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

 

 

 

 

 

Chłodnik – 3 – Beetroot & Cucumber

This chilled soup is a refreshing start to a meal in summer.

Beetroot concentrate is used in this easy version.

Ingredients

  • Half  a cucumber
  • Spring onion – green parts or chives
  • 500ml of yoghurt or 300ml soured cream & lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of beetroot concentrate
  • Handful of dill
  • Lemon juice and cold water
  • Salt & Pepper & Sugar to taste
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs to serve – ½ egg per person

Method

  • Part peel the cucumber length-ways to give stripes.
  • Chop the cucumber into small cubes.
  • Chop the spring onions or chives into small pieces.
  • Chop the dill into small pieces.
  • Mix the yoghurt or soured cream & lemon juice with the beetroot concentrate.
  • Thin this down with lemon juice and water to suit.
  • Mix with the chopped cucumber.
  • Add dill and spring onions or chives.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • *
  • Serve with quarters of hard boiled eggs and a sprinkle of chives.

 

 

Served in Tapestry  by Royal Doulton – 1966 – 1988

Chłodnik – 2 – Beetroot & Gherkin

Chłodnik means coolant and it is a refreshing start to a meal in summer.

This classic version is usually make with botwiny for which I cannot find a good translation into English.

Botwiny are young beetroots with the stalks and some leaves still attached. In Poland you can buy bunches of these for sale or you can pick them early from your garden or allotment.  Here in England I have not see them for sale so if you want them you will have to grow them for yourself.

If you do have some you use all the parts – the roots, stalks and the leaves otherwise you just use cooked beetroot.

The classic version uses soured milk but unless you have access to this then Greek style natural yoghurt or soured cream and lemon juice are good alternatives.

I use beetroot concentrate which is convenient and very tasty.

 

1 tablespoon of beetroot concentrate to 250ml of yoghurt is a good proportion.

Ingredients

  • 250g of cooked beetroots
  • 3-4 gherkins
  • Spring onion – green parts or chives
  • 500ml of yoghurt or 300ml soured cream
  • 2 tablespoons of beetroot concentrate
  • Handful of dill
  • Lemon juice and gherkin liquor and cold water
  • Salt & Pepper & Sugar to taste
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs to serve – ½ egg per person

Method

  • Chop the beetroot into small cubes.
  • Chop the gherkins into small cubes.
  • Chop the spring onions or chives into small pieces.
  • Chop the dill into small pieces.
  • Mix the yoghurt or soured cream & lemon juice with the beetroot concentrate.
  • Thin this down with lemon juice, gherkin liquor & water to suit.
  • Add the chopped beetroots, gherkins, dill and spring onions or chives.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • *
  • Serve with quarters of hard boiled eggs and a sprinkle of chives or dill.

 

Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton – 1982 – 1998

Chłodnik – 1 – Clear Beetroots

The word chłodnik means coolant and it is a refreshing start to a meal in summer.  The word is often translated as cold soup and that just does not do it justice.

Now my mother never made chłodnik and with the thoughts of a cold soup, which might be a little greasy I never imagined it would be good.

Then on a summer visit to Poland, one of my aunties made it with beetroots from her garden.  She served it with a bowl of steaming boiled potatoes, lightly crushed, also freshly dug from the garden.  I remember these as the most delicious potatoes I had ever had.  The chłodnik was wonderful and I was hooked!

 

 

 

This is a chilled version of  barszcz the classic Polish beetroot soup.

I make the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve .

Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of  vegetable stock and this has  proved to be very popular. This is what I used for the chłodnik.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sometimes also use barszcz from a carton, which is incredible, tastes home made!  However there was none in stock at my local Polish shop last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red on Red!

I recently went to a family gathering, although it was in fact a very sad occasion, it did include a lovely buffet meal.

There was a beetroot and carrot salad served, which had a lovely sweetness and seemed to me quite Polish in style.

I asked one of cousins if she knew who had made the salad and was told that this was one of the dishes supplied by a local “deli” in Consett.

So I have had a go at making this and made one with beetroot and another with red cabbage – both delicious.

Serve with cold meats and Polish style sausages or roast pork or grilled lamb chops.

Sweet Red Dressing

I made the same dressing for both of the salads – using redcurrant the first time and lingonberry the second.

Ingredients

  • Around 200g (7-8 tablespoons) of either Redcurrant jelly, Lingonberry jam or Cranberry sauce.
  • Juice of one lemon.

Method

  • Put the jelly/jam into a small saucepan.
  • Add the lemon juice.
  • Heat gently and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Keep stirring until the ingredients have combined and you have a thick liquid.
  • Leave to cool before use.

Beetroot & Carrot Salad

Ingredients

  • Boiled beetroots  – I used 2 vacuum packets
  • 2 Carrots

Method

  • Chop the beetroot into small chunks or cubes.
  • Grate the carrots using the coarse grater.
  • Mix the beetroot and carrots together.
  • Pour the dressing over them and mix well.
  • *
  • I found that this was better if it was left for many hours as the beetroot really absorbs the dressing.
  • You can add the dressing to the beetroots first and leave overnight and then add the carrots the next day.

 

  • Instead of chopping the beetroot you can grate it using a coarse grater.

Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad

Ingredients

  • Half a red cabbage
  • 2 carrots

Method

  • Grate the red cabbage using a coarse grater.
  • Grate the carrots.
  • Mix the red cabbage and carrots together.
  • Pour the dressing over them and mix well.
  • *
  • This is also better when left for several hours before serving.

Note 

Both keep well for several days in a covered glass or plastic container in the fridge.

Barszcz – Beetroot Soup

 Barszcz  is the classic Polish beetroot soup.

Now this may just my imagination but beetroots in Poland just taste so much better and sweeter than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil.   I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.

I like the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve and have tried over the years many recipes using fresh beetroots, which I have boiled or roasted and also used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroot and adjusted the taste with lemon juice or a little sugar.

 

 

I have never been truly happy with the results which did not seem to have the sweetness and flavour or the soups I have had made for me.

Nowadays the way I make  barszcz is my biggest cheat!

Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of  vegetable stock and some grated beetroot to make it look authentic and this proved very popular.

 

A few years ago I was recommended to try barszcz from a carton – and would you believe it – everyone said this was the best barszcz they had ever had!

I have used this ever since.

Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton 1982 – 1998

Uszka (mushroom filled Polish pasta) are often served in barszcz or a dollop of soured cream is added on serving.

 

More Hot Beets!

Beetroot must be one of Poland’s favourite vegetables and I have written recipes about them previously  – many of these are for salads.

Here is another recipes which I came across recently – raisins, apple, horseradish and a little soured cream is added to make a hot dish to serve with roast meats.

The original recipe used grated fresh horseradish – I have adapted it by using prepared horseradish sauce which I have in all the time.

Cooked beetroots are needed and these can be prepared in your favourite way – boiling, steaming or roasting.

 

 

Ingredients

700g of cooked beetroots

2 Bramley cooking apples

50g of raisins

1 tablespoon of butter

80mls of soured cream

2 – 3 tablespoons of horseradish sauce

Juice of 1 – 2 lemons

Salt & pepper

Method

Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them and leave them to stand for about 30 minutes.

Coarse grate the cooked beetroots or use a blender.

Peel and core the apples and coarse grate them and pour some lemon juice on them.

In a deep frying pan gently melt the butter.

Add the grated apples and heat gently until they start to soften.

Add the grated beetroot, the raisins and water and continue to heat them together, stirring occasionally.

Add the horseradish sauce and the soured cream and mix well in, continue to heat for a couple of minutes.

Add more lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

 

Note

You can put them in an oven proof dish in a low oven whilst you wait for other items to cook.

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Served here with kotlety – breaded pork and boiled new potatoes.

Note

If you have any left – they taste good cold as well!

 

 

 

Beetroot & Chocolate Cake

I had a request from the 93 year old mother of one of my friends to make her a cake that included beetroot in the ingredients – maybe a red velvet cake.

Now I had never seen one of these cakes and certainly never made one and I did have doubts about it.

I did some research and found lots of recipes for red velvet cakes but nearly all of them used just red food colouring.

I then found a recipe for a cake using beetroot and tested it out and surprisingly it came out very, very well. The recipe uses sunflower oil and is an easy to make batter cake.

This is not a traditional Polish recipe at all but it does contain a favourite Polish vegetable – namely – beetroot.

Ingredients

  • 250g cooked beetroots (I used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroots  – 1 pack is more than enough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 250ml sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Method

Grease and line a  21 x 31 cm baking tin.

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4 – 180ºC

Drain the beetroots from the water and place in a sieve for a while to ensure they are dry – you can dry them with some kitchen roll as well.

Purée the beetroots – using a food chopper or blender

In a large bowl combine the puréed beetroots, eggs, vanilla essence, oil and sugar.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa.

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Add the dry ingredients to the other bowl and beat well together.

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Pour the batter mixture into the prepared tin.

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Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Test if done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.

Leave to cool in the tin.

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The cake is delicious and moist – it has a slightly red tinge to the very dark nearly black colour.

Here I have just served it plain.

Served on Royal Doulton, Counterpoint, 1973 – 1987.

You can dust the top  with icing sugar if desired.

The cake is delicious on its own but many versions have a topping of some description.

I made one using butter, cream cheese ( or yoghurt cheese), icing sugar and lemon.

Ingredients for Topping

  • 50g butter
  • 100g of full fat cream cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 250 – 300g icing sugar

Method

The butter needs to be at room temperature.

Cream the butter, lemon rind, lemon juice and the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Slowly add the icing sugar and mix well in until it is smooth and firm enough to use as a topping.

You can make the topping ahead of time and keep it in a container in the fridge – topping the cake later when needed.

Take care not to get too many brown cake crumbs in the icing when spreading it on the cake.

Served on Colclough, Enchantment, tea plates from the 1960s

with Portmeirion, Crazy Daisy, pastry forks.

The cake was voted delicious!

Buraki – Buraczki – Beetroots – Beets

Beetroot is a very popular vegetable in Poland and is served both hot and cold and is the main ingredients of barszcz (The classic Polish beetroot soup).

Now this may just my imagination but the beetroot in Poland just tastes so much better than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil.   I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.

In the following recipes I have used vacuum packed boiled beetroots – boiling or roasting raw beetroot should give a better flavour but when you only want to make a small amount or you have little time this will work as well especially if you adjust the flavour with lemon juice or a little sugar.

A popular variant is something called botwinka  – this is very young beetroot – sold in bunches (rather like radishes) and consists of the small “bulb” and the  young  green leaves, which are all used.  As I have not seen this for sale in England I will not be including any recipes – but if you are ever in a position to try this (often in the form of a soup) you will taste something very delicious.

Ćwikła is the most typical Polish accompaniment to roasted and smoked meats and sausage. This salad or relish is made from grated cooked beetroot which is mixed with grated horseradish – chrzan.

The first recorded recipe for ćwikła comes from the writings of Mikołaj Rej  (1505 – 1569)  who is known as the “Father of Polish Literature”.  He was the first person to write exclusively in Polish.

He was born 59 years before Shakespeare (1564 – 1616).

Ćwikła

Ingredients

2 or 3 boiled beetroots

Horseradish sauce

Soured Cream

Extra lemon juice – optional

Method

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Grate the beetroots using a fine or medium grater and put this into a bowl.

In the past I always used a fine grater but now I prefer to use my medium grater.

 

 

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Medium Grated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fine Grated

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a large dollop or two of horseradish sauce.

Below are two kinds, one with soured cream and one without. I like the one with soured cream more.

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A few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to grow my own horseradish – that was a mistake! It starts to take over with the roots spreading underground. However the dark leaves are very attractive and the air does smell of horseradish when you walk up to it.  You just need to be able to contain it.

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Mix the grated beetroot and horseradish sauce together.

Add soured cream – if using the sauce with this in already you might not need as much.

You can add lemon juice as well.

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Carnation  Serving Dish by Royal Doulton

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Beetroot & Apple Salad

Ingredients

2 or 3 boiled beetroots

1 eating apple  with a good flavour such as Jazz, Braeburn or Pink Lady.

Juice of  half  or a whole lemon

Sugar – optional

Method

Grate the beetroots using a medium grater.

 

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Peel and core the apple and grate this using a medium grater.

Mix the two together.

Add lemon juice to taste.

You can add some extra sugar to taste.

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NOTE

This tastes much better if it is left so all the ingredients mingle together for a few hours.

I make this in the morning if I want it for the evening or I make it the night before for lunch time the next day.

Creamed Beetroot

This is a delicious way of serving beetroot warm with a roast dinner.

Ingredients

3 or 4 boiled beetroots

Large tablespoon of butter

1 or 2 tablespoons of flour

Juice of a lemon & some extra water

3- 4  tablespoons of soured cream

Salt & pepper to taste

A little sugar to taste – optional

Method

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Grate the beetroots using a medium grater and put them into a saucepan with the lemon juice and a little water.

Put a lid on the saucepan and gently simmer the beetroot – taking care not to let it dry out or burn.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the flour – let it colour slightly.

Add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and a little water and combine this well.

Add this mixture to the simmering beetroots, once again combining well.

Let this simmer for 5 to 10 minutes – keep checking, and stirring and adding  more soured cream, lemon juice or water if it looks like it is going to dry out.

Add salt & pepper and a little sugar to taste.

 

Serving dish is Topic designed by  Alan Rogers in 1967 for J & G Meakin.