Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cherna Gora Mountain

Just a few photos from our Sunday hike in the Cherna Gora mountain, a low mountain in the western Kraishte area. We drove to the village of Gigintzi and then hiked the macadam road to the Giginski Monastery, which has seen much reconstruction and rennovation in the recent years. After a short stop at the monastery to refill our water supplies we continued our hike along the dirt roads, crossing the mountain, and climbed a few peaks there. We planned to climb mount Tumba (1129 m), the highest peak of Cherna Gora, but not having a GPS track we are not sure if we actually did  - there were no signs or track markings anywhere. Alas, the pictures fail to show how green and fresh the hills felt in the height of spring. On our way back it even rained for a short while and the warm spring rain filled our lungs with the smell of earth, grass and trees in bloom. Spring is the best season for hill hikes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Far Breton

I first came upon the recipe for Far Breton last summer in Mira's cooking blog and was immediately intrigued. Flan meets custard - my two favourite desserts - who wouldn't want to try it. I even made the prunes at home, in the oven, following instructions I found on the web.

However, instead of a few hours, it took a few ... days!, so next time I'll probably buy a fruit dryer first or experiment the traditional way with sun and air.

However, I made the mistake of using a rather big baking dish for my far breton and the batter came very thin, not covering the prunes. It was delicious, but not a real far breton. I put away the remaining prunes in the freezer and have been meaning to make a proper go at the recipe ever since.

Until Mira's latest publication on flan reminded me of the Far Breton. This time I used a more suitable baking dish and everything went as planned.
  • 250 g flour
  • 500 ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs of alcohol (this time we didn't have rum or cognac at home, so I used Irish cream)
  • butter to graze the tin
  • prunes

The method I used is as described by Mira - you mix the dry and the liquid ingredients separately and then add the liquid to the dry and mix thoroughly.Then pour the batter onto the prunes and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 min and at 150C with a fan for another 45 min or so, until the crust is golden.

The resulting dessert is interesting, tasting something like flan and something like baked macaroni with milk, but not quite. Still, if it's going to be eggs, milk and sugar, I think I'll stick to flan or custard next time :)

And my new beginnings - three new puzzles I bought yesterday:

And the sleeve of my Jirachi cardigan - I think the transition from the moss stitch border to the chart went very smoothly, so far I love it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three Color Zebra Cake

I made a zebra cake again, but this time using some cooking dye too and a new recipe for the batter:
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 220 g sugar
  • 250 g flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • cocoa, red cooking dye

The most crucial moment when making zebra cake is the equal density of the three color batters. The cooking dye adds no density to the batter, so you don't have to worry about it, but cocoa makes the batter much thicker, so you have to add some milk to equalize the density. And that's the tricky part, because, I suppose, you wouldn't use any special instrumentation to measure the density of the batters other than your own eyes and other senses and that might not always produce correct readings. My cocoa batter turned heavier than the rest and the cake is not perfect - in the course of the baking  the cocoa sank to the bottom of the dish. But it was still very delicious, nevertheless :) And my son even thought this distribution of the colors - brown at the bottom and white and pink at the top was intentional and was amazed by my mastery. LOL :)))

Last night I weaved in all ends and declared my second Windsor cardi a Finished Object. In the end I knitted it with the same yarn - Zettle Nadine, alternating the three skeins for equal distribution of the the three shades of teal. I also changed the pattern, knitting the sleeves separately, instead of raglan. The fit is excellent and Gaby hurried to wear it to school today, pretty pleased to have a new cardigan. Hope to take a few modeled pictures soon.

Now I'm sampling the second turquoise yarn. It is thinner than Zettle and I didn't  like it for the very lacy pattern of Windsor. But I think it will make a decent Jirachi. I want to turn the lace pattern into a summer cardigan with 3/4 sleeves and fitted look, much like my favourite Cobalt. Tonight I'll try to figure out if I prefer moss stitch for the bottom, neck and button bands or 1x1 or 2x2 rib. And then will follow the numerous calculations. I wish I was more organized and kept track of my knitting notes or, for that matter, kept any knitting notes that would make sense after I've forgotten the pattern and not just some obscure digits on a scrap of paper :)))

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Skaklya Waterfalls

This year we spent Easter day in Bov, hiking Vazov's ecotrail from the river Iskar to the beginning of the Skaklya waterfalls. We've been here before, two and a half years ago, in the autumn of a fairly dry year and the waterfall was completely empty. This winter was very snowy and rainy, so we expected high waters for the small Bovska river. Spring proved to be the right time to visit the phenomenon. The 85 m high waterfall was impressive and the torrential river - beautiful. This time we arrived at Bov station by train, climbed the ecotrail, had a nice picnic on the meadows on top of the rock formations and descended back to the river Iskar to catch the afternoon train. An excellently spent Easter day!

Вазовата екопътека през пролетта

След студените дни в началото на април слънчевият Великден просто не можеше да се пропилее вкъщи - натоварихме козунаците и яйцата, нарамихме раниците и тръгнахме към Бов. Използвахме отново влака София - Лакатник, този път обаче до гара Бов.

След влажната зима не само Искър е пълноводна - скромната Бовска рекичка тази пролет е буйна и красива, а 85 м високият водопад Скакля се чува и вижда още от началото на Вазовата екопътека.

Беше удивително да вървим покрай същата тази река, която беше почти пресъхнала преди две години и половина, и да я виждаме толкова пълноводна, мощна и пенлива.

През празната преди дупка този път водата нахлуваше с ярост и бучене на мощни талази.

Всеки процеп в скалата се беше превърнал в миниводопад.

Ето я и Бовска Скакля. Пръски от водопада достигаха чак до наблюдателната площадка.

Панорамата е прекрасна - Искърското дефиле, Западна Стара планина и гара Бов в ниското.

Началото на водопада:

А това е Бовската рекичка, която се хвърля така красиво от скалите по пътя си към Искър:

Горе на поляните си направихме пикник, някои си поспаха, други си четоха книжка на телефона, а трети се мотаха на лов за снимки:

И обратно надолу по пътя на водопада към гара Бов:

А предния път си направихме пикник на тези стъпала! Този път "душът" беше пуснат на макс: