Spring in Berlin starts with the blooming of ten thousands of Japanese cherry blossom trees. The Japanese donated them after the Fall of the Wall in1989. Just a few days after they have started blooming, it rains pink leaves. And from one day to the other, people take off their heavy winter coats and are out in the streets and on the terraces again. Time for lazy days in the park, long bike rides along the river Spree, and a well-stocked picnic basket. Pack a cold soup for a change! This Russian Okroshka, for example.
This cold soup is supposed to be prepared with kwas, a refreshing, slightly sour drink made of rye bread that Russians like to drink. It is almost alcohol free. Most Russians make it themselves, or buy it from a large tank in the street. However, you can hardly find it outside of Russia. Fortunately, you can make it with buttermilk or kefir too. If you like, add some chopped ham to the soup.
Soup, serves 4
Action Time: 20 minutes
3 large potatoes, peeled
13.5 fl oz/400 ml buttermilk or kefir
2 tbsp yoghurt
piece of horseradish, grated (or 1-2 tsp from a jar)
3 eggs, hardboiled and diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 bunch of radishes, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
small bunch of fresh dill, chopped
1. Dice the potatoes and cook in salted water for about 5 minutes until done; the potatoes are not supposed to fall apart. Rinse under cold water and leave to cool.
2. In a bowl, mix buttermilk, yoghurt and horseradish. Add 250 ml of ice-cold water.
3. Divide potatoes, eggs and vegetables over four bowls. Add freshly grated pepper and some salt, and pour over the ice-cold buttermilk mixture. Garnish with lots of dill and eat instantly.