Saturday, 9 July 2011

We came, we cooked and we definitely will be back!

Having never been to Russia let alone dined on Russian cuisine I really didn't know what to expect tonight. I had my doubts over how well I could make the dough for the Pelmini and I was very unsure about how the raw mince would cook in the boiling water. I didn't know if the Sharlotka would be more of stewed apple mess or a flat sponge cake, but all in all i have to say it was truly a great experience and the dishes I chose cooked up great.

Beginning with the Pelmeni the dough worked out fine and the filling cooked just as the recipe it said it would in the four to five minutes in the boiling water. With a little BBQ sauce to give it that small touch of Australia they were spot on. Not sure if i would say they were a main meal, but i think they would definitely work as a starter to a dinner party or as something to nibble on during the football.

For those looking for a light dessert to make on a cold night I would clearly recommend having a go at the Sharloka. It doesn't take long. You don't need loads of ingredients and it is grand. As the recipe said it was light and fluffy and served straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla icecream on the side i think it now will become one of our family favourites. The mix of apple and cinnamon with the bi-carb and vinegar inspired sponge cake mixture melted in your mouth. It is a dessert that completes the meal, but doesn't leave you feeling over indulged. Not too sweet for me it was just right and going by the 5 empty bowls it hit the spot.

Whilst I would rate my trip to Russia as a top place to food visit, the best highlight came from the journey to get there. Many of the Russian recipes I found whilst looking for something to cook spoke of how they were traditionally prepared by the family at dinner time. So with the help of my nephews we took out travel plans to my mum and dad's place to truly capture the family feel. A great idea. Everyone was involved. Be it reading out the recipe, finding the Russian national anthem on Youtube to play in the background to get us in the mood or just making sure I wasn't making a mess everyone played a part and wanted to be in the kitchen.

But enough of the feel good stuff it is time to get down to the business end. As with all cooking adventures i suppose i should use some sort of scale or measure to rate the trip to help you decide whether or not to take the plunge and visit for yourself.

So here what I’ll be using to help share my experience.

Preparation time: (how long does it really take?)

Pelmeni - Allow 30 minutes to prepare. The more hands on deck the quicker. The time killer is preparing the dough and the rolling. Making the filling and then constructing the Pelmini is quick and simple. Kids i think will love the opportunity to get involved and make these.

Sharlotka - 15 minutes to put together tops and 20 minutes to cook. Again a great kid freindly dish and a fantastic way to use up the apples you have lying around.

Ease to cook: (what does it involve?)

Pelmeni - Boil water, drop in and wait 5 minutes. Simple! No mess no fuss.

Sharlotka - Easier than the Pelmeni. Heat the oven, cook for 20 minutes then serve.

Overall: (i'll use a scale of empty bowls - 5 empty bowls is the best - 1 empty bowl not the best J)

Pelmeni – 3 ½ empty bowls - for me it just needed something. Maybe it was my dough, but i just felt needed a bit more of a kick to it. Maybe a few more spices in the filling.

Sharlotka - 5 empty bowls. A great dessert that on a cold night will warm anyone’s tummy. One to add to my cook book.

Enjoy the photos from my adventure J

PS - Russia was fantastic, but the journey must continue -  new destination coming soon!


  1. Loving the Pelmeni! We had it a couple of times at a local Russian restaurant (which unfortunately has closed). You've inspired me - can I have your recipe or is it somewhere on your blog?

  2. Glad to know my blog is being read lol. I posted the recipes in my what's on the menu entry - . Let me know how you get on :-)

  3. What a most enjoyable selection.....can't wait to see what Argentina brings....

    Maybe one needs to get in a rough trod red!!!

  4. Hi Cam, Will you marry me ? Il ditch the old man for a good cook. I have 4 kids .at weekends . Yelena.