Pasta Salad with Skwarki

There was a heat wave this summer (2018) in England and Europe and during my recent trip to The Netherlands, I had lunch in the sunny garden of my friend’s older sister.

 

One of the dishes was a pasta salad  and included an ingredient which you would find as a garnish in many Polish dishes – skwarki – small, crispy, fried, bacon pieces.

This was a wonderful addition and I think would go well in other salads too.

I recreated this dish when I got home – the exact amounts are not so important.

Ingredients

400g  of cooked Penne or Macaroni

1 small tin of sweetcorn – drained

3 celery stalks

125g of smoked bacon

3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise (I used full fat – which I prefer for cooked salads)

Ground black pepper

Method

Chop the bacon into small squares and place on a heavy frying pan on a medium heat until all the fat comes out and you are left with small, crispy squares.

 

Drain the bacon pieces from the fat and place them on some kitchen roll and leave them until they are cold.

Chop the celery into fine pieces.

You can cut the pasta into smaller pieces if you wish.

 

 

In a large bowl, mix the pasta, sweetcorn, celery and the skwarki together.

 

Add the mayonnaise and the ground black pepper and mix well together.

Note

You are unlikely to need to add any salt as this is provided by the bacon.

This salad will go well with cold meats and barbecued meats.

 

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.

 

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

 

Pasta Salads

The general word for pasta in Polish is makaron .. from the Italian macaroni or maccheroni which is thought to originate from the Greek makariafood made from barley.

You need some cooked pasta – small shapes are the best – I often use Fiorelli – little tubes with lacy edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I am cooking some pasta for a meal,  I often do a bit more so I have some left to make a salad the next day.

Try not to over cook the pasta.

The weight of dry pasta will result in around double the weight of cooked pasta  eg 250g of dry pasta will result in around 500g of cooked pasta.

I find that mayonnaise or mayonnaise based dressing  are best with these salads.

Cooked vegetables work well with these salads and also tinned or bottled vegetables and so it is a good store cupboard dish.

Below are several ideas – but you can do many variations – I always use a few different colours to make it look attractive.

Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled peppers.

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper

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Method

In a large bowl mix the pasta and sweetcorn together.

If using fresh peppers then remove the stalk and the seeds and chop the flesh into small pieces.

Blanch the peppers by putting them in a dish with boiling water and letting them stand for about 10 minutes then drain and pat dry.

 

 

 

If using bottled peppers then drain them from the liquid and cut into small pieces.

Add the peppers to the salad mixture.

Mix in the mayonnaise.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

 

Pasta, Peas, Peppers  & Sweetcorn Salad

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper.

Method

Make the salad as above then add the cooked peas and mix well

 

 

Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Tuna

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled peppers.

1  x  145g tin of tuna chunks in oil or brine – drained

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (variation –  add half a teaspoon of tomato puree or even hot pepper sauce)

Salt & pepper to taste – you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine.

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad up to the addition of the mayonnaise.

Break up the tuna into smaller pieces and add this to the salad and mix it in.

Add the mayonnaise.

Salt & pepper to taste – (you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine).

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Variations

Add some chopped chillies to the mixture – I use  green ones to differentiate them from the red peppers.

Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Tuna

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

1  x  145g tin of tuna chunks in oil or brine – drained

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper.

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peas, Peppers,  & Sweetcorn Salad

Break up the tuna into smaller pieces and add this to the salad. and mix it in

Salt & pepper to taste – (you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine).

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Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Polish Smoked Sausage.

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

200g of Polish smoked sausage or ham

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad.

Slice the sausage into thin slices and then chop these into halves and quarters.

Add this is to the salad and mix in

Salt & pepper to taste.

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Hard Boiled Egg Garnish

1 or 2 hard boiled eggs can be chopped and used to garnish the tuna or smoked sausage salads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rice Salads

For these salads you will need some cold cooked rice – I use long grained or Basmati rice  – but it can be whatever you like to use.

I rarely cook the rice specially – I am more likely to use what is left from a previous meal.

However for these I cooked some rice to see how much was needed.

I find the best dressing for these salads is one based on lemon juice with the addition of some runny honey if you want a little sweetness.

Rice, Peas & Sweetcorn Salad

 

 

 

 

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Ingredients

400g cold boiled rice

100g of cooked garden peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & ground back pepper

1 tablespoon of honey if desired

Method

In a large bowl mix the rice, peas and sweetcorn together.

Pour over the juice of the lemon and mix well.

If you are adding honey then warm about 1 tablespoon gently and mix that in.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rice, Peas,Sweetcorn & Peppers Salad

Ingredients

400g cold boiled rice

100g of cooked garden peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2 fresh red peppers or bottled ones

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & ground back pepper

1 tablespoon of honey if desired

 

Method

In a large bowl mix the rice, peas and sweetcorn together.

If using fresh peppers then remove the stalk and the seeds and chop the flesh into small pieces.

I often blanch the peppers by putting them in a dish with boiling water and letting them stand for about 10 minutes the drain and pat dry.

 

 

If using bottled peppers then drain them from the liquid and cut into small pieces.

Add the peppers to the salad mixture.

Pour over the juice of the lemon and mix well.

If you are adding honey then warm about 1 tablespoon gently and mix that in.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Inspired in Castor – Rice Salad with Leeks

Not long ago I spent a stitching week in Castor, Cambridgeshire, with a  group of super ladies.  I was responsible for some of the catering.  One evening there was a large amount of leftover cooked rice, peas & sweetcorn, so I decided to make this into a salad with other ingredients we had in the kitchen.

This turned out to be a delicious salad and it got a lot of approval & I will certainly be making this again.

Ingredients

400g cold cooked rice

100g Cooked peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn – drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 -2 Grated carrots

1 grated eating apple

1 -2 leeks

Green part of spring onions – chopped fine

Flat Leaf parsley – chopped fine

Salt & ground back pepper

Juice of 1 – 2 lemons.

Method

Chop the leeks as fine as you can into circles and then cut these into half and put them into a large dish.

Cover the leeks with boiling water and leave them to stand until the water is cool.

Strain the leeks, leave them to cool down completely and then dry them with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

 

 

Mix the rice, apple & vegetables together in a large dish.

Pour the lemon juice over the salad.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

This was served with a beef in beer gulasz (casserole) & the salad provided a good balance against the richness of the casserole.

 

 

 

 

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Kohlrabi Salads

Kohlrabi in Polish is kalarepa  –  it belongs to the cabbage family – the Brassicas  –  and has been cultivated from Brassica oleracea – the wild cabbage.

It is a swollen stem and spherical and its taste and texture is similar to cabbage heart and it  can be eaten both raw & cooked.

My auntie in Wembley used to grow kohlrabi  in the garden & on their allotment  but until recently I never saw it for sale in England whereas in Poland it is a common vegetable, it matures quickly, withstands the frost and can be stored for some time.

This kohlrabi I bought from the outdoor market in Leeds.

For all the salads below the raw kohlrabi has been peeled and then grated on a medium grater.

Here I have just used 1 kohlrabi per salad.

Simple Kohlrabi Salad

 

 

 

 

Served here in a Royal Doulton – Carnation dish – 1982 – 1998.

 

Ingredients

1 kohlrabi

2 – 3 tablespoons of soured cream

Juice of half a lemon.

Method

Mix the soured cream with the lemon juice.

Mix the grated kohlrabi  with the dressing.

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple

1 kohlrabi

1 Red or Pink eating apple

2 -3 tablespoons of full fat Greek yoghurt

1-2 tablespoons of apple juice

Method

Grated kohlrabi  is mixed with a chopped eating apple – use an apple with a red or pink skin for the lovely colour – here I used a Pink Lady which has a super taste.

Mix the natural Greek style full fat  yoghurt  and apple juice for the dressing.

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Served here in J & G Meakin – Topic by Alan Rogers, 1967.

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple & Raisins

This is made as the salad above with addition of around 40g of raisins

Kohlrabi & Carrot Salad

Ingredients

1 kohlrabi

1 carrot

2-3 tablespoons of soured cream

juice of half a lemon

Method

Grate the carrot & the kohlrabi using a medium grater

Mix the soured cream with the lemon juice

Mix everything together.

 

 

 

Served here in a Royal Doulton – Carnation dish – 1982 – 1998

The green part of spring onions or chives can be added to the carrots & apples

 

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Cooked kohlrabi in salads

You can steam the kohlrabi – steam several whole ones and peel them once they are cooked and cooled.

Use the steamed kohlrabi in place of steamed  Celeriac in salads.