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Rye Soda Bread

Bread, Who doesn’t eat bread every once in a while? Most people do unless you have some gluten problems. What I find hard to grasp though, is why people like the Bread that is sold in the Supermarkets so much. Its is so light, so Airy, not to much taste. Eating a slice of supermarket bread doesn’t fill me up at all. Besides, did you ever had a good look at the ingredients? hmm.

In Ireland this winter, I was taught how to make Soda Bread. These days I bake my own version of this recipe about twice a week, for the obvious reasons. Hopefully after you have read this post, I have inspired you to do the same!

A little bit of Bread History

Evidence suggest that the first Breads were made over 30.000 years ago. These were not the Breads as we know today, Rather they were a flat kind of pancake, a grain-paste cooked on a flat stone above a fire, made from roasted and ground grains and water. Probably found out either by accident or by deliberately experimenting. These days we know these Breads as Tortillas or Roti sheets. Around 10,000 years ago, when wheat and barley slowly were being domesticated. Wheat-based agriculture spread from Southwest Asia to Europe, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. with the finding of Gist/Yeast and other edible crops. Humans slowly changed from the Traditional nomadic, Hunter/gatherer lifestyle to Farmers and settlers.

Otherwise, lets us continue!

The Ingredients I use.

The Ingredients I use.

Just kidding! Before we continue I would like to say that this is not the Traditional recipe, I kind of modified it to my personal preferences after experimenting a bit. Some say the term “Soda Bread” is restricted only to the white traditional form. Ah well, Everything is a Remix.

Soda Bread Ingredients

  • Flour of choice, I like Rye flour.
  • Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Sour Milk
  • Seeds
  • Salt

Proportions for the Dough

  • Two cups of Flour equals One cup of Sour Milk
  • A tea spoon of Soda
  • A tea spoon of salt
  • About a hand full of seeds.

What about the Sour Milk

The day before I want to bake the Soda Bread, I get a bottle of Fresh milk from our neighbors who have a Cow. We use a Wood Fired stove to cook and to heat the house. I put one cup of milk in a pan which I leave on top of the stove over night (not directly onto the cooking pit) but on top of the thermal mass. The next morning the Milk has turned a bit sour with a layer of cream on top of it. Before I start the bread I mix the cream through the milk, now its ready to use. Of course, if you live in the City and don’t have access to fresh milk. Feel free to buy Sour milk/Buttermilk or maybe Kefir at your local shop.
Why use Sour milk? Well, Sour milk contains Lactic Acids, Baking Soda reacts with these acids to make tiny bubbles of Carbon Dioxide. This causes the Dough to rise which gives it, its typical texture.

Lets get Started!

Pre-heat your oven to 190 Degrees. Put two cups of your chosen Flour in a bowl,  I use quite a big cup, not the regular teacup. Add a tea spoon of Salt and Soda. then the hand full of seeds. Mix this up a little, for the Soda, Salt and seeds to evenly distributed through the flour.

Once this is done add the cup of Sour Milk, Stir with a fork or your hand. Very soon it will become a bit Doughy, Don’t over do it! It needs to stay a bit moist and a bit sticky. Then butter up an oven tray and put the dough on it. I like to add some more seeds or nuts on top of it to make it look cool. But you can also make a Cross or a Smiley or art as you seem fit. the cross also allows the dough to expand more nicely

Put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. To check if your Soda Bread is done. Poke it with a knife or similar tool, if no dough is sticking to the knife the Soda Bread is Done!

Look at dat Soda Bread. Omnomnom!

Look at dat Soda Bread. So compact, So Tasty! Omnomnom!

Optional Ingredients

  • An Egg
  • Spoon of Honey

I like the bread heavy and compact. But if you like it a bit more airy you can mix an egg through the Sour milk. Some people also like it to add a spoon of Honey to the Sour milk. This will balance out the slight sour taste the bread can have.

Or do you prefer it Vegan?

Instead of the sour milk, you could consider buying a Coconut and make Coconut milk, or make a milk from Hemp seeds. Any other nut or seed should be fine too, though Coconut is great for it already has a nice fat content that works good with the bread. The only thing you have to add manually is the acid, The acid is needed for the Reaction with the baking soda, so simply add a teaspoon of Lemon juice or Vinegar to the milk you made. let is sit for about 5 minutes before you use it instead of the Sour milk.

Try different things, at some point you will find your own preferred combination! Happy Baking!

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Eggplant Salad(Spread)

Eggpant salad, A amazing spread for bread! While I was in Roșia Montană I learned how to make this delicious and healthy smearables!  I have been told that it actually originates from Turkey, though throughout the Balkans you can find a similar recipe. I myself got to know Eggplant Salad in Romania, where at first i though it was quite weird. I soon came to realize how amazing this spread actually is. Besides that, it is so extremely easy to make its hard to not like it.

What’s it you need?

Well it quite depends on the quantity you want to make. Considering it stays well for quite a few days in the fridge and once you start eating it you cant stop, lets use the following amounts.

4 Eggplants
2 Big Onions
Oil, (Olive or Sunflower)
Salt

Creation of Eggplant Salad

When you freshly harvested your eggplants from the garden, or bought them from the market you have to roast them. Roasting eggplants can be done in the oven but the most popular and delicious way is to roast them on open fire. Make some fire and lay the eggplants next to it or above it, while turning them around every few minutes. Basically you want to roast the outside of the eggplant evenly black. It doesn’t take that long, but to check whether they are done you can squeeze them a bit, they should have become soft and squishy. When they are done, take them out of the fire and let them cool down for a few minutes. Were gonna have to peel off the skin! If you’re a phoenix people and you can bear holding hot surfaces you can start right away. To peel an eggplant just pull of the crunchy black skin either by hand or with assistance of a knife. Yes its that easy!

With the peeling process done, put the eggplants in a bowl or pan, cover it with a lid and let them sit there for about a night. The next day you can finish the eggplant salad. Because you let the eggplants chill out in the bowl, all the eggplant juice gathered at the bottom. Its Very important to get rid of the juice! for the juice is quite bitter!

Now the juice is gone we can continue. Take one eggplant and hit it with a hammer! Alright, maybe not a hammer that will make the thing explode all over the place. What you do have to do is to chop it up into a nice pasty smearable thickness. It can be done with a knife, there are some blunt wooden knifes that are perfect for the job. Keep hitting the thing until you approve of the consistency. With the eggplants beaten into a spread you chop up the onion. Preferrably small perfect triangular pieces, then add them to the eggplants

The next step requires some serious attention! its time to add the oil and salt. As for quantities its hard to tell, It needs quit some oil and salt. I suggest you find out what you like best by trial and error. What is Very important though, is when you start mixing the oil with the eggplant you decide whether to stir clockwise or counter clockwise. Once you start stirring you better don’t change the direction, for it will not end well! it is key to keep stirring in the same direction! when the whole spread became equally mixed and you approve of the taste its ready for consuming!

You can eat the eggplant salad just like that next to some potatoes and veggies, though it usually gets served with bread and tomatoes. Thus eggplant salad can be used as the perfect breakfast, lunch, appetizer for dinner or even desert. If you have never eaten or made eggplant salad yet I highly recommend you do so! For eggplant salad will definitely improve your life!

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Optional

Instead of oil, you could also use Mayonnaise. I’m not quite sure how to explain in words what the difference is in taste, I do know that both versions are very delicious! It is key though to make your own mayonnaise rather than using the one from the shop.

To make mayonnaise for 4 eggplants you need One boiled egg yolk and two raw egg yolk
You mix these three together until you have an even mush.
Slowly add oil while mixing, One or two spoons of Mustard and keep mixing.
You keep adding oil until you get the Mayonnaise consistency you want.
In the end all it needs is some salt.

Then when you make the eggplant salad use the mayonnaise instead of the oil. And Voila! Dont forget to keep stirring in the same direction! Some people also like to add some lemon juice.

May your new Eggplant Salad addiction begin!

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DIY: Barrel Oven

Cob ovens are great! they are easy to build and maintain. The thing is they take some time to heat up before you can use them, meaning that you can’t spontaneously bake a delicious cake. There is a solution to that! Its The barrel oven! The barrel oven is a very practical and wood efficient oven to bake your delicious cake in and doesn’t require much expensive materials either. It is mostly build of brick and clay, but you do in fact need a proper barrel and some steel parts. The barrel will act as a cooking chamber, the heat generated by the fire directly below the barrel will also be stored into the ovens mass slowly releasing it afterwards. Because the fire is directly below the barrel and the air circulates around it, the oven becomes very easy to heat up (in approximately 15 min) compared to the domed cob ovens, thus saving lots of wood and waiting time. For this reason the oven is great for spontaneous cake baking!

We build one of these oven for a soon opening hostel in Cluj Napoca, Let me show you how we done it, hopefully this will help you to build your own amazing Barrel oven!

First we started with digging a hole for the foundation one by one meter wide and approximately 60cm deep. In the hole we carefully placed stones to get it level with the ground, filling the gaps with smaller stones. The top layer of stones we filled with clay to stabilize them. Meanwhile one of us started mixing a clay mixture for building the base of the oven.

With the foundation done we started going up one level with stones for about 10 cm. On this layer we used clay for every single stone to be stable and properly fitted. Once that was done we placed the ash-drawer in the middle and stacked stones around it to make it even with the drawer. Two metal strips were placed on the bottom for the drawer to slide on, while on the sides we used bricks to guide it. Once the stones were even with the drawer we leveled it with clay, making a straight and even foundation for the next layers of bricks. We placed the bricks for the grating to sit perfectly above the ash-drawer and laid the outer contour of the oven.

Up next we stacked the bricks on the outside as high as the door for the fire chamber. We carefully fitted the door and started preparing for placing the bricks on the inside of the fire chamber. The bricks on the inside are placed in a 45 degree angle to help guide the heat from the fire to flow around the barrel. We used stones to support them and added clay to make it air tight. meanwhile the ash-drawer worked perfectly as a clay catcher to catch access clay and reuse it. When we finished placing the bricks in a 45 degree angle we added two more layers of brick on the outside square before we started on the arch.

To support the barrel we added two L shaped metal strips from front to back, then we used six metal strips bent in half circles to support the bricks for the arch. We also added one layer of mesh between the metal supports for the arch and the bricks, to make things a bit easier and so the clay could not fall between the barrel and the bricks. The chimney rests on two of the metal arches with bricks and clay keeping it in place and air tight.

After finishing the arch we used the small pieces of brick the cavedude was chopping to fill up the access space between the barrel and the arch, making it air tight with clay. Then we made a sand/lime plaster to smooth out the outside of the oven, we added about 2 nice layers of lime plaster. Due to the fact that a roof will be build above the oven soon and the final color of the oven was supposed to be brown we mixed some clay with water and brushed in on the final layer to give it a nice brown finishing touche!

The final Result.

Now thats what I call a great looking oven!

Now that’s what I call a great looking oven!

Made possible by the best team in da world!

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 Curious how to make a domed cob oven? check out DIY: Rocket Cob oven!

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Să creşti mare!

Riding the bicycle, something I love to do and something that has been quite common for me throughout my life, almost daily even. ever since I started traveling, riding the bicycle has not been that common sadly. While staying in Lithuania I bought a bicycle in Vilnius and whenever I went to Vilnius I would enjoy riding the bicycle. As for Romania these days i’m borrowing a bicycle and use it all the time when i’m in Cluj! what I like about riding the bicycle in Easter European countries compared to back in The Netherlands, is that there are basically no rules here (except for in LT you had to wear a reflective fest “officially” and in RO if you cross a zebra you should step of your bike and walk it). besides that you can ride you bike wherever you want, basically you just act like a car when your driving on the road or act like a pedestrian when you decided to ride the sidewalks. The thing is though, that in most East European countries there is not much respect for the bicycles in general and there are hardly any bicycle lanes. Implying that either you get stuck in a pothole and make  front flip, or a car tries to drive you off the road to gain an extra 100 points.

For this reason Critical mass got invented. Critical mass is a gathering of bicycle every last Friday of the month, the big group rides their bicycles on the main roads to show their right in traffic and let people know that they are fucking awesome! To show cars they should accept and respect their presence in traffic. It originates from San Francisco and the first ever Critical mass was held in 1992. the great thing about these gatherings are that there is not really any leadership. The one that’s in front of the group can basically decide where there going and its not seen as an official protest or demonstration due to the no leadership. There just happens the be a huge group of bicycles riding together as a group every last Friday of the month ;) Due to my love for bicycle, Ioana notified me on this awesome gathering, we joined the ride and got a pretty cool tour of Cluj Napoca!

Up in the mountains things are doing great, a few weeks ago we started on the garden. The garden Victor used last year had to be moved so we had to make some new raised beds on a better suited location. Basically we took out patches of grass, then dug out a few squares approximately 20 cm deep, afterwards we threw in some manure, put back the grass but upside down! add another layer of manure and throw back all the soil we dug out. This gives you a very fertile nice raised bed to grow some veggies, we planted some veggies and these days there growing amazingly! without any watering of weeding to be done, its just plant and wait until you can harvest. maybe an occasional re-adding of some hay so the moist stays inside of the soil!

Meanwhile I finished one of the beds in the Illumicabin. We don’t have any power up there where we are building the cabins, so I had to make everything by hand which was a very good opportunity to practice some lost arts. Before making the bed we had a good chat what it should look like and we decided it should look rough with cracks and gaps, not everything has to be even and 100%. so I just started choppin some mortises and tenons, and just went with the flow. The bed turned out to be very sturdy and Awesome! The mattress is made out of hempfabric with straw on the inside. the bed is made out of oak logs and boards from locally chopped oaks.

Apart from that we have started working on the sauna, with the Illumicabin basically done and Jon just working the cracks and the final plaster layers in the Piracabin while helping with other tasks, We had lots of time to do this, First of we had to cut some trees and peel them to make the support of the sauna, afterwards we ordered some more wooden boards that had to be cleared of bark. then we just started building. The crazy thing was, the wood provider was not able to bring the wood that day when we needed it. this meant we had to bring them up manual. So yeah I have carried 6 meter long boards on my shoulder for short distances before. But I never expected I was capable of doing this, while climbing a very steep mountain with the end part of this climb being forest! maneuvering myself with the crazy heavy and long board through all the trees. It was crazy and quite intense at some point. But very mind expanding. A detailed post about the construction of the sauna will be written once we finished it.

Besides the sauna we have been going to Cluj for the past 2 weekends, we got an offer to build a cob oven for a future hostel in Cluj. Of course we took it! we initially planned to finish it in one weekend, but we had to use some metal parts for the dome and were using the fancy doors. sadly the guy welding the things was not capable of welding it on time so we had to spread the project over a few weekends. We are close to finishing it, but its not quite there yet! You can read all about it Here!

Because we have been going to Cluj more often lately I have been staying with Ioana quite a lot. The thing is she’s working on her Thesis and Project for she graduated Architecture, but to get this fancy word in front of your name some things have to be done. This girl though, is fkn mad! she works like 18 hours a day straight, trying to avoid going to the bathroom for she doesn’t want to waste her time on this. Luckily for her, i’m a pretty cool guy and have been trying to “take care” of her as much as I can. (Actually its slavery, for she just demands this, otherwise she’ll drain my blood and turn me into a vampire) She’s a Vegetarian though like most people around me all of the sudden. Implying that all the food I want to make for her has to be without da meats and although I love to sarcastically complain about this and make jokes, it has been a good thing! I have been learning how to cook proper Vegetarian food, like a Vegetarian Lasagna some pasta etc, got some crazy Salads going on with some inspiration of Victor. I even learned how to make an Apple pie and home made Chocolate! The most wonderful thing about Romania (or any other Easter European country for that matter) is the fact that people still grow their own food and make their own things. Seriously! The fruits and veggies here are so damn delicious! Recently Ioana’s parents came to visit, they just brought a box full of cherries picked that morning from there 100% organic backyard garden, some strawberries and home made jams and Zacusca. all this wonderful eatables! And even though she is very busy, She made me home made peanut butter when I started to get Withdrawal symptoms for not consuming peanut butter for a while. Looks like she made it up to me for microwaving my food!

As of tomorrow we are changing location, Victor is building a Strawbale house for his NGO in a little village some 150km from Cluj, some new volunteers will be arriving tomorrow and with them we will head to the Strawbale house to do some plastering, build some more facilities and finish as much as we can! Due to this place being in a smaller village and still under construction, there is no power or running water present. Were gonna stay there sleeping in our tents and hammocks. cooking on a small rocket stove, using the neighbors water hose to take a shower etc. going back to basic. heall yeahhh!

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Brewing Beer

Back in the days I though that brewing beer was quite difficult, I have to admit I never really did research into the process, I just expected it to be a long process difficult to do at home. well, I found out this is hardly true. Its actually super easy, all you need is some patience for the beer to ferment.

Beer IngredientsEver since I arrived at my project in Romania we have been brewing our own beer, only four ingredients are needed if you don’t count the water which are:
Grains, 400 gram (we used Barley)
Hops, 50 gram (locally grown)
Yeast, 30 gram
and Sugar. 500 gram

 

First thing you have to do is soak the Barley for about 24 hours in water. afterwards bake the Barley in a pan without oil. Basically evaporating the moist by heating them. Make sure you keep steering the barley otherwise they will burn. It takes quite some time for all the moisture to completely evaporate. If you want to check whether your barley is ready just chew on one, If its soft it still contains moisture, if its hard it good to go. The color of the beer will depend on the color of the Barley mostly. Heating your Barley longer so the grain gets darker implies a darker beer.

When the Barley is done its time to fold the Barley and the Hop in some cloth and fill up your pan with water. basically you want to boil the water for about 4 hours with the Hop and Barley floating in it. We used one package of Hop. One bowl of Barley and about 15 liters of water. I suggest you experiment with your own proportions. If you are cooking on fire make sure the fire is roaring all the time and the water doesn’t stop boiling. Its important that it continuously boils for approximately 4 hours.

When the boiling is done let the batch cool to room temperature,  remove the two bags of Barley and Hop, fringe the water out of them as much as you can and add the Sugar and the Yeast to the big batch o beer, make sure you chop the yeast into small pieces and steer it for a bit. Then let it sit for the night (or bout 12 hours) If everything turned out well there will be a big layer of foam on your batch o beer the next morning, this is perfect! its ready to be bottled.

We used those Grolsch bottles you can reopen, there prefect for this job! So load them up, but not completely full. just up until the neck. Then put them upside down back in the box and store them in your basement. Now the fermenting process starts and the patience is needed, wait for one week, open up one bottle and taste it, if you open it it should make a big bang like opening a wine bottle. If its not fully fermented yet or you don’t approve of the taste yet, leave it for another few days or week and taste again. After about 2 weeks you should definitely have an amazing tasting home brewed beer!

Home made beer in a bottle, Whuuut whuuuuut

Home made beer in a bottle, Whuuut whuuuuut

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Mâine du Pâine la Câine

On Wednesday evening I arrived at the project, approximately a 1 hour drive from Cluj deep into the mountains! My arrival was great, Walking to the bus in Cluj I saw this backpacker dude. When I got into the bus he also entered a few minutes later. We didn’t really speak but I figured he would probably go where I was going. Which was the case. We both got out on the same station where Victor was waiting to pick us up! The dude was from USA, named Jon and doing as I am, traveling and volunteering at natural building places. At the time a German couple was also Volunteering (but only until the next Tuesday) that evening we all got to know each other and got a little tour of the area.

Basically we are living on the mountain slope, below in the valley is a village called Valea Ierii. the village and people living around here are Orthodox, this means we are not allowed to work on Sundays or Religious holidays for if we do so the people come running at us with their Scythes and Hayforks, The Thursday and Friday were Religious holidays. So we decided to take a approximately 8 hour hike on Thursday to get to know the mountains around here. Pictures of this hike can be found Here! On the way home that evening we picked nettles and Victor made us a delicious nettle soup with an baked egg and Polenta.

 

So what have we actually been doing here in the past 2 weeks?

Well we started with working on the cabins, there was a lot of plastering to be done both inside and outside. There are two cabins, The Illuminati cabin and the Pyramid cabin. The Illucabin structure is made of wood, on the outside are shingles, to isolate the walls are filled with birch bark, on the inside is clay plaster, the roof is a green roof. The Pyramid cabin is made out of logs, the gaps of the logs are filled with clay/lime plaster and the roof made out of shingles isolated with Straw and plastered inside. We will build a small rocket stove in both cabins and of course some beds when we finish outside and inside!

The first weekend after our arrival Victor invited some friends to hang out. Basically we were working, and the visitors were just chilling at our cabins, having fun, and making us delicious food. For hard working people will work harder with their belly full of  the most delicious of delicious foods! like seriously! the food here is delicious, mainly because most if it is home made or grown, and when I say home made I really mean home made, the Țuică, Wine, Beer, Sugar, Syrup, Vegetables, Milk, the Jams, Zacuscă. everything is either from a parents garden, local farmer or market and we try to avoid supermarket as much as we can! In the two weeks I have been in Romania, I have eaten more Mushrooms and Cheese and vegetables then I ever did in my life! also I have not been eating meat except for the first of may!

On the first of May is da labor day, In Romania it is tradition to have a BBQ and eat mici (which is basically a sausage of mixed meats with some spices). Our neighbors are quite poor people if you judge them by the amount of money they posses, if you judge them by their experience on how to live without money and friendly/openness they are richer then the 1%. So we brought some mici, some beer. and celebrated first of may together!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Mici with Mustard, Bread and Salad. + best people in the world = A good time!

Our neighbors Ferarri!

Healll yeahh!

Healll yeahh!

We have been chopping and stacking  firewood and taking hikes once a week. But to continue our work we had to get some more locally chopped Oak wood. the local lumber/sawmill dude lives down the slope of the mountain, but was friendly enough to come all the way up where our Cabins were to bring the wood by horse and carriage!

The progression of the terraces we made of the Oak will be shared soon! but! you can enjoy this little sneak preview if you like!

The cabins were actually living in are lower on the mountain slope, Basically its a wooden house with a living room, small kitchen, and on the second floor 3 bedrooms. we cook on fire! but we do have a boiler for the shower (what a luxury!) Every morning we climb the mountain up and up to the Cabins were working on. This is one part of the road were walking! Its the best walk to work ever!

Walking Towards da Cabins

Walking Towards da Cabins

So yeah, to put everything in a nutshell. This place is amazing! The food is the best I ever ate! the work is very cool and enjoyable! Working on the cabins every day you look over the mountain tops and down into the village. The horses, cows and dogs of the neighbors are walking everywhere for they are not in cages or stuck on chains. it is silent, except for a bird or the cows and pigs from the village who’s roar is heard on top of the mountain even. the air is pure and smells good! the apple and cherry trees are blooming! Dandelions growing!

for your amusement some more pictures!

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23Da July, Trakai Chillin.

Ever since I came to Lietuva, I heard about Trakai, A Small town with a Castle. surrounded by water and amazing forest and so I wanted to see it from that point forth. Although I wanted to go there before, eventually it failed ery timez Cuz I was hoping to go with someone I met in Vilnius, I Figured. going there with A local would be far more fun and interesting due to the history they can tell rather then solo checking. After 3 months in Lietuva, and failed attempts. I figured Fuck it, Today I will go Trakai. Whether someone is in or not.

The night before Ausra happen to give me a call, and so luck was on my side again. She was in for some Trakai chillin! I picked her up late next morning N we headed to Trakai. We both didn’t really take breakfast. We decided to take some Delicious Kibinai for Breakfast/Brunch.

Armoarz Kibinai originates from Trakai, so the best place to eat it was also located in Trakai. We parked the car somewhere outside to avoid parking costs and walked towards the most famous Kibinai place, The road was nice. First there is this small town. nothing special actually besides the fact that it is surrounded by lakes. At some point we crossed a market, I’m always curious for dem market so our route went though dem market. After a while we walked next to water. But I was so focused on the market stalls that i didn’t even notice that if i would just look the other side, i could see da Amazing Trakai Castle :))) eventually I did :))).

We were both pretty hungry so after the market delay and da first glimpse of da Castle we went straight for the Kibinai place which was not so far actually. I tried lots of types of Kibinai already in Vilnius, This time, it was time for some professional Kibinai Tasting!

Mutton, Chicken, Curd, Spinach Curd N Chocolat Hazlenut Kibinai AwwwYeahh!!

Mutton, Chicken, Curd, Spinach Curd N Chocolat Hazlenut Kibinai AwwwYeahh!!

Da Kibinai were so delicious, its not normal. I cannot find a word to describe it except for…. Osnapazizzle Delicimanizzle… The Gira (Kvass) was also home made by the restaurant and super delicious. (for those who don’t know what Kvass is. In a Nutshell its a Drink made from fermented bread) we took our time and chilled at the restaurant for a while. The Kibinai filled us so much, it was hard to make the decision to start walking again. (In the end we didn’t eat anything all day, Not even dinner. Diz Kibinai dish is so amazing. it fed us enough to live da rest of da day on it) eventually we headed to da Castle. Time to see it up close!

Trakai Castle

Trakai Castle

First we walked around it, and through the old Canal in between it. checking the environment and inspecting the castle. Eventually we checked inside. Its a rather small castle and lots of people told me it was not worth to pay for the entrance. When i checked the map it seemed they also had an Archery range, I always liked Archery. Never actually practiced it. so i figured. This is my chance!!! Ausra as awesome as she is, managed to get free entrance to the castle for both of us. But only if we headed straight to the archery range to shoot some bows. Of course we agreed and could enter the castle for free, on our way to dem Archery funzyy!

Basically you could buy arrows shots for a vew litas, and you were able to shoot both the Longbow and da Crossbow. There were not so much people, so we decided to have a little match, We started with shooting the longbow. I managed to get 2 arrows (out of 6) in the middle. the rest were a bit on the edge. Ausra gheghe. most of her arrows didn’t even hit the Target. she was having some trouble with Aiming the bow and also stretching it. (FYI We were both trying it for the first time eh)

Afterwards we tried da crossbow. in my opinion the crossbow was a bit Easy. with the Longbow there is still some Skill required to actually hit something. But with the crossbow. once you knew how much you should aim above your target. you basically just hold your breath. Aim and shoot. It wasn’t that hard. But in any way it was Fun! And it was really nice to finally feel the difference between the two. apparently we could walk to the targets and make a picture. I didn’t do this with the Bows (you will probably laugh anywayz) But I did take a picture of our Crossbow match. Much Phunz were had!

Ausra loves rowing da boat, And the lakes around Trakai are perfect for that. so after shooting some bows we went to find someone that rented some Classic Wooden Rowboats. for we didn’t like the Dolphin water bicycles or the plastic rowboats. we wanted a Real wooden one! We found a wooden Rastafarian Rowboat and started scouting the lakes of Trakai. (of course we had planned something before and bought some beers for maximum chillin somewhere on the lake). Basically the first hour Ausra rowed da boat, we had a little Race VS a Duck and went around da Castle. afterwards we went to some small Reed island where we chilled for a while and drank sum beers. it was very Zen. She wanted to row it also the Second hour. But the fact is. I Nevah rowed a boat before. Atleast not that I can remember So at some point I was like. Move Ausra!! Ima learn to Row! And its not that Difficult actually. Of course I had to get the feeling a bit. but once I got it things went pretty smooth. and it wasn’t tiring or heavy at all (as I actually expected)

Serious Face Forreal

Serious Face Forreal

After rowing da boat and returning to shore, It was just before dinnertime. But hungriez was no where to be found. Via a Couchsurfer i got a recommendation to check out a protected Nature area, Although she also recommended to Bike it. we tried to find it by foot. It took a while to get there “on foot” and we spended another view hours walking through amazing Swampy Pineforesty scenery. I didn’t take any pictures because i really liked it and didn’t really care to. you should probably visit it yourself sometime if you will be in Trakai. I think we arrived back in Vilnius around 22:00. And we were very tired from all the walking and rowing and the amazing day.

That night we spend on the Balcony with Sarune. Drinking Shit loads of beers. Basically we had a Beer tasting evening. All of the sudden Ausra randomly took a CD from her collection, she was like, we should listen to this. It was Doe Maar Greatest Hits :))) You can probably not imagine how amazed I was. cuz dem be crazy! The whole evening for me, Chillin in Lithuanian, With some Lithuanian Ladies, Drinking shit loads of beer and listening to Doe Maar :))))) It was a great experience for me and could have never expected it at all. Her favorite song be like Nederwiet. funny thing was that she had no idea it was about weed and when I started translating other song like they were amazed that this popular dutch music from back then was about love,weed,sex, n crazy shizzle.

It was a good day, Completely different then previous years. I did get a little Nostalgic for my friends at some moments, Usually I open my house. Invite dem all. Get some DJ Gear up. Get supah High n do some Drinking Games. But most of all tell them not to bring anything except there smile. Then allot of crazy things happen. But well, Things Change. Now i’m in Lithuania, Living a completely different live, made new friends. who I will not see for a while once I start to continue on my journey like dem back in NL. Its the way it isz at the moment. But thanks To Ausra, and ofc Sarune. I had a 23d O July I will nevah forget. Aciu Labai,

maybe you will have to learn dutch first. but basically this is a Pro tutorial on how to grow n harvest yo weedzels je weet toch.

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Bilberry Gathering

Last Sunday i had to bring Chrisreal n Petersz to da airport again, and I figured if I’m going Vilnius that early I should find something awesome to do. I gave some people a call and I was able to join Rutaz and two of her friends Brojus n Justas to da Vilnius forest to Harvest some Bilberries. and other Edibles,

Around the clock of 9 I met with Rutaz, She drove N we went to pick up da other dudes N headed to the forest North-East of Vilnius, This was the first time I was actually heading into the bigger forest around here and I was very excited. also. Wild Bilberry’s to eat straight from the plan!? AwwYeahh!

It was about a 40 min drive to the forest, we parked the car and started walking. first we had to go over some sort of hill with a sandy road. The smell of the forest was amazing, and on the way we found some young Raspberries and vew Bilberries. but once we headed down they suddenly left the road and started to walk straight through the woods, at the moment I was like. what is going on. but very soon I realized. This was the place we had to be.

Everywhere you could look were small Bilberry bush, I have never seen So much bilberry plants in my life and even though we were pretty late for bilberry harvesting, there were more bilberries then I could imagine at first. They split up and started eating the bilberries, at first i was still amazed by everything that I was experiencing so after taking a vew pictures Rutaz told me to stop making pictures and start eating bilberry already :)))

I didn’t really have breakfast that morning, so then I realized I should indeed do so. I also took some distance to find my own radius of bilberry harvesting and started eating dem Oww so delicious Bilberry, I used to do this at the veggie Garden back home, but randomly in a forest was new for me. (or atleast, I don’t usually do this) I loved it though! and they hit the spot perfectly!

After stuffing myself with Bilberry I took my plastic bag and started harvesting them, while harvesting we headed deeper into the forest. They also showed me some other plants, Some Red berries which are maybe poisonous, though wiki says there not. so for sure we are not! also some Purple flower you can make tea from which helps you if you have cough, There were also Lots and Lots of Cranberries and some Raspberries, though it was not the right time to harvest them yet.

What I liked most about going into the forest with the Lithuanian locals (except for The forest itself and the bilberry eatingz ofcourse:) was the fact that they all knew so much about the plants that grew there, Like in there youth they grow up with this knowledge, as if its normal. they were able to recognize so many plants and uses for them. and thats awesome, Where i come from this is like Long lost Knowledge only to be found in books or if you find the right people. They also harvested allot of mushrooms, And i’m not talking about Champignon. But some funny looking Orange Mushrooms,

Amazing Vilnius Forest, Bilberry Paradise!

Amazing Vilnius Forest, Bilberry Paradise!

around 13:00 we headed back to the car, We ate allot of Bilberry and gathered even more. we went to buy some snacks N some Gira and headed to a lake nearby, There they took a swim. (indeed I didn’t feel like swimming that that moment D: ) the lake was nice also. But the rain hit us, Not that it bothered us. We were very entertained. And it was beautiful. We saw the rain come towards us from the other side of the lake. And we found a spot under some trees while looking at the water, you could see the difference in Raindrops where we sat and like half a meter away where there rain was super intense. After a while we figured to make some dinner.

On the way back to Vilnius we bought some potatoes and Kefiras, Basically the plan for dinner was to Boil potatoes, Make some sort of Sausze from the Mushrooms they harvested and drink some Kefiras with it. You might think, Dafuq? just that? Indeed. for me this is still a rather weird dinner meal. but here in Lithuania is pretty common to eat something like this.

Usually I don’t like mushrooms at all. Unless there Magic mushroomssss ofcourse Woooossshh. But the sausze they made from the Mushroom they gathered in Vilnius Forest was Delicious. you just put some of the Sausze over your boiled potato and eat it, Nothing more nothing less. And it filled the stomach right up!!

The dudes I got to know Via Rutaz were very chill. And they do some Abandoned building scouting now and then. Because I plan to stay in Lithuanian for a while. I will join them in the Near future to Scout some more Abandoned buildings and check out some crazy places. I cant wait to be honest! Gonna be some crazy Adventure, I’m very curious what secrets are hidden around here, and I might even get some very nice pictures out of it to share!

The night Sky back home that evening

The night Sky back home that evening

Buying sum Milkz

So we just went to the nearby Milkman to try and buy some Milk, Cheese and Yoghurt.
The first farm we tried didn’t have milk yet, they told us either to come back in about one hour. or try the next farm.

We drove towards the direction he pointed out, and stopped at the next Farm, English is not an option here. luckily we knew that Pienas is milk, Yogurtas is Yoghurt, Cheese we didn’t know gheghe. This farm also didn’t have Milk, they pointed us towards the next one

Until now we had nice Dirt roads with allot of holes, but lelzzz, the next farm didn’t have a road like this. Indeed. this is what we drove to the next house. (our car was not exactly appropriate for all the ditches and holes in this part of the road)

 Roadz to da milkman

Arriving at the destination we could clearly see we were at the right farm, there was a dude and a lady chillin with some cows, As usual I asked if they spoke English. Gal Kalbate Angliskai ? but this was not the case, so we pointed to the can we brought and said Penki Litrai Pienas??? (5 liter milk) Yogurtas N Cheese? Yogurtas he didn’t seem to have. but Cheese he did understand.

He told us to wait a bit, and started to fix some fresh milk for us.

After finishing his shizzle, he poured da milk in our can, to explain this: here if you wanna buy some milk you have to bring your own canister or bottle, then they fill it with milk fresh from the cow. due to they don’t sell it in bottles.

For the cheese we had to go back to the farm we passed by before, so we turned around and drove back to his neighbor. there in some shed he had a fridge full of cheesle!

We had to pay 26 Litas for 5 Litres of milk and 2 cheeses, this is around 7 euroz,and he hoped to see us another time.  They were all very friendly and helpful, and even without being able to communicate appropriately we managed to get what we were searching for!

Mission Successful!

Kepta Duona N Šaltibarščiai

So Saturday night we made some Traditional Lithuanian dishes, don’t expect anything crazy, dem Dishes are so EZ its like, how can something so delicious be so simple to create. well, I will try to give you an idea!

Kepta Duona (Fried Bread)

Slice dem breadz

Slice dem breadz

Its my favorite snack since I Arrived in Lietuva, for making diz deliciousness at home, all you need is some bread (old rye bread would be recommended) some Garlic and something to make a cheesy saucze with!

you start with Slicing up dem breadz in whatever kind of form you like, for example a fractal, or maybe a space ship. it depends on your bread cutting skills, I like it minimal. so I didn’t make any fancy figures

 

Fry dem breadz

Fry dem breadz

After slicing up dem breadz, you will need to heat up your da oil, you can either fry your bread as in “Drowning them” or you can fry them side by side in a pan. When the oilz is hot start frying you breadz. Plz do Flip them soon enough!, because they turn black easily! Whether you want to Drown them or flip them, is something you should experiment with. it can give different results. (Also, add Salt to the oilz if you like)

 

 

Rub dem Garlic

Rub dem Garlic

When you fried all your delicious slices O Breadz, its time to Garlic them. the technique to do this is probably different in bars then how we used to do it. but they showed me a very simple way, Get your Garlic, grab yo bread. and rub the garlic over both sides. simple as that, then chop some garlics in little peaces and throw them over. Double Garlic all the way!

Our cheese saucze failed pretty bad! (not the taste but the substance) but I think the easiest way to do this is to throw over the bread some Grinded cheese then put in into the oven until it melts. Now U Haz Kepta Duona!!!

 

Šaltibarščiai (Cold Beetroot Soup)

Put stuff in bowl

Put stuff in bowl

Šaltibarščiai is probably even more easy to make compared to Kepta Duona, due to no frying and risk of burning it, you just gather your ingredients. cut them up. throw them in and da bowl and its ready to go! All you need is a vew eggs(cooked) Beetroot, Cucumber, Dille and Kefir.

Step one is to cook the eggs then cut the Eggs, Cucumber and Beetroot into peaces and add them to the bowl. when this is done Add the Kefir to the bowl and stir it up! Yeah darling!

 

Šaltibarščiai ooowshiii

Šaltibarščiai ooowshiii

Due to the beetroot the Kefir will get this pinkish color, which gives the familiar Šaltibarščiai  look! to finish the Šaltibarščiai sprinkle some Dille over it, you can either leave it there or stir it through.

if you wanna make this dish as a Real Lithuanian. cook some potatoes and serve them next to the Šaltibarščiai as a side dish.

 

 

Da result, Delicious Lithuanian foodzies for 3!

Professional food

Professional food