Sunday, April 24, 2016

In the Balkan Mountains

Yesterday we hiked in the Balkan mountains (the same that give their name to the Balkan peninsula), from the Petrohan pass to Todorini kukli peak, along the Kom-Emine trail. Walking on the ridge of the mountain is a gorgeous experience, with breath-taking views all the way. The hike was long but not too difficult, a true pleasure.

The plants along the ridge of the mountain are low - mainly grass and shrubs.

A view to the south

and to the north - peak Kom is the farthest in the distance peak on the picture

The weather was fine, with some sun in the morning, a few drops of rain in the early afternoon, ideal for hiking in the open.

We were together with the Sofia facebook climbing group, but as it is a free group, everybody hiked at his/her own pace.

Peak Todorini kukli - it is a group of four rocky peaks, the highest of which is 1785 m

Peak Kom in the distance

On top of the first of Todoriki kukli peak with some of the fellow hikers from the FB group, husband is taking the picture

On Todorini kukli

The other three peaks of the ridge. We climbed them all twice - forth and back

The views from the peaks were incredible, as far as dam Ogosta and the town of Montana (at least 35 km to the north)

The town of Berkovitza down the valley

Me on the third of the peaks

Part of the view from the forth peak - dam Srechenska bara and clusters of villages down the valey

On the forth of Todorini kukli peaks

For our picnic area we chose this young birch tree under the fourth peak with a wonderful view to the mountain and the valleys below

On a patch of snow on the way back

Meadows with purple crocuses between the peaks

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sea Nymph Modeled

And here it - the promised modeled photosession of Sea Nymph. The sweater is mine, but Gaby will wear it occasionally, like this weekend :) Anyway, it fits her marvelously and does look better on her slender body.

Pattern: Sea Nymph by Drops Design
Yarn: Charlotte, Bulgarian cotton-viscose, 300 g
Needle: 3 mm
Time to knit: exactly one month

Because my yarn and gauge were very different, I used only the general idea and the chart for the lace and did my own calculations for the raglan and the body. It's a simple raglan sweater, so recalculating everything to fit me was not that difficult and I am happy to report that I knit it in one go, without any ripping - a genuine miracle for me. Despite my dislike for the magic loop method I knit the sleeves in the round, so the sweater is entirely seamless.

I finished the body symmetrically to the beginning, which is the most logical decision, instead of the rolling stockinette stitch edge, as in the pattern.

A word about the yarn - not bad, gives good and heavy texture, but I don't think I'll use it again. I'll have to wait and see how it will hold on to wear.

All in all - a nice, feminine, easy pattern and a satisfying result. Now I can move on to another project :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cake with Meringues

My most favourite cake recipe lately! If I've put on some weight (I have (sigh)), it's because of this super easy home made cake, that we've had plenty of excuses occasions to have - husband's birthday, Alex's birthday, Gaby's medal in Biology, then her medal in Chemistry (yep, she's one of those super clever high achievers, so proud of her! ).

So - the recipe. For the cake:
Dry ingredients:
  • 200 g flour
  • 170 g white  sugar
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • (25 g cocoa - optional, if adding cocoa, decrease flour to 180 g)
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Wet ingredients:
  • 70 g sunflower oil 
  • 2 eggs
  • 110 g yogurt + 30 g water
  • 140 g (one small cup) fresh hot coffee

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients, without the coffee, in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stir thoroughly and pour the small cup of fresh coffee. The batter is more liquid than the usual cake batter, which makes this cake very juicy. Pour the batter in a baking form and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 45-50 min.

For the cream:
  • 250 g mascarpone (at room temperature)
  • 250 g cocoa spread (Nutella or similar) (at room temperature)
Mix the cheese with the cocoa spread. Cut the cake in two, spread the cream and decorate with meringues. Et voila - delicious cake, that looks nice and takes only a few minutes to make.

I finished the blouse - hope to take modeled pictures of it tomorrow:

And now I'm racking my brain what to do with the cotton-linen band yarn I ordered online for Gaby. I though it would be perfect for Kim Hargreaves' Clear with its similar thickness and content, but daughter didn't like the sample - it does look thick and rugged for a summer yarn. Now I'm thinking a cotton-linen cardigan, probably another Christina or Obsession ...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lulin, Peak Dupevitza

Yesterday's hike was kind of a repeat of a circular hike we did on Lulin two years ago in December. But in mid April this same mountain looked so different - green, green , green, fresh green everywhere. Quiet and bird songs, it was extraordinary, I loved it immensely.

The snow peaks of Vitosha (closer) and Rila (in the distance) and the villages at the foot of Vitosha:

Rila - the snow there will keep up until June, I suppose

On peak Dupevitza - the highest on Lulin mountain

A view to Sofia from peak Dobrinova skala

Under Dobrinova skala

The paths are so charming, among green bushes, trees in blossom, up and down small hills

The forest part of the path, this part I loved best

A rather peculiar chapel in the forest

We got so engulfed in conversation on our way through the forest that we lost the blue trail and all of a sudden found ourselves back at the beginning of the trail, skipping the Monastery - we must have taken a shortcut of sorts. We should hike Lulin more often, it's a wonderful small mountain.