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

Cranberry Semolina Mousse

Cranberry Semolina Mousse

I couldn’t imagine my life without cereals, porridge, and this mousse. I love it for its almost Barbie-pink colour, its airy texture and mild flavour. I love it because it’s another reason to have some milk for lunch or dessert, which is so healthy. Cranberry Semolina Mousse is especially good with baked milk. It’s a type of milk with a sweeter, creamier taste and a warmer colour, yet the same fat percentage as plain milk. “In rural areas, baked milk has been produced by leaving a jug of boiled milk in an oven for a day or for a night until it is coated with a brown crust” (Wikipedia), but nowadays it can be found in any large supermarket - in this part of the world, at least.

Semolina mousse can be as well made with fresh black or red currants, sour cherries, or any other berries or fruits that have a strong sharp taste. Latvians call this dessert Debesmanna, which means Manna from Heaven. I’ve also seen Latvian recipes for Debesmanna made with fresh pureed apples.

With no connection to this mousse, I’m posting a couple of shots of wilting tulips. They were so beautiful as they were dying that I couldn’t resist photographing this transformation of humble tulips into strange and exotic paper-like flowers!

Cranberry Semolina Mousse

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Apple Pancakes with Burnt Sugar Sauce plus More Winter Pictures

Apple Pancakes with Burnt Sugar Sauce

I’ve always loved burnt sugar. I love the simplicity and rusticity of those hard, translucent lollipops that you can make by chilling burnt sugar syrup; they’re golden-brown like amber and smooth like ice. We found this recipe of burnt sugar sauce in our old Rumanian cookbook (I’ve mentioned it before). I’m used to trusting their recipes, but the first attempt with the sauce resulted in a very runny, thin substance, so we had to considerably reduce the amount of water and milk. Also, I found out that the sauce needed to be cooled well before serving: it’s still too runny when warm. The sauce tasted of milky caramel with a hint of bitterness – that mild kind of bitterness that you find in, say, coffee.

I’ve always loved apples as well. Tart or honey-sweet, green or red, almost any kind, as long they are hard (can’t stand those mushy sorts) and as long as they smell like apples. Not like apple candy, apple shampoo or apple bubble gum, but like real, organic apples! The smell of fresh apples is charming and modest, it’s delicate like silk and melancholic like autumn; it’s one of Nature’s greatest, basic perfumes.

These pancakes are made with local apples that smell of rainy days, and kefir* – sour fermented milk drink. That’s why the pancakes are pleasantly sour-ish.
*If you cannot find kefir, try using buttermilk or a sour thin yogurt instead!

Apple Pancakes
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Fluffy Vanilla Custard with Cranberry Kisel

Fluffy Vanilla Custard

Whipped vanilla custard is yet another dessert which I find quite healthy – especially when it’s served with kisel (speaking about kisel, it’s one of the oldest Russian dishes and it is even known to have saved a city!). It doesn’t contain a lot of fat, and whipped egg whites* that are added in the end make it even more airy and light.
Mom says that in Soviet times, whipped custard was a popular dessert also here in Latvia. In the Latvian language, it’s called Buberts and can be made with semolina. Nowadays the variety of packaged desserts is huge in supermarkets, and I’d say Buberts has become more of a make-at-home type of dish, but I’m sure a lot of families like to have it for dessert every now and then.

*Since raw eggs are used here, please please wash them properly before cooking!

Vanilla Custard with Cranberry Kisel


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Sweet Milk Soup with Filini Pasta

Sweet Milk Soup with Filini pasta

There’re some things from our childhood that we start to value only after we’ve grown up. Remember those novels and poetry from Literature classes back in school – a good deal of them seemed so tedious back then, but now as we’ve grown up we re-read them and finally discover all the sophistication, and the irony, and the beauty of language, and the vividness of author’s imagination. The same thing goes for food. A lot of my friends hated milk&noodles when they were children. One of the reasons might be that milk&noodles used to be a standing dish in nursery schools. Luckily, I never went to a nursery school, so I enjoyed my milk soup made by my Mom’s caring hands. And yeah, Mom always removed milk skins (the only cringe-making part about boiled milk, to my mind). Nowadays I still enjoy sweet milk soup with leftover Filinis as a comforting evening meal or lunch… just as much as I enjoy re-reading books from my teenage years. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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