My family returned this February after almost four years in Ukraine. It is a beautiful country with amazing food, in fact, it was often our selling point when trying to convince family and friends to visit: “the churches are spectacular and the food is unbelievable!” We were often thankful that our temporary hometown, Kyiv, was a city of hills because it helped to balance out the many hearty, rich, and delicious meals that we enjoyed. 

When asked to share our favourite recipes, I figured that I would avoid well-known recipes like varenyky (more commonly known by their Polish name, pierogi) or borscht with a healthy serving of sour cream. While both are delicious, they certainly contributed to my need for hill climbing. 

First up are cheese pancakes called Syrniki (pronounced “seer-ni-kee”). In Ukraine, these little pancakes are made with quark of farmers cheese; however, these aren’t necessarily found in every Canadian grocery store, so we make them with cottage cheese that has been strained. They are best served with a bit of sour cream and honey or jam on top; my two boys certainly do not complain about that.



500 g of dry packaged or strained cottage cheese

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup all purpose flour plus ½ cup for dredging

¼ cup honey

¼ tsp salt

½ cup dried fruit like cherries or raisins (optional)



  1. Mix together the cottage cheese, eggs, vanilla, flour, honey and salt. 
  2. Add any dried fruit in before scooping medium sized balls which you roll and then gentle press into a flat disk.
  3. Fry in a greased fry pan until the syrniki are golden. 
  4. Serve with some sour cream and jam or honey.


The second Ukrainian breakfast that I fell in love with was found on a family vacation to the Carpathian Mountains. I’ve never quite been able to find a name for this cottage cheese dish, but it was so simple, but delicious and hearty enough to fuel our hikes we did around Yaremche.



1 cup cottage cheese, drained

3 tbsp sour cream 

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp walnuts


This is really simple! You drain your cottage cheese, top it with sour cream (or Greek yogurt for a lower-calorie version) and walnuts. Enjoy!