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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Multicultural Blogging Carnival: Food Traditions

blini with ham, cucumber and chives

It's Multicultural Blogging Carnival time again! And, again it is hosted by Annabelle of the Piri-Piri Lexicon, and I say kudos to Annabelle for hosting two great blogging Carnivals in such a quick succession. 

This time's topic is Food Traditions, and I think I just may have the perfect recipe for this very occasion.

You see, I am lucky to come from a family where food was very important. It was also very delicious. My parents are both great cooks, but their approaches are totally different: My father looks up new recipes, invents new meals, and just loves to cook. My motherused to cook a lot when Poland was communist and there was nothing in the stores- croissants, bread, you name it, she made it.  After the fall of communism, she happily let my father cook. 

But there are dishes she still makes and when she makes them, it's something special. Take her borscht, for example. We have it every Christmas and the accompanying "uszka" (dumplings filled with wild mushrooms) are a source of fights between my brother and my father ("What you only made 150???? When are you going to make enough?). I must add that they are very hard to make. And how do I know? Because I help making them.

But for this Carnival I will be submitting another of my mom's recipes: blini, thick pancakes with buckwheat flour and yeast. They're not only delicious, but  also pretty much symbolize everything about how our family makes their own traditions out of every culture they've encountered. We eat them for Christmas and Easter.My brother wishes we would eat them every day.

This recipe comes from my Ukrainian grandmother, who married a Polish man and lived in France. It has been passed on to my mother, who is Polish (with some Jewish roots) but lived in the Netherlands. She married also a Polish man who grew up in France, and it has now been passed on to me: a Polish woman, who spekas German and lives in the Netherlands. I have been craving blini for long time (because I wasn't able to try them for Easter), and this Carnival gave me the perfect opportunity to go and try it. 

They were a delight, light and fluffy and delicious! So, without further ado, I'm giving you the recipe.

You will need:

200g all-purpose flour
200g buckwheat flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter (+ a lot lot more for frying)
approximately 3/4 liter of milk
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
30g fresh yeast (I used two packages of instant yeast, they were 7g each).

Some fillings: caviar is supposedly the best but I don't like it. Other options: fish (such as salmon or hering), ham, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, sour cream or creme fraiche, onions or chives. Sweet blini are also not unheard of!

If you're using fresh yeast, dissolve it in a cup of luke-warm milk. Add sugar, and wait until bubbles appear. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

Seperate egg white from egg yolk, melt the tablespoon butter.

In a large bowl, mix 100g of each flour. Add the milk and the yeast, the melted butter and egg yolk. Add milk until you'll get a batter that is as thick as pancake batter. Don't add salt just yet! Set aside until doubled in size.

Add the remaining flour (both wheat and buckwheat), salt, again milk until you'll get a pancake-like texture. Beat the egg white until stiff and carefully fold it under the batter.

In a pan, melt some butter and with a ladle pour some batter into the pan. It should be quite thick. Wait until the edges become brown and then turn and fry the blini on the other side.

Serve unfolded, with your favourite toppings: My favourite is the one pictured in the photo above: with ham, cucumber, sour cream and chives. My brother loves to add eggs, my parents prefer the fish.

It is a perfect dish for children because you can let them choose. The blini I made on Monday made my whole family very happy and completely satisfied by blini craving. Until next time. Enjoy!

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