Russian Salad

Bert made this for the first time recently. There are so many variations of this dish online. He forgot which exactly he used to make his when I asked for this post, but one of the recipes he looked at was on cookaround.com, which is in Italian.

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^ First he prepared the peas, carrots and potatoes, boiling them al dente in water, vinegar, and a bit of salt. Then drained, and some mayonnaise was added to the mix..

After that he prepared a gelatin mix as the salad will be set in molds. I had suggested then that we use individual molds instead of one big dish.

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^ Pouring the top layer of the gelatin mix. Then they were put in the fridge for a while to cool and firm just a little, before the other ingredients were added.

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^ First the star of the salad, the shrimp, which had been cooked in butter and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Just one, so precious. I could have gobbled up the whole supply standing there.

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After the slice of boiled egg, the vegetable-in-mayo mix. He tried to leave a gap around the side so that the gelatin mix can get to that space later.

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Then they were put into the fridge till we were ready to serve a few hours later.

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It didn’t come out cleanly. Fortunately it didn’t break completely so it was still presentable somewhat. On hindsight we should have greased the bowls we used as molds with butter or oil, so that the salad would slip out more easily. Also, we had allowed the first layer of gelatin to get too firm when we had put it in the fridge to cool the first time, as it almost broke off from the rest of the salad when we were removing the mold.

Bert strictly controls his salt intake and that’s good for him, but when I first tasted the gelatin part I really wished it had been seasoned with a bit more salt as it was veering toward the bland. However, the salad was paired with smoked salmon, which is salty anyway so it balanced out nicely.

I’m thinking that despite the exotic name, it’s basically just mixed vegetable in mayonnaise if it wasn’t for the shrimp, haha! But it was fun and easy making it and it looked cute, so maybe we’ll have more fun making other molded salads in future.

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Related:

  • Olivier Salad, the alternative name for the original Russian Salad, after its Belgian inventor Lucien Olivier who came up with it for a Moscow restaurant in the 1860s.
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Ne me quitte pas, in Arabic! Swoon.

A quick check at Wikipedia shows that the 1959 French song Ne me quitte pas had been recorded by numerous singers, and in over 20 languages! That’s such an amazingly illustrious history that song has.

There is an Arabic version, beautifully done by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, called Ma Tetrikni Heik. When I discovered this the surprise was so great and wonderful it gave me goosebumps so to speak. I mean, firstly I love this incredibly beautiful song. Secondly I’m loving the band more and more, the more I listen to them. They have that certain something that speaks to my soul, in the same way that some other artists, say, Sade, Chris Isaak and Gipsy Kings, to name just three but diverse acts, have as well. And thirdly I have a special interest in Arabic as I’ve started learning it some months ago. So when I found these three things have come together, it made for a delightful surprise that just took my breath away.

The cover is a short one at just over 2 minutes, as the first part of the video below shows. I hope they’ll do a full version someday. This one is from their third album Raasuk (2013).

I found some translation of the lyrics I believe, as kindly shared by YouTube user lilychahine in the comments of a video here.

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Original French Versions

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it, in the original French language and as sung by Nina Simone of course. I have written several times here how much I love her. Nina recorded her cover in 1965 for her I Put A Spell On You album.

The original singer though is the songwriter himself, the late Jacques Brel, who was from Belgium and first recorded the song in 1959 for his fourth album, La Valse à Mille Temps. Bonus in the video below: English subtitles! Brilliant.

  • Another French version I like is by Sting. Click the link here for a live performance of the song by the Englishman.

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Some English versions (“If you go away”)

Here are the links to YouTube videos of some of the English versions I like.

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Tom Jones – a bit of a different beat than the usual after minute 1:50. Makes it a bit more interesting.
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Patricia Kass – a refreshingly different version. And sexy. Bonus: video features a smolderingly sexy DAMN HAWT Jeremy Irons, shirtless and all.
  • Madonna – Yes, Madonna! Her style of singing here brought to my mind her Evita/Something To Remember period.

And finally… the incomparable Cyndi. The one and only.

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Edit on 18 January:

Credit: Thanks so much to the following people who posted and shared the videos above on YouTube, that I may share them here on this blog,

as well as the other people whose videos I have the opportunity to link to.

Somebody that I used to know, by Gotye feat. Kimbra

I came across the delightful song a few days ago. I heard it first on the radio, which was funny because I don’t usually listen to the radio. I can’t stand the deejays because I think they yak so much, like they’re so in love with their voices or something.

I was clearing some shelves and came across an old CD player that also features radio and a cassette player. I was checking if anything still works before I throw it away. When I fiddled with the knob for the radio, this song came up and I immediately loved it, and rushed to get pen and paper to scribble something, anything, from the lyrics that I could catch. For that actually works, I found. I did it a few times before. Typed a line or two from a song or poem in Google or some other search, and eventually the title I was looking for would come up.

When I heard the chorus I really thought it was Sting, and then later I thought the song features Katy Perry as well. Wrong on both counts. But well I discovered two new singers.

Not crazy about the video. It’s alright I guess.

And the song: I love it but must be careful not to listen to it too often. I can see it getting on my nerves, in a ‘Lemon Tree‘ sort of way. Thank goodness I don’t listen to radio heh.