Pêche Melba

  • A Polish lady that I had not seen for many years came to visit me.
  • We sat in the garden chatting over coffee and cake.
  • She mentioned a cake she had not had for ages  – Tort Melba.
  • She told me it was based around  Pêche Melba – Peach Melba 
  • However she could not remember the recipe.
  • I said I would look the recipe up and make it for her.
  • I have done and tried several different versions, which will be posted soon.
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  • First here is a little history about Peach Melba.
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  • Dame Nellie Melba (1861–1931) – born Helen Porter Mitchell – was an Australian operatic soprano.
  • She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century.
  • She took the pseudonym “Melba” from Melbourne, her home town.
  • In 1892 Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Gardens.
  • The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party at the Savoy Hotel in London to celebrate her triumph.
  • For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert Pêche Melba – Peach Melba.
  • He used an ice sculpture of a swan, which carried peaches resting on a bed of vanilla ice cream and these were topped with spun sugar.
  • In 1900, he created a new version of the dessert at the opening of the Carlton Hotel where he was head chef.
  • The ice swan was not used and the ice cream and peaches were now topped with a purée of sugared raspberries.
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  • Below is an easy recipe for Peach Melba using tinned peaches.

Ingredients

  • Tinned peach halves – 2 per serving
  • Vanilla ice cream – 2 scoops per serving
  • Raspberry sauce – made from raspberry jam
  • Lemon juice – optional

Method

  • An easy raspberry sauce can be made from good (home-made) raspberry jam.
  • Put around 4 to 5 tablespoons of raspberry jam and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until you have a pouring sauce.
  • If your jam is very sweet and a little lemon juice.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Allow two peach halves per serving and arrange these on a flat plate.
  • Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream next to the peaches.
  • Pour some raspberry sauce over the ice cream and peaches.
  • Serve any remaining sauce in a little jug.

Twaróg Dessert

  • This dessert is one I make when I do not wish or have time to to make a layered torcik
  • The jelly and twaróg mixture is left to set in a bowl and scoops are then put into individual serving dishes.
  • The more twaróg you use the softer will be the mixture.
  • As I do not really like to drink milk using twaróg ensures I get calcium in my diet.
  • The flavours and fruits used here are just an example – use the flavours of jellies that you like as well as the fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of lemon jelly
  • 250 – 400g of twaróg , yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
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  • Toppings
  • Bottled blackcurrants – drained
  • Grated chocolate or chocolate flake

Method

  • Make up 500ml of jelly as per the packet instructions.
  • Add the lemon juice and rind.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Whisk in the twaróg and mix till all  is blended in.
  • Pour into a large bowl.
  • Leave to set in the fridge.
  • Put scoops into individual glasses.
  • Add the toppings.

Polish Meals

Polish Meals

The following is a general description and of course times  will vary with people and circumstances.

The Polish day seems to start a lot earlier than in England with many people starting work at 7.30am and finishing by 3pm.

Schools often start at 8am and are finished by 2pm.

There are four meals in a Polish day.

1 śniadanie – breakfast

This is a hearty meal from about 5.30amto 7am to set you up for the day.

This will consist of: cured meats, Polish sausage, cheese, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, gherkins, cucumber and tomatoes with bread and rolls, all served with lots of tea. (Tea is quite weak served with slices of lemon or fruit syrup such as raspberry). There may also be some cake.

2 drugie śniadanie – second breakfast

This will be eaten at about 11am. It is a lighter meal than the first breakfast, though often with the same types of food – sometimes it will be just a sandwich – especially if eaten at work or school.

3 obiad – dinner – the main meal of the day

This is eaten between 1pm and 5pm with around 3pm being a very popular time.

This will consist of 2 or 3 courses:

  • Soup
  • Main
  • Dessert of fruit or cake – optional course

Soup is very popular in Poland from hot or cold soups, light consommé types to thick and hearty featuring throughout the year.

I heard a saying on one of my visits to Poland –

Polak bez zupy robi się smutny

This translates as –

A Pole without soup becomes sad.

I think this is very true.

4 kolacja – supper

This is the lightest meal of the day eaten between 7pm to 9pm. It can often be just a slice of cake.

Getting Ready For Dinner

Oak Sideboard
Oak Sideboard

Oak Sideboard
Oak Sideboard

Section of Tablecloths
Section of Tablecloths

Some of my Many Tablecloths
Some of my Many Tablecloths

Setting the Table for Dinner
Setting the Table for Dinner

Ready for Soup!
Ready for Soup!