March to May Picnic
With the forthcoming May holidays, for any Russian who grew up in Soviet times, the images of parades, demonstrations and marches would be flooding back.
The whole family used to be rounded up together to head out to the Red Square for a fun day. The spring in Moscow was just getting through the door in the end of April- beginning of May. We were excited to be out amongst the rustle and bustle of animated people, colorful balloons and flags. As a reward, as if these activities were not enough, we were treated to an ice cream in an ice cream parlour.
But if we’d dig deeper in the history of the May holiday, it was celebrated as the start of the “outdoor” season – the first outings, trips to Dachas or simply having a little bite outside.
With the warm weather settling in at present it’s great to have the first attempt to organize a picnic in your favorite outdoor spot and hope that it’s not going to be rained off.
There are endless ideas for what to take for your improvised picnic.
Here are just a couple of easy, prepare ahead recipes to fill up your hamper.
Smoked Salmon Pancake Rolls [Ruletiki iz Kopchenogo Lososja]
Salmon and pancakes is a classical combo but in this presentation look different and more modern. This is a smashing party dish or it can be served as a starter. Allow 4 slices per person on a bed of green salad. Drizzle with oil mixed with lemon juice.
Hands on time:30 minutes
Makes 28 slices
2x200g packet soft cheese such as Philadelphia
2tbsp natural yoghurt or sour cream
300g smoked salmon, sliced
4tbsp of chopped dill
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A squeeze of lemon
Make pancakes according to the recipe:
Basic Pancake Recipe
Makes 8 thin pancakes on 23cm frying pan
150g plain flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of caster sugar
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour.
Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, beaten egg and half the milk. Start stirring the flour gradually keeping the mixture free of lumps. Continue adding milk until you reach the consistency of a double cream. At the end add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
Comment:You will only need 4 pancakes for this recipe but it makes sense to use up all the batter and then freeze pancakes or use them for dessert!
Mix the soft cheese with the sour cream or yoghurt in a mixing bowl. Season with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spread a layer of soft cheese on the pancakes, leave about 1cm around the edges, sprinkle with dill, top with one layer of sliced salmon and roll them up to form a roulade. Wrap roulades in cling film and put them in the fridge for about _ an hour or until you need them. Before serving unwrap the roulades, cut off the end bits and slice them on an angle with a sharp knife into about 7 pieces. Altogether you will have about 28 pieces.
Frugal Russian Truffles [Kartoshka]
“Kartoshka” means “potato” in Russian. I don't exactly know how we came around to have this name for a dessert - a logical explanation would be that it sprouted from the shape.
No baking is required! They are great sweet bites for a buffet party. You can make them any size you want, depending on the occasion.
Hands on time: 20minutes + 15 minutes chilling
100g butter, softened
50g icing sugar
40g dark chocolate, melted
1_ tbsp cocoa powder
1_ tbsp brandy
95g very fine breadcrumbs
1tsp good quality vanilla extract
Mix softened butter with icing sugar until smooth. Stir in cocoa and melted chocolate (you can melt chocolate in a microwave for 3 minutes on the maximum setting) and continue mixing. Add brandy, vanilla extract and breadcrumbs and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes – it makes it easier to handle the mixture. Put 2 tbsp of cocoa powder on a plate. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and form a shape of a small new potato (15g each). Roll it in cocoa powder and continue until the mixture is finished. Arrange the “potatoes” on a plate and keep them refrigerated for at least an hour or until you need them.
The mixture should make about 22 “potatoes”.
To get the finest breadcrumbs whiz them again in a food blender. I always make my own bread crumbs. Cut up stale white bread into crouton size pieces and scatter them on an oven tray. Pre-heat the oven to low-110°C and dry them in the oven for about 30 min. Cool down and store in a tin until you need them or you can whizz them in the food blender straight away.ShareThis