Russian Season


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

Two Chicory Drinks

Chicory Coffee

You might have noticed that I often complain about food diversity/availability here in Latvia. That’s why we decided we’d occasionally write about our favourite Latvian or Eastern European products. Some of them are also available overseas; some are specific to Latvia. Just to let you know there are good foods here too :) Because despite all criticism, there are plenty of local foods I’ll miss when I move away. And, with all the travel collapse in Europe, we will soon have to turn to domestic produce, hehe. Which would look, however, quite miserable, as I went to buy some greens the other day and found out that the spring onions were from Cyprus, the dills were from Israel, and the rocket salad had arrived from Sweden. Why can’t we grow our local dills and onions?.. Okay okay enough of this… I was actually going to write about chicory root extract!

Chicory root extract

This thick and dark liquid made of roasted chicory root is produced in Ukraine. I had tried ground chicory root drink before I discovered this, and I can say that liquid extract is much much better. A huge advantage is that you can easily dissolve it in cold water. It is made of chicory extract (70%) and water (30%). No sugar, and 45% natural inulin, which is great news for diabetics. And of course chicory is a good caffeine-free coffee substitute. I hardly ever drink coffee – unless I need to stay awake for 24 hours in a row, yelling at others, feeling stressed, irritated, and awkward. No thanks; I’d rather have a cup of fake coffee made of chicory root :)

I’m sure most of you have heard of chicory root coffee, yet there’s another chicory drink you might not have tried before. It’s made with cold water and fresh lemon juice and makes a refreshing, bitter-ish drink, slightly resembling Kvas. And again, just think how healthy it is!

Do you have any other chicory drink suggestions?

Refreshing chicory drink
Read the rest of this entry »

Almost Valentine’s Milk Shake

Banana Milk Shake

We didn’t really mean this banana milk shake as a Valentine’s Day treat. The idea was born because we had read that one should enter the Year of White Tiger with something made of milk on the table. So we thought of this sweet, lip-smacking banana milk shake with egg liqueur flavour, decorated with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. This looked pretty much like a Valentine’s Day cocktail too!

But, that’s not all. I mean, not all special occasions for today. This year, the great holiday of Russian Maslenitsa falls on February 14th as well!! Maslenitsa symbolizes the end of winter (*cough*… it’s still snowing here) or at least it gives you some hope that winter is coming to its end! - and it opens the long Lent which precedes the Orthodox Easter. On Maslenitsa, you eat loads of pancakes (blinis)! My Mum made a huge stack of Tsar blinis, which I’ve taken photos of and which I’ll be talking about in my next post. So, we had those exclusive Tsar blinis with red caviar and a selection of home-made jams, and crowned the dinner with a milk shake that should help us gain the White Tiger’s favour.

Let’s see what the Tiger brings us!

Banana Milk Shake
Read the rest of this entry »

Cranberry Kisel

Cranberry Kisel

Kisel (kee-‘sel) is a thick, starchy drink made mostly of fruit and berries. Kisel can be also made of oats or wheat, which I wouldn’t dare to try. I do admit that this can be really healing for a diseased stomach though. What’s interesting is that oatmeal kisel is one of the oldest Russian dishes ever. There’s a legend telling about an ancient Russian city besieged by nomadic tribes and suffering from famine until an old sage told the citizens to collect all remaining oats and all honey they could still find in their cellars. The citizens did as the wise man told them and brewed kisel from the oats, and sweet drink from the honey. They made two new water wells and filled them with kisel and honey drink, then invited a delegation of nomads, showed them the wells full of drink and kisel, and assured the guests that they had enough food to survive. The nomads were astonished at the fact that Russians obtained food directly from their land and told their king about the miracle. The situation seemed pretty hopeless. The siege was raised, and the nomads went away in search of a different city to conquer.

There’s also the expression “Milk rivers and kisel shores” in the Russian language, which is used to describe carefree and prosperous life.

You see how important this drink is in Russian culture?

You can have kisel as a soothing drink or serve it with cream of rice, rice pudding, oatmeal cream, or with all kinds of mousse, cream, and custard. In our next post, we will be talking about whipped vanilla custard with cranberry kisel. Kisel is also a pretty widespread dish/drink here in Latvia. They even sell dry kisel mix in stores (never tried that as it’s very simple to prepare from scratch). At my office canteen, they manage to serve nearly every dessert with kisel (ķīselis). It’s a little bit unusual for me to have my apple pie sunk in kisel, but generally it’s nice. And it’s so healthy.

Please note that in this recipe we are using wild cranberries picked in the forest – they contain much more acid and are very juicy inside. Is you use farm cranberries, consider adding less sugar.
Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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!)

More about

Follow russianseason on Twitter


Our Flickr Photostream

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

Baking on Foodista