Mushroom picking 
Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 11:06 am
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This autumn has been quite fruitful in terms of mushroom picking, especially on the near-by hill of Trebjesa, which has yielded better results than some other, further-away destinations. Abundant on Trebjesa are milkcaps of various sorts, most of them edible and delicious. Locally called 'rujnica', they have a fruity taste and are best prepared by slicing and searing on a hot iron surface with maybe just a moistening of oil. I tried pickling them, drying them - the former disguises the taste but preserves the crunchy texture, the latter similarly lacks taste but is still crunchy.
The find of the autumn was Amanita caesarea which has an excellent taste and can be satisfactorily preserved by drying.
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Growing mushrooms 
Monday, September 10, 2012, 5:30 pm
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I've just got back to Niksic from a wedding in Belgrade, and have some time to reflect on the start of the academic year.
My latest scheme (I am still making beer, but that's old hat by now) is homegrown oyster mushrooms, which I have growing in two different environments - one is in an old book (The Historian, if you really wanted to know) and the other in a special growth medium inside a box. Why? I like mushrooms, and I'm not sure whether I'm going to get the opportunity to go mushroom picking this autumn when the weather cools and the rain comes. I'd rather be harvest boletes, but it'll be useful to learn some oyster mushroom recipes and somehow make a token attempt to show my farming neighbours that I'm not just a technophile geek.
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Preparation for Summer English camp 
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 11:00 am
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Yesterday I travelled with a few others to a camp next to the River Tara in the eponymous canyon. The plan was to check out Camp Green as a possible site for the annual English language student camp, which we have previously held at Vucje, as well as for another camp for teenagers. We were very much welcomed by the hosts and spent rather longer than expected talking, eating and looking round the area. It is certainly very beautiful being in the mountains, in a canyon by rushing blue water. The accommodation is made up of comfortable log cabin-style chalets and seems an excellent place to go. It has also whetted my appetite to explore the north-west corner of Montenegro.

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Spring in Niksic 
Thursday, March 29, 2012, 11:03 pm
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The last vestiges of snow are disappearing and it is like the best British summer weather one could hope for. In the village / suburb where I live everyone has started tilling the land, either manually or with tractors, next-door has bought a pig and the smell of the countryside fills the air, as people dig lots of manure into their vegetable plots and orchards. Wondering when that proper spring rain will start, we could do with a big downpour to wash away all remains of winter, especially the road grit and the last patches of snow remaining in the shadows. I have hayfever which is unusual for me, but I'd rather get it out of the way now rather than the height of summer.
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Pig-slaughtering day 
Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 8:54 pm
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No, it's not a date in a cultic calendar - this is the season in Niksic and many other places in this part of the world where the pigs that have been raised since the spring in makeshift sties in back gardens finally get taken to market, or more usually slaughtered in said back garden. The weather has been very sunny and pleasant so far this autumn, but the temperatures are beginning to plunge. Many people time their weddings to coincide with this optimal period of the year so that the cost of feeding guests is relatively low. There is a period now until the advent fast begins when people can eat as much pork as they please, and prepare hams for smoking and drying, one of the great local traditions, ranking alongside brandy distillation.
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