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КЕФИР an ancient drink from Caucasus

If you visited a Wholefoods branch recently or any Eastern European shop you might have noticed kefir. This ancient drink was brought to Russia from the Caucasus region and very quickly became a firm favourite

It always amuses me how ancient recipes and food staples from around the world suddenly come into fashion in our Western hemisphere and are actively promoted as the new remedy to all health evils. Kefir is definitely in this category. And I am happy to see that this drink packed with nutrients is finally getting a recognition it deserves.

On empty stomach
Kefir aids digestion and improves metabolism

A glass of the drink contains 10g of protein, which is 1:10 of RDA for men and 1:7 for women. Kefir is recommended as part of protein diet, and thus is a great idea for breakfast. It literally ‘inhabits’ your stomach with healthy bacteria and gets your body ready for the day ahead!

Try kefir smoothie or these easy kefir pancakes – ОЛАДЬИ- for breakfast!

Before going to bed

Improves the function of the digestive tract

Kefor contains millions of bacteria which grow and ‘kick out’ harmful bacteria, helping with indigestion, bloating and constipation.

Trying to avoid eating before bed? A glass of kefir will fill you up , but won’t add too many calories (59ccal per 100g)!

Excellent source of calcium

A glass of 3.2% fat kefir contains half the daily amount of calcium and phosphorus, which are indispensable for healthy teeth, bones and nails. However, Calcium is successfully absorbed only in the presence of vitamin D, phosphorus and fats. That’s why it is advisable to drink kefir which contains over 2.5% fat.

Calcium is better absorbed at night time.

Prevents dehydration and swelling

Kefir tops the list of drinks excellent for quenching thirst thanks to its slightly sour taste, and the minerals it contains help to retain the liquid. At the same time, unlike mineral water it doesn’t retain excess water in the body. It also helps knock down swelling.

It is also a go-to recipe for relieving bee sting swelling and pain.

Lowers cholesterol

Good news for the lactose intolerant!

Lactose in kefir is turned into milk acid, which is easily absorbed

Great baking ingredient.

Kefir is widely used in baking in Russia. Try making kefir pancakes for breakfast. Cakes made with kefir are moist with a hint of sourness.

Interested to learn the Russian language and all things Russian? Click here for more info


Fit in like a local: describing awesome and awful things in Russian

Learn Russian as it is actually spoken: Russian slang and colloquial expressions explained with examples

It’s great to know how to say good or bad in Russian, but sometimes you just need a stronger word to describe you elation or frustration.

Клёво /klyovah/ or круто /krootah/

An expression of approval or great satisfaction. E.g. Мы круто погуляли вчера.–Wr had a great time yesterday!

Отпад /atpat/

Awesome! Amazing! E.g. Отпад! Ты сам это сделал? – Awesome! Did you do it yourself! Отпадные кроссовки!- Great trainers. ‘Отпадis derived from the word ‘падать’, i.e. something that makes you fall.

в осадке/v asahtke/, or выпасть в осадок /vypast v ahsahdahk/-

The opposite to ‘отпад’ – to be guttered, shocked or extremely upset. E.g. Я выпал в осадок, когда узнал, сколько это стоит! — I was shocked when I learned how much it cost!

Прикинь /preekeen/

Check it out! Can you imagine?! E.g. Прикинь, я буду папой!-Can you imagine? I’m going to be a Dad!

Прикольно /preekol’nah/,

Funny, cool, interesting

приколист /preekahleest/

Someone with a great sense of humour, someone who jokes, a prankster

Прикалываться /preekahlyvatsah/

To make jokes, to mess about. E.g. Не обижайся, я просто я прикалываюсь. -Don’t be upset, I’m just joking.

Зачёт /zahchot/

Well done. Good job. E.g. Вы хорошо поработали! Зачёт! -You’ve done a good job. Well done!

Зачётный /zahchotnyj/

Cool, nice, great.

Уау/wow/, упс/oops/

Exclamations borrowed from English, which effectively substituted Russian Ого /ogo/ and Ой /oy/. E.g.Уау, какая тачка! –Wow, what a car!

Рулить /ruleet/

Another borrowing from English to rule. To be the main one, the most interesting, attractive, simply the best. E.g. Его фильм рулит! His movie rules!

Попасть /pahpahst/

To get into trouble. E.g. -Меня уволили. -Ну ты попал! -I’ve been fired. -Oh, you’re in trouble.

You can also say попасть на деньги- get into financial difficulty or get tricked out of money

Блин /blin/

An exclamation to express your frustration. There is hardly a more common expression to use when things don’t go your way than блин. E.g. Блин, ты снова опаздываешь! – Man, you’re late again!

Фигня /fignya/

A thing, stuff, something unimportant or slightly unpleasant. E.g. Я не знаю, что это за фигня.- I don’t know what that thing is. Что за фигня? Ты снова не в офисе? – What’s the hell? You’re not in the office again!

Фигово /figovah/

Bad, unwell. E.g. Когда мне фигово, я прихожу сюда. – When I feel down, I come here.

Фу /foo/

Yuk! Urgh! An interjection to use when you have seen, heard or tasted something that you think is extremely unpleasant. E.g. Фу, как противно. -Ugh how disgusting!

Канитель /kanitel/

Problems. У них какая-то канитель с компьютерами- They are having some problems with computers.

Кадр /kahdr/

Funny or strange person. E.g. Ну ты кадр! Рассмешил меня! -You’re a character. You made me laugh!

Валенок /valenahk/

Quite the opposite of кадр. Not a particularly clever or interesting person. E.g. И ты поверил ей? Ну ты и валенок! -And you believed her? You’re the worst! The original meaning of валенок is a traditional Russian winter felt boots.

Понты /pahnty/, понтовый /pahntovyj/

Bravado, swagger, showing off. E.g. Я тебе хорошее предложение делаю, а ты мне понты кидаешь! – I’m making you a nice offer, and you’re giving me the high-hat.

Отстой /ahtstoy/

Something that sucks, something really bad. E.g. Фильм вообще отстой! – The film really sucks.

Interested to learn the Russian language and all things Russian? Click here for more info

Russian slang words you’ll never learn in school

Learn Russian as it is actually spoken: Russian slang and colloquial expressions explained with examples

Russian might be the language of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, but it also happens to evolve quickly. So it’s always helpful to have a few current slang words up your sleeve to help you sound natural and in tune with current trends. We’ve made a short list of most useful and used slang words that you will most likely hear chatting to a Russian.

Тусоваться /tusahvahtsah/ to go out, have fun, hang out

e.g. Они обычно тусуются в восточном Лондоне. – They normally hang out in East London.

What a multifunctional word that is!

You can забить стрелку /zab\neet streloo/ arrange a meeting.

e.g. Мы забили стрелу на 8 у метро- We arranged a meeting at 8 by the tube.

Or you can забить на (что-то) forget about something, ignore, not stress out about something

e.g. Да забей ты на работу, пойдём в паб сегодня! Forget about the job, let’s go to a pub tonight!

A relatively new expression is забить болт /zabeet bolt/ to callously disregard or decisively stop doing something

e.g. Он артист честный: уехал в деревню, забил болт на всю цивилизацию. He is an honest artist, left to live in a village, forgot about the civilization.

Халява /khalyava/ What a Russian word that is! A freebie, an easy ride, something you get or achieve easily without putting in an effort, a small one-off job on the side

На халяву /nah khalyavu/ for free

Халявщик /khalyafschik/ халява-lover, free-loader.

e.g. Мы выпили на халяву шампанского и пошли домой. – we had some free champagne and went home.

We love adopting and russifying English words. Some of the recent and widely used phrases are

В тренде /f trendye/ and в хайпе /f haypye/, which literally translate as ‘in trend’, ‘in hype’

e.g. Свитшоты снова в тренде. – sweatshirts are in again.

(Yes, we also appropriated sweatshirt:))

Interested to learn the Russian language and all things Russian? Click here for more info

Russian word of the day

МАСЛЕНИЦА is one of the favourite days of the year. Only NYE could rival that in Russia. You’d be surprised to learn that Maslenitsa-Russian pancake day-to-day is not celebrated on a Tuesday before the Great Lent, but during the whole week before the start of the lent. The culmination of it is Sunday, which we call ПРОЩЁНОЕ ВОСКРЕСЕНЬЕ – Shrove Sunday -/praschonaye vaskrisienye/, which literallmahy translates as Forgiveness Sunday.

So if you’ve been meaning to say sorry to someone in your life, but were not  brave enough, this coming Sunday is your day!!

The word МАСЛЕНИЦА derived from МАСЛО butter /mahslah/. The day is called so because of abundant ‘buttery’ meals eaten on that day before going on a strict lent when neither meat or diary products are eaten.

Guess what we are eating on that day! Of course! БЛИНЫ –pancakes- /blini

For traditional Russian pancake recipe click here


Russian words and phrases at Christmas and New Year

 A few Russian words and and a bit of cultural insight to help you make the most of talking to your Russian friends and neighbours over Christmas and New Year time

The most anticipated and loved holiday in Russia is

НОВЫЙ ГОД [novi god] -New Years Eve.

To wish somebody a happy New Year, say

С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ! [s novym godam!] Happy new year!


As the Cremlin Clock strikes 12-no joke, every household will have a live broadcast from the Red Square- you’ll hear Russians shouting

С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ! С НОВЫМ СЧАСТЬЕМ! [s novym godam! S novym shchastyem!] Happy new year! Happy new happiness!


As the Soviet legacy is slowly becoming a thing of the past, Russians are warming more and more towards

РОЖДЕСТВО [razhdiestvoh] Christmas,

which Russian Orthodox Church celebrates on the 7th of January!

ВЕСЁЛОГО РОЖДЕСТВА! [vyesyolava razhduestva!] Merry Christmas!


The Russians are not too bothered about Christmas gifts, but we wouldn’t advise you to pay urn up at a New Year’s Eve party if you don’t have

НОВОГОДНИЙ ПОДАРОК [navagodniy pahdahrahk] New Years present.


Did you know that Russian Santa Claus is actually called Father Frost? That’s

ДЕД МОРОЗ [dyed mahros] in Russian.


And, he is not accompanied by the Reindeer. He has a granddaughter called

СНЕГУРОЧКА [snyegoorachka] Snowgirl

to help him.


Just like we do over here, Russians looove some snow over the Christmas holidays.

СНЕГ [snyeg] snow❄️❄️❄️


And of course, they never forget about Christmas tree, which is

ЁЛКА [yolkah].


НОВОГОДНИЕ РАСПРОДАЖИ [navagodneeyeh raspradahzhi]

are now part and parcel of Christmas festivities. They usually start after NYE and are hence called New Year sales.


Interested to learn more? Check out our website and book your 50% off trial lesson.

Keep checking for our weekly language blog posts and culinary Wednesdays.


Melting the Siberian ice

To find the way to a mysterious Russian soul we offer you 7 compliments in Russian.

What can be better at melting Siberian ice than a compliment said in their native language.

  1. 1) Oчень красиво! – Very beautiful! [Ochin kra’seevah]

Use this phrase to say that something is beautiful- someone’s outfit, house or datcha.


2) Очень стильно! – Very stylish/trendy! [Ochin’ steel’nah!/]

Say it to complement the great style of the above.


3) Вы прекрaсны! – You are beautiful/ amazing! [Vee pree’krahsny!]

This phrase has a romantic flair about it. Great compliment for a date or to show that you like someone.


4) Я очень люблю Россию! – I love Russia very much! [ Ja ochin liub’liu Rah’seeyu]

This proclamation of love will make a Russian very flattered. Even the effort made to learn the phrase will be highly appreciated. And who knows, not long and you might be invited to a

Russian Zastol’e Застолье banquet. 6441778

In which case you might want to know how to say:

5) У вас очень уютно. – Your place is very cosy. [ Ok vahs ‘ochin oo’yootnah]

Having tried multiple Russian dishes, you could say:

6) Все очень вкусно! – Everything is delicious [Fsyo ochin ‘fkusnah]

7) Я люблю русскую кухню.- I love Russian cuisine. [Ya ‘liubliu ‘ruskuyu ‘kukhniu]

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