Russian Season


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

Super Healthy Root Vegetable Cream Soup

Root Veggie Cream Soup

Cream soup is a balsam to the palate – soothingly soft and silky, it’s usually packed with well-preserved vitamins – be it made of spinach, root vegetables or seafood. One of my favourite kinds of cream soup is sweetcorn soup with crabs. It’s sweet and very, very creamy.

But the soup we are going to talk about today is no less delicious or healthy than that made of sweetcorn. Just take that beta-carotene-loaded pumpkin and carrot, the vitamin K-packed white turnip and parsley root, kick in some vitamin C from the red paprika, finally add some iron and vitamin B6 from the potato, and potassium from the zucchini. Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

Another thing we love about root vegetable soup is that it’s very versatile ingredient-wise. You can actually use any kind of your favourite root vegetables: for example, why not try sweet potatoes in place of plain potatoes? Or experiment with the garnish: this time we served the soup with croutons, thyme and fresh chili, but it can be just as good with black olives, fresh dill, grated Parmesan, or even pine nuts.

I wouldn’t have said cream soups are very typical for Russian/Slavic cuisine, but vegetables like potatoes, white turnip, carrots and parsley definitely are very popular ingredients in Eastern European cooking.

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Tvorozhniki, aka Syrniki, is a very typical Russian/Ukrainian dish. It’s great for breakfast or evening meal, quick, healthy, warm and sweet. And I’m sure you will love the homely and cosy smell of cooking Tvorozhniki!!

The name of this dish derives from Tvorog, which means curd/quark/cottage cheese, or alternatively from Syr – which simply means cheese. Cottage cheese is the key ingredient here – and the most problematic one, as its texture and taste varies SO greatly from country to country! Whenever I go abroad, I always know that it’s going to be difficult to find the right sort of cottage cheese there. In this post we provide some pictures of what OUR cottage /quark cheese looks like, so please try to find something as close as possible to it. The basic rule is to opt for the largest grains and the minimum of salt added (or else this might turn to a savoury treat). The larger the grains, the more fluffy and thick your Tvorozhniki will be.

I think we can now go to the recipe itself, as it is just so simple and quick! Read the rest of this entry »

Pear and Cream Cake

Pear Cake Ingredients

Last week we bought some incredibly soft and sweet autumn pears, and Mom immediately came up with the idea of a Pear and Cream Cake. We used frozen puff pastry – or you might prefer to make your own at home, which means you are a very patient person :) I easily come to a compromise between the store-bought and the home-made when it comes to puff pastry. They sell some really good-quality pastry in a nearby supermarket, and it makes life so much easier! Isn’t a home-made croissant or turnover made with frozen puff pastry still better than having sandwiches for lunch again?!

Pear Cake and Grapes

Anyways, we laid those sugary-simmered pears on a sheet of pastry, topped them with whipped egg and cream, sprinkled the cake with almond shavings, put it into oven and waited for 45 minutes, enjoying the warm smells of melting cream, vanilla, and baking pastry. The cake came out tender and sweet, with a very mild citrus flavour and a dreamy touch of vanilla. We let it cool until room temperature, so it became easy to cut. You might as well try serving it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Read the rest of this entry »

Lemon Smetana Pie

Lemon Pie

In this Northern country we happened to live in, autumn is approaching already. I’ve noticed I have much less cravings for ice-cream and sorbets, and much more for tea, hot chocolate and something sweet and baked, preferably something you can prepare on a Friday night and stretch the pleasure into the weekend.

Sunny P said she was with me about the lemon zest diet – well, unfortunately I haven’t yet thought of one, but we did make a pie with four large and juicy lemons the other night. Just imagine that tart-and-fruity filling wrapped into a soft, moist pastry. Mmm. I think we’ll be making this pie with cranberries in place of lemons some time in future, and of course I’ll post the recipe and pictures if we do. Basically you might use almost any fresh berries as a filling, but something sour is better. And the most exciting thing about lemon filling is that you grind the lemons entirely, with all zest.

Another important tip is to let the pie cool properly before serving. Maybe even leave it in a cool place overnight and let the lemons soak into the pastry.

Finally, about the lemons. We had those really sour ones, so we took 1 cup sugar per lemon for the filling. If you prefer to use sweeter sorts of lemon, such as Meyer or other, please make sure you re-calculate the amount of sugar you need. Read the rest of this entry »

Chanterelle and Spinach Omelette

Chanterelle and Spinach Omelette

This is just a quick and simple omelette we made the other night with leftover chanterelles. Actually we’ve been frying and freezing a lot of chanterelles to be able to make some soups or those lovely Chanterelle Turnovers after the season is over. I guess I’ve already mentioned that these mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients – I’m sure I could stay on a chanterelle diet for weeks and weeks! Another ingredient I love is lemon and lemon zest. But a lemon zest diet would be more challenging, I suppose.

You might notice that we didn’t add any spice to this omelette. In fact, I don’t support the overuse of spice at all. Yes I love the warm and mild flavour of vanilla in sweet pastry, or the exotic flavour of curry in sautéed vegetables, or those balsamic, piny notes of fresh rosemary that are so perfect for roasted salmon. But, eggs should taste like eggs and spinach should taste like spinach, to my mind. That’s why this omelette does not contain any spice.

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Are you curious to learn more about Eastern European cuisine? 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!
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