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“Light, nourishing and delicious – krupenik’s extraordinary combination of qualities is not a contradiction.”

Krupenik is a traditional Russian baked pudding made of common products found in many homes over the course of history, and its name derives from the word for grain, «крупа» (“krupa”).

I’ve tried quite a few pudding recipes over the year that claims to be somewhat healthy, I once made a semolina pudding but it called for almost a kilo (!) of sugar so I quickly decided against it. This one, however, only uses three tablespoons of it so I was much more willing to give it a try. Krupenik is described as a pudding perfect for those who are dieting, so I’m just going to believe that and eat it without feeling bad about it. This one can be served both as a dessert, and as the main meal for breakfast, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold. I love eating mine hot with a bit of cinnamon on top.

Here’s what you need:

  • 250 grams of buckwheat. Rinsed well and roasted if you want it to be less “slimy” and more of a different texture.
  • 300 grams of farmers cheese. I’m lactose intolerant so I can’t have cheese, but I found a lactose free cream cheese I used as a replacement. It made the pudding more runny but it works if you’re in a pinch.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 100 grams of sour cream. Again, I found a lactose free alternative, I used the iMat Fraiche from Oatly.
  • 30 grams of butter. Milk free margarine for me.
  • 2 tablespoons of rusk flour. I just used crumbled up graham crackers.
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar. You honestly don’t need more than that, the cheese is what will give the pudding it’s flavor and it’s acidity.
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.

Here’s how to do it:

The first thing you gotta do is to fill a pot with a liter of water and then bring it to a boil. While that is happening you have to measure the 250 grams of buckwheat and make sure to rinse it thoroughly. It should say on the package that some people can be allergic to the color of the buckwheat that’s why it needs the rinse beforehand.

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Once the water is boiling, put the buckwheat in it and set a timer for 15 minutes. It should be more than enough to finish boiling it, and it will turn a little bit slimy once it’s finished. You won’t notice this texture after you bake the pudding.

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While the buckwheat is boiling, crack the two eggs into a bowl. Gently beat them to mix the yolk and the whites before adding in three tablespoons of sugar, whisking it all again to mix it properly.

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Add in the farmers cheese, cream cheese in my case. I had to use kitchen scales to measure up 300 grams, the boxes of cream cheese were 175 grams each, which was more than I needed.

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I would recommend using a hand mixer for mixing in the cheese, the mixture needs to be lump free and that is difficult to achieve with a regular whisk. A balloon whisk could maybe work but I don’t have that. Once everything is blended properly and the buckwheat has finished boiling, drain the water before adding it to the egg-sugar-cheese mixture. Stir it all together. With regular farmers cheese it wont be as liquid-y as mine is, the cream cheese doesn’t have much of a body to it.

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Line a small baking pan with rusk flour/graham cracker crumbs. You can basically use anything you want in this step to add some flavor to it, though dry, crumbly biscuits would work best. Adding salted biscuits could definitely work too to make the pudding less sweet, if that is what you prefer.

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Pour the mixture into the pan to cover the crumbs, make sure it is an even layer before covering the top with a thin layer of sour cream to add in more flavor. Put it in the oven and bake it in there at 190 degrees Celsius (about 374 F) for 40 minutes. I didn’t preheat my oven because it’s a hot air oven, and it doesn’t take long at all for it to reach 190 degrees Celsius.

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If you want the pudding to be a bit more baked, you can leave it in for an extra 10 ish minutes. Mine was in for five minutes longer than it should but it was still juicy and tasted just the way it should! I cut mine into squares, (well, it didn’t want to come out as squares but I tried!), and added some cinnamon on top. If you want, you can also add in raisins or berries or anything else to add sweetness or flavor!

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“Eat like a king with this traditional recipe”…

That is what it said on the website where I found this, link can be found here. Here’s a tiny bit of information about  pearl barley, if you’re not familiar with it:

Pearl barley, or perlovka, is considered a pearl among the cereals because of its exceptional nutritional properties. This typical Russian recipe is an easy way to sample this healthy grain.

As it mentions, pearl barley is healthy! It contains a lot of vitamin c, it is great for people who have diabetes because it has beta-glucan solluble fiber, and it is good for your digestion overall. The best part of this recipe as a whole too, is that it is completely vegan, only consisting of pearl barley, mushrooms and onion. It is traditionally made with oil, but I used vegan margarine (because I was all out of cooking oil and I didn’t want to drive to the store just to get that). Also, sorry for only using metric measurements, I have no idea how the imperial system works, we don’t use that here in Norway. When I see instructions to add one cup of something, I literally believe that you need to just grab a coffee mug and use it for measuring.. Oh well!

Here’s what you need:

This recipe should feed four people.

  • 400 ml of water or vegetable broth. ( I used a broth and it gave the final product a grey-ish look, it’s supposed to be lighter. If color matters to you then make sure to choose a clear broth or go with water).
  • 1 large onion. (I used two smaller because that’s what I had at hand).
  • 30 g oil, or just a chunk of margarine/butter (depending on if you want to keep it vegan or not).
  • 350 grams of mushrooms. (Preferrably champignons but you can use any kind of mushrooms). 
  • 200 grams of pearl barley
  • Black pepper, salt to taste, greens (Russians use dill for everything).

 

Here’s how to do it: 

First you have to find and gather all of your needed items and ingredients, preferably set it up super nice and neatly on your counter, mine was a total mess so I didn’t take a picture of that..

Start off by placing a large pot on the stove, letting it heat up and add either oil and butter to it. You could use a deep frying pan but I don’t have any that would work for adding so much liquid and stuff to it. You should also make sure to make the vegetable broth in a smaller pot while you do this so it is ready to go when you need it. Then you should be chopping up your onions into smaller pieces so that you can saute them for a while in the pan. By doing this, I discovered that smaller onions will make your eyes sting more than normal.

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Once your onions are in the pot, you should slice your mushrooms. I had 50 grams too much but I decided to add them in anyways as I didn’t want any of them going to waste. By adding in more, remember to add a tiny bit more water after pouring in the broth/water later on. You can choose to slice the mushrooms thinly, but I honestly prefer a bit thicker slices, I also just cut a few of the smaller mushrooms in half to add more variety to it.

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Once your onions are done, add the mushrooms to it and let it all reduce. It’s gonna go from a massive pile to a seemingly disappointing amount, but it’s definitely enough still.

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Meanwhile that will basically be cooking itself (remember to stir it now and then to expose more of the mushrooms to the moisture), you should measure and rinse the pearl barley. I purchased mine from a Danish online store, it’s really expensive in stores here.

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I have a smaller pasta strainer that I love using for rinsing grains, berries, fruits and whatnot, the holes are just small enough to not let anything fall through them and it makes the whole process so much easier. Make sure to rinse them well!

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Once your mushrooms look fairly done and the onion has become mostly clear, it’s time to add the pearl barley and the broth to the pot. Stir it all together to see if it is enough liquid, add more if needed then bring it to a boil. Put a lid on and let it simmer for quite some time. The recipe said about 20 minutes, but I found that the barley needed around 40 for it to triple in size and feel like it was ready to be eaten.

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After the grains and the mushroom has finished soaking up the liquids and it has the right consistency (a bit soft but still a tiny bit chewy), it’s time to plate it! The recipe said to add greens, but I prefer to have raw carrots with any rice or grains, it keeps me from thinking that it is too mushy. I did add some spinach too later on. I didn’t add any salt or pepper though, the onion added enough flavor to it for my taste.

Since the recipe is for four people, I had to take whatever was left and freeze it, I refuse to throw food out if I don’t have to, and I wouldn’t be able to finish all of that in a short amount of time, it was honestly way too much just for one person. If you’re making this just for yourself, or for two, just halving it all would definitely be the easiest solution.

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It’s quite easy to see that my mushroom to grains ratio is a bit off, it would look more like a porridge if I actually followed the measurement and didn’t add in the extra 50 grams of mushrooms. Oh well! If you do try out this recipe, please let me know how it went! You can easily modify it to however you want it to be by changing the veggies.

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Years ago I used to be a terrible snacker, buying crisps and sweets all of the time and it wasn’t good for my health, nor my wallet. After I realized how bad it was I turned to fruit instead whenever I craved something to snack on. Fresh fruit is amazing, but sometimes I want something more savory to sate my cravings. A lot of the time I just chop fruit into small bits and bake them in the oven but they can end up being too mushy. With these slices, they often get a bit crispy on the outside since the skin is still on, and then the inside is really tender.

I usually sprinkle a little bit of sugar on them to make it more sweet, but you could totally just use cinnamon and skip the sugar to keep it healthier.

Here’s the very short list of what you need:

  • 1 to 3 apples, depending on how many slices you want. I used two.
  • Some cinnamon
  • Some sugar
  • A knife for slicing and removing the core pieces
  • A baking pan

I put them in at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes, this all depends on how fast the sugar melts or how finished the slices look. If you choose to put sugar on it, the sugar should just finish melting before you take the slices out of the oven. Sometimes if you keep them in for too long, it can bubble up too much and you end up risking getting burns on your hands when you take them out and that is not good!

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I piled the slices onto each other in the picture above so it looks a bit sloppy, but they’re honestly delicious! I heard it described as apple pie without the pie at one point, which is pretty much true since apple pieces in pies do get tender when you bake them.

Do you snack on any fruit when you get cravings? Do you prefer fresh fruit or making them into something else?

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So lately there has been an influx of vegetarian and vegan products in the grocery stores here, something I’m happy about! There is a lot of vegan products that I can’t use because I’m allergic to Soy products, but recently there has been a lot of new products based on pea protein and other things that are completely soy free. A store chain here in Norway called Coop has released a whole lot of different things like beet burgers, mushroom burgers, corn sliders and what I had for dinner the other day, seasoned taco stuffing made from pea protein. They also have campaigns for meat free Mondays where they share recipes you could try and I really love this change. I’m not fully vegan but I go meat free as often as I can, gradually cutting down on my consumption when I find replacements that are soy free.

Here’s what I had, it totally looks meat, doesn’t it? My dad thought it was, stole a few pieces from the leftovers I brought them and was weirded out by the texture. It does taste great though and it worked well with tortillas, vegan cheese and iceberg lettuce. I usually have a lot more mixed in with my tacos but I couldn’t be bothered to go to the store to buy even more. Sometimes simple meals are the best meals. Do you ever choose vegan options over regular options? If you don’t then you should try it! You’ll feel better about choosing a more healthy lifestyle, just make sure to do it right.

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“Soy free” “0% meat or fish” “A source of protein, gluten free, sustainable”

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All you gotta do is fry it in some oil or butter for a few minutes.

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Day 3. Your favorite Christmas recipe/food

This is actually what we eat on the 25th, or, we used to eat it, before my grandmother just recently passed away. Every year on the 25th the whole family would gather at her place for dinner.

What we had was a whole trout, baked in the oven with dill, sliced lemons and loads of butter and spices. It was a lovely way to calm our stomachs down after a heavy Christmas dinner the night before. We had potatoes and pickled cucumber slices and heavy cream as side dishes. This pretty much sounds like a typical Norwegian meal, haha.

What you would need:

  • A whole trout (or two, depending on how many you are serving)
  • One whole lemon
  • Some dill
  • Any kind of butter, i would recommend herb butter if you can get your hands on that
  • Any spices you love to have with fish
  • Whatever you would like as side dishes.

All you need to do is to slice the fish open (it should have been cleaned out at the fisherman’s store) and fill it with the lemon, dill, butter and spices. This is generally an easy dinner to make, and it’s not that expensive either if you’re lucky enough to find a place that sells good trout. It’s kinda funny how they always advice us to eat more fish, then charge ridiculous prices for it. Anyways, this was not supposed to be a discussion about economics!

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What is your favorite Christmas recipe?