Russian Beetroot Caviar

 This bright beetroot dip doesn’t contain salmon or any other fish raw. In my home-country vegetable spreads and dips that are mushed into a non-smooth consistency are often called caviar. In USSR fish caviar was an expensive product and most of the time was served over special occasions, but people have always wanted something tasty not only during holidays or weekend; and such vegetables as an eggplants, marrows and beetroots were cheap and available almost throughout the year, thus I guess economical version of the “caviar” was created.

russian-beetroot-caviar

 The recipe I found in a book dated 1990, it calls to boil beetroot, fry onions and press through the  meat-grinder machine along with other ingredients. Easy-peasy. It turned out so tasty, that i have already made it few times in a row! Moreover, it was a hit at the home-party, especially when I served this dip nicely decorated with little festive crackers; needless to say, guests asked for the recipe!
 The original Russian recipe calls for the salted pickled cucumbers, which are usually watery and personally I don’t like its taste, so I used regular crunchy pickled cucumbers and the beetroot dip was absolutely amazing and delicious! I prefer slightly coarse a caviar-like texture, so I don’t blend ingredients too much, but if you wish – just blitz it more to get the smooth dip. Enjoy!

Russian Beetroot Caviar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
400g/2 medium-size beetroots
2 tps olive or sunflower oil, for frying
1/2 large brown onion
~100g pickled cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
Salt&Pepper, to taste
Method 
  1. Boil beetroots until soft. Cool, clean and chop.
  2. Chop the onion and fry in a oil until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop cucumbers. Also finely chop or mush garlic.
  4. Blitz all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency.
  5. Check the seasoning. Serve with rye bread or crackers.
Enjoy!

Persimmon&Jamon Salad for Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, many people are celebrating International Women’s Day across the globe. Of course, each country have their own means of celebration, special traditions and demonstrations, gifts and food. In my home-country (Russia) this day even is a public holiday. It is also another good day/reason to call your mother, sister or a friend and say how much they mean to you, or celebrate a woman who has always inspired you. And why not to rise a glass for yourself? 😉Persimmon&jamon Salad

 This elegant salad can be served as a tasty fare for the Women’s Day. You need only few minutes literally to assemble and serve the salad. Salty dry-cured meat and tender persimmon slices go perfect together here. Impress your guests or and simply enjoy it yourself.ProsciuttoSalad with persimmonProsciuttoSalad with persimmon and pomegranate seeds

Salad with persimmon&jamon

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15min
  • Difficulty: very easy
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 Few shavings of parmesan or grana padano cheese make the salad only better.
Ingredients
4 thin slices jamon serrano (or prosciutto)
10-12 thin slices persimmon (from a quarter)
2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
200-300g small arugula leaves
2 tbsp pistachios, chopped
Dressing
2 tbsp EV olive oil
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
Preparation method
  1. Arrange 2 slices of jamon and 5-6 slices of persimmon on each plate. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
  2. Top with arugula leaves. Mix ingredients for the dressing, drizzle the salad and sprinkle with nuts.
Enjoy!
recipe found here (in Russian)

Potato pizza-pie

 One day I decided to make a savory potato pie, but to use potato in the crust instead of filling. I imagined myself a good fluffy pie with a creamy filling of fried mushrooms, onions and something else. When I made and rolled out the dough, I realized that it looks more like a pizza not a pie. 😀 However, the potato crust suit nicely to all these colorful ingredients which I used, including some cooked fish leftovers. Grilled bell pepper and bright spring onion gave an extra kick to this pie. Honestly, I was surprised how good and delicious the pizza-pie turned out. 🙂
Potato pizza-pieI’m co-hosting FF#104 with lovely Hilda@alongthegrapevine (she is so creative and has lots of unusual recipes on her blog); so, I’m inviting everyone to join, we share many delicious food there, and you can chat with other foodbloggers and of course don’t forget to like and say “wow, yummy or just hi”! 😀 Read the guidelines here. Happy cooking! 🙂

Potato pizza-pie with fish, bell pepper and mushrooms

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

Crust

200g/2 medium potatoes
1 bay leaf
20g butter
1 medium egg
sea salt, to taste
2-3 Tbsp grated parmesan, optional
~150g plain flour
Filling
100-150g cooked fish fillet leftovers (I used sea bream)
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1 meduim red bell pepper, grilled or roasted, sliced
150g mushrooms
1 large red onion
a bunch of spring onion or chives, chopped
100ml double cream or 30-35% fat cream
Other
1 tbsp olive oil+1 tbsp butter, for frying
sea salt, freshly ground white pepper
Method
  1. Clean, peel potatoed, cut into fourths. Put in a pan along with some salt and bay leave, cover with water and boil until ready. Drain. Add butter, season with salt and mash potatoes. Stir in egg. Mix in parmesan, if using. Sift the flour into potato mixture, combine into a soft dough (add some more flour if the dough is too wet).
  2. Grease the baking paper (to suit your baking tray). Roll the dough out on this paper. Put in a freezer for 5-7 minutes (or in a fridge for 15 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Slice mushrooms and onions, fry on a medium-high heat in a mixture of oil and butter (you can do it in a one large frying pan, but don’t mix it-put side by side and fry). Stir 1/3 of the cream into mushrooms, and season to taste. Set aside.
  4. Add some butter into the same pan and chopped spring onion (reserve some for garnish, optional), saute for 2 minutes on a low heat –  you only need to soften the onion.
  5. In a bowl, mix fish with the remaining cream, sautéed spring onion and nutmeg, season to taste.
  6. Sprinkle crust with breadcrumbs. Bake it without filling in a preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Spread onion, fish, mushrooms and pepper slices over the crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes more.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining spring onion (optional). Serve warm.
Enjoy!

I’m also sharing it with Saucy Saturdays, Foodie Friends Friday, Foodie Friday

Beetroot dip with coriander crackers

 This is an extremely delicious beetroot dip that is super easy to prepare and is a crowd-pleaser. The bright beetroot dip can be made as a tasty and healthy appetizer for either home-parties or just your family, especially if you serve it with lots of homemade coriander crackers. Appetizer made from scratch adds a special touch to any kind of gathering. 🙂 It’s also a healthy snack anytime – just spread it over toasted bread, or use it as a wrap filling.
Beetroot dip
You can make the dip even without cheese, but I like it this way more. Also try to add feta or other soft white cheese instead of cream-cheese, walnuts is a another good substitute for pine nuts.
Beetroot dip with coriander crackers
 

Beetroot dip with coriander crackers

  • Difficulty: very easy
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Keep covered in the fridge up to 3 days.
Beetroot dip
Ingredients
150g cooked beetroot (boiled or roasted), chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2-1 tsp cumin, crushed
1 tbsp EV olive oil
2 tbsp Philadelphia cheese
1 tbsp parmesan, finely grated, optional
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly roasted
sea salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Put all ingredients, except the pine nuts, in a small bowl of blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste, add pine nuts and pulse a couple of times to keep some nuts pieces; if you like more smooth-pulse again.
  • Garnish with pine nuts and some grated parmesan, if desired. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.
Coriander crackers {Make approx 18 crackers}
Ingredients
130g plain flour+some for kneading and rolling
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt (want less salty, add less salt)
some freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed or ground
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
40 ml EV olive oil
40 ml water+1/2 tsp white sugar
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, b.powder, salt and all spices. Mix in olive oil.
  • Dissolve sugar in water and pour into dough, knead the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and keep to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • On a lughtly dusted surface, roll the dough (approx 3-4 mm thick) and cut into 5×5 cm squares.
  • Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake in preheated 190C oven for 15 minutes or until golden-brown.
  • Cool&Enjoy!

Russian Winter Salad (Olivier salad)

 This salad is a traditional dish in Russian cuisine, and most of the time it is associated with New Year celebration, when it’s always served on a festive table along with another popular salad – “shuba”.

 The very first and original version of this salad was invented in the beginning of 1860s by chef Lucien Olivier, who was the owner of the renowned Moscow restaurant “Hermitage”. “Olivier Salad” quickly became popular among restaurant visitors, the salad brought him a great fame and became the signature dish. The recipe and especially the dressing was kept in a big secret, and unfortunately the fact is that the exact recipe is still unknown. But according to some notes, it’s known that the salad contained hazel grouse, veal tongue, black caviar, fresh salad leaves, crayfishes or lobster, some pickled, fresh cucumbers, capers and boiled eggs. And the secret dressing was prepared from fresh raw eggs, some secret herbs and olive oil. 
 As you can see, all ingredients were posh and expensive. So, lately during Soviet time, these fine ingredients were replaced by cheap and widely-available, like boiled kolbasa (bologna sausage) or meat, boiled potatoes and carrots, pickled cucumbers and peas, dressed with store-bought mayonnaise instead of home-made French dressing. Such simple and nourishing salad was widely-popular, and soon it became a staple and traditional dish of Soviet holiday dinner, and particularly of New Year’s Eve. Lately, it’s even got a second name – “Winter Salad”. Beyond Russia this salad is often called as “Russian Salad”.Russian Winter salad
 Nowadays, the salad is still a traditional part of New Year celebration, but there are lots of versions – with boiled beef or chicken, beef tongue, fish and caviar, fresh or pickled cucumbers and so on. My recipe is a common version of the Winter Salad – with boiled beef, pickled cucumbers and mayonnaise. It’s a little bit on a dark/unhealthy side of my diet 😀 but consuming it on the holiday dinner is also a part of Russian tradition, so eating it once a year don’t make anyone fat. 🙂 Enjoy!
Olivier or Russuian Winter salad

Russian winter salad (Olivier salad)

  • Servings: approx 8
  • Time: 2hr
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can garnish the salad with some peas and chopped dill or parsley.
*Add more cucumbers if using small gherkins.
Ingredients
350g beef (one whole piece, without any bones)
300g/ 2 large potatoes
1 large or 2 medium carrot
4 medium eggs
4 medium pickled cucumbers*
1/2 medium brown onion
1 can of green pea
mayonnaise, to taste
salt, to taste, optional
Method
  1. In a pan, put meat and cover with cold water, bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 50 minutes or until meat is ready. Completely cool and cut the meat into small cubes (about 1 cm).
  2. In another large pan, put potatoes and carrot in their skin, cover with water, bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until veggies are soft. Cool, peel and cut into small cubes (about 1 cm).
  3. In another pan, hard-boil eggs. Also cut into cubes.
  4. Finely chop the onion, put in a bowl, drizzle with some apple vinegar and cover with hot water. Leave for 15 minutes, then drain.
  5. Also cut the cucumbers into small cubes.
  6. In a large serving bowl, add all ingredients along with drained peas. Dress with mayo to suit your own taste.
You can keep the undressed salad in the fridge up to 2-3 days.
Enjoy Russian Winter Salad!