Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 2011 - Russia

It was with much trepidation that we viewed our Russian cuisine adventure. One of us had been to Russia before and not had good gastronomic experiences, whilst I had once shared a flat  with a Russian room-mate whose cooking skills left much to be desired. Nevertheless, we decided to put aside our preconceived notions and forge ahead to create a delicious Russian menu.
The traditional foods associated with Russia were foremost in our mind - namely, Borscht (beetroot soup) and beef stroganoff so we decided to start from there and find some other things to accompany the meal. The final menu for the evening was:

Beef Stroganoff and Crumbed Cauliflower

Russian Tea Cakes and Vanilla Ice Cream

What we did discover when we started looking at the recipes available was that there are lots and lots of variations of both stroganoff and borscht. Some of the borscht recipes were just simply boiled beetroot and water, whereas the one that we made is full of other vegetables as well. Traditional or not it was great - the beetroot gave it flavour without being overpowering and it was nutritious and filling too. The recipe can be found at The beef stroganoff also varied from site to site ranging from ones with wine and tomato paste to more basic ones with just beef, mushrooms and sour cream. We decided on one of these more basic ones and the recipe we chose came from the home page : To accompany the stroganoff we chose egg noodles, although some sites recommended rice or mash potatoes. We also made a side dish of crumbed cauliflower which added a nice crunch to the meal. The recipe came from:
Finally to end off we had Russian tea cakes and vanilla ice cream. Russian tea cakes apparently appeared in Russia in the 18th Century for use in a tea-sharing ceremony. They are light and crumbly in texture rather like a shortcake but with a more nutty flavour. The recipe can be found at:
By the end of the evening we had all reassessed our position on Russian cuisine. The food is hearty and filling. The recipes are simple yet flavourful. All in all, some nice food that we would be happy to make again.