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Russian maslenitsa Groningen

Maslenitsa Festival held in Groningen

Russian maslenitsa Groningen
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On 19 February 2015 the Centre for Russian studies organized an event “Maslenitsa”. The guests had an opportunity to listen to the lecture “Maslenitsa – het Slavische Nieuwjaarfeest” (Maslenitsa – the Slavic New Year Festival) by the chef Ilona Cherepanova and try traditional pancakes with various dips and jams.

Maslenitsa is a huge event in many Slavic countries. The week filled with various events and traditions takes place before the Lent fasting. Many fun activities and traditional elements (for example, pancakes, winter games and Lady Maslenitsa dummy) are an integral part of this week. The bright scene of Maslentisa is featured in the movie “The Barber of Siberia”.

Ilona Cherepanova, the chef for Russische Culinair, told the guests a detailed story about Maslenitsa week, with interesting facts and the week’s traditional fun schedule. Ilona’s lecture also touched upon the way Masenitsa is represented in art and culture, movies and paintings.[/ezcol_2third_end]

The guests, who totaled around 30 people – the Dutch nationals and former USSR expats, could enjoy homemade pancakes with tea to have the real taste of Maslenitsa.  Alongside pancakes there were other traditional Russian tea-time treats, provided by the Russian shop Vjatka in Groningen, for example, zefir and gingerbread.

The organizers were helping to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for the guests.

Organizers and sponsors

Centre for Russian studies is open on the basis of the University of Groningen since 29 June 2010. The Centre’s main focus is on the study of Russia and in particular on the study of Russian-Dutch relations.

Ilona Cherepanova, chef for the Russische Culinar, specializes in culinary master-classes. and Russische specialiteiten Vjatka acted as sponsors of the event.

Photograps – credit of Lyuda Stinissen

Sochniki Russian pastry with tvorog easy recipe

Sochniki Russian cakes with tvorog recipe

Sochniki are staple Russian shortbread cakes with tvorog cottage cheese filling. OMG such simple and comforting treats.

These cakes have been very popular from Soviet times in canteens and cafes across the country. Not surprising – the tvorog  filling is rich in protein, and sochniki are a great bakery to start off your day.

The main ingredient here, is, as to be concluded from above – tvorog, which is available in every Russian shop. Some people say you can substitute tvorog with kwark – do not listen to that! 🙂

Tvorog and kwark are two different things, their texture is completely different. If you don’t have tvorog you can substitute it with ricotta cheese – that would work out just fantastic, but much more expensive too.


Sochniki Russian cakes with tvorog recipe


For dough

Butter, softened – 50 g
Caster sugar – 1 cup ,
Smetana – 0.75 cup (you can substitute with creme fraiche)
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon ,
Eggs – 2,
Flour – 4 cups for the dough+ 0.5-1 glass for dusting [/ezcol_2third]

For stuffing

Tvorog cottage cheese – 400 g,
Caster sugar – 2 tablespoons ,
Eggs – 1 egg and 1 egg white
Smetana 2 tablespoons ,
Semolina – 2 tablespoons ( you can substitute with flour)

Egg wash:

1 yolk for egg wash – 1


1. Firstly, make the stuffing so the semolina would swell up and the sugar dissolve
In a large bowl combine eggs, tvorog, sugar and semolina. Mix well with a mixer. Set aside.

2. Dough
Mix together softened butter with sugar and eggs. Combine smetana with baking powder and mix into the sugar mixture. Gradually add the sieved flour, mixing into soft dough with your hands.
Set your oven to 190 C. Line the baking tray with baking paper
Shape the dough into a roll. Cut it into manageable pieces, dust the working surface with flour and roll those dough pieces out. Cut out circles using a glass.
Place around 1 tablespoon of stuffing onto each circle of rolled dough, and fold two sides together (no need to pinch the sides). Bring your sochniki onto the tray.
Make an egg wash mixing 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water and cover the sochniki with the mixture.

3. Bake the sochiniki for around 20 minutes until golden. Cool them down.

Sochniki are to be enjoyed cooled down.

Bon appetite!


1. For an extra golden glaze, repeat brushing with the egg yolk in the middle of the baking process.
2. You can shape sochniki in a different manner working with the dough: Shape the dough into the ball, cut into small pieces by halving each of them: the original ball into 2, them each of those two – again into 2 etc. Once you have small enough pieces roll out each of them into elongated shapes, place the stuffing and follow the above baking instructions.
3. You can chose not to glaze sochinki with the egg yolk, but then dust them with icing sugar

Russian crispy oatmeal cookies

Crispy Oatmeal cookies

Russian crispy oatmeal cookies
Russian oatmeal cookies (ovsyanoe pechenie, Rus. овсяное печенье) is a rustic and cozy tea time treat. The beauty of this oatmeal cookie lies in its simplicity – nothing fancy, just simple earnest flavour and crispy texture.

The main ingredients of ovsyanoe pechenie is oatmeal, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. The cookies are then formed and baked. Traditional oatmeal cookies are very popular in Russia and they are always found in confectionery deparments or at the food markets.

You can crunch these oatmeal cookies out loud, or you can dip in a cup of tea. Sooo comforting.

De Haagse Hogeschool Den Haag

Students of De Haagse Hogeschool organize an event From Russia with love

The Hague, 19 January 2015 –

The 1st year students of European studies of The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Dutch: De Haagse Hogeschool) organized an event “From Russia with love” with the primary focus on Russian media. The event was held in one of the auditoriums of the University and reached the audience of about 50 people, mainly students and also teachers and several entrepreneurs. The topic was presented through business, cultural and political dimensions.

The event was opened by the masters of the ceremony Ruben Monster and Guna Alvika who then gave the floor to the first presenter, Mr. Arjan Heijl of Next Drive company. The software development company has partnership with the Russian company in the city of Tomsk, Siberia, Russia. During a live Skype call between Mr. Heijl and his colleague Mr. Bubnov in Tomsk, the two businessmen told the audience about their successful cooperation. Both Mr. Heijl and Mr. Bubnov said that they do not seem to have intercultural challenges that would obstruct their business objectives – there are not so many cultural differences, according to Mr. Bubnov, especially given a lot of knowledge and expertise in the field of IT that both sides share.

Mr. Bubnov also told a little bit about Tomsk, small town in Russian dimensions (“just” 500 000 people).  This place has strong technical universities and a large number of students (around 15 000). A lot of IT resources and special economic benefits that Tomsk receives being in “Special Economic Zone” are some of the reasons that IT related start-ups blossom in Tomsk.

Mr. Heijl and Mr. Bubnov mentioned that current economic sanctions recently imposed by Russia did not affect their businesses and they both hope that currency fluctuations will not have a negative side effect in the long term future.

This presentation was followed by several workshops where the participants could brush up or extend their knowledge of Russian literature, learn Russian ABC, test their knowledge on Russian media and even learn how to dance Kalinka dance. During the break the guests could enjoy a small buffet with such snacks as the Russian Olivier salad and gingerbread.

The event was then followed by a presentation by Professor Does who told the audience about Russian media and how the degree of governmental censorship has been changing through the times, from the wind of change during M. Gorbachev’s regime up to the present days. Mr. Does pointed out that the most popular media medium in Russia nowadays is television, with radio and newspapers loosing their position and audience. He spoke about the Russian Internet as a source of information for those who have access to the world web and mentioned the new law in Russia that urges bloggers with audience more than 5000 people register themselves as a media agency, perhaps as an attempt to tackle oppositional moods that are present in the blogs. This law presents the bloggers with the dilemma “the more readers the better?” or, vice versa, “the less is more”.

The biggest country in the world has 3 state owned channels and Mr. Does suggested to those interested in Russian governmental viewpoint on events have a look on state owned channel Russia Today, which is basically the voice of Kremlin. He then gave several useful links to the Russian online media who give facts without colouring information, for example Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and popular in Moscow oppositional Novaya Gazeta. He also showed links to Komsomolskya Pravda (having compared it with the Dutch media “De Telegraaf”) and AiF – according to Mr. Does the latter sources give an insight into the society and interests of Russia.

It has also been mentioned during Mr Does presentation that the sad reality of current times is a media war between Russian and western news channels, where both sides may use manipulation of facts to colour the events. Given the current media propaganda every source of information needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and filtered with the critical thinking and  the variety of media sources would be only beneficial for the Russian as well as western readers. hopes that current political situation is only temporarily and will soon be over.


The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Dutch: De Haagse Hogeschool) is a university of applied sciences with its campuses located in and around The Hague, the Netherlands. The city is the Dutch seat of government and home to many major international legal, security and peace institutions.  The university was founded in 1987 and is made up of 14 academies and currently teaches around 23,400 students. Degrees fall into six main fields of interest including technology, innovation and society, public administration, law and security, management and organization, ICT and media, health and sport, economy and finance and welfare and education. was one of the sponsors of the event “From Russia with love” organized by the students of the Hague University of Applied Sciences.


Russian finger food buzhenina roasted pork sliced)

Buzhenina – Russian roasted pork

Buzhenina is a traditional Russian starter. It is pork baked in 1 whole piece and served cold and sliced. Before getting into the oven, the meat is marinated in a salted brine and then stuffed with sliced garlic and/or carrots, and then covered with spices. Aromatic and tender slices of Russian buzhenina will be a perfect traditional finger food and an authentic treat for your guests.

Back in the day it making buzhenina was a long process but with the modern technique it is done very simple and straightforward.

What cuts of meat are used in buzhenina?

For roasted pork buzhenina take 1 whole piece of pork, preferably with some fat. Go for shoulder cuts or loin cuts (blade cut will be fattier, other leaner loin cuts that are suitable for roasting).

The leaner the cut the more careful you should be not to overcook it and make it dry.

How to roast buzhenina pork?

You can roast buzhenina pork in several layers of foil or in a oven bag. Some people boil buzhenina and leave it cool down in the water.


Roasted Russian buzhenina in an oven bag – recipe

Cooking time: 30 min preparations + 7 hours marinating+1 hour roasting


1 piece of pork (up to 1300 gr/53 oz)

Water – 2.5 litres (0.6 gallon)

Cosher salt – 7 table spoons

Bay leaves –  10 (for brine) and 3 (for roast)

Garlic – 1/5 bulb

Carrot – 1/5

Spices: bay leaves (broken to small pieces), pepper corns (crushed), mustard seeds, thyme, terragon


  1. Brine: Boil 2.5 litres of water and pour into a large pot. Add 7 table spoons of salt and 10 bay leaves, cool down.

Wash the pork cut, dry it up and pierce the meat with a toothpick in different places. Put the meat into the brine (it should be completely covered with water) and leave in a fridge over night or 7 hours.

  1. Prepare the spices and finely chop garlic and carrot. Set the oven to 190 C/375 F.

Take the meat out of the brine, make cuts on both sides with a sharp knife and put a slice of garlic and carrot into each cut.

Cover both sides with spices and put the meat into the oven bag, leaving some space around it. Pierce the back in a few places with a tooth pick.

Roast for about 1 hour.

To check if the meat is cooked, pierce it though in the middle with a sharp knife– if the juice is pinky, the meat is not ready, if the juice is clear, the meat is cooked. Watch out not to overcook.

  1. Cool the buzhenina down. Enjoy!

Buzhenina is usually served cold, cut into slices as a starter.

You can also serve large pieces of buzhenina with a side dish of your choice.

Russian finger food buzhenina roasted pork


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