In the old times spring meant two good news. At least the grass arises and the cows began to give milk.
So, ancient Estonian spring dishes contain a lot of milk, dairy products and greens.
Goutweed tastes like carrots and celery. Nettles are a bit sweet. Dandelion tastes like honey, but could be little bit bitter. To decrease the bitterness, leave leaves in to the cold salty water to set. And wood sorrel is sour.
Nettles need to be kept in the boiling water 1-2 minutes. Goutweed and wood sorrel are eatable when fresh. NB! Use only young, fresh, new, small weeds, grown in a pure and clean environment.
This January, I would like to introduce you to a foreign dish that throughout the years has become more and more popular in Estonia to the point where me and my fellow estonians consider it being part of our national cuisine.
Rassolnik is light vegetable soup. As name says “rassolnik “-“rassol” means in Russian cucumber brine. So, this soup contains and has specific salted cucumbers taste.
If you follow my blog, You know, that I prefer dishes that do not take much time to prepare. Yes, you can cook proper broth. But in weekdays I have not time for this.
I make this soup using meat leftovers and/or season this soup with stock fond.
Long long time ago. Poor Soldier came from War.
He was tired and hungry.
Knocked on the door and asked for food. The hostess was stingy and said that she is poor herself and have not any food.
Ok, said Soldier. But do you have an axe? Lets cook an ax soup, then.
This sounded interesting, the hostess heard for the first time about ax soup and agreed.
Soldier put cattle on the stove and added water and an ax. Let it simmer, tasted and said: it is too strong. To make this lighter, we have to add something. Do you have some meat?
Yes, agreed hostess and went to the pantry for meat. During this time soldier hid an ax and changed water.
Hostess brought meat, soldier added this in to the cattle. Let simmer, tasted and asked. This is still too strong. You have very strong ax,.. To make this lighter, please bring some barley…
then they added some vegetable to make soup ” lighter”.
Finally was soup ready. Look, said Soldier: we cooked this so long, that ax is just dissolved!
Hostess tasted soup and was amazed: so delicious, who might have known that ax is so delicious!
This is story about envy, greed and deceit. And how to cook something about nothing 🙂
Now you probably already know, that I prefer dishes which take time max 30 minutes. And this soup is the same. You can cook it in a decent manner: prepare stock and use meat and spend hours to have perfect dish.
But at the afternoon, you have not time. And this is the simplest version to prepare soup. In my opinion cabbage suits with sausages. But you can cook vegan version, or use minced meat or bacon or…. whatever you like.
It reminds me story from childhood 🙂
I was I believe 5 years old and my sister 3. We went with our family to the forest. To pick blueberries and mushrooms. And middle in the forest. Big a compost or garbage ” mountain”. Full of pumpkins.
My mother took both berry buckets and father took two big pumpkins.
Walking. My sister starts to whine.. I am tired. Take me to the arms…
Father sigh, laid one pumpkin down and took sister.
Now was my turn. I am tired. Please..please… I can not anymore.
yes. We left both pumpkins in the forest…
Pumpkin became a commonly-used vegetable in Estonia in the 1920s–1930s. And now we love pumpkin 🙂
Sunday morning. 7 o clock.
The Cat jumped on the bed ” Krrr…. lazy bums, the sun is shining, wakeup…”
I pulled blanket over the head. I had the intention to sleep at least 4 more hours…
But.. for my amazement, my husband woke up and left from bed room…
Some time later, I realized, that I have to go.
On the couch sat next to each other, Man and Cat. Eyes are glued to the TV screen. Watching racing cars..
My father was born in 1943. So, he was child after war. This was terrible time. Estonia was occupied by Soviet Union, Hunger and poverty. In March 1949, 20,722 people (2.5% of the population) were deported to Siberia.
Started collectivization. Forcibly was established collective farms, which means that all farmers must give all animals to collective farms. All over the countryside, the establishment of kolkhozes was announced and the majority of the peasants joined ‘voluntarily’, fearing that they would be deported if they did not sign up. During the 1950s, masses of farm animals would starve to death in late winter or early spring because of a lack of fodder. Collective farmer’s did not get first years any salary.
Because was lack of eggs and everything, children invented ” bread”, to have something to eat. They mixed potatoes, flour and oil and baked this on to the wood burning stove iron.
Jaaniõhtu (Midsummer Eve – 23 June) and Jaanipäev (Midsummer Day, St John’s Day – 24 June) are the most important holidays in the Estonian calendar.
The Jaanipäev celebrations were merged with the celebration of Võidupüha (Victory Day) after the War of Independence, when the Estonian forces defeated the German troops on 23 June 1919.
So, we have long holiday 🙂
Jaanipäev is summer solstice and we say ” sun do not go down”. Even at 10 pm you can read book, because is enough light 🙂 This is the day, when all children has permission to be awake overnight.
To be honest. Because of global warming summer is not summer anymore. My birthday is 17th of June, and few years ago in my birthday was snowing !
And about Jaanipäev- yes we have bonfires, but usually exactly this evening is raining or lot of mosquitoes and.. this is not very fun:)
But still until today we believe: the lighting of the bonfire and jumping over it. This is a way of guaranteeing prosperity and avoiding bad luck.
In Estonian fairy tales and literature, there is a tale of two lovers, Koit (dawn) and Hämarik (dusk). These two lovers see each other only once a year and exchange the briefest of kisses on the shortest night of the year. Earth-bound lovers go into the forest looking for the “flower of the fern” which is said to bloom only on that night.
So, this is important day for young pars…:) and lot of grill and chill. And next morning you just need a sour and sweet soup. I do not call this Selyanka, because real Selyanka is little bit different. But very similar:) This is Selyanka-type soup. Continue reading “After Party Soup. Seljanka”
I believe that we can call our Milk Soup as comfort food. All our Mothers made a milk soup at night. When the child’sstomach had suddenly become so empty 🙂
Milk soup is very easy to make, it gets ready quickly and as milk is rich of B vitamin, it makes you calm and helps you sleep.
However, this comfort food has sometimes been complicated 🙂
During the Soviet times at school on Mondays we were always served a bowl of milk soup for lunch. Of course, I hated it:)
In a very popular book called ” Kasuema” by Silvia Rannamaa, which describes the life of a youngster during the 60s, the ” Milk soup Mondays” were compared to Dickens poorhouses 🙂 believe me, despite the fact that this book was very popular it certainly did not help to rise the popularity of milk soups.
But again, we can call Milk soup a comfort food. On Mondays, you have enough power to start your 🙂 school week.
And yes, you can not believe this, but traditionally the milk soup is served with some spiced sprat (Tallinna Vürtsikilu) sandwiches 🙂
You can replace pasta with rice, barley, semolina or dumplings. Recipe is the same.
For Dumpling Soup bring milk to boil, reduce heat and add small dumplings. Dumpling recipe you can find here.