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

Pierogi with Red Fruits

Pierogi  are  little semicircular parcels of pasta which are made with a multitude of fillings.

I wrote a very large post about them over 4 years ago.

Pierogi with sweet fillings are made in just the same way as savoury ones.

Circles of dough have a filling placed on them.  The dough is folded over and pinched to make a semi circle and these are boiled in slightly salted water.

Once boiled, sweet pierogi are dredged with icing, granulated or caster sugar and are often served with soured cream.  They are best eaten straight away.

I must admit that when I was younger I did not really like sweet pierogi but now I think they are utterly delicious especially when served with soured cream.

Red Fruits

In the summer and early autumn in Poland, when all the fruits of the forests and the garden  are ripe, that is when these pierogi are at their best.  However bottled fruit is available all year round and I often make my sweet pierogi with these.

You can also use defrosted frozen fruit.

My favourite are:

  • Morello(sour) Cherries  – fresh ones are not usually available in England – I use bottled ones.
  • Whinberries (bilberries) –  these grew in Lancashire near my home and also could be bought in baskets imported from Poland.  (I think the larger American Blueberry is nowhere near as tasty.)
    When we went to pick these I know this always made my mother think of her childhood in Poland.

Some of the other options are:

  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • *
  • Depending on the size of the fruit, you need about 3 or 4 per circle.
  • Do not add sugar to fresh fruit as this will make too much liquid and the pierogi will not seal.
  • If using bottled fruit you need to strain as much juice away as possible.
  • If using defrosted frozen fruit dab away any excess water.
  • Drench the cooked pierogi in icing sugar and serve with sour cream. The sugar contrasts with tartness of the fruit.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method – Dough

  • In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
  • Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.

 

  • Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
  • *
  • Cut the dough into half.
  • Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
  • On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
  • Cut out circles using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
  • The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
  • Depending on the fruit and size place 3 to 4 on each circle.
  • Folded them over and pinch the edges together to make a good seal.
  • You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens – even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
  • Place the sealed pierogi on the prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
  • *
  • To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
  • Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil.  I usually do about 6 to 7 at a time.
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.
  • Continue boiling batches in the same water.
  • If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get some oven proof plates.
  • Keep the plates warm in a low oven.
  • As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the plates, trying not to make them touch.
  • Keep on adding more as they cook.

To Serve

Sprinkle with icing, granulated or caster sugar and some soured cream.

Pierogi with Sour Cherries

Served here on La prune by Jet for Ter Steege

Pierogi with Whinberries

Served on Royal Doulton – Carnation  1982 – 1998

Orange Cake

This cake using sunflower oil and  yoghurt has a really good texture and reminds me of English Madeira cake, which was invented in the mid 19th Century taking its name from the Portuguese Madeira wine with which this cake was often served.

It started out in my hunt to make a cake using lemon balm – (melisa in Polish) which grows abundantly in my garden. Sadly none of the cakes I made captured its taste at all!

However I  adapted this recipe to make an orange cake and the result is delicious.

Short History of Oranges

Oranges originated in Ancient China and sweet oranges are recorded in Chinese literature in very early times.

They are thought to have been brought by Italian and Portuguese traders to the Mediterranean area in the 15th century.

The name is of  Middle Eastern origin:

  • Arabic – nāranj
  • Persian – narang
  • French – l’orange
  • Italian – arancia
  • Portuguese –  laranja
  • Spanish – naranja
  • Polish – pomarańcz
  • Whilst in Dutch it is – sinaasappel – meaning  Chinese apple.

Oranges in Poland were very expensive before World War 2 and my mother would tell me that at St Nicholas and Christmas time an orange or a tangerine would be a common gift.

Christopher Columbus took oranges to the Caribbean on his second voyage in 1493.

Later,  Spanish settlers introduced orange plants to North America,  first to Florida and then to California.

Figures from 2017 show Brazil as being the largest orange producer in the world with the United States of America coming second and  Florida produces 70% of that country’s oranges.

Ingredients

  • 85- 90ml of Greek yoghurt (full fat is best)
  • 2 large oranges – finely grated rind & juice (not all will be needed)
  • 125ml of orange juice
  • 180g of caster sugar
  • 320g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 170ml of sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Finely grate the rind of the oranges.
  • Squeeze the juice from the oranges (you will not need all of it).
  • Mix the yoghurt with 125ml of the  orange juice.
  • Prepare a 23cm loose bottom or spring  form tin with a cake liner.
  • In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, oil and orange rind.
  • Add the eggs and whisk again.
  • Lightly mix in the flour.
  • Mix in the lemon juice.
  • Mix in the yoghurt and orange juice mixture to give a thick batter.
  • Pour into the cake tin.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (check after 25 minutes and cover the top lightly if necessary).

Served on Duchess – Bramble Rose – tea-plates from the 1960s.

 

Rhubarb & Date Cake

As I have rhubarb growing in the garden I am always on the lookout for recipes  for  rhubarb cakes and have tried many from English, American & Polish recipe books and magazines.

Some recipes just used 1 or 2 stalks of rhubarb – as I have lots of rhubarb – I wanted a recipe that used more.

I was talking with my old school friend who lives in Leeds and she told me her husband makes a lovely rhubarb cake with the rhubarb they have growing on their allotment.

So, I tried it out and it was indeed lovely!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 340g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 170g  butter
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 450g rhubarb, chopped into small cubes
  • 230g stoned dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk (either whole or semi skimmed)
  • Optional – extra sugar to sprinkle on top – (I would not bother with this next time)

 

 

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C
  • Line the base of a 26cm round spring-form or loose bottomed tin with baking paper. (You can use a 23cm tin)
  • Place the chopped rhubarb and dates into a bowl.
  • Place the flour and baking powder into another bowl.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Stir the chopped rhubarb and dates into the mixture.
  • Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and beat a little.
  • Stir into the cake mix until well combined.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
  • If using, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on the top of the cake.
  • Bake for approximately 1 – 1 & 1/4  hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean – best check on it after an hour and cover top if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to safely handle.
  • Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack

Although the cake keeps well, I think it is best eaten when fresh as then the rhubarb taste is strong and the cake delicious.

Crown china tea plates – no pattern named.

Note

The rhubarb season is now over in my garden as it has just past July – next year I am going to try some variations on this cake eg – without the dates or with raisins etc.

Pork with Sour Plums

My holiday in Poland earlier this year has inspired many new recipes and posts.

This one was from a meal of slow cooked belly pork with caramelised sour plums and roast potatoes, which I had at the Gvara Restaurant.

 

I tried doing caramelised plums but did not have any success, as it was the sourness I liked, I did the plums a different way.

This works well with plums that are not quite ripe, I used small ones from the supermarket, the sort they say will ripen at home (I find they never do!).

Sour Plums

  • 4-5 per person depending on size.
  • Simmer whole with some water and a little sugar in a shallow wide pan with a lid till soft.
  • Keep taking off the lid and stirring and adjusting the heat etc.
  • You do not want a lot of liquid .
  • Aiming for cooked but still sour – add a little sugar at end if needed.

 

Roast Pork with Sour Plums

I roasted a joint of pork loin – I think that is much nicer than leg of pork.  You could just grill pork chops for this.

Serve the pork with the plums.

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

 

Slightly Chinese Style Slow Cooked Belly Pork

 

Ingredients

  • Large piece of belly pork
  • 1 can of Jamaican fiery ginger beer – regular with sugar (NOT sweetener)
  • Sliced piece of peeled root ginger – around 8cm long (finger length)
  • 3- 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • Several long chilies, fresh or dried.
  • 3-4 grains allspice or cloves.
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns

Method

  • Place everything in a slow cooker and cook for at least 4 hours (often more)– till flesh is soft.
  • Remove from juices and cut into thick slices to serve. 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

Cranberry & Pear Sauce

This is very popular in Poland, especially in the wintertime, and is served with hot roasts or cold meats and smoked sausages.

I cannot find any reference to when and why these two fruits were put together but they do make a good combination.

It is more like a conserve or a salsa  –  it is not a pouring sauce.

Many years ago I got a recipe from my aunty in Białystok. However I did not get around to to making this until recently, mainly because the pears in my garden are ripe in September but fresh cranberries are not  in the shops in England until around December.

As I could not use my own pears and I  decided to make this with bought produce.

The following proportions are used,  2 parts cranberries to 1 part pears (once they are peeled & cored).

Hard pears, such as Conference pears are best and it is better if they are ripe as they provide sweetness.

I find that “bought” cranberry sauce is often much too sweet and sickly.

It is difficult to judge how much sugar to add, I have given the quatities I used, it is easier to add some later, hard to take any away!

Version 1

This will keep for at least a week in a fridge – I pack the sauce into oven sterilised jars.

Ingredients

600g Cranberries

300g Pears (once peeled and cored)

300g Granulated sugar

300ml of water

Method

Rinse the cranberries and drain and put them into a plastic bag, flatten the bag and place it into a freezer for 24 hours.

The next day, take the cranberries out of the bag and put them into a bowl and cover them with boiling water then leave them for 30 minutes and then strain them.

Peel and core the pears and then cut them into rough cubes.

Place the cranberries in a thick bottomed pan and add the pears, sugar and the water.

Bring to the boil, mixing often then simmer gently for around 30 minutes, still stirring often.

Pour the sauce into hot sterilised jars – leave them to cool thoroughly  before putting on the lids.

Version 2

This will also keep for at least a week in a fridge – I pack the sauce into oven sterilised jars – it has a “fresher ” taste than version 1.

Ingredients

600g Cranberries

300g Pears (once peeled and cored)

70 -100g Granulated sugar

Method

Peel and core the pears and then cut them into rough cubes.

Place the cranberries in a thick bottomed pan and add the pears and 70g of the sugar and stir well.

Cover with a lid and heat gently for around 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and give the mixture a stir, continue doing this for around 15 minutes, when you check and stir you can test for sweetness and add up to another 30g of sugar.

Pour the sauce into hot sterilised jars – leave them to cool thoroughly  before putting on the lids.

 

 

 

Spiced Pears

I have two pear trees in the garden and this year I have had the best crop of pears ever,  both in number and size of pear.

As I do not have a place to store the fruit that is cool and dry enough,  I was looking for recipes to use the pears.

I tried this popular recipe from my great Polish standby recipe book but I found it too acidic.  I adjusted the recipe and used less vinegar and more sugar and this I find to be much better.

Ingredients

1.5 kg of hard pears such as Conference

300ml of water

300ml of cider or white wine vinegar

500g of granulated sugar

8 cloves

8 grains of allspice

Piece of cinnamon bark

Method

Clean and sterilise 2 large glass jars.

Peel and core the pears and cut into large pieces.

Put the water, sugar and spices into a large pan and gently bring to the boil making sure the sugar is all dissolved.

Add the pears and bring back to the boil,  then gently simmer until the pears are soft and translucent.

Using a slotted spoon remove the pears and divide them between the jars.

To the liquid remaining in the pan add the vinegar and bring to the boil.

Leave this on a gently boil for around 5 minutes and then leave to cool.

Use a funnel to pour the liquid over the pears.

When the jars are cold put on the lids.

Store in a cool dry place or in a fridge.

Serve with hot roasts or cold meats, smoked sausages and cheeses.

The pears can be chopped into small pieces and used in various salads.

The spiced liquid can be used in salad dressings or in marinades for meat.

Fruity Ribs

My Polish friend who lives in Leeds often goes back to Poland to visit relatives and to have a holiday.

This summer she brought me back a recipe book which covers  a year of meals (365 meals) divided into 4 sections – namely the 4 seasons.

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There are lots of lovely recipes in the book and I am sure I will be trying many of them.

Here are two I have tried already – adapted slightly to make life easier!

Recipe 1 (autumn)

1 or 2 racks of pork ribs

2 tablespoons of raisins or sultanas

120g of ready to eat prunes

120g of ready to eat apricots

3-4 tablespoons of plain flour

3 large onions – chopped

500ml dry red wine ( more might be needed or some extra water)

4 peppercorns

4 grains of allspice

4 cloves

1 teaspoon of  dried marjoram or Italian herbs

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 – 4  eating apples (best if quite tart – such as Granny Smiths)

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Place the apricots & raisins in a bowl and cover them with hot water and leave for around 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C.

Chop the ribs into 2 rib portions.

Put the flour onto a plate and then flour the ribs on both sides.

Fry the ribs lightly in hot oil on both sides.

Place the ribs in the bottom of a oven proof dish which has a lid.

Fry the onions until golden.

Slowly add some of the liquid from the soaked fruit and cook together mixing it well.

Add this to the ribs in the dish.

Add the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, marjoram and salt.

Pour the red wine over the rib mixture.

Place in the oven for around 45 minutes.

Cut the soaked apricots into strips and add these, the prunes and the raisins to the dish and give the mixture a stir.

Place back in the oven and cook for around 90 minutes to 2 hours until the meat is tender.

Check on the liquid level during this time and add wine or water if needed.

Remove the core from the apples and cut them into quarters (leave the skin on).

Place the apples, skin side down, on top of the ribs and place the lid back on.

Put the dish back in the oven for around 20 minutes.

When serving, place the cooked apples on top of the ribs and sauce.

Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.

 

 

Recipe 2 (spring)

Start this the evening before

Ingredients

1 or 2 racks of pork ribs

4 -5 tablespoons of runny honey

750 ml of apple juice (more might be needed)

Juice & finely grated rind of 1 lemon

100g of ready to eat prunes

3 -4  large tart apples (I used Bramleys)

3 cloves

Piece of cinnamon bark – around 10cm long

Method

Chop the ribs into 2 rib portions.

Coat both sides of the ribs with the honey and place them in a non-metal dish and sprinkle the lemon rind on the top.

Cover the dish and place it in a fridge overnight.

Next Day

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 160°C

Place the ribs into an oven proof dish which has a lid.

Add the cloves and cinnamon bark to the dish.

Peel, core and thickly slice the apples & sprinkle lemon juice on them.

Arrange the apples and prunes over the ribs.

Pour the apple juice over the contents.

Place the lid on top of the dish and put in the oven.

Cook for around 2 – 3 hours until the meat is tender.

You might have to add more apple juice when you check on the progress

 

Variation

Instead of ribs you might want to use slices of shoulder pork (750g  – 1kg) the method is just the same.

I tried this with recipe 2 – the one with the apple juice.

 

Served here with boiled new potatoes and brussel sprouts à la Polonaise.

Serving dishes  are Carnation by Royal Doulton, 1982 – 1998