Saturday, 5 April 2014

Let's talk about cooking!

Have you also noticed that many sewing bloggers are very talented cooks? These talented seamstresses from around the globe make me jealous and hungry when looking at their Instagram photos and reading their posts with recipes. But unlike all of them, I am a very bad cook. Usually, when I invite friends for dinner, I ask them to bring their own sandwiches just in case! But there are two dishes with I am not ashamed of feeding people with: Thai curry and Ukrainian borsch and the aim of this post is to share the recipe of the latter.

There are as many borsch recipes as there families in Ukraine: each one adding or removing this or that ingredient. So the perfect borsch is the one that YOU make!

I will share with you my mum's recipe. If you are a culinary nerd then I'm going to disappoint you: it does not contain exact measurements. You can add as much veggies as you like, and each time your borsch will taste different. Because my borsch tasted really nice, I will describe what I used today and my observations :)

For a 5 litre pot, I bought:

  • 700g pork ribs (it can be any other pork meat on the bone)
  • 300g haricot/cannellini beans
  • 3 large potatoes
  • half a small cabbage
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • crème fraîche
  • parsley or spring onions

Cut the carrot, beetroot and onion into small slices. Dice the potatoes. Shred the cabbage. Grate the tomatoes.

Cooking time is approximately 2 hours. But do not be scared! Both the meat and vegetables are going to cook in one pot. All you have to do it to chop all of the vegetables beforehand and add them sequentially.

My mum's recipe is based on the readiness of each vegetable: once a certain ingredient is cooked or half-cooked, you add the following one.  

As a rule of thumb, vegetables cook faster in the spring than they do in the winter.

Now, the steps:

  1. Put your beans in a pot, cover them with cold water and leave overnight until soft.
  2. The next morning, you will notice that beans' skin will be falling off. Remove it from all the beans. 
  3. Wash the meat and let it soak for a few minutes in water. Fill half of the cooking pot with water, add the meat and cook it for 30 minutes on a medium heat. At this stage, we are preparing the broth which is the key element of a successful borsch!
  4. From time to time, look at your borsch and remove the fat that will be gathering on the surface. 
  5. After the meat has been cooking for 30 minutes, add the beans and continue cooking on a medium heat until the beans are almost ready to eat. Depending on the quality of beans, the time they were soaking etc, it can take between 20 and 40 minutes for them to become soft. I take one bean after it's been cooking for 15 minutes, taste it and decide whether I am ready to go to the next step.
  6. Add the beetroot and cook until it starts losing its colour. Again, depending on your beetroot it can take between 10 and 20 minutes. 
  7. Add the potatoes and continue cooking on a low heat until they are half-done: another 15-20 minutes. As with the beans, I would taste them before deciding whether to proceed to the next ingredient. 
  8. Add the carrots, cabbage, onion and bay leaves.
  9. Add the tomatoes when the cabbage is cooked. This can take another 10-20 minutes. 
  10. Cook for another 10 minutes and add salt and pepper to your taste. Add parsley or spring onions.
  11. Bon appetit!
What I would do differently next time?
I would add more beans, potatoes and beetroot. In general, I prefer borsch when it contains more veggies than water and is really thick.

When serving, add a spoonful of crème fraîche and, if you can, eat it with black bread. It's yummy. And even better, when you have a shot or two of vodka from the freezer :) 

P.S. Since my last post on March 1st, I have been sewing less and following very closely the developments in Ukraine. Sewing was almost impossible because my mind was full of thoughts and worries about the crisis. Nevertheless, one garment is almost done and two others are ready to be cut. Within the next week, I'll share with you my latest projects. 


  1. That looks so good. So gonna try that. Love Ukrainian borscht. Lived off this stuff when I was in Ukraine

  2. How interesting! You have to tell me all about it!

  3. Thanks for the recipe Inna. It looks scrummy. I've been thinking about you during the crisis and hope that all your loved ones are safe. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your recent makes x

  4. This looks great! Thanks for sharing! I'm a pretty good cook, but between you and I, I never do it! I'm so tired all the time and I'd rather spend my time sewing than cooking... terrible!

  5. Silvia - Sewing Princess6 April 2014 at 21:15

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I am not a good cook by any means but I love soups!
    I am keeping my fingers crossed for Ukraine.

  6. Maider.... Masustak7 April 2014 at 09:54

    I love white beans!!!! But the basque recipe is very different, thank for sharing your version :-)

  7. I'm definitely making your barszcz! My husband loves it and I didn't have a good recipe, now I do! *^v^*

  8. Thanks, Kirsty :) I am trying to re-energize and sew more. Hopefully, this weekend I'll be able to show something. I am so much in love with you last Coco :) XXX

  9. I could not agree with you more! Especially taking into account that a hand-sewn garment last longer than a hand-made dinner :)

  10. I promise to cook for you when you visit :)

  11. Oh! What is the name of the Basque recipe????

  12. dzięki, Joanna

  13. Как интересно:) У всех действительно свой борщ! А зачем ты снимаешь с фасоли кожуру? Я первый раз такое встречаю, интересно!
    Мне нравится на говядине больше, но обычно тоже свиной делаю, и без фасоли с помидорами:) Но капусты много-много:)) Аж ложка стоит:) И свеклу на сковородке и только в самом конце добавляю:))) Как-то так:))