Saturday 8 March 2014

Russian buckwheat blinis with sour cream, salmon and dill

There is a Russian saying that "life begins and ends with a blini", which shows the true value of these mini pancakes in that part of the world. I'm not trying to suggest that blinis are given to babies in Russia, I expect that the saying indicates that when you eat your first blini, this is when "real life" begins. A life of social gatherings, full of family and friends, a life where you can make your own choices, have a voice that's heard and taken seriously. I don't know about you, but when I was a child, I couldn't wait for this life to begin, I always wanted to be a part of that infinitely interesting adult world. Today, I gave blinis a new context when I made them for brunch here in London, which I think it suits them perfectly
You need buckwheat flour to make proper blinis. Sift this, along with the plain flour and a large pinch of salt, into a large bowl. Meanwhile, heat the milk gently (I need to use goat's milk because of my lactose allergy - it works well in this recipe), add the sugar and make the yeast with it. Allow to stand in a warm place for 10min before using. Whisk the eggs as much as you can into the flour, then add a tablespoon of melted butter and keep whisking. Finally, add the yeasty milk and whisk that it. Cover with a wet towel and allow to stand in a warm place for an hour. I usually turn the oven on for 5min, then turn it off and put the bowl in there. Fry the blinis in more butter, and place in a warm oven to keep warm before you serve them, but don't wait too long as they have a tendency to go hard. Serve with smoked salmon, sour cream and dill, sprinkled with a touch of black pepper. Or caviar if that's how you roll

Ingredients (makes 14-16 blinis)

100g buckwheat flour
100g plain flour
2 eggs
Large pinch of salt
100 g butter
300ml milk
25g dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
100g good quality smoked salmon
250g sour cream
Handful chopped dill
Black pepper