Sunday, 17 February 2013
Of course, I mean pork, not the whole pig :-) the name for the dish was somehow inspired by the names of dishes I used to find really fascinating as a kid. A lot of dishes served covered with some variety of white sauce, often a cream or cheese based sauces tend to be called ".... under the duvet" or "... under the cover". Funny, isn't it?
I remember how gripping I used to find cookbooks, or my mum's recipe scrapbook as a child. Not that I wouldn't read other books, I did. I was quite a bookworm, and actually that hasn't changed.
There was certainly something intriguing about the dish names I found there, sadly most of the dishes rarely lived up to the expectations :-)
The names still don't cease to amuse me - when I see all the "the royal style" dishes - meats (mostly game), fish, pates, and even soups. There were also the 'luxurious', 'exquisite' or 'gourment' dishes - raging from meats, through salads, bakes, to cakes and desserts - who wouldn't want to try those
There were many dishes "with a surprise" - which to me sounded promising, until I found out that the surprise was hard-boiled egg, cheese, mushrooms or some vegetables. Come on, what sort of surprise is that? :-)
My favourite one of the lot is the so-called "Nothing Soup", which actually isn't a soup but a kind of creamy dessert. Ah well, bearing in mind that my early childhood fell in the martial law period, I supposed people were trying to use fancy-sounding names to colour-up the grey reality. Maybe.
My dish doesn't really need any sugarcoating, it tastes delicious even if you call it exactly what it is - namely, pork with mushrooms and cream and cheese sauce.
4 pork chops
plain all purpose flour
oil for frying
a clove of garlic
a pot of cream
200g grated strong cheese
Beat the chops with a mallet, sprinkle spices on both sides and toss each chop in flour. Heat the oil on a frying pan and fry the chops until golden brown on both sides. Place the chops on a baking tray.
Peel and chop the mushrooms and garlic, season and fry them. Put mushrooms on each chop and put them into the oven (180C).
In the meantime, combine the cream with grated cheese in a bowl, add salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric. Pour the sauce onto the chops and bake for a bit longer, until the top is golden and crispy. It's ready to serve, and truly delicious!
Thursday, 14 February 2013
150 g soft butter
55 g caster sugar
180 g plain, all purpose flour
Use an electric whisk to cream butter and sugar. When the mixture is smooth, spoon in the flour and knead the dough until all ingredients combine. Gently roll the dough on a floured surface -don't press the rolling pin hard, as the dough is very brittle. When it's about 1 cm thick cut out the shapes and prickle them with a fork. You may need to use a fish-slice to transfer the biscuits onto a baking tray.
Thursday, 7 February 2013
Apart from doughnuts, snot her traditional treat are faworki, aka 'brushwood' or Angel Wings, as they are brittle and apparently resemble wooden twigs that were used to heat houses. Popular in Poland, Lithuania and Germany, they are traditionally eaten during the Carnival, on Fat Thursday and on Mardi Grass, the Tuesday preceding the Ash Wednesday. The name comes from the medieval period when women would give a ribbon "favour" to their favourite knight.
They're neither as difficult, nor time-consuming to prepare as they may seem, but they do disappear from the plates nearly as soon as they are placed on them.
500 gram of plain, all purpose flour
2 spoons of icing sugar
3-4 spoons of sour cream
1 large spoon of alcohol (e..g vodka)
1 spoon of soft, creamy butter
1 kilo of lard for frying
icing sugar, to sprinkle on faworki when they are ready
Mix flour, icing sugar, cream, alcohol and make a dough. When the ingredients have blended add the yokes and knead the dough again. If it is too stiff add the butter to loosen it a bit. Place the dough on the table and beat it well with a rolling pin until it is smooth and shiny and there are air bubbles inside (you can see them when you cut the dough). Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Cut of small portion and roll them with the rolling pin as thin as possible. Then cut them into long stripes, about 3 centimetres wide.
Make an incision lengthwise, in the middle, so as you can pull one end through it, in order to give the pastry a bow-like shape.
Saturday, 2 February 2013
There are soups for each season - lighter for spring and summer (we even have fruity ones) and heavier, more substantial for autumn and winter. This soup is pretty filling so it may well be served as the main meal.
4 chicken thighs
2-3 parsley roots
0.5 celery root
1 clove of garlic
3 bay leaves
5-6 allspice grains
1 stock cube
1 tbsp mixed dry vegetables
salt and pepper
Place the chicken thighs in a large pan and cover with water, bring to boil. Add the stock cube, dry veg mixture, garlic clove, bay leaves, allspice, celery peeled and diced potatoes and reduce the heat. Grate carrots and parsley on the largest holes of the grater and stir into the soup.
0.5 cup of plain, all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
In a bowl mix flour and salt and add enough water to make a smooth dough. If it's too dry add more water, if too sticky, add more flour. When the dough is soft and smooth, break off bits and roll them in your fingers to make small balls. They need to be really small, as they'll swell during cooking.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
They're amazingly easy and quick to prepare (it didn't take me longer than an hour to make a solid bunch of I guess around 150 biscuits). They've been miraculously disappearing from the plate at a stunning speed now :-)
2 cups plain, all purpose flour
3-4 heaped tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves (or 5 whole cloves crashed in pestle and mortar)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
170 g soft butter or margarine
1 cup caster sugar
4 tbsp honey
1 pack of vanilla sugar (or a few drops of vanilla extract)
In a bowl mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt. In anther bowl mix butter with a food mixer until it's fluffy, then gradually add sugar and keep mixing. When it's smooth and fluffy add vanilla sugar and the egg, mix till smooth, then gradually start adding flour mixed with spices, and honey. You should get a really soft, but not sticky, dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and put into the fridge for 30 minutes to make it easier to roll and cut. If after taking out of the fridge the dough is sticky add a bit more flour. Roll the dough flat onto a floured surface - it should be about 0.5 cm think, and cut out shapes. Place the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 170C. Cool on the rack for a few minutes and enjoy!!! I personally believe that they're best dipped in tea. :-)
Sunday, 20 January 2013
I guess each Polish child, at some point, used to believe that "gołąbki" (the diminutive of Polish word for "pigeons") are made of pigeon meat. Whereas to some it may be a perfectly logical assumption, pigeon meat is not very popular in Poland, and the idea seems rather amusing to the majority of people. Quite frankly, the thought of eating the meat of world's most scuzzy creature never ceases to give me the creeps.
As a child, though, I deeply believed that it was pigeon meat I got served stuffed inside the cabbage leaves. I seem to recall my grandmother fostering that belief, as my childhood credulity was the source of infinite joy to her. I don't quite remember when I found out about the real origin of one of my favourite dishes, but certainly was quite relieved by the truth.
The dish is made of mince - traditionally mixed pork and beef, though minced pork shoulder will certainly suffice. Although it may seem like a complicated dish, it really is straightforward, and relatively fool-proof ;-P It doesn't take more than half an hour to prepare (including boiling rice, blanching the cabbage and mincing meat) and about an hour to stew. Sadly, it is one of those dishes that taste incomparably better than they look, and it's rather hard to do a lot in the way of presentation.
500 g minced meat (mixed pork and beef, or pork only)
100 g rice
salt, pepper, paprika
1 stock cube + water
Mince the meat, season with spices and mix with the egg. Boil the rice and mix with the meat mixture.
Put the "gołąbki" into a large pan, they should be placed really close to each other, put as many in as you can cram. Once you've covered the bottom, place the rest of the "gołąbki" on top of the first layer, and finally put spare cabbage leaves on top.
Dilute the stock cube and pour into the pan. Cook for about 1 hour or 1,5 hour on medium heat, with the lid on. About 30 minutes before the end of cooking add tomato puree, salt and pepper.
Serve with boiled potatoes or mashed potato, and the tomato sauce made with the "gołąbki". When they cool down, store them in the fridge, according to some people they are best after a few days. Though, do make sure they are kept in an air-tight container, as the smell of the cold cooked cabbage is not one of the nicest ones.