For ages, I have been conversing about the electricity of ingesting, of gathering all around a table of food stuff to share stories, chortle, sing or cry. It is like team therapy. With my family members in Ukraine – my parents’ city, Kakhovka, is below siege, and my brother is in schooling to struggle in Kyiv – I never know when I will do any of this again, but in tribute to them and to my nation, I urge you to prepare dinner and take in Ukrainian meals right now. Please see the #cookforukraine JustGiving site to get included with our exertion to make foodstuff a power for fundraising.

Nettle, sorrel and wild garlic soup (pictured leading)

In the direction of the conclusion of April and all through May well, prior to much is escalating in people’s kitchen gardens, the fields and forests of Ukraine are loaded with youthful nettles and wild sorrel. Foraging wasn’t so uncommon in the earlier, and is now being rediscovered, in Ukraine and somewhere else. This soup, occasionally called inexperienced borsch, can also be built with chicken inventory and served with chopped boiled eggs.

Prep 15 min
Cook dinner 1 hr
Serves 6

2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion
, peeled and slice into 1cm dice
2 carrots
, scrubbed and slice into 1cm dice
1 tiny celeriac
, peeled and lower into 1cm dice
3 celery sticks
, cut into 1cm dice
1 leek
, white portion only, trimmed and lower into 1cm dice
3 large garlic cloves
, peeled
1 bay leaf
alt and black pepper
6 toddler potatoes
100g sorrel
, sliced
75g youthful nettle tops
(the top rated number of leaves on every stem)
50g wild garlic leaves
, sliced (bouquets kept for garnish)
3 spring onions
, thinly sliced
A handful of chopped dill
A handful of chopped parsley

eme fraiche, to provide (optional)

Pour the oil into a forged-iron casserole set above a medium-large heat. After the oil is scorching, increase the onion, carrots, celeriac, celery and leek, and saute, stirring from time to time, for about 5 minutes: you want them to become caramelised in pieces, but not scorched. (If the pan feels way too crowded, fry the vegetables in batches.) Incorporate the garlic and prepare dinner, however stirring, for about two minutes, until finally aromatic and commencing to colour.

Increase two and a half litres of cold h2o and the bay leaf, time lightly with salt and carry to a boil. Change down to a simmer and prepare dinner, partially covered, for about 40 minutes.

Include the potatoes entire and cook dinner for 10 minutes, or till they are comfortable, then insert the sorrel, nettles and wild garlic and just take off the heat. Taste the soup and add extra salt if wanted.

Put a potato in each and every soup bowl and lightly crush it with a spoon. Ladle around the broth, then sprinkle with the wild garlic flowers (if making use of), spring onions and herbs. Provide with a dollop of creme fraiche, if you like, and a superior grinding of pepper.

Cauliflower fritters

Olia Hercules’ cauliflower fritters.
Olia Hercules’ cauliflower fritters.

This straightforward batter is made use of all more than Ukraine for frying all types of matters, from hen or pork schnitzel to whole river fish. I adore vegetables fried in this way, much too – cauliflower in particular. These days, plain white flour is typically applied, but buckwheat flour was well-liked in the past and it is much healthier, and much additional flavoursome. I like to eat these with a spoonful of dill-and-garlic-spiked mayo.

Prep 5 min
Prepare dinner 25 min
Serves 4

1 tiny cauliflower
alt and black pepper
1 egg
, beaten
100ml complete milk
60g buckwheat flour
, or basic flour
Vegetable oil, for frying

For the dill and garlic mayonnaise
150g mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
, peeled and finely grated
A handful of finely chopped dill

Minimize or crack the cauliflower into tiny florets, maintaining any little leaves, as well. Blanch the cauliflower and its leaves in a pan of boiling, salted drinking water: choose out the leaves immediately after about two minutes and the florets soon after 5. Refresh each in chilly drinking water, then drain nicely and pat dry with kitchen area paper.

Put four tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan above a medium warmth – it really should include the base of the pan, so add a tiny additional, if need be.

Meanwhile, make the batter. In a bowl, whisk the egg with the milk, then incorporate the flour, whisk till easy and period perfectly if you’re applying buckwheat flour, make the batter only just in advance of you are completely ready to fry, due to the fact it turns gloopier by the minute.

Drop four items of cauliflower into the batter at a time, building positive they are all thickly coated. When the oil is seriously sizzling, deliver the bowl more than to the pan (or else almost everything will get messy) and carefully drop the batter-coated cauliflower into the pan – dependent on the measurement of your pan, you should be capable to fry between 4 and eight fritters at a time. Just after a couple of minutes, flip them in excess of and fry on the other side right up until the fritters are golden all about, then carry out with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and preserve warm in a medium oven although you repeat with the remaining cauliflower and batter. (In in between batches, you may need to drain and wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and insert far more oil.)

For the mayonnaise, combine all the components in a tiny bowl and serve with the incredibly hot cauliflower.

  • Recipes extracted from Summer time Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from every Corner of Ukraine, by Olia Hercules, released by Bloomsbury at £26. To buy a copy for £22.62, go to