It’s been very windy, very-very windy these days. Yesterday at Kosheen’s concert at a St Petersburg club the singer observed that in such a piercingly cold city there are such romantic and poetic people :) She seemed actually very happy and was apparently enjoying herself and the enthusiastic crowd. Being rather on the short side I now have a usual ache in the neck after standing and jumping with my head popped up. That was a rather different concert from the one in Rotunda, to say the least :) But I guess I needed some energetic ‘injection’ to shake myself up a bit!
This post is actually about a previous evening when – instead of a French conversational club at another public library – I ended up listening to a lecture on the Decembrists who were kept prisoners at the Vyborg castle before been expelled to Siberia. When you learn about those young intellectuals at school you do not feel any pity or any particular feeling towards them, it all seems kind of boring as far as I remember.
And during the Soviet times they were praised and venerated as people revolting against the tsar with some of them trying to get rid of him by apparently violent means… But after watching the 1975 movie The Captivating Star of Happiness about the destiny of the women who followed the Decembrists all the way to their very harsh exile places in Siberia, I grew more interested in the topic. So this lecture read by a very knowledgeable woman working at the Vyborg museum, got me captivated and made me miss the conversational club! :) I went there for the first 30 minutes before the club’s meeting starts and ended up listening to the entire lecture.
On my way to Liteyny Avenue, one of the main streets of the central St Petersburg, I revisited some very curious places. After reading several books on the architecture of St Petersburg I finally started ‘digging in’! I mean I can tell one style from another and sometimes even recall some details about particular buildings. You remember the essential concept underlying the entire St Petersburg cityscape? The mix of so many different styles and levels of beauty that create this crazy architectural heaven.
An unidentified two-storey house squeezed in between the only operating Catholic church in St Pete over the Soviet period (Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, 1909, at least this one was not converted into anything) and an eclectic building of 1899, with an ugly recent addition (instead of a constructivist building) on the corner of Konvensky lane and Mayakovskogo Street.
This monumental stone wall is the oldest puppet theatre in Russia Bolshoy Teatr Kukol (est. 1931, never been there… they also have some performances for adults), housed in a 1910s building. And here is an exquisite modernist building of 1900:
Right opposite the library where I was heading to is the late 19th century building in the pseudo-Russian (or neo-Russian) style, former Officers’ House and now the museum of the History of the Troops. Never been inside due to the lack of interest in the war theme, but surely there should be very curious things inside:
And now we’re finally entering the Lermontova central library, a flat two-storey building dating back to 1799, which immediately impressed me with this staircase that you wouldn’t expect in such a low-rise:
Again, I didn’t have the chance to see all the rooms there, but they feel just like walking inside the Winter Palace! The Lecture took place in the White Hall with a big chandelier and white columns but there’s also quite a modern space on the ground floor which is something like an open-space room for various meetings. It might take you several lives to inspect every object at display at the Hermitage – and it will definitely take all the cat’s nine lives to see all the interesting buildings in St Petersburg!
And now on to a much shorter food part of this post.)
A year ago – Darnitskiy Bread
Two years ago – What a Peach! Sunny Cake and a Zesty Cranberry Cake
Three years ago – Some St. Petersburg Shots and Breadsticks
Cheese & Yogurt Biscuits adapted from www.thethreecheeses.com will make very soft cheesy scones. Follow the link to see the entire recipe.
My changes: Used some unidentified Russian cheese instead of Cheddar and cottage cheese (tvorog) + kefir instead of yogurt. Completely forgot to add sugar. I brushed the tops with some kefir and had to bake them longer (was worried about them looking a bit too soft).
Remarks: I would suggest adding more salt as these scones are rather on the bland side. Or a sharper cheese, like in the original recipe, or some spices.
Result: The inside is very soft with some melted cheese here and there while there’s also crust making these scones look rather like puffs. They do not have a very distinct flavour so you can eat them with something spicy like some soup. I recently tried another savoury biscuit recipe which was way more zesty, check out these Buttermilk Biscuits with Fresh Parsley & Garlic (I used dill instead of parsley and added some whole-wheat flour).