Green Early Summer Soup

In olden days, and even in Communist times in Poland, the only vegetables available in winter were root vegetables or preserved or bottled ones.

When sorrel leaves started to grow this marked the end of winter – a herald of spring and the start of fresh greens.

I grow sorrel in pots in my garden.

I posted a recipe for Polish sorrel soup nearly a year ago.  The following recipe does not require as much sorrel, though should you not have any sorrel at all, then use more spinach and another lemon.

Ingredients

  • 100g sorrel leaves
  • 100g of fresh spinach leaves (or use frozen)
  • ½ a head of a large lettuce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 125ml soured cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt & Pepper if needed
  • *
  • Chopped hard boiled eggs – around 1 egg  per serving.

Method

  • Have the vegetable stock ready and hot in a saucepan.
  • Remove any thick stalks from the sorrel and spinach.
  • Chop the lettuce, sorrel and spinach.
  • Add them to the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for around 5 minutes.
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool a little (for safety).
  • Blend the soup until you have a thick purée.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Bring back to the boil.
  • In a small dish mix the soured cream with the egg yolks.
  • Take the pan off the boil and add the lemon juice
  • Stir in the soured cream mixture and then use a balloon whisk to mix it in.
  • Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • *
  • Serve with chopped hard boiled eggs.

 

Soup plate – Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959-1981

Torcik – with Alpine Strawberries

Five years of blogging today!

I know I said this last year but I still cannot believe it!  I posted my first post five years ago today – 4 July 2015.  Time has gone so quickly but there is still much more to write about.  

This will be post number 280 and there have been visitors from more than 130 countries.

Suddenly in the garden there were loads of alpine strawberries – time to use them in a recipe!

I had seen lots of cakes in Poland with a layer of fruits and jelly on top and decided now was the time to start trying some out.

Torcik – this is a word that I have just learnt.

There does not seem to be an exact English translation!

I have seen the terms icebox cake or no bake cake, which convey some of the ideas.

  • Tort is a layer cake, a gateaux and the -cik  ending usually denotes a diminutive – something small.
  • A torcik is a dessert type cake which is not baked.
  • A torcik can be assembled cold from previously baked parts such as meringue circles, crushed biscuits or sponge fingers.
  • It usually has a mousse or custard layer  or one which has been set with gelatine.
  • Curd cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese is often used.
  • In Poland this would not be called a sernik  – a cheesecake as it is not baked.
  • *
  • Many recipes use gelatine or bought flavoured jellies.
  • Polish jellies come in the form of powdered granules.
  • English jellies come in a concentrated jelly block.
  • I have had super results using the following brand of  real fruit juice Polish jellies.

 

 

  • I intend to try out some more recipes out using English style jellies.
  • If you are adapting recipes between using gelatine and using bought jellies – you need to adjust the sugar content.
  • *
  • I think a Charlotte Russe could be described as a torcik.
  • It was invented up by the French chef, – Marie Antione Carême(1784-1833) who was working for the Russian Tsar, Alexander I.
  • It is not layered but has many of the same element.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next  – my first attempt was a disaster in looks!

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Biscuit base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lemon jelly
  3. Alpine strawberries in blackcurrant jelly

Ingredients

  • 500g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 packet of light coloured jelly (lemon)
  • 1 packet of dark coloured jelly (blackcurrant)
  • *
  • 125g of plain biscuits such as petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea
  • 70g butter
  • *
  • Lots of alpine strawberries – enough to cover the surface of the torcik

Method

  • Use a 25cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Crush the biscuits into small crumbs.
  • Melt the butter, add the crumbs and mix.
  • Put the mixture into the base of the tin and press it down firmly.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lemon jelly in 125ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yokes, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Fold the whites into the mixture.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the blackcurrant jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Prepare the alpine strawberries – removing any stalks and leaves.
  • Arrange the alpine strawberries on top of the lemon layer.
  • Gently put the blackcurrant jelly over the alpine strawberries – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.

Tea plates – Queensbury by Midwinter from the 1970s

 

 

Poolish Rye Bread

I recently posted about a wheat bread I made using the Poolish method.

As this was such success I thought I would try out a Poolish recipe this time using rye flour.

There are lots of steps and it takes most of the day, so it is best made when you are at home with other things to do in between.

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

Ingredients – Poolish

  • 250g rye flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast (7g dried)
  • 300ml  lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Poolish

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave at room temperature to rise for about 4 hours.

Ingredients – Dough

  • Poolish
  • 200g rye flour
  • 100g strong flour
  • 125ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • *
  • Milk to brush loaves
  • Extra caraway seeds for sprinkling on loaves

Method – Dough

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Mix the flours and the salt.
  • Add the flour and salt to the Poolish  and mix.
  • You will have a soft and heavy, sticky dough.
  • Leave uncovered to rest for 5 minutes.
  • *
  • Add a little water if it feels too stiff.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • *
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Knock back the dough.
  • Roll into a ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead a couple of times.
  • Divide into two.
  • Shape each piece into a ball.
  • Cover loosely with a dry tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  • Knead and fold and shape each ball into an oval.
  • Place the two pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • *
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf.
  • Brush lightly with milk or water.
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 10 minutes.
  • Reduce to GM6 2O0°C  and continue baking for 25 minutes
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Early Summer Soup

In the original recipe this was called spring soup.  I thought it a bit strange as not all the ingredients are out in spring – so I have re-named it to early summer soup.

Otherwise you could call it green leaves soup!

It is a really super soup – very tangy  with the sourness loved by Poles.

If you have the vegetable stock and some hard boiled eggs ready – then this is a very quick soup to make.

Some of the ingredients – growing in pots in my garden

It is hard to give exact amounts needed – around 500ml in volume of different leaves.

Ingredients

  • Large handfuls of sorrel
  • Large handfuls of spinach – or use frozen leaf spinach
  • Several sprigs of flat-leaved parsley
  • A stem of lovage or some celery leaves
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or concentrate.
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoon of milk
  • 250ml soured cream
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs – 1 per serving

Method

  • Have the vegetable stock ready and hot in a saucepan.
  • Remove all the leaves from the stalks.
  • Chop the leaves.
  • Add the leaves to the stock.
  • Mix the flour with the milk.
  • Add the flour mixture to the soup.
  • Mix well and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the boil and stir in the soured cream.
  • Serve with a hard boiled egg chopped in half per serving.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation  1982- 1998

Poolish Bread

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

The origin of the term Poolish is that it is named after a method used by Polish bakers around 1840 when it was brought to France.

However – Poolish is an old English version of Polish and this term seems to be most used in France where polonais is the word for Polish – strange!

Fermentation is carried out at room temperature for some time – long enough for the Poolish to bubble up and increase its volume. This can take anywhere from 3 to 24 hours.

Using  Poolish is said to give a light texture to the dough, develop a sweetness of flavour and also give a good colour in the crust.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

The original amounts made two very big loaves so I the second time I made this,  I cut it down, to make two small loaves – these are the instructions below.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 25g wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 10g fresh yeast (5g dried)
  • 175ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Day One

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 -10 minutes.
  • Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave a room temperature for 20 – 24 hours.

Ingredients – Day Two

  • Poolish from day one
  • 125ml water
  • 250g strong flour (maybe a little more)
  • ½ tablespoon of salt

Method – Day Two

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Add 125g of the flour and mix it in by hand.
  • Add the salt.
  • Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Add more flour if necessary.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rise till double in size – around 3 hours.
  • When it looks nearly ready – line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper.
  • Knock back the dough with your knuckles to deflate it.
  • Cut the dough into two pieces.
  • Leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Knead each piece for 1 minute.
  • Shape each piece and put it on the baking sheet.
  • Dust them lightly with some flour.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf (oops I forget the 2nd time!).
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Celeriac & Carrot Soup

A variation on a simple celeriac soup with two options on how to serve.

Ingredients

  • 1 Celeriac
  • 3 Large carrots
  • 1 Onion – chopped
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock (can be from cube or concentrate)
  • 2-3 Allspice grains
  • Butter to fry the onion
  • 5 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *
  • To serve
  • *
  • Soured cream or
  • *
  • Fried potatoes & charred onions

Method

  • Peel the celeriac and chop into large chunks.
  • Peel the carrots and cut into large chunks
  • Lightly fry the onion in butter till golden.
  • Put the celeriac, carrots, fried onion and allspice into a pan of chicken stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer with a lid on the pan until the celeriac and carrots are soft.
  • Leave to cool slightly.
  • Purée the soup – a stick blender is good for this.
  • Add the tomato ketchup.
  • Season to taste.
  • Bring the soup back to the boil for a couple of minutes.

To serve – 1

  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of soured cream and stir.

To serve – 2

  • Serve with fried potatoes and charred onions.

Served in Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 – 1998

 

Mincemeat Yeast Buns

I have been doing a lot of yeast baking recently and  posted recipes for cinnamon buns and for poppy seed yeast buns, which were very soft and fluffy.

I still had a little mincemeat left over from Christmas and thought why not use some of this. The resulting buns are reminiscent of English Chelsea Buns.

This English fruit mix would be recognised in Poland as bakalie -Balkan mix.

The dough is soft and rather hard to handle. After the first rising the dough is NOT knocked back but just used as it is to make a rectangular shape. Putting the buns into a deep foil lined roasting tin helps to let them rise into shape.

Ingredients

  • 250g strong flour
  • 250g plain flour
  • Half a tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 50g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Around 330ml milk
  • *
  • Several tablespoons of mincemeat

Method

  • Line a roasting tin with foil taking it all up the sides.
  • Warm a little of the milk and add the yeast.
  • Leave for around 10 minutes.
  • Mix the flours together.
  • Rub the butter into the flour – like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Add the beaten egg
  • Slowly add the milk – you might not need all of it.
  • Use a knife first to start to bring everything together
  • Then use your hands and form a soft dough ball.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for at least 5 minutes – even up to 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a bowl, cover (a disposable shower cap is good) and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  • DO NOT KNOCK BACK THE DOUGH.
  • Using you fingers gently flatten and shape the dough into a rectangle.
  • Cover the dough with the mincemeat.
  • Roll into a log.
  • Slice into thick pieces.
  • Place the pieces into the tin.
  • Cover and leave to rise.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C
  • Once all the pieces are touching put in the hot oven.
  • Bake for around 20 mins – check and maybe cover after 15mins.
  • Drizzle with icing made with lemon juice and icing sugar or just dust with icing sugar
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a cake grid.

 

Celeriac Soup

Having seen lots of celeriac in the shops this week, I decided to make some of this lovely soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 Celeriac
  • 1 Onion – chopped
  • 1 litre of chicken stock (can be from cube or concentrate)
  • 2-3 allspice grains
  • Butter to fry the onion
  • Soured cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

  • Peel the celeriac and chop into large chunks.
  • Lightly fry the onion in butter till golden.
  • Put the celeriac, fried onion and allspice into a pan of chicken stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer with a lid on the pan until the celeriac is soft.
  • Leave to cool slightly.
  • Purée the soup – a stick blender is good for this.
  • Bring the soup back to the boil.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of soured cream and stir.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of soured cream and chopped flat-leaved parsley.

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

Pepper & Apple Salad

Here is a refreshing salad with a honey and yoghurt dressing for a sunny day.

Ingredients

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eating apples such as Braeburn
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • *
  • 2 tablespoons of runny honey
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek style yoghurt
  • *
  • Flat-leaved parsley to garnish

Method

  • Cut the peppers and remove the stalk and seeds.
  • Cut the peppers into very thin strips.
  • Slice the onions finely.
  • Put the lemon juice into a bowl.
  • Core the apples and cut into small chunks.
  • Place the apples into the lemon juice.
  • Mix the peppers, onions and apples together.
  • Put the salad into a serving dish.
  • *
  • Mix the honey and yoghurt together.
  • Put this mixture on top of the salad.
  • Garnish with chopped flat-leaved parsley.

No Knead Sourdough Rye Bread

This recipe is taken from Tomek Lach.  He has many extremely good videos on YouTube – they are however in Polish.  His videos include ones on yeast, sourdough, bread and pizzas.

I have tried out several recipes and tips.

This recipe is so easy as there is no need to knead – you just need time and patience. It can take up to three days.

You need to have some – zakwas – sourdough starter.

To make this you put 50g of rye flour and 50ml of water into a large glass preserving jar on day 1 and stir, cover and leave for 24 hours. On days 2, 3, and 4 you repeat this. On Day 5 it is ready to use or you can keep it in the fridge – topping up once a week with a couple of spoons of flour and water.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 2-3 tablespoons of zakwas – sourdough starter.
  • 150g of rye flour
  • 150ml of water

Method – Day One

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Cover with a shower cap.
  • Leave for 12 hours minimum (overnight is good)

Ingredients – Day Two

  • The mixture from day one
  • 200g of rye flour
  • 200g of strong white flour
  • 200ml of water
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Method – Day Two

  • Mix all the ingredients into a thick paste.
  • Get a large loaf tin (often called a 2lb tin).
  • Use one rectangle of grease-proof paper to line the tin.
  • Spoon all the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Cover again with the shower cap and leave for at least 5 hours – I have found that overnight is good here again.
  • Put the tin into the cold oven.
  • Put the oven on to GM7 –  220°C.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Take out and leave for at least 30 minutes before cutting into the loaf as it is still baking.

Variations

  • Adjust the types of flour – maybe use a light rye if you used a dark one before.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of seeds into the dough mixture – such as caraway, pumpkin or sunflower.
  • Add seeds to the top of the loaf.

Note

The bread keeps for several days and is good toasted or you can slice it up and freeze it.