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!)

Pisanki – Polish Easter Eggs

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the spring equinox, which is the 21st of March. So the earliest date for Easter is the 22nd of March and the latest date is the 25th of April.

In English the word Easter comes from the name of the pagan goddess of dawn or spring – Eastre or Eostre and her festival was in spring time and hence this old word has stuck.

In Polish the name is Wielkanoc – which translates as Great Night – as it is the night of The Resurrection.

Eggs at Easter were originally a pagan tradition as symbols of fertility, rebirth and the revival of nature and heralded in the start of spring.

The tradition was absorbed by Christianity and the egg is now the symbol of the tomb and as the chick hatches from the egg with life so it symbolises the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pisanki are the decorated eggs you find in Poland. The word comes from the Polish verb pisać which nowadays means to write,  however in old Polish it also meant to paint.

There are many different ways of decorating eggs and each of these has its own specific name  –  one method uses beeswax and dyes are used to give wax resist patterns – another scratches away the dye to revel the original shell colour.

In Kraków there is the Museum of Ethnography, founded in 1902, which has  superb displays of intricate and beautiful pisanki through the ages – well worth a visit.

Below are photographs of an egg which was decorated using the beeswax and dye method – onion skins in this case.  It belongs to the Director of  the Leeds Polish Saturday School and was one of many made two years ago with instructions from a visiting tutor at a workshop session for the teachers and pupils at the school.

 

 

I make very simple coloured eggs by hard boiling eggs with onion skins.

Boiling eggs with brown onion skins dyes the egg shells a rich brown colour.

 

Boiling eggs with red onion skins dyes the egg shells a dark red-brown colour.

 

 

You can buy sheets of coloured paper dyes which give a range of colours   – safe edible dyes of course – I have tried these in the past but now just use onions as they are always in my vegetable basket.

Tip

When hard boiling eggs use eggs that are at least three days old as very fresh eggs are hard to peel.

These hard boiled eggs form part of the basket of food which is taken to church on the Saturday before Easter to be blessed see Palm Sunday & Holy Saturday.

The blessed eggs are peeled and cut into quarters to be shared at the Easter Breakfast with all the people present.

 

 

Other non- blessed hard boiled eggs are used in a game of tapping  eggs together to see which one cracks first.

A wooden imitation of these lovely decorated eggs is now a very popular item for sale throughout the year in Poland.  It is a something that many tourists buy to take home.

 

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Pisanki for sale in Kraków

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My Wooden Pisanki

 

 

Wooden Eggs belonging to my friend in Leeds

 

In these the wooden eggs have been painted and carved to expose the pale wood imitating the method of scratching with a fine tool the paint or dye and exposing the egg shell colour of real eggs

Easter Greetings

The photographs are taken from recent Easter cards from Poland.

Wesołych Świąt

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Happy Holy (Holiday) Day

 

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Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych

Happy Holy (Holiday) Day at Easter

Wesołego Alleluja

Happy Alleluia

 

Because of the egg theme you may also hear

Smacznego jajka 

May the eggs be delicious.

 

 

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PS

After posting the above I received an Easter card from Poland with the following stamp.

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Palm Sunday & Holy Saturday

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Palms are blessed in church on this day to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Of course palm trees do not grow in Poland and so other plants are substituted. Often pussy willow  is used as the catkins are usually out around this time. My mother always called pussy willow – palma – the Polish for palm.

 

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Twigs For Sale in the Old Square in Kraków

 

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Palms are also made from  dried grasses and corn which are often dyed to make them colourful or from coloured paper which is rolled and the edges cut to make a fringe.

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In many villages the farmers would make huge palms for the procession completing with each other to see who had the biggest and best.

The Main Square in  Kraków – Decorated with Large Palms

 

 

It is still Lent in Holy Week so the food eaten is simple and often meat, butter and egg free. Most baking and cooking done now is to make food to eat at Easter.

As well as going to church services it is a time for houses to undergo a massive clean-up especially inside.

Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent – the day before Easter.

This is the only day in the Catholic year on which Mass is not celebrated.

In Poland there is the tradition on this day to have the food for Easter blessed.

This has its roots in the early medieval church in the 12th Century and the food would have originally  been just bread and eggs.

In times past in villages the priest would have gone around to people’s houses and blessed the food there. Nowadays people bring a basket of food to the church and the food is blessed with Holy Water and is then taken home and not eaten till the Easter Sunday Breakfast.

Once blessed this basket is called święconka meaning  that which has been blessed

The basket is lined with a cloth – often white linen and sometimes embroidered.  A white linen cloth is used to cover the basket. These cloths represent the white shroud in which Jesus was wrapped.

What goes into the basket depends on several factors but hard boiled eggs and bread are usually present. Everything in the basket has a symbolic meaning.

Eggs –  Christ’s Resurrection – a symbol of life.

Bread – Christ as the Bread of Heaven.

Salt –  Preservation & Purification & Zest for Life

Horseradish – The Harsh & Bitter sacrifice of Christ.

Cooked Meat & Sausage – Joy & Abundance of God’s mercy.

Babka – The risen  dough  – this represents the Risen Christ.

Shaped Lamb (butter/cake/bread) – Christ – The Lamb of God -(see Lamb Bread)

Cheese – Moderation.

Butter – End of Lent.

Getting a basket ready to take to Church

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See Babka

 

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People coming & going to church in Kraków with baskets of food.

 

 

 

Food for sale for Easter in Kraków.

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The special meal at Easter in Poland is the Easter Breakfast –  although it is a lot later than a normal breakfast being usually around 11am

This meal is a cold buffet and includes the food that was blessed in church on Easter Saturday.

The hard boiled eggs are cut up into quarters or eighths and they are shared between everyone present  at the start of the meal.

POSTSCRIPT

Since posting I received the following photographs from my friend in Leeds who is The Director of the Polish Saturday School.

Sugar Lambs to go in the basket for blessing.

 

Salt Dough Lambs – made for the Easter Fair