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Ukrainian chronicle

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Wannabebwana View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 June 2019 at 06:55
Visiting Slavyanka’s family in Ukraine, so will chronicle some of the unusual foods we try.

Her mother is a great cook, and greeted us with borscht, pork schnitzel, chicken croquettes and salo (cured pork fat). All great, but I don’t have pictures and they’re all fairly familiar fare. So I’ll focus on the more unusual ones.

One thing I missed trying last time was hot pepper vodka. It’s actually more of a winter drink and it’s very hot here (32C), but I wanted to try it anyway. It’s not burning of the mouth, but there is a very definite and strong “essence”. Not the sinus-busting type that gives you a runny nose, either. More like extreme cinnamon.



Okroshka is a cold soup made with whey and Kvaas, then diced cooked potatoes and raw vegetables, garnished with dill. Very refreshing on a hot day!



Pumpushka is a type of garlic bread, just served fresh and drizzled in butter and garlic, then garnished with dill. Does well with the Okroshka.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2019 at 08:33
Uzvar is a beverage made from fruit that is dried in a wood oven. It’s used as a winter or summer drink, the fruit being boiled in water then cooled. It has a strong, smoky smell but tastes very refreshing. Slavyanka remembers hating it as a child because they were given it every day in kindergarten, for natural vitamins.

You can see the reconstituted plum in the glass.



This particular restaurant is renowned for its Varenyky (Perogies). This is a steamed version, that plump up very well. The recipe is closely guarded. This one has liver and potato filling, then topped with fried salo. As a child, Slavyanka would come every chance she could after school to have the Varenyky.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2019 at 22:32
Any chance of getting your MIL's recipe for the pumpushka? 
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2019 at 01:54
Sorry, we got that bread at the restaurant. Her mother doesn’t make it.

Visited the farmers market to get some things for a few days at the cottage. Her mother had already made and earlier trip, at daylight, to buy fresh-killed pork before the heat of the day came. No refrigeration here. However, surprisingly few flies and bugs.

These are Fakil or “torch” tomatoes. Come in yellow, too.



Most vendors are bringing their own produce, including fresh, whole milk.





Lots of fresh herbs. The growing season is well under way here, though much of this produce comes from southern Ukraine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2019 at 04:01

Wonderful photographs & market  .. 

Thank you for posting. 


Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2019 at 06:36
Awesome pics WBW Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2019 at 13:01
So we’ve been at the dacha for a few days. The end of the Soviet era saw the gov’t in survival mode and started to permit some land ownership. Slavyanka’s father bought 2 plots in a cottage village, about 20x30 meters. He sold one but built a cottage on the other. It’s actually about twice as large as their 3-room apartment where they raised their family. They grow a lot of vegetables there for canning that they can store at the apartment storage room.

We had Shashlik - Ukrainian shish-kebab. Her mother bought 2kg fresh pork at the market, a shoulder/neck cut that has some good fat. Cut in 5cm cubes then marinated in the following:

3 tbsp water,
3 tbsp 9% vinegar
3 large onions
3 large bay leaf
1 tsp peppercorns
1 pkg of Shashlik spice (paprika, pepper, onions, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic, fenugreek seeds, cloves, nutmeg, pimento, thyme, marjoram, lovage, parsnip, ginger, chili), stone salt.)

FIL started the bbq with dry oak wood, stacked high and let it burn down to hot coals. The pork pieces were skewered alternately with onion rings, not too tight together, then onto the fire, turning as needed and basting with the leftover marinade.

When finished, we had new potatoes, boiled with bay leaf, then tossed in butter and fresh dill. Then a salad with arugula, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and sunflower oil. Everything but the tomato fresh from the garden.

Starting the cook.



FIL likes to fan the coals to create more smoke for flavour.



Finishing the grill



And a great meal!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2019 at 13:07
FIL went to a local village market this morning (I didn’t even know he’d gone or I’d have tagged along). He bought fresh, whole milk and this fresh cheese. It’s like a cottage cheese, as we know it here in North America, but not creamy and very neutral-tasting. You can see it is still shaped a bit like the cheesecloth bag.

They will flavour it however they want, with honey or jam for crepes, savoury with dill, or use it in baking. A lot of athletes like it for the protein, calcium and probiotics. Slavyanka and her mother simply ate it from a bowl for breakfast.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2019 at 07:30
There’s a place down by the Dnipro river that sells draft beer, wine and cider in growlers, along with dried fish and sausage. We bought 2 litres of different beer along with some dried octopus and a small, perch-like fish from the Black Sea. Total cost, about $6..50 US. 1 US$ is 26 Hrivnas.

They eat dried fish with beer, instead of peanuts or potato chips. You can take the beer to the beach or the park. The heat here is oppressive right now, 32C and sunny every day. Few people have air conditioning.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2019 at 09:04


Like the BBQ .. Have not been to a BBQ in years.

Last time was on a trip to visit an old university
lady friend who has long passed away .. 
Approx 12 and  15 years ago.

She was Cuban and she would make Whole Suckling
Piglet in the ground in her backyard every December, 
and my --  I had given the récipe to Ron, who is quite
fond of the Perñil and adopted the récipe (Cuba Section).

Spain has pretty tight strict regulations on BBQ as we have
had some horrendous forest fires over the years. 

The cheese looks amazing !  Eastern Europe, 
has quite a number of awesome cheeses. 

I have purchased a few Bulgarian fresh goat & sheep cheeses,
and Cured Romanian goat cheese, all of which are extraordinary.
The Bulgarian goat cheese Feta, is to die for and go to heaven. 

I shall see if the same Cheese shop, has Ukranian
cheeses.  

Truly lovely photographs. 
Thanks for posting. 



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Margi, I love Cuban bbq. My son and I were there on vacation and they had a roast for May Day. It was amazing.

Tonight I took Slavyanka and her son, 14, to one of the more upscale restaurants in the city. It’s only been open for about 18 months but gets great reviews.

My appetizer was a crepe with ground venison and a rich, earthy mushroom sauce. It was incredible. Unfortunately, the rest of the meal didn’t live up to that high expectation. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exceptional. My grilled tiger shrimp were not fresh. Slavyanka’s chicken shashlik was good, but it’s hard to screw up chicken. SS14 had veal shashlik and he liked it, but said his baked potato with cheese and bacon tasted like the tinfoil it was wrapped in.

My dessert, profiteroles, was also very good, but I’m not a big dessert person, so I found it too rich.

The entire meal, including tip, cost $60 US. For reference, Slavyanka’s mother’s gov’t monthly pension is about the same, and she had a fairly high-paying job (in Soviet terms) at a weapons factory. For further reference, at home, I’d have paid more than $60 US just for the vodka I drank. I had ginger and horseradish flavoured vodkas. Both were good.

The venison crepes. I don’t know what they did to color them black. The black flecks in the sauce might have been truffles.



Slavyanka’s veal salad, which was also quite good.



Crepes with smoked salmon and caviar. The white powder on this and the profiteroles looked like powdered sugar but was totally flavourless.



The profiteroles.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2019 at 15:21


I believe they are shaved black truffles too ..

Sorry to hear that your meal did not turn out to be, better. 

Photos are very nice !!!

Well, surely these things happen sometimes ..  

Have a lovely evening.  23.15 here !!  I work until the 28th .. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 June 2019 at 12:16
We’re spending a couple of days in Kiev. Tonight, we went to a Georgian restaurant, Radio Tbilisi.



I ordered Shurpa, a spicy soup of vegetables and fried lamb ribs. It was a very thin broth but very well flavoured. Unfortunately, my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to pick out the individual spices.   MIL ordered Kharcho, a similar soup with beef and rice. Hers was even more flavourful.

Shurpa



Slavyanka and I shared an order of Khinkali, one with suluguni cheese, and one with beef and pork. We both preferred the beef and pork. Thanks to this board, I taught her the proper way to bite it, suck the juice out, then eat the dumpling and discard the tip.



MIL also ordered Chiburekki with lamb, a large pastry with lamb filling and adjika for dipping. It was tasty, the dough was very light and kind of a cross between a dumpling and a pie crust. The filling was small compared to how the dish puffed up.



Finally, I ordered a baklava for dessert. Honestly, not what I was expecting. It was identical to butter tart squares I’ve had at home.



In all, a satisfying meal. Cost with tip was about $25US, including beer for me and lemonade for the ladies. The lemonade had a slight licorice taste and was coloured lime green.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 June 2019 at 08:54
Yesterday I took a tour of Chernobyl. I won’t post about it here, unless someone expresses interest.

I got back very late, but we went to a traditional Ukrainian restaurant near the heart of Kiev. Consequently it was much more expensive.

MIL ordered Okroshka and fish croquettes, made with pike (Kotleta). It was good, but a little too fishy, suggesting not very fresh.



Slavyanka had a tomato salad which wasn’t inspiring, but also had potato pancakes with meat. Quite good.



I ordered the green borscht (very good) and cabbage rolls (Golubtsy) also good. The cabbage rolls were very light, as was the cabbage they were baked in - much thinner than when I’ve had or made them myself.





As I said, much more expensive, since they cater to the tourist crowd. Our order was about $45US, and I only had one shot of vodka, flavoured with sea buckthorn. Also good.
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Today we ran a lot of errands around the city with Slavyanka’s sister. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch and went to the first restaurant she ever took me to here. It also happens to be her favourite restaurant. In fact, we’ve already booked her birthday dinner with her family for next week, which will be a real feast!

SS14 ordered birch sap, which is fermented with mint. It’s a common drink here, and used as a spring tonic. I know in Canada we also tap birch trees and make syrup but it’s very hard to find. However, in Ukraine, they don’t bother tapping maple trees.

He also ordered a salo appetizer, which I shared with him. This is the first place I ever tried salo and it’s as good as every.



Slavyanka ordered her favourite salad - beef heart, beef tongue, mayonnaise and onion. Very tasty.



SIL ordered two salads, their version of both Greek and Caesar salads.





SS14 ordered Deruny, potato pancakes with meat, which are always good.



I had home sausage with sauerkraut, which was also great.



They brought a bread basket to the table and included this salo spread, which is pork fat mixed in a pestle with garlic and salt, then mashed to the consistency of butter. It was one of Slavyanka’s favourite snacks as a child.



I also ordered Kharko, similar to what MIL had at the Georgian restaurant, but not as spicy.



SIL also ordered Sudak, baked with cheese. Sudak is a fish the same as North American walleye. Also very good.



Finally, Slavyank ordered Blinchke with red caviar. It was good, but they filled most of the crepe with plain butter, which was really too rich. Not our favourite.



SIL also ordered some dessert crepes, filled with cheese then drizzled with chocolate and sour cream.


A lot of food for 4 people (SIL ordered too much, hoping to take some home, I guess).   Still, the bill was only $35US, including tip and more Ginger vodka and a beer for me.

Much better food, for a much better price than we got in Kiev.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 June 2019 at 10:40
Spent a couple more days at the dacha and I went to where the local villagers flog their wares.

This is honey from acacia tree flowers. Much lighter that what we normally see. He said that it’s so light that even people with bee allergy can eat it. Wouldn’t say I’d be the one to try that, but...



This is the Syr, the cheese I showed up thread, right at the market.



This is Molozyvo, a fresh cheese made from colostrum, the first milk after the cow gives birth. They actually bake it and it turns out like a sweet custard, with no additional sweetening.



Freshly made sour cream. We didn’t try this.



The Syr and the Molozyvo side by side.

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We got back from the dacha tonight and were tired, so went to the Varenyky restaurant I showed first in this thread. MIL and FIL were with us.

We ordered a meat tray as an appetizer. It was a Kielbossa tray - Kielbossa simply means “sausage” in Ukrainian (and presumably Polish).

FIL got a grilled chicken breast and a simple salad. Something I’ve noticed here is that salad rarely contains lettuce, and it’s certainly not the first ingredient like many North American salads.





MIL had the Okroshka I had the other day, SS14 had his favourite potato Varenyky with crackling (fried salo). Slavyanka had cheese Varenyky with sour cream, filled with the Syr cheese. Always good. She also ordered her favourite salad, boiled egg, ham, croutons, fried salo, onion, cheese and dressing.



I ordered potato pancakes filled with mushrooms and covered in crackling. Very good.



Something I’ve noticed in Ukraine at every restaurant - the wait staff will collect used paper napkins every time they come to the table, even if it’s only been used once. Kinda attentive, but bothers me a bit as it seems wasteful.

Total cost of this meal for 5, including vodka, tea and sparkling water, was $20US.
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I’ve stuck mostly to restaurant meals, except for Slavyanka’s mother’s Shashlik Today we went out to the market and bought some simple sausages and cheese, and she made borscht at home. Most meals at home are very simple with potatoes for dinner and always fresh vegetables, meat and/or soup.

The variety of processed meats and cheeses is incredible. You could eat something different every day for a year. Pastries are also varied and excellent.

MIL’s borscht.



Home style meat roll, wrapped around herbs, and a type of salami. We also bought “sausage-style smoked cheese” which was a smoked Gouda type, simply in a sausage form.



A “day and night” pastry, waffle shell with half vanilla and half chocolate cream.

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We’ve been eating more at home the last few days. As I said, Slavyanka’s mother is a great cook. Chicken croquettes, sausage, chicken, with lots of fresh veggies. The former Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, when asked his fondest memory of the country, said that the tomatoes were the best in the world.

Today Slavyanka and i went for a light lunch at a cafe we’ve been to before. Since it is my second last day we ordered a little more than we needed to because I wanted to try so much.

One of specialties of this place is hrenohuva - horseradish-flavoured vodka - and it is good! Today, however, I went with Dychka, a pear liqueur with a light but noticeable smokiness.



I also ordered Zraza, a mashed potato patty filled with ground meat and then fried, served with sour cream. Very good.



We also ordered Farkash Odessa, an appetizer of a thin pate made from pickled herring and served with lightly buttered rye toast. I like herring but find it’s not consistent, sometimes too fishy. This was actually really good and the highlight of the meal.



Another appetizer was a plate of three cold meats - pork roast, beef roast and beef tongue, served with beet horseradish and Dijon mustard.



Slavyanka ordered Pelmeni, a Russian meat dumpling served with butter and dill. Always good.



Finally, she ordered blynchke with honey and ground walnuts for dessert. I’m not a dessert person, but the ground walnuts offset the sweetness of the honey very well. A nice, light dessert.



Total cost, including tip, was about $15US.
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This will be the last instalment of the Ukraine chronicle. I’m at the airport on the second leg of my trip home.

Last night took Slavyanka and her family to her favourite restaurant. We had pre-ordered last week with a reservation.

This was what greeted us:



Way too many dishes to list individually, but I’ll do my best.

A salad with red peppers, croutons, onions, dill and some kind of nut, maybe acorn. Not sure. 2 of these.



This was an egg salad with shredded chicken and olives. The potato chips were just for looks. They got soggy pretty fast.



Cheese plate. The dark red cheese was hard and tasty, maybe coloured with beet.



Three types of herring and mackerel.



The walleye dish from last week. Better this time.



Greek salad, 2 of these.



A meat appetizer. 2 kinds of salo, several kinds of dried sausage, homemade sausage, cold pork loin, olives, onions, pickled cabbage (2 types), pickled tomatoes, dill pickles and more I can’t remember.



A bottle of premium vodka, as well as Azvar and compote flavoured with mint



A chicken croquette. I didn’t try this.



The main meat tray, with beef, several kinds of hot and smoked sausage, pork roast, pork ribs, hot peppers (some very smoky), mushrooms, roast potatoes and more.



Apple strudel. Done just so the apples still had firmness.



All this, along with coffee, tea, live music and tip was $145 US. Of course we still took food home with us.
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