A spread from our Empire Line shoot, featuring: Salted Cucumbers; Beetroot & Walnut Salad, Olivier Salad, King Crab, Pomelo & Avocado Salad
For this month's food feature in our W*164 Reigning in Russia issue, we've brought together a selection of Russian-inspired gastronomic delights and given them a modern twist. From Borscht and Shashlik skewered lamb with pomegranate and onion salad, to a good-looking cassata bombe and Syrniki cheese pancakes, here's how to cook them to perfection.
1kg small cucumbers
1 litre iced water
4tbs sea salt
4 sprigs fresh dill, with flowers â¨if possible
2 bay leaves
8 blackcurrant leaves, if available
50g fresh horseradish
8 cloves garlic, peeled and â¨halved lengthways
1tbs whole black peppercorns
You will need one large, or two smaller pickling jars with a total capacity of 2 litres. Clean the jar or jars thoroughly with boiling water. Prepare the cucumbers: wash them, trim the ends and place in a large pan with the iced water. Bring the water to a rolling boil, add the salt, stir until dissolved and leave to cool. Place two sprigs of dill, a bay leaf, and two blackcurrant leaves at the bottom of the jar. Peel and finely dice the horseradish. Place the cucumbers in the jar, standing vertically, and layering them with more blackcurrant leaves, dill, horseradish, garlic, peppercorns, and the other bay leaf.
When the brine has cooled to just above â¨room temperature, pour it into â¨the jar, covering the contents. Secure the lid and store, in the fridge preferably, for at least two weeks before eating.
Note: a shot of the pickle juice â¨from this recipe is a noted Russian hangover cure.
3 potatoes, about 300g
2 carrots, about 150g
100g frozen peas
3 hard-boiled eggs
2 Russian salt-pickled cucumbers or gherkins
100g cooked ham
100g cooked chicken
salt and black pepper
Peel and halve the potatoes and boil in salted water until just tender. Allow to cool. Peel the carrots and cut into large chunks. Cook, like the potatoes, until just tender. Cook and cool the peas. Dice the potatoes and carrots into 1.5cm cubes. Peel and chop the eggs. Dice the cucumbers into 1cm cubes. Chop the ham and chicken into 1cm cubes. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and fold together with the mayonnaise. Season with salt and black pepper.
Beetroot & Walnut Saladâ¨
1 clove garlic, crushed under the flat of a knife with 1tsp salt
3tbs sour cream
4 medium beetroot, cooked
100g walnuts, chopped
70g pitted prunes, chopped
salt and pepper
Put the garlic and sour cream in â¨a bowl and mix well. Dice the beetroot into 1cm cubes and place in the bowl with the chopped walnuts and prunes. Toss well â¨to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
King Crab, Pomelo & Avocado Salad
¼ of a pomelo, about 100g
1 small avocado
100g white king crab meat
juice of half a lime
1tbs chopped fresh coriander
2 spring onions, trimmed and â¨finely sliced
salt and pepper
Peel the pomelo segments. Pull the fruit apart into small chunks and place in a bowl. Halve the avocado and cut into 1cm cubes. Put half the chopped avocado in the bowl with the pomelo, crab meat, lime juice, coriander and spring onions. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half the mixture into two moulds or small cups. Add a layer of chopped avocado to each and finish with the remaining crab mixture. Upturn the cups onto serving plates.