Food Matters

Food Matters
Karina Baldry's picture

Summers Under the Vine

In the Northern Caucasus there was a great mixture of cuisines –Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaidgani and some influence from Middle Asia. At my grandparents’ they used to have a welcoming habit of keeping the table always laid in case somebody dropped by. And people did. I remember the house to be always full of guests, the clinking of cutlery, and a general hustling in and out of the kitchen. My Grandma was usually very efficient and swift in the kitchen in her ways and she did it so light heartedly you would have never guessed that any effort was put into cooking.

Karina Baldry's picture

Turkish Cuisine

Any conversation about food origin and culinary preferences might lead to the War of Cuisines. In which country the first dumpling was made? Or who can claim fame for the best pancake? I have no intentions to do it, just make a mere observation about Turkish cuisine after my latest trip to the biggest city in Turkey, Istanbul. I probably won’t be entirely biased, as Turkey is one of the few countries bordering with the Russian Southern coast and in fact is very close to my heart.

Karina Baldry's picture

Taste of London

June is usually packed with diverse events dotted around London and its suburbs. You might choose only one or visit them all if you have the luxury of time.Being an ardent foodie, whilst skimming through the events’ calendar my attention was drawn to the TASTE OF LONDON in Regent’s Park.

There is plenty to keep you entertained during the four days. 40 of the city's best restaurants will be dishing up their finest in an unbeatable alfresco gourmet feast, while 200 producers provide a bounty of the best food and beverages, ensuring that guests sample and shop for a range of produce in the laid back atmosphere of a boutique food market.

Karina Baldry's picture

A “Show Off” Fish

We, Russians, were so disrespectful to a much-appraised mackerel that I almost feel ashamed!

Being the most inexpensive fish on the fish counter in Soviet Russia we disregarded it as an option for a decent meal or considered it fit only for cat food.

Whereas apparently mackerel has always been a popular fish throughout European history. With its sparkling, silvery belly and iridescent blue-grey stripes, the mackerel is an eye-catching fish - almost “showy”.

The French, German and Dutch as well as the British use the name mackerel and it is derived from the Latin word “macula”, spot.

Karina Baldry's picture

The Perfect Match

There are certain things that just perfectly go together or are commonly attached to each other!

Champagneand caviar, English Christmas and Turkey, Russian Easter and Kulich and, of course, strawberries and cream! And Wimbledon!

Strawberries are almost as synonymous with Wimbledon as tennis itself.

It is the best season to talk about this heart shaped berry as they are topping the charts of seasonal produce in June- July.

It’s not really accidental that strawberries should be served during the most prestigious British tennis tournament of the year in the second half of June.

Karina Baldry's picture

The Healthiest Fast Food

Eggs are probably the most versatile food that exists. Delicate and fragile, yet robust in flavour and nutrition, eggs can be transformed into so many forms and used in so many recipes across the world’s cuisines. And there is always a question: “How would you like your eggs?’ They are an ultimate breakfast, a relaxed lunch and could be easily a wholesome dinner. Spanish Tortilla de Patatas, French quiches, English infamous “Full breakfast with Bacon and Eggs”, scrambled eggs- the list is endless.

In Soviet Russia, eggs, in the times when they cost next to nothing, (those were the days!) - came to rescue me on many occasions.

Karina Baldry's picture

Rabbit Food

It’s an uplifting time of the year! We are half way through spring already. As well as offering the promise of good weather, it is the time when the first signs of “rabbit food” begin to show. After a long winter we all start to crave for lovely crunchy salads using crisp and sweet new-season vegetables. Chocolate rabbits have for a long time been heavily displayed in the supermarkets but the time of indulgence is yet to come. Let’s not give in to the temptation yet so we can, with a clear conscience, savor lovely Easter treats in less than 3 weeks. Here is a very simple recipe of how to make the best out of your newly sprouting greens. If they are fit for rabbits they should be good for us too!

Karina Baldry's picture

To Be Or Not To Be… On Lent?

That is the question I keep asking myself every year after the Butter Week. Obviously there is no question in the minds of the true confirmed believers. They take it very seriously and religiously (in the full meaning of this word) follow all the prohibitions. No meat, fish, eggs, fats and subsequently no by-products.  Devout Christians often fast for more than 200 days throughout the year. After looking at the list of things you can’t eat for Lent you are forced to become vegetarian whether you want it or not. Given the turbulent history of Russian Orthodoxy people are confused about the rules for Lent and therefore follow their own guidelines.

Karina Baldry's picture

Gorby’s Kashas

Who would have thought that one day the last President of the Soviet Union would be celebrating his 80th Anniversary with the whole progressive world in the grandiose setting of the Royal Albert Hall in London. It has been a long and eventful journey for “the man who changed the world”. Gorbachev was put on a pedestal, he was criticized, but nevertheless he has left an undeniable mark on the history of the world.

My focus here obviously is on Mikhail Gorbachev’s culinary preferences. We will have a look into his kitchen through the memoirs of his private chef Anatoly Galkin.

Karina Baldry's picture

Healthy Russian Diet

It used to be fashionable to buy high performance cars – now we are swapping them for a «greener» version. We were brought up in Russia with the notion of cheering high calorie food – now it is frowned upon and most of the recipes have a calorie count staring back at you in a silent reproach. In a way it was liberating not to worry about exhausting diets, counting calories, reading food labels and looking up in the dictionary what in earth’s name is GI – Glycaemic Index.

Today I am proudly hailing the most authentic Russian ingredients – Buckwheat and Cabbage as a part of a healthy diet!