Friday, 6 September 2013

Food from my grandmother's old cookbooks

Babushka during the WWII as Ostarbeiter in Germany
This is a story of my babushka (grandmother), who died when I was pregnant with my first son in 2008. I grew up eating her wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful food (her Uzbek plov - pilau - was terrible!)

When she died, my mother gave me her old recipe notebooks, which I will use to cook and share with you some wonderful and often weird Russian and Ukrainian food. Some recipes were never written down. Everyone back then was expected to know how to cook borsch and kotlety (meatballs) - so I'll cook them from memory. Some I will try and tweak to make taste as authentic as possible.

As I cook and eat all this food, I will tell you about my babushka's life and about what it was like living in the post-war Soviet Union. 

If you want to start making some Russian/Ukrainian food - you will need to have a few essential ingredients. They are easy to find in most big supermarkets in London, in East European shops (try Polish ones, if you can't find a Russian grocery) and of course online. Have a look at the Cooking Essentials page.

You may also wonder, why should you bother with East European cooking? Well, I'd like to convince you that it's worth a try. It's seasonal, it's fairly healthy - if you don't forget about adding veg to your meals and it's pretty crude - so anyone can make it! 

We;ll be cooking borsch first - a perfect harvest time dish with all the veg at it's best. Watch this space! 

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