Gypsy Soup

Zupa cygańska is Gypsy soup and is so called  because it contains red peppers.  I think the smoky meats may also evoke the idea of camp fires.

Ingredients

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 red or orange peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 100g smoked bacon – chopped into small pieces
  • 200g of Polish sausage – sliced and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 grains of allspice
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • a little sunflower oil for frying
  • Chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

  • Use boiling water to skin the tomatoes and leave to cool.
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarters.
  • De-seed the peppers.
  • Chop the peppers into small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion gently for a few minutes in a large frying pan.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes & peppers.
  • Fry gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bacon & sausage and mix.
  • Cover the mixture with water and cover with a lid.
  • Cook gently for around 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the ingredients to a large saucepan.
  • Add the bay leaves, all-spice and peppercorns.
  • Add around 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer gently for around 30 minutes.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into large “cubes”.
  • Add the potatoes to the soup and cook gently until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Serve with chopped flat-leaved parsley.

Note

Do not let the potatoes disintegrate into a pulp.

 

 

Served in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s.

Note

If you do not have the fresh ingredients  you could use tinned tomatoes and bottled peppers.

Karoflanka – Potato Soup

When I was young and I told my friends that my mother made potato soup, they all thought this sounded rather weird & tasteless.

Whereas, it was one of my favourite soups and like most Polish soups, it is not a purée, it has chucks of potato in it.

This following is based on my memory of my mother’s recipe.

For the best results, I use rosół (chicken bouillon) or homemade chicken stock when I have it.

Ingredients

  • 750g – 1 kilo of potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 200g smoked bacon
  • 2 litres of chicken stock or rosół
  • Large bunch of flat leaved parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 grains of allspice
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • A little oil for frying
  • Chopped flat leaved parsley to garnish
  • Extra seasoning may not be necessary because of the bacon and rosół/stock.

Method

  • Chop the smoked bacon into small squares.
  • Slowly heat the bacon in a heavy bottomed pan or good Teflon red spot non stick pan without oil.
  • Let all the fat cook out.
  • Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them with the onions.
  • You want the onions well browned, even some slightly charred.

 

 

  • Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks.
  • Fry them lightly in oil so all sides are done.
  • Mix the potatoes with the smoked bacon and onions in a large pan.
  • Add the chicken stock or rosół.
  • Chop the parsley leaves and add them with the allspice, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Add 1.5 to 2 litres of water and bring this to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat, put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for around 15 minutes.
  • You are aiming for cooked pieces of potatoes – do not let it disintegrate to a pulp! 
  • Garnish with chopped flat leaved parsley when serving.

 

Served here in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time from the 1950s

Creamier Version

Looking through other recipes for this soup, I found that often some soured cream was added at the end just before serving.

So add 3 to 4 tablespoons of soured cream to some slightly cooled soup in a little dish and then mix this into the pan and serve.

 

 

Served here in Royal Doulton –  Burgundy – 1959 to 1981.

Note

Both are super –  but my vote is for my mother’s version!

Dutch Cold Dish & Other Salads

I recently returned from a trip to The Netherlands to visit my friend again.

I always have a great time visiting different parts of the country and enjoying the wonderful hospitality.

One dish I have had many times is Koudeschotel – this translates as Cold Dish.

I think it is a sort of  “posh cousin” to  several Polish cooked salads such as Potato Salad and Mixed Vegetable Salad.

It is often made in large quantities as the centrepiece in a buffet meal.

There is a central mound made with boiled potatoes mashed with mayonnaise, onions, peas, carrots and cooked meat like chicken, pork or beef.

This is then decorated with items such as hard boiled eggs, gherkins, silver-skin onions, prawns or shrimps, asparagus, tomatoes, cooked or smoked meats and dusted with a little sweet paprika.

 

The koudeschotel on my arrival from England this year.

If the central mound is made without meat it is sometimes called Huzarensalade – Huzar’s Salad.

Ingredients – for the central mound

The original recipe  was for a large amount suitable for a big party – I have scaled it down.

  • 1 Kg of cold boiled potatoes
  • Around 200ml of mayonnaise – real full fat is best
  • 100g of cooked peas
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 2 boiled carrots – diced
  • 200g of cooked chicken, pork or beef – shredded (meat used to make soup or stock is good)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Notes

Many supermarkets and delicatessens in The Netherlands sell this mixture ready made.

Method

  • Mash the potatoes with the mayonnaise.
  • Add the peas, carrots, onion and meat and mix well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Arrange the mixture in the centre of a serving plate.

Decorate with a selection of the following:

  • Hard boiled eggs – sliced or quartered
  • Gherkins – small or large ones sliced
  • Silver-skin onions
  • Cooked prawns or shrimps,
  • Cooked asparagus spears or slices
  • Tomatoes – quartered
  • Cooked or smoked meats – chopped or in little slices
  • Dusted with a little sweet paprika.

Now is the time to be a little creative with the decoration – I tend to do rows of the different ingredients and dust with sweet paprika at the end.

(For smaller gatherings sometimes the mixture is placed in a bowl and the eggs and gherkins etc are just placed on top)

Other Salads

One day we went to a neighbour’s house for a BBQ and koudeschotel was one of the dishes served with the grilled meats.

We were also served the following two lovely salads –

Cabbage & Pineapple Salad

Ingredients

  • Small white cabbage
  • 8 rings of fresh or tinned in juice pineapple
  • 50 – 80g of raisins

Method

  • Soak the raisins in pineapple juice for at least 30 minutes
  • Shred and chop the cabbage
  • Chop the pineapple rings into small pieces
  • Mix the cabbage, pineapple and the raisins in juice together

Salad with Smoked Salmon & Capers

Ingredients

  • Crunchy lettuce such as Cos or  Little Gem – I used a Red Little Gem
  • 100g Smoked Salmon
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery – finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 100g of cooked small sized pasta
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Method

  • Hand tear the lettuce into medium sized pieces.
  • Chop the smoked salmon into small pieces.
  • Mix the smoked salmon, capers and pasta together and
  • Mix this with the lettuce.
  • Pour the lemon juice over this and mix.
  • Season with black pepper.
  • Extra salt should not be needed because of the capers & smoked salmon.

 

You could serve this as a starter using a few lettuce leaves as a bed on each plate with the smoked salmon mixture in the centre.

Kopytka z serem- Cheesy Potato Dumplings

I wrote about kopytka – Polish potato dumplings a good while back.

Since then I have tried another version which uses cheese as well as potatoes.

Traditional recipes use twaróg – Polish curd cheese – I have found that crumbly, white, mild, English cheeses such as: Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale are also good.

Whilst looking at many recipes, I saw that the proportions of boiled potatoes to cheese varied greatly.

I have gone for roughly equal weights of boiled starchy potatoes to cheese.

The exact amounts are not critical but you must use starchy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper.

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Serve with either melted butter, à la Polonaise (buttered breadcrumbs) or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) or a hot sauce such as mushroom.

Ingredients

  • 300g of boiled starchy potatoes
  • 300g of twaróg (curd cheese) or white, crumbly cheese such as Lancashire
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 160 – 200g of plain flour
  • Salt
  • Oil to add to water for boiling

Method

Use a large bowl and put the cold boiled potatoes into the bowl.

Crumble the cheese and add it to the potatoes and mash them both together.

Add the yolks to the mixture.

Add a little salt.

Weigh out the flour to give an idea of how much is needed; this will depend on the type of potato and the size of the eggs.  Add the flour and mix first with a wooden spoon and then by hand, you might not need all the flour or you may need more. Mix until you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into quarters and using a floured board shape the dough and roll it with you hands until you have a long sausage about 3cm in diameter.  If the dough sticks to the board then you need to add more flour.

Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into pieces, make the first cut at a diagonal and make the thickness about 1 to 1.5cm. You will get a sort of oval shape.

Repeat this with the rest of the dough.

Fill a large pan with water, add some salt and bring this to the boil.

When the water is boiling, add the dumplings one by one, do not over fill the pan or they will stick together. I tend to do this in 4 batches.

As they cook they will float to the surface, give them about another minute and then remove them with a slotted  or a perforated spoon and put them in a colander. I have a colander sitting in an empty pan by the side of the large pan in which I am boiling the dumplings.

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I find that the maximum from putting  them into the water to taking them out will be 3 minutes, if you cook these too long they will start to fall apart.

Served on –

  • Royal Douton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • J & G Meakin – Topic – around 1967
  • Wedgwood – Chelsea garden – early 21st century.

Here served as suggested above with  melted butter, with skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) and a gulasz.

Potatoes – po nelsońsku

Po nelsońsku  –  in Lord Nelson’s style –  is when mushrooms and soured cream are added to the sauce. (I have not been able to discover why this name is used.)

In the traditional version of this dish, dried mushrooms are used and are soaked overnight.

I have also made a version with dried and fresh mushrooms.

Floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper are the best for this dish.

Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and I have used a full packet for the recipe (you can use more).

The best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik or prawdzik, in Italy porcini.

Ingredients

1 kg of floury potatoes

10 -15g of dried mushrooms

2 onions

60ml of soured cream

250 ml of milk for soaking the mushrooms & 125ml (or more) for the sauce

100g of butter for frying the onions & the sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & pepper

 

Method

Start the night before by preparing the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water. When this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Alternately you could start this very early in the morning and make the dish in the evening.

Boil the potatoes till nearly cooked and leave them to cool.

Slice the potatoes into around 2cm thick slices.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for the sauce.

You can chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces if you want.

Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Make a sauce by first melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the flour, stir together with a wooden spoon and gently cook until you have a thick roux.

Slowly add the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix and heat till you have a thick sauce.

Add more milk if needed – you want a very thin pouring sauce.

Then add the soured cream and mix together.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

 

 

Halve the onions and thinly slice and then fry them till golden in some butter.

Butter a deepish ovenproof glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom followed by the onions, then the mushrooms, some of the sauce and finish with a top layer of potatoes.

 

Season with salt and pepper as you go along.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.

Depending on the size and depth of the dish you could have more layers but always start and finsh with potatoes.

Bake in the oven for at least an hour (You can lower the temperature and leave to cook for much longer).

This goes well served with roast chicken or pork.

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Tapestry  1966 – 1988

Ingredients – Version 2

This has fewer dried mushrooms & fresh mushrooms are added.

1 kg of floury potatoes

10g of dried mushrooms

100 – 150g of  fresh mushrooms (chestnut type are good)

250 ml of milk for soaking the mushrooms & 125ml (or more) for the sauce

100g of butter for frying the onions, mushrooms & the sauce

2 onions

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

60ml of soured cream

Salt & pepper

Method – Version 2

Start the night before by preparing the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water. When this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Alternately you could start this very early in the morning and make the dish in the evening.

Boil the potatoes till nearly cooked and leave them to cool.

Slice the potatoes into around 2cm thick slices.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for the sauce.

You can chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces if you want.

Gently simmer the re-constituted mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps and fry them gently in butter.

 

Mix the two types of mushrooms together.

Make a sauce by first melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the flour, stir together with a wooden spoon and gently cook until you have a thick roux.

Slowly add the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix and heat till you have a thick sauce.

Add more milk if needed – you want a very thin pouring sauce.

Then add the soured cream and mix together.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Halve the onions and thinly slice and then fry them till golden in some butter.

Butter a deepish ovenproof glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom followed by the onions, then the mushrooms, some of the sauce and finish with a top layer of potatoes.

Season with salt and pepper as you go along.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.

Depending on the size and depth of the dish you could have more layers but always start and finsh with potatoes.

Bake in the oven for at least an hour (You can lower the temperature and leave to cook for much longer).

This goes well served with roast chicken or pork.

Version 3 – Less Expensive & Quicker

In Poland there are mushroom stock cubes which are very useful especially for making sauces.

Years ago I brought loads back to England, now you can find these in the many Polish food shops.

The ones I use are made by Knorr.  These stock cubes contain a small amount of dried mushroom extract.

 

Dissolve the stock cube im 250ml of  hot water, when this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Increase the amount of fresh mushrooms to 150 – 200g.

Follow the instructions as  for Version 2.

Potato Salad with a Honey Dressing

I came across this recipe for potato salad which instead of using mayonnaise has a dressing made with honey.

In my other potato salads, I use starchy potatoes but with this dressing the firmer more waxy potatoes work best.

Ingredients

Salad

500g of boiled or steamed baby salad potatoes (chopped into quarters if large)

2 tablespoons of capers

1 green apple such as a Granny Smith (chopped into small pieces)

Chopped chives or the green part of spring onions

Chopped dill

 

 

 

 

Dressing

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of runny honey

1 tablespoons of white wine or cider vinegar

1 tablespoons of made-up Mustard

Salt & ground black pepper

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Garnish – to serve

A few handfulls of torn baby spinach

Chopped dill

50g of chopped walnuts

Method

Mix all the salad ingredients together and place in a bowl.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together – use a little whisk.

Mix the salad with the dressing.

 

The salad is best made several hours before serving to let the dressing infuse into the potatoes.

Add the garnish just before serving to prevent the leaves becoming soggy.

 

The dressing is so delicious – I will be trying it out on other salads and vegetables .

 

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.