, don’t really taste of anything (which, as my style and life icon Prue Leith would agree, means they’re not worth the calories). So my homely English cakes must look really plain in comparison. Then there’s the issue of our neighbours’ incredibly sweet tooths (tooths? teeth? There’s no way to say it in this context that doesn’t sound weird). One time I made this delicious Nigella lemon meringue cake that was achingly sweet. But because it had lemon curd in it, they complained it was too sour. So, anyway, coffee in a cake was a risk. But they demanded I made another one for the next day (I didn’t), so I think that means they liked it.

We have so many walnuts this year. We’re lucky enough to have two trees in our garden and one just outside our boundary that drops half its payload in our garden. This has probably been our best walnut year ever and I reckon the crop will easily last us two or three years. Looks like I’ll be baking a lot of walnut cakes, walnut bread and walnut pie (if that’s even a thing?) this winter.


Walnuts drying off in the spare room. This isn’t even half of our haul.


Merlin and Baxter, our new kittens, are settling in well. They’re a nightmare with food. (Baxter has even eaten some shelled walnuts that Rob left on the table for two fucking minutes while he went to the loo. That can’t be normal.) And they get really manic around 9pm at night. And they keep trying to sit on top of our precious house plants. But look how cute they are.


They still enjoy stacking on top of each other. Merlin (The Grey) has filled out a
bit since I took this picture, but he’s still a weird-looking dude.


Baxter claiming this plate as his own. Look at him, he’s practically
daring me to do something about it.


You know what’s a brilliant thing to do when you’ve got new kittens? Totally redecorate your lounge, so that you can’t use it for a month while concrete and new flooring is laid, have four cats living in the kitchen in the meantime, and then, when the upheaval is over, let manic kittens loose on your lovely new things. Great idea. Highly recommended.


Mad boho lounge. There’s *just about* enough colour and pattern going on
here to satisfy me. I like to think Prue would approve.


Gone is our dangerously bumpy old floor in favour of actual nice tiles. (The selection of tiles used to be awful in Bulgaria – really nasty, shiny things that Del Trotter circa 1985 would have loved – but it’s got so much better. Amazingly, we didn’t even have to travel to the big smoke of Sofia to get these lovely tiles; we found them in Botevgrad.) The tattered (but good quality, so I’m not getting rid of it) sofa has been covered with second-hand throws and blankets, and cheap cushion covers from Ikea. The pictures are drawings of Sofia that we picked up in a second-hand bookshop last winter for 15 leva. And we’ve splashed out on a gorgeous yellow rug to finish everything off, but it’s not going anywhere near that floor until the kittens stop being arseholes and learn to clean their bums properly. #LifestyleGuru


  1. Katt

    Great to here from Auntie again, meanwhile we're back in the UK with me planning to return alone early nest year to continue with work to get our basement habitable and get some veg planting done in the garden. However as we have no heat in the house and no transport other than local buses I'm having to really consider when to return to a. be warm. b. get builders in. c. get spuds and other veg into the garden. Katt

  2. Auntie Bulgaria

    Ah, Katt, I wish I could give you some advice on when's a good time to come, but as you probably know, every winter is so different. We've had 30 degrees and baking sunshine in March, but we've also had freezing temperatures and snow in April. My hunch is this winter might be a bad (i.e. long, snowy) one, purely because last winter was so mild. But who knows?

    We tend not to get anything into the ground until late April/May anyway, although we do start a lot of seedlings off indoors anytime from February. That would be tricky without any heating, though! A good market in late spring/early summer will have loads of seedlings you can plant for silly cheap: peppers, tomatoes, basil, beetroot, chillies. It's not quite as satisfying as growing from seed, but it gets the job done.

    If your buses are anything like ours, they'll run in all weathers so getting around shouldn't be a problem. But I doubt the same can be said of builders working in all weathers…


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