Subscribe

Tortul de Ciocolată din România {Romanian Chocolate Layer Cake}

Hi friends! *waves* This summer has been crazy and, for the majority of it, I haven’t even been home, so From Dill to Dracula has taken a hit. That being said, I have a lot of fun blog posts coming your way, and I’d like to kick it off with a series: My Cousin’s Cookie Collection.

Growing up, us four cousins on my dad’s side each had a cookie recipe named after each other. This recipe was always  called Heather’s Cookies, so named after my eldest cousin. Of course, the downside to this is that  I don’t have an official name for these cookies—lost in years and with age. And even though I’ve tried scouring the internet (and Pinterest) to find the proper name, I’ve come up empty handed.

Because this recipe uses biscuits, the only recipes that tended to come up were similar to my Salam de Biscuiti recipe, but this one is still… different. The addition of coffee (the instant variety) and a layering of cream to biscuit make it more of a cake than a cookie (even though that’s how we referred to them as kids).

Since I couldn’t very well title the recipe Heather’s Cookies, the best descriptor for this recipe I could come up with was Romanian Chocolate Layer Cake, or tortul de ciocolată din România (pronounced tour-tulle day ch-oh-k-oh-lah-tah dean Rome-ah-knee-ah).

This recipe is one of many I received from my grandmother in Romanian, and have since had my mom translate for me. Trying to translate recipes myself hasn’t gone so well in the past. Case in point:

(Shameless plug: If you don’t follow me on Twitter, please do!)

But I digress. It’s time for some food, right?

My husband likened this to a chocolate lasagna mixed with the texture of a tiramisu, and he’s pretty accurate on both counts. The layers of biscuit and cream are a lot like a traditional Italian lasagna, and because the biscuits are so porous, they absorb some of the cream and become soft, cakey bites. Yum! Enough talking. It’s time for some food, right?

Since there are four cousins, this will be the first of four recipes in my Cousin’s Cookies Collection. They’ll be posted in the order of the cousin’s age, so stay tuned for my very own cookies (“Ashley’s Cookies“) next!

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

Continue Reading

When You Know, You Know

Header via unsplash.com

Today I’m mixing it up, breaking away from the typical culture or recipe posts here on From Dill To Dracula, though I promise Romania is still the thread that ties it all together.

I never made the official announcement here (though, if you follow my personal Twitter or Facebook, you’ve likely seen the postings): one month ago—today!—I signed with my lovely, dream-come-true agent, Mandy Hubbard (Emerald City Literary Agency), for my debut novel One Thousand Stars That Bind. As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts (like herehere and here), One Thousand Stars That Bind is set in Romania, and I’ve tried my hardest to feature the magic beauty and food (so much food!) the country has to offer. My book was one of the big inspirations for starting this blog, too. Now, I have multiple outlets where I’m able to share my culture with those who aren’t familiar with our little Eastern European country.

In celebration of being with my agent for one month, I wanted to share a blog post I had written soon after hitting send on the email that made our partnership official. I plan on an exclusive first look at One Thousand Stars That Bind right here on From Dill To Dracula soon (with Mandy’s blessing, of course). Promise 🙂

Continue Reading

Bucharest Off The Beaten Path

Image via My Wanderlust

Bucharest holds a special place in my heart, even though I may not remember my time visiting as a child. It’s the capitol city of Romania, featuring the second largest (but heaviest and most expensive) administrative building in the world and is steeped in culture. That’s one of the reasons it’s the setting for my new novel One Thousand Stars That Bind (currently seeking representation). Sure, I may have taken some creative steampunk liberties with the location, but there are parts of Bucharest that stray from what’s expected of Romania—off the beaten path, if you will. Since I won’t be visiting the city for a while I’m lucky to have found Kami at My Wanderlust‘s blog post showcasing this side to Bucharest, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Continue Reading

{Entertainment} They’re Watching Review

I’m adding a new feature to From Dill To Dracula, which is reviewing forms of entertainment that have been created by or set in Romania. Interestingly enough, so far these tend to be movies of the horror variety, so they may not be everyone’s cup o’ tea. The first one I’m reviewing, in particular, They’re Watching, is more of a campy thriller, which is exactly my kind of horror movie. Think The Evil Dead meets Tucker & Dale vs Evil (also two fantastic movies if you have time).

Before I get into my thoughts, here’s the trailer to get you into the right mindset:

Continue Reading

{Feature} Double Fox Studio – Cluj-Napoca, Romania

via Double Fox Studio

Here’s a fun fact about me: I’m addicted to Etsy. I used to spend way too much at all the pretty shops, but now I tend to “window shop,” if you will, and save things to my never-ending favorites. During one of these bouts of window shopping, I stumbled upon Double Fox Studio, and just had to reach out to its owners Orka and Flavia to see if they’d let me feature their amazing artwork/pottery/jewelry on From Dill To Dracula. Thankfully, they said yes!

↓ Check out their interview and some of my favorite pieces below! ↓

Continue Reading

From The Archives // Mărțișor {Welcoming In Spring}

Martisor / Martisoare | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

Hello, and welcome to my first From The Archives post! And it’s a timely one. Last year—not around March, mind you—I couldn’t resist sharing one of my favorite Romanian traditions: the mărțișor. Since we’re now days away from March, I’m excited to re-share this post, and re-introduce this tradition to those who hadn’t seen in the first time.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy this sweet spring activity 🙂

Continue Reading

Salam de Biscuiti {No-Bake Chocolate Salami Roll}

Salam de Biscuiti {No-Bake Chocolate Salami Roll} | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

I know what you’re thinking; chocolate salami?!? Ashley, there are some sweet and savory things that just aren’t meant to be mixed!

Yes and yes. You read that right: this is a chocolate salami dessert, formally called Salam de Biscuiti (and pronounced sah-lah-mm day bis-coo-eat-ee). And, you’re right that chocolate and cured meats stuffed into intestine casing shouldn’t be mixed. But that’s not what this is.

My favorite dessert growing up, only made for special occasions, since it isn’t the healthiest of Romanian recipes in my repertoire. I hope it becomes your favorite, too. I mean, how can it not? Butter, chocolate, rum. Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud, I can assure you. Bonus: it’s a no-bake recipe! Quick and easy to make, then try to forget about it while it’s in the refrigerator!

Yes please. Let’s do this.

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

Continue Reading

What’s Happening in Romania?

What's Happening in Romania? | From Dill to Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

Header via Alexandru Hariga

Note: At the scheduling of this post, Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Romanian government has decided to repeal the ordinance which caused massive protests through the streets. If you’re curious about what the ordinance was, and how Romanians responded, please continue reading.



Since I usually do Romanian to English translations, here’s the English to Romanian translation of this blog post’s title:

Ce se întâmplă în România?

(Pronounced ch-eh ss-eh in-tomb-pluh un rome-ah-knee-uh)

Whew. That’s a mouthful.

Anyway…

If you follow the From Dill to Dracula Twitter feed (@DillToDracula) you’ve been seeing quite a few of my RTs regarding mass protests currently going on in Romania’s big cities—Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, etc… It’s not unlike all the protests we’ve been having across the pond, here in the good ol’ US of A. (Though, now-a-days, how good ol’ really are we?) Romanians have taken to the streets in defense of their hard-earned democracy, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned of the situation, drawing comparisons with our current political climate. My, what a small world it is. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the positive similarities :/

They’re claiming these protests are the largest since the fall of communism of 1989. If you’ve been following the blog, and my venture with my book One Thousand Stars That Bind, I have a special interest in that period of time, and to see it repeated—in my lifetime, no less—is both heartbreaking and fascinating. I stand with my fellow Romanians. #resist

Let’s see what’s happening

Continue Reading

A Behind The Scenes Look at Romania

An Inside Look At Romania | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

Image via unsplash.com

This week, I want to share with you an inside look at Romania presented by the one and only Rick Steves. There’s so much beauty and history to this country, sometimes words just don’t cut it. But pictures do. Videos even more so. It may be less than a half hour long, but this is an in-depth look at the country, the culture, and the outside influences that helped shape it into the country I know and love today. And I’m not the only one.

Looking for more? Though it’s not Romania specific, Rick Steves does have an Eastern European Travel Guide you can pick up to assist your next trip to Romania.

Looking for something a bit more specific to the country? You can one of the many travel guides focused on Romania here, here and here.

Continue Reading