Russian Season

Icon

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

Rhubarb Meringue Tartelettes

Rhubarb Meringue Tartelettes

Rhubarb… it’s finally here. I’ve been drooling over all the gorgeous rhubarb desserts in your blogs and magazines since late April I guess, but it was only last weekend when I first saw rhubarb on the market. Of course I grabbed a large bunch of crunchy rhubarb stalks, and the next day we were already baking these tartelettes. Mom first came up with the idea of a rhubarb pie, but then we thought we’d try our new individual baking forms, so we decided on shortcrust tartelettes with rhubarb filling topped with soft meringue. This is actually a mini-version of the Raspberry Meringue Pie that we made last summer - my favourite pie ever. It’s super-versatile – you can use strawberries, blackberries or any other berries for the filling, or rhubarb, in our case. The tart rhubarb center hidden between a sweet shortcrust base and a sweet whipped meringue brings you a pleasant surprise. This is a fool-proof recipe; the hardest part is to prevent the cracks on top of meringue, which is achieved by first cooling the meringues in the oven with oven door open, and then gradually transferring them to a cooler place. I skipped this step because the sun was setting and I was in a hurry to take the photos. So, our tartelettes look pretty rustic with these cracks on top… but there’s certain charm in this, don’t you think?

The sad thing is that I don’t have that sweet tooth any longer, and while I really like the combination of sour/sweet flavours and soft/brittle textures in these tartelettes, I can’t have more than one at a time. You should know that ONE tartelette (cupcake, piece of cake, whatever sweet) used to be NOTHING for me. I could live on sweets for days. So I’m really surprised by this change and still can’t get used to it.

Another problem that seriously irritates me lately, is that there’s no decent street food in Riga. No take-away pizzas, no hot/grilled sandwiches, very poor choice of take-away drinks. I’m fed up with store-bought croissants and muesli bars, also because I’d prefer something savoury for lunch. It’s really a problem to have quick lunch in Riga, even if you work in the historical centre of the city, like I do. I recently discovered a place where you can have sushi or hot bento lunch in less than 15 minutes – that’s the only place in the Old Town which is fast, affordable and good-quality at the same time. Arghhh.
And, last but not least, I would like to say huge thanks to Barbara Rolek of Eastern European Food @ About.com, for listing our blog on her Eastern European blogroll. Check out Barbara’s latest Eastern European Beet Recipes!

Rhubarb Meringue Tartelettes

Read the rest of this entry »

Italian Style Haddock with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Italian Style Haddock with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Perhaps cooking will someday become just a part of the boring daily routine for me, but right now there’s nothing more relaxing than spending a couple of hours tinkering with a fascinating recipe, taking photos, and tasting the result of our culinary adventures. I couldn’t go to the seaside today because I had to work on a website design (it started to rain in the afternoon anyway), but the time I spent cooking dinner with my Mom was a perfect break from work. We tried Italian-style fish from a book titled “Fast, Fresh and Delicious: 150 Quick and Healthy Family Favorites”. The directions given in the book were very straightforward and correct – we just substituted fresh basil leaves for dried and added one extra tomato for a “tomatier” version. If you use haddock fillets, this flavourful, rich dinner can be made in no time – the slices of zucchini turn tender in 10 minutes and the small pieces of fish cook in another 10-15 minutes. I loved the strong and bold smell of basil leaves and garlic in the sauce, and of course the mild taste and texture of haddock. Haddock is definitely a type of fish where quality exceeds price; I can’t wait to try it in a Russian Ukha!

Oh and guess what we have? Rhubarb! Finally! It’s here! Something tells me we’re going to have a rhubarb dessert tomorrow ;-)

http://www.russianseason.net/index.php/2010/04/redwhite-ukha-russian-fish-soup/

Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Beetroot Soup

Cold Beetroot Soup

At some point, I was afraid that with this ongoing Icelandic volcano eruption we wouldn’t have summer at all, but it seems like there’s still not enough ash above Europe to deprive us of summer. This week has been really warm and we’ve been enjoying cold beverages, refreshing salads, frozen desserts, and cold soups. I still haven’t bought an ice-cream machine, but I’m determined to do so by mid-June. Then I’d probably need a book with ice-cream recipes – any suggestions are very welcome as I have just enough time to order one from Amazon (again, unless the volcanic ash doesn’t come between). Oh and speaking of the volcano eruption, when I first heard about that air service collapse that had happened due to the ash cloud spread, my first thought was: how will my boyfriend get here from London?? and my second was: oh my God if this continues for more than a week, how are they going to transport fruit and vegetables from overseas? Do you think I can now be considered a true foodie? :)

Anyway, this cold beetroot soup is quite a typical Eastern European soup; different variations of this soup exist in Polish, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian cuisine. It’s healthy (as anything with beetroots is), attractive (as anything of pink colour is), and refreshing (as any cold soup is). You also have slices of fresh, crunchy cucumbers and radishes in it, and a pinch of spring onions, and little cubes of hardboiled egg. There’s a hint of sweetness and a hint of sourness in it, a bit of crunch and a bit of tenderness. There’s the vitality of fresh herbs, which you are free to experiment with. And of course there’s plenty of freshness in each bowl of cold beetroot soup.

Ingredients for cold beetroot soup
Read the rest of this entry »

Cheese&Onion Chicken Rolls with Vegetable&Dried Plum Salad

Cheese&Onion Chicken Rolls with Vegetable and Dried Plum Salad

I haven’t eaten meat or poultry for many years now, and even when I HAD to try some chicken recently (I really HAD to), I was surprised how different the taste and the texture were from what I had in my memory… Perhaps I had some idealistic impression about chicken meat in my mind, which didn’t match my current sensation. So I’m not going to become a carnivore in the nearest future… expect for fish, which I can’t resist. But, there’re things you can know and feel even if you can’t try them. I’m talking about these chicken rolls now. Stuffed with mild cheese and golden-brown onions, they’re so simple and appetizing – even to me. Like most chicken dishes, they’re quick to prepare and attractive. This recipe has been one of our family favourites for many years now. Mom also used to make similar rolls of beef, but nowadays my parents prefer poultry. Besides, thanks to that golden crust chicken rolls look much much more attractive than meat rolls.

While the rolls were cooking, we quickly made some a salad with fresh vegetables, apples, and dried plums. Who doesn’t love dried fruit in a salad? I’m convinced that adding a handful of chopped dried plums, dried cranberries or even figs is the easiest way to add some special twist to a mix of fresh vegetables and greens. I also love some pine nuts in this salad, but we didn’t have any at hand this time.

And hey, we have first strawberries from Spain here already. They taste almost like local summer strawberries. First strawberries are such a delicacy that you don’t even want to cook anything with them, they’re perfect alone. Weeks pass before you start thinking of some strawberry parfaits or shortcakes or crumbles… and then there’re endless possibilities… I can’t wait to cook with strawberries this summer!

Cheese&Onion Chicken Rolls with Vegetable and Dried Plum Salad

Read the rest of this entry »

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cake

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cobbler

I have no idea of how this happens, but when I look through my blog archives I see we’ve been baking and cooking a lot of sweet dishes recently. I really have no idea why we’re doing this, because when I eat out, I almost never order a dessert these days. I used to have a super sweet tooth, but lately my food cravings have changed and I have eaten no chocolate bars since my birthday, which was in January. I didn’t try the chocolates my parents brought from Venice. I didn’t eat any truffles offered at birthday parties. The only thing I still like is hot chocolate, especially half-and-half dark and white. In fact, I just don’t see chocolates as something edible any longer. They just bring no emotion to me - I stay impassive even if I feel the smell of my one-time favourite milk chocolate. Strange, isn’t it? Instead, I’ve been enjoying savoury foods like pizza, lasagna, polenta, and huge bowls of fresh salads. Perhaps the organism is running out of vitamins and asking for something healthier than sweets. I drool over your rhubarb and asparagus recipes guys – I’m so impatient for fresh greens and berries.

But, while I day-dream about fresh vegetables, my hands do quite the opposite thing. They leaf through recipe books and magazines, pick sweet dishes and cakes, and cook them. Yeah… they lead a pretty independent life!

Today’s cherry cake was actually Mom’s idea. She found the recipe in her notes, it had been copied from some newspaper, the title of which, unfortunately, we can’t recollect now. The cake is something similar to cobbler or clafoutis; berries are covered with cottage cheese and semolina batter, but you don’t turn the cake upside down when ready. Of course I’d prefer fresh cherries to canned, but welcome to reality girl :) The weird thing about this recipe was that the cake baked for an hour and 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes!! The recipe didn’t mention how hot the oven should be, but we decided to cook it on a low heat so that the cherries wouldn’t burn… as a result the cake was ready in more than an hour!

Before I go to have a slice of this mild-flavoured, moist cake and a glass of milk, I just wanted to ask: what are your spring food cravings? I’m really curious to know!

Cottage Cheese and Semolina Cherry Cake

Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Apple Sponge Cake

Simple Apple Sponge Cake

Interestingly enough, all of my best friends are Tauruses. Three of my best friends plus my boyfriend, to be more precise. That’s why I’ve spent all my free time at birthday parties recently (makes me feel very popular, hehe). One of my friends is mastering Ayurvedic cooking by the way, which is much more diverse than I used to think. I should ask her to write a guest post about that delicious zucchini and pea soup she made for her birthday! It was so healthy and colourful – I loved how the soup sparkled with yellows and greens when I added a spoonful of sour cream into it!

So, as you might have guessed, I’ve been so busy going out that I haven’t really cooked anything worth displaying here. Instead, Mum cooked her great and simple sponge cake with apples and cinnamon. One of our family all-time favourites, it’s easy and cheap to make. A slice of apple sponge cake with a glass of milk (or baked milk, which I’m a huge fan of) – that’s a real comfort food, don’t you think so?

Simple Apple Sponge Cake
Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Are you curious to learn more about Eastern European cuisine?
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

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

More about RussianSeason.net
Foodbuzz





Follow russianseason on Twitter

bloglovin




Our Flickr Photostream

ChurchkhelaWhite TulipsBaked Millet BarMillet BarsGreen and YellowCottage Cheese Apricot BunCottage Cheese Apricot BunPetushki LollpipopsChocolate Butter

Baking on Foodista