Writing Archive

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Angelica’s Tea Set discovered in Tel Aviv

17.03.2017 Posted in Writing No Comments

When in May last year (2016) my biography of Angelica Balabanoff The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published by McFarland Publishers I did not know that the publication of the book will bring a few unexpected surprises. Among many events related to the publication of the biography of Angelica Balabanoff including meeting people interested in Angelica’s life, exchanging passionate emails with Angelica’s fans from all over the world (I had people writing to me from Turkey, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.) and who happened to be more numerous than I have ever expected, or  simply meeting those interested in book publication,  was also meeting Angelica’s family. Gabriel and his daughter Dana are related to Angelica through the marriage of Gabriel’s grandmother to Angelica’s brother in Chernigov (today’s Ukraine) around 1880. Today they live in Israel in Tel Aviv. It was Dana who contacted me after reading my articles about Angelica published on this website www.morethanred.com. I had the most interesting conversation over the phone with Gabriel who remembered meeting Angelica in 1950s in New York. He also sent me pictures of a tea set his family  inherited from Angelica with her initials A.B. and which his family still uses.  I could only regret not meeting Gabriel before the publication of my book and not being able to include the photos into the book.  Happy to share them with you on this website. If you want to know more about Angelica go to the page […]

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Seasons Greetings! – Angelica’s recipes – Beetroot Tarte Tatin

23.12.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

TO celebrate Chistmas I decided to make a Beetroot Tarte Tatin and dedicate it to Angelica!* For obvious reasons Angelica had never tried a Beetroot Tarte Tatin – which simply did not exist during her times. However, I thought that this recipe would perfectly correspond to her: it is vegetarian and contains a beetroot, one of the traditonal ingredients of the Russian cuisine.  Beautiful glazed beets, crisp buttery pastry and creamy goat’s cheese: this delicious dish will brighten up any winter table. Perfect as a light lunch or served with pink roast venison. Serves 4 75g golden caster sugar 40g butter A splash of sherry vinegar 1 tbsp honey 7 thyme sprigs 4 fresh beetroot, cooked 250g puff pastry 4 slices of goat’s cheese Salt and black pepper 1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Place a smallish, heavy, oven-safe frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until it dissolves, then add a big pinch of salt, all the butter and a splash of sherry vinegar. Keep stirring until it has turned mahogany brown. It’s a good idea to use oven gloves to protect your hands. Take care not to let the sugar burn. 2 Add 1 tbsp honey to the pan. Pick the thyme leaves from 6 stalks and add them too. Remove from the heat and stir. Place a long sprig of thyme on top of the caramel for decoration. 3 Cut the cooked beetroot into nice fat slices and carefully (so […]

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Angelica’s recipes – Beetroot keftedes

25.11.2016 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 2016 by McFarland Publishers. To celebrate the launch of the book I decided to devote my blog to Angelica’s lifestyle, friends, recipes and places where she lived during her long and interesting life. I decided to try today’s recipe beetroot keftedes because it is vegetarian and red.  Vegetrain is to honor Angelica and red is to honor my website. These Greek-influenced beetroot fritters can be served hot or cold, accompanied by beetroot tzatziki. Serves 4. Ingredients: 200g fresh beetroot, cooked, peeled and coarsely grated 2 spring onions, finely chopped 3 tbsp parmesan, grated 240g feta cheese, crumbled 1 egg, beaten 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped 2 tbsp mint or parsley, finely chopped 220g breadcrumbs 60g plain flour Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying 1 lemon Salt and black pepper 1 Mix the beetroot, spring onions, cheese, egg and herbs together. Season, then mix in enough breadcrumbs to bind the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 2 Shape the mixture into golfball-size pieces, adding a little flour if the mixture is too wet. 3 Season the flour and coat the balls in it. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking, and fry the pieces in batches for 2-3 minutes until golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon. It is delicious!!!! Recipe from The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia […]

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The Hidden Jewel of Ascona – A Russian painter Marianne von Werefkin

4.11.2016 Posted in Travel, Writing No Comments

At the end of September I found myself in Ascona – a beuatiful town in the Italian part of Switzerland. The main reason of my trip to Ascona was to look at the paintings of a Russian painter Mariannne von Werefkin (1860 – 1938) who lived in Ascona for the last 20 years of her life. I love her paintings – beautiful, solitary and kind images of daily life. Bron in Tula as the daughter of the commander of the Ekaterinaburg Regiment, she became a student of Ilya Repin, the most important painter of Russian Realism. In 1892 she met Alexej von Jawlensky, who desired to be her protégé, and in 1896 she, Jawlensky, and their servant moved to Munich, where she initiated a Salon which soon became a center of lively artistic exchange. She also founded the “Lukasbruderschaft” of which also Kandinsky was a member. At the outbreak of the First World War, Werefkin and Jawlensky immigrated to Switzerland. With the beginning of Russian Revolution in 1917, Marianne lost her money in Russia and could no longer be a protégé of her husband. By 1918, they had separated. Jawlensky who had a son with their servant married the servant and went back to Germany. Werefkin moved alone to Ascona, on Lago Maggiore where she painted many colorful, landscapes in an expressionist style. In 1924 she founded the artist group “Großer Bär” (i.e., Big Bear, Ursa Major). Unable to make her living she lived in povetry supported by a few friends. Marianne von Werefkin died in Ascona on 6 […]

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Angelica’s recipes – Red Salad

21.10.2016 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 devote my blog to Angelica’s lifestyle, friends, recipes and places where she lived during her long and interesting life. I was looking for a new recipe for dinner to mark the beautiful sunny days we are enjoying in Paris in October. As usually I wanted to find a recipe which corresponded to Angelica’s taste and would be reddish if possible. I came across this salad recipe while flipping through one of the fashion magazines in the bookstore ‘Drugstore’ on the Champs Elysees, Paris, while waiting to go to see a movie. I’m sorry I do not remember exactly the name of the magazine or the details of the recipe. The main ingredients: beetroot, potatoes and hareng reminded me of my childhood and my grandmother so I decided to improvise and make it at home. To make the Red Salad for two you will need: 1 beetroot (I took a precooked beetroot),  4 medium potatoes,  ½ apple, 1 small onion, 1 filet of hareng, and a few brines of cilantro (optional). For a dressing: olive oil, vinegar and mustard. To make the salad: Peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler. Remove any sprouts and any green areas with the tip of a potato peeler. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan or pot. Add enough cold water to cover […]

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Following in Angelica’s footsteps – St Gall – Angelica’s first place of work

7.10.2016 Posted in Travel, 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 devote my blog to Angelica’s lifestyle, friends, recipes and places where she lived during her long and interesting life. After laborious preparations I have finally managed to go to Switzerland for a one-week trip at the end of September. I have dreamt about it for years. Angelica spent quite a few years in Switzerland first in 1903-1906, then again later in 1918. She came to live in St Gall after graduating from the Sapienza university in Rome. The objective of her stay in town was to help the Italian immigrants who worked in St Gall in the textile industry. Most of them did not speak German, were unerpaid, lived in dreadful conditions and needed someon who could help them out and represent them.  Switzerland beeing an expensive place to visit – my trip was not easy to arrange and I took time to prepare it.  I wanted to visit as many places related to Angelica’s life as possible. Obviously I could not miss St Gall – a town in the North Eastern part of Switzerland where she had her baptism by fire as a speaker in 1903. St Gall was named after its first citizen an Irish monk Gallus, whose statue can be seen on the central square, also named after him. As a place to […]

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Angelica’s favorite dish – a vegeterian risotto

23.09.2016 Posted in Cooking, Writing No Comments

Creamy Tomato Risotto 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 devote my blog to Angelica’s lifestyle, friends and recipes. Angelica was not much of a cook. In fact food was of little interest to her. She was also a vegeterian. I will devote today’s blog to Angelica’s favorite dish – a vegeterian risotto which her Italian friends Maria and Ivan Matteo Lombardo cooked for her when she visited them in Milan. Risotto is a popular versatile dish easy to make. No wonder that Angelica loved it. The creamy tomato risotto, which I tried to make yesterday, brings together the favorite Mediterranean ingredients. Adding the liquid from the tomatoes to the vegetarian stock underscores the flavor of the fresh tomatoes added at the very end. This is delicious made with any ripe red (or orange) tomatoes. Ingredients 400g can chopped tomato 1l vegetable stock knob of butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 rosemary  sprig, finely chopped 250g risotto rice 300g cherry tomato, halved small pack basil, roughly torn 4 tbsp grated Parmesan Serves 4 / Preparation time 10 mins / cooking time 40 min Tip the chopped tomatoes and half the stock into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into a saucepan with the remaining stock, bring to a gentle simmer and keep over a low heat. Meanwhile, place the butter and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.