Conflict in Ukraine [Syrniki with Strawberry Varenye]


Sometimes world events touch a place deep inside of us where identity itself resides.

For some time now, reclaiming my culture by learning the traditional recipes of Ukraine has been a priority. Some of these recipes come from family, and others I have pieced together through research and cookbooks.

syrniki6    syrniki2    syrniki5


The last independence from Russia was in 1991. That is within my lifetime.

I’m sure that now is the time to take a tighter grasp on tradition. This is a culture which, by force, has slipped through the fingers of its people more than once.

 Syrniki (Cottage Cheese Griddle Cakes)

1 lb farmer’s cheese
3 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp rye flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
butter, for frying

Combine all ingredients, except for butter, in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and only tiny cheese lumps remain. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon the batter into the skillet. You will have to spread the batter into a circle, as it is very thick. Fry gently until the underside is golden, then flip and do the same to the other side.

Strawberry Varenye (Stewed Strawberry Preserve)

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled
squeeze of lemon juice
2 oz honey
pinch of salt

Put the strawberries and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Once the strawberry juices start to run, turn up the heat to boil. Once the mixture hits a boil, immediately reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are very soft and the syrup has thickened. Cool and store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


3 thoughts on “Conflict in Ukraine [Syrniki with Strawberry Varenye]

  1. I come from a place where our culture is so new it has evolved considerably even in my lifetime. To have it buffeted and moulded by others is a pain I can only imagine.

    But you’re right – our personal, family culture can be kept alive in our kitchens, passed from generation to generation, and to our “family” of chosen friends – and even strangers like me – because, next summer, when the strawberries ripen, I’ll make some of these Syrniki, and think of Ukraine – and that too will add to the continuity of your culture. They look absolutely delicious 🙂

  2. Pingback: Syrniki Pancakes with Strawberry Varenye Sauce - Boil and Trouble

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