Russian Season


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

Courgette and Chanterelle Mini Tarts

Courgette and Chanterelle Mini Tarts

Seems like I’m moving to an apartment with an induction stove and an electric oven – that’s something new for me as I’ve always cooked with gas. Maybe that’s old-fashioned, but it’s visually clear to me, and I like that you can adjust the temperature instantly. Another big pro is that gas is considerably cheaper than electricity in my country. Maybe it’s also the bad experience from our last year’s trip to Croatia that puts me off induction stoves. We were staying in a small cottage house by the sea and the cooker in our mini-kitchen was probably the cheapest you could find. You’d have to wait for 40 minutes to bring water to a boil. Oh I still remember the evening that I tried to fry eggplants. The first three or four batches looked more like steamed eggplants - pale and spongy. Then suddenly I got a pan of overcooked eggplant chips. Then I switched off the heat, the eggplants went into trash, and we had sandwiches for dinner.

But I really hope the stove and oven in the new apartment are nothing similar to the one we had in Croatia. I can’t wait to move and unpack my new baking pans and moulds and my Villeroy&Boch cutlery. Perhaps I’ll need to buy a set of nice mugs and bowls for daily use, and a million of other things. Hope I won’t go bankrupt!

These tarts were made in our good old gas oven. We had two packs of phyllo pastry in the freezer and a lot of fresh chanterelles (they seem to be our top ingredient this summer). At first we thought of a potato and mushroom pie that we’ve already made a few times (I love pastry with potatoes!), but then we thought that the winy flavour of chanterelles would also pair perfectly with the mild sweetness of courgette. I think one can also experiment with shredded and browned carrots or fried onions here, in any combination with the mushrooms. If you have prepared the ingredients in advance, it takes you just half an hour to assemble and bake the tarts!

Courgette and Chanterelle Mini Tarts

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Just To Let You Know I’m Still Here

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

You know, there are days that alter your priorities. Like, you decide to do some ironing before going to bed (because you’ve been falling asleep at 5am for the last 3 weeks and you need to find a way to relax before sleep) and get an electric shock when plugging in the iron. As they’re taking you to the hospital in an ambulance, all you can think of is that you never again want to see that expression on your relatives’ faces and that nothing really matters except for your own and your family’s health and safety. Just half an hour ago you were doing your chores, planning your tomorrow and text messaging to your friends - it’s unbelievable that your cozy and comfortable life has an evil face too, and sometimes it turns with that evil face towards you. When you finally come back from the hospital, you delete half of the bookmarks on your blogroll, because you don’t feel like reading about shopping and first date ideas. All you want is to be forever with your family, at your home, even if there’s too little space and you’ve wanted a new sofa for ages.

But, at least, this cured my insomnia and I’ve slept for 12 hours in a row :)

I’ve also received a bunch of silly questions at the hospital, like “do you have bared wires there?”… I guess every doctor and every nurse asked me if I had been messing with bared wires!

And here’re just a few shots of the birthday cake my Mom made for her own birthday (I’m afraid I made her a bad present) - it’s another variation of Strawberry Cake we made for sister’s birthday in June. This time it was made with two types of blueberries and raspberries. I liked it even better than the strawberry cake, it resembled a fluffy parfait with whipped cream and fresh berries. The large garden blueberries, which I generally find too watery compared to forest blueberries, worked out perfectly on top of the cake. I will ask Mom and post a recipe later - there’s little difference from the Strawberry Birthday Cake. Right now I’m off to bed - my own bed… home sweet home!

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

Lazy Vareniki with Fresh Apricot Jam

Lazy Vareniki with fresh Apricot Jam

First of all, I would like to say huge thanks for all your nice comments on our First Anniversary post! As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been on a small break from blogging – that’s because I’ve been living in another place where I had absolutely no free space to take photos. Now I’m back and trying to catch up on your updates. My mailbox is bursting with Foodbuzz newsletters and Twitter notifications… so much to read there! I’ve unsubscribed from about ten newsletters recently in order to clear out my mailboxes, but there are still a few I can’t live without!

The heat and sultriness are still here. I hardly know anyone who has air conditioning at home, summer has always been very mild in Latvia. Air conditioners are bad for the environment, after all. So, there are air conditioners in offices and public places like malls etc, but not in people’s homes. I had grand baking plans for this summer – really wanted to learn to make pizza from scratch, for example – but it’s absolutely unbearable to mess with the oven in this weather. I’ve been making tons of blackcurrant cordial instead. We drink it with ice sparkling water as a refreshing fizzy drink. Stano has been freezing cherry and blueberry ice popsicles and making berry and peach smoothies. Looks like his favourite kitchen appliance is hand blender – he always wants to turn all fruit and berries we get into purée, lol. So he is the master of smoothies in our kitchen.

Today, Mom and I decided to make Lazy Vareniki. These are called “lazy” because in contrast to classic Vareniki (which you might also know as Pierogi), cottage cheese is mixed directly into dough, which is shaped into small dumplings. They are much easier and quicker to make than standard Vareniki. Served with melted butter, sour cream, sprinkled with sugar or accompanied by jam, Lazy Vareniki make a very filling homey breakfast! I had some overripe apricots that I cut into quarters and cooked with sugar and ground cinnamon for some 15 minutes until they turned tender and translucent. I served our Lazy Vareniki with this fresh apricot jam. Mmmm!

Lazy Vareniki with Fresh Apricot Jam

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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!
Our email address is:

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

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