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Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk

: food, February 19 2024

A friend of mine gave me the recipe to be put in the "hall of fame" - soon to be tested on premise. What you need:
- Tender beef (rib lifter)
- salt (25g/kilo)
- sugar (1g/kilo)
- potassium nitrate a.k.a. saltpeter(1g/kilo)
- ground black pepper (2.5g/kilo)
- ground cumin (2g/kilo)
- sausage casing of your choice
- Cut the meat in large pieces, put it in a deep bowl and add the salt
- Mix well and leave it to rest for 24h in the fridge
- Remove the liquid and transfer the meat to anoter bowl
- Add the sugar, saltpeter, pepper and cumin, mix
- Use the large-hole gitter of the meat grinder to grind the meat
- Mix well and put it in the fridge for another 24h
- Use smaller gitter to grind the meat one more time, mix again
- Fill the casings at 45cm lenght, use string to tie the ends
- Use a needle to make several holes in each casing
- Slightly press the sausages to remove excess air
- Hang them in a cool, dry place
- On the third day (and every 5 days after) use a rolling pin to flatten the sausages
- Edible after 25 days

Fish soup

: food, October 15 2023

It has 2 parts - the soup itself and the garnishing sauce. As my father says "without the sauce you are just wasting the soup". You can use whatever fish you have, preferably different types. The important part is to be cleaned good, slow cooked and properly deboned. The key ingredient here is the lovage - I would not even try to make fish soup without it. Sadly, I had only a dried one.
For the fish stock:
- 1kg dorade (sea bream, zipura)
- 2.5l water
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1ts black pepper corns
- 2-3ts salt
Put the stock ingredients in a proper pot. Boil for 1 hour. Strain the stock and put it aside. Remove the fish from the other ingredients (discard them) and let it cool down, then debone it. You need small fish pieces.

For the soup:
- 2 medium sized potatoes
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 1 celery stick
- 1 red pepper
- 1 big onion
- 4ts chopped lovage
- 80-100g butter
- 2-3 table spoons finely grated horseradish
Thinly chop all components from the "for the soup" part above. In a new big pot saute the onions with the butter for ~5-7 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, pepper and potatoes. Cook them for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the fish stock and the deboned fish pieces. Boil everything another 30 minutes. If using fresh lovage, add it after you turn off the heat.

For the garnishing sauce:
- 2ts lovage
- 2ts chopped parsley
- 2ts chopped dill
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 1-2ts salt (you can adjust this to taste)
- 1ts sugar
- 2ts hot chili flakes
- 150g vinegar
Press the garlic into a paste. Chop the spices. Mix all ingredients.
Honestly, every soup that I cook, tastes better on the next day, but I just could not resist.
After serving, put 2-3ts sauce in your hot bowl of soup and enjoy (yes, 50ml brandy is a nice addition).

The War is Over

: history, August 05 2023

I should have written this 3 months ago, mid-April, as at this point it was day-clear - the real Russo-Ukrainian war is over! "What are you talking about, you dumb idiot - the fighting still goes on, even now!" you may say (understandable, as west of Kiev the incredible brain-washing continues). I am saying that way before the so-called Ukrainian counter offensive, all parties of significance - Russia, US and China - knew the outcome and agreed this farce has to end. Neither sanctions, nor Leopards, Bradleys, Storm Shadows or other fabled super-weapon could have turned the tide. Russians are just too many and fairly well prepared to defend. Yes, they took massive losses. So what? Trading 1 for 2 (3,4) works perfectly for the Russian doctrine. The counter attack halted to a standstill just days after it started - for the past two months the individual, fruitless skirmishes can hardly be classified as an active war. Both Russia and Ukraine wait for US to push the "peace talk" button on the puppet.
In April 2023, US politicians finally realized they need a graceful exit. None of them could explain to the voters how the State is bankrupt and "the annual" raise of the debt ceiling is needed to prevent catastrophe, and, at the same time, pouring massive funds to the war effort in a country, most of their people cannot identify on the map. President Zelensky believed just too much in his significance, and went on a tour, extorting westerners here and there, ultimately to get major bitch-slapping at the NATO meeting in Vilnius, 12 July 2023. Allies made it clear: "Ukraine is not that important for us to start a full-blown war with Russia, know your place peasant!". Have you heard from him since? No?
Spending a billion per day in aid and sanctions turned from "ineffective" to "dangerous" as more and more people on the Old Continent started questioning why their taxpayers money fuel this US-initiated debacle. Europe's economy is in the trash - thousands of companies go bankrupt each month, hundreds withdraw to safer/cheaper havens like China and the Americas. War donations may work for US and its vast military-industrial complex, but it is not the same for Germany - scraping the bottom of the barrel, unable to provide the sustenance for its own army. Angry voices from the high-ranking officers and ministers rose. The media was switched to start pushing the "we will seek peace, Russians bad" agenda.
Democrats are losing ground by the day, incapable to handle the gender-racial-corpo mess they created. Their policies receive heavy backlash from the normal population. Unless another major election "adjustment" is undertaken, Mr. Trump is sure to win the chair next year.
A huge problem of finding "volunteers" to fight for Ukraine appeared. Local men understandably did not want to become a cannon fodder for their marionette government and the American ambitions, ran away years ago. Now you can see them lying on the beaches in Bulgaria and Greece, waiting for the inevitable peace-treaty. Mercenaries and the so-called "willing soldiers" (often sent by their own government) are not stupid, nor unlimited. In the early 2022 the unofficial rate was ~$3K, but now rumors claim almost double. Seems like nobody wants to face the old, drunk, poorly equipped russians in combat. My incompetent opinion is that there are almost no native fighters in the Ukrainian army.
President Putin had so much fun in the last months, fully confident of reaching his own objectives (not the announced ones, you dummy, check the previous article), that he asked his "cook" to stage a fake coup, just to check if any subversive element will dare to join. Side quest - relocated the toughest mercenaries on the other flank of the enemy, while everyone still scratch their heads. Come on guys, taking Moscow with 20K-no-air-support army. Really? But the clock is also ticking for the Russian President. Some drones hit the capital, ships getting attacked in the Black Sea and this cannot be. Also forced to put special decrees to keep his own military staffed. On the other hand, one of his biggest personal projects, BRICS, goes so well, the entire world started questioning the petro-dollar and its eternal hegemony.
As I write this article, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia a peace talks have started...without Russia being invited. 40 countries will try to create some scenario, where The West will come out as a generous peacemaker, nobody will even ask Ukraine what they want or how to compromise with their territory (Crimea is out of the question) - that is more than clear, Russia will receive the plan and will later accept it, after adding some changes. If this round is not successful, next will come in less than a month. There will be no victor or defeated. Everyone will be a "winner". Most of the sanctions will be lifted by the same time next year. Quietly. Some new Bosnia-of-the-east will appear on the map. A government will change, as local people "miraculously" learn how much money it stole and the real blunders behind its war efforts. People will fall from windows. Advanced NATO military equipment will pop-up on the black market. Arms producers are living their wet dreams. How convenient, isn't it?
This war ended, next one (Africa) is just around the corner.

Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead or Alive

: music, June 25 2023

Not easy to write about childhood heroes, oh boy, where to start. How about the goosebumps on every play, or the avalanche of memories, or all the stupid things said and done, while "Wanted Dead or Alive" was basically the theme-song on the background. If I have to name one track, to describe the glorious 80s, that would be it. Bon Jovi hit a ton of popularity with the "Blaze of Glory", but I find WDoA much more fitting - both for the western style movies and the band itself. It was a love at first listen for me, and I will keep it close to my heart until the very last day.

It's all the same, only the names will change
Every day, it seems we're wastin' away
Another place where the faces are so cold
I'd drive all night just to get back home
I'm a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive
Starting a bit melancholic, the song describes the life of the band members and a parallel to the wild west gunslingers. So is the tone - a slow acoustic guitar, a memory for all the "country roads" and cowboys out there. Jon finds close similarities between both worlds - quick fame, girls, drinks, money, a little bit of envy and hate.
Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it's not for days
The people I meet always go their separate ways
Sometimes you tell the day by the bottle that you drink
And times when you're alone, well, all you do is think
I'm a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted (wanted), dead or alive
Wanted (wanted), dead or alive
Oh, and I ride
#Yes, here you put the most epic guitar riff ever!#

I guess they felt very lonely on the road. But that was the day-to-day of a glam-rocker. Back then they earned respect by live-performances and concerts, involving non-stop travel. Never settle, never home - the price you pay. It was worth it. You achieve unique creativity under heavy circumstances. The second verse gazes into the endlessness, as the cowboy realizes his fate is to keep on "riding", forever. The "steel horse" allegory seamlessly connects the two worlds - the wild west past and the machine present.
And I walk these streets, a loaded six-string on my back
I play for keeps 'cause I might not make it back
I've been everywhere, still I'm standing tall
I've seen a million faces and I've rocked them all
'Cause I'm a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted (wanted), dead or alive
Although the hardship, you never give up, accepting your fate and pressing on. You know it is not "might" but "for sure" not making it back, but that's alright - heroes don't make it old.
With "Wanted Dead or Alive" Bon Jovi hit the zenith of their hard-rock/glam-metal career and start slowly to (I would not say "descent") shift to a more country-rock, commercial sound. The song is written in 1986 as part of the "Slippery When Wet" - a massively successful masterpiece. There are 2 videos - the original one with a footage of the 86-87's band tour, and another one from 2001, which sounds so frail and slimy, I would rather erase it from my memory. I would give a special credit to Richie Sambora, not only for being a co-writer and amazing guitarist, but for the excellent back-vocals (and hat), without which "Wanted Dead or Alive" will just not be the same.

Chinese tea eggs

: food, May 04 2023

A colleague of mine introduced me to this wonderful recipe a while ago, but I wanted to test it several times, before recommending it. The existence of this article proves successful trials.
A brief history: the tea eggs are typical Chinese street food. Hard-boiled eggs, pickled in a savory five-spice marinade, served as an appetizer (I believe, initially, the main idea is food preservation).
Again, mine thing here is a "variant". In the original recipe, you crack the egg shells and leave them on the eggs during the pickling. Thus you get a beautiful marbling, but less flavor and longer preparation time (that's why I discard them). The best thing is you can keep them marinating in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and quickly grab a snack at any time.
Hint: you can buy pre-made spice mixture from your local Chinese shop. If you do that, you need only eggs, soy sauce, sugar and salt.
- 8-10 eggs
- 2 table spoons five-spice powder (ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Sichuan pepper)
- 2 bags black tea
- 2 cups soy sauce (~300ml)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 table spoons sugar
- 1 table spoon salt
Preparation - the eggs:
- hard-boil the eggs. Meaning, bring the water to boil, put the eggs in, count ~8 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. 9 mins won't hurt here.
- put them out, cool them down in cold water immediately, peel the shells.
Preparation - the marinade:
- 300-500ml water.
- add the soy sauce, bay leaves, tea bags, sugar and salt.
- bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10 mins.
- cool down completely (room temperature) before moving on.
- use a strainer to remove any hard particles.
Pickling (marinating):
- put the peeled eggs in the marinade. Here you can use a deep dish or a bag. The important part is to have them fully submerged in liquid.
- leave them in the fridge for 48 hours.
- done.