After its vague and short-lived attempt at Spring, Manchester has gone drizzly and miserable again, and if there's one thing guaranteed to make me crave comfort food, it's miserable weather.
This recipe is for a traditional Russian/Belarusian dish of Draniki, or potato pancakes. In fact, according to wikipedia, variants of this item are fairly common in the cuisines of countries across Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, and when you've tasted them, it will be obvious why they enjoy such widespread popularity.
When I've had these in Russia and Belarus, the traditional accompaniment is sour cream. However, I've also had them with vegetable slaw (in Russia) and apple puree (German style). Here's the basic recipe for the Draniki, together with two alternative condiments to serve them with. Although these are best served fresh, they can be reheated and still taste pretty darn good. Though I have to admit, I've rarely experienced a case of leftover Draniki... just sayin'.
1kg potato, peeled
1 tblsp plain flour
1 medium egg
a liberal amount of sunflower oil
1. Grate the potato and onion. Considering that Draniki are a traditional peasant dish, the idea of doing this manually fills me with dread - if you've got a processor with a grater attachment, let it take the strain!
2. Mix the grated vegetables with the flour and egg in a large bowl.
3. Heat a little oil in a good frying pan to a low-medium temperature (use several frying pans if you have them - you'll save a lot of time if you get a few on the go at once). Place a dessert spoonful of Draniki mixture into your pan, and flatten with the back of the spoon. Repeat with as many as you can fit in the pans. Gently allow the Draniki to fry without burning. You will know that they are cooking at the right kind of rate if the top side starts to go dry whrn the underside is just pale golden. At this point, flip the Draniki to cook from the other side. Make sure you keep topping up the oil, as this helps them to cook evenly.
4. When the Draniki are cooked through, drain them on a piece of kitchen towel. If you've still got a large batch to fry up, you can keep them warm by placing on a warmed plate and covering with tin foil, or popping in an oven on a very low heat.
2-3 medium carrots
3 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
1 dessert spoon of ginger syrup
1. Peel the carrots and grate finely.
2 eating apples
dessert spoon of honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Peel the apples and cut into small cubes.
2. Put the cubed apple into a saucepan, and add enough water to rise about a third of the way up the pieces.
3. Simmer over a medium heat until the apple is tender, adding the honey towards the end of the cooking time.
4. Allow to cool slightly, then add the cinnamon and blitz to a puree. Can be served warm or chilled.