Life in a Dol house
2015 - Week 50

Fruit from the dentist

Two weeks to New Year! Where has 2015 gone? For me, the year has raced past in a frenzy of projects and work. 

On the projects side, the bathroom.... Well, I am still waiting for the plumber and heating engineer, but I completed the hole for the extractor fan without too much difficulty. Taking plaster off first to see where the stones were helped. And good luck played a part too, because on the outside I also had a matching corner and lime mortar joint so with careful drilling and judicious use of a power channelling chisel cup, I made a 10 cm diameter hole through an 80 cm wall, with almost no collateral damage. 

My friend Cvjetko has been this week and has completed the plaster boarding of the ceiling. No longer do I have exposed rockwool insulation.

Instead, I now have waterproof plasterboard. Some filler, a couple of coats of paint and it will be ready for my new energy efficient LED lights.

In addition, the in-wall cistern has now been enclosed by a double layer of plasterboard as well.
This next week there will be more work to finish the walls, then it will be time for tiling.

I had to visit my dentist this week - twice! Not being a lover of dental treatment (who is?) my dentist was half way through filling a Wisdom tooth when the electricity went off. 

You may have seen on my weather station web site my health warning that the local electrical infrastructure is undergoing a much needed upgrade. After several minutes without power or light, she put a temporary filling in, one that didn't need a UV light to harden it and asked me to return the next day. 

So on Wednesday morning, I went back. There was a bright, low sun shining and what immediately caught my eye was a tree dripping with large orange fruit. Earlier in the year, I thought they were a variety of green apple. Indeed they are the size of a small Bramley, but now they were clearly something else. 

With the treatment over, I asked Dr Tadić if they were Persimmons - Kaki in Croatian - and she confirmed they were. I was then treated to a tour of her fruit garden. The good doctor having changed medical gloves and dental instruments for gardening gloves and secateurs.

The modern and well equipped surgery is on the ground floor of her home, which is surrounded by vegetables and fruit trees, some being quite exotic. 

I came away with a carrier bag stuffed full of different fruits.

Some different Pomelo grapefruit, small and exquisitely fragrant lemons, and mandarins. Dr Tadić also pointed out a Dunja tree, the fruit of which she said, is used in compotes and marmalades. It took me a little while to find what it is in English, but I was eventually able to trace it through the Serbian language - The Quince. There are several very nice desserts from the Dalmatian region, made using Dunja.

Apart from several Persimmons, there was also a large  Maya lemon (centre of the closest bowl, amongst the Kaki)

I suspect one of the grapefruit is an  Ugli fruit, because of its shape, the dimpled and knobbly skin and the light orange, sweet flesh inside.

​Whatever, they are delicious and juicy squeezed for breakfast. 

Back in my citrus orchard, I have now protected all the young citrus saplings with bubblewrap fleece, together with new weed matting and a thick layer of mulch. 

Quite a good job really, because we have had a strong and cold Bura wind, which would have burnt tender shoots. Not as cold as the one we had over last New Year, but I intend to be ready. 

Just as well because when I awoke on Saturday morning, the outside air temperature (measured at 140 cm) was just +1.4 c, and at ground level, there had been a surface hoar frost.

Not especially heavy, but the first of the year. 
Round the village, the cold has accentuated the autumn leaf colours in orchards surrounding Dol.

In the greenhouse, the daily temperature is reaching 25 or 26 degrees and my new storm porch, with a similar temperature enables me have the house doors open and the sun warms it nicely. 

Quite useful, because as I already mentioned, I am still waiting for the plumber/heating engineer to come and connect my central heating!

On the food front, there was an offer on chickens at the local supermarket, so I came back with a 1.5kg bird and decided to try a citrus chicken in the slow cooker. 

The recipe is quite simple if any one would like a copy, but it revolves around putting quartered mandarin oranges from my tree into the body cavity, and under the bird in the cooker, rubbing the chicken with herbs and citrus flesh, pouring mandarin juice over it, then along with some local vegetables, letting in cook for 8 hours on low.

After 4 hours, there was a delicious smell in the kitchen, and by eight hours, Risha, who can't resist real chicken, was sitting on a stool staring at the slow cooker.

I have to say it tasted deliciously different from the normal pot roast.

As the year rolls by, it is nice to be able to make these satisfying dishes, which also then create warming soups as well. 

There is not a huge choice of different vegetables in the supermarkets, but what there is, is very fresh, local produce and so I just go with whatever I can get, supplemented by my own onions, potatoes and calabrese from the vegetable garden.

I did also spy in one supermarket this week, some frozen turkeys. So there might just be turkey for Christmas! 

As Christmas is approaching, I made my Christmas cake on Saturday afternoon. A little late, I know, but I have had other things to do!

Using a traditional recipe, it is an 8 kg cake. which I will cook very slowly tomorrow, after some of my best VSOP has been allowed to seep into the fruit. I can smell it cooking already! 

Next job is the mince pies, for which I have a new recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine to try.