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

White Bean Soup

Cannellini Soup

This simple and budget-friendly soup used to be a frequent plat du jour in our home when we were children. Of course, Mom used to make it without Parmesan cheese; we first heard about Parmigiano-Reggiano about ten to twelve years ago, I believe. Like a lot of kids or teenagers, I was not crazy over soups back then; sometimes I succeeded to talk Mom into adding some Vegeta-type-of-thing to my chicken soup, that was deliciousness!! :) It was quite impossible to sprinkle Vegeta into white bean soup that was always served with sour cream, so why would I like it as a child?

And, like a lot of adults, I enjoy a bowl of warming, filling soup these days. I like to make cannellini soup by my Mom’s recipe. And Mom has found out that a handful of grated Parmesan cheese lends this light soup some pleasant sharpness, which blends harmoniously with the aroma of garlic and the flavour of full-fat sour cream. A fresh twist on a basic dish from my childhood.

Sorry for the lame pictures by the way, I was in a hurry as always :-p
UPD: Check out our recipe for Kulich - Russian Easter bread - featured on The Hungarian Girl, the great web guide to Central and Eastern European travel, wine, and food. You might be also interested in reading about Easter traditions in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and other countries here!
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Large Cupcakes For Little Ivanka

Lemon Cupcakes for Ivanka

Ivanka has turned 6 months old! It feels like it was a week ago that we brought her home from the hospital, and yet it feels like she’s been here always. The first two and the most exhausting months have simply disappeared from my memory. I know there have been sleepless nights and tears and exhaustion, but I don’t really remember all that.  As we all know, that’s how a woman’s brain is designed. It erases all negative memories connected to giving birth and raising a child.

Ivanka's little foot

Ivanka has changed so much from a tiny orange-skinned creature to a lively baby interested in everything. She wants to touch our books, drink our tea, taste our food, and of course her biggest dream is to play with the notebooks, mobile phones, and electric cords. The sports programme is prevailing at the moment: she is more interested in learning to crawl and trying to stand up than to learn pronouncing new sounds… what she does love though is to spit with a loud bubbling “ppp” sound - she can do that for hours… *sigh* hope she will make us happy with some more advanced sounds soon!

Ivanka's clothes

To celebrate Ivanka’s little anniversary, I made some cupcakes. Well, strictly speaking these were muffins topped with cream cheese and whipped cream and they were too large to be called cupcakes, but anyway. Cakes, mini cakes, large cupcakes, whatever - I am proud that I have managed to bake and decorate them:) They are not as neat and beautiful as what I’d like them to be, but I believe they’re quite okay for a busy Mom :) I’ve never been a perfectionist, after all.

Decoration

I adapted the recipe for lemon muffins from here and topped them with cream cheese that I whipped with some maple syrup. I had baked these muffins before and I loved how well buttermilk and lemon paired, not to mention how fluffy the batter was thanks to the combination of acid and baking soda. For the other sort of cakes, I used the same proportions, incorporating some whole wheat flour, frozen sour cherries, cinnamon, and nutmeg. For some reason I love the combination of nutmeg and cherries. These muffins/cupcakes came out more moist and dense, with a pleasant homely flavour of whole wheat. I decorated them with cherry-flavoured whipped cream and coloured sugar hearts… I hope Ivanka liked them even though she couldn’t eat them! :)

Ivanka's clothes

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Pozharskie Kotlety (Pozharsky Cutlets)

Pozharsky's Cutlet

While I still eat chicken… I should post as many chicken recipes as possible :) I plan to breastfeed until Ivanka turns 1 year old, so I still have 6 months ahead to test and post chicken recipes. What’s the connection between breastfeeding and eating chicken? As I already wrote here, I have been eating poultry in order to maintain my animal protein balance since I got pregnant. And I’m planning to quit eating poultry as soon as I stop to breastfeed.

This time I would like to tell you about Pozharsky Cutlets. My Mom made these for me the other day, when I visited my parents to take pictures of something beautiful… something I’ll show you later.

There are two versions of the story behind this old Russian recipe. The first version suggests that Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, whose home chef was famous for his veal cutlets, once wanted to make them for the Great Prince of Moscow, but the chef had run out of veal and, instead, made analogous cutlets with chicken. The high guest liked the chicken cutlets so much that he asked for the recipe, and soon Pozharsky’s chicken cutlets became a hit among the Russian nobility.

Another version says that this recipe was invented by an inn owner Pozharsky’s wife. This legend says that Russian Tzar Alexander the First once stayed in the inn and ordered veal cutlets. The inn’s owner was shocked to realize that there was no veal at hand, and so his wife Darya suggested that he made similar cutlets of chicken fillets with plenty of white bread and butter, coated them in breadcrumbs and served as veal cutlets. Just as in the previous story, the trick worked so well that the cutlets became a popular dish on Tzar’s menu and beyond.

Yet another legend says that Darya Pozharsky learned this recipe from a French man who didn’t have money to pay for lodging and “paid” with this great recipe.

You see how many legends there are behind these simple cutlets? I’m quite sure there might be even more. Whichever version you prefer, I can tell you for sure that thanks to a perfect proportion of meat and other ingredients, these cutlets are extraordinarily juicy, buttery, and tender. Well, I find it morally unacceptable to eat veal, so I have never even tried it and I can’t compare, but I’m absolutely content with these chicken cutlets. My Mom used chicken breasts, so her cutlets were snow-white inside - a quality that makes a cutlet much more visually appealing! And of course the golden-brown breadcrumb coating is irresistible. If you eat chicken meat, go try these now - highly recommended! Read the rest of this entry »

Lemon Curd and Art Nouveau

Lemon Curd

Lately, I’ve been swamped with work. You see, I’ve had no luck trying to find a professional programmer and web designer to redesign my Directory of Russian-speaking businesses in Europe for a reasonable price, and so I’m considering starting the redesign on my own. This sounds like a pretty crazy idea though, as I have tons of daily work with incoming registrations, news, and classifieds, which all need to be moderated and reviewed and promoted and so on. Of course I would never be able to carry on with my site but for my family who help me with the baby while Stano is at work. But even with all the help I receive from my relatives, I’m still hesitating about my ability to start a large redesign project. Motivating tips on balancing work and a baby are welcome! ;-)

Spring Flowers

I’ve been so snowed under with work that I absolutely forgot about Maslenitsa!! I only realized the festive week was nearly over when Mom invited us for a family dinner on the last day of Maslenitsa. So I didn’t even manage to make any Blinis this year! I was so upset. I only made some lemon curd following this recipe by Dansukker. This was my first time making lemon curd at home and I was surprised by how easy that was. I followed the recipe to the word, just incorporating some grated lemon zest for an even more vibrant flavour. I brought a jar of lemon curd to our family get-together and we spread it on the delish Tsar’s Blinis along with caviar, sour cream, and raspberry jam. And I’ve reserved a mini jar of the curd for myself - to stir into my vanilla ice-cream in the evening. Here, I also found some more fabulous ideas for using lemon curd in desserts.

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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

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