lemon: 2 posts

Crepe Cake with Sweet Cheese, Raisins and Raspberries (Solozhenyk)

I love nothing more than to pour a cup of tea and to flip through my great-grandmother Olena’s recipe books. Although there are many good cooks in my family, Olena was uncontested in her expertise and passion. I was a toddler when she passed away, but my mother and aunt’s stories and Olena’s handwritten books give shape to the woman of whom I only have a few sepia tinted photographs. Our family lore wouldn’t be complete without stories of Olena’s garlicky pork roasts, bright yellow sponge cakes filled with vanilla cream and raspberry compotes.

solozhenyk1

My favorites among Olena’s recipes are the forgotten old dishes that got lost during the decades of Soviet food shortages, standardization of the cuisine and obliteration of regional traditions. Some of it was forced by the state to create a market for commercial products; some of it was a part of a natural process as more women joined the work force and no longer had time to prepare complex meals. Olena’s recipes belong to another generation, but this is not to say that all of them are time consuming, extravagant affairs. For instance, her solozhenyk, crepe cake filled with lemony cheese garnished with raspberries, is elegant, but it’s also inexpensive and easy to make.

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Orange Blossom and Mint Lemonade

“It’s like drinking sunshine,” said my 11 year old cousin when she tried my orange blossom scented lemonade. Although her unexpected and poetic compliment made my day, I can’t take any credit. First of all, the idea comes from my friend Muna (whom you’ve met before). Second, it’s all in the lemon and orange blossom pairing.

lemonade-orangeblossom

Some combinations in perfumery are considered absolutely perfect. There are classical ones like coumarin and lavender, personal innovations like Jacques Guerlain’s bergamot and vanilla in Shalimar, or modern discoveries like cotton candy and patchouli in Thierry Mugler Angel. And then, you have natural marriages like orange blossom and citrus that are so harmonious than after you try it once, you know that these two are meant to be together.

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