Author Topic: Romanov Food/palace kitchens  (Read 6134 times)

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Vanya Ivanova

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Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« on: March 21, 2012, 11:48:43 AM »

I've had a good look through old threads and could only find snippets about this topic. I'd be really interested if people could post any anecdotes or information about the Romanovs and food.

I have recently read about Grand Duchess Xenia's son Prince Dimitri and his life long passion for cooking. Apparently he even had a little house on his mother's estate Ai-Todor in the Crimea built specifically for him to indulge this passion. There was also a reference that his initial inspiration was seeing his cousins OTMA cooking vegetable pies!

I would also like to know more about the Imperial chefs and would love to see some pictures of any of the palace kitchens if possible. Do we know what sort of diet the IF had? any particular favourite dishes? that sort of thing.

Offline Empire

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2012, 09:39:10 AM »
I haven't got an historical reference to share but there is a company called Bleikers, producers of smoked salmon who currently sell various items which they claim to be produced using the recipe's of the Tsars. I stumbled across their 'Romanov Salmon' which is smoked using dill and beetroot while I was out shopping for food at Christmas and, naturally, I bought a stack. I can't vouch for whether their claims are genuine or where they got their recipes from, but I can tell you, the salmon is GOOD.
I'm not sure if this will help your research but I thought I would share it anyway. :)

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 11:50:19 AM »
There are also several references to their preferred food in books about them.  Formal, meals were  usually by Escoffier.  See  Dining With Emperors. And, Bleikers is a Scottish smokehouse. Quite famous for it's excellent smoked salmon. I doubt they supplied the Romanovs as the company was not even founded until long after they were gone. The recipe, who knows ? There several Russian vodkas claiming Imperial provenance,  but it is impossible to tell which one is right.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 11:57:43 AM by Robert_Hall »
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Offline bestfriendsgirl

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 03:53:52 PM »
You might want to try Greg King's book Court Of The Last Tsar. It has a lot of information about the kitchens and formal meals and is a facinating read.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 04:11:32 PM »
Excellent recommendation. Also,  Scenarios of of Power. I cannot get the those books at the moment to giver the details.
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Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Vanya Ivanova

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2012, 07:27:39 AM »

Thanks so much for all the replies, I will purchase those books. I have just bought a translation of Elena Molokhovets '' A Gift to Young Housewives''. It was last published in 1917 and banned as too decandent in the Soviet era. I heartily recommend it,(translation by Joyce Toomre) its essentially an upper class Russian ladies guide to household management and cookery from the 19th - early 20th century and an real insight into Russian culture at that time. The influence of the Orthodox church on Russian cuisine is particularly interesting.

I haven't found a recipe for that delicious sounding salmon dish yet but its early days!



Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2012, 08:03:04 AM »
The book you mention sounds remarkably interesting. How did you find it? If it is on Amazon or similar I had better get a copy!

Ann

Vanya Ivanova

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 08:49:40 AM »
Hi Ann,

Yes, Amazon do have it but from them its rather expensive at about $35 or £22, the english translation is relatively recent so most good bookshops should also still have it . Hope thats of use.

Thea

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 06:49:57 AM »
Thank you. I will see whether I can still afford it after the latest increase in fuel prices!

Ann

Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 08:05:52 AM »
I just found a used copy on US Amazon for 14.00 us.... so there is the used book option
Many thanks for posting about this treasure trove!

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 10:42:58 AM »
I ordered it from Bookfinder.com for $18.00 Free postage.   It is coming from Guernsey. Surprising. [Book Depository] I was looking for a good Russian cookbook anyway so this will come in handy.
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Vanya Ivanova

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Re: Romanov Food/palace kitchens
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 05:46:21 AM »
Strictly speaking this is 'Royal food' rather than specifically Romanov but its related as the recipe is said to have been created for the Empress's sister and Prince Phillip's grandmother the Marchioness of Milford Haven which ties in nicely with Elizabeth II's Jubilee next week.

Why not make this yummy treat to have with afternoon tea to celebrate her Majesty's diamond Jubilee?

Battenberg Cake:

Despite its name, this is a thoroughly British creation. It is said to have been invented in 1884 for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt, to her German cousin Prince Louis of Battenberg. The four pink and yellow squares of sponge are said to represent the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph. In 1885 the cake got another royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria’s daughter Beatrice married Prince Henry.
 
Battenberg Cake Recipe

Ingredients – Serves 8
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin

175g self-raising flour

½ tsp baking powder

175g white caster sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 or 2 tbsp milk, if needed

A little pink (or red) food colour

4 tbsp apricot jam

Icing sugar, to dust

250g yellow marzipan (or natural if you prefer)

To make the marzipan (makes around 600g, so you can store some in the fridge for other cakes):

190g icing sugar

380g ground almonds

3 tsp lemon juice

3 egg yolks

4 drops almond essence



Method

For the marzipan:

In a bowl, mix the icing sugar and almonds. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, egg yolks and almond essence. Add the egg mixture gradually to the icing sugar and almonds and knead everything just until forms a stiff past. (It will become oily if overworked.) Store in a polythene bag in the refrigerator (use within a week).

For the Battenberg cake:Preheat the oven to 170˚C/fan160˚C/340˚F/gas mark 3½. Lightly butter a 20cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment. Also cut out a rectangle of baking parchment, as long and deep as the tin, to act as a divider lengthways between the 2 colours of sponge.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a large bowl with a handheld whisk, first sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter - cut into knobs, the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth, adding a little milk to loosen the mixture if it seems too stiff. Weigh out half the batter and place the divider down the centre of the tin.

Carefully place half the batter into one side of the tin. Tint the remaining mixture pink – it’s much better to do this not too exuberantly, so take care! – and stir until blended. As neatly as possible, spoon the pink mixture into the other side of the tin.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack. When completely cold, slice each colour lengthways into 2 equal blocks, then trim off all the rough edges.

Warm the jam in a small pan, push it through a sieve, then use it to glue the strips of cake together lengthways, so the natural and pink colours form opposite quarters.

On a work surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan into a rectangle the length of the cake and wide enough to wrap around all four sides. Trim it to size. Brush the remaining jam all over the cake and wrap the marzipan around the cake. Seal the join by gently pressing it together, then turn so this seam is hidden on the bottom. Trim the ends with a sharp knife, then score a criss-cross on the top surface.
 
It is possible to buy pre made marzipan or just the cake itself of course! but if you make it from scratch its much more delicious. For those who may have a wheat intolerance you can subsitute Rice Flour in part for self raising white and add either cream of tartar, or more baking powder, its a bit more crumbly but it makes the sponge wonderfully light. Obviously due to the almonds this recipe is not suitable for anyone with a nut allergy and so plain icing could suffice in that case.