Gammon & Apricots

  • Grilled gammon and grilled pineapple (usually tinned) is a very popular dish in England.
  • Whilst doing some research I discovered that a much older idea is to have apricots with gammon.
  • Apricots were very popular in Elizabethan times, when fruit and meat together were often served.
  • Apricots in these dishes could have been dried apricots but here I have used tinned apricots halves.
  • Apricots in Polish are morela.
  • Apricots are from the Genus Prunus and they are drupes – stone fruits.
  • *
  • Fruit served with meat is very popular in Poland and I think this dish would be well liked.
  • Gammon slices have been used here but this dish could be adapted to use a large piece of ham or gammon.

    Ingredients

  • A thick piece of gammon per person
  • 2 apricot halves (tinned) per person – ones in syrup are the best.

Method

  • Grill the gammon on both sides.
  • Drain the apricots from their juice/syrup.
  • Grill the apricots.
  • Serve the gammon with the apricots.
  • *
  • This would go well with potatoes & garden peas and/or a cabbage salad.

Classic Mince Pies with Cranberry Mincemeat

  • I think of these as very British – but we all love them and they have become part of our Christmas Day celebrations.
  • I make these with the pastry that I learnt from my mother  – a variation on kruche & półkruche,  pastry (a richer shortcrust pastry).  Using the proportion of 2 parts flour to 1 part butter.
  • Rather than the classic mincemeat – these were made with Cranberry mincemeat – which is lighter and more tart.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (and maybe 1 tablespoon of cold water)
  • *
  • Glaze
  • Lightly beaten egg white
  • Caster sugar

Method for pastry

  • Rub the butter into the flour to make “breadcrumbs”.
  • Mix in the icing sugar.
  • First with a knife and then with your fingertips mix in the yolk & lemon juice (and  maybe a tablespoon of cold water.)
  • You are aiming to get a dough which is not wet.
  • Rest for about 30 minutes in a cool place.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C
  • You need to grease the tins well in order to get the pies out successfully.
  • 2 sizes of cutters are needed – 1 – 7cm diameter, plain, for the base, 1 – 6cm diameter, crinkle edge for the top.

METHOD – Pies

  • My tins are anodised aluminium and have a gentle rounded shape, this I think make for the perfect balance between the pastry and the filling.
  • I put “tops” on my mince pies – but not fully covered ones.
  • *
  • The tops are brushed with beaten egg white and sprinkled with caster sugar.
  • Cut out the bases and place them in the tins.
  • *
  • Place around a tablespoonful of mincemeat on the pastry.
  • Place the smaller tops on.
  • Lightly beat the egg white and brush this on the tops
  • Sprinkle caster sugar over the egg white.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes – keeping an eye on them – so they do not burn.
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tins & carefully remove them onto a rack to fully cool.

Baking with Cranberry Mincemeat 1 – Easy Little Pies

  • These are the small version of the Easy Apple Cake posted recently.
  • Use the same amount of pastry and divide it into 8 or 6 portions.
  • *
  • Shortcrust pastry made from 200g plain flour, 100g butter, 1 egg yolk, juice of 1 lemon, extra water if necessary – 2 tablespoons of icing sugar optional.
  • *
  • Grease a large baking tray or two.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C.
  • Roll out each piece of pastry into a thin rough circle.
  • Brush the centres with some egg yolk.
  • Add a 1-2 tablespoons of the Cranberry mincemeat.
  • Bring up the sides but do not totally cover the filling.
  • Join up the pastry slightly.
  • Brush beaten egg white over the pastry.
  • Sprinkle a little granulated over the sides.
  • Place pies on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes till golden.
  • Leave to cool still on the baking tray for a few minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack.
  • Serve slightly warm or leave to cool completely.
  • Evesham plate by Royal Worcester. 

Cranberry ‘Mincemeat’

  • Cranberries – in Polish – żurawiny – grew in the area around where my father used to live – the part in the North East that was Poland before WW2.
  • Lingonberries – in Polish  – borȯwki – its smaller rounder ‘cousin’ also grew there.
  • My aunties who now live in Białystok had many memories of going out to pick baskets of these fruits.
  • In fact it is one of these aunts that gave me the recipe for Cranberries & Pears Sauce, which I posted some time ago.
  • The mincemeat’ here is a reference to the old English fruit & spice mixture, popular at Christmas time, that decades ago was made with meat, often mutton.
  • Nowadays in England the only meat reference is the fact that most of this fruit is mixed with beef suet.
  • There is no suet or any other fat in this recipe.
  • This with cranberries is a fresher tasting version but it will only keep in the refrigerator for around a month.
  • If you are worried about this keeping problem then just make it with half these quantities and use quickly

INGREDIENTS

  • 600g fresh cranberries
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges or satsumas
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 150g currants
  • 150g raisins or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 125ml sherry

METHOD

  • Have prepared 4 – 5 sterilised jar jars.
  • Put the cranberries, sugar, zest and juice into a saucepan and heat till the fruit starts ‘popping’.
  • Add the dried fruit and spices and continue heating and stirring for around 5 minutes.
  • Add the sherry and continue heating and stirring for another 5-10 minutes until you have a thick liquid free mixture.
  • Leave to go cold and pot up into cold sterilised jars.
  • Keep in the fridge and use within a month.

  • Option – not tested – some dried cranberries to replace some of the currants or raisins.

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.

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

Makaron with Pineapples

Ingredients

  • 250g cooked small sized pasta
  • 1 tin of pineapples (425g)
  • 100g of sultanas
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 50g butter

Method

  • Soak the sultanas in the juice from the pineapples for several hours.
  • Chop the pineapples into small pieces.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Grease an oven proof dish with some of the butter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C.
  • Mix the pasta with the rest of the butter.
  • Mix the sultanas and liquor with the pasta.
  • Mix in the chopped pineapples.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till pale and frothy.
  • Lightly whisk the egg whites.
  • Mix the whites with the yolk mixture and whisk again.
  • Mix the pasta mixture with the egg and sugar mixture.
  • Put the mixture into the buttered oven proof dish dish.
  • Cook for 40 -50 minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation 1982 – 1998

Fruity Cabbage Salad

Here is a salad made with one of Poland’s favourite vegetables – cabbage.

It is a more fruity variation of a cabbage & orange salad I posted over three years ago!

Ingredients

  • A small white cabbage or sweetheart cabbage
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 eating apples – red skinned for colour contrast.
  • 1 tin of  pineapples
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • A pinch of salt & pepper to taste
  • *
  • Dressing – Mayonnaise & pineapple juice

Method

  • Peel the oranges removing all the pith.
  • Cut them into slices, separate the segments and then chop these into small pieces.
  • Finely shred and chop the cabbage

 

 

 

  • Core the apples and chop them into small pieces.
  • Drain the pineapples from the juice.
  • Chop the pineapples into small pieces.
  • Mix the cabbage and fruits together.
  • Mix mayonnaise and some pineapple juice together to make a thin dressing.
  • Add the dressing and mix everything well together.
  • You can add salt and pepper here if desired.

Served here in my mother’s vintage glass bowl.

I tend to make this salad a while before it is needed as with the magic of osmosis – raisins become plumped up with the juice from the oranges and pineapple. The dressing becomes sweet from the sugars in the raisins.

This salad goes well with roast dinners, cold smoked meats and Polish style sausages.

Kefirowe with Fruit

This cake made with kefir is lovely to make in summer or early autumn with a variety of fresh fruits such as raspberries or whinberries.  Equally you can use frozen fruits later in the year.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 175g of granulated sugar
  • 2eggs
  • 400ml of kefir
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • Grated rind of 1 large orange
  • or grated rind of 2 small lemons
  • or ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • *
  • Around 300g of fruit such as raspberries, blackberries or whinberries etc
  • Larger fruit such as plums should be stoned and chopped into small pieces
  • Frozen fruit should be part defrosted first
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Grease and line with one piece of greaseproof a 32x22cm baking tray.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl mix the eggs, oil, kefir and rind or essence together.
  • Pour the kefir mixture into the dry mixture.
  • With a wooden spoon mix well together until you have an even thick batter.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin.
  • Scatter the fruit over the top
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Jug by Buchan – Portobello near Edinburgh – 1960 – 1979.

Tea plates Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

What if you cannot get kefir?

  • Should you not be able to get any kefir you can use 3 parts yoghurt to 1 part milk instead.
  • So in this recipe use 300ml of yoghurt mixed with 100ml of milk.

Tea plates by Colclough from the 1960s

Fruit Soups

Fruit soups are very popular in Poland especially in summer.

Many may think they seem rather strange, however once tasted, I hope, like me you will think that they are “nectar from the gods!”

Just like other soups they are served as a first course.

They are eaten – hot or warm, at room temperature or chilled. – This can vary with the time of the year and people’s preferences.

  • Many are served with a variety of soup accompaniments such as cooked pasta or croutons – either from white rolls or rye bread.  Sponge fingers or little biscuits are also often served with them.
  • They can be made from fresh (or frozen) fruit or bottled fruit and also from dried fruit.
  • Most recipes are for single single fruit versions but you can use mixed fruits depending on what is available but try to keep to just 2 or 3 fruits.
  • These soups should not be over sweet.
  • Potato flour is usually used as a thickening agent but you could substitute cornflour for this.
  • Some recipes had soured cream added, sometimes before serving.

I am going to look at 3 different summer fruit flavours in this post:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sour cherry
  • Strawberry

Later I will look at others including using dried fruits, which are more for the winter time and would usually be served warm or hot.

Rhubarb Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of potato flour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 125 ml of soured cream

Method

  • Cut the rhubarb into small chunks.
  • Put the rhubarb and spices into a large saucepan.
  • Add the water, bring to the boil then simmer till the rhubarb is falling apart.
  • Sieve to remove the pulp.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid.
  • Mix the potato flour with the soured cream.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Serve hot or warm with rye bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.
  • or add a few fresh strawberries or alpine strawberries to each portion.

Sour Cherry Soup

I have never seen fresh soured cherries for sale in England, so my recipe is based on using bottled soured cherries, which works very well and can be made all year round.

Ingredients

  • 500 -600g of bottled cherries
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4- 6 cloves
  • Strips of peel from 1 lemon
  • Water to make the juice amount  up to 1.5 litres
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour
  • *
  • I did not add any extra sugar to the bottled cherries

Method

  • Depending on the jar of cherries – you may have to stone them.
  • Put the cherries, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel into a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, with a lid on, until the cherries are very soft.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Remove the spices and lemon peel.
  • Blend the cherries to a pulp.
  • Mix the potato flour and a little of the liquid in a small dish.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the blended cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil gently, stirring often.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • *
  • Serve hot or chilled with cold pasta.
  • *
  • I like this best hot – even on a warm day.

 

Strawberry Soup

  • This is best eaten chilled – the strawberries are not cooked.
  • If you prefer a tangier taste add the juice of a lemon at the end.

Ingredients

  • 450-500g  strawberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of potato flour
  • 1 litre of water
  • 250ml of soured cream

Method

  • Add the sugar to the water and bring this to the boil.
  • Mix the potato flour with a small amount of water.
  • Add this to the sugar water.
  • Heat and stir till it thickens.
  • Leave to chill.
  • Add the soured cream and mix together.
  • Remove any leaves and stalks from the strawberries.
  • Gently wash the strawberries.
  • Blend the strawberries to a pulp.
  • Stir the strawberry pulp into the chilled thickened sugar – cream mixture.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with sponge fingers or sponge drops.

 

Served in –

  • Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • Midwinter – Spanish Garden – 1966 – 1982