Different Autumns and Charlotte Apple Pie

Autumn…. I never liked it, mostly because of rains. In St Petersburg it is not a great deal, after all we have our proud 62 sunny days per year, which leaves us with remaining 300… of the water hanging in the air – sometimes it can’t be even called a proper rain. Another problem is the light, which leaving – after long and lively summer nights, when it is never dark – White Nights. In other languages it means the night when you are forced to stay awake, for example preparing for exam. This is not so far from reality, as how can you sleep when the guys are playing guitar in the yard, some friends are calling you for a long over several days camping in the park, or you just drive car to watch the bridges are raised, or you are sitting and eating sushi… because you forgot about the bridges! They air seems hot, long, and lackadaisical, like a dense red wine; it makes you loose your head these very few days when one of the northeast city becomes as lively as a southern town.
Then it abruptly finishes. The light is gone, the rain is never-ending (I wonder if the hero of Raven lived in St Petersburg, will he ever pronounce his famous phrase). The leaves are rotten, and drop fast, without giving this fanfares of colors. My autumn is grey, cold and dark. But… this is just one of the autumns. In Italy it comes late, it’s bright and loud – all trees one day seem to turn yellow as if they are coordinated, so Italian autumn in noticeable as soon as it arrives. Austrian autumn arrives on time, it is cold, clean, well-prepared and sound. Her work is planned and she had a time schedule to follow – so one by one she is painting the trees. The Texan autumn is conservative and doesn’t want to change anything – so many bushes and trees enter the winter with green leaves and flowers. In Scandinavia autumn is an artist with a great fantasy, and she is also mind and cheerful. In London it is impossible to understand when autumn comes, she seems to be so anxious to start that she comes in several times in the summer… And of cause every autumn smells differently: with pumpkin pies, apples, cinnamon, tea and coffee… and so many things which people gather in their gardens and store in their kitchens to provide their family with another dinner surprise. The following posts will be all about autumns, and the first one, Russian, smells with Sharlotka!
Time of preparation: 1 hour    Difficulty: Easy
Wheat flour_______1 glass
Sugar ___________1 glass
Apples ___________2-3
Cinnamon________2 tea spoons
Eggs ____________3
It’s better to pick up a little bit sour apples, otherwise pie will be too sweet
1. Cut apples in a very thin slices, place in the oiled dish for baking, and powder with cinnamon.
2. There are two ways of making the dough: very easy and a little bit more complicated. First variant:  whip sugar with eggs quite well in a deep bowl, then add flour and half of a tea spoon of salt. Mix well.
Second variant: mix just yolks with sugar, adding step by step flour. Then whip egg-whites in foam and add in the dough, this way the pie will get a wonderful crust. But in this case – don’t open the oven until the pie is ready, or it will go down. Pour the ready dough over the apples.
3. Bake in the oven on 180C (350F) around 35 minutes.

Potato Pancakes or Draniki

To be completely honest, this is not typically Russian dish, the honor of inventing it belongs to Belorussia, the country with the highest level of potatoes consumption in the world. As you can easily guess, they know million ways to prepare this vegetable, and draniki is my favorite – to be honest, I am totally crazy about French Fries, with all their oily, salty and fat glory. But it maybe a good idea to replace it with something healthier – at least for my belly – draniki are pancakes from raw potatoes, crispy on top and soft inside, which is not that bad alternative. And they are a way healthier than french fries.
Time of preparation: 50 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Potatoes____1 kg
Flour_______2 tablespoons
Sour cream__1 tablespoon
Garlic______2 cloves
Oil, Salt, Pepper

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Kidney Beans Soup

My favorite taste of the home

My favorite taste of the home

As I promised, I start cycle of the posts which can be called “back to USSR” or something likewise silly. Indeed, I  am Russian, and my kitchen is more cold weather oriented. You won’t really cook a soup in Italy during the summer. As well as you can’t find some necessary ingredients, like beetroots. UK in this sense (and only in this one :P) is more favorable, so I will share several vegetarian/vegan recipes from my native culture.
The first course in Russian tradition is always a soup, and average family has a range of 25-30 soups in their cookbook. There are of cause some standards, but what influences recipe the most is the way your parents cooked it. I never ate exactly the same soup in different houses, people are very good to adjust the basics to their taste.
Kidney beans soup is vegan, very simple, and without doubts my favorite.
Time of preparation: 60 minutes Difficulty: Easy
  • Beans_____1,5 cups
  • Carrots_____2
  • Onion_____1
  • Soya sauce 
  • Tomato_____1

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Vegan Plov (Traditional Russian Dish from Rice)

Time of preparation: 1 hour Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients (4 portions):
  • Rice ______2 glasses*
  • Chickpeas_ 1.5 glasses
  • Carrots____3 middle
  • Onions____2 big
  • Garlic_____1
  • Oil_______ 1 glass
  • Salt______ 2.5 teaspoons
  • Spices: 1 tablespoon of barberry, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of red pepper
*Basmati or devsira or any sort of long-cooking rice. Never use rice for risotto or semi-ready rice. Continue reading