sweet

All the Soviet Children…

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Tangerine, tangerine,
Living reflection from a dream…

… but actually this post is not about tangerines at all. Nor is it about Robert Plant 🙂 My New Year post is still in process, as I have yet to cook and take photos for it. This post is dedicated to music. There will be some links and weird names and, tsss, a link to a cake recipe right at the end!

Before I fell in love – consecutively – with John Lennon, David Gilmour and ooh (:) Robert Plant, there was for sure a lot of less mmm advanced music, our stuff that we were listening to with my sister whenever the LP turntable was not occupied by the above mentioned gods.  The music of my Soviet childhood – even though the latter continued when the USSR ceased to exist – was mostly the same as lots of the Soviet kids born in the 70s and 80s were listening to. The same LPs, the same singers and song writers, the same soundtracks for cartoons and children stories. We still have like half of a shelf composed of these LPs for kids and you can tell which ones were the most popular. My sis particularly loved the one which contained the story about Ukhti-Tukhti, the hardworking hedgehog, which is actually The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter. We had some shared ones, which we listened to together, such as…

Bremenskiye Muzikanti LPs

{my sis and me were very keen on adding our creative stroke to the LP sleeves and books, ooops (see poor princess)}

Bremenskiye Muzikanti in two parts were probably the most listened to, especially as the music was from the two popular animated films which we enjoyed so much. The Grimm brothers have very little to do with this loose 1970s adaptation of their Town Musicians of Bremen fairy tale. I assure you, this was a very cool music even for some adults! Backpacker hippie Troubadour looking like Elvis Presley in his bell-bottom jeans, travelling and singing along with his nomadic rock band, falls in love with Princess, a fragile long-legged blonde… There was no such Soviet girl who would not dream about her own prince singing to her serenades like this one! (performed by the Soviet women’s favourite, Muslim Magomayev). And even the first song of these cartoons, Nichego na svete luchshe netu… (There’s nothing better in the world…), already contained such freedom-loving lyrics eagerly repeated by the Soviet children – ‘The tempting vaults of palaces will never substitute freedom to us…’

I already mentioned Cinderella and the Nutcracker suite (both LPs are in a ‘very used’ condition, recorded in 1975-6). Mom says, I would ask for the latter particularly often. I used to lock myself up in the room where we had our LP turntable, prepare some props (:) and impersonate multiple characters of the Nutcracker. Mostly the Nutcracker himself, because he was no sissy! But I was also quite a rock-child myself, haha, listening to such pearls as – also a 1976 production – Masha and Vitya in the Land of ‘Wild Guitars’ (!!), the altered soundtrack for the movie version (but I preferred what I could imagine to the music). Fancy how happy I was when in the first grade for the New Year school performance I got the role of Pechka (Russian Stove, haaaaa) from this very story (she is helping Vitya save the Princess). Of course I was jealous of the girl getting the role of the Princess and even of the one playing that less glamorous Masha… And there was this handsome villain Cat Mathew voiced by the young mustached Mikhail Boyarskiy (yes, the one who is said to be born already with a hat on his head :).

We were also into quite outstanding recordings, such as Alice in Wonderland – a psychedelic adaptation written and performed by the famous Soviet singer and actor Vladimir Vysotsky (oh my, but they all were so young and oh so loved by the Soviet women!), recorded in 1977. This one is for more sophisticated ears, I’m sure not even all adults could get the point of the adaptation although we liked it with my sis.

But there were no doubt more patriotic songs, which I enjoyed regardless of never being even an oktyabrenok in my life. From that age already I have had this weakness to heart-rending, gut-wrenching songs, hehe, even if they contain just a tiny bit of this ‘nadryvnost’. Just consider this ultra-patriotic song Chto tebe snitsya krejser Avrora (What do you dream about, cruiser ship Aurora), performed by the much famed (and exploited) Children’s Choir. After this you can sign me up for the communist demonstrations right away. No, wait, there’s even more! There’s this song Vse deti ogromnoy sovetskoy strani – failed to find it on youtube – it goes like this: ‘All the Children of the vast Soviet country should certainly go to the kindergarten…’ (there’s also the opening line about the alarm clock set up for 6 a.m., ohohoh). I just adored the ‘strain’ of the song, oh dear. And that’s me who has never gone to the kindergarten.

Poy, Vasya! LP

And we also shared a special attachment to this veeery used LP called Poy, Vasya! (Sing, Vasya!). A compilation of songs from the 1980s cartoons, this one was more ‘contemporary’ for us, like the very funny title song. Mom says she bought the LP because she really liked its sleeve. There is also this song on this LP, Chto vsego nuzhneye detyam (What children really need), sang by another prominent actor Oleg Basilashvili, and it also appeared so sublime to us, with such lines as ‘What they really need is friends…’ (All You Need Is Love for children :). Then there’s a very funny song about the Central Park (in Moscow, apparently), which goes like this: ‘For the shear joy of Grannies and Grandpas there’s a bike rental’, I still recall it when I see ‘rent a bike’ sign.

The most wonderful part of it all was that we could listen to the stories, we could imagine and dream away without being glued to the screen with its already fabricated images. The images we had in our heads were floating, elusive and fantastic as far as our imagination can take us. Mom says they had to accustom my sis to watching the cartoons on TV, almost explain the process, but when it came to me, I joined in naturally. Of course my father later brought our first and only video player and we were gobbling down all the cassettes with Disney cartoons but we however did not abandon the LPs. Mom also says, the LPs for children were hard to come by (as were many other things…) but she and my Dad were always on the hunt and we still keep this LP collection alongside classical music and … Robert Plant.

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Food, finally? Sure!

Caramel Apple Cake adapted from passthesushi.com will make a soft, flavourful and truly delicious cake!

A year agoFlammekueche, a very flexible Alsatian specialty.

If you think I’ve made lots of changes to the recipe, well, you’ll be right here. I was actually looking for a way to use up our never-ending aaaaaples… But ended up with this three-layer cake with apple sauce as one of the ingredients. Great, I though, as apple puree has also filled up our attic this year (having an enormous apple harvest means there are rows and rows of jars of apple-something) and deserves to be eaten.)

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It’s obvious from this photo that I completely gave up the idea of making caramel sauce, adapting the easiest solution – non-sweetened sour cream and apple puree. So on top of the bottom layer there was apple puree then sour cream topping the second and the top layer. You can also spot the hazelnuts which I added in between the layers and scattered on the top. Slices are disappearing fast:

Caramel Apple Cake

As for the cake layers, to make the even more fragrant, I frantically ground some allspice and cardamom then added ginger and nutmeg instead of cloves (they remind us of the lack of the variety during the Soviet times too much). You can be sure I used less butter, substituting some of it with sunflower oil. As I was using quite a sweetened apple puree, I cut the amount of sugar proportionally.

Caramel Apple Cake

Mmm=)  I repeat, mmmmm! The result: Huge, tall, veeery soft and fluffy! Sweet enough (for me) and fragrant, a must for the season, I believe. And you can opt for the original caramel sauce of course or try your own favourite filling / topping. It’s just that I think this cake requires something as soft as its layers are but perhaps even a chocolate glaze would be great. If you too have lots of apple puree, there’s a similar cake I baked a while ago that you can try.

God, I need to rename this blog to something like How-to-bake-a-different-apple-thing-each-time-with-the-sole-condition-of-it-taking-up-as-many-apples-as-possible!..

tangerines and star anise

…To think of us again?
And I do.

G.

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2 thoughts on “All the Soviet Children…

  1. Понравилось и про “Детей советской страны, и тортик тоже поравился! Очень вкусно! Кстати, на 1-м диске “Бременских” озвучку делал О.Анофриев, очень талантливо! А “Крейсер Аврора” – любимая песня С.Осиповой в глубоком садиковском детстве )))

    1. хаха, я прочитала сначала “в глубоком стариковском…” =) тортик-то понятно, хохо, почему понравился.) спасибо!

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