Almond-Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze - Queen of Sheba Cake

My eight-year-old son has a dream, he wants to open his own restaurant when he grows up. Every day after school when his homework is done he sits quietly and plans his dream. I have helped him to make layout of the kitchen, put together design of the tables and the milkshake bar. He even planned for piano to be put in the corner for the live entertainment. He already knows what kind of people he needs to hire, he learns about walk-in freezers, pantry and ovens. He started asking his school friends if they would like to take a position at his place and there is already someone who wants to take cleaning job. Menu with special drinks and desserts has been planned, business cards design has been prepared. And now we are getting to the most exciting part - cake. My dear son has asked me to teach him how to bake a restaurant quality chocolate cake. And there it is, ladies and gents: cake recipe for my son's future family friendly restaurant. It is rich, chocolaty with a crunch of almonds. This cake will  melt in your mouth and with some mint chocolate for your glaze it will come out refreshing!


Limoncello Apple Fritters

Fritters, similar to doughnuts in so many ways, and they are also deep-fried cakes. The batter for fritters is usually lighter, with less flour than for doughnuts and often is mixed with vegetables such as corn or fruits such as apples. Country-stile food, fritters are as comfortable on a plate with couple of fried or poached eggs as they are on a dish holding roast chicken. Best of all, they are quick to make and certainly tasty to eat.


Russian Monday: "Blinis" - Savory Buckwheat Pancakes

Shrovetide (or “maslenitsa” in Russian) is celebrated in the last week before Christian Orthodox Great Fast, seven weeks before Easter. Shrovetide is the holiday preserved by Slavic peoples from pagan (pre-Christian) times. Those days it was called differently when just like many other nations, ancient Slavs had traditional feast associated with winter wires and meeting of spring. At the time this feast was associated with the name of Veles - god of fertility and livestock in ancient Slavs pantheon. This holiday represented awakening of nature from winter sleep and marked beginning of the work in the fields. Also, feast table must have been plentiful and very hearty as it was meant to manifest the hope for the harvest year. Time of this holiday has always been cheerful and it was believed those who refuse to be merry would end up living “in bitter trouble” for the rest of the year.


Lemon-Cream Tart with Candied Kumquats

To enjoy a lemon tart at its best, serve it warm or cold, but never chilled. For this recipe I have used sweet pastry which is easy to prepare. Serve the tart as it is, or sprinkled with a generous layer of confectioners' sugar. It is delicious accompanied by candied kumquats or red berries in season.


Lamb Soup with Garbanzo Beans & Garlic

This Russian soup made with lamb, and it's substantial and warming - just perfect for taking the edge off a hearty appetite on a cold winter's day. Lamb and garbanzo beans go together so well, they seem to have been made for one another. Thick slices of warm rustic bread would make the perfect accompaniment.


Russian Monday: "Khvorost" - Sugar-Dusted Fried Pastries

“Khvorost” (i.e. brushwood) is the Russian name of semi-dessert deep fat fried pastry. It originates from Southern Russia of 17th century where bakers have borrowed it from Greek cuisine. In second half of 17th century it has spread to regions of Ukraine where local cooks and bakers come up with their versions of this pastry. They named it “verguny” which is quite popular Ukrainian dish. Into Russian cuisine itself, into kitchens of St. Petersburg and Moscow, “verguny” has arrived in second half of 19th century and become liked primarily by inhabitants of large urban areas due to easiness of cooking and for being unpretentious product. At the same time Russian word “khvorost”, i.e. brushwood became a nickname for the dish, due to its crunchiness, but obviously not due to the taste.

“Verguny” or “khvorost” was primarily cooked by medium and small income townsfolk: burghers, shopkeepers, clerks, students, members of work cooperatives – anywhere people needed to throw inexpensive quick feast not requiring utensils, by chipping in for the food.

Today in Russia everyone knows and likes “khvorost”, it is often cooked for the holiday table. I remember my mom making it - first twisting and braiding dough and then flying it in oil. We enjoyed eating it with tea and usually mountain of “khvorost” on the plate was going very fast. I hope you will also like these tasty and quick to prepare cookies!


Citrus Chocolate Soufflé - Have a Very Special Valentine’s Day!

If you are lucky to be in love this day is for you. Valentine’s Day is a holiday when you can continuously spoil your loved one as well as yourself using very legitimate excuse. Everything has a role to play - gorgeous dress, unique jewelry and of course gourmet food. Having a special dinner is always a culinary adventure. Going out or eating at home, one may indulge on luxury items this day: champagne and caviar, foie gras, oysters, black truffles and definitely a sweet course - dessert. Rich chocolate cake, macaroons, strawberries and cream brulée can be grand finale of your evening. You may cook something, buy in advance or order from your favorite restaurant, doesn't mater how you do it! I wish you sweet, delicious and very special Valentine’s Day!


Russian Monday: "Medovik" - Honey Cake

Today we open our Russian Monday section with the recipe of "Medovik" - Russian Honey cake dedicated to all athletes competing at Olympic Games in Sochi!

The mere name of the Honey cake evokes memories of a pleasant evening spent over a cup of tea or a fun child’s birthday party. Real homemade "Medovik" is delicate, delicious, fragrant and not at all sugary dessert that even person who can’t stand honey would never refuse.


Vitamin Garbanzo Beans Salad - Healthy Lunch

Healthy and luscious this salad is great for light lunch. Garbanzo Beans is paired with garlic and other ingredients to make this tasty dish. This is a healthful, easy salad uses few ingredients, and will complement any meat or poultry dish if you serve it for dinner.


Semolina Raspberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These elegant sweet offerings call for an aromatic hot tea to be sipped slowly from your finest china cup.

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