Episode 3: Russia – Putin it all on the Line

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A famous painting has been stolen from the Hermitage Museum in Russia and it’s up to Sawyer and Suzie to get it back! (Duration: 36:01) Theme music by Kevin Macleod – Incompetech.com. Want to listen offline? Click the download icon on the player above to download this episode to your device.


Have a conversation with your child about what they’ve learned about Russia from the episode. Locate Russia on a globe or map and discuss how far it is from your home, what continent it’s on, and what countries are around it. See if they can find the locations mentioned in the episode: St. Petersburg, Lake Baikal, and Moscow.



Walk down the streets of the places mentioned in this episode using Google Street View.


St. Petersburg (The outside of the famous Hermitage Museum in Palace Square)


Click on the image below to explore the inside of The Hermitage


Look out over Lake Baikal

Shamanka Rock


St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow


Amazing Facts About Russia!

  1. Russia has the longest railway in the world! Spanning almost the entire country, the Trans-Siberian Railway is 5,700 miles long.
  2. The Hermitage Museum is guarded by over 70 cats that keep away rodents. The tradition dates all the way back to 1745.
  3. Russia is the largest country in the world by area. It covers more than a ninth of the world’s land area and is 1.8 times larger than the US.
  4. 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater is in one lake: Lake Baikal
  5. The world’s first satellite, Sputnik, was launched by the Russians in 1957.


A Taste of Russia

Make these popular Russian dishes together:

Beef Strogenoff


  • 1 tbsp-oil
  • 1 tbsp-butter
  • 1-onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ lbs- crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lbs-beef steak, cut in strips
  • ¼ cup- brandy
  • salt
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ cup-beef stock
  • 1-bay leaf
  • 1 tsp-whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup- full fat creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 3-4 sprigs-flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet and cook onions and mushrooms over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add cut steak to the same skillet and quickly fry over high heat for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add brandy and continue cooking until alcohol burns off, add stock, mustard, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release all the brown bits, they will add much flavour to the sauce.
  4. Bring mushrooms and onions back to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until everything is heated through and bubbling.
  5. Stir in sour cream and parsley and take off the heat.
  6. Serve with mounds of mashed potatoes or rice.

(Source: https://vikalinka.com/2014/10/02/best-beef-stroganoff/)

Author: Julia Frey of Vikalinka

Serves: 4-6

8-Layer Honey Cake

Prep time: 2 hours

Cook time: 25 mins

Total time: 2 hours 25 mins

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com

Skill Level: Medium

Cost To Make: $8-$10

Serving: 10-12


Cake Layers Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) honey
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached, organic)

Sour Cream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 32 oz sour cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the topping:

  • ½ lb Fresh Berries, optional


How to Make The Cake Layers:

  1. Add ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup honey and 2 Tbsp unsalted butter to a medium saucepan and melt them together over medium/low heat, whisking occasionally until sugar is melted (5-7 mins). Don’t put them over high heat or they may scorch to the bottom.
  2. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and while it’s still hot, add in your beaten eggs in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously until all of your eggs are incorporated (whisk constantly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs).
  3. Whisk in the baking soda until no lumps remain, then fold in your 3 cups flour ½ cup at a time with a spatula until the dough reaches a clay consistency and doesn’t stick to your hands. Mine took exactly 3 cups flour (measured precisely, scraping off the top of the cup).
  4. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and move on to the next step right away (these roll out best when the dough is still warm)
  5. On a well-floured surface, roll each piece out into a thin 9″ circle (about ⅛” thick). You can sprinkle the top with a little flour too to keep dough from sticking to your rolling pin. Place a 9″ plate or base from a springform mold over your rolled dough and trace around it with a pizza cutter to get a perfect circle. Keep the scraps for later. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and bake 2 at a time at 350˚F for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before stacking. Repeat with remaining layers.
  6. Finally bake the scraps separated evenly on a re-used sheet of parchment. Once the scraps are baked, cooled and firm, you can crush them with a rolling pin or pulse them in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.

How to make the frosting:

  1. Beat 1 cup heavy cream until fluffy and stiff peaks form (1-2 min on high speed).
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together 32 oz sour cream with 2 cups powdered sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the sour cream and you have your frosting. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling your Cake:

  1. Spread about ⅓ cup frosting on each cake layer (don’t skimp on it since the cake needs to absorb some of the cream to become ultra soft. Press the cake layers down gently as you go to keep the layers from having air gaps. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
  2. Dust the top and sides with your breadcrumbs, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This cake needs time to absorb some of the cream and soften, so be patient. It’s worth the wait!


Tips for Success: Roll out the next layers while the first ones are in the oven and total combined baking time shouldn’t take more than 25-ish minutes. Some of mine bubbled up a little on top which is fine since after it’s frosted, it won’t make a difference. I deflated any real whopping bubbles after they came out of the oven. Oh and I re-used my parchment paper (because I’m frugal that way).

If you don’t have a baking sheet large enough to place the parchment paper on, just bake directly on the rack


(Source: http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/03/09/8-layer-honey-cake-recipe-medovik/)



Listen to the famous Peacock Clock from the Hermitage Museum:

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