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

Home meals is consolation meals. There isn’t a different place I’d relatively be, and no different place I’d relatively eat in. I didn’t cook dinner as a toddler 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 wonderful at it. It was solely after I left my household and ended up a pupil within the UK that I used to be immediately drawn to cooking. When cellphone conversations did not fulfill my eager for consolation, residence and love, making my mum’s meals succeeded. All of a sudden, every time I cooked, these early-wired neurons in my mind fired up very particular emotions: emotions of wellbeing.

Koobideh kebab

I can’t emphasise sufficient that you just want a number of fats to make a super-juicy kebab, so use the fattiest minced lamb you will discover.

Prep 10 min
Chill 30 min+
Prepare 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 arms in there and therapeutic massage and work it. After 4 minutes of such manipulations, in case you have time, cowl and chill for half-hour (or in a single day). It will assist it maintain collectively.

Get six lengthy, metallic skewers and have prepared a bowl of heat water to moist your arms, so the meat doesn’t keep on with them. Divide the meat combine into six equal items and, with moist arms, form every right into a sausage with a {smooth} floor (it’s vital there are not any cracks). Mash the meat across the high of 1 skewer and work it fastidiously down its size, so you’ve got an excellent layer all alongside the skewer. Hold wetting your arms 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, eliminate the skewers and fry the combo as sausages.

Fireplace 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 often, till flippantly golden throughout and cooked by way of and juicy inside. (You’ll be able to 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. Prepare 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 entire grilled tomatoes.

My brother’s salad

Current occasions have rejigged so many household dynamics. My brother Sasha ended up shifting 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, nonetheless, who additionally loves cooking, actually missed greens, so he began making this salad, which is hearty, due to the cooked aubergines and cheese, and recent, due to the tomatoes. It’s the only factor with a brief substances record, however it’s filled 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
Prepare dinner 15 min
Serves 6

2 giant aubergines
5 tbsp olive oil
(or nonetheless 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
, reminiscent of bull’s coronary heart
2 tbsp sesame oil
Comfortable 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, for those who like (Sasha does, as a result of it helps it cook dinner extra shortly), then chop into tough 3-4cm cubes; there’s no should 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 residence, so use a cast-iron pan as a substitute, and that works, too, although it’s a little trickier), then dry-fry the aubergines, shifting them round sometimes, for about 5 minutes, till cooked by way of and delicate. 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 depart to sit down when you end the salad.

Reduce 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+
Prepare 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! Actually, it’s one of the crucial traditional, most likely most frequently cooked, fast household suppers and pupil staples there may be in the entire of the previous Soviet Union. The great thing about this dish is that the potatoes are lower just a little higgledy-piggledy; you realize, once you attempt to lower them actually finely and find yourself with some actually high quality and a few a bit thicker? Properly, right here, that’s precisely what you need, so don’t use a mandoline, not least as a result of they’re evil issues on the whole (my poor knuckles). The imperfect slicing means a number of the potatoes turn into brittle and crisp, and a few meltingly delicate, whereas the onion catches just a little color. With some kraut or a gherkin and perhaps a bit of cured sausage on the aspect, I can’t consider a extra comforting factor to eat. To me, this dish is a predominant occasion in itself. All the things 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

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

Put the butter and oil within the largest, deepest frying pan you’ve got (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 depart 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 components.

Add the onion and one other pinch of salt, stir it by way of, then repeat with the stirring and leaving-it-be for an additional 5 minutes, till the onion is translucent and delicate – it doesn’t have to get caramelised, but when just a few slices do get some color, it’s all good. Cut 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 delicate. Prick the fattest-looking one with the tip of a knife: if it offers, you might be 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
Prepare dinner 10 min
Serves 6-8

That is primarily based on a Balkan dish known as papula. Within the unique, the beans are pounded fairly roughly, however I choose a silky-smooth, hummus-like texture. Choose whichever paprika you want finest; on this case, I choose a candy one, as a result of the garlic offers all of the piquant notes I would like, however for those who’re serving it with uncooked greens and revel in spice, by all means go along with scorching. When you have fewer folks 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 number of the lemon juice, then style; beans in jars are normally well-seasoned, so I not often add salt, however you might have to for those who 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 for those who’ve forgotten and chucked the bean water down the sink (I’ve carried out 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 number of the garlic turning golden, cut back the warmth or swap it off completely, and maintain swirling till many of the garlic has turned pale gold. Don’t let it go too brown or it should style acrid. As quickly because the garlic color is nice, 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+
Prepare dinner 1 hr 15 min
Serves 6-8

I tailored this from my Ukrainian pal and baker Katrya Kaluzhna’s recipe. Kolach is a really conventional festive bread, a bit like a round challah. Pumpkin and orange aren’t conventional flavourings, however they’re a tremendous function of this model. Katrya makes use of a sourdough starter, however this yeasted model is a bit much less demanding (in case you are 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 following day. I very a lot doubt you’ll have leftovers, however, for those who 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
, flippantly crushed
150g caster sugar
450g sturdy white bread flour
, plus additional to mud
60g unsalted butter, softened

For the glaze
1 egg crushed with 2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp blended seeds

Whisk the yeast and water in a bowl. In case you are not sure how recent your yeast is (I at all times maintain mine within the fridge), let it sit within the water someplace heat for 10-Quarter-hour, till you see froth and bubbles. If you find yourself optimistic the yeast is energetic, stir within the plain flour till you’ve got a thick combination. Clean it out, cowl tightly and chill in a single day.

Steam the pumpkin chunks for about 20 minutes, till very delicate (for those who 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 potential), then blitz to a {smooth} puree. (If you happen to’re doing this the evening earlier than, depart it to chill down and maintain, 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 substantiate 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 depart someplace heat for an hour or two, to rise.

Now, in case you have one, match a meals mixer with a dough hook. If you happen to don’t, knead by hand in a big bowl; it will likely be a slippery enterprise, however embrace it, and bear in mind you might be additionally moisturising your arms. Add the butter little by little, and knead (if doing this by hand, moist your arms and use the stretch and fold approach), till absolutely included. The dough needs to be shiny, delicate and sticky. Cowl and depart 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 each 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 perimeters, stretching it out to 45cm or so. Put the dough sausages parallel to one another, perpendicular to you. Squish and stretch the highest ends together with your fingers, in order that they turn into just a little thinner, then pinch collectively. Now, working from proper to left, take the sausage on the correct, feed it over its neighbour to the left, beneath the following sausage, after which over the ultimate sausage. Once more beginning with the sausage on the correct, feed it over, beneath and over once more, and maintain going till you’ve got 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 depart for an hour. Brush the egg and milk combine all around the kolach, then sprinkle over the seeds (for those who’re utilizing chunky ones, reminiscent of pumpkin, that tend to fall off, dab just a little additional egg wash on high to verify they stick), then depart 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
Prepare dinner 20 min
Set 3 hr+
Makes 1 giant or 6 smaller jellies

In Ukraine, we like a baked milk yoghurt. The excellent news is which you can now purchase ryazhanka commercially, however it’s also simple to make, particularly in case you have 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 methodology. 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, for those who like, however I feel 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 in case you are utilizing ryazhanka, decide one which isn’t overwhelmingly sturdy. You may also use kefir, however that’s extra bitter than ryazhanka, so you might have to up the honey ratio just a little (and most actually add vanilla). Typically, after I’m wanting time, I make that is 200ml water glasses and serve them with some fruit spooned on high. However for those who yearn for a pudding with panache, make it in a one-litre jelly mould. There’s something so decadent and enjoyable a couple of huge jelly.

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

3 gelatine leaves
100ml entire milk
100-120g runny, gently flavoured honey
400g ryazhanka
(baked milk kefir), or common kefir
½ tsp vanilla extract (non-compulsory)
About 2 tbsp flavourless oil (non-compulsory)
Canned peaches, macerated strawberries, berry compote or recent 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 delicate 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 gained’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 determine; I choose mine with out).

In case you are utilizing six 200ml glasses, fill them every midway up; in case you are utilizing a one-litre jelly mould, oil it flippantly 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.

In case you are serving the jellies in glasses, spoon just a little fruit on high and serve. In case you are 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 depart 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 flippantly 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 gained’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 take a look at once more.) When the jelly comes out, a few of it could 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 enticing fruit.

After I serve the large 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 House 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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