Before we jump into my obligatory ramble about the recipe, I would first of all like to wish you all an outstanding 2018. May you achieve everything you wish to achieve, finally live up to your New Year’s resolutions. May all of your dreams and intentions come true. And if they don’t? Well, any experience whether successful or unsuccessful, is worth learning from. You still have your entire life ahead of you. My 2017 was a year characterised by uncertainty and interminable ups and downs: I experienced some brilliant moments, many lows and had to make a few life-changing decisions. I learnt a lot not only about myself, but also the world around me and how I fit into it. Regardless of what it may be, I cannot wait for anything 2018 shall bring forth.
Anyway, as I am writing up this blog post I am totally dreaming of the celebratory meal we had last night. As you may or may not know, I grew up in Russia, and while Russian people do not celebrate Christmas, they have a strong New Year’s Eve tradition and much like Christmas it is a time for spending time with family, giving gifts, eating copious amounts of food (I am talking to the extent that at times, there isn’t enough room on the table for people to actually set down their plates). There is even a Russian Santa (‘Ded Moroz’), but he wears blue as opposed to red. And in general, food happens to be an enormous part of Russian culture: for example, if someone visits your home and you hadn’t prepared a three course meal for their arrival and brewed several cups worth of tea, you become the definition of impertinent.
Anyway, while my mum and I pour the bigger part of our efforts into Christmas, we still like to do something special on the 31st as homage to our ethical origins – most of the time, that is a big celebratory meal composed mostly of traditional Russian dishes. Yesterday’s feast gave me the perfect opportunity to try and veganise ‘pirozhki’, which always strike me with intense childhood nostalgia. If you’ve never heard of these before, Wikipedia describes them as ‘individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings’ which, to me, sounds pretty accurate. They have a reputation for being quite unhealthy and often feature egg- or meat-based fillings, but just as with anything else, making this healthier, plantbased version should not be beyond anyone’s culinary competence.
Pirozhki are an ideal treat to keep in the fridge/freezer and reheat for a quick lunch, or serve alongside a big salad (a blog featuring another Russian classic is coming soon so stay tuned for that!).
If you are looking to experiment a bit more in the kitchen/go vegan/simply eat vegan meals with greater frequency in 2018, I would highly recommend trying these out. Plus, you will get a taste of a new cuisine if you have never tried Russian food before. Their versatility means that anything you have on hand can be used as filling. I have put together two potato-based ideas for you to try out, however feel free to switch them up as much as you’d like depending on your preferences (the proportion of potato to mushroom, for example – or eliminate the mushrooms completely as I understand they can be quite a controversial ingredient, lol).
Lots of love, Maria ♡