It was very hot here in Slovakia during last 2 weeks so to be honest I didn’t cook a lot. It was hot even in Nová Baňa last weekend but it didn’t stop me from cooking one of the most famous summer dishes from Odessa cuisine: grilled eggplants, peppers and tomatoes spread. This recipe has obviously Greek or Bulgarian roots, but both Greek and Bulgarians were quite influential in summer Ukrainian region so it’s no wonder that a lot of dishes I often cook have South European or Middle East origin.
This week was very hot in Bratislava so the idea to spend a weekend in a country house in Nová Baňa sounded as a good idea. It was hot even there so my choice for the Saturday dinner was obvious: I cooked a cold beetroot soup.
If you ask me what is the taste of south Ukrainian summer, I will place this soup (it has very cute name in the region where I grew up “cholodnichok”) right after famous Mikado tomatoes. It’s also interesting because you can find all 3 staples of Ukrainian cuisine in this recipe: beet, dill and sour cream. Someone call this soup “cold borsht”. Every year I waited for the beginning of summer and my mom can finally cook it. It’s a super dish for hot summer days when you don’t want to eat too much but you also don’t want to feel hunger in an hour after you had lunch.
It took me over a week to write down this recipe, but finally here it is. Some general information to start: paska (the name of this cake in Ukrainian) probably is the most difficult cake I’ve ever baked. You have to be calm and patient to perform all steps of its making in a right way. As a result you will get absolutely stunning cake which can be fresh for some months after being baked. A popular question is “what is the taste of paska?” Well, if you know what Italian panettone is, you know the taste of paska. These cakes are not twins, but they are very close relatives. Paska is one of the staples of Easter celebration for Orthodox Christians. Every family bakes paski to share them with friends and family members.