Gypsy Soup

Zupa cygańska is Gypsy soup and is so called  because it contains red peppers.  I think the smoky meats may also evoke the idea of camp fires.

Ingredients

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 red or orange peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 100g smoked bacon – chopped into small pieces
  • 200g of Polish sausage – sliced and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 grains of allspice
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • a little sunflower oil for frying
  • Chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

  • Use boiling water to skin the tomatoes and leave to cool.
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarters.
  • De-seed the peppers.
  • Chop the peppers into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion gently for a few minutes in a large frying pan.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes & peppers.
  • Fry gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bacon & sausage and mix.
  • Cover the mixture with water and cover with a lid.
  • Cook gently for around 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the ingredients to a large saucepan.
  • Add the bay leaves, all-spice and peppercorns.
  • Add around 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer gently for around 30 minutes.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into large “cubes”.
  • Add the potatoes to the soup and cook gently until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Serve with chopped flat-leaved parsley.

Note

Do not let the potatoes disintegrate into a pulp.

 

 

Served in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s.

Note

If you do not have the fresh ingredients  you could use tinned tomatoes and bottled peppers.

Placek-with sour cherries & meringue

The base of this placek  (flat cake) is made with  a recipe similar to  Ciasto kruche 2 – with cooked egg yolks found in a previous post  – Pastry – ciasto kruche & półkruche.

The base is baked, apricot jam and bottled sour cherries are placed on top, this is topped with meringue and cooked again.

A few stages but well worth the effort. It is delicious with a lovely balance of  sweetness against the sour cherries.

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g butter – chilled
  • 100g  & 150g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • pinch or two of salt
  • Fine grated rind of 1 lemon – optional
  • 250ml of apricot jam – approx
  • 1/2 – 3/4 of a jar of morello/sour cherries

Method

Cook the egg yolks

  • Separate the raw yolks from the whites.
  • Place the yolks  in a colander and cook over hot water.
  • Use a fork to break up the yolks into very small pieces.
  • Leave to go cold.

Make the base

  • Add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  • Use a knife to cut the chilled butter into small pieces into the flour and then use your fingers to make the mixture like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the 100g of icing sugar and mix this together.
  • Add the broken up yolks and gently mix this in then and bring it all together into a dough – try and handle the pastry as little as possible.
  • Form the dough into a rough rectangle.
  • Wrap the dough in greaseproof paper and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C.
  • Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm baking tin.
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a little
  • Press the dough into the tin – filling it up the all the sides.
  • Prick the surface with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool.

Toppings and meringue

  • Lower the oven to GM 1 -140°C
  • Place the whites into a grease free bowl.
  • Whisk till stiff.
  • Add the 150g of icing sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Spread the jam thickly over the base
  • Drain the sour cherries and pat them dry.
  • Arrange the cherries over the jam.
  • Spread the meringue over the cherries taking it up to the edges.
  • Put back into the low heat oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Cut the cake into squares when cool to serve.

 

Served here on Duchess  – Bramble Rose tea plates from the 1960s.

Karoflanka – Potato Soup

When I was young and I told my friends that my mother made potato soup, they all thought this sounded rather weird & tasteless.

Whereas, it was one of my favourite soups and like most Polish soups, it is not a purée, it has chucks of potato in it.

This following is based on my memory of my mother’s recipe.

For the best results, I use rosół (chicken bouillon) or homemade chicken stock when I have it.

Ingredients

  • 750g – 1 kilo of potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 200g smoked bacon
  • 2 litres of chicken stock or rosół
  • Large bunch of flat leaved parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 grains of allspice
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • A little oil for frying
  • Chopped flat leaved parsley to garnish
  • Extra seasoning may not be necessary because of the bacon and rosół/stock.

Method

  • Chop the smoked bacon into small squares.
  • Slowly heat the bacon in a heavy bottomed pan or good Teflon red spot non stick pan without oil.
  • Let all the fat cook out.
  • Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them with the onions.
  • You want the onions well browned, even some slightly charred.

 

 

  • Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks.
  • Fry them lightly in oil so all sides are done.
  • Mix the potatoes with the smoked bacon and onions in a large pan.
  • Add the chicken stock or rosół.
  • Chop the parsley leaves and add them with the allspice, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Add 1.5 to 2 litres of water and bring this to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat, put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for around 15 minutes.
  • You are aiming for cooked pieces of potatoes – do not let it disintegrate to a pulp! 
  • Garnish with chopped flat leaved parsley when serving.

 

Served here in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s

Creamier Version

Looking through other recipes for this soup, I found that often some soured cream was added at the end just before serving.

So add 3 to 4 tablespoons of soured cream to some slightly cooled soup in a little dish and then mix this into the pan and serve.

 

 

Served here in Royal Doulton –  Burgundy – 1959 to 1981.

Note

Both are super –  but my vote is for my mother’s version!

Egg Cookies

Eierkoeken – Egg Cookies  – are very popular in The Netherlands  – their  recent revival  was caused  I heard by Sonja Bakker  – a celebrity cook.

Koekje  is a small cake and the origin of the word cookie.

They are sold in bakers and supermarkets in packets of  five or six and even up to ten.

They are soft little cakes rather like English sponge drops.

The mixture is a fat free sponge similar to  Polish biszkopt.

They are so easy to make, especially if you have an electric hand whisk.

This two egg recipe makes six.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 190°C.
  • Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar till they are white and fluffy.
  • Fold in the flour.
  • Place 6 circles of mixture on the baking tray.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes till golden – not much longer as they will be harder –  they need to be soft.

 

Served on Lavender plates by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands

Variation

Add the grated rind of a lemon to the egg and sugar mixture  – a subtle addition to the flavour.

Nearly a Dandelion!

Mlecz was the name my mother used for dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – this name refers to the milky fluid found in its stems. (mleko is Polish for milk)

Looking through one of my Polish recipe books I came across a salad using  the leaves of  mniszek lekarski – (lekarski means medicinal).  On looking this up I found this was another name for dandelion!

The photo below is  from a website called  me.me and on a leaflet from the East Village Farm in New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The likelihood of having me having young dandelion leaves for this salad is low so I decided to use rocket (arugula) leaves – rukola in Polish –  Eruca vesicaria or sativa which are more readily available and have a similar bitter/peppery taste from what I can gather.

Rocket has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times.

Ingredients

  • Bunch of radishes
  • Around 70g of rocket
  • 60ml of soured cream
  •  Around a tablespoon of either fresh thyme, lemon balm, flat-leaved parsley or dill
  • Extra parsley to garnish

Method

  • Chop the rocket into small pieces
  • Top & tail the radishes and the finely slice them
  • Mix the two together
  • Finely chop the herb you are using
  • Mix the herb with the soured cream
  • Mix the salad with the soured cream mixture
  • Season to taste
  • Garnish with flat-leaved parsley to serve

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato Soup

There are many versions of tomato soup – some people just add tomato puree or a tin of tomatoes to rosół, (chicken bullion). For many this was standard practice on Monday with any that was left over from Sunday lunch and also in winter months in the past when fresh tomatoes were not so readily available.

I prefer to make a more refreshing fresh tomato soup.

Ripe tomatoes make the best soup – if you are lucky enough to have your own from the garden or allotment then these will be great or look out for ripe tomatoes on a market rather than the hard bullet ones often sold for salads.

Little note from the Metro newspaper

My mother always served boiled rice as the soup accompaniment.

Many years ago, well before Poland joined the European Union, when there were not as many Poles living in England, one of my English friends went for dinner at at a Polish lady’s house.  On telling me about the lovely food she said ” …. we had tomato soup with rice in it!” My instant reply without thinking was “but tomato soup always has rice in it”.   

Ingredients

  • 700g – 800g of ripe fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – came be from a cube or powder
  • Salt & ground pepper to taste
  • A little granulated sugar – optional – might not be needed.
  • Boiled rice to serve

Method

 

  • Pour boiling water over the tomatoes in a bowl and leave to cool.
  • Skin the tomatoes.
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarter.
  • Chop the onion into fine pieces.
  • Place the tomatoes, onion and vegetable stock into a large saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then put on the lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • You want the tomatoes and onions to have cooked away into the liquid -no large pieces left.
  • Season to taste.

Although sour soups are popular in Poland – tomato soup does not want to be sour.  Depending on the tomatoes used, I sometimes add a little granulated sugar.

  • To serve place a handful of cooked boiled rice into each soup plate.

Served here in my mother’s Crown Devon – Fieldings – Glenwood soup plates – made in England – 1939.

Dutch Cold Dish & Other Salads

I recently returned from a trip to The Netherlands to visit my friend again.

I always have a great time visiting different parts of the country and enjoying the wonderful hospitality.

One dish I have had many times is Koudeschotel – this translates as Cold Dish.

I think it is a sort of  “posh cousin” to  several Polish cooked salads such as Potato Salad and Mixed Vegetable Salad.

It is often made in large quantities as the centrepiece in a buffet meal.

There is a central mound made with boiled potatoes mashed with mayonnaise, onions, peas, carrots and cooked meat like chicken, pork or beef.

This is then decorated with items such as hard boiled eggs, gherkins, silver-skin onions, prawns or shrimps, asparagus, tomatoes, cooked or smoked meats and dusted with a little sweet paprika.

 

The koudeschotel on my arrival from England this year.

If the central mound is made without meat it is sometimes called Huzarensalade – Huzar’s Salad.

Ingredients – for the central mound

The original recipe  was for a large amount suitable for a big party – I have scaled it down.

  • 1 Kg of cold boiled potatoes
  • Around 200ml of mayonnaise – real full fat is best
  • 100g of cooked peas
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 2 boiled carrots – diced
  • 200g of cooked chicken, pork or beef – shredded (meat used to make soup or stock is good)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Notes

Many supermarkets and delicatessens in The Netherlands sell this mixture ready made.

Method

  • Mash the potatoes with the mayonnaise.
  • Add the peas, carrots, onion and meat and mix well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Arrange the mixture in the centre of a serving plate.

Decorate with a selection of the following:

  • Hard boiled eggs – sliced or quartered
  • Gherkins – small or large ones sliced
  • Silver-skin onions
  • Cooked prawns or shrimps,
  • Cooked asparagus spears or slices
  • Tomatoes – quartered
  • Cooked or smoked meats – chopped or in little slices
  • Dusted with a little sweet paprika.

Now is the time to be a little creative with the decoration – I tend to do rows of the different ingredients and dust with sweet paprika at the end.

(For smaller gatherings sometimes the mixture is placed in a bowl and the eggs and gherkins etc are just placed on top)

Other Salads

One day we went to a neighbour’s house for a BBQ and koudeschotel was one of the dishes served with the grilled meats.

We were also served the following two lovely salads –

Cabbage & Pineapple Salad

Ingredients

  • Small white cabbage
  • 8 rings of fresh or tinned in juice pineapple
  • 50 – 80g of raisins

Method

  • Soak the raisins in pineapple juice for at least 30 minutes
  • Shred and chop the cabbage
  • Chop the pineapple rings into small pieces
  • Mix the cabbage, pineapple and the raisins in juice together

Salad with Smoked Salmon & Capers

Ingredients

  • Crunchy lettuce such as Cos or  Little Gem – I used a Red Little Gem
  • 100g Smoked Salmon
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery – finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 100g of cooked small sized pasta
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Method

  • Hand tear the lettuce into medium sized pieces.
  • Chop the smoked salmon into small pieces.
  • Mix the smoked salmon, capers and pasta together and
  • Mix this with the lettuce.
  • Pour the lemon juice over this and mix.
  • Season with black pepper.
  • Extra salt should not be needed because of the capers & smoked salmon.

 

You could serve this as a starter using a few lettuce leaves as a bed on each plate with the smoked salmon mixture in the centre.