This entry appeared back in 2015 on my first ever blog that i deleted.
It's a very short entry, and most of the story is told through a drawing. We all know that a picture speaks a thousand words.
This is a true story. It was quite normal back then for this to happen. It didn't happen i recent times anymore. This is because I started using a timer to avoid this from happening.
Whenever I want to toast some bread I have to be really careful. Or else my bread will turn to ashes.
I don't own a toaster and so I have to toast my bread in the oven. My oven works with gas and real fire, but the machine itself is so old it's not even funny.
At some point after that, we changed the cooking stove. But it still works with gas and fire, and I still managed to burn the bread meant to be toast.
I also often forget I'm making toast, so I have to set up an alarm for when I think the toast might be done. When using this method, my toast is under-done. Basically, this means the bread is not golden-brown the way you see in commercials and stuff.
This was a rather upsetting event at the time. I even manage to burn water, if you know what i mean.
Can anyone else relate to this?
My eyes are supposed to be green. [in case you were wondering]. Because that's my real eye color.
It's been a while since i posted. Well, i do blog for fun, not really for money, and I'm a freelancer, so this makes sense.
We all know what happened in 2020. the lockdown wasn't easy and hit Romania in mid-March.
I don't think I need to explain what the lockdown means - we all know at this point. The only open places were supermarkets, drugstores, hospitals, along with some restaurants that do deliveries, such as pizza places.
Walking the dog, taking a short stroll around our buildings, especially those with dogs, and helping the elderly were the main activities that we were allowed to partake in. It goes without saying that buying groceries, meds, or doctor appointments were also allowed but had to be restricted to the minimum. Going to work, for 'essential workers' was also allowed, of course.
The times were hard on everyone. How hard was it for me? read here -link to post 1 of struggles.
We also had to write a document stating where we went and why. This was a nightmare in itself. Why couldn't we just send a text or something to some call center or I don't know, somehow make things easy like in South Korea? Those without the paper risked heavy fines.
When restrictions lifted, things became more bearable. clothes stores opened later than restaurants and cafes, of course. Even these places opened only if they gave food/drinks as a takeaway.
the streets were eerie and empty the first time we ventured further away from home for a coffee:
The city looked beautiful, despite it being deserted. It looks as if the zombie apocalypse just hit or ended. The messed-up sidewalk is a sight to behold. Welcome to Bucharest, baby!
These two images are the 'entrance' so to speak, of the Old Town. Everyone gathers here during the weekend, but not only. When there's no pandemic or restrictions, of course.
Of course, not everyone dared to go out just yet. I like the image above the most. It is also in the BEST area in the country to own property (aka an apartment). Some 5 years ago it used to look different. The blue building on the left didn't even exist.
This is another area of the city, across the street from the University of Bucharest. There are maybe 4 statues there? of various important historical people.
These 2 images are from the Old Town. It'd obviously the same street from 2 different points.
The coffee we got was from Tedd's. I remember it as being just meh, but after 2 months of confinement, it felt like some sort of luxury.
That's not the only place where we could find something to drink. Somewhere close to the University of Bucharest, there's a small bar called Rainbow. It serves cocktails and coffees, and not only. Most of the stuff they serve is take-away.
I believe this is the first time we found it and we had to order something. A frappe, a fresh fruit juice, and a mojito, i believe. Drinking in public is allowed in Romania. You could get in trouble if you're getting very drunk/wasted. Besides, it's difficult to tell what the transparent drink is - perhaps some tonic water with lemon/lime, ice, and some mint for kicks, haha.
The fresh juice is of catina (Seaberry?). It's apparently rich in Vitamin C and this helps fight this virus that messed up our lives. It' one of the best fresh juices I tasted, and it's amazing on a hot summer day.
We couldn't sit at any table, just on benches or wherever else we could.
I remember ordering some food from this fancier restaurant, Van Gogh. Here are some pics of the place:
Cases started increasing as soon as people were allowed to go places and do things, due to the rules relaxing further.
One of the first things we purchased after the lockdown, was a VERY cute backpack. It's cute in my opinion, at least.
In July, we were allowed to sit at terraces with appropriate distancing. We had a raspberry gin tonic i believe and a very traditional Romanian dish.
The dish is polenta mixed with cheese, bacon, and eggs. I forgot if it had anything else added. It was delicious, rather a large portion and I was barely able to finish it. Polenta is rather filling, to begin with.
Over the winter, most restaurants were again closed for the most part, as well as the theatres. There were no events taking place either. Especially not the Christmas market. We thought we might have it at first, but then it was confirmed they canceled it.
As the weather improved this year, the authorities started allowing more and more businesses to restart their activities as well. Even events started to slowly take place.
We finally went and sat at cafes this year, after getting vaccinated. We had both cocktails and coffee-based drinks, just like before.
I missed this matcha latte! I only found one other place that makes it, Handsome Monk. I did order it from there once, but it sucked. :(
I just don't understand why they don't bring napkins anymore, now that they started having customers again. The napkins you can barely see in the picture above with our drinks? I had to ask for them!
One of the most exciting things we did this year after everything opened, was going to see a movie!
The movie we saw was The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
At the movies, there was just one more couple. This place didn't run any ads before the movie, and it was pitch black. Also quite cold inside. I started shaking and not out of fear. I was actually not really scared.
There are a few other things I want to share in the (hopefully near) future, such as the visit to the City Hall. OOOH!
The entry will come maybe next week or in 2 weeks.
Today I'll share with you my results trying to make a common Romanian dessert, called "minciunele." This word means little lies and they're a type of donuts.
As you can see from the pictures, this recipe was supposed to appear quite some time ago. In fact, i had already posted this recipe on my first blog, before i rebranded for the first time.
When I first started blogging, I thought i'd have a cooking blog and another blog for other stuff. As we all know, things changed, and now i have this "general" blog and my site/blog dedicated to reviews, called Being Obscure, hosted by WordPress.
The recipe goes something like this, and you can see the original recipe and results here. This is the blog dedicated to recipes for Romanian foods. The post shows you how these are supposed to look like, and you can clearly see my cats don't look as nice as the original.
If you want to know why i chose to shape my donuts as cats, I'll add the story AFTER the recipe. I recently realized people don't appreciate too much talking BEFORE the recipe. So, without further ado, here we go!
500 g flour (1lb?)
2 tablespoons of sour cream
1 teaspoon of baking powder
some powdered sugar for coating
some sunflower oil for frying; whatever other type of oil you use for frying food should also work.
Beat the egg whites until they're fluffy.
Mix the egg yolks with the sour cream and gently fold this mix into the egg whites.
Sieve the flour and the baking powder on top of the mix.
Gently fold these also into the mixture above, until you have a smooth dough.
The original recipe doesn't say to let the dough rest and raise a bit, so I didn't do that. However, I think it should be done, and i think it should be at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough onto a sheet on the work table (about 5 mm or 2/8in thick) and cut your shapes. Of course, you can cut whatever shapes you want - i also did that.
To cut shapes you can use cookie cutters, a glass, or directly a knife. The difference is that with the knife things will be easier and much faster, while with the cookie cutters/glass you'll need to reroll the dough. You don't want to waste all that yumminess. ;)
Fry your shapes in hot oil, over medium heat, and on both sides. If you have too many donuts and you run low on oil, add some more oil, and make sure it gets hot before you fry more donuts.
When they're brown on both sides, remove them and place them on a plate or a bowl covered with some paper towel or (unscented, dry) paper handkerhiefs. The paper will absorb the excess oil.
In the picture above, you can see I'm frying donuts in other shapes than cats.
Once you're done frying all the dough, sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top. These are always better with some of that on top.
I never tried, but these could also be good with some chocolate or cream on top.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
I believe that at some point in 2017, the butter we usually buy came with a little cutter. There were 3 shapes: cat, car, and i forgot what else. They were meant to help mothers make cute sandwiches for their kids, to entice them to eat and enjoy the food more.
I got the butter that had the cat-shaped cutter. I never really used it since, but one day, when i made these donuts, Anna jokingly challenged me to make them look like cats, thinking it would be impossible for me to do so.
The expression on her face when i pulled out the cat-shaped cookie cutter? PRICELESS!
So, this is how you make another type of easy doughnuts. i hope you liked the story about the cookie-cutter shaped like a cat as well.
As a reference, i have 2 more cutters for cookies: one shaped like spectacles and another shaped like lips. These are from H&M Home. I got them on sale, i think right before the SHTF last year.
The yellow disk is a cookie or cake decorator i found in the lid of a jar of Nutella. I forgot the year. maybe 2019.
I'm not sure I was supposed to post anything today, but I realized this recipe wasn't moved from my old cooking blog. I thought it might be time I moved it.
Quite honestly, I almost forgot I still had recipes on that old blog.
As you'll see, the pics are very bad, undated, but they're from at least 2015. That's why they're bad and I don't have a visual step-by-step of the process.
Ok, below you'll see the "original" post. Enjoy your reading!
Coming to Romania you'll want to try some traditional food, even though I don't believe there is any dish that is exclusively "traditional Romanian." What you'll eat instead is food almost every Romanian knows how to make, especially in the countryside. Sadly, eating this in the capital, might not taste the same as it would in some forsaken village, but this doesn't mean it won't be tasty.
Polenta seems to be every peasant's replacement for bread and therefore eaten mostly with other foods. However polenta is so popular it can be eaten by itself as well.. well sort of by itself. Mixing it with butter and some type of salty cheese will make it delicious and a dish that can be served as a stand-alone.
1 liter of water (or less)
some cornflour, better known as polenta in some countries. [all i know its that it's dry, yellow, rough, and made of corn]
between 1 and 3 spoons of butter - margarine also works
some cheese - feta cheese is just an example. Make sure the cheese melts, you'll thank me later.
bacon or sausages
Place the water with salt on fire and bring it to a boil.
When it starts to boil, start slowly adding the polenta-corn flour. Make sure to mix in a circular motion with a wooden spoon. You're better off at mixing with its handle - it mixes better, trust me on this one. Make sure it boils well!
Cut the cheese into small cubes. Best size? about half your thumb finger.
Add the cornflour until the mixture thickens and sticks to your spoon. It is done when you have the impression you can form balls with it, without them falling apart. You'll want it rather thick and sticky than runny or soft.
Add the butter and mix well. The butter will soften the mixture - this is what you want.
Add the cheese and mix. The cheese will start melting - this is what you want to happen. ;)
Add some black pepper on top after you serve on a dish or in a bowl.
This dish is best served hot, especially in winter, but having it cold in summer is just fine too.
I like it warm regardless of the season, lol. You could say this is a type of comfort food for me.
Here I had it with some fried soy pieces and some bell pepper. You can have it with sauerkraut, sausages, fish, and almost any other food that has sauce.
PS: yes, all these failed pics are mine -_-' I need to make polenta again and to take better pics of the process.
Lately, I like Italian mozzarella cheese. Smoked yellow cheese is another type of cheese I like. This type of cheese is called Kashkaval and I can't recall seeing any that is white in color. Most of these are off-white or some shade of yellow.
This type of cheese melts nicely on pizza, and any other dish you may want melted cheese on.
March 28 - World day against endometriosis
I wish all women dealing with this problem, a lot of health.
I wish everyone else who is not aware of this health problem, to learn about it. Also, please stop asking women "When will you get married?" "When will you have children?".
It's none of your business. Unless YOU plan on being the 3rd wheel in the relationship or taking care of the baby with your own money and time. Not all women want to be wives or mothers.
And women suffering from endometriosis may even have a hard time conceiving, even if they want to have babies. So, again, I repeat: Not your body, not your problem! You can ask questions and give advice only when you're very close to the person and you're concerned about their health and overall wellbeing.
March 29 - Cinema spring
I have no idea what this means or what am I supposed to write about.
In any case, keep an eye open and stalk my other site for at least one movie review, The Taming of the Shrew, an Italian movie. ;) I think it's a good movie for spring.
March 31 - World day of personal data protection
I think this is what it means. If this is what it means, I'll have to remind you to change your passwords often, keep them written down -in an agenda, diary, cookie jar, whatever. Do not share them with anyone under any circumstance.
So today I'm supposed to plan the menu for Christmas. Except I don't need to because every year we eat the same thing.
See, here in Romania, there are a set-in-stone celebration dishes. Everyone makes the same food. Rarely there's any variation.
One of the first things that need to be made for Christmas, or any other big celebration that is, is the cozonac.
I personally never made one, so I don't have a recipe for it. As type of food, this is a dessert. By the method used to make one, it is a bread. So basically, it's a sweet bread and traditionally it has a filling made of nuts and cocoa. Rum (the alcohol) or rum essence (flavoring) can also be used in the filling.
Of course, nowadays it is very common for city folks to buy one or a few. In the country side, it is still being made the traditional way.
The cozonac found int he city comes in different shapes and flavors, with some of them better than others.
Another dish that cannot be missing from the Christmas table are the sarmale. This dish comes from Turkey and if you know that dish you'll know this one as well.
We have cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling made of rice mixed with meat. Generally, the meat is a mixture of beef and pork. I talked a bit about the filling in this article.
You just have to take about a spoonful of filling mixture and put it on the cabbage leaf, then to roll or pack the whole thing neatly. We'll most likely receive some Sarmale, if everything goes smoothly this year, considering the virus.
Sarmale are labor intensive and this is why they're kept for special occasions. These special occasions can include weddings and funerals, especially in the countryside.
Another dish you'll see is the Oliver's Salad, though it's usually called Boeuf Salad or A la Russe. There's actually a small difference between Boeuf and A la Russe: the former has meat and the latter does not. Otherwise, they look the same and generally have the same ingredients.
The ingredients are boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, black olives, and mayonnaise. Everything gets chopped and mixed together. It is usually decorated with olives, boiled eggs, and red pickled peppers. This salad i plan on making. I made it before, and i can't believe i have zero pictures as proof, though i had some pretty ones made.
That's what it can look like and the link will take you to a recipe in Romanian. Google Translate can be your friend.
This salad should be made a day or two in advance, so that the flavors mix well. It's definitely a dish that tastes better at least the next day, and it has to be kept in the fridge.
The taste depends greatly on the pickles used as well as on the mayonnaise. It's best to make the mayonnaise at home, from scratch as it tastes better than the one from the store.
Many people would prepare many dishes based on pork, as they butcher a pig a few days before Christmas. The most notable dishes are steak and home-made sausages.
Some people will replace the pork with a roasted chicken or maybe beef.
Is it Halloween? No, it's the lent before Pascha (or Easter, depending on who you're asking), and pumpkin soup is a vegan dish. We're supposed to eat vegan dishes during lent.
It's also one of the easiest dishes I came across! And honestly, i have no idea why I waited for so long to make it! No, I do know why: I thought it's sweet, since I associate pumpkin with the pie. I was wrong, or at least this soup didn't turn out sweet.
powder black pepper
water (of course)
the tool to mash potatoes (in this case, pumpkin)
You need to peel the carrots and dice them.
Throw the carrot cubes in a large enough pot, with water and salt. Place the pot on fire. Carrots cook slower than many other vegetables, hence it's ok to have them on the fire for a little longer.
Cut the pumpkin in smaller pieces, and remove the skin. I used my knife for this part. You might want to cut the pieces even smaller, to help with the cooking time.
Throw your smaller pumpkin pieces into the pot as well. Hopefully you can tell the pumpkin pieces in the pot are smaller than on the cutting board.
Turn the heat up, and make the whole think boil for some 20 minutes. You might want to adjust the time, depending on the quantity. You have to make sure the pumpkin is cooked. It has to be soft when you poke it with a fork.
Now you want to take the tool you use for mashing potatoes, and use it to mash the boiled carrots and pumpkin.
When you're done, you might want to add more salt, and some pepper. You can serve hot or cold.
The title says it all: today i want to show you 3 Romanian cakes. These cakes can be found in any cake shop and even at the supermarket. Or this was my experience so far.
If you ever find yourself in Romania, I think you should try these cakes, but try and make sure you buy them from a cake shop: they taste better there, for some reason, compared to the ones in supermarkets. Ana Pan is where you'll probably find the best tasting cakes, at least in Bucharest.
i should mention that we do have many other types of cakes available, but i'll present the ones that are specific to Romania, and not imported.
Ok, enough rambling: on to the cakes!
This is a pretty simple cake, and easy to recognize: it looks like a cocoa ball. It's also covered in cocoa powder and sits prettily on muffin-like baking paper.
Besides cocoa, it also contains raisins, rum, butter, and of course sugar. It has a moist texture on the inside, though it looks dry on the outside.
"Cartof" actually means "potato" in Romanian, so i suppose the cake is meant to look like a potato, but it's just a ball.
You can eat it with a spook or fork, or even directly with your hands, but holding it through the paper it sits on.
I vaguely remember seeing log-like cartof cake. Besides the shape, there's no other difference.
This cake is pretty similar to choux-a-la-creme, I guess.
This cake has a pretty big chunk of sponge-like cake as the base. I think it is baked in a muffin shape, given that it has some ridges on the upper part.
As you can see, they partially cut a slice on the upper part which they cover with a red jelly. They then use a huge amount of syrup, and then they add a good dollop of whipped cream.
Unlike the choux cake, this one doesn't have any other cream nor pudding inside.
While it also comes on some paper or cake cardboard, it's best eaten with a teaspoon or fork, off a plate. Some place now sell them in a small but deep enough plastic container, to avoid the syrup leaking everywhere.
This is another chocolate cake. This layered cake has generous amounts of chocolate cream layers.
This chocolate cream is made with butter, and thus it can be quite heavy for the stomach.
It's best using some tool like a fork or teaspoon to eat it, though eating with the hands is also possible. This is because it is also served on that specific cake paper.
The chocolate cream on top and bottom is a different type. The one on top is probably ganache. The slices are about as thick as 2 fingers.
I have no idea who doesn't like pizza. But there are people out there that have dietary restrictions, and so ordering pizza can be difficult. For us, it is a little overpriced, depending on where you oder it from and it's not always good either.
A's mom started making pizza at home, and it's a really good one too. spicy, with lots of ingredients, and several of them. one is big enough to fill you up, especially if you don't eat a crazy amount of food at once. But A's mom moved out of city, and it's difficult or us to go there to get pizza if we were to ask her to make some. Also getting the ingredients is difficult for A's parents because they don't own a car, so they have to either call a cab (it can get expensive) or rely on the public transportation that is not always reliable.
Long story short, we decided to make our own pizza. A asked for the recipe, and she said she's going to make it. I said "fine" because I think there's a trick to making pizza that I'm not aware of.
pizza dough -or base, or whatever you want to call it. We can find it already made in stores over here. At Carrefour it's really cheap too. we got 2 packs, with 2 pizza dough in each.
2-3 medium tomatoes
mozarella cheese - ALL the cheese you want or like. make sure it melts, like mozarella cheese does.
200 grams olives - get the pitted ones or the already sliced ones, you'll save time.
mushrooms - as much as you want, i guess. The pizza in these pictures didn't have mushrooms. :(
1 bell pepper - red would be best
corn - we like corn on the pizza.
tomato sauce - you can use pizza sauce, but regular tomato sauce is fine too
aromatic herbs -basil, thyme, parsley, whatever you like
some ground black pepper
You should know there's no set amount of anything when it comes to the ingredients. A just adds "as much as it fits on the pizza dough."
If you're eating meat, you can add salami, sausages,maybe bacon. Basically any type of meat you like. A says it's a "trial and error" until you find the balance you like. Of course you can replace some of the ingredients with others, but the pizza made with these ones was by far the best.
Spread the tomato sauce on the pizza dough.
Sprinkle with the condiments - or the aromatic herbs you chose.
Add cheese. The more the merrier. ;) It's better to slice it before putting it on the pizza
Then add everything else. Make sure to slice the tomatoes, mushrooms and anything that is either too big or has a shape preventing it from staying put on the pizza. Chopped also works.
Add more condiments on top.
Bake for 15 minutes, on a really high heat setting, on baking paper. Our oven has a special "pizza" setting, and anymore than 15 minutes in the oven can burn it. NOBODY likes burnt pizza.
Now you can enjoy it straight from the oven, though leaving it for the next day is perfectly acceptable too.
The Great Lent started in Romania - this is the lent before Pascha (or Easter). It lasts for 7 weeks and is the longest of them all, hence the name. OK, now it's close to the end, as I kept on delaying editing pictures and writing. The article is finally here!
During any Lent, Romanians are supposed to fast by eating a vegan diet - so no meats including fish, no eggs and no dairy products. (hmm, I actually don't know if honey is forbidden or allowed.) This page explains better the rules of fasting. It also makes no mention of honey, and thus I think it's allowed.
In any case, when buying premade foods in Romania, we should pay attention to the packaging to say "de post" - this means the product is vegan-friendly. If you don't want to eat honey, search for the word "miere" (=honey) in the ingredients. Fish is allowed for consumption on certain days during the Lent (fasting period).
Romanians don't celebrate Fat Tuesday nor Ash Wednesday. Good Friday is not a public holiday either, but the 2nd day of Pascha (Monday) is a bank holiday, and only hospitals, police, public transportation, and a few shops still stay in business.
I already have a few vegan-friendly recipes posted, and I want to share with you the recipe for Roasted Potatoes as well - this is an important recipe to know how to make if you love potatoes because they're awesome when roasted.
3-4 larger potatoes, preferably suited for baking
powder black pepper
other herbs or condiments you like
also, a baking tray
Peel and slice your potatoes. Make sure to have rather thick slices and not thin. If they're thin, reduce the cooking time by 15 minutes to avoid burning them.
Take a baking tray, smear it with cooking oil, place your potato slices in it.
Smear your potato slices with cooking oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and all the condiments and herbs.
Let bake in the oven for some 45 minutes, on medium heat, preferably on the middle rack of the oven.
You can now serve!
I made this recipe over and over, and I didn't always take pictures. This is why some of them are dated "December 2018." The light is bad because I usually cook in the evening and therefore the artificial light is not great.
Life is a journey. Or so I have been told. ObscureJourney is a blog about My life, the things I experience and learn. I hope I can learn from my mistakes. The blog used to known as "TheOwnerTravelsTo" and i had a separate blog called "CookingMyExperience".
The purpose of obscurejourney blog is to share positive ideas and experiences -hopefully- while showing you that you don't need a lot to be happy.
Not all failures mean the end of the world. They mean that whatever you were trying out wasn't meant to happen:
it wasn't your life's journey. We all have a particular life journey, even if we don't discover it from the start. But remember:
You will discover your path! Do you think I discovered mine? Perhaps I did, but I have yet to fully walk it. I know writing is part of it.
All content is created by me, with my silly mobile phone and its camera. Unless otherwise stated, the following applies:
All blog entries are written by me, Charly Cross -this is a pen name, unless mentioned otherwise.
Pictures are mine - especially if I signed them with a (c) and my blog's name (or former name of the blog).