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Russian, Eastern European and international cuisine brought to you by a mother and a daughter

Back in the USSR: Chocolate Sausage Revisited

Chocolate Sausage

Chocolate Sausage may sound kind of gross, especially to vulnerable creatures like vegetarians or even semi-vegetarians. But, that’s how this sort of chocolate fudge candy was called when I and my sister were kids, and it was a typical Soviet home-made candy. Every time Mom would prepare this Chocolate Sausage, it was so tantalizing for us to wait until the candy would cool! Nowadays I often think of that feeling of great, unbearable impatience, a feeling that you constantly experience when you’re a kid and gradually lose as you grow up – and last night as I put the fudge into the fridge to let it sit there overnight, I proudly thought to myself: “Good, this is my fudge candy, I’m a big girl and I can wait patiently till it cools”. Later, I popped in to the kitchen to check it three times more. Because you know, it had to be controlled.

What actually made me think of Chocolate Sausage was Pegasuslegend’s lovely post about Rocky Road Fudge Candy, which I came across on FoodBuzz. This recipe made me feel so nostalgic! I tried to recall the Soviet Chocolate Sausage recipe to compare, but of course I couldn’t, so eventually Mom fished this recipe out of her culinary archives. Of course we had to revise and adapt the recipe a little bit. Where it called for very simple, basic ingredients such as raisins (alternatively, jellies – or even leftover toffees, in the most hard-core variation) and walnuts, we decided to use dried cranberries and cashew. We thought this might also work well with papaya, but for some reason all dried papaya had disappeared from the stores that day, so we bought cranberries. Cranberries lend the candy a pleasing hint of fruity sourness.

If you ever have a bizarre idea of having a Soviet-style party, you should keep this recipe in mind. The sweet does look like a sausage! Read the rest of this entry »

Stuffed Peppers a la Romaine

Stuffed Pepper

Stuffed Peppers is one of those old good recipes which we adapted from a kind of family relic – a gorgeous Romanian cookbook. It’s packed with irresistible recipes of fruit pies, berry pastes and jams, sweetcorn&cheese casseroles, and other meals I drool over. Of course it also includes a variety of poultry and meat recipes – not as exciting for me, yet useful.

While stuffed peppers are a basically simple dish to prepare, this might be pretty time-consuming as you’ve got to prepare all vegetables separately - and also spend some time seeding and stuffing the peppers, of course. But it is definitely worth the wait – also because you can store the peppers in fridge for 2-3 days no problem.

One of the key points here is to blanch the peppers before stuffing them, as a couple of minutes in boiling water makes them much more elastic. It’s also important to choose peppers that are not too thick and fleshy, otherwise you will feel like “hmm there seems to be too much sweet pepper in this dish!”. On the other hand, they should not be very thin, as thin peppers are easy to overcook, especially if you’re going to reheat them afterwards (I accept no microwaved food, just in case).

Everything else is really simple. In this post, we’ll tell you our method of cooking stuffed peppers in two variations: with and without meat. The vegetarian version is for me and it uses eggplant instead of meat.

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Raspberry And Whipped Egg Whites Cake

We baked this delicious, summery cake for Mom’s birthday just the other day.

A luscious raspberry filling resting on a buttery sweetcrust base and topped with a layer of airy, delicate whipped egg whites, covered with tiny drops of sugar syrup. Those amber-coloured drops appear if you leave the cake overnight; you don’t have to apply them specially, just in case you were wondering:) Just because when people first see this cake they’re mostly interested in how we make these drops of sugar for decoration.

Actually, if you look at the list of ingredients, you will see that it’s very simple.

I have to warn you however, that when you bake this cake, the hardest part is not to eat it all in the process of cooking. Personally I can never restrain myself from having a bit of raw home-made shortcrust pastry again and again while I am busy with other ingredients. Then, the egg whites; whipped with caster sugar and vanilla, they could serve as a standalone dessert, I believe. And of course the sugared raspberries – so ripe and enjoyable. So I am sincerely happy for you if you don’t like raw sweetcrust pastry or whipped egg whites. At least you’ll be able to wait patiently till the cake is ready. I can’t.

Raspberry And Whipped Egg Whites Cake

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Parene Buchty (A Recipe From Slovakia)

Parene Buchty

Last night we cooked a dish which I first tried this summer in the beautiful Slovakia. The dish is called Parene Buchty (pronounced bookhti). These are a sort of large steam-cooked dumplings with a filling inside, which makes it quite a heavy food, but we tried to adapt the original recipe by taking fine flour instead of coarse flour and making the dumplings smaller in size (I think ours were about twice as small).

I also spent some time at the supermarket choosing the right plum jam for the filling, as I needed a very thick, yet not gelatinous jam. If it is jelly-like, it will melt too soon and may start leaking, you know. Finally I discovered a jam I had never tried before, which turned out to be pretty good. And it never bubbled or leaked.

So, if you want a substantial, folksy Eastern European dessert, here is the Parene Buchty recipe.


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Curry Rice With Eggplants and Peppers

Everybody in our family loves risotto, which we make with or without mushrooms, adding zucchini and white wine. Aww that creamy, tender texture of risotto rice, saturated in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. And yes, we know this is not at all a Russian dish :)

But, sometimes you just don’t have all the necessary risotto components at hand. For example, this time we didn’t have any Arborio rice or Parmesan cheese. So, we decided to cook white rice with vegetables and mushroom stock instead. And it tasted good! The flavourful mushroom stock paired perfectly with eggplants. And fried carrots lent a cheerful warm colour to rice. The day was saved!

Curry Rice with Eggplants and Peppers

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Raspberry and Cottage Cheese Turnovers

One of the things I’ve always liked about living in Latvia is its dairy products. I love Latvian milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, and all those products that I don’t even know the English names for. And, if you want to spoil my day, offer me some thin, transparent, blueish 0.5% milk for breakfast :) which they often do in hotels by the way.

Cottage cheese, or curd, or tvorog in Russian, is one of key dairy products for us, and an essential ingredient in a lot of dishes we cook at home. We have already talked about Khachapuri here, and now we’d like to offer you another kind of pastry which can be done with cottage cheese.

So, Raspberry and Cottage Cheese Turnovers. Sweet milky filling and luscious, fragrant berries enclosed in filo pastry. Oh, and there’s vanilla in them, too. Can you resist anything that contains vanilla?

Raspberry and Cottage Cheese Turnovers
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RussianSeason.net is a food blog run by two Russian-speaking women - a mother (Natalia) and a daughter (Alina) - living in Latvia. Natalia is a professional artist and Alina is the co-owner of a web directory of Russian-speaking businesses in Europe. We both cook and Alina writes posts and takes photos.
In our blog you'll find a range of (mostly tweaked&adapted) recipes from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltics, and former USSR. But we can't restrain ourselves from experimenting with other cuisines too :)
Stano is the guy behind the Slovak version of this blog. He is currently living and working in Latvia and is also known as the Man Who Makes Alina Eat A Lot Of Cakes, because he hardly ever eats cakes or pies she bakes. He doesn't have a sweet tooth, you see. Stano also provides us with traditional Slovak recipes - such as Halušky that he's been promising to make for 7 months now :) Just be patient - we're sure he will eventually do it!
Ivanka is the largest cross-cultural project Alina and Stano have been ever involved in:) We hope she will be a foodie too when she grows up!
Our email address is: russianseason@gmail.com

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