Black Currant Muffins, Vyborg and Lappeenranta

Vyborg, Russia

A quick post combining three in one. Food, friends and travelling – best memories of this autumn 2015. First things first – I’ll start from the revisiting of a town situated to the North of St Petersburg, close to the border with Finland. I was in Vyborg in May and now we went to Vyborg again in early October.

Vyborg, Russia

My aim was to see the Monrepos park in its autumnal glory. At first it was cold and windy – perfect only for Vyborg krendel’ (pretzel) and hot sbiten‘ (honey beverage) but we courageously mounted the 200 something stairs up the St Olaf’s tower (see above), glimpsed some of the decadent Medieval part of the city:

Vyborg, Russia

…and then I walked to the park while the weather was gradually getting better. Here are the 18th century fortifications which did not survive the time test half as well as the Medieval ones did.

Vyborg, Russia

I made a long walk in the park – it was not long in time but in distance. I actually walked all the way to the End of the World – this is how the farthest corner of this landscape park is called. Somewhere on my way there I found these roots:

Vyborg, Russia

And there was this tiny ‘pebble’ too. Perfectly Karelian forest – although it was designed in the 18th century and artificially planted to resemble an English landscape park:

Vyborg, Russia

The view on the Gulf of Finland in such gloomy but absolutely characteristic weather (it was changing with the wind) is quite atmospheric and graphical:

Vyborg, Russia

Loved this view too:

Vyborg, Russia

The Island of the Dead, adding up to the Romantic / Gothic aura of the Monrepos park:

Vyborg, Russia

Feeling inspired? Get more information about Vyborg here.

***

A short break for food now?

 

Glazed Blueberry Doughnut Muffins from www.cookingclassy.com

A year ago – Kaliningrad: In Search of Old Konigsberg

Two years ago – Cheesy Potato and Leek Bake with Sourdough Bread

Three years ago – Autumnal Comfort Sweet Treats

Four years ago – An Easy Bread and A Not That Easy Bread

Glazed Blueberry Black Currant Doughnut Muffins adapted from www.cookingclassy.com will make soft ship-shape berry muffins. For the entire recipe visit the original blog.

My changes: Used less salt, added lemon zest and substituted blueberries with defrosted black currants from our dacha.

Glazed Blueberry Doughnut Muffins from www.cookingclassy.com

Remarks: I tried not to overmix the batter so that they do not become dark blue from the berries. I skipped the glaze part which definitely adds sweetness to the muffins. I had to bake them a bit longer – at the suggested time they were still to ‘white’.

Result: These muffins rose nicely and were soft inside. A simple recipe for a simple sweet treat!

Glazed Blueberry Doughnut Muffins from www.cookingclassy.com

***

Lappeenranta, Finland

And now on to my last stop of this post – Lappeenranta, Finland, where we celebrated my school friend’s marriage. It was probably the best destination to make the trip there easy both for my friend’s Russian friends and her husband’s British family.

Lappeenranta, Finland

The wedding was beautiful, bringing together such different people for the sole aim – to make this moment special for the couple, for their relatives and for us, the friends. It was completely not Russian (though there was a traditional karavay that the newly married break and eat with salt, a very tasty bread!) and yet it was a cozy and cheerful event. It felt both Christmas and some kind of harvest-celebration🙂 I also felt involved in the preparation and the actual day of the wedding (although that was already a symbolic not the official wedding), which definitely made me enjoy the process even more.

Lappeenranta, Finland

My best wishes to the beautiful people – Tanya & Ben, take care of each other and let magic into your life!

Lappeenranta, Finland

Next day we had some hours before the bus back to St Pete. For the citizens of St Petersburg, Lappeenranta is where you go to get that stamp on your Shengen visa. You go shopping there too.

Lappeenranta, Finland

So it was quite a new experience this time when I actually stayed there for two nights and had a Finnish breakfast instead of Russian buterbrod🙂 See the various rye bread? The triangle with bran is actually a round flat bread, very tasty. The square one was with caraway seeds which to my mind and taste buds just spoil the whole thing. The pie was with sweetened rice and milk (cream?) on a thin-thin rye crust (close to our Karelian kalitka pies).

Lappeenranta, Finland

I jogged in Finland for the first time, in the darkness along the embankment until I got that weird fear of boats I have for some reason back. That made me run in the opposite direction🙂 I walked along the embankment again several hours later, going up to the fortress and enjoying the colours of autumn.

Lappeenranta, Finland

Brought back some tasty rye bread, Polaroid photos from the wedding and warm memories of a very pleasant time and a friendly party.

Adding this post to Travels, Berries and Sweet Recipes. Will come back to continue my Provence saga and give you some ideas of the South of Russia.

G.

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