I recently went to a café called Little Georgia in Hackney. Having been told about it by numerous people, I was excited to finally be inside – eating a taste of my namesake country!
The weather was cold outside so I opted for the soup of the day - Spiced Borsch.
There are hundreds of different versions of Borsch all over Russia and Eastern Europe. I love the vibrant colour and the mix of vegetables and spices so I decided to create my own version. I got a bit carried away using all the root vegetables we had left over from Christmas but a simpler mix will do.
This soup can be made with vegetable or beef stock and if you want to add some beef to it too, there is a little note of what to do at the end of the recipe.
3 beetroots, cut into matchstick strips
½ white cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks strips
1 parsnip, cut into matchstick strips
1 turnip, cut into matchstick strips
½ swede, cut into matchstick strips
2 stalks celery
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 tomatoes, skinned and sieved
1 tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
5 seeds allspice
1 tsp caenne pepper
Sea salt and black pepper
M: 2.5 litres beef stock
V: 2.5 litres vegetable stock
Put all the chopped vegetables apart from the grated beetroot and tomatoes into a pan and cover with the stock vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the sieved tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves, allspice and season. Cook for 15 minutes.
Check the seasoning and sharpen with lemon juice.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
M: 750g stewing beef, cubed, fat trimmed off
2.5 litres water
To make this a meaty soup, begin by putting stewing beef in a saucepan with water. Bring to the boil, skim, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Then follow the above instructions.