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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!!
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!!
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.
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!!!