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December 08, 2010

How to Make Nutritious Food Exciting: Breakfast Millet Casserole

Russian power breakfast is hard to imagine without a hearty serving of  hot cereal (kasha) traditionally cooked with fat milk and relished piping hot with a piece of melting butter.  Even those of us who can get away with a cup of green tea or a bowl of fruit salad in the morning tend to come back to the kasha fare in winter. Yet as a favorite resort for grandmas, mothers and kindergarten chefs  hot cereals are seen just as sexy as your old fluffy sleepers and baggy pajamas. Isn't it time for putting on red manicure and exciting pungent scent?  

Breakfast Casserole with Millet

November 28, 2010

Never Say No to a Real Man and an Upside Down Cake

International Tiger Forum in St.Petersburg this week devoted to saving the worlds' tigers was inaugurated by Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister, and graced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Hollywood star with the Russian roots. In his speech Putin recognized the determination of DiCaprio who made it to the forum despite the two airplane accidents on the way, "He has virtually crossed the battle line. As we say in Russia, DiCaprio is a real man (настоящий мужик). If people like himself are in charge of saving tigers we are doomed to succeed!" The words of the Prime Minister made me reflect on the notion of a real man for the rest of the week.  

Irresistible Upside Down Cake with Persimmon, Sea Buckthorn and Star Aniseed

November 21, 2010

Four Fantastic Winter Soups from Turkey and Morocco

As I was testing the recipes for my Turkish and Moroccan cooking classes in Moscow I played with different soups to be served as warming and fulling starters. Both Turkish and Moroccan cuisines have delicious and hearty takes on vegetarian soups with grains and legumes so perfect in winter. Yet some require up to two hours to make. I did not have two hours to fiddle with a soup so I needed to come up with the shortcuts without altering the customary flavor. 
Turkish vs. Moroccan Soups

November 14, 2010

Cream of Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Herb Bread

Cooking is like music making: after a few centuries of fiddling with a definite number of ingredients it starts getting more difficult to come up with a totally novel combination. How excited can you get with yet another pumpkin soup recipe if every autumn those pop up on the food blogs like the mushrooms in the autumn forest? Not that this fact makes me give up.

Cream of Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Herb Bread

November 08, 2010

Sweet and Sour Home: Winter Fruit Salad with Sea Buckthorn

I got busy paging through the November issues of Russian food magazines: how to draw a wild duck, roast a leg of goat and make sense of Norwegian salmon.. Russian winter diet can easily starve a vegetarian. There are good news though: November frosts are just right time to harvest sea buckthorn, sour orange in color berries that are a fantastic source of vitamins so needed in winter. So we went picking wild sea buckthorn..

Sea Buckthorn on a Palm

October 29, 2010

Moroccan Food Beyond Couscous: Sweet But Not a Dessert

When Mehdi announced that his mother and a friend of hers are visiting from Morocco my first thought was - woohoo, I am going to cook with the ladies! After my trip to Morocco  earlier this year I can't stop thinking of the delicate flavors I've religiously indulged and elaborate cooking I've witnessed in the country. A chance to experience both this time coming to me was not to be missed.

Cooking Moroccan

October 15, 2010

Turkish Food as a Competitive Advantage of the Nation


As I have started working on the sales pitch to the gourmets interested in exploring gastronomic delights of Istanbul I have naturally stumbled upon a question, "What makes Istanbul or well... the whole Turkey such a prime place to come for food?" It is akin to questioning why Germany is a car making nation, or why Italy is a world champion in the tile production, or why Denmark is an international leader in the wind powered mechanisms. My strategy consulting background has kicked in and I immediately thought of the perfect theory (framework, please) to explain the matter.