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.
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
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.
4 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.