Black Bean Soup

  • This is a soup I make regularly and I love the colour contrasts.
  • It is a vegetable soup with black beans.
  • Black beans are also called turtle beans and are a variety of the common bean.
  • You can make it slightly different every time by altering some of the vegetables.
  • I use tinned black beans, which is easier but you can always cook them from dried beans – just takes longer.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 sticks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 -3 carrots
  • 1 courgette 
  • 3 -4 tomatoes
  • 1 tin of black beans
  • 1½ litres of vegetable stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Chop the celery into fine slices.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces
  • Chop the carrots into small cubes.
  • Place the tomatoes into boiling water to remove the skins.
  • Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Chop the courgette into small pieces. 
  • In a saucepan melt the butter and gently cook the celery and onion for a few minutes.
  • Add the carrots and tomatoes and the stock.
  • Add the paprika and chilli flakes.
  • Mix well together.
  • Bring the soup to the boil and them simmer with a lid on the pan for around 20 minutes. 
  • Drain the beans from the tin and add these to the soup.
  • Season to taste,
  • Simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes.

Yeast Placek with Apples

  • I had been making several recipes with plums and wanted to make a placek – flat cake – with a plum topping.
  • However I ran out of plums whilst making other recipes, so decided to try this with apples instead.
  • My Bramley apples are not yet ripe so I used eating apples instead.
  • I might have to amended the recipe slightly if using cooking apples. 
  • Yesterday I bought some more plums so will try this out next.
  • The yeast pastry is the same as used earlier for my  drożdżówki – sweet yeast buns with rhubarb and with whinberries.

Ingredients 

  • 200g & 50g plain flour
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of dried yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • *
  • 3 or 4 eating apples
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method 

  • Mix the milk, yeast, sugar and 50g of plain flour.
  • Leave for 20 minutes.
  • Put the 200g of plain flour, sugar, salt, yolks and yeast mixture in a bowl.
  • Mix together to form a soft dough.
  • Add a little extra milk if this is too dry.
  • Knead for 10 minutes – set a timer – till you get a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1½ – 2 hours.
  • *
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • *
  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Cut them into thin slices.
  • Mix them with the sugar and cinnamon.
  • *
  • Lightly mix the dough back into a ball.
  • Roll out and stretch the dough to fit the baking tray.
  • Place the apples and sugar mix on top.
  • Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven  to GM5- 200°C.
  • Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Another Celery Salad

  • I was making a quick lunch with some Polish smoked mackerel and wanted to make a couple of salads to go with it. 
  • I had some celery stems and though I would make my easy celery & peanut salad with sultanas.  This is in an earlier post Seler – Celeriac – Celery
  • I suddenly realised that I did not have any salted peanuts so decided to improve and use an apple with the celery, which are two of the ingredients of Waldorf Salad.
  • It turned out very well and will be going on my list of easy standby salads.

Ingredients

  • 4- 5 celery stems
  • 80g of sultanas
  • 1 large eating apple eg Pink Lady
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise 

Method

  • Trim the celery stems and cut into fine slices.
  • Core the apple and cut into small pieces.
  • Mix the celery, apples and sultanas together.
  • Pour the lemon juice over the mixture.
  • Add mayonnaise mix well together.

Tuna Salad with French Beans

  • One of my friends from Leeds came round yesterday with freshly picked produce from her allotment.
  • Green & Purple French beans were amongst them.
  • I topped and tailed these and steamed them.
  • Sadly the beautiful purple ones loose their colour and are just a slightly darker green than the others.
  • I served some of them with buttered dried breadcrumbs – à la Polonaise and
  • Used the rest, cold, in this tinned tuna salad with other ingredients I had in my store cupboard and freezer. 
  • The proportions are not so important.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of tuna chunks- in brine or oil
  • Crisp lettuce leaves 
  • Steamed French beans
  • Cooked peas
  • Cooked sweetcorn – frozen or tinned
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Chop the French beans into small pieces.
  • Mix these with the peas and sweetcorn
  • Drain the tuna from the brine or oil and break up the chunks.
  • Mix the tuna with the cooked vegetables.
  • Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Shred the lettuce leaves.
  • Arrange lettuce leaves over a large plate plate or a shallow bowl.
  • Place the tuna mixture on top of the lettuce leaves.
  • Chop the hard boiled eggs into small pieces and sprinkle these over the top of the tuna mixture.

Beetroot & Apple Salad

  • Yesterday one of my friends came round with freshly picked beetroots from her allotment.
  • I quickly boiled these and used some of them to make a very simple salad.

Ingredients

  • 3 boiled beetroots
  • 3 eating apples such as Braeburn
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Grate the beetroots using a coarse grater.
  • Peel and core the apples.
  • Grate the apples using a coarse grater.
  • Mix the beetroots and apples together.
  • Pour the lemon juice over them and mix together.
  • Season to taste

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Kisiel – Apple

  • My mother never made kisiel with apples, she always used the red fruits in our garden.
  • I came across this recipe in my favourite old Polish cookbook (from 1956).
  • The recipe says to use sour apples.
  • I made it with Granny Smiths as the Bramley apples in my garden are not yet ripe.
  • I will make it again later in the autumn when they are ready.
  • A lemon is also used or a packet of citric acid crystals – these are nearly always for sale in Polish shops – quite handy for the stock cupboard.
  • This is a lovely delicate dessert.

Ingredients

  • 400g Granny Smiths apples – grated
  • 350ml & 150ml water & 60ml
  • 50 – 80g granulated sugar (depends on the apples)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 40g potato flour

Method

  • Put the grated apples in a small saucepan with 350ml of water.
  • Simmer gently, stirring with a wooden spoon and cooking until the apples are a thick pulp.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add the juice and lemon zest.
  • Add the 150ml of water.
  • Add the sugar to taste.
  • Mix the potato flour with 4 tablespoons of water (60ml) to give a thick paste.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the apples and stir well.
  • Put back on a gentle heat and stir well until you get a thick mass.
  • You can add a little more water if this is too thick.
  • Pour into a large glass bowl or into individual serving glass dishes.
  • Chill well before serving.

Sweet Knedle – 2

  • In some parts of Poland the dough for plum knedle is made from cold boiled potatoes.
  • Best to boil the potatoes earlier than you need them.
  • In Poland small dark plums called węgierki (Hungarian plums) are used.
  • I think that in America these are called Italian plums.
  • Use ripe plums – small ones are best.

    Ingredients 

  • 8 plums
  • *
  • 600g cold boiled potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 1 egg and 1 yolk
  • 120g plain flour (approx)
  • Pinch of salt
  • *
  • To serve
  • Butter
  • Dried breadcrumbs
  • Ground cinnamon
  • or
  • Soured cream
  • Icing sugar
  • Ground cinnamon 

Method

  • Make sure the potatoes are cold.
  • Mash the potatoes or use a ricer so you do not have any lumps.
  • Add the melted butter, egg, yoke and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well together.
  • Add the flour bit by bit – you want a dough that you can handle but not too stiff.
  • *
  • Mix around 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Wash and dry the plums and remove the stalks.
  • Remove the stone but do not cut through completely.
  • Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture in the cavity.
  • *
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal balls.
  • Flatten each ball.
  • Put a plum in the centre of the dough.
  • Shape the dough around the plum.
  • Seal up the “seam”.
  • Fashion a ball or oval with your hands.
  • *
  • Fill a wide pan with water and a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil.
  • Drop in the knedle in batches – 3 or 4 at a time.
  • Boil for around 8-10 minutes.
  • They are ready when they float to the surface.
  • *
  • Serve with hot buttered breadcrumbs and a pinch of cinnamon
  • or
  • Serve dusted with icing sugar and soured cream and a large sprinkling of cinnamon.

Note

I have read that some people serve these as a side dishes with roast meats.

Kisiel – Red Fruits

  • There is no good translation of kisiel into English.
  • I remember my mother making this dessert in the summer time.
  • She made it with red fruits from our garden: strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants.
  • I now know that this is a very old dessert and would have originally been made with oat or millet starch.
  • This dessert was made before the introduction of gelatine and is a set dessert but not as set as a jelly.
  • My mother used potato starch or cornflour if she could not get that.
  • I used frozen raspberries and sour cherries.
  • Serve kisiel chilled.

Ingredients

  • 400g red berries
  • 350 ml water
  • 50g potato flour
  • 80g granulated sugar (less if your fruit is very ripe and sweet)

Method

  • If necessary, remove any stalks and such from the fruit.
  • Place the fruit in a saucepan and add the water.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the fruit has fallen apart.
  • Use a stick blender to turn the liquid into a purée if necessary.
  • You can sieve the liquid – optional.
  • Add the sugar and bring to the boil then take it off the heat.
  • Mix the potato flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water to get a paste.
  • Add the cornflour to the fruit mixture.
  • Heat gently, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens.
  • Pour into individual serving glasses or into a large serving bowl.
  • The kisiel looks best in a glass dish.
  • Chill before serving.

Sweet Knedle – 1

Knedle – Dumplings – With Plums

  • For me these are sweet pierogi –  but I have been assured by my aunties in Poland – who made them for me on my last visit  – that because of their shape – round balls – these are always called knedle. (This if from the German word  knödel – for dumplings).
  • The dough is just the same as for pierogi and they are also boiled in the same way but will take a bit longer to cook depending on the size of the plums.
  • In Poland small dark plums called węgierki (Hungarian plums) are used.
  • I think that in America these are called Italian plums.
  • Serve them warm, dusted with icing sugar and soured cream.

Pierogi Dough

  • Use the standard recipe for pierogi, just using 250g of flour (see below)
  • Best not to make too many as they should be served warm and do not freeze well.

Plum Filling

  • 500g fresh plums – small ones are best for the round shape.
  • Mix around 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Wash and dry the plums and remove the stalks. 
  • Remove the stone but do not cut through completely.
  • Put ½ to 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture in the cavity.
  • Roll out the dough – slightly thicker than for pierogi.
  • Cut strips of dough more than twice the size of the plum.
  • Place the filled plum on one side of the dough.
  • Fold over the other part of the dough and seal the edges well with your fingers  – take care as the added sugar produces liquid – use excess dough to give a good seal then cut away this excess dough to give a more rounded shape.
  • Drop them into boiling water.
  • Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon into a colander.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve with soured cream.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.
  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • Roll the dough out – slightly thicker than you would do for pierogi..

Plum Soup

  • Last year in the summer I wrote about 3 fruit soups – rhubarb, sour cherry and strawberry.
  • Later in the autumn I made an apple soup.
  • This year I have made plum soup.
  • Just like other soups this is served as a first course.
  • This soup is best served hot.

Ingredients

  • 500g plums.
  • 50-75g granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • *
  • White bread croutons or cold cooked pasta to serve

Method

  • Put the water and cinnamon  into a large saucepan.
  • Add the plums to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on the pan till the plums are falling apart.
  • Strain the liquid into a large bowl.
  • Return the strained liquid to the pan.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid (check for sweetness – should be slightly tart).
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Leave to cool a little.
  • Mix the potato flour with a little water.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the soured cream.
  • Serve hot.
  • Can serve with white bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.
Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s