Russian Season


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

Churchkhela - A Sweet From The Caucasus

Georgian Churchkhela

Today I’m going to tell you about a  Georgian sweet that a relative of mine recently brought us from the Caucasus. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with the church; it is a sausage-shaped sweet that (to my mind) looks a little bit gross yet tastes good.

Churchkhela is made by dipping strings of nuts or dried fruits into thickened grape juice with addition of flour; then Churchkhelas are dried in the sun or in a dry ventilated place. The grape juice that coats the filling is rubbery and very dense; it has a mildly sweet flavour and a subtle fruity smell.

This sweet is also made in Armenia, I’ve eaten it in the Crimea, and I’ve heard that they have an analogous sweet in Turkey. The variety I’ve had in the Crimea had a thinner coating of juice and was coloured into bright yellow, red, or purple. The Churchkhela I got from Georgia looks more natural, and the thickened juice is more tender. This variety has walnuts inside: Read the rest of this entry »

Lazy Pahlava


The best Pahlava I have ever tried was in Turkey: it was soaked in honey, golden, and crunchy. Tatar Pahlava in the Crimea is also good, usually made in two ways: with minced walnuts and without them, just of thin, glossy honey filo pastry. Here in Riga you can find Pahlava in, say, Armenian restaurants or even buy some in a supermarket, but of course it’s not as fresh and good as it is in those Southern parts of the world, where the sun makes honey melt, and your fingers stick together as you take another piece of delicious Oriental dessert.
Dreaming about all that warmth and sunshine and summer laziness, we cooked this “Lazy Pahlava” today. It’s really lazy as we didn’t make any filo pastry. And we didn’t add any rosewater or other special flavourings that are added to traditional Pahlava. But, I think the result was very good nonetheless! Lazy Pahlava is quick and easy to make, it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, the crust is soft and the filling is pleasantly moist. Actually, we used fresh organic walnuts from Slovakia, so the filling is incredibly juicy!
If you try this, you might want to substitute at least half of the sugar for honey I guess. It’s just that not everyone in our family likes honey in baked goods.


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Khachapuri: Version RussianSeason

There’re many ways to make this traditional Georgian dish. We make Khachapuris of filo pastry with cheese filling inside – we find this the best way to preserve the softness and moistness of cheese and curd. Khachapuris can also be made in the form of small open boat-shaped pies, or filled and folded like envelopes, or even topped with a raw egg.

So, this recipe is more of a “Fantasy on a theme of Khachapuri”. We adapted it from a range of different (and quite controversial) recipes, but the essential ingredients remain: salty cheese, curd, and egg.


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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!
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