Thursday, 23 January 2014

Back in the USSR - a Revolutionary Russian Repast

Fanny travels behind the Iron Curtain for her first Bill of Fare in this part, and conjurs up a traditional Russian meal using simple and colourful ingredients. It's maybe just me, but I always think of Boney M when I think of Russia, so I pop on a bit of Rasputin as I head into the kitchen and set of work on the starter of Borstch - or Bortch as Fanny refers to it. In between some nifty cossack moves I get the ingredients prepared.


Fanny requires the Beetroot and onion to be finely grated. Can I say that I've always found Beetroot to be really scary, I am properly terrified of touching it, but I love the taste. I've found some gorgeous candy stripe beets to use here, which don't worry me so much, but I still use my food processor to do the grating. No touching required. After heating some oil and butter, Fanny encourages me to fling in the grated vegetables with chopped celery, leek, cabbage and a splash of red wine vinegar and fry them for 8 minutes over a low heat, before adding the other ingredients. 


This just now need to come to the boil and simmer gently for two whole hours, which gives me plenty of time to perfect my dance moves. Fanny suggests straining it before serving and adding a dollop of soured cream, but it seems a pity to lose all those lovely vegetables, so I defiantly don't strain! The colour is more subdued perhaps than if I'd used 'proper' Beetroot, but I like it and it tastes really deep and earthy. The revolution has started! 


Fanny recommends a Beef Stroganoff for a delightful main, but of course I skip over this in favour of pudding. Fanny refers to this as an 'unusual' Russian Cheese Pudding, and the main ingredient, cottage cheese, doesn't immediately scream 'dessert' to me either. Am I ready for this type of unusual? However the oranges seem reassuringly pud to me, and I've found some lovely blood oranges which seem very fitting for the revolution theme. 


Fanny guides me to cream some butter until it is 'white and very loose' then add some caster sugar, creaming again, before adding half the amount of cottage cheese and a whole egg. Beating thoroughly, I add some mixed peel, juice from the blood orange - which turns everything a lovely pink - some orange flower water and then the remaining cottage cheese. Next in Fannys list is to to pop it into a muslin lined cheese mould and drain it over night. I don't have one (does anyone?) so improvise with a small sieve and just keep my fingers crossed.


The mixture is quite wet at first, but sure enough by the next day most of the moisture has drained off leaving a firm, rich 'cake' which smells so orange-y. Fanny says herself that a little goes a long way of this 'quick-to-assemble-pudding-without-cooking' and is perfect served with those 'irrestible biscuits known as vanilla sticks'. I'm not sure as ever what they are, but this very unusual cheese pudding is tasty indeed with a plain digestive biscuit. Hard to believe it's made from cottage cheese. Now, what's next on my Boney M playlist?

8 comments:

  1. The starter looks great! So is the cheese pudding a spongy like texture or more like a cheesecake??

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    1. Definitely not spongy, like a curd and cheesecake hybrid....it's dead nice if you forget it's made from cottage cheese!

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  2. Such pretty beetroots, I quite like getting purple fingers from preparing beetroots, maybe I'm must odd! I've made a very similar borscht before and it was delicious and so wholesome. Not sure I'm convinced on the pudding though but well done for giving one of Fanny's stranger creations a go :-)

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    1. Yep, sounds odd to me! The pudding was actually dead good, but definitely something Fanny would be proud of making and not many would be proud to eat... I liked it though! Thanks...

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  3. Love the Boney M reference, it always reminds me of a fitness class I went to at uni eek! The beet root is beautiful, but I think that pud is genius, I've looked at similar recipes and they really appeal to me but have never actually got round to making one! Great job.

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    1. Thanks, let me know if you try the pudding, I really like it! Keep dancing!

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  4. The colour of your borscht is really pretty as are the beetroot you made it with. We had this soup every day when I visited Russia as a teen many years ago and I loved it. They definitely kept all the bits in.

    Your cheese sounds really quite weird, but also rather tasty. I do have a few muslin cloths, but then we do make cheese and labnah from time to time.

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    1. Thanks, I loved the borscht, with all the bits! The cheese pudding does sound weird, but did taste great, I'd like to try making more things like it

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