Salads with a Hint of Breakfast!

Having written several posts recently with different ideas for breakfasts,  I started to think about how to use some of these ingredients such as smoked bacon & eggs in salads.

Version 1 with lemon juice

Ingredients

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • Cut the lettuce into shreds with a sharp knife.
  • Peel the cucumber or part peel in stripes lengthwise.
  • Chop the cucumber into small pieces.
  • Chop up the hard boiled eggs into small pieces.
  • Chop up the bacon into small squares and fry without extra oil until all the fat has come out.
  • Use kitchen roll to soak up the excess fat and leave to cool completely.
  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir.
  • Add chopped chives to serve.

 

 

 

Version 2 with soured cream

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chives to garnish

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the soured cream at the end.

 

Version 3 with tomatoes

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the chopped cherry tomatoes.

 

 

 

Served in 1930s Glass Dishes

 

Waffles

On a super, short holiday in Gdańsk just before Easter, I had several delicious breakfasts in a restaurant in the Old Town called Gvara- the name is based on the Polish word gwara which means dialect (Polish does not have the letter v !).

Two of the breakfasts were waffles served with savoury toppings. First with smoked bacon and eggs and then with fried onions, red peppers and spinach – topped with a poached egg – I was converted!

On my return I had to recreate these lovely dishes!

On previous visits to Poland I have always been surprised to see how popular waffles (gofry in Polish – from the French  – gaufres) are.

These waffles, which are often sold on street stalls or at fairs are usually sweet with the addition of sugar and jams etc.

A Short History of Waffles

In ancient times the Greeks cooked flat cakes, called obelios, between hot metal plates.

Over time they became popular throughout medieval Europe, the cake mix, a mixture of flour, water or milk, and often eggs, were also cooked over an open fire between iron plates with long handles.

Paintings from the 16th century by Joachim de Beuckelaer, Pieter Aertsen and Pieter Bruegel show waffles being cooked.

The word waffle first appears in the English language in the 18th Century – it comes from the Dutch wafel & Middle Dutch wafele – the word for a wafer.

Originally they were made without a  raising agent.

Nowadays waffles are made from a batter with yeast or baking powder (invented by the English chemist Alfred Bird in 1843)and are cooked between two patterned plates.

In some versions, the waffles are thin and more crispy – more biscuit like.

Early waffles were unsweetened or sweetened with honey and sugar-sweetened waffles were expensive.

By the 18th century, the expansion of Caribbean plantations had cut sugar prices in half and recipes abounded with much use of sugar.

Making Waffles

I bought an electric waffle maker, which makes thick waffles. It is by Salter and I am very pleased with it.

Baking Powder Waffles

This recipe is based on the one in the recipe book that comes with waffle maker.

I used whole milk and found this worked very well.

Other recipes I looked at used buttermilk, so I tried this with a yoghurt & milk mixture – they tasted okay but the mixture escaped out of the maker quite a bit – so there was a lot to clean up.

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg
  • 90g of butter
  • 350ml of whole milk

Method

This amount made eight waffles in my maker.

It is best to make all the waffles at once and either keep them warm in a low oven or you can pop then in a toaster later.

  • Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Beat the eggs until they are fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and then the milk to the flour mixture and mix well.
  • Add the melted butter to the mixture and mix well.
  • I made the waffles as per the instructions of the waffle maker.
  • Pre-heat the maker for around 5 minutes.
  • Brush some oil or butter onto the plates for the first batch.
  • Use a ladle to pour on the mixture – filling the plate till around 3/4 full.
  • Cook for around 5 minutes – all steam should have finished being given off by now.

Yeast Waffles

The batter is left to rise overnight.

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 400ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Method

This amount made around eight waffles in my maker.

You can make all the waffles at once and either keep them warm in a low oven or you can pop then in a toaster – with this yeast batter you can stagger the timing a little if you do not want to make them all at once.

  • In a saucepan melt the butter.
  • Add the milk and heat up the mixture.
  • Leave to cool to hand heat.
  • In a bowl mix the flour, sugar (or honey), yeast and salt.
  • Whisk the eggs till frothy.
  • Add the eggs to flour mixture.
  • Add the cooled butter/milk mixture.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
  • As above, I made the waffles as per the instructions of the waffle maker.
  • Pre-heat the maker for around 5 minutes.
  • Brush some oil or butter onto the plates for the first batch.
  • Use a ladle to pour on the mixture – filling the plate till around 3/4 full.
  • Cook for around 5 minutes – all steam should have finished being given off by now.

 

Toppings for the Waffles

 

Bacon & Eggs

  • Grill or pan fry, without oil,  some smoked bacon rashers.
  • Soft fry or poach eggs.
  • Pour some maple syrup on the waffles
  • Place some rashers of bacon on the waffles
  • Top with the egg.

 

Fried onions, red peppers, spinach & egg

Ingredients

  • Onion – around 1/2 per waffle
  • Red pepper – around 1/2 per waffle
  • Fresh spinach – a large handful per waffle
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter – depending on how much you are making.
  • Salt & ground black pepper to serve.

Method

  • Slice the peppers into long strips
  • Blanch the peppers with boiling water and leave for at least 15 minutes.
  • Use a deep frying pan with a lid (a glass one is best).
  • Melt the butter in the pan on a gently heat.
  • Slice the onions into strips and fry gently in the butter till soft and golden.
  • Dry the peppers and add these to the onions and cook gently with the lid on for some of the time.
  • Put the spinach on top, put on the lid and allow it to cook in the steam.
  • Take off the lid, stir and cook off  excess liquid.
  • Place some onions, peppers and spinach a waffle.
  • Season with salt & ground black pepper
  • Top with a soft fried or poached egg.

Bean Salad

Bean Salad with Apple & Hard-boiled Eggs

As I was trying out some herring salads I came across the following mixture which worked so well together.  I decided it would make a good salad mixture on its own.

Originally this would have been made with soaked and then boiled haricot beans  – for ease I use a tin of baked beans from which the sauce has been washed off.

Ingredients

1 tin of haricot beans (tinned beans (410g) with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted dry).

1 thinly sliced then chopped onion

2 chopped (red skinned) apples

3- 4  chopped hard-boiled eggs

2-3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise ( full fat is the best here)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

Method

Prepare all the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

You can sprinkle chopped flat-leaved parsley on top when serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Herring Salads

Salted herrings are very, very popular in Poland, they have been a staple in Northern Europe since Medieval times as this was the way to preserve and transport fish – usually in barrels.

Śledź is the Polish word for herring.

Matjes herrings (matjasy in Polish) are young herrings which are caught throughout May and June before they start spawning in July.

The way that they are prepared originated in The Netherlands and the name comes from the Dutch word maagd which means maiden(because they are young fish).

Often you will see the phrase à la matjas – this means that they are in the style of the matjes herring but they will be a slighty older fish and not as expensive .

Salted herrings need to be soaked, often for up to 24 hours, in water to remove some of the salt.

I have used already prepared à la matjas herrings and I think they are still too salty – so I take the fillets out of the oil they are packed in and put them in milk for 10 to 15 minutes (you can do longer) and then pat them dry and slice them.

 

These herring salads are often served as an hors d’oeuvre (zakąska in Polish – something to bite after), appetizer, entrée or starter.

They are usually one of the dishes served at Wigilia (Christmas Eve).

Thinly sliced onions are a must to serve with the herrings!

Simple Herrings 1

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings

thinly sliced onion

A little lemon juice

 

Simple Herrings 2

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings,

Thinly sliced onion

Chopped gherkins (ogórki).

A little liquor from the gherkin jar

Simple Herrings 3

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings,

Thinly sliced onion and

Sliced (red skinned) apple

A little lemon juice

Herring Salads

The dressings used are lemon juice, mayonnaise (full fat is best here), soured cream and horseradish – on their own or as a mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not given quantities – exact amounts are not critical.

Herring & Apple Salad

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions,

Chopped (red skinned) apples

Dressing

Herring & Potato Salads

The following salads are varaitionons on  classic Polish potato salads.

Herring, Potato & Gherkin

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,

Chopped gherkins

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato, Gherkin & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,

Chopped gherkins

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato & Peas

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,

Cooked peas

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato, Peas & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,

Cooked peas and dressing

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Apple, Bean & Hard-boiled Eggs

When I first saw this recipe I was not sure how the beans would go with the rest of the ingredients.  Having tried it,  I think the taste combination is wonderful!

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Chopped (red skinned) apples

Haricot beans  – tinned beans  with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted drydried

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Chopped parsley & chives

All of the salads can have chopped flat-leafed parsley and/or chives sprinkled on top.

 

Budyń – Polish Custard

Budyń is similar to the thick English custard that is used on trifes, rather than the pouring type.

The word comes from the French  –  boudin, as does the English word pudding.
It is made from milk, egg yolks, sugar  and potato flour & flavoured most often with vanilla.

I have found numerous recipes – this one is my favourite.

I think this is best eaten after it has been very well chilled.

Ingredients

500ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

1 tablespoonful of butter

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

3 drops of vanilla  essence

2- 3 tablespoonfuls of potato starch (you can use cornflour – if potato flour is not available)

3 egg yolks

Method

Put 300ml of the milk, the butter, sugar and the vanilla essence into a saucepan.

Heat gently till the butter had melted and the sugar dissolve, stirring all the time.

Bring this to the boil for a few seconds and then take of the heat.

Blend together the rest of the milk (200ml) with the egg yolks and potato flour.

Add some of the boiled mixture to this and stir well.

Add this to the rest of  the boiled mixture and stir well.

 

Put the pan back on the heat and bring back to boiling point, stirring gently.

Keep at boiling for 1 minute, stirring all the time.

Pour into a glass dish (or several small dishes) – leave to cool.

You can cover the budyń with greasproof paper to stop a skin forming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.

 

Served  here in Art Deco sundae/trifle glass dishes from the 1930s.

Packet Budyń

Budyń can be made from packet ingredients with fresh milk.

The ingredients are cornflour & potato flour with flavouring.

 

This is similar to  British Birds custard which is made from cornflour and flavouring and added to fresh milk.

The budyń comes out thicker – not a pouring sauce,

Using Budyń

Budyń is used in cakes and pastries as a filling and to make  vanilla pastry cream used in several recipes including Karpatka (recipes to follow in future posts) Carpathian Mountain Cake.

Vla

When I visit my friend in The Netherlands we often have vla for dessert – this is very similar to budyń.

Vla used to be sold in bottles but more often now comes in cartons.  Originally it was also made from milk, sugar and eggs  but now the thickening is more usually cornflour.

With yoghurt

In the Netherlands,  vla is often mixed with yoghurt.

I mix roughly equal parts of budyń with chilled Greek yoghurt and whisk it together to get a well combined mixture.

This can be served with grated chocolate, fruit or fruit syrup.

 

 

 

1930s Art Deco glass dish

 

 

A Little Caper!

Capparis spinosa is the caper bush.  The plant is best known for the edible, unripened  flower buds – capers – kapary (in Polish)  which are often used as a seasoning and are usually  pickled in brine, vinegar or wine.

These perennial plants are native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back to around 2,000 BC  where they are mentioned as a food in Sumerian literature.

The caper buds are picked by hand which can make the cost of a small jar expensive.

Pickled nasturtium (Tropaeolum maius) (nasturcja in Polish)  seeds – often called poor man’s capers are a good substitute.

Cooking With Capers

Capers have long been used in the Mediterranean region especially  in Italian cooking.

Capers are usually  added to the dish toward the end of the cooking process, to keep their shape and flavour.

Sos kaparowy – Caper sauce

This is very popular in Poland and is made with chopped capers and mayonnaise  and is served with hard-boiled eggs.

Potato Salad with Capers

This is my variation of the classic Polish potato salad with caper  sauce.

Ingredients

200g  waxy potatoes

100g whole green beans

100g peas

2-3 spring onions – green part

2 tablespoons of capers – drained

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise – home-made or a good full fat bought variety

1 tablespoon of made up mustard

Salt & pepper

2 – 3  hard-boiled eggs

Method

The potatoes, green beans and the peas all need to be boiled or steamed, drained and then dried as much as possible using a clean tea towel.

I usually use starchy potatoes for potato salad but have found that waxy ones are better for this one.

Chop the beans into small pieces.

Chop the green parts of the onion into fine pieces.

In a bowl mix the cooked and dried vegetables, the capers and the spring onions.

 

 

 

 

Mix together the mayonnaise and the mustard.

I have found that the lighter sort of mayonnaise soon makes this salad have a watery dressing after a very short time. It is better to use home-made mayonaise or a good bought one – I use Hellmann’s.

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables with the dressing and add salt & pepper to taste.

Chop the hard-boiled eggs and scatter these on the top of the salad to serve.

 

 

 

Served here in a bowl by Meakin  –  Cadiz  – 1964  – 1970

 

Racuszki – A Kind of Pancake

A racuch – according  to my dictionary is  a kind of pancake.

Racuszki or racuchy are plural words for them- used much more as you never have just one!  They are small thick pancakes similar to dropped scones, Scotch pancakes or American style pancakes.

In my old Polish recipe book, the recipe uses soured milk, but as I do not have this, I use my own thick yoghurt instead.

Racuszki

1 egg

250ml yoghurt

200g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

large pinch salt.

Method

In a large bowl mix the flour, pinch of salt, the egg and some of the yoghurt, mix it with a wooden spoon. I found my new one with a hole in it which I bought in The Netherlands very good for this.

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Keep adding the yoghurt (and some water if needed) and mix till you get a batter which is thick and then beat it more till it is smooth and glossy.

Then add the bicarbonate of soda and give this a final mix.

Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

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They are traditionally served warm with jam or thick fruit syrup – caster sugar also goes well.

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With Sour Cherry Jam

Yoghurt Cheese Pancakes

I have recently been to The Netherlands to stay with my friend and was looking at the local newspaper and saw a recipe for pancakes using qwark  (I can manage enough Dutch words to  figure out some recipes – especially if there is  a photograph!)

I thought they sounded very much like racuszki, so I jotted the recipe down and when I came home I adapted it slightly by using self raising flour, adding a little vanilla essence and used my own yoghurt cheese instead of qwark.

In the original recipe they served them warm with yoghurt & honey, I also tried them with melted butter & sugar, and with maple syrup – from the large bottle I got from my friend who lives in Canada.

 

 

They were super and ones I had left could be easily reheated and were still soft and not rubbery – I will be using this recipe lots from now on.

Ingredients

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons sugar

250g yoghurt cheese

200ml milk (you might not need it all)

125g self raising flour

Pinch salt

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff – I tend to do this first so you can use the beaters for the rest of the recipe – without having to wash them to remove the grease.

In a large bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar, yoghurt cheese, flour, pinch of salt, vanilla essence and around half the milk.

Keep adding more milk and mix well until you have a thick batter – like double cream.

With a metal spoon fold in the stiff egg whites.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

 

Ciocia* Pola’s Apple Racuszki 

*Aunty

Many years ago I went to stay with my one of mother’s sisters (Apolonia) who lived in the area called mazury – the Masurian Lake District in North East Poland.

With apples from the garden she made  racuszki – using a thick yeast risen batter and roughly chopped apples – a cross between a pancake and a fritter. They were delicious.

I have made them here many times using her recipe. Whilst researching and checking other  variations I saw that several recipes used grated apples – these came out stodgy  with little taste of the apple – you need to keep the pieces fairly large.

Ingredients

125 ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

25g caster sugar and 1 teaspoon

10g  fresh yeast or 5g  dried yeast

25g  butter

1 egg

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

2 Bramley apples

Icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon  sugar to dust.

Method

Warm half the milk and add a teaspoon of caster sugar and the yeast and mix it all together and leave it to froth up.

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Melt the butter and leave it to cool.

Whisk the egg with the sugar until it is thick and creamy.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Use a wooden spoon (one with a hole works really well) and beat in the yeast mixture, the egg & sugar mixture and then the melted butter.

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Slowly add the rest of the milk, mixing until the mixture has the consistency of double cream.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave this to rise.

Peel, core and quarter the apples and cut them into small chunks or slices cut in half.

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Add the apples to the risen batter and mix them well in to coat them.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place large tablespoons of apple and batter onto the pan and cook them so that they are golden brown on both sides.

 

Remove them from the pan and dust them with icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon sugar.

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Eat them whilst they are hot & as they say in Poland – Smacznego! (may they be delicious!)