Life has taken a strange turn for me, and I’m in a situation that I’ve never been in before, trying to feel my way through it… I can’t quite describe it to you as it’s still in the process of changing and fluctuating and I’m not really sure what is happening or even what I want to happen. I’m finding comfort in Eastbourne.

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Our house here stands on a hill next to the Downs national park with a view to the sea in the distance. I always find that nature both soothes and teaches me. One day the sun’s so warm and strong that the wild flowers on the downs give off a heady smell that I can’t get enough of and reminds me of Greece; the very next day could look the same, but as soon as you step outside you realize that it’s fresh, cool and windy. One day the sea is dark and serious, on another it’s so soft that appears to not even be there, melting into the sky. So I ask myself, why would we expect anything else from life? All we can do is be authentic, speak our truth and accept the current situation. Accepting is the hard part, I find. Cooking always helps to take me away from the past and into the present moment, especially cooking leftovers, which is, of course, the art of improvisation. We stuffed this “kulebiak” pie with mushrooms, onions, kale and a yellow pepper, all fried on olive oil with soya sauce and little bit of white wine, then cooled and finally mixed with grated cheddar cheese and an egg, to stick it all together.
 
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You can stuff “kulebiak” with any leftovers you like. We’ve used onion, mushrooms, spinach and soft cheese with garlic and herbs before and this worked out beautifully too. The general idea is to fry the onion first (or garlic if you have no onion), then add any other leftover ingredients and flavours – soya sauce, wine, cream, chilli sauce, anything you like really. Remember to season, the allow to cool before mixing with hard or soft cheese and an egg, or even just some egg white. The important constant is the dough, which is very easy to make. Simply combine all the ingredients down there with your hands until they form a soft ball. Split it into two balls and put it in the fridge for 1 hour, before rolling them both out. Cut out two equal rectangles and save the remaining dough for decoration. I made odd looking flowers and leaves to go on top, but it really didn’t matter: anything looks good on top of a “kulebiak”. Put your stuffing on one sheet of dough and the other sheet on top, pressing the edges down firmly with a fork. Use a little egg and cream to stick your decorations on and pain the entire kulebiak before putting it in the oven for 40min at 200 degrees C. Enjoy while it’s still warm, washed down with borsht.

Ingredients:

400g flour
150g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Teaspoon of salt
180ml water from the fridge

1 egg and 1 teaspoon of cream for glazing

Filling:

Whatever you like