Russian Season

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

Happy Birthday to Ivanka and Roxana’s Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

Ivanka has turned 2. Times flies? Just the opposite, it feels like she’s always been here with us, and I can hardly remember life without her. And compared to little Milena, Ivanka seems so grown up and clever that I probably expect too much from her. But she really does a lot! She can draw a face with eyes, nose, mouth, and a funny tuft of hair on the forehead. She watches the Swan Lake ballet every single day (!) and dances along (sometimes I just can’t fall asleep at night as the music keeps on playing in my head - I guess I know the entire ballet by heart now). She says funny things, for example ipk for the Russian word chleb (bread). She loves “totik” - “cake”!

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake with Fresh Berries for Ivanka's Birthday Read the rest of this entry »

Slovak Bread Fondue

Slovak Bread Fondue
As soon as I saw this recipe I knew Stano would love it. There was a lot of cheese and a lot of bread in it, and bacon and spring onions - and it was baked (his second favourite after fried)! So I made it on a Saturday while the children were sleeping, and we even managed to watch about 1/5 of The Artist while munching on this delicious and flavourful fondue. Then the kids woke up and the same old story began… it took us 3 evenings to watch the entire movie!

And yes, you read right - there’re now four of us! Our little Milena was born in late April, she is a Dragon by Chinese horoscope (which I think is pretty cool), she has dark hair and is a little copy of her father - again! I was sure our second baby would look more like me, but no - she’s another tiny clone of Stano.

Milena

I’ve missed food blogging so much, so I’ll try to post new recipes every now and then. Not sure I’ll be able to reply to all the comments that have been added ever since though! Sorry - and a huge thankyou for your feedback, your suggestions and your questions! And here’s the recipe for this brilliant fondue cooked and served in a loaf of bread. There will be no dishes to wash after the meal, as the “spoons” are made of bread too!

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Still On A Hiatus

Ahem…
That’s me :]

It’s been half a year since I first thought I should write a short post saying the blog was going on a hiatus… but there was always a hope that the following week would not be as hectic as the previous and that I would finally have some time to post a new recipe and a few photos. What can I say - hopes remained hopes! We do eat occasionally, I still do cook for my family (there’s been a lot of lemon curd, minestrone, and chicken curry recently in our life), but I desperately lack time to take photos (especially now as there’s so little daylight) and write for the blog. So, all of my latest culinary achivements remain undocumented :] There’s just that huge vampire in my life called Evrokatalog.eu - it kills all my time. That’s a huge project indeed, believe me.

Huge thanks to everyone who has emailed me and asked why and where I had disappeared! Special thanks to the ladies who helped me with European recipes for a Christmas feature on my website: Nancy, Barbara, and Miriam. My apologies for all the emails and comments I didn’t reply to.

I have no idea when we’ll be able to revive the blog, but this will certainly happen someday! In the meantime, how about taking a look or even posting some gardening- or flower-related pictures at Gardener’s Day :) That’s a project I started because I searched the web and couldn’t find any online galleries to share photos of flowers, gardens, and floral crafts. And with spring approaching, I thought that creating one would not be a bad idea. This is just a pilot project so to say… I don’t have the time to seriously work on its promotion and development. Just thought some of you might be interested. Of course I wouldn’t mind a short tweet mentioning GD, a facebook status or even a link :-)

So… RussianSeason will be back… someday!! Wishing you a lovely weekend with delicious meals! There’s a hot walnut bundt cake resting in my oven right now :) What are you baking for the weekend?..

Alina

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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Apple Coconut Vanilla Lattice Pie

Apple Coconut Lattice Pie

When it comes to buying fruit, I always give preference to fruit that originate from a nearer country - local farmers produce being the perfect option of course. In January, when supermarkets run out of Latvian apples, I choose Polish because they look the worst. I mean, you will never convince me that apples that keep until May are actually edible. No no no. So, while I’m always tempted to buy some of those crisp, green, glossy Granny Smiths, I opt for the slightly bruised, smaller apples from Poland.

Red apples

Bruised apple

If you take a look at these apples I brought from Slovakia, you will notice that they are imperfect. Their shape isn’t perfectly round, their colour isn’t perfectly even, their skins are bruised. These are real apples from Stano’s Grandmother. And I had to use them up urgently while they still were juicy and firm. And I had a block of margarine that also needed to be used up. So I started with these two ingredients, whipped up a flaky and a not too sweet dough, and tossed the apples with freshly scraped vanilla seeds (you can’t always use cinnamon with apples after all). Something else was missing. A layer of creamy and sweet coconut paste! Somehow I’ve never thought of pairing apples and coconut in a cake before, but surprisingly, they made a gorgeous couple! The sweet smell coming from the kitchen warmed up the chilly August evening, and the fact Stano had two (!!) pieces of the pie made me think it was pretty good. Of course he said he would have preferred it without coconut (he always chooses the right words, you know), but he ate it! So, let me introduce you my first lattice pie - you will notice that the lattice pattern isn’t perfect either, I made an error at a certain point, but this didn’t make the pie taste any worse. I love it the way it is. And the lattice - I will certainly do it the right way next time. Read the rest of this entry »

The Nostalgic Way To Eat Cabbage

Cabbage with Egg and Breadcrumbs
Cabbage with egg, sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, is one of my childhood foods. Mom used to make it quite often, as it’s very quick to prepare and makes an interesting alternative to fresh salad. These days I have started making cabbage with egg again for Ivanka - and for us too. Ivanka eats in micro portions (where does all this energy come from?!), so now as she’s 10 months old and can eat a lot of things, it hardly makes sense to cook for her separately (you can always add more salt later). Cabbage is not something I’d like to have more often than once a week, but in summer, when it’s firm and green, there’s no reason to ignore it.
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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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