Beetroot Fritters

These beetroot fritters are not from an old Polish recipe.  I got the idea from making Polish potato pancakes and  carrot pancakes and seeing all the new season beetroot.

Ingredients

  • 250g cooked beetroots
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of soured cream or creamed horseradish sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • Salt
  • Sunflower oil for frying

* If you have a little fresh grated horseradish that would be super.

Method

  • Grate the beetroots using a coarse grater.
  • Add the beaten egg and the soured cream or horseradish sauce and mix together.
  • Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and use large tablespoonfuls of the mixture to make the fritters.
  • Fry them on both sides.
  • *
  • Keep them on a heat proof plate  in a low heat oven whilst you make the rest.

They can be served with many hot roast dinners or separately with a dollop of soured cream or creamed horseradish sauce.

 

 

Plates

  • Arc – Arcopal  – from the 1970s
  • Royal Bone China – The Poets’ Garden – Columbine & Sweet Amber

 

 

 

 

 

Plain Kefir Sponge

After I made the chocolate cake with kefir, which I posted recently, my Polish friend in Leeds said she had heard of plain versions with fruit on top.

I found many recipes all with varying amounts of the ingredients.

I tried out a few versions and decided on what were the best proportions to make a lovely soft sponge cake.

As well as the base for a fruit topped cake, which will be posted soon, this is a good cake which can be used as a base for torcik or desserts such as English trifle or Italian Tiramisu.

You can portion it up and freeze it for later.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 175g of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 400ml of kefir
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • Grated rind of 1 large orange
  • or 2 small lemons
  • or ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • *
  • 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.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

 

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.

 

Curd Tart – English Cheesecake

I have been doing some research on old English recipes and looked at curd tart recipes – these are similar to Polish baked sernik .

  • Curd tarts in England originated in the early 17th century.
  • In Yorkshire they were traditionally baked for Whitsuntide.
  • Nutmeg is a very popular spice in English baking.
  • Curds are coagulated milk proteins – casein.
  • Raw milk will coagulate naturally when left in a warm place.
  • Pasteurised milk needs the addition of something acidic such as lemon juice, vinegar or lactobacillus (found in natural yoghurt).
  • You can make your own curds. The following is an easy way to make curds and these are the curds* used in the recipe below.
  • *
  • *Polish twaróg or yoghurt cheese is more tangy.

Making Curds

  • In a deep saucepan put 500ml of milk, 3 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Heat gently until it comes to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Curds will form.
  • Put the mixture into a large sieve or muslin bag and leave for a few hours.
  • Leave the curds to go cold.
  • It is often good to make the curds the evening before you need them.
  • 500ml of milk will give around 200-225g of curds with this method.

 

Ingredients

  • Around 200g of curds (as above)
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 60g currants
  • Grated nutmeg
  • *
  • Shortcrust pastry or a richer pastry such as  kruche ciasto

Method

  • Grease and line the base of a loose bottomed tart tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly and line the tin with it.
  • With a fork, chop up the curds into small pieces.
  • Whisk together the curds, sugar and eggs.
  • Stir in the currants.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined tart tin.
  • Sprinkle liberally with freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Served on tea plates by Royal Doulton, Counterpoint, 1973 – 1987

 

Kefirowe

My Polish friend who lives in Leeds sent me a copy of a recipe from an old Polish cookbook for kefirowe – this is a cake made with kefir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I tried it out and it is super – a soft moist cake made with sunflower oil and cocoa as well as kefir.
  • I made it twice, once with a darker chocolate icing and the second time with a milkier chocolate icing.
  • It would be good with a wide range of different flavoured icings.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of cocoa
  • *
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 500ml of kefir
  • 250ml sunflower oil

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 and kefir 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.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire cake rack.
  • *
  • Ice with the icing of your choice.
  • Cut into squares, rectangles or lozenges to serve.

 

Coffee set and tea plates – Greenway by John Russell 1960s

Chocolate Icing Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 200g icing sugar

Method

  • Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan.
  • Stir in the cocoa powder and the water.
  • Mix and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Mix in the icing sugar, bit by bit until you have a thick icing.
  • Ice the top of the cake.

Milk Chocolate Icing Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons of hot milk
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1-2 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Heat up some milk in a small pan (I use a bit more than is needed and measure it out after heating).
  • Melt the butter in a pan.
  • Blend in the cocoa powder.
  • Stir in the icing sugar, milk and essence (I add the sugar in stages -aiming  for a slightly runny icing) and beat until it is thick and smooth – adjusting with icing sugar and extra milk as necessary.
  • Ice the top of the cake.

 

 

Tea plates are Las Palmas – Aynsley from the 1960s

Jug by Buchan Pottery, Portobello near Edinburgh from the early 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.
  • I tried this out in the recipe and used 375ml of yoghurt mixed with 125ml of milk.
  • It worked very well.

I used a white chocolate icing on this cake.

White Chocolate Icing

  • 100g of white chocolate (I like Green & Black best)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of hot milk
  • 200g icing sugar (you might not need it all)

Method

  • Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water.
  • Heat up some milk in a small pan (I use a bit more than is needed and measure it out after heating).
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of the hot milk into the heated chocolate.
  • Stir in the icing sugar (I add the sugar in stages – aiming  for a slightly runny icing) and beat until it is thick and smooth – adjusting with icing sugar and extra milk as necessary.
  • Ice the top of the cake.

Tea set by Royal Doulton – Carnation 1982 – 1998

Another Pasta Salad

  • When I am cooking some pasta for a meal,  I often do a bit more so I have some left to make a pasta salad the next day.
  • Small shapes are the best or you can chop larger or longer pieces up.
  • Try not to over cook the pasta.
  • Mayonnaise or mayonnaise based dressing  are best with these salads.
  • Cooked vegetables work well with pasta salads and also tinned or bottled vegetables and so this is a good store cupboard dish.

Ingredients

  • 400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)
  • 150g of cooked frozen peas
  • 150g of cooked whole green beans – chopped.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of full fat mayonnaise
  • *
  • Salt & ground back pepper to taste

Method

  • Mix together the pasta and cooked vegetables.
  • Mix in the mayonnaise.
  • Season to taste.

Kefir & Co

  • Naturally occurring microorganisms produce many fermented milk products.
  • This preservation of milk has been known to be used since around 10,000 BC.
  • Soured milk, kefir, and yoghurt are three such products.
  • They could be described as “cousins”.
  • Lactose, the sugar, in the milk is converted into lactic acid – this is what gives them the sour taste.

Soured Milk –  Kwaśne mleko  or Zsiadłe mleko –  is the fermented milk product that is found in Northern Europe, especially in Poland.  It forms naturally from bacteria in fresh milk  and these bacteria live happily in colder climates.

When we used to have farm milk at home my mother made soured milk all the time and then also made twaróg – Polish curd cheese,  which is used in lots of Polish recipes – savoury and sweet.

However you cannot make soured milk from pasteurised milk at home (of course it can be made in a dairy where they will have starters).

Yoghurt jogurt –  is the fermented milk product that is found in Southern Europe and the Middle East.  It forms naturally from bacteria in fresh milk and these bacteria live happily in warmer climates.

You can make yoghurt at home because you can use some bought yoghurt as a starter and some milk and then continue using your yoghurt as a starter and so on.

I have written how to make yoghurt in my post on Yoghurt & Yoghurt Cheese in 2015.

Kefir – is similar to yoghurt though usually it is not as thick.  A mixture of lactic acid producing bacteria, acetic acid producing bacteria and yeasts are involved in its formation.

I know you can get “grains” for making your own kefir although I have never tried.

I buy kefir from my local Polish shops and discovered recently that the large Tesco supermarket near me stocks it (In fact it is a Polish product!).

 

Recently I was given a recipe from an old Polish cookery book for a chocolate cake using kefir – I have tried this out – this and more kefir cake recipes will be posted soon.

 

 

 

Pancakes with Sour Cherries

Sour cherries & sweet cherries  are related but in Polish they have completely different names.

  • Prunus cerasus  are wiśnie  –  sour cherries also known as morello cherries
  • Prunus avium are czereśnie –  sweet cherries.
  • *
  • Prunus cerasus originated in the Iranian plateau & Eastern Europe.
  • They feature greatly in Polish cooking.

United Nations Annual crop production figures for sour cherries in 2014:

  1. Russia 198,000 tonnes
  2. Ukraine 182,880 tonnes
  3. Turkey 182,577 tonnes
  4. Poland 176,545  tonnes
  5. USA 137,983 tonnes
  • For this recipe fresh sour cherries would have to be cooked with some sugar but  here in England I have never seen fresh sour cherries for sale so I use bottled ones.
  • Some brands still have the stones in them so you will have to stone them first.

Ingredients – Sour Cherry Sauce

  • Jar of part jar of sour cherries
  • 4 cloves
  • Small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of potato or cornflour

Method

  • Put the cherries and the juice into a saucepan.
  • Add the cloves and cinnamon.
  • Simmer gently for around 10 minutes.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Remove the spices.
  • Mix the potato or cornflour with a little of the juice.
  • Stir this into the cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil, stirring often.
  • The sauce should thicken.
  • Leave on a low heat.

 

Plate is La Prune by Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

I have written lots of tips for The Perfect Pancake – below is a reminder of the basic recipe.

Ingredients – Pancakes

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk (full or semi-skimmed)
  • 200 ml water
  • pinch of salt

This amount makes around 8 pancakes – in my 20cm pancake pan.

  • I remember this recipe as it is all the 2’s for ease
  • Depending on the flour and the size of the eggs,
  • You might not use all the milk & water mixture
  • or sometimes you might just need a little more.

Method – Pancake

  • Beat the eggs and add then them first to the sifted flour.
  • Add the milk mixture to the egg and flour mix until you have a batter the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Leave the batter to stand for at least 1 hour in which time it will thicken, then add a little more liquid.
  • Use a special thin pan which you use just for pancakes, mine has a base diameter of 20 cm and is made of steel, once seasoned, just wipe it clean between uses with kitchen roll – never scour it or use detergent.
  • Work out how much batter you need for a pancake and find a measure which will then give you a consistent amount – I use a small ladle which holds 45ml.
  • Have a dish of melted butter or margarine and sunflower oil for frying so you can add just enough and tip some back if needed.
  • Using the ladle pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Tilt the pan so that the mixture covers the surface completely and evenly.
  • Cook the pancakes on one side and turn them over.
  • You can make them up one by one –
  • or stack then up with a piece of greaseproof paper in between them.
  • You can do this and leave then for later use.
  • *
  • Spread some of the cherries and sauce onto a pancake.
  • Pancakes with sweet fillings are normally folded into triangles – fan -shaped  by folding the pancake into half and half again.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • *
  • You can make the filled pancakes in advance prior to dusting them with icing sugar and then heat them up on both sides – using the pancake pan again – maybe with the addition of a little butter.
  • Then dust them with icing sugar.

Green Bean Soup

Phaseolus vulgaris is the Common bean or French bean. In Polish it is fasola szparagowa, which  translates as asparagus bean.

This was once just a late summer soup when there were lots of beans ready for cooking.

Nowadays it is one that can be made all year round using frozen whole green beans.

Ingredients

  • 400 – 500g of whole green beans
  • 1½ litres of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion
  • Leaves from around 6 sprigs of marjoram & extra for serving.
  • 125ml of milk
  • 1½ tablespoons of  cornflour
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • *
  • Rye Bread croutons to serve

Method

  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion gently in the butter till golden – do not brown.
  • Chop the beans into small pieces.
  • Put the onions, beans and stock into a large saucepan.
  • Add the marjoram leaves.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer gently with the lid on until the beans are soft.
  • Mix the cornflour with the milk.
  • Stir this into the soup – increase the heat and continue stirring until the soup is thickened.
  • Add some more marjoram leaves.
  • Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  • Stir in the soured cream and serve.

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959 – 1981

Tort – Jadwiga

I remember my mother making this as a no-bake tort using sponge fingers.

She called it tort Jadwiga.

I have not been able to find a recipe for this other than in my notes and now I wonder whether she called it after me!

Partly because I did not have any sponge fingers and partly because I wanted to make a round cake – I decided to make this by baking two round fat free sponges.

Three are 4 parts to the ingredients list:

  • Fat free sponges – I used a quick English style version
  • Juice of a large orange
  • Rum & Almond butter icing
  • Toasted flaked almonds to decorate.

Ingredients -Fat Free sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self raising flour

Method – Fat Free sponge

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Grease and line the base of  two 18cm diameter baking tins.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.
  • Gently fold in the flour.
  • Pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Ingredients – Butter Cream

  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of rum
  • 300g icing sugar (approx)

Method – Butter Cream

  • Cream the butter with around half of the icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks and cream again till fluffy.
  • Add the ground almonds and the rum and whisk again.
  • Start adding the rest of the icing sugar until you have a thick butter cream.

Assembling the tort

  • Prick the top of each sponge with a skewer.
  • Place one of the sponges on the cake stand or plate you are going to use.
  • Using a spoon pour half the orange juice over the base of the tort.
  • Put a layer of the butter cream over the base.
  • Put the second cake on top and gently pour the rest of the orange juice over it.
  • Using a small spatula cover the top and sides with the rest of the butter cream.
  • Scatter the almond flakes over the edge of the top and around the sides of the tort.

 

 

Tea set by Royal Standard – Lyndale from the 1950s

Liver Pulpety Served in Green Soup

I wrote about pulpety over three years ago. They are small meatballs which are simmered, often in stock, not fried.

They are often used as an accompaniment for soup,

In this recipe the liver pulpety are cooked directly in the soup and served with it.

Ingredients – Pulpety

  • 150g of pork liver or chicken liver
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped flat-leaved parsley.
  • 60g-80g of dried breadcrumbs – see Breadcrumbs – Bułka tarta
  • Salt & pepper
  • *
  • Some plain flour for your hands for shaping.

Method -Pulpety

  • Mince the liver or wizz in a mini-chopper.
  • In a large bowl mix all the liver, egg and parsley together.
  • Add salt & pepper.
  • Add enough dried breadcrumbs so that it is a firm mixture – best to do this using both hands, making sure that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Put some flour in a dish for your hands to make it easier to shape the pulpety.
  • Pinch off small bits of the mixture and roll the piece between your hands to make small round balls and place these onto a floured board or tray whilst you make them all.
  • *
  • Leave these to chill in a cool place or in the fridge.

Ingredients – Soup

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or powder
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g frozen whole green peas
  • Bunch of spring onions
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method – Soup

  • Chop the green beans  into small pieces similar in size to the peas.
  • Chop the green and white parts of the spring onions in to small pieces.
  • In a large pan melt the butter.
  • Add the chopped spring onions and fry gently till golden.
  • Add the peas and beans.
  • Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the peas and peas are cooked.
  • Season to taste.
  • Bring the soup up to the boil.
  • Drop the pulpety into the boiling liquid and then let them simmer for around 5 -7 minutes.

To serve

Polish style would be to have 3-5 pulpety in a bowl of soup –  but for a light lunch  have a large bowl of soup with lots of pulpety per serving.