Russian Season

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

Still On A Hiatus

Ahem…
That’s me :]

It’s been half a year since I first thought I should write a short post saying the blog was going on a hiatus… but there was always a hope that the following week would not be as hectic as the previous and that I would finally have some time to post a new recipe and a few photos. What can I say - hopes remained hopes! We do eat occasionally, I still do cook for my family (there’s been a lot of lemon curd, minestrone, and chicken curry recently in our life), but I desperately lack time to take photos (especially now as there’s so little daylight) and write for the blog. So, all of my latest culinary achivements remain undocumented :]

Huge thanks to everyone who has emailed me and asked why and where I had disappeared! Special thanks to the ladies who helped me with European recipes for a Christmas feature on my website: Nancy, Barbara, and Miriam. My apologies for all the emails and comments I didn’t reply to.

I have no idea when we’ll be able to revive the blog, but this will certainly happen someday! In the meantime, how about taking a look or even posting some gardening- or flower-related pictures at Gardener’s Day :) That’s a project I started because I searched the web and couldn’t find any online galleries to share photos of flowers, gardens, and floral crafts. And with spring approaching, I thought that creating one would not be a bad idea. This is just a pilot project so to say… I don’t have the time to seriously work on its promotion and development. Just thought some of you might be interested. Of course I wouldn’t mind a short tweet mentioning GD, a facebook status or even a link :-)

So… RussianSeason will be back… someday!! Wishing you a lovely weekend with delicious meals! There’s a hot walnut bundt cake resting in my oven right now :) What are you baking for the weekend?..

Alina

Apple Coconut Vanilla Lattice Pie

Apple Coconut Lattice Pie

When it comes to buying fruit, I always give preference to fruit that originate from a nearer country - local farmers produce being the perfect option of course. In January, when supermarkets run out of Latvian apples, I choose Polish because they look the worst. I mean, you will never convince me that apples that keep until May are actually edible. No no no. So, while I’m always tempted to buy some of those crisp, green, glossy Granny Smiths, I opt for the slightly bruised, smaller apples from Poland.

Red apples

Bruised apple

If you take a look at these apples I brought from Slovakia, you will notice that they are imperfect. Their shape isn’t perfectly round, their colour isn’t perfectly even, their skins are bruised. These are real apples from Stano’s Grandmother. And I had to use them up urgently while they still were juicy and firm. And I had a block of margarine that also needed to be used up. So I started with these two ingredients, whipped up a flaky and a not too sweet dough, and tossed the apples with freshly scraped vanilla seeds (you can’t always use cinnamon with apples after all). Something else was missing. A layer of creamy and sweet coconut paste! Somehow I’ve never thought of pairing apples and coconut in a cake before, but surprisingly, they made a gorgeous couple! The sweet smell coming from the kitchen warmed up the chilly August evening, and the fact Stano had two (!!) pieces of the pie made me think it was pretty good. Of course he said he would have preferred it without coconut (he always chooses the right words, you know), but he ate it! So, let me introduce you my first lattice pie - you will notice that the lattice pattern isn’t perfect either, I made an error at a certain point, but this didn’t make the pie taste any worse. I love it the way it is. And the lattice - I will certainly do it the right way next time. Read the rest of this entry »

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake (Post by Stano)

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Hi, let me introduce myself. My name is Stano, you can read about me on this blog from time to time. Alina is busy these days… weeks… months, because we are preparing for holidays in Slovakia plus of course she has to take care of our little Ivanka. Our plan is to come to Slovakia, relax and do nothing, just visit new places, swim and eat :) I hope we can take some photos of my Mum’s dishes, and Alina can learn more about our traditional Slovak recipes.

I have to let you now that I am cooking every weekend, and yesterday I made Bryndzove Halusky. I have some friends here in Latvia and I made them 2 servings of Halusky and they were very happy. I came to their home as a courier from food delivery, wearing a red T-shirt, a red bag and a red cap. They laughed, but then they had their Halusky and they said they were tasty. If you would like to know more about Bryndzove Halusky, visit our blog later. In short, it is a traditional Slovak meal made of potatoes, egg and wheat flour cooked and mixed with bryndza, and on the top we put bacon :) I also made garlic soup, but we don’t have a photo of them either. I promise I’ll make it in the future and we will publish it on this blog.

Alina made this cake I think two weeks ago, but she was too busy to publish the recipe. She loves rhubarb and is making beverages, cookies and everything that’s possible to make with rhubarb all the time. These cakes and cookies are so yummy, a little bit sour, so it fits very well in the summer season.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Strawberry Sponge Cake

Strawberry Sponge Cake
It’s been a while since I last viewed my own blog - been working on my primary website day and night again! Two to three times per week, Stano drives me to my parents’ place, which gets divided into a “home daycare area” (where my Mom plays with Ivanka) and a “home office area” (which is actually a desk with a PC in the centre of the daycare area). I get some chance to work, still staying within reach for Ivanka - good for both of us. Of course it’s a little bit difficult to concentrate on things like testing and adapting new plugins or translating European Commission press releases,  so the hardest tasks are left for late nights. Yesterday however, Ivanka got up at quarter past midnight to “dance” and “sing” in her crib for almost an hour. So, late nights are not always mine either :)

The daycare/office facilities I’m using provide free dinners as well:) My Mom has become a true Babushka who always has something yummy in her pantry. At home, I’ve been making lots of rhubarb preserves: compote, jam, and frozen rhubarbs. I actually came to conclusion that freezing this wonderful plant is the most rewarding option, because I don’t like the extra sugars you’ve got to add if you want your jam to keep until winter.And what can be simpler than cutting rhubarb stalks, freezing them on a large plate, and then transferring into a plastic container… that’s it!

One of the main culinary delights I’ve indulged in recently is my Mother’s strawberry sponge cake. She made me two cakes already and I hardly shared them with anyone. It’s made without butter, so it doesn’t leave a heavy feeling. It’s simple. It’s summery. Fragrant strawberries sinking in a fluffy sponge cake under a sugary, crisp, thin crust - that’s what the first steps of a cool Latvian summer taste like.
Strawberry Sponge Cake
Read the rest of this entry »

Cheremsha (Ramsons, wild garlic)

Cheremsha (Ramsons)
In a cold country like Latvia, Cheremsha (Russian name for Ramsons, or wild garlic) is one of the earliest sources of vitamins. Cheremsha grows in shady woodlands and its green parts resemble garlic by scent and flavour. The smell can be pretty long-lasting, but it’s worth it, for each leaf is packed with vitamin C and minerals. I prefer to eat Cheremsha on its own with coarse salt, but it’s also a great and healthy addition to any spring vegetable salad. Some other uses for fresh Cheremsha include soups, sandwiches, and pie fillings; it can also be pickled, but not dried.

Do you have/eat ramsons in your area?

Ramson flower

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

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