Monday, 27 April 2009

Spring cold soups

Polish: Chłodnik
Belarusian: Хaлaднiк
Russian: Холодник
Ukrainian: Холодник
Lithuanian: Šaltibarščiai

Chłodnik means cold summer soup. It is eaten not only in Poland but also in other east-European countries. The most popular variant is made with beets and/or young beet leaves, kefir or soured milk and many differrent young fresh raw vegetables and vegetable greens. There are also non-beet variants, sour: with sorrel, tomato, kohlrabi or cucumber, and several fruit ones: especially with currants, strawberries (or wild strawberries), melon or cherry soup. And countless new creative versions. As a child, when my mum was pregnant with my brother, we had to eat meals at a dairy bar and we were eating chłodnik and crepes with curd cheese filling. My homemade chłodnik tastes much better :) The one made with beet leaves is called botwina. If you don't have baby beet fresh leaves, hopefully you could see, to inspire yourself, my attempts of making chłodnik when I was abroad and far away from beet leaves :)

for 3 portions:
2 bunches young beet leaves (each bunch contains 3-4 tiny beets)
2 medium beets
2 bunches radishes
1 bunch chives
1 bunch dill
1/2 lemon
3 cups kefir
1 cup yoghurt
3 eggs

1. Boil eggs for 10 minutes.

2. Cut beet leaves and stalks very finely. Peel tiny beets (those from leaves) and normal beets. Cut those bigger into fourths. Cook them in few (1 cup) water (some people take vegetable broth) until beets are soft. When ready, add freshly squeezed lemon juice.

3. Chop very finely other vegetables: chives, dill and radishes. Pour kefir and yoghurt into the bowl and add chopped vegetables.

4. Using a vegetable grater, grate cooked beets. Add beets, beet leaves and the water in which they were cooked, to the kefir.

5. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice or apple vinegar and maybe also with garlic. Serve with egg halves (and probably some chopped parsley green)

and here comes another recipe, less popular but also tasty: sorrel chłodnik with whey(chłodnik szczawiowy na serwatce)

250 gr sorrel leaves
3 cups whey (see here how to make whey)
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon butter

1. Bring whey to boil. Whisk cream (of room temperature; not taken directly from the fridge!) with flour until there are no clumps and add to warm whey. Stir and let boil again. Set aside.

2. Chop sorrel finely and stew it with butter and probably very few water for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. Add sorrel to cooled whey, salt to taste and sprinkle with dill. Serve with potatoes (serve warm boiled potato chunks on a separate plate or pour cold soup over warm potatoes in a bowl). You can also add boiled egg halves.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


Polish: mniszek
Slovakian: púpava
Upper Sorbian: mlóč
Czech: pampeliška
Ukrainian: кульбаба
Russian: одуванчик
Croatian: maslačak
Slovenian: regrat
Bulgarian: глухарче

I hope that other food lovers will forgive me that I lied when I said that spring means young beet and radish leaves. I really didn't mean to forget about dandelions, young nettles, violets and woodruff. I just spent a weekend at my grandparents' village and I am so relaxed and happy, with a bag full of ecological fresh dandelion greens. I collected them thinking about Swiss dandelion pie, quiche dent-de-lion. Of course, as a true soups lover, I was experimenting with dandelion soup, too. Pictures below.

pie shell:
200 g flour
1 teaspoon salt
80 g butter (cold!)
50 ml (cold!) water

50 g dandelion leaves (chopped)
100 g camembert cheese
100 ml 30% cream
200 ml milk
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
few freshly ground nutmeg

1. Prepare the pie shell by kneading rapidly all the ingredients (they have to be cold, as said above). make a ball and leave in the fridge (min.30 minutes!)

2. Prepare the filling: beat eggs with milk and cream, add finally chopped camembert, salt, nutmeg (pepper, paprika) and chopped dandelion leaves.

3. Cover your pyrex dish or baking tray with few butter, roll thinly the dough and place in the dish, pick several times with a fork and pour egg-dandelion filling. Bake about 30 minutes in 180C oven. I guess that meat-eaters could add some cubes of ham or favourite sausage to the filling. This pie can also be made with fresh spinach or (especially) bear's garlic (ramsons).

A dandelion leaves soup was very easy to make. I was actually looking for some traditional regional dandelion soup recipe, but I didn'y find any, so I used my imagination and chopped some handfuls of dandelion leaves, 3 onions, 6 small potatoes, fried raw vegetables, cooked in homemade vegetable broth and thickned with sour cream mixed with fat countryside milk and 1 tablespoon of flour. It tastes nicely sourish and bitter and a bit like spinach and this is how it looks like:

And, one of the most important things to do in spring is to collect dandelion blooms! don't forget to do it right now to prepare dandelion syrup! (recipe available here)

Friday, 24 April 2009

French radish leaves soup

Polish: rzodkiewka
Silesian: radiska
Tongan: lētisifoha
Greek: ρεπάνι
Mohawk: yotsihkwatskàra
Ukrainian: редиска
Lithuanian: ridikas
Gujarati: મૂળો
Scots Gaelic: meacan-ruadh
Calabrese: rafanèddru

Soupe de fanes de radis, is a French spring soup, made from radish leaves. I must say that when I wait for spring, I am thinking about: Easter, blooming forsythia, beet leaves (to prepare botwina, cold beet soup) and radish leaves (to prepare radish leaves soup). If you have bio radishes around you, don't hesitate and try this soup, it's worth your effort!

(3 portions)
leaves from 2 radish bunches
2-3 potatoes
2 onions or 1 leek
broth (3 cups)
milk (1 cup) - can be replaced by broth
creme fraiche / grated cheese

1. Chop radish leaves and onions/leek. Fry onions (leeks) in oil until golden, add leaves and slowly simmer few minutes more (let's say, 5 minutes)

2. In a saucepan, boil cubed potatoes in broth. Add simmered vegetables and cook just until potatoes are soft. Puree or press through a sieve (which is not recommended, cause it won't be that easy with radish leaves...), pour into the saucepan again, add milk and seasoning (salt, pepper) and slightly heat again. And that's it! Oh, and you can garnish it with grated cheese or crème fraîche just before serving.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Russian sorrel patties

Polish: szczaw
Albanian: lëpjetë
Wolof: bisaab
Tatar: quzğalaq
Kazakh: қымыздық
Faroese: hømilia
Breton: triñchin
Furlan: panevin
Manx: shughlaig
French: oseille

I guess it may be difficult to find fresh sorrel leaves in many countries. Here in Poland many people cultivate sorrel in their gardens and you can easily buy it in spring in the markt. I am a huge fan of three most common edible Polygonaceae: buckwheat, rhubarb and sorrel. I lately learned a wonderful Russian recipe for sorrel patties, called Пироги с щавелем. They taste... well sourish, and neither sweet nor salty, it is that kind of meal that you can serve with cream or sprinkled with sugar (analogically: in Poland people eat placki ziemniaczane / latkes / raw potato pancakes sprinkled with sugar; in Ecuador people eat empanadas de viento / patties with cheese and onion filling sprinkled with sugar). So don't be afraid of adding sugar to the sorrel filling. Remember: sorrel mixed with sugar tastes like rhubarb! :)

400 gr curd cheese / twaróg
2,5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons sour cream
80 gr butter (melted)
1 egg
fresh sorrel leaves (about 400 gr) + sugar + few oil

1. Cut sorrel finely and place it in a bowl, sprinkle with few oil, cover and heat for 2 minutes in mictowave (sorrel will loose its fresh colour and reduce volume)

2. Press curd cheese through a sieve. Add sifted flour, sodium bicarbonate, salt, sugar, sour cream, melted butter and egg. Mix well.

3. Take a tomato-size ball of the dough, sprinkle with few flour just to be able to roll it. Put about 2 tablespoons of sorrel and 1 teaspoon of sugar on the top of rolled dough, hide the filling by closing the dough and form a croquette. Fry them and serve (possibly with sour cream or few sugar)
ps. they are DELICIOUS!!!!!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Polish Easter

Polish: Wielkanoc
Kashubian: Jastrë
English: Easter
Albanian: Pashkët
Mokshan: Очижи
Lithuanian: Velykos
Georgian: აღდგომა
Ossetian: Куадзæн
Swabian: Auschdra
Croatian: Uskrs

Easter breakfast is the most important thing about celebrating Easter in Poland. Everyone wakes up very early and participates at Rezurekcja (6 o'clock a.m. Holy Mass); the naive one who plans to be lazy and sleep longer rather won't be able to, cause at this time you will hear everywhere clangor of special instruments, petards, bells and so on. After that, at least in my family, men prepare and decorate breakfast table while women bake white sausage, season żurek and decorate meals. However, almost everything is already done. Pisanki are painted, żur is already sour, babka is waiting to be served... A culinary must are: żurek, sour rye soup (eaten with chunks of white sausage and boiled eggs, often served in cored little breads), baked white sausage, eggs and babka with mazurek, two kinds of cakes, a flat and a tall one. Often people serve pascha, curd cheese dessert, and chałka, hallah bread. There is actually no other meal this day, people just sit together, start eating breakfast, talk, spend lazy time, heat resting żurek and kiełbasa for dinner and leave the table only to cut some more bread or to boil new portion of tea.

see also: pictures of my family's 2008 Easter breakfast dishes

This year my family's Easter menu was:

* żurek - sour rye soup (for more details, visit the previous post). Sometimes can be replaced by horseradish soup, sometimes people cook a fusion of both: a delicious horseradish żur. The main thing is a sour taste!)
* pieczona biała kiełbasa - baked white sausage
* rolada szpinakowa - spinach & smoked salmon & horseradish cheese roll
* chicken-vegetable (pea, bean, corn, radish etc.) salad
* ser jajeczny - egg cheese (eggs cooked with milk until curdles; looks like cheese, tastes like eggs, traditionally eaten with horseradish sauce)
* jajka - hard-boiled eggs (plain or marinated in beetroot juice) with mayonnaise
* homemade bread
* chałka - hallah
* puff pastry poppy seed pigtails
* babka (egg-yeast tall traditional cake, this year with coffee flavour and coffee icing)
* mazurek (the flat cake; this year with Easter rabbit)
* cooked (yes! not baked! just cooked!) cheesecake with poppy seed-coconut roll cake
* pear-jelly-biscuit cake
* homemade butter
* ćwikła (horseradish with beets), horseradish sauce, red and black kaviar
* sos tatarski - tartar sauce (mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, chopped pickled sour cucumbers, capers, champignons, hard-boiled eggs, chives, lemon juice)
* slices of fresh vegetables, homemade pickled mushrooms
* homemade (preserved) cherry juice (kompot wisniowy)

bread, tartar sauce, eggs and egg cheese:

beet-dyed-eggs and egg cheese:

mayonnaise eggs, homemade butter, spinach roll:

spinach roll:

chicken-vegetable salad with duck-egg on the top, sauces and kaviar:

mushrooms and garden cress:



pear-jelly-biscuit cake:

raspberry pascha:


cooked cheesecake hidden in poppy seed-coconut roll:

An important ingredient of eastern breakfast is a plate full of differrent sausages, just like these

Traditional Easter decoration are: garden cress and oat grass, box twigs, willow twigs with catkins, daffodils, myrtle, little lambs (symbol of Jesus Christ) and obviously pisanki, which are eggs painted, dyed, scratched, decorated with bulrush pith or painted with melted wax

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Polish sausages

I guess I am a lucky person, because my mother's family comes from the countryside. We go there not as often as we'd like to, but at least twice a year, for Christmas and Easter, and it is when we taste homemade sausages, my grandmother's hen's eggs and fresh milk. Here you can see examples of homemade eastern Polish delicacies, always eaten for Easter, but also for a simple breakfast :)

from the top of the page to the right: słonina (salo), polędwica (tenderloin), pasztetowa (liverwurst), kaszanka (black pudding), boczek (bacon), boczek faszerowany (stuffed bacon)

here: szynka (ham) and kiełbasa (well... even in English people say kielbasa...)

this is how people in eastern Poland (Mazovia-Podlachia) usually eat Polish black pudding (kaszanka), a blood-buckwheat sausage: mashed and fried, with fried onion slices, few chopped parsley, sour cucumber slices and bread (often rye bread)

and here, an obligatory sausage for Easter breakfast: biała kiełbasa (white sausage). At home, for Easter breakfast, we:
a) cook it in a famous Easter sour rye soup called żur or żurek (we serve żurek with thick slices of biała kiełbasa and hard-boiled egg. Żurek can be also served in bread);
b) bake it in the oven with rings of onion (like on the picture below)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Austrian pumpkin seed cake

Polish: pestki dyni
Spanish: pepitas (de calabaza)
Catalan: llavors de carbassa
Venetian: megołete
German: Kürbiskerne
Italian: semi di zucca
French: graines de potiron
Hungarian: sütőtök mag
Estonian: kõrvitsaseemned
Lithuanian: moliūgų sėklos

Styria (Steiermark) in s a region of Austria, where pumpkins grow and where people have many creative ideas how to use pumpkin seeds. I guess they must be all very healthy cause pumpkin seeds are helpful in combating many diseases. So Styrians not only cook pumpkin soup but also bake bake pumpkin seed cakes and cookies. Here is a great example: Kürbiskernkuchen, pumpkin seed cake.

100 gr pumpkin seeds
100 gr flour(*)
4 eggs
60 gr icing sugar
40 gr sugar (or vanilla sugar)
1 tablespoon rum
a pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
100 gr white cuverture (or simply white chocolate)
25 gr coconut fat (copha)
(optionally: 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil)

1. Beat yolks with sugar and whites with icing sugar. Grind pumpkin seeds (possibly in coffee grinder)

2. Sieve flour with baking powder, cinnamon and ground seeds. Add rum. Whisk yolks with icing sugar and whites with crystal sugar (vanilla sugar). Add yolks to the flour, stir well (**) and add well beaten egg whites. bake about 30 minutes (or until the surface of the cake becomes golden) in 180C oven.

3. Prepare the icing: melt chocolate with copha (and pumpkin seed oil) in a double boiler. When icing is homogeneous and still warm, while the cake is already cool, you can start covering thr cake with a spatula. Don't be afraid of oil in the icing - it will only give a green colour to the icing.

(*)Many people use other proportions by taking less flour than pumpkin seeds but then, the cake won't grow and can be difficult to cut. But you can experiment and add only 50 or 75 gr flour.

(**) Plus, I have to tell you that the cake, instead of oily seeds, is quite dry. A good idea would be to add 1/2 cup (pumpkin seed) oil, maybe just after adding yolks to the flour, to make it a bit more moist.

Polish whey borscht

Polish: serwatka
French: petit-lait
Luxembourgish: Wässeg
Lithuanian: išrūgos
Hindi: छाछ
Albanian: hirrë
Xhosa: ingqaka
Spanish: suero
Slovakian: sirotka
Arabic: شرش اللبن

Whey soup, again! This time a very winter-to-spring-turn recipe. In Poland, beetroot is often eaten during the wintertime, while one of the first culinary appearances of spring is rhubarb chard (botwina / boćwina). Chard is often used in cold or warm spring/summer soups, like chłodnik. If you already have chard, you can prepare a great borscht (sour beet soup) with whey. Actually, beet-whey borscht (podhalański barszcz na serwatce) belongs to Polish Tatra cuisine. It is cheap and easy to make. I decided to modify this tasty recipe a bit, so I added chard.

How to make a whey at home? Check here

see also: Polish horseradish-whey soup
see also: Polish millet-whey soup
see also: Moldovan whey soup

(3 portions)
4 medium beets
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup yoghurt / sour cream
2 cups whey
seasoning: salt, sugar, apple vinegar
(+ 1 bunch rhubarb chard, 1 onion)*

1. Cook beets and potatoes separately. Peel and dice. (chop onion and chard, fry in oil about 5 minutes)*

2. In a saucepan, put diced beets (and chopped fried chard with onion)*. Add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Add whey and season (with salt, sugar, vinegar and probably also garlic) to taste. Turn off the heat, add sour cream (yoghurt) and stir well. Don't bring to boil anymore, just heat if needed.

3. Put some diced potatoes into an eating bowl and add soup. You can also serve potatoes separately, on a small plate.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Belarussian champignon croquettes

Polish: pieczarki
Greek: ασπρομανίταρο
Hungarian: csiperkegomba
Lithuanian: pievagrybis
Catalan: xampinyó
Bulgarian: печурка
Russian: шампиньон
Croatian: sirnjača
Manx: shalmane

Champignons, just like every mushroom, are not especially rich in vitamins, proteins or minerals, but because of their taste they are often eaten in Poland and eastern Europe. I know Belorussian champignon croquettes from an old cookbook, which my grandmother gave to my mother. in poland people also make differrent champignon croquettes, but i prefer this Belarussian recipe. Грибные котлеты are very delicious!

500 gr champignons
1 onion
1 egg
few scallions
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon parsley
1 clove garlic
a slice of bread
breadcrumbs (about 1/2 cup)

1. Cook champignons until they are soft (10-15 minutes). Coarsely chop onion and slightly fry it. Soak bread in few lukewarm water. Squeeze it.

2. Using meat grinder, grind cooked champignons, squeezed slice of bread, fried onion, dill, parsley, scallions and garlic. Having it together in a bowl, stir in 1 egg and spoon by spoon add breadcrumbs until the point that you'll be able to form and fry croquettes.

3. Form oval croquettes, roll them in breadcrumbs and fry. Serve with salad.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Polish carrot-poppy roll cake

Polish: marchew
Gujarati: ગાજર
Hindi: गाजर
Marathi: गाजर
Punjabi: ਗਾਜਰ
Sanskrit: गृञ्जनकम्
Tamil: காரட்
Telugu: గాజర గడ్డ
Urdu: گاجر

Carrots, again :) Can there be something more Polish than poppy seed, roll cake and carrots? Well yes, mead, buckwheat, beetroots... and so on... Oh well... Anyway, I guess lots of people consider poppy seed a typical central and eastern European ingredient and they are just right. There are millions of poppy seed recipes (cakes, pies, buns, dumplings and so on). My today's recipe is called marchwiak. Well, marchew means just carrot in Polish. Marchwiak is a roll cake with carrot-poppy filling from Lubelszczyzna, a beautiful region of eastern Poland, with Lublin as its capital city. Marchwiaki were traditionally baked for All Saint's Day. A very similar yeast roll cake, but with other filling (apple-poppy) was baked by my grandmum (she comes from Podlasie, a region next to Lubelszczyzna; to see more pictures of this beautiful region of Poland, visit a stunning blog with awesome pictures from Podlasie. More pictres for example here. Pictures from Lubelszczyzna can be found here)

500 gr flour
50 gr fresh yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 egg
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lard (melted)
3/4 cup grated carrot*
1 handful poppy seeds
(optionally add 1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest - it is not included to the traditional recipe, but it will improve the taste deffinitely)
icing: icing sugar + lemon juice
few poppy seeds more to sprinkle

1. Heat the milk (but don't boil it), add yeast, sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Set in a warm place and let it grow.

2. Sieve flour, add yeast, water, whisked 2 yolks with 1 egg, salt and melted lard (everything in room temperature, as it always should be when baking yeast cakes!) and knead the dough. When everything combines well and you obtained elastic dough, form a ball and let it grow in a bowl. When it doubles its surface, knead again. I did this point in a bread machine (kneading and growing program)

3. Sprinkle your workplace with some flour. Now decide if you want 2 rolls or 1 roll and six lovely buns. In next point I will first continue about how to make roll cake.

4. Roll the dough (actually, roll only a half of your dough; the second half is to make a second roll or sweet breakfast buns - or just reduce the proportions, which I never made, cause I always prepare a roll cake and breakfast buns :P)

5. When your dough is rolled into 0,5 - 1 cm thick, smear it with egg white. I do it always in Christmas poppy seed or nut roll cakes to avoid gaps between dough and filling. Now, sprinkle it with grated carrot and a handful of poppy seed (and optionally lemon or orange zest, which is highly recommended and, if you wish the roll to be sweeter, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar)
* 3/4 cup is to fill 1 roll cake. prepare also another 3/4 cup to fill the second roll if you decide to bake 2 rolls

6. Now slowly fold the dough. Put it gently on a sheet of baking paper. Sprinkle with the resting few poppy seeds. Bake in 180C oven about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Prepare the icing my mixing lemon juice with icing sugar and pour it on already cooled roll cake.

8. About sweet breakfast buns - after kneading-growing process, just form lovely round-shaped buns (I make six) and let them grow for a while. Smear with egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake until golden brown. I don't have any picture of them, my family was too fast :(

Polish soda breads

Polish: soda (do pieczenia)
German: Speisesoda
Croatian: soda bikarbona
Spanish: bicarbonato de sodio
Bulgarian: сода за хляб
Ukrainian: Гідрокарбонат натрію
French: bicarbonate alimentaire

Proziaki , sisters of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern pita bread / khubs, are flat soda breads, baked on the top plate of warm stove. Commonly eaten in Polish Carpathians but not only; my mum, who comes from central-eastern Poland, know them from her childhood, but under a simple name placki (pancakes). If you can use a real stove, you are lucky. If not, you can still bake proziaki, just take the thickest frying pan you have and bake them dry, without any oil. I actually regret that I prepared them cause now my mum is molesting me each morning to bake some proziaki for breakfast... We cut them just like bread rolls, smear with butter and eat with bittercress and cucumber

500 gr flour
1 cup sour milk (Polish: zsiadłe mleko; optionally: sour cream or thick yoghurt)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon bread soda (sodium bicarbonate)
(some people experiment by adding 1 egg or few curd fresh cheese)

1. Sieve all loose ingredients into a bowl. Spoon by spoon, add sour milk and kned in your hands. You should obtain thick but elastic dough.

2. Sprinkle your workplace with flour. Roll the dough until 0,5 cm thick and cut into squares with a knife or into circles with a big cookie cutter or glass.

(1st pic: proziaki before and after baking)

Lithuanian apple cookies

Polish: jabłko
Amharic: ፖም
Hausa: áfùl
Kirundi: ipome
Malagasy: pôma
Sesotho: apole
Shona: ápuro
SiSwati: li-hhábhula
Somali: tufaax
Wolof: pom

Apples are the most common fruits in central and eastern Europe, but I guess quite rare in Africa. For language lovers, apple in Polish and several african languages, and for apple lovers - delicious, soft Lithuanian apple cookies, obuoliniai sausainiai (they taste like soft thick fluffy biscuit omelettes; they'll melt in your mouth!)

(to make about 12 cookies)
125 gr flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
70 gr sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar and/or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup oil
a pinch of salt
300 gr apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
icing sugar to sprinkle

1. Peel apples, cut into small cubes and sprinkle with lemon juice

2. Beat egg with sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add sour cream and oil and continue beating.

3. Sieve flour with baking soda, add beaten eggs and apple cubes.

4. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Place tablespoons of the batter on the tray. Bake 15-20 minutes in 180C oven (they should be lovely brownish on the top). Cool down and sprinkle with icing sugar (optionally: mixed with ground cinnamon)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Polish whey-millet soup

Polish: serwatka
Pashto: چکه
English: whey
vietnamese: nước sữa
German: Molke
Punjabi: ਛਾੰਛ
Suahili: gururu
Icelandic: mysa
Estonian: vadak
Sestwana: mokaro

Polish (and East European) soups with groats (usually barley, but also buckwheat or millet) are called krupnik. This word comes from old-Polish word krupy, which means just groats. Krupnik contains also lots of differrent vegetables and often dried mushrooms. The recipe I am going to show you now has no vegetables besides potatoes, but tastes nicely sour because of whey. This recipe comes from Miechów, a town in southern Poland. Ladies and gentlemen, Polish whey-millet soup, miechowski krupnik na serwatce!

see also: Polish horseradish-whey soup
see also: Moldovan whey soup

5 cups whey
200 gr millet
500 gr potatoes
1 bunch dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
salt, sugar

1. Wash millet in cold water. Plunge into boiling water, after few minutes set on a colander and place under cold running water. Now you can simply cook millet in 2 cups water or broth for 15 minutes (don't overcook, just observe the grains!)

2. Separately, cook unpeeled potatoes.

3. Pour whey into a saucepan, add chopped dill, cooked millet, cooked, peeled and diced potatoes, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and sugar. Bring to boil.

4. Turn off the heat. Pour sour cream to a bowl, add 1 cup of whey soup and stir well. Add it to the pan with the soup and stir. Don't boil anymore.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Waffle cake tutorial + vanilla filling

Wafer cake (torcik waflowy, sometimes called pishinger) is very popular in Poland, but also in Russia and probably other east-european countries. Simply wafer sheets filled with differrent kind of creams. Thanks to Feedjit I know that many internauts visit my blog in search of filled wafer cake recipe, and I know that some of you make this cake in a wrong way. That is why I decided to give you a kind of tutorial, to explain you step by step how to prepare this delicious, simply no-bake cake.

First of all, you need big wafer sheets (outside Poland, available in Polish or Russian groceries) -> like these or these. There are even heart-shaped waffles :) Don't you believe me? Go and see what a Polish blogger made with her waffles in a free time :)

Secondly, you have to choose the filling. There are plenty of differrent fillings, for example:
- toffee filling (or more extravagant: toffee with cookies)
- fruity filling
- helva filling
- peanut cream filling*
- eggnog cream filling
- honey cream filling
- lekvar-choco filling
- cacao cream filling
- vanilla cream filling
The most popular fillings in Poland are toffee filling (cook a can of condensed milk for 3 hours in a pot with water, open the can, beat the toffee that you just obtained with some soft butter) or powdered milk-based cacao cream. I promise to show you in the future more differrent filling recipes.
*this filling is delicious but you need to double or triple this recipe to be able to fill 1 pack of wafer sheets

Third thing is decoration. You can just leave undecorated filled wafers and cut them into diamonds, or spread with chocolate glaze and sprinkle with chopped nuts (other ideas are more than welcome). Torcik waflowy is often made for Easter and decorated just like mazurek, a famous Polish Easter cake. Just decorate waffle cake like mazurek or cut it into a shape of egg and decorate - like here or here.

Ok. If you already have made your plans, let's start!

1. Prepare enough cream (better more than less). At least 2 cups of cream for 1 pack of waffles.

2. Smear cream on waffles, when it is still warm! Don't skimp it, remember to cover the whole waffle with about 5mm of filling! Start from the inside.

Remember, begin with a wafer sheet and end with a wafer sheet - cream should stay inside! Cause...

3. ...cause when you are done with smearing waffles, now you have to wrap your cake into a baking paper or culinary aluminium paper. Leave it in a cool place and load it by putting a heavy big enciclopedia on the top of the wrapped cake! If not, soft (by a warm cream) waffle sheets will probaly deform. By loading our cake, it stays well-shaped and the filling glues wafer sheets (but remember, just like I said before, each sheet needs a lot of filling!) the best would be to leave the cake overnight but if not, than at least 2 hours. After that time, sheets will stay soft and the filling won't run down by cutting the cake!

4. Only now you can cut your cake into diamonds (or any other portions) and put on a plate or... decorate it and serve without cutting.

Now the fifth filling option (after toffe, fruity, helva and peanut filling), the one my mum got from my aunt Basia, who makes the best cakes of the world: sweet and delicious milky vanilla filling

1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
250 gr margarine (important: no butter!)
3 cups powdered milk*
few drops vanilla flavouring
(optionally: 1/2 teaspoon cocoa. If you add 3-4 tablespoons pure cocoa powder, you'll obtain vanilla-cocoa cream)
*If your cream is thick enough, you can add a bit less powdered milk. Or, take 2 cups powdered milk and 1 cup ground walnuts/almods/coconut flakes!

1. In a saucepan, bring to boil milk, margarine and sugar. Pour into a bowl and gradually add small amounts of powdered milk (nuts, cocoa) and flavouring and stir well all the time (make no clumps!). Smear waffles... well... and follow the tutorial instructions above (from point 2) :)

2. Optionally, melt 100 gr milk chocolate with 25 gr copha (coconut fat), decorate the cake, sprinkle with chopped nuts, decorate with nut halves, candies, coconut flakes or anything you like! It's really delicious!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Polish Jews sweet matzo pancakes

Polish: maca
Slovakian: maces
Arabic: مصة
Hebrew: מצה
Dutch: matse
German: Matze
Russian: маца
Romanian: pască
Portuguese: matzá
Japanese: マッツァー

Many dishes of Polish Jews are today considered regional specialities, and same time Polish regional cuisine left influences in Jewish recipes. Matzo and challah are available in most Polish groceries; Bagels originates in Poland; raw potato fritters, stuffed goose necks, fish in almonds and raisins, red cabbage salad and noodle-curd pies are eaten commonly at Vistula river. Nevertheless, many Polish Jews dishes are today forgotten, but thanks God there still are old cookbooks :) Here is a great recipe for Polish Jews delicacy, sweet matzo pancakes, called chremzel.

100 gr matzo
50 gr almonds
50 gr sugar
4 eggs
200 ml wine
a pinch of salt
a pinch of baking powder
a drop of almond flavouring

1. Grind matzo and peeled almonds in coffee grinder. Heat wine with sugar (leave 3 tablespoons apart). Pour warm wine over ground matzo and almonds.

2. Beat yolks with resting sugar (those 3 tablespoons). Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Combine yolks with wine matzo, almond flavouring and baking powder. Add stiff egg whites and slightly mix under matzo dough.

3. Fry small pancakes in oil. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Polish dill soup

Polish: koperek
Berber: aslili
Dhivehi: ދަމުއި
Manx: lus veein
Greek: άνηθο
Spanish: eneldo
Japanese: イノンド
German: Dill
Persian: شوید
Basque: ezamihilu

Dill was the most favourite seasoning of a Polish medieval poet, Mikołaj Rej. I guess Mikołaj never ate young boiled potatoes with butter and dill, accompaigned by a glass of fresh kefir or soured milk, a popular summer Polish meal, cause in medieval Poland potatoes were still unknown. But I guess he could know the taste of herring in dill, soured cucumbers pickled with dill, fish in dill sauce or dill soup (maybe a bit different than mine). Polish zupa koperkowa, dill soup, is really a very tasty dish. And an extremely easy one, you will be done in 10 minutes!!! Eat dill and you'll be strong, dill was stimulating Roman gladiators and strengthing Egyptian pyramid constructors :)

2 buns dill (from 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped dill)
1 l vegetable or chicken stock
1 carrot
1 onion
100 gr processed cheese (melted cheese - Polish serek topiony, German Schmelzkäse) or thick sour cream (but it tastes better with cheese!)
tiny noodles (like those , those or those or any other small noodles. Eventually, take 1/2 cup rice and cook it in the stock just like it would be noodles)

1. Chop dill finely and slightly fry in oil. Grate carrot and chop onion and fry them, too. Add them to the stock (homemade or from cube). Add noodles. Cook until noodles are done.

2. Take a cup of the soup and, in a bowl, whisk well with processed cheese or sour cream. Add to the soup and stir. It's ready! You can sprinkle the soup with some fresh (not fried) chopped dill before serving.