Kristina came to Holland to study piano and now practices daily in her colourful flat. Her son is growing up surrounded by music...and good food!
Our starter is a deliciously tart yoghurt and cucumber soup called tarator. Kristina assures me is very simple to make and it seems perfect for summer dinners; you can just take it from the fridge and it's ready to serve cold.
The main course is warm and hearty, a 'meat and potato' dish, musaka. It is somewhat similar to the more famous Greek moussaka, but without eggplant (aubergine). Kristina is a bit embarrassed, because her musaka turned out darker than she would have liked (some would even say burnt), but it is quite tasty nevertheless! It is accompanied by fresh salads and a lovely flower-shaped bread called pitka.
After dinner we discuss similarities between Russia and Bulgaria as former USSR nations, I play with Marin (carefully, as I don't want him to catch my cold) and listen to an impromptu piano recital from Kristina. I have to admit I cannot remember the evening in much detail as I have delayed posting this story almost a year after moving to the UK. Every time I log in to Skype I feel enormously guilty seeing that Kristina is online and without anything to show for all her efforts. The last time we chatted through Skype, she even sent me new photos of her son, who has of course grown enormously since I saw him. But the luminous blue eyes and gentle smile are the same. I wonder if he will feel Russian-Bulgarian when he grows up, or Dutch-Bulgarian-Russian? But who knows where their little family will settle permanently? A pianist and a mathematician can grow roots in many countries...
(The original post about this meal is from August 12, 2007)