Back from heaven

I am back from my little heaven called the Danube Delta. This little corner of the world, the newest land of Europe is my “place”.  I just love the peacefulness that surrounds it, the endless blue sky, the lonely birds flying high and the permanent taste of vast amounts of water and green plants that get you dizzy with their freshness.

The Danube Delta is the reason why I abandoned my blog lately. For the past weeks I went back home, to Romania for a short holiday. Luckily enough I went on a small trip to the Danube Delta, very close to Murighiol on a charming and welcoming floating hotel (http://www.sageata-apei.ro/) , in the middle of the running waters of the Danube. I will not start telling you about the amazing food I had during this trip, it consisted of various fish dishes, all married with home-grown veggies in a perfect harmony that matched the gorgeousness of this place.

And because I abandoned my blog for so long, I decided to make a little coming back cake that reminds me of the summer and of fresh sunny days.

vanilla sponge with blackberry and lime curd mousse

 

Vanilla sponge

3 eggs, separated

125 gr sugar

80 gr flour

50 ml milk

vanilla

Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until thick, creamy and it doubles in volume. Add the flour and mix it gently with a spatula until the flour is totally incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until it forms stiff peaks. Gently incorporate the egg whites into the batter.

Bake the sponge into a baking pan lined with parchment paper in the oven at 170C for about 15-20 minutes. The sponge is ready when the testing stick comes out clean or the cake returns to its shape when softy pressed. Set the sponge aside and let it cool down.

Lime curd mousse

4 egg yolks

1/4 cups lime juice

120 gr sugar

150 gr butter

200 ml whipped cream

Mix the egg yolks with sugar and lime juice in a bowl. Place the bowl over simmering water and boil the mixture whisking continuously until it starts thickening and coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). Do not overcook the curd, otherwise it would become scrambled eggs and it will start smelling of bad omelet. Set aside and start incorporating gradually the cold butter. Transfer in a clean bowl, cover it with cling film and let it cool down in a freezer.

To make the mousse – mix 2/3 or the entire quantity of curd with 200 ml of whipped cream.

Blackberry mousse

200 grams blackberry

5 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons of water

350 ml whipped cream

3 sheets of gelatine

Place the gelatine for 10 minutes in cold water. Meanwhile mix the blackberries with water and sugar and boil them over slow fire until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency. Set aside and let it cool down for few minutes and then incorporate the gelatine into the mixture. When it cools down mix it throughly with the whipped cream.

To assemble the cake just use your imagination, I cut my sponges in two equal disks, placed the blackberry mouse in between the two halves and covered everything with the lime curd and decorated it with tempered chocolate, strawberries and blueberries.

 

 

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Pancakes a la Jamie Oliver

What’s the best breakfast you can have on a lazy Sunday?

My vote goes for pancakes with red summer fruits and a wee bit of honey. My parents sent me some honey that they extracted from their beehives not long ago and on top of this, on Friday I bought some red summer berries , so the only things missing to pull together a great lazy sunday breakfast, were the pancakes.


While growing up, my mum was always making us some thin french-style pancakes, however lately I discovered those fluffy and thick american babies a la Jamie Oliver. On Sunday I decided to go for the latter, they seemed a bit more fulfilling and more proper for a lazy weekend.


pancakes

3 large eggs

115 g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

140 ml milk

a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

vanilla

chocolate chips, strawberries or red currants

Start by separating the eggs. Beat the egg white until they form stiff peaks. Meanwhile mix well the egg yolks with the sugar, milk, flour, salt, vanilla and baking powder, until you obtain a smooth thick batter. Fold gently the egg whites into the batter.
Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Add a drop of oil to the pan and then pour some of the batter into the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes look golden and firm. Sprinkle fruits or chocolate chips on the uncooked side, gently lower them into the batter with a spatula and flip the pancake over. Continue frying until both sides are golden.