Monday, June 13, 2016

Cheese & Football Feast Day 3: Ukraine

Day 3 of the Euro2016 football tournament  and it was a Sunday, so something a little more formal was called for.
The Ukraine played Germany and I have a lovely book on Ukrainian food by Olia Hercules called Mamuska. I chose the 'Potato Cakes with Goats Cheese' and served them with some roast duck as suggested in the book. The 'cakes' are enriched with grated carrot, grated onion and crumbled goats cheese and held together with egg and flour.
But I'm not good at following recipes and before I had even thought to read the instructions I had started boiling the potatoes. Some minutes after they were ready I read the words 'grate the raw potato', too late, mine will have to be made with mashed potato. So if you have the book you will notice these look nothing like the ones in the picture which are much more like latkes. But they were still very good and were possibly easier to cook. The name for the dish is 'Deruny' which apparently means grated so I did get that rather wrong. I consoled myself that my other Ukraine cookbook did have a recipe for potato cakes that used mashed potato, so they are not unheard of in the Ukraine. This book is dated 1975 and I love the covers:

I visited Kiev in the mid 80s when it was still part of the USSR travelling on one of those Aeroflot package holidays. Kiev was a bright interlude between Moscow and Lenningrad.  During some free time we went into a beautiful covered market where the somewhat limited produce was all beautifully arranged. The photo below is a scan of a rather old print, so not very clear, but you can see how the potato stall was organised with all the sellers in their white coats and head scarfs.
This was the Ukranian beer that we drank with the meal, a very dry larger that went well with the fried potato cakes and rich duck meat.

Deruny Recipe (As it should have been made!)
500g floury potatoes peeled and coarsely grated
1 small onion grated
1 small carrot peeled and grated
1 egg lightly beaten
3 tbs flour
30g mashed goats cheese
salt & pepper

2tbs sunflower oil for frying

Preheat oven to 180C
Mix everything together except the oil
Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan
Drop dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and fry for 2 minutes
Flip each pancake over and fry until golden brown
Place fried potato cakes onto a parchment lined baking sheet & finish in the oven (5-10 mins)

I served these with some very slowly cooked duck legs. I like to cook the legs the day before serving them. I simmer them gently for a few hours, then take the meat off the bone and put this into a bowl and cover with the simmering liquid. This is then left to go cold in the fridge so all the fat can be removed. The next day it is very quick to heat up the meat, and if wanted to colour it a little in a frying pan or under the grill.

For day 4 of the Euros I will be preparing Belgian Endive (Witloof Chicory) au Gratin - more toasted cheese!

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