23 July 2015

With no more time to waste Takahiro grabbed an old sake bag kneeled down to the fireplace and filled it up with binchotan charcoals.  They were just as good for keeping him warm, cooking with them or drawing, as well as keeping his water clear and pure.

Yes, drawing…  That reminded him to look under pile of hemp mosquito mesh where he was keeping his calligraphy brushes.  Long boar bristles and fine white and blue porcelain handles – they were jewels for him.

Well, that’s about all he needs.  Time to kiss the forehead and hand to his old mother and father, ask them forgiveness, guidance and blessing, and on the road to mystique Himalayas.
The road is long and winding...
© 2015 – sophia terra~ziva.  all rights reserved


19 July 2015

Every summer my parents would take a four-weeks break and we would share this time in resting in the high mountains and fun on the seaside of Bulgaria.  Filled up with fresh air from the highlands and adventures, games and new friendships we made on the beaches of Black Sea, we will get back home with the predictable detour – Aunty Mara, the old grandma of our friends who was still guarding her centuries-old stone build house as the last fortress of the deep-rooted traditions of the people from Valley of the Roses.
She was very strong and agile for her age and nothing and no one could wipe the always-ready smile of her face.  She was a joy to be around.  Our visits were exciting her and best way to show her delight was to spread a big table and snow it down with food, treats and small goods.  And it all was homemade – buffalo milk yoghurt, sheep milk brined white cheese, sausages, preserves, pickles, sweets, freshly baked bread and, of course, her staple cultured butter.  Ah, the taste of this butter, spread on the crunchy full of air pockets rustic sourdough bread with wild yeast passed down from many generations was unforgettable.
My sister and I were happy to run on her tiled backyard, chase the goat and count the chickens, while Mamma, Dad and Aunty Mara would sit under the mixed shadows of the grape vines, that has climbed all over the veranda roof.
It was a wonderful way to finish our summer break.  I will miss this peaceful carefree time and the delightful food from Aunty Mara, as they were for me more than a food.  They were a warm gesture of being loved and welcomed.
I think it is time to show you how much I am trilled every time you stop by to say "hello" or just to read my stories and look at my recent images.  Today I will greet you with the homemade cultured butter that I learned from the old knotty hands of Aunty Mara.
600 gr or more pure double cream, which has to contain 51% milk fat or more
1 cup of natural yoghurt with Lactobacillus Bulgaricus
sea salt

Mix the pure double cream with the natural yoghurt, cover with clean cotton cloth and leave it on room temperature overnight or 24 hours until it reaches the thickness of yoghurt.  To check, just stir with a spoon and lift it high – it should run down in a thick ribbon instead of thin string.
Move the bowl with cream mixture in cool and dark place like the refrigerator for another 24 where it will mature and develop texture.
The next day the aged and ripened cream will be ready for churning.  It will help if you chill the tools you are going to use to churn the cream.
Thank Good, nowadays we have some helpful kitchen utensils and we don’t need to work the cream the old-fashioned way.  Pour the ripened cream into the chilled processor bowl and blitz it as you pay close attention, as the cream can turn lumpy and separate fast from the buttermilk.
Stop the churning when you see the buttermilk separates.  Pour the butter and the buttermilk in a strainer over a big clean bowl and collect the buttermilk.
In a clean bowl place the lump of butter and pour over it some chilled water.  With a wooden spoon or spatula start turning and kneading the butter till the water turns milky white.
Discard the water and continue to work and knead the butter with the wooden spatula until the butter develops creamy texture.  In the process of kneading incorporate the sea salt.

Place the butter on clean cotton cloth and pat it dry.  Press down and roll the fresh butter in desired shape with kitchen waxed baking paper and store in refrigerator.
Well, that is all.  You can’t have it any fresher or tastier!  And look at it, please – doesn’t it look like a golden nugget!

Till our next bread with butter!
My warm wishes,
© 2015 – sophia terra~ziva.  all rights reserved


15 July 2015

I gave you all the keys to my heart…
(strewn keys as riddle),
…You chose to climb Everest.

My memories are rusting;
The Tree of Life has rotten…

Who knew you loved me!

© 2015 – sophia terra~ziva.  all rights reserved

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