Prune Placek

This recipe was given to me by one of my cousins (British born like me) who lives in Wembley.

Although this is not a traditional Polish recipe it does reminds me of a Polish placek (flat cake) and contains prunes which are very popular and used in many recipes in Poland.

There is a base of  easy to make shortcrust type pastry, a layer of softened prunes and a cake topping which contains oats and sesame seeds.

Muscovado sugar is used – this is definitely not a Polish sugar as it is produced in the process of refining sugar cane whilst in Poland sugar is made from sugar beet.

Note

You can make the filling ahead of when  you need it as it has to be cold.  I often make the base and the filling in the evening and then finish the placek the next day.

Ingredients

Base

175g plain flour

125g butter or margarine

50g caster sugar

Filling

225g no-need-to-soak prunes

1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon of cornflour

Water

Topping

120g butter or margarine

60g caster sugar

1 tabelspoon of honey

125g no-need-to-soak prunes

100g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

100g rolled oats

50g sesame seeds (keeping  back 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on the top)

Method

Base

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Grease and line a rectangular 20 x 27cm tin.

Rub the butter into the flour to made breadcrumbs.

Mix in the caster sugar.

Bring the mixture together to make a dough.

Press the dough into the tin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake the base for around 25 minutes until it is golden on top.

Leave till it is cold.

Filling

Cover the prunes with water in a small pan and add the sugar.

Simmer the prunes, sugar and water  for 10 minutes until you have a soft pulp – take care not to boil the mixture dry – add more water if needed.

Mix the cornflour with some water to form a paste and add this to the mixture and stir until it thickens.

Remove from the heat and leave it till it is cooled completely.

Spread the filling on top of the pastry base.

Topping

In a pan gently melt the butter, sugar and honey.

Leave to cool slighty.

Chop the prunes into small pieces.

Add the prunes to the butter mixture and mix .

In a bowl mix the flour, bi-carbonate of soda, oats and sesame seeds.

Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well in.

Spread this mixture over the prune filling.

Sprinkle the reserved sesame seeds over the top.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden.

Cut into squares or rectangles to serve.

Variations

Other dried fruits can be used for the filling  – such as apricots, dates or figs.

 

 

The serving cake plate is a recent purchase from Leeds second hand market.

The design is Field Fare by James Cooper for Washington Pottery, Hanley, Staffordshire from around the 1950s.

The cups and saucers are another very recent purchase from a local car boot sale.

They are bone china by Colclough, pattern number 8266, from I think the 1970s.

The stoneware tea plate is Blue Mist, Burleigh Ware by Burges and Leigh Ltd  from the 1930s.

 

Włoszczyzna – Italian Stuff

When Italian diplomats who spent time in Poland in the 15th century wrote about Polish food, they complained that it was based mostly on meat and many said that – One Pole eats as much meat as 5 Italians.

Tomatoes and many other vegetables  were brought to Poland in the 16th century by the Italian chefs who came with the Italian Princess Bona Sforza who married the Polish King, Zygmunt the Old in 1518.  Many of the names of vegetables in Polish have Italian roots.

To this day, soup greens* are known as włoszczyzna  or “Italian stuff”.

Włoski is the Polish word for Italian.

Some writers say that vegetables other than cabbage and root vegetables were virtually unknown in Poland until  Princess Bona  introduced them, and her cooks helped to bring in the use  of vegetables in royal Polish cuisine;  however records show that the court of King Jagiello (who died in 1434) enjoyed a variety of vegetables including lettuce, beets, cabbage, turnip, carrots, peas and cauliflower.

*Soup Greens is a phrase found in American cookery writing – I have not really seen it in British writing.

Soup Greens are a vegetable stock basis for soups and other  vegetable or fish dishes.

(They are also the vegetables that are used in any casserole type dish).

In German they are known as  suppengrün and in French mirepoix.

The Classic Ingredients are:

Carrots

Leeks

Celeriac

Parsley root

if these are not availabe then use:

Onions

Celery leaves

Parsley stems and leaves

and also  – Bay leaves, Allspice grains, Peppercorns & Salt

Note

The ingredients for

Suppengrün  are carrots, celery, leek and for Mirepoix  are carrots, celery, onions

Often in Poland (and yesterday in my local Polish shop in England) you can buy a ready mixed packet of  the vegetables needed.

 

 

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large pan with water.

Bring to the boil and cover.

Simmer until the vegetables are soft.

Strain the vegetables from the liquid.

 

 

 

Note

If this is being made for a soup  that day,  then some of the vegetables such as the carrots might be sliced and added to the soup.

or

The liquid is kept in glass or plastic containers in the fridge for another time.

If you have no time or ingredients then a very good standby is

Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder.

 

 

 

Note for the future

This post is in preperation for the huge topic of Soup in Polish Cookery!

Pasztet – Pâté

Most Polish households have their own recipe for  pasztet.

Pasztet translates as pâté and is made with liver and other meats,  both cooked and uncooked, often with smoked bacon.  Left over cooked meats can be used.

Pasztet is a baked pâté – more a terrine & usually the sort of pâté you slice rather than spread. (A sort of liver based meat loaf).

 

 

Many recipes use rabbit but I have not included this as it is not as readily available but  I hope try this in the future.

Pork shoulder is good to use and this can be casseroled first in a chicken or vegetable stock or left over from a roast.

Cooked chicken can be roasted or poached once again in a chicken or vegetable stock.

It is good if you have a mincer to mince the meat, however I do not have one and have used a stick blender to blend the liver and a sharp knife to finely chop the cooked meat and bacon.

Pasztet is often cooked in a  loaf tin – but I thought my quantities looked too large for my tin and have used a rectangular Pyrex dish – 19 x 24 x 8cm.

The cooking times quoted are approximate  – it will depend on the amount of mixture and the depth in the dish.

Recipe 1

Country Style Pasztet

The original recipe used finely chopped shoulder pork – I used minced outdoor breed pork.

I used smoked streaky bacon as Polish bacon tends to be fatter than English bacon and this is the nearest.

The amounts of meats does not have to be exact.

Ingredients

500g minced pork

350 streaky bacon (rind removed)

350 – 450g of chicken livers

3 eggs

3 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs

2 cloves of garlic  – chopped fine

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

Salt – maybe a little but often the bacon is salty enough

Pepper

Butter for greasing the dish.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the bacon into small squares.

Blend the chicken livers using a small blender or stick blender.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

 

 

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 70 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

 

Decorated here with fresh bay leaves – you can use parsley or similar.

Recipe 2

Chicken Pasztet

Any poultry can be used here – this is good way to use up roast turkey – you can even freeze the cooked turkey meat for a pasztet in the future.

Ingredients

450g chicken livers

3 onions

6 tablespoons of butter

600 – 700g of cooked chicken meat (I used breast meat as that is what I had – but thigh meat  would or a mixture is also good)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt and pepper

Method

Slice the onions and fry them till soften in the butter.

Add the chicken livers and cook them through.

20180602_081248

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onions – I used a stick blender.

Place the cooked chicken in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently , stirring often.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

 

 

Mix the meat and liver together.

Add the eggs, Italian herbs & sweet paprika.

Add salt and pepper.

Butter the dish well.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth down the top.

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 1 hour.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish – Made in England by H & K Tunstall

Recipe 3

Pork Pasztet

600 – 700g cooked pork (from a casserole or roast)

Dilute vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder)

250g smoked bacon (rind removed)

250g pork, veal or chicken livers

1 large onion

4 tablespoons of butter & extra for greasing the dish.

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs & extra for the baking dish and top

250ml of milk

2 teaspoons of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

Salt & Pepper

Method

Place the cooked pork in a pan and cover with dilute vegetable stock and simmer gently, stirring often.

Chop the bacon into small squares and add to the pork and simmer for another 20 minutes.

You want the meat to be soft and falling apart and the liquid to have been absorbed.

Leave to cool completely.

Chop the meat as finely as possible.

Slice the onion and fry it till softened in the butter.

Add the liver and cook it through.

Sprinkle with salt.

Leave to cool completely.

Blend the liver and onion –  I used a stick blender.

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.

In a large bowl throughly mix all the ingredients together.

Butter the dish and sprinkle with dried breadcrumbs.

Place the mixture into the dish and smooth the top with a spoon.

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dish with foil.

Place the dish in a roasting tin with added water.

Cook for around 80 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour without the foil (more if necessary).

 

 

 

 

 

Leave to cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours.

Slice to serve.

Served on a dish by Portmeirion – Dawn Chorus – designed by Sophie Conran in the 21st century.

Easy Pâté

Not long to go now and I will have been blogging for 3 Years.

This is my 150th Post!

The Polish for pâté is pasztet.

Pasztet recipes tend to be for large cooked pâtés which are served as slices – I will be looking at recipes for these later.

Here I am looking at 2 easy recipes using chicken livers which are very simple to make.

These are more spready pâtés – which you can put into a large dish or into individual pots.

I could not find any fresh chicken livers in my local shops but did find tubs of frozen chicken liver – they contain around 225g per tub and the cost was very reasonable.

Soaking the livers

All my recipe books say to soak the livers for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours in milk – to help remove any bitterness.

I do not remember doing this in the past but decided to try this out – they tasted lovely – not sure how much was due to the soaking.

Chicken liver pâté version 1

Ingredients

450g chicken livers

50g butter

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of dried Italain herbs (or chopped fresh herbs such as oregano and thyme if you have them).

6 tablespoons of sherry or marsala or brandy.

Salt & Pepper

Method

Soak the livers for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours in milk.

Drain the milk off and pat dry the livers.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Peel and chop the garlic.

In a frying pan melt the butter and add the onion and garlic.

Fry gently to soften the onion.

Add the herbs.

Add the chicken livers, mix and fry gently for 10 – 12 minutes, you can use a spatula to help break up the livers as they cook.

Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper, mix and then leave to go cold. (I often do this at night and then the rest the next day).

Place the cold cooked livers into a large bowl and use a stick blender start blending it all together.

Add the sherry and continue blending until you have a smooth paste.

Place the mixture into a large dish or into individual ramekin pots – mine made 4 pots.

Cover the pots with clingfilm and refrierate them for around 3 hours.

 

 

 

 

Served here with toasted rye bread and gherkins.

Served on La prune by Jet for Ter Steege of the Netherlands.

 

Chicken liver pâté version 2

This is more creamy and spreadble than version 1

Ingredients

450g chicken livers

50g butter

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of dried Italain herbs (or chopped fresh herbs such as oregano and thyme if you have them).

2 – 3 tablespoons of creme fraishe or soured cream

1-2 tablespoons  of sherry or marsala or brandy.

Salt & Pepper

Method

Soak the livers for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours in milk.

Drain the milk off and pat dry the livers.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Peel and chop the garlic.

In a frying pan melt the butter and add the onion and garlic.

Fry gently to soften the onion.

Add the herbs.

Add the chicken livers, mix and fry gently for 10 – 12 minutes, you can use a spatula to help break up the livers as they cook.

Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper, mix and then leave to go cold. (I often do this at night and then the rest the next day).

Place the cold cooked livers into a large bowl and use a stick blender start blending it all together.

Add creme fraishe and the sherry and continue blending until you have a smooth paste.

Place the mixture into a large dish or into individual ramekin pots – mine made 6 pots.

Cover the pots with clingfilm and refrierate them for around 3 hours.

 

 

 

 

Served here with toasted rye bread.

 

 

Chicken Livers

Having written about liver in general in Lovely Liver!  I thought I would also look at chicken livers in particular.

These would have featured in my shopping on a regular basic many years ago but have been somewhat neglected in recent years – this will now change!

I could not find any fresh chicken livers in my local shops but did find tubs of frozen chicken liver – they contain around 225g per tub and the cost was very reasonable.

20180513_155419

Soaking the livers

All my recipe books say to soak the livers for at least 1 hour – to help remove any bitterness.

I do not remember doing this in the past but decided to try this out – they tasted lovely – not sure how much was due to the soaking.

Buttery Chicken Livers with Onions

450 -500g of chicken livers

500ml of milk

3-4 tablespoons of plain flour

3 onions

4-5 tablespoons  of butter

1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Salt & pepper

Method

Put the chicken livers in a bowl with the milk and leave for at least an hour.

Drain them off and pat them dry and dredge them in the flour.

Cut the onions in half and cut them into thin slices.

Fry the onion gently in some of the butter until they are golden brown.

In a separate pan fry the floured chicken livers on all sides for 2-3 minutes.

Sprinkle them with the Italian seasoning, mix well and cook for a further few minutes.

Add the livers to the onions and mix well.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

These are best served with something quite plain such as boiled rice or crusty rolls and maybe a tomato salad.

Chicken Livers with Apples

450 -500g of chicken livers

6 tablespoons of butter

2 to 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

2 onions

2 eating apples (I used Pink Lady)

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Salt & pepper

Method

This really needs 3 frying pans!

I have described each as a separate stage but you can  do these at the same time.

Cut the onions into half and then slice into thin half circles.

In one frying pan,  fry the onions gently in 3 tablespoons of butter until they are golden.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters.

In another frying pan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and heat the apples gently on all sides.

 

Add the tablespoon of sugar and continue to cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the sugar starts to caramelise.

Add the apples to the onions and mix together.

 

In a seperate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter.

Fry the chicken livers in the butter, stirring and turning them for around 3-4  minutes.

Srpinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix the livers with the apples and onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good served with crusty bread.

 

Breaded Liver

This is a very simple and easy way to cook liver but it is delicious.

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

I used lamb’s liver for this.

Ingredients

300g of sliced liver

1 beaten egg

Dried breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Salt & Pepper

Method

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip the liver slices into beaten egg.

Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.

Coat the slices in dried breadcrumbs.

 

Fry the slices in hot sunflower oil.

 

Served here with lettuce with a soured cream dressing.

Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 -1988.

 

Lovely Liver!

For many people  – liver is love it or loath it.

I think certainly for me and most Poles it is love it!

The Polish for liver is wątroba – which means “waste maker” – as the liver is the organ in the body where substances are broken down.

In Poland the most sought after livers  are calves liver & rabbit liver.

My aunty in Białystok- cooked some rabbit liver for me when I  was there last – I thought it was utterly delicious  –  but as far as I am aware it is not readily available to buy in England.

I  see calves liver for sale more and more here in England and I  buy this whenever I can.

My mother always cooked pigs’ liver, never ox liver.

I usually cook lambs liver if I cannot get calves liver.

I think liver is best lightly cooked, even slightly pinky,  it becomes hard and tough if over cooked.

There is a restaurant in Krakow called Dom Polonii ( House of the Poles) just off  Rynek Główny (Main Square) it serves very traditional dishes.

Rynek Główny (Main Square)

 

I like to eat there very much and can never make up my mind which dish I want the most. Their fried liver is super and I will have that at least once when I visit Kraków.

Liver is the main ingredient of  pâtés and similar dishes which are very popular in Poland –  I will look at these in future posts.

Cooking Liver

These recipes are all  variations on a simple theme.

I use calves or lamb’s liver for these recipes .

Preparing the liver

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip each piece into a mixture of plain flour and ground black pepper.

 Simple Style Liver

Lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices)

 

 

 

 

Liver with Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the simple style but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Return to the heat  and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

Liver with Onions 1

In my old Polish cookery book  (my bible in many respects) this simple recipe (without the herbs) is called  …. po angielskiu  which means  …. English style!

Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

Fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden.

In a separate pan lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add the onions to the fried liver and mix together and serve.

 

Liver with Onions 2

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

In a pan, fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden. (You can fry a little longer to slightly char or caramelise them if you like)

In a separate pan, lightly fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

This will give a tasty sauce with the liver.

Place the fried onions on top and serve.

Liver with Mushrooms

Thinly slice mushrooms around 100g of button mushrooms

Fry them gently in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil.

Add the mushrooms to the fried liver as in the simple style above and mix together.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -4  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

Liver with Mushrooms & Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the Liver with Mushrooms but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Heat up slowly and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

 

Served here on Royal Doulton – Carnation, 1982-1998

Serving suggestions

Sprinkle liberally  with chopped parsley.

All of the above go well with boiled potatoes, creamy mashed potatoes, boiled rice, noodles or pasta such as tagliatelle.