Saturday, 30 August 2008

Rutabaga croquettes

Polish: brukiew
French: chou-navet
German: Kohlrübe / Steckrübe
Danish: kålroe
Icelandic: gulrófa
Russian: брюква
Estonian: kaalikas
Scottish english: neep
Japanese: スウェーデンかぶ
Thai: รูตาบากา

Rutabaga seems to be a very versatile vegetable and people from central Europe were eating them ages ago. During the IWW in Germany were written recipe-books with rutabaga recipes: rutabaga marmalade, rutabaga casseroles, rutabaga soups, false Sauerkraut, false apple mousse and even rutabaga coffee... "in the morning, rutabaga soup... in the afternoon, rutabaga steaks... in the evening, rutabaga cake"... So you can imagine why is this delicious vegetable so unpopular around here. In Warsaw you can never find them, in any supermarkt, at any markt, and for the first generation after the IIWW rutabaga is nothing but animal futter. Oh they just don't know how much do they loose... cause rutabaga tastes really great. Here is a proof, my own recipe for rutabaga croquettes.

see also: Kashubian rutabaga soup

(makes 10 croquettes)
1 cup cooked, mashed rutabaga*
1/2 cup grated cheese (Edam, Cheddar and so on)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 medium onion
some flour
some rolled oats
salt, pepper
optionally: some curry powder, some chopped dill

1. Chop onion finely and fry. Whisk the egg. Combine mashed rutabaga (* you can also take 4/5 cup rutabaga and 1/5 cup potatoes or of course change these proportions) with finely grated cheese, fried onion and rolled oats. Set in the fridge for 1 hour. Atfer that time add salt, pepper, (curry, dill) and 1/2 egg.

2. Prepare 3 plates: first with beaten egg (the resting half), second with flour and third with rolled oats. Form croquettes and roll them in flour, then in egg and at least in rolled oats. Fry and serve (warm or cold)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Cuban green plantain soup

Polish: plantan / banan skrobiowy
Swedish: kokbanan
Portuguese: banana-da-terra
Dutch: bakbanaan
German: Gemüsebanane / Kochbanane
French: banane plantain
French Antillais: banane farine
Korean: 요리용 바나나
Arabic: ‏موز الجنة

Green (unripe) plantain soup could be eaten anywhere where plantains grow, but the recipe I post here is Cuban. Sopa de plátano verde has some variants, as you will realise while reading the recipe, and tastes absolutely wonderful. Plantains should be green. I don't know what happens if they are ripe and yellow, well, surely the taste won't be the same.

see also: Ecuadorian green plantain stuffed fritters

600 ml vegetable stock (optionally water)
*1 unripe, green plantain
1 onion
**(optionally some more vegetables, like 1/2 sweet potato, 1 carrot, a handful of chickpeas, 1 potato, chopped parsley green, 1 celery stalk)
cumin, salt, pepper

1. Peel green plantain. It may be easier if you cut the peel lengthwise. Cut into 1-2 cm chunks or cut very thin chips. Fry them in oil.

2. Heat the stock in a saucepan and when starts to boil, add resting vegetables (**but this is optionally; some people prefer just to taste plantains. Anyway, I took 1 small potato, diced, and a handful of canned chickpeas. *If you decide to not take any other vegetables, you may want to take 2 plantains).

3. Back to plantains. If you have chunks, work with a fork to mash already fried pieces, add 1 cup of stock, bring to boil (it will be thick) and pour into the saucepan with the rest of the stock. If you chave chips, fry them until crispy, pulverize in a blender and add to the stock. Cook until all the ingredients are soft. Now it's up to yu if you want to puree everything until smooth or puree only a half or mash vegetables with a fork. I like smooth pureed soups but some crispy pieces are always welcome.
You may put some fried onion chunks on the top and serve with lemon slices

1st variant: smoothy pureed

2nd variant: with chunks

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Polish custard cake without baking

Polish: krem
Hungarian: tejszín
Japanese: カスタードクリーム
Dutch: banketbakkersroom
Swedish: grädde
Hebrew: קרם
Italian: crema pasticcera
French: crème pâtissière
Basque: pastel-krema
Persian: سس کاسترد

Between two layers of salty crackers you find a sweet... custard! Custard creamy filling is the main ingredient of this Polish cake, kremówki. There are several variants of this simple delicious cake, the classical is custard cream between two filo sheets, cut into squares and sprinkled with icing sugar: it was the most beloved dessert of John Paul II :) My version requires no baking so it is practical and useful for those who at the moment have no oven but would like to pinch a bit of something sweet. Don't be afraid, salty crackers that you should use would not disturb nor distruct the taste! Using salty crackers is a must here, don't take sweet butter cookies (petit beurre or Leibniz or similar) cause you will be dissappointed; they melt and the whole cake losts its consistency. If you are afraid of saltiness, just bake 2 filo sheets :)

see also: Polish filled wafer cake (with 3 filling options)
see also: Polish wafer or cookies cake (with 1 more filling option)

about 150 gr salty crackers
250 gr margarine (don't replace with butter cause you will obtain vanilla sauce instead of custard!)
2 packs vanilla sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 l milk
icing sugar

1. Pour 3 cups of milk into a pan, add margarine and vanilla sugar and heat until boils.

2. Beat yolks with sugar until white and creamy, add flour and the rest of the milk and mix until homogeneous.

3. Pour slowly yolk-flour mixture to the pot with milk and margarine and stir constantly. Reheat and whisk until homogeneous in consistency. Filling is ready.

4. Cover a tray with baking paper or aluminium paper. Put the first layer of crackers. Spread the whole cream on them and cover with the second layer of crackers. Set aside in the fridge overnight, the tastes have to compose together through night. Before serving, cut into squares and sprinke with icing sugar.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Portuguese sweet chickpea pockets

Polish: ciecierzyca
Pashto: نخود
Macedonian: Леблебија
Greek: Ρεβιθιά
Bengali: ছোলা
Mapunzugun: kalfan
German: Kichererbsen
Arabic: حمص
Thai: ถั่วหัวช้าง
Slovak: cícer baraní

Don't be angry on me. I know we have still 4 months until Christmas but I couldn't wait... Anyway, I wouldn't mind if someone makes for instance pascha (Polish -also Russian and Ukrainian- Easter fresh cheese dessert) in December or fry Polish Christmas carp in the summertime... :) So here they are: delicious Portuguese pockets with sweet chickpea-lemon filling which just melt in your mouth: azevias de grão, a Portuguese Christmas dessert dish, absolutely delicious!!

(to make 25-28 pockets)
250 gr flour
75 gr butter* (cold)
1 egg
a pinch of salt
a bit of water, if needed to knead the dough

250 gr chickpeas (canned)
150 gr sugar
zest from 1 lemon or 1/2 orange
a pinch of cinnamon
2 egg yolks
(optionally: 1 handful ground almonds)

+ (optionally***) oil to fry
+ powdered sugar to sprinkle

1. Find a good movie and put a comfortable pillow under your back while peeling chickpeas (yes, you should throw away that thin "membrane"...)

2. Knead all the dough ingredients together. You may need a little bit of water to make your dough elastic but it is optionally. I think that you can replace butter with *vegetable oil or *margarine. Some recipes require the use of *lard. If you have nothing against this ind of fat you should do your azevias with lard exactly, cause it is the most traditional and typical way. Set the dough in the fridge until you are finished with the filling.

3. Blend "naked" chickpeas with lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon (and optionally almonds) and yolks. If needed, add some water (but I didn't). I must admit that I didn't add cinnamon. When I prepare something with cinnamon, I always add too much of this spice cause I just love it and then everything tastes so similar and cinnamon taste dominates. I wanted to feel chickpeas and not necessarily cinnamon, so I just added two times more lemon zest and the taste was fantastic!

4. Roll the dough thinly on your workplace which should be sprinkled with some flour. Cut rings using the edge of a glass, mug or bowl, depending on the size that you wish to obtain. Proportional, put a tea- or tablespoon of a filling and close dough rings forming half-moons. Fry (***or bake!), sprinkle with powdered sugar and control yourself to not eat half of the portion before serving to your family!

**some more information about the filling:
you can serve azevias with chickpea filling, the one I just wrote abozt, but azevias are also eaten with sweet potato (azevias de batata doce), kind of sweet white pumpkin (azevias de gila / chila) or white beans (azevias de feijão). I can't help you with gila/chila cause I've never seen it nor tasted, but if you prefer to make a filling with sweet potato or white beans then just cook those vegetables and add same ingredients as you would add when choosing chickpeas. Just beware cause sweet potato is already a bit sweet. Some recipes omit yolks. Good luck in experimenting! If it is still too difficult and you would like to have an exact recipe how to prepare similar pockets with sweet potato, I will post very soon a very similar, but Spanish recipe, to make truchas de boniato, Canarian Christmas sweet potato delicacy.

Polish (Kashubian) rutabaga soup

Polish: Kaszuby
Kashubian: Kaszëbë
Catalan: Caixúbia
Czech: Kašubsko
Romanian: Caşubia
Italian: Casciubia
German: Kaschubien
Slovenian: Kašubsko
Estonian: Kašuubid
Upper Sorbian & Silesian: Kašuby

Kashubia pretends to be one of the most beautiful regions of Poland and deserves this denomination. Even called "Kashubian Switzerland". Well not because of mountains or chocolate, no... But if we start to divagate, we will easily find several common points. Kashubians speak their own ancient beautiful language (similar to Polish, Kashubian belongs to Slavonic language family) which is unluckily out of national protection, unlike then in Galicia, Catalonia or Bavaria... Without entering into complains or monologue about Kashubian culture, I would like to share with you some Kashubian cooking traditions, and today it will be a delicious and easy recipe to make Kashubian rutabaga soup, in Kashubian: zupa z żeltich wreczi / in Polish: zupa z brukwi.

1/2 kg (about) goose meat (traditionally goose necks)
(+ optionally broth vegetables, which means for example 2 carrots, 1/2 leek, 1/2 celeriac and 1 parsley root - if you are lazy, use vegetable broth instant but of course it won't be the same. If you are a vegetarian, cook a vegetable broth from the vegetable listed above, or take instant broth, and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or any other native oil: flax, pumpkin seed or canola)
1/2 kg rutabagas
1/2 kg potatoes
1 1/2 l water
a pinch of marjoram
salt and pepper

1. Cook meat and broth-vegetables (no need to cut them) in water. You may, as said above, prepare broth in another way.

2. Peel and slice rutabagas. Pour boiling water on them - they will loose some of its bitterness. Add rutabaga slices to broth and cook on a medium heat. In the meantime, peel and dice potatoes. Rutabaga has to be added first cause it needs more time to be soft. Take the meat off. Some people would take the broth vegetables off, too (like me, I hate cooked celeriac). Divide the soup from vegetabels using a sieve and a) blend vegetables, b) mince them with a fork, c) blend half of them and mince another half. Season with majoram, salt and pepper.
Put pieces of cooked meat in serving soup bowls and pour the soup. You may serve it with bread.

my version: vegetable Kashubian soup with chunks (no blended rutabagas!). I really hope that Kashubian purists will not be angrily oppositing by argumenting that the real Kashubian rutabaga soup needs to contain goose necks... Surely, traditionally it HAs to contain goose meat and I am sure it tastes much better made this way. But if you don't eat meat or at the moment you can not find goose necks, try the vegetarian version and you will not be disappointed!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Polish lentil patties

Polish: soczewica
Mapunzugun: jügi
Basque: dilista
Breton: pizenn rous
Persian: عدس
Hebrew: עדשה
Russian: чечевица
French: lentille
Greek: φακή
Upper Sorbian: sok

I love lentils almost as much as I love all kind of patties, fritters or pancakes, especially those savoury ones made from differrent kind of vegetables. If you already tried any of the patties / croquettes that I showed on my blog (grain croquettes from buckwheat , rolled oats or quinoa; sweet croquettes from black locust, apples or carrots; fish croquettes from codfish or herring; pulse/nut croquettes from soybean or walnuts; vegetable croquettes from aubergine, zucchini or spinach - yes, the spinach dumplings can be fried as patties too), I think you may like to taste soczewiaki, Polish lentil-potato patties, too. This dish comes from north-eastern Poland.

(ingredients for 8 patties)
1/2 cup red lentils
potatoes (*see point 1.)
1 big onion
salt, pepper, optionally cumin and curry powder
flour, a bit
garnish: tomato slices, lettuce, parsley

1. Wash potatoes, don't peel them but cook in salted water. The best would be to peel them and leave in the fridge overnight but if not then at least for 2 hours. After that time, grate them with a vegetable grater, not necessarily very fine. Take 1 cup and 1 full tablespoon of grated potatoes - this is the dough for the patties.

2. Wash lentils carefully, until the water in which you wash them is clear. Cook washed lentils in 1 1/2 cup water, covered, on a low heat. After 20 minutes start cooking on a high heat stirring constantly, to obtain a thick lentil puree. Add salt, pepper and optionally curry powder and cumin. I say optionally, cause those last two are not an ingredient of typical soczewiaki, but in my opinion adding curry powder and cumin makes them taste much, much better.

3. Take walnut-size balls from potato puree and roll so thin as you can. You can do it in your hands. Potato dough shouldn't be sticky but you may like to sprinkle your hands with flour. Put a walnut-size ball of lentil puree on each potato sheet and hide it by closing potato sheet and roll.

4. When ready, sprinkle each croquette with some flour and deep-fry. In another saucepan, fry thinly sliced onion half-rings until golden brown.

5. Drain croquettes on a kitchen paper, put a bit of fried onion on each croquette and serve warm or cooled with fresh vegetables.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Swedish rosehip dessert soup

Polish: owoc dzikiej rozy
French: cynorrhodon
Armenian: Մասրենի
Luxembourgian: Mullebutz
Hungarian: csipkebogyó
Finnish: ruusunmarja
Catalan: gavarró
Russian: Шиповник
Breton: agroazenn
Danish: hyben

Summer is a great time. From now until October you can pick rosehips and prepare yourself this delicious nutritive thick sweet velvety soup. The recipe comes from Sweden, where rosehip soup is called nyponsoppa and is very popular, even ready to buy in tetra boxes in supermarkts.

see also: Polish rosehip dessert
see also: Turkish rosehip-meatballs soup
see also: German elderberry soup

1l ripe rosehips
1l water
sugar (about 4-5 tablespoons)
vanilla stick
(optionally heavy, sour or whipped cream)
almond flakes, raisins, little almond cookies (amarettini)

1. Wash rosehips, cut into halves and pour into boiling water with vanilla stick. Cook on a low heat until rosehips are soft (it takes about 30 minutes). Put rosehips aside and keep the water in which they were cooked.

2. Press rosehips trough a fine sieve. Keep rosehip puree in a bowl and pour the rest (peels and stones) back to the rosehip water. Cook again and strain, it should be quite thick. Take 3 amounts of this rosehip water to 1 amount of rosehip puree, add sugar to taste and it should be thick enough. if not, add more rosehip puree. It takes a bit more time than cooking rosehips and adding cornstarch but the soup has a rich intensive taste due to this proceedings.

I am not sure if Swedes eat their sweet fruity soup just like Poles, in the summertime as a light dinner, or rather as a dessert. Anyway, serve with heavy, sour or whipped cream (if you like), sprinkle with raisins, almond flakes and amarettini.

What to do with the rest of rosehip puree? heat it in a saucepan with vanilla mark and 2 tablespoons butter. You will receive a delicious breakfast spread :)

Polish rolled oats croquettes

Polish: owies
Portuguese: aveia
Scots Gaelic: coirce
Persian: یولاف
Catalan: civada
Swahili: oti
Hungarian: zab
Tamil: ஓட்ஸ்
Latvian: auzas
Albanian: tërshëra

Oats are not only horse or chicken fodder :) Don't forget: "oats are only fit to be fed to horses and Scotsmen", and "England has the finest horses, and Scotland the finest men", cause they eat oat porridge, pancakes and cookies and drink oat beer. Scotsmen and other nations of northern Europe especially, cause oats are grown throughout the temperate zones and tolerate raining moist cold weather, so even in Iceland oat cookies are made with icelandic oats :) In Poland some people prepare rolled oat savoury patties (kotleciki owsiane) for a warm evening meal.

(8 croquettes)
cup rolled oats + a handful more
1 cup water / vegetable stock
1 medium potato / 1 big champignon
1/2 cup parsley green
2 big onions
1 egg
salt, pepper, curry powder (to taste)
1 scallion
2-3 garlic cloves

1. Pour rolled oats into a bowl and add boiling water / stock. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Chop onions, scallion, mash garlic, grate potato (or champignon). Fry all of them in a saucepan until onions are golden brown.

3. Combine soaked oats (they should absorb the whole water and become a mush) with fried ingredients, finelychopped parsley, whisked egg, salt, pepper and curry powder. Form round croquettes and roll them in the resting rolled oats. Fry in oil and serve with salad or sauce. I served it with cooked buckwheat and tomato slices.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Polish buckwheat patties

Polish: gryka
Basque: artobeltz
Bulgarian: елда
Spanish: alforfón
Hungarian: hajdina
French: sarrasin
Waloon: boûkete
Ukrainian: гречка
Slovenian: ajda
Chinese: 蕎麥

So you may think that buckwheat is eaten only as a bulgur-like porridge by eastern Europeans and Ashkenazi Jews in North America? You are so wrong! The groats may be used for Polish buckwheat-curd cheese filling for dumplings and you will find them in famous delicious Polish and German black pudding. Buckwheat flour (non glutinous!) is even more prevalent: in Slovenian nut roll (potiča); in French (Brittany) pancakes (galettes) or Russian (blini) or Slovenian ones (idinska zlevanka); in Slovenian dumplings (Žganci) or Austrian ones (Sterz; in Korean jelly (memilmuk); in Japanese noodles (soba) or Italian ones (pizzoccheri)... of course there are much more dishes that are still unknown to me... And today I am gonna show you how to prepare Polish (eastern-Polish) buckwheat-curd cheese patties, hreczniaki.

1/2 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup tvarog (fresh curd cheese)*
1/2 cup chopped parsley green
1 big onion
1 egg
1 scallion
1/3 cup flour (integral flour more than welcome) + a bit more to sprinkle
salt, pepper to taste

1. Cook buckwheat in 1 cup water (or vegetable stock) until soft but still loose (no mush!); you should obtain 1 cup of cooked buckwheat porridge

2. Mash cheese with a fork.
*If you find no East-European tvarog cheese, take any fresh white cheese, be it Turkish, Greek (feta inclusive) or anything, but not too salty. But then, control the adding of salt! I had no right cheese at the moment so I took Turkish cow milk feta-like cheese from the can and I couldn't complain about the final result!

3. Mash cheese together with buckwheat, egg, chopped and fried onion, chopped and fried scallion, chopped parsley green, salt and pepper. At the end add flour (prepare 1/3 cup and add it spoon by spoon, until you reach a right consistency, which means until you will be able to form croquettes).

4. As said above, form croquettes and sprinkle them with flour. Now they are ready to be fried. Serve warm with mushroom sauce (or any other sauce) and/ or cooked vegetables (or salad) as a dinner or serve cold with a salad.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Turkish zucchini patties

Polish: cukinia
Estonian: puhmik-õlikõrvits
Japanese: ズッキーニ
Catalan: carbassó
Portuguese: aboborinha
Malagasy: korizety
Greek: κολοκυθάκι
Icelandic: dvergbítur
Marathi: दोडके
Occitan: cogorgeta

It is great that God created zucchini! This lovely vegetable can be eaten in a sweet or savoury way. Remember Egyptian zucchini pudding? In Australia you can find sweet zucchini cake! (which I am gonna prepare as soon as I am in a kitchen with an oven...) In Poland and Russia zucchini fritters are seasoned in a sweet way, too. With sugar and sometimes honey and sour cream. Quite to the contrary, Turkish zucchini patties, mucver, contain salted cheese and savoury seasoning. I eat them sometimes for breakfast :) The ingredients are the following:

2 medium zucchinis
1 egg
1/2 cup feta cheese (or similar)
a handful chopped parsley green
a handful chopped dill
3 scallions
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt, pepper, cumin

1. Peel and grate zucchinis. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 15-20 minutes. After that, squeeze as much as you can

2. Mash cheese with well squeezed zucchini, chopped scallions, parsley and dill, mashed garlic cloves, flour mixed with baking powder, beaten egg and salt, pepper and cumin (to taste). Fry and serve warm or cooled with vegetables.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Nepalese lentil soup

Polish: imbir
Tamil: இஞ்சி
Portuguese: gengibre
Turkish: zencefil
Twi: kekadru
Silesian: zozwor
Arabic: زنجبيل
Italian: zenzero
Finnish: inkivääri
Basa Jawa: jae

Ginger is one of several ingredients that make this Nepalese lentil soup differrent to the Egyptian one, and deffinitely adding ginger changes the taste a lot. Ginger also stimulates the secretion of saliva so your reaction by tasting this soup would be differrent, too :) This time the recipe is from "the second hand"; I found it in a German missionary magazine so I don't have the original name of this dish and I am not 100% sure if it is really original Nepalese recipe and a soup often eaten in this country and made of those ingredienta and prepared in this way. But I have to believe the recipe, cause it was given by a nepalese restaurant chef living in Germany. I tried it and I am in love in this soup :) The ingredients are the following:

350 gr red lentils
1 l vegetable stock
200 ml cream (I took sour cream 10% fat)
1 stick ginger (2 cm)
3 tomatoes, medium
1 big onion
1/2 teaspoon curcuma
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper

1. Wash lentils carefully. Boil some water and pour it over tomatoes; peel them and throw the seeds away. Cook lentils, tomatoes, finely grated ginger and curcuma powder in vegetable stock until lentils are soft (20-30 minutes). When ready, puree everything or press through a sieve.

2. Add cream to the soup, season with salt and pepper and make warm.

3. Cut onion into thin slices and fry in butter with cumin powder.

4. Divide the soup into portions, put some fried onion in the middle of each bowl (you can decorate it with parsley green, too) and enjoy!

Brasilian sweet corn pudding

Polish: kukurydza
Malagasy: katsaka
Zulu: ukolweni
Bambara: kaba
Basa Jawa: jagung
Nahuatl: cintli
Slovenian: koruza
Thai: ข้าวโพด
Ossetian: Нартхор
Bantu: pémbá

My Peruvain friend was somehow surprised that in Poland we have basically only yellow corn in cans and not much idea what to do with the fresh one, besides grilling or cooking and eating with melted butter and salt. Plus, cornflakes and corn porridge cooked with milk and sugar for children. Oh yes, and we have (at least in my city) great corn bread, yellow and soft. While in Peru there are so many variants, including the purple one, an ingredient of mazamorra, purple corn pudding, something I am dreaming about to try :) Maize is a staple food in many regions of the world, just remember Italian polenta, Romanian mămăligă, African sadza, Mexican chicha and tortillas, Peruvian mazamorra :) and so on, without forgetting corn syrup and cornflakes. Maize can be prepared on a sweet or savoury way and to proove the first declaration, prepare yourself a Brasilian dessert, curau (when made from fresh yellow maize; when white dried and soaked in water is used, the dish is called canjica), which is a kind of milk pudding with corn.

see also: Egyptian zucchini pudding

4 fresh corn cobs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
sugar to taste

1. Grate corn cobs using a fine vegetable grater. If your grater is not very fine, you can puree the corns in a pood processor. Strain through a strainer and squeeze with a spoon to divide bagasse from juice. Throw bagasse away, keep the juice.

2. Put the maize juice in milk and cook until thicker. After about 20 minutes of low cooking and stirring, add coconut milk and sugar to taste (I added 5 tablespoons vanilla sugar) and cook some minutes more

3. When the cream is homogeneous and thick, pour it into bowls and set aside to cool. Set in the fridge for about 2 hours. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve! (traditionally, especially during Festa Juninha, Midsummer Night!)