Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Peach Panna Cotta

My first panna cotta :) I was inspired and followed this recipe with some modifications to my taste:

  • 400 ml cream 20% (Meggle)
  • 100 ml milk 3%
  • 100 ml water
  • 10 g gelatin
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 sachets of vanilla extract
  • 3 average peaches (300 g)

I cut the peaches and blended them to a pulp together with 120 g sugar and 100 ml milk in the blender. Soaked the gelatin in 100 ml water. Brought the cream with the vanilla extract to boil and added the gelatin. When the cream had cooled to room temperature, added the peach pulp, stirred and poured into cupcake forms. Left in the fridge to cool for the night.

Very light and delicious summer dessert. Should be great with a number of fruits.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sofia Botanical Garden

If you ask Sofia residents, only a small percentage of them would know that there is a Botanical garden in Sofia, and an even smaller percentage would know how to get there. Hopefully, things might be changing with the big signs on the ring-road - that's how we noticed it. The gardens have been allotted a solid piece of land at the foot of Vitosha mountain, between Simeonovo and Boyana. So far the operational part is a complex of green houses, the vast land outside is mostly uncultivated. Yesterday our traveling trio visited the Botanical garden and spent a couple of entertaining hours there. Just a few phone-made pictures:

We bought a small red-leaved coleus flower like the ones in the center of the picture:

These golden Mexican balls were the cacti that impressed me most:

Rare desert cacti - living stones and others:

The bougainvillea was magnificent:

A few orchids:

The grounds outside the green house - these could become beautiful gardens with proper funding:

A small piece of land is made into a rosarium:

A giant redwood tree:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Plaited Baguettes

This recipe was love from first sight. It looked easy, practical and interesting enough, I had the required ingredients and we were out of bread - so it seemed this afternoon the stars had lined favorably for me to make these baguettes :)
  • 2 eggs (1 yolk for glazing)
  • 300 ml milk
  • 650 g flour
  • 7 g instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  various seeds

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Add the eggs, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and sifted flour. Form a soft dough and let rise until doubled. Divide the dough into 8 balls, make three strands from each ball and plait into three-strand loaves. Let the plaits rest and rise for half an hour. I learned a new trick today - fold the baking paper between the loaves, so that they won't stick to each other during baking. Thus I was able to bake the eight baguettes in one baking tin. Clever, right :)

Glaze with egg yolk, olive oil and milk and sprinkle with seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C.

I served them for dinner with some freshly made apricot jam.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cherni Vruh 2015

This Saturday we were supposed to be hiking in Rila, but this hike to the Black rock on Borovetz seems to be jinxed. We postponed it two months ago because of rains and storms, then Gaby was not available, but insisted on coming and this time - the car is out of order ... again (these French cars!). So we had to content ourselves with a starting point for an outing nearest to home - the gondola lift station on Vitosha, which is only 10 min from home by car. We've hiked this route so many times that to some extent it was like a walk in the nearest park :)))

Starting from Aleko hut along "The Wall".

This time we managed to persuade the grumpy teenager to join us:

Above the Wall - the Plateau

The day was very hot, but above the 2000 m mark there was a very strong breeze, which bothered the children - both of them had to put on their hoodies to keep their ears from the wind. Cherni Vruh is the second most windy peak in Bulgaria. So now I have a knitting order - two cotton hats in some non-lace pattern (I'm thinking of cotton Graham's).

On Cherni Vruh - Vitosha's highest peak (2290 м)

After a picnic on the rocks I left the trio to have a short nap and went for a stroll along the peak's flat surface (I'm the kind of person that hates afternoon naps).

A view to the west

Alpine rose

A view to the south - I wish to hike to the village of Chuypetlovo one day, 
but I did not notice any marking in this direction

And back to the gondola lift along the round-about path to make the route circular. In the distance - the Rocky Ridge and the Chimneys, where we hiked two weeks ago:

This para-glider lost momentum and landed near to us right in the middle of the plateau:

Globeflower (Trollius europaeus, Витошко лале) - a protected species