Soda Breads with Rye

These are two variations of a classic wheat flour soda bread recipe.

I think the slow rise breads you get with sourdough or bakers’ yeast are better but they take time to make.

These are a quick bake if you want some bread for lunch or supper.

I use a yoghurt & whey mix as I nearly always have these in when I make yoghurt cheese, but you can adapt by using a milk & water mix or buttermilk if you have it instead of the whey.

I add caraway as I love the taste but you can experiment with other flavours using fresh or dried chopped herbs.

Version 1

Ingredients

150g rye flour

250g plain flour

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

 

 

 

 

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

Version 2

Ingredients

100g rye flour

250g wheat flour

50g rolled oats

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

150ml yoghurt

200ml whey

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 7 – 220°C

Flour a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

Mix the yoghurt and whey together in jug or bowl.

Add the yoghurt mixture to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix it all together.

Use your floured hands to bring it all into a soft dough ball.

Place the ball onto the floured baking tray.

Using a sharp large knife cut a cross or star on the surface.

Bake for 5mins then turn the heat down to GM 6 – 200°C and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

The base should sound hollow when the bread is cooked .

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

 

Note

Soda bread does tend to go stale quickly but is is still delicious toasted and served with butter.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

 

Lentils – Polish Style

The lentil  is Lens culinaris,  an edible legume –  which means its seeds grow in pods.

The seeds are lens-shaped from whence it gets its name –  meaning  little lens.

The Polish is soczewica and is also from a word meaning a small lens.

It belongs to the bean family and these seeds are classed as pulses – dry seeds for consumption.

Lentils originated in the Near East and Central Asia and are the oldest  pulses and among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World.

The first evidence of pulses comes from 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East which was home to some of the earliest human civilizations.

They are mentioned in the Bible –  Genesis 25:29-34 – when Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage.

” …let me eat the red soup … then Jacob gave him bread and lentil soup

Figures for 2016 show the top four countries for lentil production as:

    • Canada
    • India
    • Turkey
    • United States of America

I bought a packet of whole allspice (ziele angielskie) and this recipe was on the back.

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I think it is related to Breton beans – a popular Polish recipe.

Ingredients

200g – 250g dried lentils

100g smoked bacon – chopped into small squares.

200g Polish sausage (I used Toruńska) – sliced

2 onions – chopped

3 cloves of garlic – sliced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

200 ml of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate)

5 grains of allspice

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika (not smoked)

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Ground black pepper

(salt might not be needed because of the bacon and sausage)

Yoghurt and chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C

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Cook the lentils in water until they are soft.

Use a sieve to remove some of the excess water – if any.

Fry up the bacon and the onions and garlic.

In a jug or bowl mix the stock, paprika, herbs and pepper.

Get an oven proof dish with a lid and add the lentils, fried bacon, onions and garlic.

Add the tomatoes and the stock mixture.

Add the sliced sausage, the bay leaves and allspice and mix all together thouroughly.

 

Put the lid on the dish and place into the oven.

Cook for 45 -60 minutes.

 

 

Serve garnished with flat – leafed parsley or this and a dollop of plain yoghurt or soured cream as well.

Here served in Royal Doulton – Carnation (1982 – 1998) dishes.

Pasta Salad with Skwarki

There was a heat wave this summer (2018) in England and Europe and during my recent trip to The Netherlands, I had lunch in the sunny garden of my friend’s older sister.

 

One of the dishes was a pasta salad  and included an ingredient which you would find as a garnish in many Polish dishes – skwarki – small, crispy, fried, bacon pieces.

This was a wonderful addition and I think would go well in other salads too.

I recreated this dish when I got home – the exact amounts are not so important.

Ingredients

400g  of cooked Penne or Macaroni

1 small tin of sweetcorn – drained

3 celery stalks

125g of smoked bacon

3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise (I used full fat – which I prefer for cooked salads)

Ground black pepper

Method

Chop the bacon into small squares and place on a heavy frying pan on a medium heat until all the fat comes out and you are left with small, crispy squares.

 

Drain the bacon pieces from the fat and place them on some kitchen roll and leave them until they are cold.

Chop the celery into fine pieces.

You can cut the pasta into smaller pieces if you wish.

 

 

In a large bowl, mix the pasta, sweetcorn, celery and the skwarki together.

 

Add the mayonnaise and the ground black pepper and mix well together.

Note

You are unlikely to need to add any salt as this is provided by the bacon.

This salad will go well with cold meats and barbecued meats.

 

Polish Beans – American Style

I believe this recipe is very popular in America and I think it is a sort of second generation recipe which is made up from memories of  dishes from Poland and some adaptations using local ingredients.

I feel this is a blend of two previous bean recipes Beans – po Staropolsku (in an old Polish style) which has a lot of sweetness using prunes and honey and Breton beans with tomato sauce.   Here the sweetness is from maple syrup (I still had some from my friend who now lives in Canada – so thought of her as when making this).

Ingredients

Note – these quantities do not have to be exact.

200 -300g kielbasa – Polish sausage

200 – 300g smoked bacon

400 – 500g minced beef

2 small onions

4 large tins of different beans (butter beans, canellini, haricot, red kidney etc) – some recipes say that using some butter beans is a must!

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 tablespoon of made-up mustard

1 tablespoon of wine or cider vinegar

250ml maple syrup

Ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C

Drain the beans and place then into an ovenproof dish with a lid.

Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them up in a little oil.

Chop the bacon into small pieces and add these to the onions and fry them together.

Slice and chop the sausage and add this to the onions and bacon.

Add the minced meat  to the mixture and fry this up for a few minutes.

Add this mixture to the beans in the dish.

Mix in the tomato puree, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup and black pepper.

Put the lid on the dish.

Cook for around 3 hours in the oven until the beans are soft.

 

Note

This is suitable for making in a slow cooker.

This can be eaten as a dish on its own or served with bread.

 

 

Rye Bread

Having made a super sour dough rye bread   ,  I now thought I would have a go at one using baker’s yeast as this is a quicker option.

Only rye flour is used which does make it a harder to handle dough.

Ingredients

500ml yoghurt & water ( around 1:1 ) at hand heat

1.5 tablespoons of dried yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

100g rye flour

**********

650g rye flour

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of caraway seeds – plus extra for sprinkling on top

Method

Day 1

In a bowl mix the yoghurt and water , yeast , sugar and flour.

Leave for a while until it starts to bubble.

Mix the rest of the flour, salt and caraway seeds in a large bowl.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon.

Aim for a “wet” mixture, adjusting with water or flour as necessary.

Cover this with a cling film or a cloth and leave overnight.

Day 2

This will make 2 loaves – either two round or oval loaves which you can place on greased baking sheets or you can use small baking tins – shallow ones rather than loaf tins work out best I think – I used a 16 x 27cm mermaid tin.

This dough is very hard to work with – I cut it into two and shape each piece without much kneading and try not to add much extra flour.

Cover and leave to rise – this may take several hours – you do not get much of a rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Brush the top of the loaf with hot water and sprinkle with caraway seeds. You can make 1 or 2 cuts on the top of the loaf.

Whilst experimenting with this recipe  I found  that if you make the loaf too thick then it can burn on the outside and still be uncooked in the centre.

I found that a flatter loaf and the one in the rectangular tray came out consistently better.

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes – I swap the trays around after 20 -25 minutes.

 

 

Courgette Cake

I have just returned from a trip to The Netherlands where I stay with my  Dutch friend who I have known for nearly all my life!  We were both born in the same year  – lived just a few doors apart in Lancashire and  went to the same school together. Now we live in differerent countries but we visit each other often.

I am always on the look out for recipes as well as old glass & china. We went to a second-hand street market in Roermond and there was a book sale in one of the churches and strangely enough the books were sold by weight!  I  bought a nearly new copy of a cookery book by Yvette van Boven (I now know she appears on television).

 

This cake is  based on one of her recipes and reminds me of the light fruit cakes called keks in Polish – though the use of the courgette is novel  –  you would never guess it is in the cake!

Ingredients – Cake

150g self-raising flour

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar

150g of light brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

150g of raisins

150g of currants

100g of roasted and roughly chopped hazelnuts

1 medium size courgette coarse grated

2 eggs

125ml of sunflower oil

Ingredients – Lemon Icing

Fine grated rind of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

150g of icing sugar

 

Method – Cake

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 180°C

I used a continental style long loaf tin, greased it  and used a single sheet of grease proof paper  to line the long sides and the base.

 

Mix together the flour, salt, sugars and cinnamon, making sure that any lumps in the brown sugar are all pressed out.

Mix together the raisins, currants, nuts and the courgette.

Lightly whisk together the eggs and the oil.

Add the flour mix to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon

Add the courgette mixture and mix well in – also using a wooden spoon.

Place the cake mixture in the tin and smooth the top.

Bake for 50 -60 minutes – check the cake after 40 – 45 minutes and cover the top with greaseproof paper or foil if it is browning too much before it is baked through.

 

 

Leave to cool before icing.

Method – Icing

Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add the grated lemon zest.

Mix in the lemon juice unti l you have a thick icing.

You might have to adjust the thickness with  more lemon juice (or water) or with icing sugar.

Put the icing on the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides.

 

 

 

Served on Woodside by Royal Grafton from 1940 to 1959.

Carrot Variation

I  thought that this might be good using grated carrot instead of courgette – I used a medium sized carrot.

I used chopped walnuts, which I had, as when I had gone to get the hazelnuts, I got the last packet from my local shop and did not have time to go to anywhere else!

 

Nuts for sale in the Food Market in Rotterdam

 

 

 

 

 

Served on Stardust by Colclough from the 1960s.

Both versions were delicious and enjoyed by many!

 

 

 

 

French Connections

Fasolka po bretonsku

This is Beans in a Breton style and is a very popular dish in Poland.

It is a dish of beans cooked with Polish sausage and smoked bacon in a tomato sauce.

When Lidl, the supermarket,  has a Polish Week they often have jars of this for sale.

I have done some research and can find lots of Polish recipes for this but not a single French or Breton recipe which is similar. So I cannot tell you why this typical Polish dish is associated with Brittany or France.

French Connections

There are however many, many connections with Poland and France – here are just a few:

  • Prince Henri de Valois (1551 – 1589) was elected King of Poland and reigned from 1573 to 1575. He resigned to become Henri III of France.
  • King Władysław IV Waza (1595 – 1648) – married the French Princess  Louse Marie Gonzaga
  • King Jan II Kazimierz Waza (1609 –1672) married Louse Marie Gonzaga when she became the widow of the King  Władysław IV Waza.
  • King Jan III Sobieski (1629 –1695) – married Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d’Arquien.
  • Stanisław Leszczński (1677-1766) was King of Poland and then became the Duke of Lorraine.
  • His daughter Maria Leszczyńska (1703-1768) became the Queen consort of Louis XV(1710– 1774) of France and was the Grandmother of Louis XVI (1754–1793).
  • Poland was an Ally of Napoleon (1769 – 1821) especially in the war against the Russians.

Many Poles went to live and work in France including:

  • Adam Mickiewicz (1798 – 1855) – poet
  • Fryderyk Chopin (1810 – 1849) – composer
  • Cyprian Norwid (1821 – 1883) – poet
  • Maria Skłodowska Curie (1867 – 1934) – scientist
  • André Citroën (1878-1935) – entrepreneur
  • Aleksander (Alexandre) Tansman (1897 – 1986) – composer
  • Tadeusz Baird (1928 – 1981) – composer

Ingredients

Note – these quantities do not have to be exact.

2 cans of beans (approx 420g each) (haricot, canellini  or barlotti)

200g smoked bacon

200g Polish sausage, (I used Toruńska and Śląska)

2 onions

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

500ml of hot water

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs or marjoram

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika (can use hot paprika)

4 grains of allspice

2 – 3 bay leaves

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160°C.

Cut the bacon into small squares and fry them up.

Cut the onions into small pieces and fry these up.

Drain the beans and place them into an oven proof dish (one that has a lid).

Add the fried bacon and onions and mix together.

Slice the sausage and add this to the bean mixture.

Mix the tomato puree with the hot water and add the Italian herbs and paprika.

Pour this over the bean mixture and add the allspice and bay leaves and mix throughly.

Cook in the oven for several hours until the beans are soft.

This can be eaten as a dish on its own or served with bread.

Note

This is suitable for making in a slow cooker.