Russian Season


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

Chocolate Marmalade Candy Muffins

Chocolate Marmalade Candy Muffins
It’s good to have Orthodox Russians and Catholics in the same family, you know? Our Christmas season began on December 6th, when we celebrated the Slovak holiday of Mikulaš and filled each other’s boots with sweet goodies (or you can get an onion or a piece of coal if Mikulaš thinks you behaved badly during the year). Now Stano’s parents have come over and we’re getting ready for Catholic Christmas (everyone gives presents to Stano and his family) and the New Year (everyone gives presents to me and my family), and then Orthodox Christmas (no gifts, just a family get-together). Wahoo! Stano’s parents have brought along several boxes with Christmas cookies and mini cakes, so I’ll be posting some Slovak recipes and photos soon. Until then, I would like to present you my Chocolate Marmalade Candy Muffins that I also made for the Christmas season. I find these muffins quite perfect - not too buttery, not too sweet, very chocolatey, with specks of red and green translucent marmalade candy, they kept their shape perfectly, and I finally didn’t feel like coating them with some kind of glaze to make them look puffier. I think the inclusion of melted dark chocolate added some extra firmness to muffin texture, so perhaps if they would have lasted for 3 days, they would be a little bit chewy; but they were polished off in a day.

Chocolate Marmalade Candy Muffins
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Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins

Buttery. Moist. Sweet. Fluffy. Aromatic. Coated with dark bittersweet chocolate and generously sprinkled with walnuts. The milky flavour of cottage cheese curds and the mild sweetness of pumpkin enhanced by the rich aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon. Perfect served for breakfast or for dessert, with a glass of milk or a cup of tea alike. I’m talking pumpkin and cottage cheese muffins!

Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Muffins
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New Year’s Walnut Meringue & Chocolate Mousse Cake with Drunken Plums

Walnut meringue cake

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy year 2010. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and an exciting New Year’s party! With lots of delish food and drink, of course :)

I’ve spent ten marvellous days in Slovakia, where I’ve been eating so much that I was about to buy myself that T-shirt with the slogan “Please don’t feed me; I want to be a model” written across the chest. But I’d be lying to myself if I did so: those home-made Slovak foods were irresistible!

Krater in Slovakia

And this large and festive cake we made for our New Year’s party in Riga. We wrote the recipe from scratch. Actually we have baked a heavier version of this cake (with 4 layers of sponge cake instead of 2, as you will see from the pictures) because we wanted a really huge one, for 12 persons or so. But even in its lighter variation (as posted below), this is definitely a cake for special occasions. The preparations are quite time-consuming too. But we’re sure your guests will appreciate the result!

A walnut sponge cake serves as a base for this cake; it is topped with chocolate butter mousse and crispy walnut meringues; then comes a thick layer of whipped cream sprinkled with toasted walnuts and dried plums soaked in cognac - pleasantly sharp and fruity. And finally, another walnut sponge cake and a thin layer of glossy chocolate icing. Happy New Year!!

Walnut meringue cake

We both agreed however that the chocolate icing we used was a big mistake. Much as I like Dansukker, their chocolate icing turned out below average. Manufacturer’s instructions on the package were lame and they said nothing about the icing never freezing or being soft and sticky forever! There was too much sugar and too much starch in it. Next time we’ll choose another brand or simply melt a bar of dark chocolate!
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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!
Our email address is:

Priyatnovo appetita! (Bon appetit!)

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