Dips, kebabs and crisp spuds: Olia Hercules’ consolation meals recipes | Meals

Home meals is consolation meals. There is no such thing as a different place I might quite be, and no different place I might quite eat in. I didn’t cook dinner as a baby rising up in Ukraine, however I ate very properly as a result of my mom, Olga, my father, Petro, and my prolonged household have been so glorious at it. It was solely after I left my household and ended up a scholar within the UK that I used to be all of the sudden drawn to cooking. When telephone conversations did not fulfill my eager for consolation, dwelling and love, making my mum’s meals succeeded. Immediately, at any time when I cooked, these early-wired neurons in my mind fired up very particular emotions: emotions of wellbeing.

Koobideh kebab

I can not emphasise sufficient that you simply want loads of fats to make a super-juicy kebab, so use the fattiest minced lamb you’ll find.

Prep 10 min
Chill 30 min+
Cook dinner 30 min
Serves 6

150g onions, peeled
500g lamb mince, the fattier, the higher
2 tsp floor turmeric
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Sea salt and black pepper

To serve
Floor sumac
, for sprinkling

Grate the onions into a big bowl on the coarse aspect of a grater, ensuring to catch the juices. Add the mince, turmeric, bicarbonate of soda (it helps the meat to bind collectively), half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of floor pepper, and blend. And I imply actually combine it: get your palms in there and therapeutic massage and work it. After 4 minutes of such manipulations, when you’ve got time, cowl and chill for half-hour (or in a single day). This may assist it maintain collectively.

Get six lengthy, metallic skewers and have prepared a bowl of heat water to moist your palms, so the meat doesn’t follow them. Divide the meat combine into six equal items and, with moist palms, form every right into a sausage with a {smooth} floor (it’s essential there aren’t any cracks). Mash the meat across the high of 1 skewer and work it fastidiously down its size, so you will have a fair layer all alongside the skewer. Hold wetting your palms and rotate the skewer as you squash/distribute the meat round it. There needs to be no air pockets, and ensure each ends of the kebab are tightly connected to the skewer. Repeat with the remaining meat and skewers. If the meat fails to cooperate, get rid of the skewers and fry the combo as sausages.

Hearth up a barbecue or oven grill (clearly, fireplace is the place the magic is). If utilizing a barbecue, wait till the embers have calmed down; they need to be glowing purple, however there shouldn’t be any flames. Lay the skewers about 20cm away from the warmth, then cook dinner, turning repeatedly, till evenly golden throughout and cooked by and juicy inside. (You may at all times lower into one to test.)

Seize every skewer (with a heat-resistant glove), level its sharp finish right into a chopping board, then use a flatbread to slip off the kebab. Organize the kebabs on a pile of flatbreads, so all of the juices go into the bread, sprinkle liberally with sumac and serve with a salad or complete grilled tomatoes.

My brother’s salad

Current occasions have rejigged so many household dynamics. My brother Sasha ended up transferring to Kyiv from Lviv, and dwelling in the identical flat as his older son, Nikita, and his fiancee, Yana. Nikita is an excellent meat cook dinner, typically roasting huge slabs of this or that. My brother, nevertheless, who additionally loves cooking, actually missed greens, so he began making this salad, which is hearty, due to the cooked aubergines and cheese, and contemporary, due to the tomatoes. It’s the only factor with a brief elements checklist, but it surely’s stuffed with flavour and hits all of your vegetable wants. Sasha calls it his Armenian salad however, to me, it’s my brother’s.

Prep 10 min
Cook dinner 15 min
Serves 6

2 giant aubergines
5 tbsp olive oil
(or nevertheless many you want) medium garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
½ small purple onion, peeled and finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt
4 giant, very ripe tomatoes
, akin to bull’s coronary heart
2 tbsp sesame oil
Gentle herb leaves
– coriander, dill, basil, or a mix of them
100g feta, crumbled

Peel and squash the garlic, then chop it roughly. Peel off strips of aubergine pores and skin, should you like (Sasha does, as a result of it helps it cook dinner extra shortly), then chop into tough 3-4cm cubes; there’s no have to be too exact, although. Put a big, nonstick frying pan on a excessive warmth with out including any oil (I don’t have one at dwelling, so use a cast-iron pan as a substitute, and that works, too, although it’s a little trickier), then dry-fry the aubergines, transferring them round occasionally, for about 5 minutes, till cooked by and gentle. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic, cook dinner, stirring typically, for about two minutes, to moisten and color the aubergines, then flip off the warmth.

In the meantime, put the sliced onions in a medium bowl, spritz over the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and go away to take a seat when you end the salad.

Lower the tomatoes into chunks over a serving bowl, to catch the juices, then combine with the aubergines, remaining olive oil, the sesame oil, the onions and their juices, herbs and feta, and serve.

Potatoes of my childhood

Prep 10 min
Chill 30 min+
Cook dinner 45 min
Serves 2-4that stated, I can eat greater than half of this in a single go, however then, I’m a complete pig

Mum stated, “Is that this even a recipe?” Sure, it’s – and what a recipe! The truth is, it’s one of the crucial basic, most likely most frequently cooked, fast household suppers and scholar staples there may be in the entire of the previous Soviet Union. The fantastic thing about this dish is that the potatoes are lower a bit of higgledy-piggledy; you realize, whenever you attempt to lower them actually finely and find yourself with some actually high-quality and a few a bit thicker? Nicely, right here, that’s precisely what you need, so don’t use a mandoline, not least as a result of they’re evil issues basically (my poor knuckles). The imperfect reducing means a few of the potatoes develop into brittle and crisp, and a few meltingly gentle, whereas the onion catches a bit of color. With some kraut or a gherkin and perhaps a piece of cured sausage on the aspect, I can’t consider a extra comforting factor to eat. To me, this dish is a important occasion in itself. Every thing else, be it a token little bit of meat or a really welcome pickle, performs a secondary position.

1kg potatoes, peeled
1 giant onion, peeled
50g unsalted butter
50ml sunflower oil
Sea salt

Lower the potatoes in half so they’re secure on their lower sides, then slice into high-quality half-moons. Lower the onion in half after which into very high-quality slices.

Put the butter and oil within the largest, deepest frying pan you will have (mine’s a 26cm deep stainless-steel one) on a medium-high warmth, till scorching. Fastidiously drop in all of the potatoes, add a beneficiant pinch of salt and stir as soon as to distribute it evenly. Depart the potatoes be for a couple of minutes, then stir in a single huge sweep and go away them alone once more. Be affected person: give the potatoes on the backside time to catch and crisp up a bit. The entire course of will take about Quarter-hour, by which period the potatoes needs to be crisp and brown in elements.

Add the onion and one other pinch of salt, stir it by, then repeat with the stirring and leaving-it-be for an additional 5 minutes, till the onion is translucent and gentle – it doesn’t have to get caramelised, but when just a few slices do get some color, it’s all good. Scale back the warmth to its lowest setting, cowl the pan and cook dinner for an additional 5 minutes, including a splash of water and scraping the underside of the pan if issues get sticky, till all of the potatoes are gentle. Prick the fattest-looking one with the tip of a knife: if it offers, you’re able to rock’n’roll.

Butter bean dip with garlic and paprika oil

Dips, kebabs and crisp spuds: Olia Hercules’ consolation meals recipes | Meals

Prep 5 min
Cook dinner 10 min
Serves 6-8

That is based mostly on a Balkan dish known as papula. Within the authentic, the beans are pounded fairly roughly, however I want a silky-smooth, hummus-like texture. Choose whichever paprika you want finest; on this case, I want a candy one, as a result of the garlic offers all of the piquant notes I want, however should you’re serving it with uncooked greens and luxuriate in spice, by all means go along with scorching. When you’ve got fewer individuals to feed, it’s nonetheless price making the entire quantity, as a result of it retains properly within the fridge and can present a fast lunch for a few days.

500g cooked butter beans, ideally from a jar
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt
1-2 tsp candy or scorching smoked paprika
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4-6 garlic cloves
, peeled and sliced

Drain the beans over a bowl, however not too totally; it’s good to retain a few of their liquid, as a result of it helps make the dip silkier. Reserve a few of bean water, too, in case you wish to make it looser later. Blitz the beans in a meals processor, then incorporate the olive oil in a gentle stream. Add a few of the lemon juice, then style; beans in jars are normally well-seasoned, so I not often add salt, however you could have to should you use canned beans. Add extra lemon juice to style, and test the feel: it ought to resemble a silky hummus, so if it feels too dry, add a little bit of the bean water, or common water should you’ve forgotten and chucked the bean water down the sink (I’ve executed that earlier than).

Put the paprika in a small bowl. Put the sunflower oil in a small frying pan, add the garlic, then warmth over a low warmth, swirling the pan gently. As quickly as you see a few of the garlic turning golden, scale back the warmth or change it off completely, and preserve swirling till many of the garlic has turned pale gold. Don’t let it go too brown or it’s going to style acrid. As quickly because the garlic color is sweet, pour the oil and garlic over the paprika within the bowl.

Unfold the bean paste over a big plate, pour over the purple oil and fried garlic, and serve with good bread or uncooked greens – something crunchy is nice.

Pumpkin and orange kolach (pictured above)

Prep 10 min
Chill In a single day
Show 3 hr+
Cook dinner 1 hr 15 min
Serves 6-8

I tailored this from my Ukrainian buddy and baker Katrya Kaluzhna’s recipe. Kolach is a really conventional festive bread, a bit like a round challah. Pumpkin and orange should not conventional flavourings, however they’re an incredible characteristic of this model. Katrya makes use of a sourdough starter, however this yeasted model is a bit much less demanding (if you’re an skilled sourdough baker, by all means use 100g revived starter as a substitute). It’s good to interrupt up the varied levels of this loaf: prep the poolish and pumpkin puree the night earlier than, then it’s a doddle to bake and eat it the subsequent day. I very a lot doubt you’ll have leftovers, however, should you do, slice and toast the kolach on the second day and slather with butter and marmalade; it additionally makes a kick-ass bread-and-butter pudding.

For the poolish
7g fast-action dried yeast
100ml water
100g plain flour

For the bread
200g pumpkin flesh, lower into 5cm chunks
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
, evenly overwhelmed
150g caster sugar
450g robust white bread flour
, plus additional to mud
60g unsalted butter, softened

For the glaze
1 egg overwhelmed with 2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp combined seeds

Whisk the yeast and water in a bowl. If you’re uncertain how contemporary your yeast is (I at all times preserve mine within the fridge), let it sit within the water someplace heat for 10-Quarter-hour, till you see froth and bubbles. If you end up constructive the yeast is lively, stir within the plain flour till you will have a thick combination. Easy it out, cowl tightly and chill in a single day.

Steam the pumpkin chunks for about 20 minutes, till very gentle (should you don’t have a steamer, pop the pumpkin in a metallic or enamel colander, set it over a pot of boiling water, then cowl with a lid that matches as tightly as attainable), then blitz to a {smooth} puree. (For those who’re doing this the night time earlier than, go away it to chill down and preserve, coated, within the fridge.)

Within the morning, take the poolish out of the fridge: it ought to look bubbly and barely raised (if it doesn’t, I’m unhappy to verify that your yeast is lifeless). Whisk within the pumpkin puree, orange zest, eggs, one and a half teaspoons of salt and the sugar. Now add the flour: simply dump all of it in and stir with a fork or spoon. Knead the dough properly, then go away someplace heat for an hour or two, to rise.

Now, when you’ve got one, match a meals mixer with a dough hook. For those who don’t, knead by hand in a big bowl; it will likely be a slippery enterprise, however embrace it, and bear in mind you’re additionally moisturising your palms. Add the butter little by little, and knead (if doing this by hand, moist your palms and use the stretch and fold method), till totally integrated. The dough needs to be shiny, gentle and sticky. Cowl and go away it someplace heat for half-hour, then give it one other knead on a well-floured floor; it’d really feel sticky at first, however that may quickly go.

Divide the dough into 4 equal items and knead every one right into a ball on a well-floured floor. Roll every ball into a protracted sausage, then put it on a barely floured floor and roll from the centre to the sides, stretching it out to 45cm or so. Put the dough sausages parallel to one another, perpendicular to you. Squish and stretch the highest ends along with your fingers, in order that they develop into a bit of thinner, then pinch collectively. Now, working from proper to left, take the sausage on the correct, feed it over its neighbour to the left, underneath the subsequent sausage, after which over the ultimate sausage. Once more beginning with the sausage on the correct, feed it over, underneath and over once more, and preserve going till you will have plaited the total lengths of the 4 dough sausages, then pinch collectively the underside ends. The center will look a bit bulkier, so stretch the entire thing delicately to even it up.

Gently switch the plait to a tray lined with floured baking paper. Join the 2 ends collectively, to make a plaited circle with an open centre, then cowl and go away for an hour. Brush the egg and milk combine everywhere in the kolach, then sprinkle over the seeds (should you’re utilizing chunky ones, akin to pumpkin, that tend to fall off, dab a bit of additional egg wash on high to verify they stick), then go away to show once more for 30-60 minutes.

Warmth the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gasoline 7. Bake the kolach for half-hour, till golden, then switch to a rack to chill earlier than slicing and serving.

Baked milk yoghurt jelly

Olia Hercules’ baked milk yoghurt jelly, with tinned peach segments.

Prep 5 min
Cook dinner 20 min
Set 3 hr+
Makes 1 giant or 6 smaller jellies

In Ukraine, we love a baked milk yoghurt. The excellent news is you could now purchase ryazhanka commercially, however it is usually straightforward to make, particularly when you’ve got made common yoghurt earlier than. Convey milk to a near-boil in a heavy-based casserole, then cowl and slow-cook in a single day in a low, 170C (150C fan)/325F/gasoline 3 oven. The milk’s sugars will naturally caramelise, leaving a bronze-hued crust on high and dulce de leche-tasting milk beneath. Combine it with soured cream or yoghurt, and switch it into yoghurt utilizing an everyday yoghurt-making technique. I made this pudding with Thom Eagle for a dinner we held at Little Duck The Picklery in east London. It’s delicate and pairs so properly with macerated strawberries in June, or ripe peaches in excessive summer season, or some blackcurrant compote. Add vanilla, should you like, however I believe the flavour of the baked milk is so beautiful as it’s, I wouldn’t mess with it an excessive amount of. It’s price utilizing good-quality honey, however if you’re utilizing ryazhanka, choose one which isn’t overwhelmingly robust. You can too use kefir, however that’s extra bitter than ryazhanka, so you could have to up the honey ratio a bit of (and most actually add vanilla). Generally, after I’m in need of time, I make that is 200ml water glasses and serve them with some fruit spooned on high. However should you yearn for a pudding with panache, make it in a one-litre jelly mould. There’s something so decadent and enjoyable a few huge jelly.

Prep 5 min
Cook dinner 15 min
Set 3 hr+
Makes 1 giant or 6 small jellies

3 gelatine leaves
100ml complete milk
100-120g runny, gently flavoured honey
400g ryazhanka
(baked milk kefir), or common kefir
½ tsp vanilla extract (elective)
About 2 tbsp flavourless oil (elective)
Canned peaches, macerated strawberries, berry compote or contemporary fruit, to serve

Soak the gelatine leaves in chilly water in a small bowl: maintain your nerve and soak them for so long as the packet implores you to, in order that they go very gentle and pliable.

Warmth the milk in a small pan till it begins to steam, then pour right into a bowl. This could cool it sufficient safely so as to add the gelatine. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine, then whisk the leaves into the milk, in order that they dissolve. Subsequent, whisk within the honey till it, too, dissolves. When the milk has cooled down to only heat (so the kefir received’t cut up and make your jelly grainy), stir within the ryazhanka or kefir and add the vanilla, if utilizing (style the combination first earlier than you resolve; I want mine with out).

If you’re utilizing six 200ml glasses, fill them every midway up; if you’re utilizing a one-litre jelly mould, oil it evenly with a brush, particularly in all of the grooves, however not a lot that it swimming pools within the backside. Put within the fridge to set: for the glasses, it shouldn’t take longer than three hours; for a giant mould, give it 4 or 5 hours, or cowl and chill in a single day and eat inside two days.

If you’re serving the jellies in glasses, spoon a bit of fruit on high and serve. If you’re utilizing a giant mould, take it out of the fridge, fill a giant bowl with scorching water and put the jelly mould within the water, ensuring not one of the water trickles inside, and go away for 30 seconds or so; the warmth will assist the jelly separate from the mould. Run the tip of a butter knife across the very fringe of the jelly, to interrupt the vacuum, then evenly moist a serving plate (this enables for the jelly to be moved if it seems not bang within the centre). Put the plate over the mould, then invert very gently, agitating the mould a bit. At first, it might sound as if the jelly received’t separate, however maintain your nerve and wait 5 seconds or so. (If it’s being cussed, put the mould again within the scorching water for 10 seconds and check out once more.) When the jelly comes out, a few of it might have melted and pool round on the plate. Seize some kitchen paper and neatly dab this off, then pile a lot of fruit round it to hide any mess. Within the very unlucky occasion that the jelly breaks when it comes out (this has occurred to me), use a dessertspoon to plop chunks of it on to plates, name it “deconstructed jelly” and (once more) encompass it with a lot of engaging fruit.

After I serve the massive jelly for a bunch of shut mates or household, I usually give everybody a small plate and a spoon, then all of us simply, properly, jiggle the jelly for enjoyable earlier than diving into it tipsily.

  • Recipes edited and extracted from Residence Meals: Recipes to Consolation and Join, by Olia Hercules, revealed on 7 July by Bloomsbury at £26. To order a duplicate for £22.62, go to

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