Romania is most famous for Transylvania and Count Dracula but has many other interesting features. It is situated in South Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine. It’s terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountains, hills and plains and has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe, covering almost 27% of the territory.

Some interesting facts you may not know about Romania
The meaning of the word “Transylvania” is the land beyond the forest
The world’s largest salt mine museum can be found inside the old Turda Salt Mines (Salina Turda) located in Transylvania
The 3500-year old Scarisoara glacier, located in the Bihor Mountains is the second largest underground glaciar in the world
The jet engine used by modern airplanes was invented by Bucharest born inventor Henri Coanda
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first to achieve a perfect routine and get the first score of 10.00 in the history of gymnastics
Top Gear shot one of its episodes on Transfagarasan in 2009, naming it “the best road in the world”

The food of Romania has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine from imperial Istanbul. Some of the recipes I came across were Sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), Ciorba de perisoare (soup with meatballs), Mucenici (cake) Prajitură cu afine (blueberry cheesecake), mămăligă (polenta) and Tochitură (pork stew). I decided to make Crema de zahăr ars (caramelized vanilla pudding). In the words of my mum, desserts are not my strong point and unfortunately, she is absolutely correct. It was a disaster as the puddings didn’t set at all, despite following the recipe to the letter. On reflection though, my mistake was to use skimmed milk and medium sized eggs so I have adapted the recipe below to rectify where I went wrong. I will try to make this again in the coming months as I was looking forward to tasting it.

Rating 0/10 (as it wasn’t edible)

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours

3 large eggs
150g sugar
500ml whole milk
dash of vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 120 ℃
Put the milk in a pan and bring it to a simmer on very low heat
In the mean time, beat the eggs together with the vanilla essence.
Add the eggs to the milk and let it simmer for about 5 minutes while stirring.
In a pan, melt the sugar over a low to medium heat.
Pour the melted sugar into 4 ramekins, swirling it around so it covers the sides. Do this quickly or the sugar will harden. Pour the milk and egg mix on top of the sugar
Place the ramekins in a large metal baking dish filled with water (bain marie) and bake for about 1 ½ hours until the surface is golden brown.
Check with a toothpick to see if the cream is cooked all the way through.
Let it cool and then refrigerate for a few hours as this is to be served cool.
Place a small plate on top of the ramekin and turn out making sure that the plate is big enough for the caramelised liquid.

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