Maple Leaves in the Rain

I found this on a wallpaper site, in Russian. I’m assuming they were free to use – at least for personal use. I’m linking back to the site because there were a lot of great images there. This is one which I love. How can you not like maple leaves in the rain, especially with colours slightly more vibrant than they would be on the typical rainy day here in Ontario.  I’m adding it in a smaller size. Hopefully you can click on it and get the full size image. Full size was even better.

mapleleaves

Russian Culture

Russian Culture
By Lindsay Kosarev

Introduction

Russia is not something you understand with your mind. To have any understanding of the logic or culture of Russia, you need to feel her soul, her history, and her people.

Living the Russian Way is designed to give the student a glimpse at a completely different life perspective and way of thinking. I am not focused on historical or political debates, as many Russians are not. Part of Russian thinking is that these things cannot really be answered. Plus, it is better to make such discussions in the privacy of your home with a couple of good friends and a bottle of something intoxicating.

In other culture classes there is a focus in polite and “cultural” Russian culture, but this not such a course. I will not be talking about the Bolshoi Theater or traditional singing, but rather real people and living culture. This course will be challenging, not necessarily in the material, but it will challenge your perceptions about life. This challenge is the point behind cultural adaption. It will be challenging because you will begin to enter into and try to feel out the elusive and mysterious Russian soul. Continue reading Russian Culture

Russian Cake for Mother’s Day

I’m going to try making this Simple Cake with Sour Cream Frosting for Mother’s Day. I like it because I can still do my decorating idea on top, not using the crumbs as they do in the recipe but my own plan. Plus, it is an overnight cake, the kind that you put in the fridge overnight and it is even better for having the extra time to meld and merge ingredients.

Ingredients:

Cake:
3.5oz of butter. melted
2 eggs
14 oz of sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
0.5 cup of all purpose flour
1-1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
White vinegar, about 1 tablespoon

Frosting:
20-25oz of original sour cream
0.3 cup of sugar

Add eggs to melted butter in a mixer bowl and beat together on slow speed with wire attachement, just until mixed, then slowly add melted butter cooled till room temperature.
Continue mixing until well incorporated.
Mix in sweetened condensed milk.
Turn mixer off. Put a teaspoon of baking sode into bigger tablespoon and sprinkle with white vinegar, then fast pour bubbled soda to the batter.
If there is still soda powder left in the spoon repeat sprinkling it with vinegar until it is all done.
Start mixer on slow speed and slowly mix in all flour, spoon by spoon. Continue mixing until batter is homogenous.
Preheat oven till 350F. Pour about half of batter to the springform greased with butter.
Put springform to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (start checking it with a wooden toothpick at about 15th minute: pierce it till the bottom, if toothpick comes out clean then light cake layer is ready).
Take springform from the oven (but don’t turn heat off, you will need it again), let it cool a bit, then carefully get light cake layer put and put a side to cool down.
While springform is cooling down, mix about 1 table spoon of cocoa powder to the rest of batter in mixer bowl until well incorporated.
Clean springform with paper towel and grease it again with butter; pour there all of the batter and put springform to the oven.
Bake dark cake layer for 15-20 mins on 350F until ready (again try with wooden toothpick). Then remove springform from the oven and remove cake from the springform; set it aside and let it cool down till room temperature. Now you can turn heat in oven off.
Then cut both cakes in equal halves using a long knife.
Now it is time to prepare frosting. For this pour sour cream into deep bowl and add sugar.
Mix them together until sugar dissolves completely.
Arrange bottom part of dark cake in the middle of the cake stand or big flat plate.
Spread sour cream on the cake layer using frosting spatula.
Piece bottom part of light cake layer with a fork in several places from both sides.
Arrange it over the black layer on the cake stand.
Spread a layer of sour cream on top.
Pierce left part of black cake with a fork the same way you did before with white one.
Put it on top,
And again cover with a layer of sour cream.
Pierce last part of white cake with a fork from both sides and put it on top.
Cover with layer of sour cream again.
Using spatula spread sour cream on the sides of the cake. Remove redundant cream from the bottom of the stand with spoon, wipe stand with paper towel if needed.
Put cake to the fridge for several hours, 6-8 hours are good for layers to soak sour cream. After that is ready, slice it up and enjoy.

Wish You Were Here

This comes from Kate Spade, a postcard on a bangle. I like the idea. Makes you want to travel. Where would you go if you really could go anywhere? If money, language, time. confidence or anything else was not getting in your way? I’d go to a fancy hotel in Moscow. I’d start there with some luxury while I worked out what I wanted to see next. I know I want to see Russian history, but I don’t know where to start. A great hotel would be just the right spot to while away a few weeks while I gather information on the whole plan.