Russian Season

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

Sea Buckthorn Juice

Sea Buckthorn Juice in a small jar

Yesterday Ivanka finally allowed me to go veggie-shopping to the farmers’ market. She is learning to walk and she refuses to stay in her stroller for more than 15 minutes. The farmers’ market, however, is located in a 25 minutes walk from our home. She can make a few steps on her own or walk for a longer time holding my hand, but this distance is still too long for her. Besides, where would I put all my bags if not into a stroller? I missed the splendid farmers’ market so much. The small market we have across the street just doesn’t compare with it - giant carrots, stinky garlic (last year’s leftovers?) and wrinkled blueberries are some of my anti-favourites.  So I was extremely happy when Ivanka graciously allowed me to take her to that further market! We bought as much fruit and berries as I could squeeze into the baby-stroller bags.

It’s pretty amusing actually that our daughter already has her own opinion on a lot of things. She thinks, for example, that food crumbs that fall on the floor are the best delicacies ever. I just can’t stand the sight of her digging a tiny clot of yesterday’s omelet from under the stove and trying to eat it. I even started to mop the floor every other day: Sisyphean efforts, as a true foodcrumb connoisseur will always find something delicious even on a freshly cleaned floor :)

Some other things Ivanka thinks are cool include eating toilet paper, destroying flower pots and chewing shoe sponges. But of course there’re also a lot of good, and beautiful, and exciting things she likes. We were surprised to note that she prefers cats to dogs. She does like dogs, but when she sees a cat… she sings serenades, she’s in love! She loves to listen to music and dance and sing along. She loves flowers. Her favourite colour is yellow. I just think that’s so tremendous to discover her new preferences, likes and dislikes!

Sea Buckthorn

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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

 

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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
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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

Just To Let You Know I’m Still Here

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

You know, there are days that alter your priorities. Like, you decide to do some ironing before going to bed (because you’ve been falling asleep at 5am for the last 3 weeks and you need to find a way to relax before sleep) and get an electric shock when plugging in the iron. As they’re taking you to the hospital in an ambulance, all you can think of is that you never again want to see that expression on your relatives’ faces and that nothing really matters except for your own and your family’s health and safety. Just half an hour ago you were doing your chores, planning your tomorrow and text messaging to your friends - it’s unbelievable that your cozy and comfortable life has an evil face too, and sometimes it turns with that evil face towards you. When you finally come back from the hospital, you delete half of the bookmarks on your blogroll, because you don’t feel like reading about shopping and first date ideas. All you want is to be forever with your family, at your home, even if there’s too little space and you’ve wanted a new sofa for ages.

But, at least, this cured my insomnia and I’ve slept for 12 hours in a row :)

I’ve also received a bunch of silly questions at the hospital, like “do you have bared wires there?”… I guess every doctor and every nurse asked me if I had been messing with bared wires!

And here’re just a few shots of the birthday cake my Mom made for her own birthday (I’m afraid I made her a bad present) - it’s another variation of Strawberry Cake we made for sister’s birthday in June. This time it was made with two types of blueberries and raspberries. I liked it even better than the strawberry cake, it resembled a fluffy parfait with whipped cream and fresh berries. The large garden blueberries, which I generally find too watery compared to forest blueberries, worked out perfectly on top of the cake. I will ask Mom and post a recipe later - there’s little difference from the Strawberry Birthday Cake. Right now I’m off to bed - my own bed… home sweet home!

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

Blueberry Raspberry Cake

Sour Cream and Summer Berry Jelly for RS’s 1st Anniversary

the Piglet

Meet the Piglet – he’s a part of our team as well. He really supports me when I’m upset or tired. He loves wild strawberries, thick cream, and cottage cheese

 

Today RussianSeason turned 1.

A year ago, on a hot and sunny summer day, my Mom and I took the plunge and started a blog on foods that we were grown with and that were hardly well-known abroad: Russian, Soviet and Eastern European. We felt like we had to tell the world more about Blinis, Kulichi, Ukha and other basic dishes of traditional Russian cuisine. We also needed to share some good old Soviet recipes such as Vinegret, Anchovy Stuffed Eggs, and Custard with Kisel. We thought you’d be surprised to hear that one of the most delicious Latvian desserts is made with rye breadcrumbs and cranberries, that Filini pasta can be eaten with milk and sugar, and that you can make jam-filled buns in a steamer.

Our first post was about a mushroom soup. Why mushroom soup? Maybe because I love chanterelles and could have them every day. Or maybe because mushrooms are an essential ingredient of Russian cuisine. Later, Stano (my husband-to-be, hehe) joined us and translated his favourite recipes into Slovak, so we have a Slovak version too (okay it’s a little bit out-of-date but that’s because the Chief Translator is currently very busy).

As we moved on, we couldn’t resist the temptation to cook and write about foods from other corners of the world, so the blog became more “international”. And the more we cook, the longer our huge to-do and to-try list grows. In fact we still haven’t even made very basic Eastern European foods such as Pelmeni and Vareniki, but I’m sure we will. It’s just Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and our blogroll that are too distracting! :) We discovered hundreds of inspiring blogs and made a lot of wonderful virtual friends. I never knew that foodie world was *that* huge and friendly.

To celebrate out first anniversary, we made a festive jelly/panna cotta type of thing. We’ve already made this with yogurt, grapes, and canned peaches before and it looked (and tasted) very pretty. This time, we tried to stick to the most natural, seasonal ingredients: thick sour cream and local strawberries, wild blueberries, and raspberries. I really liked the sour cream jelly for its very milky taste and its soft, silky texture (I’m not sure if Panna Cotta can be made with sour cream, so in order not to hurt anybody’s feelings, I’ll call this just sour cream jelly). And the assorted fresh berries scattered in the jelly just scream summer, don’t they? It’s such a shame strawberry season is almost over though; it was untypically short this year, perhaps due to the heat. But, there’re still blueberries, currants, plums, and all the gorgeous summer recipes we’ve yet to try.

Sour Cream and Summer Berry Jelly
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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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