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Leo Tolstoy and Sophia Bers

23 September

On September 23, 1862, Count Leo Tolstoy married Sophia, the daughter of his friend Andrey Behrs. The wedding took place in the court church of the Kremlin, the groom being 34 and the bride aged 18. The union of almost fifty years produced 13 children and some of Tolstoy's best works of literature, but eventually turned bitterly unhappy.…

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Peter Carl Faberge

Peter Carl Faberge was a world famous master jeweler and head of the ‘House of Faberge’ in Imperial Russia in the waning days of the Russian Empire.

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Of Russian origin: Golubtsi

Photo from http://doctor.kz Photo from http://doctor.kz

Golubtsi are considered to be a meal for special occasions and though not cooked very often, they’re nevertheless loved by practically every Russian.

Golubtsi consist of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. As with many household dishes, different recipes prepare the dish using different fillings, sauces, etc. The filling traditionally consists of meat, often ground beef, lamb or pork and is seasoned with garlic, onion and spices. Grains such as rice and barley, eggs, mushrooms and vegetables can often be included in the filling as well. As only the largest cabbage leaves can be used, small pieces of cabbages are often mixed into the stuffing and sauce.

The dish originated as a way to use leftover food, and means the recipe is adaptable so that the filling can incorporate whatever food you have to hand.

Here is a recipe for home-made golubtsi (serves 6). The recipe can also be adapted to suit vegetarian guests.

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
Photo from http://cooking.ua Photo from http://cooking.ua

Sauce:

  • 1 cans (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water


Cooking

Drop cabbage leaves into boiling salted water and cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well. For filling, combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, and salt, pepper, and milk. Mix well and divide into 12 portions. Place a portion into the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll leaf around filling and fasten with a wooden toothpick. Place in a baking dish. For sauce, combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water and pour over cabbage rolls. Bake covered in a preheated 350 degree oven 40 to 45 minutes. Remove rolls and discard toothpicks. Place pan with juices over medium heat or transfer the juices to a saucepan and place over heat and stir cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce, bring to a boil and cook till thickened.

Written by Sara Firth, RT correspondent