Blog

standard

Angelica’s Hometown – Chernigov and its City Day

9.09.2016 Posted in Travel, Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that my biography about Angelica Balabanoff  The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by  McFarland Publishers in June. To celebrate the book launch for the past few months the articles in my blog More Then Red have been devoted to Angelica : her lifestyle, friends and recipes. Today I would like to devote a few words to Angelica’s hometown – Chernigov, today’s Ukraine, – which is about to celebrate its City Day on September 21. Angelica’s life story starts in Chernigov, hundreds of miles away from Paris, Rome and New York, cities where she would spend most of her life. Because the research on my book about Angeica was sponsored entirely by my own funds, I could not afford to go to all the places I needed to see. I had to abandon the idea of a trip to Chernigov. The journey promised to be interesting but long and expensive. Going there without knowing in advance what the trip might entail was rather complicated. I decided to continue looking for more documents about her childhood, while remaining in Paris, contacting the archives in the Ukraine by Internet, collecting any information I could from Google and reading Angelica’s memoirs. However I’m sure had I decided to go to Chernigov, I could have found a lot of most fasinating information about her family and childhood. (I ended up contacting the staff in the Chernigov archives by phone and they were most friendly and […]

Read More
standard

Angelica’s Ten Birth Dates – Extract from the book

26.08.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that my biography about Angelica Balabanoff  The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by  McFarland Publishers in June. Sometime into my research about the life of Angelica Balabanoff, determined more than ever to write an interesting book about this amazing woman (see my previous articles about Angelica), I had to establisher her date of birth. Date of birth was evidently a delicate issue for Angelica. She used every opportunity to change it. One of her passports claimed her birth date as 4 August 1877, another stated 14 July – obviously implying the day of surrender of the Bastille. When registering at the New University of Brussels, in the student registration form, she wrote a date that looked like it could have been 26 April 1897 or 1847. Later, when registering for the second year her of her studies, she neglected to put any date at all, while other students dutifully provided this information. The file in the Swis Federal Archives in Berne provided two dates – 8 August 1877 and 4 May 1875. When questioned about her date of birth by the Swiss Federal agents who realised that they had one date too many, she answered that she was “not sure herself about the exact date of birth”. French counter-espionage file started on Angelica in 1933 in Paris indicated 4 May 1875 as her date of birth in the Swiss file, probably relying on the information provided by the Swiss police. More […]

Read More
standard

Angelica’s recipes – Beetroot halva

12.08.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

As you know my biography of Angelica Balabanoff ‘The Strange Comrade Balabanoof: The Life of a Communist Rebel‘ has been published in June by McFarland Publishers. To celebrate the launch of the book I decided to make the Beetroot Halva. I chose this recipe for two reasons. Firstly Angelica was very fond of sweets, secondly I collect ‘reddish’ recipes which always make an interesting entry for my blog. Halva is one of the most delicious dishes you can make with beetroot. Serves 4 2 large, fresh beetroot 1 litre milk 3 tbsp caster sugar 5 tbsp unsalted butter 3 tbsp raisins A small handful of chopped cashew nuts A pinch of ground cardamom 1 Coarsely grate the beetroot. Place in a large, non-stick saucepan with the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has dried off. It will take more than an hour. 2 Add the caster sugar and 4 tbsp of butter and cook, stirring, for another 15-20 minutes to help the beetroot caramelise. It will turn a lovely, deep red colour. 3 Meanwhile, gently heat 1 tsp of unsalted butter in a pan, then fry all the raisins with the cashews and a pinch of ground cardamom until the nuts are lightly golden. 4 Stir into the halva. Taste, adjust the sugar and serve hot. Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feast by Anjum Anand (Quadrille). To learn more about Angelica read About Angelica.

Read More
standard

Angelica’s minimalist wardrobe – ideas about minimalist essentials

29.07.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that my biography about Angelica Balabanoff  The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by  McFarland Publishers in June. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica including her friends, her hobbies and her recipes. I would like to devote today’s article to Angelica’s minimalist wardrobe and her style which was just as audacious as she was. She had never liked shopping and had a very simple daily routine. “Angelica had been allergic to fashion from the time she had been forced to accompany her mother on the endless shopping tours in Chernigov. Angelica’s choice of simple clothing was clearly made to underline her new social status as a ‘working girl.’ Following a general ‘socialist-democratic fashion,’ she wore long, loose-fitting skirts, even if they made her look more voluminous than she was, simple turban-draped covers for her head, to avoid constantly brushing her hair, and an occasional long necklace.”* Nonetheless, she was a modern and avantgarde woman though not necessarily always elegant. Throughout the years she managed to create her own style which was as daring as her personality. She wore reality not clothes. Many of us try to look like someone else or from time to time possess fashionable clothing items. Angelica did not want to look like anyone else. She remained true to her own self. In this sense she created her own style. Her wardrobe consisted of a […]

Read More
standard

Angelica’s recipes – Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies

8.07.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

As you know my biography of Angelica Balabanoff ‘The Strange Comrade Balabanoof: The Life of a Communist Rebel‘ has been published in June by McFarland Publishers. To celebrate the launch of the book I decided to make the Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies. I chose this recipe for two reasons. Firstly Angelica was very fond of sweets and chocolate, secondly I collect ‘reddish’ recipes which always make an interesting entry for my blog. Beetroot and ginger chocolate brownies These purple-hued brownies have an earthy taste and are a little fiery, giving you one of your five a day in a very wicked way. There is debate as to whether a brownie should be cakey or fudgy: these are definitely on the gooey side. Ingredients Makes 24 500g fresh beetroot 200 plain chocolate (70% cocoa) 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin 1 tsp vanilla extract 250g golden caster sugar 3 eggs 100g plain flour 25g cocoa powder 3 balls of stem ginger  1 Line a 20cm x 30cm tray with greaseproof paper. Simmer the beetroot in hot water until soft, then, wearing rubber gloves, slip off the skins. (I used precooked beetroots). Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 In a food processor, mix together the chocolate, hot beetroot, butter and vanilla extract until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. (As I used precooked beetroots which were cold, I first melted butter and chocolate for 3-4 minutes on a low heat, mixing it then in a […]

Read More
standard

First ever Biography of Angelica Balabanoff – extract from the book

24.06.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Had she ever been married? Or had kids? Was she really a mistress of Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky and Stalin? Was Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous dictator, her daughter? Angelica’s life was full of mysteries and unexplainable events. Born in Chernigov, a small town in the Northeastern part of the Ukraine which at the time was part of the Russian Empire, she rebelled against her well-off merchant family and their traditional values, disagreeing from the age of 5 with the rules of upbringing imposed on the girls of her social milieu. She broke with her family when she became a young woman, refused the family inheritance and, after being cursed by her mother, left for Western Europe to live with the poor and ease their lives. She never saw her mother and most of her siblings again. After completing her graduate education, Angelica quickly became one of the primary female lecturers in Europe. The first person to discover, educate and form the future Il Duce, she was also a close acquaintance of Lenin and Trotsky during their exile in Switzerland, stood next to them as their equal in the ‘all macho’ Soviet government after the Russian Revolution and became Lenin’s most trusted agent, whom he sent on secret missions vitally important for the young Soviet State. Disillusioned with the Revolution, Angelica was possibly the only high-ranked official in Russian history who left the country legitimately without being prosecuted. Rejected by many friends and colleagues, she became an anti-communist […]

Read More
standard

My biography of Angelica Balabanoff is out!

22.04.2016 Posted in Writing 3 Comments

Dear Friends, My biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published at McFarland publishers after more than 4 years of intensive work. I’m the happiest personin the world. About Angelica. Born in 1878 to a wealthy Ukrainian family, Angelica Balabanoff broke ties with her parents and left for Europe to become one of the leading female socialists of the early 20th century. Just five feet tall, plump and plain, she was rumored to be a lover of Mussolini, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. Returning to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution, she became one of the few women to occupy high-ranking positions within the all-male Bolshevik government, later fleeing Russia in disagreement with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret services of promoting communist propaganda, and by the Soviets of disloyalty. She lived in small dormitory-like rooms, moving on average every two years with her two suitcases of important documents. She died in Rome at the age 96, concluding her 65-year career by supporting Giuseppe Saragat in his quest to become president of Italy. During her nomadic life, state and police agencies in the countries she visited compiled documents on her. The author draws on this extensive, scattered archive in this first biography of Balabanoff. Click here to order on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Hope you will like the book!!!        

Read More
standard

Dinner with Mussolini – part II

8.04.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff at McFarland Publishers in April, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica and amongst others her favorite recipes. In point of fact, Angelica did not cook. She was not even interested in food. For the majority of her life she was a vegetarian. Nonetheless, food played an important role in her existence. She used food to fight bourgeois traditions, which was the main battle of her life. My first blog post about Angelica’s recipes was devoted to her favorite food – cheese sandwiches. This one is about the only dish she could make – an omelet. This article is devoted to Angelica dinner with Mussolini, and the dish they ordered “Pastasciutta”. In her book “The Traitor” Angelica described their dinner “… delicious macaroni with cheese, past’asciutta, house wine [for Mussolini] and water” for Angelica. Trying to put myself in Angelica’s shoes, even though I did not have anyone in front of me to act as Mussolini, I decided make both dishes. I have already cooked in one of the previous articles, Dinner with Mussolini – Part I – the first dish “Macaroni with Cheese”. Here is Pastasciutta. First of all – what is it? Pastasciutta (pastashoota) is the Italian word for any pasta and sauce dishe in Italy. If you are going […]

Read More
standard

Looking Ahead to a Russian Centennial

25.03.2016 Posted in History, Writing 2 Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that  my biography of Angelica Balabanoff The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel will be published at the end of April by McFarland Publishers. To mark this pulication I decided to devote my blog to Angelica, her friends, passtime and recipes. I hope you liked my previous articles within the series “Red Rebels” about her friends Raya Dunaevskaya, Bianca Tosoni-Pittoni and others, about Angelica writing poems in five languages and the recipe of the only meal she could make – an omelet. No doubt an important event in Angelica’s live was the October Revoltuion of 1917. The first part of her life has been devoted to organising this event, while during the second part of her life she became dissilutioned with it and devoted the rest of her life to fighting it and what was going on in her country. In about 18 months Russia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the October 1917 Revolution. It will certainly be an occasion  to arouse controversy and emotion. The Revolution was one of the defining moments of the 20th Century. It brought the establishment of a Communist regime, millions lost their lives or fled their homes to go and live overseas.  It is not yet certain how Russia’s contemporary leaders will mark the centennial. During the Cold War, the Soviet government ensured that its revolutionary victory was celebrated as a most important holiday supported by the media and the entire population. Today in Russia many […]

Read More
standard

Angelica’s recipes – Pink pancakes

11.03.2016 Posted in Cooking No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff at McFarland Publishers in April, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica and amongst others her favorite recipes. In point of fact, Angelica did not cook. She was not even interested in food. For the majority of her life she was a vegetarian. Nonetheless, food played an important role in her existence. She used food to fight bourgeois traditions, which was the main battle of her life. My first blog post about Angelica’s recipes was devoted to her favorite food – cheese sandwiches. This one is about the only dish she could make – an omelet. I will be honest. I’m cheating in this article about the Pink Pancakes . I do not know if Angelica has ever tired to make pancakes in her life, not to mention the beetroot ones. However I had two good reasons to make them. Firstly, it is a vegeterian and simple recipe, which is also RED because of the beetroot. Grated beetroot makes these pretty-in-pink pancakes a talking point at breakfast (or not, if you’re slipping vegetables into a fussy eater’s diet on the quiet). Secondly, it is also a week of Maslenitsa in Russia or crepe week – the last week before Great Lent, the week when Russian people make crepes, so I really wanted […]

Read More