Russian Season


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

A Few More Words On Borsch

Vegetarian Russian Borsch

I already wrote about  Borsch, but we had very few readers at that time, so I thought it would be nice to highlight this awesome soup once again. It’s one of the pillars of Russian/Ukrainian cuisine, so you can never have too much Borsch! Made with juicy and colourful sauteed vegetables, complemented with freshly squeezed garlic and fresh chilli, and tinted with tomato paste, Borsch is such a universal kind of soup - I don’t associate it with a certain time of the year, for example. It’s equally good in summertime, when all you need for dinner is fresh vegetables, and in winter, when a bowl of comfortingly warm soup can bring you out of hibernation. This time vegetarian Borsch served as a detox meal to me - remember I was going to eat healthier after all the cakes I had been baking? I also made a polenta, and of course I’m still the terror of chickens as I’m still going on with my increased protein consumption.

Do you think I have deserved the right to bake a batch of pumpkin muffins tonight?.. :)


Borsch: Click here for our recipe with step-by-step photos (check out the secret ingredient of Borsch and the trick to intensify the colour of beets!)

In the pictures: serve Borsch with a spoonful of sour cream and a slice of rye bread with hot Russian mustard!

Vegetarian Russian Borsch

Banana Upside-Down Cake

Banana Upside-Down Loaf

I can’t keep getting away with it forever. Yes I squeeze in my pre-pregancy jeans, but having a cake every night… hmm… this doesn’t really encourage weight loss, you know? But I just can’t resist. My web browser is full of cooking-related bookmarks and I’m baking a new cake almost every night. I still have persimmon cake on my to-make list for this weekend, but I (kind of) promised myself to concentrate on baking with quince savoury, non-baked, and just healthier things next week. I just hope that the calories I lose while whipping up a cake batter while running back and forth from the kitchen to the room to check the baby, partly compensate for the calories I consume. I hope. Oh and I work out a few days per week. I’m a good girl :) just in an acute phase of baking obsession.

Anyway, what I made last night was so good that I needed to share the recipe. Banana Upside-down Cake by lululu at home - imagine slices of fragrant sweet bananas coated with buttery gooey caramel on top of an equally buttery cake? Sounds good and guilty, doesn’t it? Unfortunately I didn’t have brown sugar at hand, so I made this with plain white sugar, that’s why my cake is not as perfectly golden as lululu’s. I also added a generous pinch of salt to the caramel, just because I like salted caramel. And of course I made the cake twice as small. I don’t have a small flat baking form in this apartment, so I baked the cake in a deeper loaf form. There’s just me and Stano who have to deal with all the pastry I produce, after all! Fortunately my Dad came over for a cup of tea and he helped us a little bit :)

My mistake was that I used too little bananas. I thought I arranged them very densely when raw, but when the batter raised, there appeared large gaps between the slices. And the bananas somehow reduced in size. I used two bananas for twice as little batter (the original recipe called for 3 bananas), and still these were not enough. I guess I should have arranged them in two layers so that they’d overlap. But even despite all these imperfections, the cake tasted great. Thank you Fanny of Lululu at home! Next time I’ll certainly make it with brown sugar to achieve that beautiful rich colour!

Banana Upside-Down Cake: Click here for Recipe

Banana Upside-Down Loaf of Cake

Quince Butter

Quince Butter

I had never seen quince in our supermarkets until this year. Now I’m thinking that all of our supermarket chains buy in foods from the same wholesaler, because quince suddenly appeared in ALL major supermarkets. Okay… Quince jam is quite a classical feature of Russian cooking, yet I have never had it before. I’ve always been curious what it tastes like!! I still haven’t made quince jam however, because this fruit is very expensive here, and I’ve been feeling stingy:) In fact when I bought quinces for the first time, the lady at the checkout asked what this was… yeah seems like it’s still too rare here!

Therefore, I made some quince butter - just for dessert. I baked two quinces with a lot of butter and then pureed them. Because I baked them, the butter had a subtle nutty flavour and was opaque and thick. The colour was very interesting too - I couldn’t tell whether it was beige or rose or milky yellow. I really liked the mild, warm flavour that resembled baked apples with a hint of pineapple and citrus. I’m not sure if I can eat a lot of quince now as I breastfeed, so I just tested the butter and gave it to my sister. In fact I’d love to make some yummy preserves or desserts in small pretty jars and give them as Christmas presents, but I doubt that this is possible with a 2 1/2-month-old. Even though she is getting more and more independent! Yes, she now seems really independent compared to what she was a month ago, when I just couldn’t leave her alone for a single minute. Now she can play on her own for half an hour for example and I can do my chores… or blog! And then, we have a fantastic family and a brilliant Daddy who spends really a lot of time with the baby!

Baked Quince Butter

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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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