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

Caraway Drink… And No More Chicken Soup!

Caraway drink for lactation

I’m sick of chicken soup.

You know, after being a semi-vegetarian for seven or eight years, I’m absolutely repulsed by any kind of soup made with meat or poultry. But ironically, I’ve found out I can’t lactate without animal protein. And chicken soup is one of the best ways to enhance milk production, since there’re proteins in it, and it’s liquid. At first I tried to diversify my chicken soup menu by adding different types of croutons or pasta. By this week, I realized this didn’t help any longer. I will never like chicken soup. I’m hopeless. So now I just throw some fresh dill into my bowl of chicken soup, grab a large piece of bread, close my eyes and… brrr! this should be done quickly. In fact it’s getting unbearable, so I think I’ll just start eating more chicken fillets instead.

I’m so ashamed of being so carnivorous.

Due to the lack of time, I haven’t cooked anything interesting in a while. Today I made Hasselback potatoes for the first time in my life and I loved them! I sprinkled some caraway seeds on top and added a tiny bit of garlic. Hasselback potatoes are a classic, so I’m not posting the recipe. Instead, I thought I’d just share another tip for encouraging lactation. Caraway drink - it really helps. And what’s more, it tastes good! To prepare it, pour one teaspoon of caraway seeds with one cup boiling water, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes. Then add a teaspoon of sugar and cream/milk to taste. Of course you shouldn’t necessarily be breastfeeding to enjoy this drink, so I recommend it to everyone!

Caraway drink

Check out this pretty IKEA balloon my sister gave us for Ivanka’s first month anniversary!

smeshnie

The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook Prize Giveaway!

Rupjmaizes kartojums

Remember some time ago I wrote about our recipe being published in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook? Well, I received my copy of the book the other day, and now I finally believe our recipe is in it! Although it was still pretty hard to believe. You see, after having worked for 5 years as a press officer, I get super excited about anything hand-made and tangible. That’s why I so much love to cook - and to experience different textures, smells, and flavours.

Foodista Prize GiveawayMuch as I prefer hardbacks, this paperback book really doesn’t count like a paperback :) it’s so imposing and fashionable and I love the square format. It’s colourful and well-organized, there’s  a very helpful index in the end and a metric conversion table (including oven temperatures) which is worth copying and posting on your fridge as a reference for daily use! I was excited to see a lot of my fellow bloggers’ names in the blog list. It’s a shame I have so little time to go through each page of this fabulous cookbook right now, but I’m reading it page by page every time I have a spare minute. What I enjoy the most about the Foodista book is that all recipes are “live” and tested . I also know that the Foodista team had cooked some of the winner recipes to test them… which makes the whole cookbook really trustworthy!

If you would like to buy a book with 100 great, original and authentic recipes from all over the world, you should really order your copy on November 3, 2010 between 10 – 11 am PDT (see time zone converter). Because there will be a fantastic prize giveaway going on, and you might win some cool prizes such as an Amazon or a MadWine gift card, a Zojirushi Rice Cooker, or a Andrews McMeel cookbook! All you have to do to enter the competition is forward your purchase confirmation email to book@foodista.com (see complete info here).

Meanwhile, Ivanka has learned to smile. She now greets me with a trusting smile every morning. She knows it’s her strongest weapon to make my heart melt even after a very sleepless night!

Thank you for all your congrats on our new baby - I just haven’t had the time to reply to each of them, but I’ll do so later!

Ivanka

Proud Parents… and Breastfeeding-safe Apple Pear Cranberry Parfait

Autumn Fruit and Oats Parfait

I’m so excited to finally tell you our very main news – our little daughter Ivanka is here! She is already 10 days old and very pretty :) And she inherited a good appetite from us :) We went home three days after her birth, and the first couple of days were as chaotic as any first-time parents’ first days probably are. I was afraid to accidentally hurt her, I didn’t know where to begin in the morning and how to survive at night time when the baby wouldn’t sleep properly (I guess she’s still mixing day and night). Gradually new activities were added, such as bathing and walking outside, and hey, seems like I learned to juggle all that! Unfortunately, what suffers the most is cooking – I haven’t cooked a decent dinner ever since she was born, but at least I’ve had some free time in the mornings when she was still sleeping so I could have my oats or rice in peace and quiet. Today the weather was so rainy and moody that we decided we’d just sleep by the open window instead of going outside, so I had the time to toast some rolled oats in a pan and make a parfait with some tart and juicy autumn fruit, simmered and cooled, and some plain yogurt. I’ve been told no raw fruit or vegetables, no raw (pasteurized) milk, no beans or cabbages etc, so I guess I’ll have to specialize in breastfeeding-safe recipes for a while.

I didn’t have any special cravings while I was pregnant, but now I have two strong ones – for oats and yogurt. I just can’t live without a bowl of plain yogurt with toasted rolled oats and plum jam in the morning – or just oatmeal with jam or butter… who would have thought I’d ever have oatmeal every other morning of my own free will?? The only annoying thing is that my pregnancy - now breastfeeding - was the reason why I had to start eating meat :( I know that a lot of vegetarians carry on with their diet also during pregnancy, but I was scared that the baby wouldn’t get all the essential proteins, so I had to start eating chicken or meat at least once a week. But, I’ll certainly return to my semi-vegetarian diet when I no longer breastfeed.

Life with a newborn is quite busy, but I’ll try to post some simple recipes every now and then. And now I’ve got to go because I hear her squeak quietly in her crib – just like a nestling or a mouse, so funny :)

Breastfeeding-safe Apple Pear Cranberry Parfait

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Moving To a New Apartment!

I was so mistaken about how much time moving house would take! It took us an entire day just to transfer my kitchen utensils and tableware and arrange them in the new kitchen so that I would know at least approximately where each item could be found. Then, I made some unpleasant discoveries. For example, sorting my clothes left me totally traumatized. I must do something about my wardrobe – I don’t have a clue why all my clothes look like they’re 5 years old after I’ve worn them for 5 times. Next, my library. Our family collection of books is rather large, but I found out that the number of books I personally own was ridiculous. With just two tiny bookshelves, our new place doesn’t look like an intellectual’s place at all. At least we don’t have a TV and not planning to get one. Internet connection is up and running, and I’ve only got to buy curtains for the living-room. After that, I hope I’ll finally have some time to test that stove and oven. I’ve only used the stove to re-heat food so far, and it gave me no idea of what it’s going to be like when really cooking things. I’m hoping to experiment with it on Saturday.

Why am I even writing all this? Just to let you know again that I’m still here and going to come back, even though we haven’t been posting a lot of new recipes lately. And, the news of the week is that our Latvian Layered Dessert recipe will be published in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook!!! I’m SO happy, and of course honoured to have our recipe published alongside such gems as Chanterelle Mushrooms With Blue Cheese Pie, Vegetarian Scotch Eggs, or Lime S’more Tartlets, as well as many others. I can’t wait for the book to be published and I’m going to pre-order a copy tomorrow. So I’ll have something new to put on my bookshelf :)

Photo: in the meantime, we’ve made some good old prune jam

Prune Jam

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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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