EVENTS 2017 #KAUKASIS

Dear friends!

My new cookbook Kaukasis is out on August 10th.

Here is the list of events I will be doing in the next few months. I hope to see you there!

Sunday 6th August

Wilderness Food Festival 

2.30 – 3.30pm The Whole World in our Kitchens

Panel discussion with Olia Hercules, Selin Kiazim, Chetna Makan and Zoe Adjonyoh, chaired by Diana Henry

3.30 – 4.30pm The Making of a Cookbook

Panel discussion with Olia Hercules, Flora Shedden and Izy Hossack, chaired by Diana Henry

Monday 7 – Saturday 12 August 

Evening Carousel (tickets on sale from July 15th)

Week long residency + Kaukasis book launch (Open Tuesday – Saturday)

71 Blandford Street

Marylebone

London  W1U 8AB

Event format: Opens 7pm for service at 7.30pm

Menu to be announced soon!

Tuesday – 15 August

Evening Cookbook Club at Dock Kitchen

Event format: Olia in the kitchen and speaking to diners

Venue: Portobello Dock,342–344 Ladbroke Grove,

Kensal Road W10 5BU

Friday 25 – Sunday 27 August

Big Feastival

Demo from new cookbook Kaukasis

Wednesday – August 30th

Kino Vino Supperclub at Calvert gallery

Film from legendary Parajanov, followed by feast from Kaukasis

Saturday – 2 September

Meatopia

Demo of Azeri dish from Kaukasis – spatchcock chicken, vegetables and bread cooked in lamb fat between two massive stones over fire

Sunday – 3 September

Woking Food & Drink Festival

Demo from new cookbook Kaukasis

Thursday – 7 September

Borough Market Demo (time tbc)

Tuesday – 12 September 

Cookbook club with Thane Prince at The Drapers Arms

Friday – 15 September

The Good Life Experience

Campfire Cooking Session

We will be cooking broth over kotlich and also making Lamb Asador

Saturday – 16 September

 Abergavenny Food Festival

7 – 10pm Eat Your Words with Olia Hercules

Supperclub event

Venue: Masonic Hall, Abergavenny

Sunday – 1 October

Ducksoup pop up with Joe Woodhouse

Wednesday – 4 October

Action Against Hunger Charity Event

Severn Sisters Charity Event in Borough Market alongside Romy Gill

Friday 20 – Saturday 21 October

Dartmouth Food Festival

Demo from new cookbook Kaukasis

Sunday – 19 November

Bread & Flowers pop up (details tbc)

 

3_Fermented_Green_Tomatoes_051

Fermented Green Tomatoes from Kaukasis photo credit: Elena Heatherwick

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The gingeriest ginger cake

The gingeriest ginger cake

The gingeriest ginger cake

Serves 6

200g butter, softened, plus extra 5g to grease
200g dark Muscovado sugar
5 tbsp ginger syrup (from stem ginger jar)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
350g self-raising flour
8 tsp ground ginger
25g fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
100g stem ginger, chopped

Lemon drizzle
5 tbsp icing sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice

1. Heat the oven 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Cream together the 200g of butter and sugar with a pinch of salt until creamy and light and fluffy using an electric whisk.

2. Add the ginger syrup and whisk briefly to combine. Add the eggs slowly, constantly whisking the mixture.

3. Sift in the flour and ground ginger and stir in gently with a spoon.

4. Stir through the fresh and stem ginger. Grease the bundt tin very thoroughly with 5g of butter (otherwise the top will stick).

5. Spoon the cake batter into the tin and smooth it out. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the mould before taking it out.

6. Mix the icing sugar with the juice of 1 lemon and pour over the cake. Serve with some bay leaf-infused custard for an outlandish finish to a light meal.

Aubergine, the underdog

Eggplants

‘I think I’m going underground’

He’s cool, he’s hip. He is Monsieur Auberge. He is the underdog of the vegetable world. Even though he looks slick and mysterious when raw and left whole, an aubergine has very little flavour in his raw state. Throw him on an open flame of a hob and within 20 minutes he is a collapsed a mess but tastes similar to what a Marlboro man looks like – hot and smoky.

Here is a recipe that will knock you off your feet – a South East Asian version of baba ganoush.

Burmese burnt aubergine

2 large aubergines
1/2 small red onion
1 tsp shrimp paste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lime, juice only
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Garnish
1 banana shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1. Place the whole aubergine over an open flame of the hob. Cook it over a medium-low flame for 5 minutes on each side or until it becomes soft and the skin begins to burst and collapse (about 25 minutes). Let the aubergine cool before handling.

2. Split the aubergine in two and scoop out the flesh. Mix it with the aubergine dressing ingredients. It should be hot, sweet, sour and slightly salty.

5. Heat 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a medium frying pan and add the shallots. Fry over a medium heat until crispy. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Garnish the aubergine with the crispy shallot and serve with some grilled meats.

Sour cherry vareniki

Sour cherry vareniki

Sour cherry vareniki

 

Hot hummus and sumac pita shards

Hot hummus, butter, pine nuts

Hot hummus, butter, pine nuts

I can hear you say – ‘hummus, honestly? Yawn.’ I know what you are saying but hear me out here.

This is not fridge-cold supermarket stuff. This is, as my Turkish friends call it – sicak humus!

This hummus is hot – literally and figuratively. And I will not apologise about the copious amounts of melted butter it gets covered in.

Hot hummus, silky, sweet butter and toasted pine nuts perfect to scoop with crispy shards of pita bread, sumac blush adorning their griddled cheeks.

Hot hummus (Sicak humus)

400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
50ml olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice only
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tahini
50ml yogurt
20g pine nuts
20g butter

1. Blitz up 400g of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin seeds, tahini, yogurt, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Place in an oven-proof dish and set aside.

2. Then heat a dry frying pan and fry the pine nuts on medium heat until just starting to turn golden, stirring all the time. Add the butter and let it melt. Pour this over the hummus and place it in the oven for 10 minutes.

I cut the pitas in two, brush them with oil, sprinkle with sumac and griddle until crispy. You can also grill them in the oven, just like you would do for a fattoush salad.

Blood orange, pomegranate and feta salad

Blood orange, mint, pomegranate, feta salad

Photography by Kris Kirkham Styling by Olia Hercules

Blood oranges are coming to the end of their short season. If you can still find them, get them and make this salad that has been inspired by my friend Emma Franklin. She served it with a ten hour pulled lamb (which she cooked with some pigs fat on top – hells yeah!) and Chinese steamed buns. That’s what I call the best kind of fusion. A truly memorable meal. If you can’t find blood oranges, use some regular ones.

This gorgeous photograph is from my test shoot with Kris Kirkham, a rising star and a beautiful person.

Blood orange, mint, pomegranate and feta salad

Serves 2 as a side

1 blood orange
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch mint, leaves only (large ones torn)
1/2 pomegranate, seeds only
100g feta, crumbled

Dressing:

1 tsp of lime juice
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp honey

1. To take the skin off the orange, slice off a little bit off the top and bottom to make it stable. Then stand it up and slice the skin off, taking off the pith as you go along. Then slice it into rounds and set aside.

2. Next make the dressing. Place the lime juice in a jar and add a pinch of Maldon salt – the acid will help it dissolve immediately. Then add the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake the jar. Taste it – the dressing should be sweet, tart and slightly salty. Add more pomegranate molasses, honey or lime juice to taste.

3. To assemble the salad place some large torn mint leaves on a plate. Then arrange the blood orange slices on top. Sprinkle the pomegranate molasses and feta over, then scatter some small whole mint leaves and onion slices on top. Finish with a drizzle of the dressing. Serve as a starter or with some lovely pulled lamb, pork or fish.

 

Ukrainian green borshch

Spring is coming. We are supposed to be planning our trip to Ukraine to see my family. If it was just me I would be on the plane right now. I have a toddler, so unfortunately I cannot risk taking him to Ukraine. I come from Kherson, the region closest to Crimea…

Only a few weeks ago we were rejoicing at the new beginning for Ukraine, hoping for the end of corruption. Now we are living in a Kafkaesque nightmare. Every morning begins with utter disbelief – will Russia attack? Putin had famously told George Bush that Ukraine was not an actual country. Cheers for that, comrade.

But we are a country – with its own identity but also multi-cultural and tolerant.

This sorrel soup is called green borshch. It screams spring. Tart sorrel, fresh spring onions, creamy hard-boiled eggs, tons of dill. Serve this with a dollop of sour cream and a hunk of dark caraway-studded Borodinsky bread, and think of Ukraine.

Serves 4
1 duck, jointed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 onion, peeled
100g spring onions, finely chopped
100g parsley root (or stalks), finely chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
500g sorrel, chopped
200g spinach, chopped

To serve
2 duck eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
½ bunch dill, chopped
70g sour cream

1 Place the duck pieces, bay leaf and the whole onion into 2 litres cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for one hour. Skim the stock from time to time.

2 Blitz the spring onions and the parsley root into a paste in a small bowl of a food processor. Heat the oil, add the paste and fry for 2 minutes over a medium-low heat.

3 Add the potatoes and the green paste to the stock, season well with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost done.

Add the sorrel and the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve with the chopped egg, dill, a dollop of sour cream and a chunk of sourdough bread.

This beautiful photograph is by David Munns.

Photograph by David Munns. Sty;ng by Olia Hercules.

Photograph by David Munns. Sty;ng by Olia Hercules.

Apple crisps

Serves 1-2

crispy apples

Apple crisps, caramelised salted Macadamia nuts

1 granny smith apple, very thinly sliced
70g pecan nuts
For the syrup
50g sugar
50ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod, deseeded
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1 long pepper
1 lemon, zested
A pinch of salt

1 Preheat the oven to 110C/230F/gas mark ¼. Place all the syrup ingredients, except the salt, into a small saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Then raise the heat to medium and boil the syrup for 3‑4 minutes until slightly thickened.

2 Line two flat baking trays with parchment, lay out the apples on one of them and brush with the syrup. Then discard the spices, add a small pinch of salt and toss the nuts in the remaining syrup. Spread on the second tray.

3 Bake the pecans for 30 minutes, then add the apples and return to the oven for an hour.
4 Take the apple slices off the tray while they are still warm, otherwise they will stick. Store in an airtight container.

 

Creative ingredient shots


Preserved lemon and herb lamb

PulledLambRaw copy

Preserved lemon lamb

Middle Eastern lamb

Photography by Kris Kirkham Styling by Olia Hercules

1 large bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks~
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
30g ginger, peeled
10 small preserved lemons, rind only
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tbsp Maldon salt
1 leg of lamb (or shoulder)

200ml of lamb stock or water

1. Place the first six ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a paste.
2. Rub this all over the lamb and leave to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 150C. Place the lamb and all its marinade into a large baking tray. Pour in the stock and cover tightly with foil.
4. Cook in the oven for 4-5 hours or until the meat is tender and pulls away easily from the bone. Pull the lamb meat and mix it with a ladleful of the sauce. Serve in a warm pita bread with the blood orange salad and a tabbouleh.

Photography by Kris Kirkham Styling by Olia Hercules

Photography by Kris Kirkham Styling by Olia Hercules

Traditional Ukrainian red borsht

Photograph by David Munns Styling by Olia Hercules

Photograph by David Munns Styling by Olia Hercules

It is wonderful to see how much debate our green borsht video on The Guardian has generated!

Just a quick explanation – a traditional Ukrainian borsht is beetroot red (even though my mum says that the colour should be dusty pink rather than bright red!).

Green borshch, which is also sometimes called green shchi in Russia is a sorrel broth garnished with egg. It does indeed have very little to do with the traditional red borsht. Yet, this is what we call it – zeleniy borsht, green borsht.

My grandmother never added beetroot to the green version but it’s nice to add some beetroot leaves or stalks if you have some knocking about. People don’t realise that many a leaf is edible. If your radishes have fresh leaves – add them to a salad. You can cook with cauliflower leaves and Brussel tops!

Anyway, I digress! Here is a traditional Ukrainian red borsht recipe! Of course there are many a version. This is what my mother taught me.

Ukrainian red borsht
Making a good beef or chicken stock is hugely important here. I am a recent convert to slow cookers. Simply put some chicken bones, a piece of fatty brisket or chuck steak, bay leaf and a whole onion in the slow cooker and leave on low overnight. The broth will have a rich meaty flavour. You can also buy good stock or go vegetarian. The rest of borshch is dead easy to prepare.
Serves 4-6
 
1.5 L beef stock made with a large piece of brisket or chuck steak
300g beetroot, peeled and chopped into sticks
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, roughly grated
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 pepper, chopped
1 beef tomato roughly grated
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 white cabbage, shredded
1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1/2 bunch of dill, chopped
100ml sour cream to serve
1. Bring the stock to a simmer. Add the beetroot. True Ukrainian borshch is not bright red. The beetroot we use in Ukraine turns borsht a gorgeous deep pink colour. British beetroot is really red, but it just will have to do.
2. Add potato to the borsht.
2. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook over a medium heat, stirring until the carrot starts caramelising. This is a distinctively Ukrainian ‘sofritto’ technique called ‘smazhenie’. Add the pepper and the tomato paste, cook it out for 2 minutes, then add the grated fresh tomato, stir, reduce slightly and add all this to the borshch.
3. Finally add the shredded cabbage and the kidney beans and cook for 7 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, loads of chopped dill and pampushki.

10 Best Recipes in The Guardian Cook

Photography by Yuki Sugiura, Styling by Valerie Berry

v Photography by Yuki Sugiura, Styling by Valerie Berry

This is one of the most popular cabbage recipes in Ukraine. Normally we would use white cabbage, but Savoy  adds luscious texture and colour.

I add  dried barberries to lift the flavour a little, but don’t worry too much if you have trouble finding them.

Golubtsi

Serves 6 (makes 12 parcels)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 head Savoy cabbage, 12 leaves separated

500g beef mince
500g pork mince
160g rice, parboiled and drained
40g barberries (optional)

To serve
100ml sour cream
½ small bunch dill, finely chopped

1 Make the sauce first. Heat the rapeseed oil in a heavy-based casserole. Fry half of the onion and the grated carrot over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until they just start to caramelise. Add the sugar and the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, tomatoes and 400ml water.

2 Blanch the cabbage leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water. Then refresh them in cold water and drain well on kitchen paper.

3 Mix the minces, parboiled rice, barberries, seasoning and the remaining diced onion. Place 50g of the filling on to each cabbage leaf and fold into parcels.

5 Place the parcels on top of the sauce, folded side down, tucking them next to each other snugly so they do not unravel.

6 Cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with lots of chopped dill, sourdough bread and a dollop of sour cream on the side.

Curried prawns with salted lemons and tenderstem broccoli

Curried prawns, salted lemons, broccoli

Curried prawns, salted lemons, broccoli

For the garam masala
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cardamom pods, seeds only
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 whole clove

For the prawns
2 small shallots, halved
10g ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
125g tenderstem broccoli, sliced into thirds
200g large prawns, peeled
5g each of basil and coriander, leaves picked

Place the lemon slices in a bowl and sprinkle both sides with the salt and caster sugar. Leave for at least an hour.

Fry the garam masala spices in a dry pan, constantly stirring, until they release their aroma, then crush in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.

Heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat, add the shallots cut‑side down and cook for 5 minutes, until golden. Turn and cook for 3 minutes. Lower the heat, add the ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the garam masala and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the lemon and prawns, then cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the basil and coriander. Serve with rice.

Apple chips and caramelised nuts

crispy apples

Apple crisps, caramelised salted Macadamia nuts

Serves 1-2
1 granny smith apple, very thinly sliced
70g pecan nuts
For the syrup
50g sugar
50ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod, deseeded
2 cardamom pods, bruised
1 long pepper
1 lemon, zested
A pinch of salt

1 Preheat the oven to 110C/230F/gas mark ¼. Place all the syrup ingredients, except the salt, into a small saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Then raise the heat to medium and boil the syrup for 3‑4 minutes until slightly thickened.

2 Line two flat baking trays with parchment, lay out the apples on one of them and brush with the syrup. Then discard the spices, add a small pinch of salt and toss the nuts in the remaining syrup. Spread on the second tray.

3 Bake the pecans for 30 minutes, then add the apples and return to the oven for an hour.
4 Take the apple slices off the tray while they are still warm, otherwise they will stick. Store in an airtight container.


Jamaican ital stew

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
15g ginger, grated
10 allspice berries, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 beef tomatoes, grated
1 tsp black treacle
1 red pepper, chopped
1 fresh corn on the cob, kernels shaved off
3 spring onions, chopped – keep the green and
white parts separated
6 okra, halved lengthways
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

For the spinners
120g flour
60ml water
10g butter, melted

Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a heavy-based casserole. Add the garlic, ginger, allspice and coriander. Cook on a low heat for 3 minutes, then add the thyme, squash, tomatoes, black treacle and enough water to cover the squash.
After about 10 minutes, add the pepper, the corn kernels, white parts of the spring onion, okra and cook for another 10 minutes.
Mix the flour with the water and melted butter, then roll thin, 5cm-long dumplings with the palms of your hands. Drop them in the pot for the last 10 minutes of cooking; cover with a lid. Garnish with fresh coriander and the green parts of the spring onion.

Marrow and potato stew

This is my grandmother Lusia’s recipe. She was an instinctive cook. One day she picked some courgettes and potatoes from her allotment, threw in some home-made tomato juice and sour cream and a bunch of chopped dill. My mother made this at least once a week when in season.

Serves 4
6 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
800g marrow, sliced into 2cm rings
30g plain flour
3 banana shallots, sliced
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 garlic cloves, sliced
400g Cyprus potatoes, thinly sliced
300ml sour cream
300ml water
Salt and black pepper
1 small bunch of dill, chopped

1 Heat 2 tbsp of sunflower oil in a heavy-based pan. Dip each side of the marrow in flour, shake the excess off and fry on medium heat on both sides until nicely caramelised. Do this in batches, adding some extra oil each time. Remove each marrow piece to a paper towel.

2 Add the shallots and the tomato paste and cook on a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the shallots start to soften (about 3 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3 Add the potatoes, sour cream and 300ml of water (use the sour cream container to measure this), season very well with sea salt and pepper and stir. Place the browned marrow on top and cook on a low heat for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the liquid is reduced. Sprinkle with dill and serve.

Also in The Guardian:

Three lentil burger

Ukrainian green borsch

Puffed mushroom omelette

Olive oil confit chicken

Nahm Dtok (Isaarn beef salad)

Poussin Tabaka, tkhemali, lobio (Georgian chicken, plum sauce and beans)

 

Vegetarian food need not be boring

Ingredient shots

Americana

Buttermilk fried chicken, wedges, slaw

Mediterranean food

Poussin Tabaka

Poussin, tkhemali plum sauce, lobio (Georgian beans)

Poussin, tkhemali plum sauce, lobio (Georgian beans)

Pumpkin still life with Lydia Whitmore

Pumpkin Still Life with cabbage

Parrot and tropical fruit still life

Parrots and tropical fruit chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro shoot with Lydia Whitmore for heroine magazine

Botanical garden still life

Botanical chiaroscuro portrait

Lobster still life

Lobst

Hamlet still life with Lydia Whitmore

Hamlet chiaroscuro portrait