I love food, so I just thought I’d share with you my favourites since arriving here.
- Karums (don’t know the generic term for them) – for those non-Latvians reading this I better explain what they are. They are a small block of cottage cheese blended with full fat cream, given a flavour and then given a very thin layer of chocolate. My favourite is probably blueberry, Inta’s vanilla. Incredibly fattening I imagine but yummy with that first morning cup of coffee.
- Chilled beetroot soup (auksta biesu zupa) – now every cook in Latvia will have their own version of this in terms of ingredients and quantities. The version I love, uses small beetroots including the stalks, keffirs, cucumber, radish, spring onion, hard boiled egg, smoked ham and of course the obligatory dill. I just love it. In fact could eat it every day. It’s so refreshing yet at the same time filling.
- Pankukas – now these are not the large thin pancakes, but what would be termed back in the UK a drop scone. Again every cook will have their own version, some will use milk – others keffirs, some will use baking powder others yeast. I love Inta’s version when she use’s keffirs and adds cottage cheese into the mixture. Served with full fat sour cream and jam they are addictively yummy.
- Potatoes – Why potatoes you may ask? Well they just taste different than the ones back in the UK. I have only eaten so far the ones that come from the farmers market or from Inta’s village and they are yellower than the ones than the ones from the UK supermarkets and definitely have more flavour. Is large scale farming to blame?
- Sour Cream – buy it direct from a farmer at a local market. It has a much higher fat content but it’s delicious. Much more versatile than mayonnaise. You can use it on savoury and sweet dishes.
- Silkes kazoka – This is a layered salad, whose essential ingredients include – shredded cooked beetroot, salted or marinated herring, hard boiled eggs, cooked potatoes and shredded cooked carrots. In the layers there will be a sauce. It will vary what it might be, but is essentially a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise and horseradish.
- Zefirs – These are like a firm flavoured creamy, marshmallow, coated with sugar. They are very fattening, utterly addictive and great with coffee. My favourite is Lama’s blueberry.
- Dill – In the UK I used to cook a lot, but hardly ever used to use dill always parsley. I always thought it had no smell or flavour, that was until Inta re-introduced it to me. Its so fragrant and you can use it on any savoury dish. A very versatile herb.
- Mazsaliti gurki – These are small cucumbers marinaded in brine with blackcurrant, horseraddish and garlic leaves. You only leave them to marinade for a short period of time. You can eat them after just a few hours, Delicious.
- Negi (Lamprey in English) – Virtually extent in the UK due to over fishing. They look like an eel but are in fact a fish. They are about 30 cm long from memory, and use their mouths as a sucker to attach themselves to rocks. Had them fresh last October in Salacgriva. The fisherman barbecued them for us. Ate them whole, head, tail everything. They are not boned and gutted. They have no bones. Very delicious.
Love to hear what Latvians favourite Latvian foods are. Must go Inta has just made pankukas. Byte for now