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

Peanut Butter Fudge And Happy Birthday To Me!

You know what? I love presents. I received so many presents for my birthday on Sunday and I’m so happy. And astonished. I’m astonished to be 27. It seems like this is happening to someone else. I just can’t be 27. Ahh!!!

So, I got some beautiful clothes that match each other…

Jeans and tops

…and some new spring flowers in pots…

Pink Hyacinth

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Persimmon Tarts

Persimmon Tart

Men are strange.
I can spend hours in the kitchen, whisking, mixing, melting, decorating, and when I finally enter the living-room bearing a plate of delicious cookies or cakes, Stano will murmur something like “yes of course, thank you, I’ll try them later, I’m not hungry now” - all this barely raising his eyes from the laptop, by the way. Aaaargh. Seems like he doesn’t share my cake love at all. Then one day, I grab a few sheets of frozen puff pastry, top them with sliced persimmons, brush them with whisked egg and throw the pastry into oven for 10 minutes. And he loves that! He asks me to make persimmon tarts again and again. I agree, they are nice and they can really come to a rescue when you need to bake something very quickly. Slices of persimmon look great on a crispy golden puff pastry, and cinnamon and nutmeg add a spicy twist to the mild sweet flavour of persimmon. But… Stano… what about all the other cakes I’ve baked?!

Persimmons
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Today’s Discovery: Oatmeal with Candied Oranges, Cranberries, and Maple Syrup

Oatmeal with candied oranges, cranberries, and maple syrup

Eureka! I’ve found out the third food on my Top5 foods/ingredients. Candied oranges! (#1 is chanterelles and #2 is lemon). I love them in cakes or cookies, I love them dipped in chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar, I love them straight. I’ve been making a lot of candied oranges recently, as it’s so easy - you just leave them simmering and do your chores or play with the baby - and then voila, you have a plate of adorable translucent all-natural candies. I’ve even frozen the excesses - I really should learn to make larger batches of foods and freeze them so that I wouldn’t have to panic about dinner every day.

This morning I realized I could add candied oranges to my oatmeal! I cut them in small pieces, mixed them with dried cranberries, and drizzled some maple syrup on top of all that. Mmmm! Those tangy and bitterish flavours of candied orange and cranberry pair perfectly with the slightly smoky aroma of dark maple syrup… in pleasant contrast to the creaminess of oatmeal! I’ve never enjoyed my bowl of oatmeal so much before, and I’m certainly going to repeat this tomorrow.

How I didn’t make Choux Puffs

Christmas tree

For the New Year’s Eve, I wanted to make choux puffs. I have to say I had never made them before, but I googled for the recipe and it sounded like something pretty easy to make. Choux puffs are so beautiful and perfect on a New Year’s table! So, I decided to go for it and asked my sister to come over and babysit for a couple of hours (while Stano was chilling out at their corporate NYE party). I made vanilla cream filling with one of my precious vanilla beans. The filling came out flawless - fluffy, glossy, and richly flavoured with vanilla, but that was apparently the last thing I made right. Every recipe I found called for 4 eggs in the batter, but I felt like my batter was too loose already after the third egg, so I didn’t beat in the fourth. The batter didn’t hold its shape at all, but I still decided to pipe it onto the baking sheet and see how it would behave in the oven. I had read that the batter balls (or in my case - batter blobs) had to be around 1 inch in diameter. So I placed my tiny blobs into the oven and waited. After 7 minutes the blobs got pretty brown in colour and puffed up a little bit, but they still were tiny. They looked like real choux pastry inside, though. Ugly little brown dwarfs :) I still had some batter left and thought I’d make larger blobs and see what would happen. This time I got a batch of small flying saucers… I was devastated! But that was hilarious too - all those baking sheets with miserably flat “puffs” stacked around the kitchen..

Now can anybody tell me what I did wrong? What didn’t I read between the lines when I was reading the recipe? It looked very simple at a first glance. I need to learn to make choux puffs!!

So, as you could have guessed, we had no choux puffs for New Year. Which actually didn’t make our family get-together any worse - it was still very generous and very international, you could hear Russian and Slovak and English and Italian and Spanish languages, there were Italian and Latvian sweets on the table, and the jewel in the crown - Mom’s cranberry and whipped cream trifle cake, decorated with Christmas trees of kiwi and fireworks of coloured sugar.

Aaaand I know I’m late as always (this year I have an excuse though), but I’d like to wish all my fellow bloggers a very happy, cheerful and delicious New Year. Cin cin!

Winter view

Winter view

Cheese&Caraway Breadsticks and Stylish Blogger Award

Cheese and Caraway Sticks

There’re always caraway seeds in my pantry these days - primarily for brewing Caraway drink, and we found out it’s such a versatile ingredient! We add caraway seeds to our roasted potatoes, our roasted fish and our Hasselback potatoes - and now to these salty breadsticks I baked using my favourite super-time-saving frozen puff pastry. Stano liked them so much that he agreed to help me with grating cheese and cutting dough for another batch :) These sticks are best served warm, especially in case you use 2 eggs as I did (the breadsticks are pretty soft and best eaten fresh out of the oven). If you want them crispier on the outside, use just one egg and simply brush them with beaten egg and then sprinkle cheese and caraway on top.

In this post I would also like to thank Ping of Ping’s Pickings for the Stylish Blogger Award she sent me. Ping’s Pickings is a new wonderful blog with neat and beautiful photos and delicious recipes such as Chiffon Cake with Pandan Topping, Egg White Biscotti or Eclairs. Go visit it now! Read the rest of this entry »

Quince Butter

Quince Butter

I had never seen quince in our supermarkets until this year. Now I’m thinking that all of our supermarket chains buy in foods from the same wholesaler, because quince suddenly appeared in ALL major supermarkets. Okay… Quince jam is quite a classical feature of Russian cooking, yet I have never had it before. I’ve always been curious what it tastes like!! I still haven’t made quince jam however, because this fruit is very expensive here, and I’ve been feeling stingy:) In fact when I bought quinces for the first time, the lady at the checkout asked what this was… yeah seems like it’s still too rare here!

Therefore, I made some quince butter - just for dessert. I baked two quinces with a lot of butter and then pureed them. Because I baked them, the butter had a subtle nutty flavour and was opaque and thick. The colour was very interesting too - I couldn’t tell whether it was beige or rose or milky yellow. I really liked the mild, warm flavour that resembled baked apples with a hint of pineapple and citrus. I’m not sure if I can eat a lot of quince now as I breastfeed, so I just tested the butter and gave it to my sister. In fact I’d love to make some yummy preserves or desserts in small pretty jars and give them as Christmas presents, but I doubt that this is possible with a 2 1/2-month-old. Even though she is getting more and more independent! Yes, she now seems really independent compared to what she was a month ago, when I just couldn’t leave her alone for a single minute. Now she can play on her own for half an hour for example and I can do my chores… or blog! And then, we have a fantastic family and a brilliant Daddy who spends really a lot of time with the baby!

Baked Quince Butter

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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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