My Odessa: Sprat cult

Maria Kalenska is a third generation Odessite, currently living in London. Having made a career in the corporate world, she has now exchanged her business suit for a kitchen apron. Maria currently writes for gastronomic and travel publications, along with organising culinary master classes and exclusive enogastronomic tours and pop-up dinners.

Her heart forever belongs to Odessa, but in London she has an important mission – to promote Ukrainian and Odessa cuisine!

That may seem a threadbare theme.

Indeed, in Odessa, sprat is for both breakfast, lunch, and even for a hearty dinner. If you translate into a high culinary language, this little fish is a cult. Do not argue, and do not call this fish “pilchard” or “Black Sea kilka”, which are uncommon in Odessa. Call it sprat or tulechka, giving it a diminutive and affectionate name.

I do not want to offend the out-of-towners, but only someone who tried the brown bread with yellow bazaar butter in childhood can pronounce “tulechka” in a right way. (Remembering Luyda from Berezovka, she is the third in a row, and she sells best bryndza cheese and butter). Putting some yellowish and soft or firm butter on the slice of brown bread, with two or three sprats on the top. Serving with sweet black tea. For breakfast. Even before school. The first experience may shock your taste buds, and if they faint – you are able to pronounce “tulechka” in a right way. This is almost half the recipe. Well, it only takes a long time to clean it: everything else must be done quickly, squinting your left eye, like a seventh-generation gourmet, whose grandmother salts that little fish herself, in order to feed all family. The second half of the recipe is a trip for sprats to the bazaar.

I must say that the fish row is a loud and “fragrant” place. Go to the fish rows; they have even put a statue of Sonya fisher there, which attracts your eye. Then you see writings on the cardboards “the fattest and most delicious”, “awesome, fat, very tasty”, “super sprat elite”. Do not let them fool you, that’s just marketing. If someone grabs your hand and says, “Look, mine is the best” – do not be distracted. Your goal is to choose the very fresh and fatty. At first some to pickle. Do not be afraid to sniff. Of course, visually you will immediately distinguish the plump sprat sides from the skinny ones, large from small. The skin should still be whole. You can’t take them by the piece, but in the general, it would be better if they were whole. That’s all. For starters, take a kilo or so.

Come home. Do not clean. At all. Just wash a bit under running water – and put in the bowl (preferably with a lid). Some people prefer to pickle the fish right in the bottle, but I do not. Do not be too enthusiastic with salt – you may spoil the fish. Take about 3 tablespoons of salt per kilo (who loves exact weight it is 100 grams). Dilute the salt in water, you should take as much water so that then all this liquid covered the sprats, but do not let the fish swim freely. Put the bay leaf, 3 pieces, 7-8 pieces of peppercorns and a pinch of coriander into the water. Pour the liquid on the fish, close with a lid and send it to the refrigerator. Do not bother the fish for about 2-4 hours. Abstain from shaking, touching, peeking: you should taste, not look.

Get the fish from the fridge and do not forget to buy some good brown bread. Get some butter and make some black tea with sugar. Cut the bread. Put some butter. Take a few sprats from the bowl –as many you want to try. With one easy movement from the head, filet the fish. Together with the head, the intestines are easily removed. Then you put it with a silvery thin skin up – and try, taste; try to have for breakfast so that at first, it may seem strange, then it tastes good, then – you cannot do without sprats, then – you trade croissants for sprats.

Have some sprats for breakfast, or for light dinner. Also, there are sprat rissoles, but that is a separate topic. Although the cooking takes three minutes, however, apart from going to a bazaar and cleaning.

Maria Kalenska
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Trade turnover between Ukraine and Uzbekistan increased by 30%

Bilateral cooperation between the countries is carried out on many commodity items: sugar, fruit and vegetables, nuts, flour, cattle, etc. Uzbekistan became the first country where Ukraine began to import heifers from.

This was discussed during the meeting of the Head of the State Food and Consumer Service Vladyslava Magaletska with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Ukraine Alisher Kurmanov.

Uzbekistan is an important trade partner of Ukraine, with which we are in constant dialogue. We discussed the deepening of cooperation and identified areas for further cooperation.

Vladyslava Magaletska, Head of the State Food and Consumer Service

During the meeting, the need to apply international standards in international trade was discussed, as well as the signing of an Agreement in the field of plant quarantine. In addition, the parties agreed to initiate an exchange of experience between specialised veterinary universities for the training of specialists.

The mains of Uzbek exports are fertilizers, zinc and zinc products, land transport (except for rail), cotton, and plastics.

Photo: dpss.gov.ua

Oscar nominated “Mamay” was released online

The first Ukrainian film nominated for an Oscar in 2003, “Mamay” directed by Oles Sanin was released in the online cinema Takflix.com. The film is available for viewing in all parts of the world with English subtitles.

The film “Mamay” is a diploma work of Oles Sanin, his first feature film. The idea to make it came from the director by accident. Since childhood, he was interested in Ukrainian history, culture, folklore and later became seriously engaged in kobzarism.

The shooting of the film lasted only 24 days. The film starred the famous Ukrainian actor and director of Crimean-Tatar origin Akhtem Seitablaev. One of the roles was also played by the film’s director Oles Sanin.

I know these stories well, so I set about what makes my heart ache, what I will do, despite the difficulties of financing, the difficulties with the work. This is something I can’t live without. So I took it and made a movie.

Oles Sanin

The cinematographer of the film is Serhiy Mykhalchuk. The music was written by the composer Alla Zagaykevich. In his film, Oles Sanin acts as a screenwriter, director and performer of one of the roles, but, in his opinion, it is not so much. The subtitles of the film do not yet indicate that he actively participated in the creation of music and decoration of the film

This film belongs to the category of auteur cinema (sorry for the outdated word), so no one could write me a script for this story. In fact, the screenwriters are the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar people, because I took the epic as a basis – the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatars. I did not come up with anything – this is the text of the Ukrainian People’s Duma, “Thoughts about the Azov brothers“, and the Turkic epic – “Song of the dervish about the valiant Mamluks” – is a story of five hundred years ago.

Oles Sanin

In “Mamay” there is not one plot, but there are several plots at once. The first story is “Thought about the three brothers of Azov”, a Ukrainian song dating back to the 16th century. The second story was found in Iranian literature. Then Sanin found another source in the culture of Crimean Tatars. It is called – “Dervish song about three valiant Mamluks”, it is an epic of the Turkic people. It tells that three Tatar brothers who served as mercenaries in different armies leave the service after hearing the cry of the Golden Singing Cradle.

The Tatars have such a legend: when thу Golden Cradle falls into the hands of foreigners, then the Tatars lose their power, their people are scattered, and their family is broken. According to sources, the Crimean Tatars brought this Cradle from Mongolia. It is like the cradle of Genghis Khan, given to him by his mother, and in the Cradle was placed Yevshan-potion (wormwood) and he carried this Cradle with him as a symbol of his power, a symbol of his land. Tatars – a people who lived in the Free Steppe, a people who fought, grazed flocks. And this smell of wormwood, yevshan-potion, is the smell of their homeland.

Sanin combined these stories, and tried to “create his own cinematic history based on this epics.

“Mamay”, 2003, Posters

Three brothers, escaping from Tatar captivity, steal two horses trained by Tatar good. The older and middle brothers are horses, and the younger is wheat. They throw the youngest in the steppe to die. And he sees his death on the tomb of Savur. The brothers reach the Kalka River and wait for it there for three days. They have committed a terrible sin. And the punishment for them is that the Tatars catch up with them and kill them – not for stealing things (as the Duma interprets it), but for abandoning their own brother…

And between these two stories there is already a third story written by Sanin himself. The story of how a Tatar woman finds the youngest dying Cossack in the steppe; brings him home, treats; falls in love with him, becomes his wife. Their life is dramatic, tragic – because she is of the Tatar family, and he is of Ukrainian descent, that this family betrayed and left him. This guy becomes a Cossack named Mamay.

According to Oles Sanin, the film was nominated at the initiative of the American Academy and those who watched the film in the United States. They made an effort, they lobbied for this picture. A letter was sent from the American Academy to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine to consider the possibility of nominating this film from the state.

In 2003, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Feature Film in a Foreign Language.

The film is stored in the collection of the Dovzhenko Center and now it is available for viewing online on Takflix.

Lower net profit in 2020 by the Ukrainian producer of steel ropes Stalkanat-Silur

PJSC Stalkanat-Silur, based in Odessa, following the results of work in 2020, reduced its net profit by 21.3% to UAH 116.761 million, compared to 2019’s result of UAH 148.419 million.

According to the company’s announcement of the annual meeting of shareholders on April 26, its operating loss at the end of the year amounted to UAH 151.677 million.

Over the past year, the plant reduced its current liabilities by 27% – to UAH 812.295 million, long-term liabilities amounted to UAH 130.162 million. At the same time, accounts receivable decreased by 4.5% – to UAH 142.596 million.

According to the announcement, the assets of Stalkanat-Silur in 2020 decreased by 3% – to UAH 1.7 billion, including fixed assets decreased by 3.5% – to UAH 1.3 billion.

The draft decisions of the meeting say that shareholders are invited to leave the profit received in 2020 unallocated.

Founded in 1806 by the Bryansk merchant Illya Novikov, PJSC Stalkanat-Silur produces steel, nylon ropes and metal goods. The Company exports in more than 70 countries in the world. Owner and Chairman of Stalkanat-Silur is the Odessa entrepreneur Vladimir Nemirovsky.

Vladimir Nemirovsky

Temporary Visa-free regime for Chinese tourists visiting Ukraine starting from April

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has signed decree No. 116/2021 “On the temporary introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of the People’s Republic of China who enter Ukraine for tourist purposes” (Ukraine’s Presidential website).

According to the document, in order to develop friendly relations between Ukraine and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to intensify bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism, from April 1 to September 30, 2021, a visa-free entry to Ukraine and transit travel through Ukrainian territory will be introduced for citizens of the PRC who travel for tourism purposes if the period of their stay in Ukraine does not exceed 30 days during 180 days.
The Cabinet of Ministers was instructed to take measures arising from the decree.

Comediada: online Comedia Carnival

On April, 1 the International Fools’ Day, when the Comediada festival is traditionally held, the organising committee of Comediada took a decision to come to the spectator’s homes. Let’s arrange an online carnival together!

The Comediada Festival appeared in Odessa in 2011 thanks to the initiative of the Comic-troupe “Masks” and “The Clown House”, led by Ukrainian national artist Georgiy Deliev, beloved by all Odessans and famous far beyond the borders of the country. The main goal of the festival is to strengthen friendship between the participating countries, to help and interact with the cultural component, to develop theatrical and circus arts, to help the young generation, to develop in this area and of course to bring joy and a smile to all the witnesses and participants of the festival.

The festival is also conceived as an annual competition for the best clowns and clownery theaters in the world and, of course, includes performances by special headliner guests.

Every year, within the framework of the “Comediada”, viewers and an authoritative jury choose the best artists and groups.

Show yourself and look at others on the official Facebook page

We call on FOOLS all over the world to visit live broadcasts, get into live shows, to become heroes of news and to organise online broadcasts.

Comediada Festival, 2016

We call on Clown family to show performances, carnivals, happenings, clown acts or even whole shows, sometimes just tell about yourself, sing funny songs, dance, provocate, be naughty and fool around!

Comediada Festival, 2018

Shoot it all on your phone, video camera, tablet and etc. Send to us or start live videos or create your stories on Facebook! Tag COMEDIADA, tag us, tag yourself, tag members of clown family, tag your friends (only if they are fools).

Clown’s Parade, Comediada Festival, 2019

At the beginning of each video just say “COMEDIADA ON AIR!”

Let’s make the world brighter!


“Green Chef” super microgreen

A farm inside the city is a lucrative business. Ivan Vorobiev, a citizen of Odessa, has been growing greens on a vertical farm for 7 years. Every day, about 50 kilograms of the crop are harvested in his greenhouse.

Ivan Vorobyov is a cook by profession and he used to work in restaurants. Several years ago, he became interested in healthy eating and decided to independently grow in Ukraine the popular European microgreen – young 10-day-old sprouts of sunflower, radish, green peas and other vegetables and herbs that are added to food.

Microgreens are tiny sprouts of various plants harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed. Such plants are not only piquant, but also much more useful than traditional ones. They are used as a nutrition supplement, a visual enhancement, and a flavour and texture enhancement.

At the “micro” stage most of all useful substances, vitamins, and minerals are concentrated in the greens. American scientists conducted a study and came to the conclusion that microgreens are ten times more useful than ordinary greens.

Ivan Vorobyov

At first, Vorobyov grew greens for himself in his own apartment. Then he tried to sell the grown crops. The business did not go well. Combining restaurant work and agribusiness – even on such a modest scale – turned out to be unrealistic.

Vorobyev took a risk: he decided to change the profile and launch an industrial-scale vertical farm. Vorobyov’s farm settled in a large rented space on the basement of a residential building on an area of ​​350 sq.m. The transfer of the business required the purchase of additional equipment – an investment of $ 15,000.

Peas, mustard, cabbage, sunflower, alfalfa, beet greens were planted on the new site – only about 20 varieties of microgreens, as well as edible flowers and baby leaves of various crops. The company was named “Green Chef”.

At the new place, things did not go well at first either; Vorobyov attributes this to the low qualifications of employees. Only after he himself thoroughly understood the cultivation technology and began to train the staff for himself, the business went up. The company currently has seven employees.

There are shelves along the perimeter of the basement, each with 4-5 shelves with greenery, which are heated by phyto- and led-lamps. For germination of seeds, flowing hydroponics (growing plants on nutrient solutions), linen and synthetic rugs, coconut substrates in boxes and agrovat are used. 2-3 weeks pass from sowing to harvest. Plants are cut when they are 1 to 2 cm in height at the 3-4 leaf stage. Every day, about 50 kilograms of the crop are harvested here. Vorobyov sells 100 grams of greens for $ 1-3, depending on the greens.

“Green Chef” menu:

  • Sunflower
  • Watercress
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Arugula
  • Purple cabbage
  • Basil
  • Mustard
  • Amaranth
  • Beet
  • Mizuna
  • Cilantro
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Lola rossa
  • Onion

Thanks to past experience, Vorobyov knew exactly who he would sell his greens to. Restaurants became his clients – in the resort town, interest in microgreens appeared instantly. According to him, “Green Chef” is already working with 250 restaurants and cafes, retail chains and small shops in million-plus cities.

Just four years ago, restaurants reacted very sluggishly to this idea, and now they take it very cheerfully. I managed to convey that parsley and dill are no longer as popular and fashionable as microgreens. It is used as a component of dishes, but in 95% of cases as a decoration. Any decoration must be edible; you cannot put plastic or metal decorative elements in the dish. People eat microgreens often, they are delicious and cool.

Ivan Vorobyov

In addition, to decorate dishes, Ivan grows edible flowers – viola, pelargonium, begonia and others. Their restaurants are bought almost in buckets, and the chef himself beautifully calls them “the sun on a plate.”

The entrepreneur has launched an educational course on urban farming. The platform helps popularise a new kind of agriculture. His students have already opened more than a hundred vertical farms in Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.

TOP-3 grain elevator regions of Ukraine

Ukraine needs the construction of new 300-400 elevators, which is $ 5-8 billion in investments.

According to the words of Iryna Kravets, a member of the Export Committee for the Development of the Sphere of Artificial Intelligence of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, the capacity of simultaneous storage of grain, legumes and oilseeds in Ukraine is growing annually, but still most of the granaries belong to agricultural enterprises (55%) that grow these crops and only 45% are elevators.

Every year, Ukrainian farmers set a new record level for the gross harvest of grain and oilseeds, but the total capacity of certified granaries – 42 million tons – does not allow operating with increasing volumes of grain.

Iryna Kravets

At the same time, elevators are located unevenly in different regions of Ukraine.

The largest number of them is located in Odessa, Vinnitsa and Dnepropetrovsk regions.

Iryna Kravets

The restoration of the state support programme for agricultural producers and partial reimbursement of the cost of construction and reconstruction of enterprises for storage and processing of grain, as well as the restoration of programs for the preferential purchase of domestic elevator equipment, will contribute to the development of the industry, the expert believes.

The focus of the state should be concentrated on expanding capacities for storing agricultural products, which will reduce product losses and contribute to increasing production volumes.

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