Archive for March 26th, 2009

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Ukrainian Recipes – Vareniki

March 26, 2009

Ok, I have had a few requests for recipes for traditional Ukrainian food……and I don’t blame you, it’s bloody good “scran”!!!………So I have created a new Category……..and this is the first post…..

Now, when it comes to cooking, I am not Keith Floyd or Gordon Ramsay……although I do share certain character traits with both….like a loving of red wine and the ability to string together every single swear-word in the English language and make them form a sentence which actually makes sense to the listener…….but I will try to explain how to conjure up gastronomic miracles from basic ingredients in the Ukrainian style.

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I will make a disclaimer at this point, by stating that it usually takes the human body 24 hours to turn food into shit……..but it normally takes me about 5 minutes when I am in the kitchen.!!

Anyway, the recipes and skills required will be written out for you to try……together with a few pictures so you can see what it should look like……picture….thousand words….and all that.

So, today’s Ukrainian food is a versatile and easy option to start with, called Vareniki.  I say versatile, as it can be both sweet or savoury, depending upon the filling and any sauce or cream you may want to dress it with…..but the assembly and cooking of it, regardless of the filling, is the same.

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Ok, firstly you have to throw a few ingredients into a bowl and make the pastry.  This is white plain flour, an egg, a little vegetable oil and water and thrash it and beat it like you worst enemy until it takes on a consistency similar to that of builder’s putty.

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You don’t know what builder’s putty is like?  Ok, it will  hold the shape you put it into, not stick to your hand but has much more consistency than bloody yogurt.

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Then break it into little balls, about half the size of table tennis/ping pong balls and roll it flat to a thickness of 3 millimetres…….I know, a builder teaching you to cook is like a nun teaching you to pole dance……so drop me a comment if you try this and it comes out remotely edible!

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You need to make a lot of these little round 3mm depth pastry discs. 

If you are going to fill them with potato, you will have to have already made mash potato (sprinkled with black pepper), if cabbage (also sprinkled with black pepper), then this too must be pre-cooked.  No other fillings must be pre-cooked including mince meat, cottage cheese or if you have a sweet tooth, no fruits are pre-cooked either…..like cherries for example…..although you obviously remove any stones or seeds!

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You then take little balls of your filler, whatever it may be, and place it on your small pastry disc.  Fold the disc over and seal it by “nipping” the edges…….so that nothing can escape…….obviously.

You now, should have a half circle with a lump of filler in the centre…….I hope you have anyway.

You then make as many of these as you like.  I would suggest a number totaling one Vareniki per USD involved in the global financial bailout…….but I like Vareniki!!

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You then place you Vareniki, regardless of filler, into boiling water for 8 – 10 minutes.

Now, depending upon your choice of filler, depends what you do next.

If you have chosen mash potato or cabbage for example, you then put your Vareniki into a frying pan containing oil and pre-fried onions and move it around the pan for around 5 minutes. 

Pour the contents of the pan into a bowl, add ketchup if you want to….although there is no requirement…..and eat it whilst it’s hot!!

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If you filler was minced meat or cottage cheese, then place it into your frying pan with hot melted butter, again for 5 minutes and pour it all out into a bowl and eat it……..again ketchup is optional!!

If your filler was fruits….and we will stick with cherries as the example, remove them from the boiling water and place them on the table separately to “dry off” and go cold.  If you don’t put them out to dry separately they will stick together…..and look like they have been cooked by me!!

You then sprinkle them in sugar….it will stick to the Vareniki…….and pour over cream of your choice….which ever you like most…….ketchup in this case, although optional, is probably not advisable.

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That’s it……Yeh, Ok I should stick to building but give it a try and let me know how it went.  If it turned out Ok, then I will give you more Ukrainian recipes to try!!!

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Odessa Museum of Western & Eastern Art

March 26, 2009

Ably supported by possibly the worst bloody website on the planet, http://www.oweamuseum.odessa.ua/ , you would hardly know this place exists…….well that’s not true, you cannot miss the building, which can be found on Puchinskaya in the City centre, so you would know it exists……but you would not know it was a museum, unless I told you.

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Welcome back……you see, I told you it was a crap website!!

The website and facade of the building are more than a little misleading though…..

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……the interior of the building is quite large and it houses some outstanding and famous artwork.

Most recently, late 2008, when the outside of the building was being restored a thief climbed the scaffold, gained entry to the museum via a window and stole one of the worlds most famous paintings by an artist called Caravaggio.

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The painting is known by two titles, The Taking Of Christ…..or The Kiss of Judas.

Of course, being a “Masterpiece”, and valued at only slightly less than Obama’s bailout for the USA, there was no security working at  the Museum during the night is was taken…….and no alarm system……well this is Odessa!!

What?……….oh yes, of course there is security and a security system now………so don’t go getting any ideas……although if you read on, you will probably reconsider any criminal ideas you just had anyway.

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Now, as I have mentioned in other blogs, Odessa has a rather infamous reputation for mafia.  The local “businessmen” were not in the least bit pleased to hear that this picture had been stolen from Odessa………..without their say so anyway……and the “tree was shaken” to see who had done what and where in the world the painting was.

Well, sometimes it is easier for the law enforcement authorities to let others do the work for a change……It’s not?….Ok, well it is here!!

Well, as luck would have it, the thief turned up dead….although no details of how he died have ever been released……and before he took his terminal breath, he named a man who had been responsible for arranging the theft and sale of this piece……who also, unsurprisingly…..suffered from a slight case of death.  The painting was also, unsurprisingly, recovered……along with 5 other artworks and a few accomplices….who were not quite so dead…….and lovingly delivered to the police…..who obviously asked no questions!!

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Told you that you’d stop your evil scheming didn’t I.

Going back to the museum and this particular painting, to my knowledge……and I haven’t been in for a while…… this painting is not yet back on display.  There are however, some outstanding works of art which make this museum well worth a visit.

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Archaeological Museum – Odessa

March 26, 2009

The Odessa State Archaeological Museum was founded in 1825 and is situated on Lanzheronovskaya.

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Yeh, I know……..bloody nice building eh!!  It’s worth going just to have your “mug-shot” taken there.

Today it holds the biggest Ancient Egypt collection in Ukraine and the third biggest from the former Soviet Union…..but it’s not all about Egypt…..even though it is obviously a major selling point for many people.

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The museum also holds Roman, Byzantian and Greek relics……….well it would wouldn’t it…….it’s only a short sail around the Black Sea to reach the Mediterranean to steal somebody’s family jewels and “do one” back to Odessa as fast as you can before the Cops come chasing after you!!!

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If you get bored of the Mummies, both human and animal, scarabs, vessels, jewelry etc etc “acquired” from Egypt over the past few hundred years, the museum also boasts a massive collection of coins……for all you numismatics out there…….over 5000 from ancient Greece, Byzantine, Rome……and obviously Russia.

If that doesn’t do it for you, simply marvel at the architecture of the building itself.

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What, it still does nothing for you?………..Bloody Philistine……well the beach is a 2 minute walk away you ignorant twat!!

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Humourina 2009 – Odessa Comedy

March 26, 2009

As a follow up to my blog about Odessa being the Comedy Capitol of Ukraine and the blurb contained therein about “Humourina”………Here is the where, what and when for this year:

 

ALL-CITY MEASURES AT “HUMORINA – 2009
 
 
Time
Measure
Venue
11.00
“Firendship Begins with a Smile” Caricature Exhibition introduction
Dumskaya Square
12.00-12.20
“Just a Circus!”
Comic Program
Primorskiy Boulevard
12.00-14.00
“Jokes Aside”
Odessa’s KVN teams parade
Yekaterininskaya Square
11.00-15.00
Karaoke at Deribasovskaya
Deribasovskaya Street
 
12.00-16.00
“Wish I Lived the Way I Love Odessa”
Comic and Entertainment
Show Program
Theater Square
11.00-17.00
“Let’s Smile Together with Odessa”
Show Program
Deribasovskaya Street
 
15.00
“N. Gogol in Odessa”
Exhibition introduction.
Comic ceremony of opening the monument to N. Gogol
Literature Museum
Sculpture Garden
 
16.00-18.00
“Humorina Is Alive”
Carnival March
Sobornaya Square –
Kulikovo Field
 
18.00-21.00
“Stars are Smiling”
Show Concert
Theater Square
 
18.00-21.00
 
 
21.00-21.05
 
21.05-22.30
“Mother Odessa Receiving Guests”
Gala Concert
 
Festive firework
 
Disco
Kulikovo Field
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