Real Russia Blog

A taste of Russia - Honey cake
13
February
2018

A taste of Russia – Honey cake

Want to make your valentine a homemade treat? Look no further than this scrumptious Russian cake!

Medovik is a very traditional Soviet time cake that consists of cake layers with a creamy filling sandwiched in-between. In comparison to a sponge cake, honey cake does take some effort but it’s definitely worth it, even if you’re not normally a honey fan.
So, meet the fantastic Medovy tort, or Medovik!

Ingredients you will need:

110g Honey
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1tsp Lemon Juice (mix into Bicarbonate of Soda)
50ml Cognac
60g Butter
2 Eggs
450g White Flour.

For the cream:

500g Sour Cream
300g Whipping Cream
150g Sugar
(An alternative cream filling can be made with 400g sweet condensed milk mixed with 200g softened butter)

Method:

In a big saucepan add the honey, soda, cognac and butter and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in the 2 eggs with a fork.

Add 450g of flour and stir the mixture with a wooden spatula until smooth. Return the pot to the heat and heat until the dough becomes a smooth, elastic lump. the dough is now ready!

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and, while still warm, roll out into squares (or circles, depending which cake shape you prefer), approximately 25 by 25 cm. If the dough gets cold by time you roll it, you can heat it slightly in the microwave. You might need to grease the rolling pin with a vegetable oil, if the dough gets sticky.

Bake each layer at 180C for about 3 minutes. It makes sense to grease each layer, once they’re ready, with a small amount of sour cream to soften.

Now, mix the ingredients for the filling.

Next, crumble one cake layer, mixing in chopped walnuts to cover the top and sides of the cake. Layer the cake sections on top of each other with cream filling in the middle and press crumbs into the top layer and sides. Leave in the fridge for 6 hours and… that’s it!

Enjoy your cake and share your attempts with us in comments!

Real Russia Blog

A Taste of Russia- blini
4
August
2015

A Taste of Russia- blini

The sun on your plate

In Russia, blini marks the beginning of spring and are usually prepared to celebrate the oldest Russian holiday, Maslenitsa. The best thing about blini is how simple they are to make, and most importantly, you can fill them with just about anything. Traditionally, the Russia way, the right way to enjoy Blini, would be to serve it with sour cream, caviar and smoked salmon.

There are many reasons why blini is a Russian favourite, and the main one is due to the fact that Russian winters are harsh, dim, long and cold. Blini are considered to be a symbol of the sun, so it is for this reason why it’s often prepared to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

As we are trying to build ourselves up to more complicated Russian dishes, I decided blini would be the perfect dish to make. The ingredients are quite common and because I love to make pancakes, I knew I wouldn’t have any issues with preparing this dish.

Ingredients you will need for preparing this scrumptious dish:
• 1 cup of flour
• 1 teaspoon of yeast
• 1 egg
• 1 cup of milk (more or less depending on thickness and consistency)
• Pinch of salt
• Cream cheese/soft cheese
• Smoked salmon
• Caviar
• Vegetable oil
• Last but not least, some garnish to decorate the dish!

If you’ve read my last instalment, my attempt at preparing olivier salad, then you’ve probably already guessed that there is a right way to preparing this dish, and then there is my way.

Traditional method:
The recipe for making blini is similar to how you would make pancakes, but traditional blini is made with yeast and buckwheat flour.

Begin with adding all of your blini ingredients to a bowl and whisk until you have a velvety smooth consistency. Leave all the ingredients to sit for about an hour while covered with Clingfilm, a cloth, or whatever does the trick.
After an hour the mixture should be foamy and thicker. Before the fun part begins, whisk the mixture again to make sure that it’s still smooth and silky.

Add and spread a small amount of vegetable oil to your heated pan. Use a ladle, pour and spread the mixture around the pan and cook for a couple minutes on each side, until both sides are golden brown.

Stack your cooked blini on a plate and continue with the process with the remainder of the batter.

Layer the cooked blini with your fillings, caviar, smoked salmon, cream/soft cheese, or other fillings depending on your preference.

How hard can it be?

My method:
Before I delved into what would be an interesting experience for me, I expected that preparing this delicious treat would be quick and straightforward, no glitches and certainly no issues with my eggs. Preparing the mixture was the easy part, I had all the ingredients except for the yeast, caviar and smoked salmon.

The trick to a perfect blini is to make it really thin, and with this in mind I ended up with a very smooth and thin mixture.

I began my journey to prepare the perfect blini with cracking my egg in a bowl, followed by adding the milk, flour, pinch of salt, and of-course, a bit of sugar was added for sweetness.



Mix, Mix, Mix. My batter was smooth and silky.

After greasing my hot pan with olive oil, I added my first batch. As you can see my batter fell apart when I tried to flip it.



It just wouldn’t flip.

It wasn’t too bad for my first attempt, so I had high hopes for the second batch.

After adding my second batch I decided to leave it for about 1 minute on both sides, and voila! It looked great.



After the second batch I became a bit too confident.



All the oil was absorbed by the last batches, and while tooting my own horn I forgot to add more oil to the pan.

After burning my last batch and releasing all the smoke from my kitchen, I decided it was best to stop there and enjoy the two I had made.

Unfortunately I didn’t have caviar or smoked salmon, so out came the Gherkins left over from the Olivier salad I made last week.

My plate looks somewhat distressed, but it was incredibly delicious. I smoothed over some soft cheese on top of my blini and then tucked in to it.

A true chef always blames the equipment, so next time I’m feeling courageous I will probably use a non-stick pan.

I advise you to use vegetable oil like the original ingredients states, because the olive oil left my blini with an interesting aroma and taste.

Share your recipe and attempts with us on Facebook.

Real Russia Blog

A Taste of Russia- olivier salad
17
July
2015

A Taste of Russia- olivier salad

A Taste of the Russian New Year

“A New Year celebration without olivier is a bad party” – Alexandra

To name a traditional Russian dish, olivier salad would probably be at the top of many people’s list. As the clock strikes midnight, this salad would most likely be on almost every Russian Dinner table. The ingredients are quite common and the dish is easy to make, which was my only motivation for selecting this recipe, especially considering that this was my first attempt at cooking Russian food.

This recipe was given to me by Alexandra, our Visa Product Manager. Here are all the ingredients you will need to prepare this delicious dish.

Ingredients you will need:
• Mayonnaise- 1 Jar
• Pickled gherkins- 4 pieces diced
• Onions- diced
• Chicken breast- 3 pieces diced
• Potato- peeled and diced
• Cooked ham 100g
• 6 hardboiled eggs
• Green peas- 1 can
• Last but not least, to make it pretty you will need some greens for decoration.

Alexandra’s method:
The right way of preparing this dish begins with peeling, chopping and then boiling the potatoes and eggs. Cut the gherkins, onions, chicken and ham into cubes of similar sizes. Dice your potatoes, peel your boiled eggs and cut into small chunks, and then put all the ingredients in a bowl, after that it’s time to add your peas, drench it in Mayonnaise and mix well. After smoothing the top over with the back of your spoon, decorate with the greens and then tuck in.

What I did:
Preparing this salad was an interesting experience for me, and I imagine it will be the same for you as well. After raiding my freezer, I discovered that I didn’t have either ham or chicken, so I opted for a meat free version instead.

If you’re the food police, I would like to warn you that my version may not be entirely authentic. It’s customary to make a lot of this dish to cover you and your guests for the entire holidays, which is exactly what I did. I decided to bring some to the office for everyone to try, and sadly my salad still sits in the office fridge untouched and neglected.

I began with boiling my diced potatoes and eggs.

Patience is not one of my strong points, so rather than waiting for the water to come to a boil I opted for using the kettle instead.


My eggs couldn’t withstand the heat of the hot water so one cracked.

While I was waiting for my cracked eggs and potatoes to cook in the eggy water, I proceeded to dice my veggies and the other ingredients into small chucks.

The fresh cucumber slices were used towards the end for garnishing, but hidden underneath are gherkins.

I’ve proven that not everyone has the ability to boil an egg.

When the potatoes and eggs came off the stove, I then drained the water, peeled the shells off the eggs, and then sliced into small chucks.



This is what my salad looked like with everything chucked in the same pot, I also added vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and finally a generous amount of Mayonnaise.



This is how it looked when it was finished, before adding all the garnish.



It was actually very delicious, but I still feel as if it was missing a key ingredient, which of-course was MEAT! If I had remembered to include meat, I would have used fresh chicken breast and deli style ham slices or chucks. I would have diced and then season the chicken with salt and pepper, and lightly fried it in one calorie cooking spray.

I hope you will enjoy cooking the salad as much as you will enjoy eating it. Share yours with us on our Facebook page.

Real Russia Blog

A Taste of Russia
13
July
2015

A Taste of Russia

Bringing Russia to you and you to Russia

Over the upcoming weeks I’ll be blogging about Russian cuisine and culinary traditions, from the viewpoint of Russians themselves. I’ve spoken with our team in Russia and they have been kind enough to share with us some of their favourite recipes, as well as an insight into the traditions behind each dish. If that wasn’t enough, you can look forward to discovering a new recipe each week for the next few weeks.

I think that Russia is one of, if not the most interesting place I’ve never visited, at least not yet. With that said, I’ve never had the chance to taste traditional Russian cuisine, so that is why I thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring Russia to me by attempting to prepare some of these meals myself. As this is my first time cooking Russian food, I expect to learn as much as you will by the end of this blog series. I will also be updating you proof of my attempts, successful, disastrous, or otherwise.

So what can you expect over the next few weeks?

I’ve decided to start off with something easy and as the weeks go by, we’ll be building up to prepare more challenging recipes, so by the end of this we’ll be able to make a banquet of Russian delights. To conclude my blog, I’ll be ending with the do’s and the don’ts of Russian dining, the idea is to provide you with all that you’ll need to be able to host your very own Russian dinner party.

Some of the meals which I will be attempting to prepare includes olivier, blini, selyodka pod shuboy (yes, I’m aware that this will be difficult, but I’m game if you are), and many more Russian recipes.

I will now leave you with a taste of what’s to come. Below is a picture of the olivier salad that I made over the weekend, It’s similar to a potato salad but richer and tangier. To find out how to make this stay tuned for next week’s instalment.

If you would love to get involved, prepare your own version and share your pictures with us on our Facebook page.

My attempt at olivier salad