Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ptichye Moloko (Bird's Milk) - A Russian Jello

Ptichye Moloko or bird's milk is a popular Russian candy and a famous soufflé cake.  "Bird's milk" is an idiom of ancient Greek origin meaning "an unobtainable delicacy".  It appeared in a folk tale that the beautiful princess tests her suitor by sending him out in the wilderness to find and bring back the one luxury item she does not have: bird's milk.  The place of origin of this candy is Poland and it is called Ptasie mleczko.

In Russia, Ptichye Moloko was originally a type of meringue candy covered with chocolate introduced in 1967 in Vladivostok and in 1968 by the Rot Front factory in Moscow.  It became so popular that a mass production was started later in 1975.  In 1978, this popular candy was then transformed into a light sponge cake filled with an airy soufflé and topped with chocolate glaze.  This melt in mouth dessert was so luscious and its extraordinary texture made it so scrumptious and popular worldwide.

You must be wondering how I got the recipe.  Well this is not the authentic recipe in which the soufflé is steamed.  One of my Russian Colleague brought this dessert to work.  As a foodie I asked for the name of the dessert while getting a piece but the name was hard to remember, but bird's milk was easy to remember.  As soon as I had the first bite, my taste buds screamed the truth that, it’s a delicacy that I had to try my own. It was a piece of sponge that dissipated in my mouth like cotton candy.  I had to get the recipe from my colleague.  He pointed me to this recipe.  I was so excited to tell my kids and hubby about what I had at work.  Later I made this dessert at home for a get together.  I didn't give enough time for the chocolate layer to set properly, so it was bit hard to get the pieces cut properly.  So I left it in the refrigerator for one more day and it came out perfect.  I recommend you try this recipe and judge yourself.  You will not be disappointed.  Please make sure to give at least 12 -24 hours for the layers to set properly.

There are different flavors of the bird's milk jello available now as this recipe is so versatile and can be adjusted per your choice of flavors.  I found it really hard to style this beautiful and delicious dessert.

Cream filling/bottom layer
16 oz - sour cream
16 oz - whipped cream /cool whip
1 cup - sugar
2 (.25oz) packets - unflavored gelatin
1 cup - milk

Chocolate layer/top layer
5 tbsp - unsweetened cocoa powder

5 tbsp - milk
7 tbsp - sugar
1 (.25oz) packet - unflavored gelatin
1 cup - water

  • Grease a 11 x 13 inch dish with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a sauce pan, combine milk and 2 packets of gelatin and whisk together.  Cook on medium heat by whisking continuously till the milk starts to steam.  Turn off the flame and let it cool.
  • Meantime whip together the sour cream, sugar and whipped cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or using had mixer to get a smooth silky consistency.  Add the milk gelatin mix into this and whip for 30 seconds.  Pour into the prepared pan and even the top using a offset spatula and refrigerate for at least 4 to 8 hrs.
  • Whisk the water, milk, cocoa powder, gelatin powder and sugar together in a sauce pan to remove any lumps.  Cook on medium heat till the liquid starts to steam and the sugar is completely melted.  Whisk continuously for 5 minutes on medium heat and turn off the flame.  Let the cocoa mix cool for one hour.  It will start to thicken like a glaze.  Pour it evenly over the refrigerated cream layer.  Cover and let it cool in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
  • Slice them using a cold knife so that the chocolate layer won't spread to the cream layer.  Top them with chocolate curls if desired.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Travel Post - Las Vegas And Los Angeles Vacation

 Luxor Hotel

Las Vegas, the buzzing energy city is an Oasis in the Mojave Desert in the state of Nevada.  The focal point of Vegas is the strip of themed hotels that spreads around 4 miles with 24 hour casinos.  It’s an adult city for sure.  

Interior of Luxor hotel

  Wall painting on the wall of hotel Luxor

Inside Luxor Hotel

 Following are some themed hotels in Las Vegas.

 Gondola inside The Venetian

 Our stay at the pyramid shaped Egyptian themed Luxor hotel was the best.  We are not fond of gambling, so we didn't spend any time in the casino, especially when you have kids with you; kids are not allowed to stand close to any of the machines.  So we enjoyed other things like their beautiful Egyptian themed pools, Criss Angel's BELIEVE and Cirque du Soleil shows.  It was really amazing to watch the breath taking live performances of the artist in the professional theatres.  We took some time to walk through the streets to get the glimpse of the themed hotels and the one that was beyond words to explain was the Venetian.  The Venetian resort complex is the world's second largest hotel and their casino is the largest casino in the world.  Venetian and Italian themed landmarks are the highlights of their architecture.  It’s amazing how the indoor canal and the Rialto Bridge are built to resemble the Grand Canal in Venice.  The ride on the Gondola and the song of the gondolier that resonates through the walls of the canal takes you right into the mesmerizing Grand Canal of Venice.  There are so many top notch restaurants and some fancy stores in there.   There was a astonishing photo gallery of the Peter Lik's  work in the Venetian which was phenomenal.

 Hover Dam

Grand Canyon
We drove to Grand Canyon and Hover Dam.  The sky walk at Grand Canyon is something amazing to do if you are not scared of heights. Unfortunately I am not good with heights, so I skipped that, but rest of my family enjoyed it.  Yes, even my little one did walk on the glass path which was 4000 feet high over the canyon. 

Lake Mead

 The over view of deep blue Lake Mead in the midst of the dessert is a splendid view for a photographer.  You don't feel like leaving the scenic view where the clear blue skies with few white puffy clouds cover the lazy lying deep blue sleeping beauty, the Lake Mead like an umbrella with an array of dark mountains surrounding her like guards.

We drove to Los Angeles which is 4.30 hrs from Vegas.  Los Angeles is a lively city.  The Tropical weather reminded me on India trip.  The big bushes of tea roses and bougainvillea trellis were common in everyone's front yard. 

Santa Monica Whale Watch boat ride

View from Hollywood Studio 

Waterworld show @ Universal Studio - water stunts done by professionals 
(must watch show)

Harry Potter Theme Park @ Universal Studio

Victorian Style House

 LA Music Center Steps

LA Downtown Angels Flight Railway

Santa Monica Pier

Beverley Hills

 The LA city tour to celebrity home streets, Hollywood, Beverly hills, beach front board walk restaurants, small cafe places, Universal studio were really enjoyed by all of us.  The Harry Potter themed park and their ride at Universal Studio was the best of all.  We saw lots of shooting and recording happening at various sites/sets and houses while doing the LA tour.  The one week spring vacation went by so fast that we were not ready to come back home.

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