Russian Season

Icon

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

Slovak Bread Fondue

Slovak Bread Fondue
As soon as I saw this recipe I knew Stano would love it. There was a lot of cheese and a lot of bread in it, and bacon and spring onions - and it was baked (his second favourite after fried)! So I made it on a Saturday while the children were sleeping, and we even managed to watch about 1/5 of The Artist while munching on this delicious and flavourful fondue. Then the kids woke up and the same old story began… it took us 3 evenings to watch the entire movie!

And yes, you read right - there’re now four of us! Our little Milena was born in late April, she is a Dragon by Chinese horoscope (which I think is pretty cool), she has dark hair and is a little copy of her father - again! I was sure our second baby would look more like me, but no - she’s another tiny clone of Stano.

Milena

I’ve missed food blogging so much, so I’ll try to post new recipes every now and then. Not sure I’ll be able to reply to all the comments that have been added ever since though! Sorry - and a huge thankyou for your feedback, your suggestions and your questions! And here’s the recipe for this brilliant fondue cooked and served in a loaf of bread. There will be no dishes to wash after the meal, as the “spoons” are made of bread too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Post: Chocolate Chip Cookies

American Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello Russian Season readers!

This is Amanda. Since Alina’s been busy these days with redesigning her other website, I offered to do a guest post for her. Before I go any further, let me introduce myself: I am 15 and live near the American capital – Washington D.C. I have a huge passion for food too. Whether it’s baking, cooking, eating, or anything else that deals with food, I love it (okay, maybe except for dishwashing). I also have my own food blog – softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com.

Without further ado, let me introduce what I’ll be blogging about today: the chocolate chip cookie. Yes, this usually is not found in Eastern European cuisine, but Russian Season also covers international foods as well. The chocolate chip cookie is the quintessential American comfort food. These are extremely popular – grocery stores sell different varieties and brands of this cookie (original, double chocolate chip, chewy, etc.); they can also be bought during lunchtime at my school. Also, they are enjoyed as an after-school snack for many school children. Perhaps what makes it so popular (besides how delicious it is) is that it is commonly associated with grandmothers, family, and warmth. It is common for young children to bake this cookie with their grandma over summer vacation or during the holidays. To some, these cookies evoke nostalgia.

Chocolate Chips

A bag of chocolate chips

The story of how these popular cookies originated goes like this: Ruth Wakefield was baking chocolate cookies for her restaurant, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. So, she substituted chocolate pieces in. However, the chocolate pieces did not melt and incorporate into her cookie like how the baker’s chocolate would have. Instead, the chocolate pieces stayed intact. This was how the chocolate chip cookie was born. From an accident. A yummy accident, I might add.

Creaming the butter and sugars together

I have used this recipe (found below) for several years now. It is originally from my middle school Family and Consumers Science (also known as Home Economics) teacher. Every time I make these, they come out perfectly. It’s slightly crisp on the edges, and soft and chewy in the center. Studded with chocolate chips, these light brown cookies are delish! And when the cookies are baking, your entire house will fill with a glorious, glorious smell. Chocolate, brown sugar, sweet oatmeal, and vanilla all combine together to form a wonderful aroma. Best of all, after you have popped these in the oven, you can lick the remaining cookie dough off the bowl and whisk. (Of course, there is the risk of salmonella from the raw egg, so do what you think is safe. You may use pasteurized eggs as an alternative or forgo it all together.)

Shaping and flattening the dough with plastic wrap

After they are baked, let them cool a tad bit before biting into them. These cookies can be enjoyed both warm or at room temperature. Whichever way you choose to enjoy the cookies, make sure to dip them in a glass of milk – it is simply the best way to eat these. Read the rest of this entry »

Bryndzove Halušky

Bryndzove Halušky with Chives and Bacon
So our summer vacation is coming to its end. Someone whose name starts with S took only two weeks off work, although he could have taken more, and tomorrow we’ve got to start packing our bags to go back to Riga. We’ve spent two wonderful weeks in Slovakia with Stano’s family and friends. I had expected a sunnier weather though; it’s been raining since the beginning of the week, so Ivanka could hardly play in the garden. Last week, she spent hours and hours in the garden playing, picking currants and learning to walk - something she’s deprived of in the city.

Trenčiancky hrad - the Trenčin Castle

Trenčiancky hrad - the Trenčin Castle

As always in Slovakia, I’ve been eating like crazy. Fruit, sweets, cakes, and megatons of delicious and fluffy multigrain-sprinkled bread. I’ve tried Žinčica - a fermented sheep milk drink that is left from making Bryndza cheese, and Parenica - rolls of mild string cheese, and Oštiepok - formed smoked sheep cheese that has been steeped in salted water. I’ve drunk fresh, full-fat milk that can be turned into creamy, rich home-made cottage cheese. And of course we’ve had Bryndzove Halušky by Stano’s Mom. Fianlly I had the time to take photos and to write down the recipe. Now I think it’s time to update our blog author info in the right sidebar of the site :)

Me by Krater - a mini lake of mineral water in Eastern Slovakia

Me by Krater - a mini lake of mineral water in Eastern Slovakia

Bryndzove Halušky is a staple of Slovak cuisine. That’s a food it might take you some time to get used to, because it’s very heavy. Halušky are small potato dumplings mixed with Bryndza cheese sauce and flavoured with bits of fried bacon. Something you need before a physically exhausting day in the field or on the farm. Halušky are traditionally served with Žinčica, Kefir or any other fermented milk drink.

To make Halušky, you will need a special perforated tool called Haluškaren. Now we’ve got one too, but before Stano has used a sheet of perforated cardboard that he had prepared himself :) Using some kind of a colander with large holes is a possible alternative.
Haluškaren - a perforated tool for making Halušky
Read the rest of this entry »

Parižske Rožky (Paris Horns)

Parižske Rožky (Paris Horns)

When I was pregnant, I often thought about how my mind would change after I’d become a mother. I wondered if I would become wiser, more patient and tolerant, more thoughtful and conscientious… more grown-up. A mother is a person you look up to, after all. So what does it take to become a mother? After I gave birth to Ivanka, I realized that nothing had changed. There certainly are external signs such as tired look or imperfect waistline, but the inner me… it hasn’t changed. It’s just like when my Mom says “I still feel like 30″ or when my Grandmother recalls anecdotes from her school years (well, Stano says she sometimes behaves as if she were 16). Because she hasn’t changed inside since she was 16. So, I’m a mother and yet I’m still the same. And for the first two months, it was as strange and hard to say “I’m a Mom” as it is to say “I love you” for the first time.

Why am I talking about this? Just because I feel like I’m still interested in my former activities like food blogging or running my other website, and sometimes it’s hard to juggle all this while staying sane. I am very attached to our daughter (to such extent that I’ve cried a few times when someone from the family went for a walk with her and I stayed home), but I’ll never become a parent obsessed with natural parenting, or any other parenting trend, or just parenting as such. It’s just a (huge and significant) part of our life, isn’t it?! I want to keep in touch with my friends, and we usually have someone to visit us on weekends, but most times I feel tired afterwards. I’ve also noticed that whenever we make a plan of watching a movie after the baby goes to bed, she won’t fall asleep for hours, so we usually end up watching the movie in bed, sharing a pair of earphones, with happy Ivanka sleeping between us.

I haven’t had the energy to bake or cook a lot of new things recently; besides, I’ve decided to eat more healthfully (seems like after 4 months of breastfeeding, I’m finally starting to lose my hair - I need vitamins badly). Thanks to Healthy Mamma, I’ve found a collection of fabulous smoothies - I want to try them all, well maybe except for those with veggies, I’m still not used to drinking vegetables. I made a Banana-Oat smoothie this morning and it rocked!! Why have I never added rolled oats to my smoothies before?!

So now I finally have the time to write about Parižske rožky (Paris Horns), which are my favourite variety of baked goodies Stano’s Mom makes for Christmas. These tiny cakes are a true masterpiece. There’s a generous triple swirl of luxuriant chocolate buttercream on top of a fragile walnut meringue, and each cake is glazed with dark, glossy chocolate. It’s a heavenly combination of three textures - the brittleness of meringue, the silkiness of buttercream, and the subtle crisp of chocolate glaze. It takes a while to make them though - bake the meringues, make the buttercream, decorate each cake and dip each one in melted chocolate - so I am not sure I’ll be able to recreate them in near future. But if you have a free evening, they’re really worth it. And here’s the recipe.

UPD We also have a brand new fan page on Facebook! Please “Like” us if you enjoy reading our blog! Thank you :)
Read the rest of this entry »

Cottage Cheese-Apricot Rolls

Cottage Cheese Apricot Buns

To sum up things, our Christmas was wonderful. It was a very white Christmas, yet not too cold; we had a delightful dinner with my and Stano’s parents; our Christmas tree was beautiful; we all got great presents (Ivanka got the most - she’s now supplied with clothes for years ahead). Of course about one half of my gifts were food-related. I got another two Slovak cookbooks (one of which is solely about desserts and baking, wahoo), a pastry tube, funky muffin liners, and Stano gave me… maple syrup! I was in seventh heaven, because I had never seen maple syrup in Riga. And I’ve been craving crepes with maple syrup!! Well, Stano also gave me a much valuable gift, but I guess I was most emotional about the syrup… haha.

Slovak cookbooks
My humble collection of Slovak cookbooks

And here’s our perfect holiday morning treat: cottage cheese and apricot rolls, served warm for Christmas breakfast. We made tons of these, so we had to freeze the excess rolls - you can thaw them and easily re-heat them any time later. I loved the combination of cottage cheese and vanilla pudding in the filling - it made the filling very smooth and creamy. There’s a belief in our countries that you have to be in a good mood while baking; you could even try singing as you knead your dough… Apparently we felt very happy while kneading, because our dough kept rising and rising and rising…

Cottage Cheese Apricot Roll Read the rest of this entry »

Kapustnica - Slovak Christmas Soup

Kapustnica

Merry Christmas to everyone! We are enjoying the second day of Christmas, watching Morozko - a Russian fairytale, known as Mrazik and shown on TV every Christmas in Slovakia. We had a Slovak-style Christmas this year, with all the authentic foods and traditions. In the beginning of our Christmas meal, there was just an apple, garlic, and honey on the table, and Oblatky - very thin, lightweight Christmas waffles. We cut the apple crosswise to see if it was clean and white inside, which meant we’d be healthy during the next year, and then we rubbed our Oblatky with garlic to be even healthier, and drizzled them with honey to have a sweet life. Then we could begin our meal.

Oblatky, apple, honey, garlic

Slovak Oblatky

Kapustnica is a traditional Slovak soup made with sauerkraut, ham, spiced sausage, and dried porcini. If the sauerkraut is very sour, it can be balanced by a spoonful of raisins or prune jam. The soup  resembles Russian Shchi, but is much spicier. I love the sour, sweet and spicy Kapustnica! Last winter Stano’s Mom made a vegetarian version of this soup specially for me, but this year I tried it with ham and sausage. I have to say that it tastes great also without meat! Just add more porcini and don’t ignore the prune jam. I’m sure you would enjoy the intense, spicy flavour and the beautiful brick-red colour of Kapustnica. Serve is with Garlic Rolls, and you couldn’t think of a winter treat more comforting and warming! Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

More about RussianSeason.net
Foodbuzz





Follow russianseason on Twitter

bloglovin




Our Flickr Photostream

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

Baking on Foodista