Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sudocrem Sunscreen Mousse (review)

We had a lovely weather when I applied to be a tester for Sudocrem Mousse (factor 50), and in a typical fashion, the British weather has changed once the mousse arrived.
Where are you, Sun? How are we going to test the new sunscreen if you are hiding behind the rainclouds. It's been raining non-stop for days, and we had quick blasts of hail for more than five days. Ironic.

Eddie stands by the window and looks longingly in the garden, he doesn't mind if it rains, he wants to be out. So, whenever the rain takes a break, we run to the garden for some fresh air. But as we know the UV rays that cause the skin damage, travel through the clouds even on the cool or overcast days.

My kids and I are very fair-skinned, and I easily burn in the sun. I am no sun-worshipper, and detest sunbathing as the most boring pastime, but it's not just the sunbathers who get burned. Working in the garden, you can easily get burned.
Every year I spend a little fortune on the sunscreen products.

If you didn’t already know, Sudocrem have officially launched their exciting new, technologically advanced mousse products – a Factor 50 Sunscreen mousse and a Moisturising Mousse. Both products use ProDerm Technology – a clinically proven solution to keeping skin moisturised whilst protecting, strengthening and repairing – ideal for all the family. They are also incredibly easy to apply to those little wrigglers!

What are my first impressions of the Sudocrem Mousse?
First of all, it is very light, foamy or moussey (is that a word?). It is quickly absorbed in the skin, it's easily spread, doesn't have a smell (I cannot stand strong-smelling suncreen, sadly some of the brands you buy, are so smelly, that they make me nauseous).

What else?
This mousse is hypoallergenic.
Free from perfumes, colours, parabens and other preservatives.
It is specially formulated to protect babies' delicate skin.
And it is not tested on animals.
All of the points above are important when choosing a sunscreen.

Another thing worth mentioning: it is not sticky. Again, many sunscreen creams leave your skin feeling clogged and sticky. Sudocrem Mousse leaves your skin smooth and slightly moisturised without you looking like a fried egg in the pan.
That's another pet hate of mine: you apply a sunscreen and look like a frying pan, all greasy.
I know Sudocrem Mousse is designed for babies, but I tried it on my face, applying the make-up on top, and my skin was not greasy. And if we all can use the same sunscreen, that's a bonus in my books.

Now we are waiting for the real sunshine to test the sunscreen properly.
Come out, Sun, we are ready!

I would also like to mention Sudocrem's latest competition - a chance to win a luxury Family Villa Holiday (including flights and transfers) valued at £2,500 (Ts & Cs apply)!

To enter the Family Villa Holiday competition…Step 1– Go to and Like the page
Step 2– Click on the ‘Villa Holiday Competition’ app button, then complete your details and answer 3 moose (as in the animal) related questions correctly
Step 3– Get your bags packed and hope you’ve won!

Competition closes on 4th June 2012

The Prizes:

  1. 1st Prize: 7 nights’ accommodation in a luxury Spanish villa in Mallorca for 4, including flights and transfers (terms and conditions apply).
  2. 50 x runners up prizes: Cuddly ‘Bruce the Moose’ toy.

Your Eggsellency from Hotel Chocolat is not so eggciting (review)

Prior to Easter there were zillions of blog reviews of chocolate eggs. It was bordering on chocolate frenzy: from sublime to ridiculous. Hotel Chocolat was one of the brands that sent lots of chocolate eggs for bloggers to review.
Some of the blog reviews were genuinely amusing, well-written and honest, some were as cringeworthy as Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar speech. I felt like screaming: It is only chocolate you're talking about, not Mona Lisa.
One dayI hope there will be a blog post, analysing the mysterious ways in which context contributes to the meaning of blog posts.

This is my post-Easter speculation on this year's Extra Thick Egg aka Your Eggsellency from Hotel Chocolat, which comes with the slogan: An extremely distinguished egg (with one 40% milk and one 70% dark shell filled with 12 finest real cream truffles with Champagne, white port, Amaretto and more). The description sounds very tempting and bordering on decadent.

I haven't bought this box, our guests who celebrated Easter with us, brought it as a gift. We opened the pretty box after dinner and shared the truffles. My first impressions were that the chocolates looked very attractive. The shells were smooth, thick and glossy.
The truffles themselves were very alcoholic. Probably wonderful if you love your chocolate very boozy, but I prefer a more subtle use of alcohol in the chocolate truffles. One of the truffles, I think it was mojito-based, almost took my breath away, it was so strong.
As there were several adults, it wasn't difficult to finish 13 truffles.
The chocolate shells were a different story.
Three weeks later, and we still haven't managed to finish them. The chocolate shells, admittedly thick, taste of nothing in particular, are very plain and boring, too sweet and far from being the best chocolate I have ever tasted.

And the best bit about the kit was the round box, which so delighted my younger child. He kept putting it on as a hat, Lady Gaga-style.

And if that was the best bit, I'll let you speculate about the eggsellency of the chocolate.

I have tried a good amount of Hotel Chocolat products, and I am yet to find one that would impress me.
I am also quite unimpressed with their delivery policy. Once I ordered a big box of chocolate as a Thank you gift to the pre-school teacher counsellor who helped us a lot when our older son was young. I never heard from her, and wasn't sure whether she ever got the box or not. When I asked the Hotel Chocolat customer service if they could confirm that the box was delivered, they told me they could not disclose this information. I haven't ordered anything as gifts since. For all I know it was never delivered to the right recipient.

Returning back to our Eggsellency: not so eggciting.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Peppa goes to Eddie's Birthday Party: a customised book from Penwizard (review)

There is an ongoing discussion in Radio Times on the token female characters in children's cartoons. They claim that there are no central female characters on Cbeebies. Apparently there are not enough female role models for tots. They must have forgotten Peppa Pig. It is Peppa and her Mummy who are the leading characters, and they are far from being token females.
Peppa, a mischievious little imp of a pig, appeals to both boys and girls. She is adorable, funny and determined.
Eddie is very fond of Peppa. He has Peppa toys and books in his collection. He even has a scarf and a hat with George, they are his favourite, and so far I failed to convince Eddie that they are more suitable for winter, he insists on wearing them rather than a summer-style hat.
As you can imagine, I was thrilled to be offered an opportunity to receive a personalised Peppa Pig book for Eddie. I just knew how delighted he would be.

Penwizard, a company that produces personalised children's books, has several books in Peppa Pig series.
The books have both customised pictures and stories.
I have chosen a book under the working title "Peppa Goes to Your Child's Party".
The process of ordering and customising was very straighforward. You have to select a gender and a hairstyle for your book character, as well as a few other facial features (eye, skin, hair colour), add an age which will appear on the balloon and write a message for your child. And of course, you child will be the main character of the book, meeting the lovely Peppa and  Suzy Sheep, Danny Dog, Rebecca Rabbit, Pedro Pony, Emily Elephant and Candy Cat.

The order arrived promptly.
When Eddie saw a book about his favourite character, he was ecstatic. He was even happier when he understood that he is also a character in the book.

The book is very bright and cheerful, the story is easy enough for a tot to appreciate it.

The book costs £14.99 plus postage, which is more expensive than standard paperbacks for children.
Of course, customised books are always more expensive.
It makes a great birthday gift, but if I decide to order any other from the range, I guess I will wait until there is an offer of a free postage or a good discount.

Taking into consideration the price, I should mention that seeing your child so happy with the book is priceless.

Club Penguin and Earth Month

Club Penguin Champions Real World Environmental Change Through Online Play

In Celebration of Earth Month, Players Learn About Endangered Animals and Play in the Virtual Environments They are Helping to Protect

London, United Kingdom, April 19thClub Penguin is celebrating Earth Month this year with the launch of new activities allowing players to learn through role play about endangered species and declining habitats. These in-world activities align with the real-world environmental efforts Club Penguin supports – allowing kids to impact social change through play.

Now – April 25th players can dress up as endangered species such as Rockhopper Penguins, Andean Cats, African Painted Dogs and Snow Leopards and learn through role play in the Earth Month themed environments in game. Players can also decorate their igloo to create the perfect natural habitat for these animals and further extend their role play experience.

“Earth month is the perfect time to educate our players through original game play about the animals and environments they are helping to protect in the real world,” said Lane Merrifield, one of Club Penguin’s co-founders and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “Kids care about the planet and Club Penguin makes it easy for them to drive meaningful change.”

As part of Club Penguin’s Coins for Change program, an annual in-world event where the company matches the virtual coins players donate to real world causes -- players voted to give 37% of a $2M donation to support environment and conservation projects including: the Wetlands in China, Coral Reefs in the South East Asian waters, Penguin nesting sites in Argentina & Africa and ongoing educational programs that protect endangered animals living in community members’ environments around the world. These specific causes inspired the in-world game play featured on the site during Earth Month.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Vegetarian Solyanka

Traditional solyanka (lit. salty) is a meat-based Russian soup, but there are several vegetarian versions of solyanka for Lent. It is a tasty soup, perfect for a cold day. Some add cabbage to this soup, some use walnuts, there are different ratios of potatoes/pickled cucumbers.

Vegetarian Solyanka
2 medium potatoes
2 medium pickled cucumbers
olives (about 1/3 standard mug)
1 tbsp capers
2 tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 mushroom
1 garlic clove (or more if you like)
1 onion (or more)
2 tsps olive oil
several walnuts, finely chopped or crushed (about 1/4 of a standard mug)
fresh flat leaf parsely and soured cream to serve with

a slice of lemon (optional)

Start with chopping the onion very finely and frying with the olive oil. Add the finely chopped cucumbers, mushroom and a clove of garlic (either chopped or use a tsp of lazy garlic from a jar) to the onions and fry until the onion is translucent. Add 2 tbsp of tomato paste and mix well.
In the meantime chop potatoes, put them in the big saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer. Add chopped tomatoes, capers and the onion/garlic/cucumber mix.
Chop the walnuts very finely or crush them in the mortar with the pestle (not too smoothly), add to the soup.
You might also add a vegetable stock cube if you like.
As for the olives, you add them nearer the end, you might slice them or keep whole, it is a matter of personal aesthetics.
Don't add salt until the very end, you might find you don't need much, as the olives, capers and cucumbers are salty enough.
Once the potatoes are cooked, the soup is done.
This soup is traditionally served with a dollop of the soured cream, chopped herbs and a slice of lemon (with the skin removed, though personally I like it on). Enjoy!

I am submitting my recipe for No Croutons Required monthly challenge hosted by a blog Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen.

This month these two fab bloggers asked you to look into your cupboard for any antipasti in jars you can find and cook a dish with them. I used olives (not sure pickled cucumbers can be classified as antipasti as such, though in Russia they are certainly often served as antipasti).

St George's Day

Have you already decided what to do on St George's Day?

Five top ways to spend St George’s Day

Monday 23rd April will mark St George’s Day, a time when we honour the patron saint of England.
And what better way to commemorate the achievements of such an esteemed English figure, than to spend the day sampling all things English, including some beautiful English heritage?    

Buyagift has come up with five fantastic places in England that would be perfect for spending the day sampling some of the finer things our country has to offer.

Tudor luxury

Find some fine English tradition at the classically Tudor Thornbury hall castle. Located in picturesque Gloucestershire, it’s a popular choice with royals. This stunning and historical building is also bursting with lavish furnishings, roaring fireplaces, and precious antiques.  And while you’re at it, why not have the traditional treat of afternoon tea accompanied by some mouth-wateringly English delicacies!

 Take a tour of Kensington Palace
For a further taste of English Royalty this St George’s, why not take a tour of Kensington Palace? After you’ve perused the awe-inspiring King’s Gallery and the Sunken Gardens, you’ll head to Thistle Kensington Gardens for a spot of tea – how very quaint!
Incidentally I know the place pretty well, whenever we are in London and staying nearby Kensington Palace, we go to their tearoom for an afternoon tea and their utterly wicked pastries! You will be truly spoilt for choice.

And of course, the ambiance is special too.

A day at the races
If you are not into culture or visiting Royal Palaces, why not try a day at the races. A great British tradition, you’ll enjoy an exhilarating day of ups and downs at the track. Be part of a great atmosphere, surrounded by cries of delight and disappointment.  Some packages offer you the unique opportunity to take a look behind the scenes while you sip champagne on a sunny day at the horses.

A day at Buckingham Palace
What could be more quintessentially English than Buckingham Palace? Go on your own tour of this beautiful Queen’s Gallery and complete the day with a delicious champagne afternoon tea at the elegant Grosvenor Hotel – bliss!

Tea for two at Harrods
After a day soaking up English culture, unwind with tea at world-famous Harrods. Since Edwardian Times, the Georgian restaurant has been seen as one of the most refined places in England. And for some years now, an afternoon trip to Harrods is no longer about the shopping – it’s a social highlight. So find out what it’s really like to be a person of leisure, and sample the splendour that is afternoon tea at Harrods.

Or if you are not able to have a day out, do the most quintessentially English thing of all: have a cuppa in your own garden, reading Country Life! Have a slice of the Victoria sponge, or take out that box of Thorntons chocolate that has been calling for you. And don't forget your leg warmers, if the weather is anything like today.

Whatever your plans are for St George's Day, make sure you have a fab day!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Kellogg's Mini Max (review)

When I saw a post on BritMums, asking if bloggers wanted to review a new cereal from Kellogg's, I was curious to try it. I promptly emailed them, and in a couple of days a huge parcel was delivered to our address. It had 10 boxes of Mini Max.

My older son Sasha always eats his cereals as snacks, without added milk, so of course, Eddie copies his older brother. He prefers to have a little bowl of cereals with added berries and chopped banana and a cup of milk separately.

The size of the cereals is just right for toddlers. It is like a smaller version of the Shredded Wheat. I like the fact that there is less sugar than in many standard cereals for children. It is not over sweet. Each little cushion of wheat has one coated sugary side. The cereal has a high content of fibre, which is another bonus.
The test result is: Sasha wasn't very keen (but I was't surprised as he only loves Cheerios), Eddie and I enjoyed it. We also shared several boxes with the friends, and they said they liked it.

We also did some Easter nests, using rice crispies and Mini Max cereals. Though our Mini Max nests looked more like the eagle's nest in the rocks.

I know there was a discussion on Netmums etc about the new cereal and some concerns were raised regarding the use of the beef gelatin. As we are not vegetarians, this is not an issue for us.
The beef gelatin is used in Mini Max so the frosting sticks to each bit of cereal. It is also clearly labelled on the box though admittedly in small letters.

The grain used to make Mini Max is grown by UK farmers. That is another thing in its favour.

As a snacks-person myself, I found them a healthier option for snacking, and keep reaching for the box to pick a mini parcel or two while cooking in the kitchen.

Kelloggs' Mini Max comes in two flavours: original and chocolate (which we haven't tried, so no opinion on this variety yet)

If you want any more information, you can check out:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Autistic Acrostic by Melinda Smith

Autistic Acrostic

In Autism Poem on August 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

This poem is for all of us ASD parents who have had a ’moment of clarity’ in the middle of one of their child’s meltdowns.
Incidentally, the poem is an acrostic, meaning the initial letters of all the lines spell out a word or message. Can you read what it is?

Autistic Acrostic

Any day now, it will lift.
Under your mask of howls, I see
Two knowing eyes reproaching me,
Incensed that I should try to shift
Some blame, for this, our hell, to you.
Mummy feels like howling too.

First published in Quadrant, Volume LIII, No.4, April 2009


There are days when I feel like howling too. There is always a feeling of guilt, a deep ache: would I have been able to prevent my son's pain and frustration? What if? What if? Is it my fault?
Sometimes when I don't sleep for several nights in a row, when my son's sleeping disorder affects him to the extreme, when he is being very volatile, challenging and difficult, I also feel like running into the wilderness and howling like a she-wolf at the Moon in frustration and anger: why?

Melinda Smith speaks for me and for all Mums of children with autism.

If you are a parent of a child with autism or if you just love poetry, you might have heard that Melinda Smith's book "First... Then..." is out. To read more about the book, please follow the link.  It will give you all the information on how you can buy the book.

I wish I could come to the launch of the book, but as it is impossible, I stretch my arms for a very warm hug across the world to say Congratulations and Thank you for being the Voice of Autism!

P.S. This poem has been reposted with the kind permission of the author.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

On your Nettle (a vegetarian borscht with the nettles)

Borscht (correct transliteration for the Russian word борщ is borshch) is a staple soup in many Russian families. There are so many variations that I won't have enough fingers and toes to count them all. Of course, there are versions for both meat-eaters and vegetarians.

My Mum's borscht is undoubtedly the best. Whenever she comes to visit, I ask her to cook it for me in the biggest pot I have, as it keeps well for several days in the fridge, and actually tastes better the next day.

But today I am not doing her version.
Today's creation is an easy cabbage-free and meat-free soup with the nettles (if nettles don't rock your boat, try to substitute them with the fresh beet leaves, the flavour is amazing).

For 4 servings (as the first course) you will need:
2 small beets
a decent handful of nettles, chopped (pick very young leaves)
1 big potato
1 medium carrot
1 small parsnip
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes
1 stock cube (vegetable)
fresh dill for serving
soured cream or creme fraiche for serving
black pepper (optional)
sunflower oil

Start with the beets: chop them finely and slightly fry in the frying pan with the sunflower oil (about a tsp). You might skip the frying step, but it adds the depth to the overall flavour of the soup. Add to the cooking pot.
Chop the carrots, and also fry a bit, or just add the chopped carrot to the pot with the beets. Add a stock cube.
Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower down the heat. After 20 minutes, add chopped potatoes, tomatoes and a parsnip. Add the tomato paste and chopped nettles (use the scissors and wear plastic gloves to avoid the sting). Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. Add the salt almost at the very end.
Once all the vegetables are done, serve in a deep bowl with the dollop of the soured cream and fresh dill.

You might want to add an onion to the soup or substitute dill for flat leaf parsley.
Or if you don't like the soured cream, add a boiled egg (half an egg per person).
You could also cook it with meat, of course, just add your favourite stock and pieces of chicken or beef.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Frugal cooking: turn the weeds into a healthy meal!

If you follow my blog, you might have noticed I do enjoy experimenting with unusual ingredients. After an extravagance of the Easter dinner, I am turning my attention to the humble nettle and ground elder that grow in abundance in my garden (mea culpa, I am a very sporadic gardener and do let weeds take over some parts of my garden).
My Mum who was born in 1944 remembers how her Grandma used to pick up wild herbs to make soup. She was growing up in a poor village in the Russian south after all the devastation of the battles with the Nazi. The gardens were destroyed, and people were foraging for food. Young nettle leaves and ground elder were eaten regularly. Ground elder when young can be added to salads or cooked like spinach. It doesn't need a lot of cooking.
Inspired by Liz Knight and her foraging stories on Twitter, I ventured in the garden with the scissors and plastic gloves (for the nettles) and picked up a decent bunch of both the ground elder and the tops of the nettles (you really want only the young small leaves).

To make the soup you will need (for 4 people)
2 medium potatoes
1 medium tomato
1 small carrot
1 stock cube (or 1 tsp if you use a Marigold powdered stock)
a handful of the ground elder
a handful of the nettles
1tbsp of red lentils

Start your soup by slicing the potatoes and carrots, put them in the pan and cover with the water, bring to boil and add a stock cube (I like Heinz vegetable stock cube that is usually sold in the baby food isles). Add the lentils. Chop the nettles and add to the pan. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on slow. Add the chopped elder 3-5 minutes before the end.
Add the chopped chives just before serving.
It will be lovely with a spoonful of the creme fraiche or a boiled egg (half an egg per person), but that is optional.
Now you have it: your frugal soup. You turn the humble weeds into a lovely meal, and these ingredients will cost you nothing.

And if you love to save some money while enjoying the good food, follow Frugal Food Fridays challenge created by the wonderful blogger Fuss Free Flavours. This month's roundup is hosted by the lovely Utterly Scrummy Foor For Families blog.

Kulich (Russian Easter cake)

Kulich (pronounced KooLICH) is a Russian yeast cake that is traditionally served at Easter. There are actually two types of Russian Easter cakes, one made with the cottage cheese (pyramid-shaped) and a yeast cake, resembling a mix between a rum baba and a panettone (you can see both delicacies in Kustodiev's painting).

Just before Easter I have been searching online and in my books for a recipe for an easy Easter cake.
The recipe I finally used is a combination of several. However, it is heavily influenced by a recipe from"Cakes from around the world" by Julie Duff.

Kulich, Russian Easter cake

This cake is usually baked as a big tall tower or in small sized tins, like rum babas.

For this project I did a bit of a DIY. I wasn't able to find any suitable Kulich tins to buy in the UK, and decided that the ordinary soup/baked beans tins will do nicely (you can buy some very cheap tins of tomatoes and/or red kidney beans from the value range. I got mine from Sainsbury's)
 You have to cut the tins carefully with a tin/can opener on both sides, so you have a see-through tunnel-shaped tins. Check that your tins are not plastic-coated, as then they won't be safe.

You will need:
500g plain flour (+ more)
1/2 tsp of cardamom
7g dry yeast
300ml milk
3 tbps of vodka
3 tbsp of sherry (or any sweet wine to soak the sultanas)
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
100g of mixed sultanas & raisins & dried blueberries
50g mixed peel
50g chopped blanched almonds
50 g unsalted butter
2 medium eggs

3 heaped tbsp of icing sugar
lemon & orange juice (squeeze about 2 tsps for a runny consistency)

Add all the dried fruit and peel in a small bowl, pour 2 tbsp of sherry, leave for about an hour.
Pour the vodka into a small bowl and put the saffron into it. Leave to soak until the vodka is bright yellow. remove the saffron from vodka.

Sift the flour and spices in a big mixing bowl, add the sugar and yeast.  Stir in the soaked fruit and mixed peel, add the chopped almonds, and saffron infused vodka.
Warm the milk in a milk pan (do not boil) with the butter until it is dissolved, then let it cool to tepid, then beat in two medium eggs.
Pour your milk/egg mixture into the flour, mix well to make a soft dough. Now take it out onto the flour-dusted board and knead for about 8-10 minutes until smooth. You might need to add more flour as you keep kneading. The dough has to be quite elastic. Put it back in the deep bowl and cover with a clean towel. Leave it in the warm place for the dough to double in size (takes about an hour).
Now if you are using my DIY tins, cut the parchment paper and place the rolls of paper, so that they are slightly higher than the tins. I prepared six tins. Divide the dough into six pieces and shape them like a small tower, carefully place inside the parchment tubes in the tins (I have placed all the tins on the tray, which has been covered with the foil and oiled a bit).
Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 180C.
Once done (do the wooden skewer test, it has to come out clean) remove the tray from the oven and let the tins cool before sliding the cakes out of the tins.
You can make these cakes a day before serving and decorate on the day you eat them.
For the icing mix the icing sugar with the lemon and orange juice to get a medium runny consistency. Top up each Kulich with the icing. Once it is set, you can decorate them.

I have written the Russian letters Х В: Христос Воскресе (Christ has risen ).
Many Russians who observe the Easter traditions would take their cakes and decorated eggs to the church for the blessing.

I am submitting my Kulich to the lovely Tea Time Treats challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

Beetroot, vodka and wild herb rub cured salmon

This recipe has been adapted from the version printed in Olive (issue 100). As soon as I have seen it, I wanted to try it. I kept it quite close to the original recipe but added a wild herb rub and changed some quantities to suit my dinner.

500g salmon fillet , skin on
2 small beetroot , peeled and grated
75g coarse sea salt
100g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp Wild herb rub from Forage Fine Foods
½ a small bunch dill, chopped
2-3 tbsp vodka

I have already written about the wild herb rub from Forage Fine Foods here.
It adds a pizzazz and oomph to an already lovely recipe.
Take your salmon fillet and place it in a ceramic tray on top of the clingfilm, skin side down.
In a separate bowl mix the grated beetroot, salt, sugar, wild herb rub and dill. Spread it over the top of the salmon fillet in a thick layer. Spoon over the vodka (the original recipe asks for a modest tablespoon, I was quite generous and added more than 3).

Wrap the fillet with the beetroot/herb crust in another couple of layers of clingfilm. Put another ceramic dish (I used a heavy lasagne dish) on top and weight down with a few tins. Put in the fridge for 24 hours.
Once ready, peel off the crust and rinse the fillet under the cold water.

Using a thin sharp knife slice thin strips of salmon, leaving the skin behind. You can assemble it back on the skin to serve.

I served the salmon with the buckwheat blini (see the recipe here).

I offered my guests a plate of blini, a dish with the cured salmon, a small jar of salmon caviar (Alas, not some expensive caviar from Harrods, but a more modest offering from Waitrose) and creme fraiche. The idea was that everyone assembled their own blini.
I must say the salmon was extraordinary, very tasty and colourful, and I will be definitely using this recipe again.