Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Foodie weekend: Cooking class 6: Borscht, priozhki and classic chocola

For my cooking class this month I didn't take the Japanese class, but the Russian one. Russian food has been on my radar for over a year, since finding out about Diana Henry's Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, the cold-weather partner to her book on Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern food, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons. I count the latter as a treasure, and waited until October this year to receive what would have been a Christmas present last year!

Not content to leave it there (am I ever?), I ordered another book Russian cookbook (more on which later, as it is my cookbook of the year!) which I was in the midst of reading when ABC Cooking Studio offered a taste of Russia at school.

On the menu: borscht, which is more correctly Ukrainian cooking, gorgeous meat and egg-filled pirozhki and classic chocolat for dessert (not sure about any Russki origins there, but very tasty just the same).

The borscht was okaaay. The meat needed more cooking, but in the limited time available, you'd need a pressure cooker to do more. Once again it used the granulated "consomme" that I dislike so much. I reckon I'll be able to do much better. It was good to know that you can buy beetroot in Japan, even if only cooked in water in the can.

The pirozhki were terrific. The dough was really easy to make and fun to play with. You can make these in the oven, apparently, and I'll be investigating this option as a healthier and less smelly alternative to deep frying.

The classic chocolat was a revelation. I would never have thought you could make cake in such a short time (well, cupcakes anyway). This is a real keeper, and I think I'll look into making it a full-sized cake the next time.

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