Bulgaria and eggs. What more needs to be said?
Probs a lot. Like I went to Bulgaria and ate some really delicious eggs and I am going to tell you how to make them. And I also saw a lot of cool things in Bulgaria and I am going to tell you about them because I think you may like to visit too. Also like how good are eggs and going to places you have no expectations about and finding out they are pretty damn cool? And what to do with all the eggs when your chickens come out of their winter egg-hibernation and amp up their output? I'll tell you what. And more.
So lets talk Bulgaria and eggs. Some months ago my fella (heehee) and I spent some time in Bulgaria and it was really... good. For lack of a more descriptive word. I could say it was surprising, interesting, complex, beautiful, green, relaxed, funny, delicious... want to visit now? You should. It's good. We went to lots of different places- here is a story about our first week- and met lots of people (lots of hippies, we met lots of hippies). We spent time at the beach and making compost in a rose town and living in the woods where we helped erect a giant teepee. We did some touristy things (like visit the Hahndorf of Bulgaria) and steadily ate our way through Sofia, the capital. We saw a huge unnecessary relic from communist era Bulgaria- I saw it in the distance on a long bus journey but Will rented a bus with some lads from the hostel and drove there to explore it on foot. We even slipped in a quick weekend in Romania because: Europe! We ate traditional food which was: meat, yoghurt, bread, dill, tomato and cucumber chopped salad, meat, bread, cheese, yoghurt and meat. Pretty much in that order. Also a thing called biscuit cake which, as far as I understood, is just biscuits layered with something softer than biscuits and then left to sit and go a bit mushy and soft. In a delicious way. We also ate lentils and other healthy things at a yoga retreat where we meditated, built a cob house, made flower mandalas, did some weird chanting rituals and just generally explored our deepest hippy selves.
Bulgaria was really cool. Beautiful, pretty unspoilt- though they are kiiiinddd of working on fucking that up, full of incredibly picturesque abandoned villages and generous people (it's one of the easiest countries to hitch-hike in- says a lot about a place). Also the food was good. I always keep a journal when I travel and my Bulgaria notes lean heavily toward being just a really long list of food we ate there. Not a bad thing at all because now I can tell you guys how to make these Bulgarian eggs, which are kind of like a Balkan version of shakshuka, with yoghurt instead of tomato. Yoghurt is a huge part of the Bulgarian diet because, I learnt, the bacteria that turns milk into yoghurt was apparently discovered in Bulgaria. And bread. Bread is massive and eaten with every meal and is, obviously, best fresh, crusty and made with love. One of the women at the yoga retreat made these eggs for us upon our return from an afternoon at one of the nicest beaches in the country, which we spent swimming and sunbathing and pretending we were totes used to hanging with stark naked beach-goers.
Here is the recipe and below that are some of the places we visited that I can recommend.
When I jotted this 'recipe' down, I didn't really take note of measurements, so what I give you here are just estimations. Go with your tastes and adjust as you feel. This will serve four.
Mix the yogurt with the garlic, vinegar and salt. Divide equally between four shallow bowls.
Bring the water to the boil with the oil and paprika in a medium fry pan. Turn down to a simmer and crack the eggs into the pan. Gently cook, spooning the water over top of the eggs, until they are done- probably 5-10 minutes.
Spoon the eggs onto the yogurt and top with a little extra olive oil, paprika and some chopped mint or dill.
Serve with good, fresh bread.
2 cups natural yoghurt
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 fresh eggs
1-2 tsp paprika
splash olive oil
fresh mint or dill
Going to Eastern Europe? You'll be wanting to drop into this here little country... Here's some ideas:
Veliko Tarnovo is a very hard name to pronounce but it represents a very picturesque city that used to be the capital of Bulgaria. Good for history, good for traditional Bulgarian coffee brewed with very hot sand, good for a fort with a sound and light show that is only put on if tourists sponsor it because it is too expensive otherwise...
Buzludzha. Also really hard to say but worth the awkward mouth shapes. This is the huge abandoned Communist monument that sits atop a mountain and looks over a valley. Spooky and technically off limits to tourists- they keep blocking off the entry ways but those crafty tourists keep finding ways in- and filled with Bulgarian graf.
Kazanlak is the main town in the 'Valley of the Roses'. Bulgaria produces something ridiculous like 90% of the world's rose oil and most of it comes from here. The town is a bit shit, if I'm being honest, but it is surrounded by beautiful valleys and mountains, perfect for hiking. And there is a tiny town nearby in which you will find a Russian church, complete with coloured spires. You'll have to visit to find out why.
P.S. The picture with the red things in the tree are bands people give to their friends on the first day of spring, which are then to be tied to the first blossoming tree one comes across. Pagan traditions are strong with these ones.