Salads with a Hint of Breakfast!

Having written several posts recently with different ideas for breakfasts,  I started to think about how to use some of these ingredients such as smoked bacon & eggs in salads.

Version 1 with lemon juice

Ingredients

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • Cut the lettuce into shreds with a sharp knife.
  • Peel the cucumber or part peel in stripes lengthwise.
  • Chop the cucumber into small pieces.
  • Chop up the hard boiled eggs into small pieces.
  • Chop up the bacon into small squares and fry without extra oil until all the fat has come out.
  • Use kitchen roll to soak up the excess fat and leave to cool completely.
  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir.
  • Add chopped chives to serve.

 

 

 

Version 2 with soured cream

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chives to garnish

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the soured cream at the end.

 

Version 3 with tomatoes

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the chopped cherry tomatoes.

 

 

 

Served in 1930s Glass Dishes

 

Waffles

On a super, short holiday in Gdańsk just before Easter, I had several delicious breakfasts in a restaurant in the Old Town called Gvara- the name is based on the Polish word gwara which means dialect (Polish does not have the letter v !).

Two of the breakfasts were waffles served with savoury toppings. First with smoked bacon and eggs and then with fried onions, red peppers and spinach – topped with a poached egg – I was converted!

On my return I had to recreate these lovely dishes!

On previous visits to Poland I have always been surprised to see how popular waffles (gofry in Polish – from the French  – gaufres) are.

These waffles, which are often sold on street stalls or at fairs are usually sweet with the addition of sugar and jams etc.

A Short History of Waffles

In ancient times the Greeks cooked flat cakes, called obelios, between hot metal plates.

Over time they became popular throughout medieval Europe, the cake mix, a mixture of flour, water or milk, and often eggs, were also cooked over an open fire between iron plates with long handles.

Paintings from the 16th century by Joachim de Beuckelaer, Pieter Aertsen and Pieter Bruegel show waffles being cooked.

The word waffle first appears in the English language in the 18th Century – it comes from the Dutch wafel & Middle Dutch wafele – the word for a wafer.

Originally they were made without a  raising agent.

Nowadays waffles are made from a batter with yeast or baking powder (invented by the English chemist Alfred Bird in 1843)and are cooked between two patterned plates.

In some versions, the waffles are thin and more crispy – more biscuit like.

Early waffles were unsweetened or sweetened with honey and sugar-sweetened waffles were expensive.

By the 18th century, the expansion of Caribbean plantations had cut sugar prices in half and recipes abounded with much use of sugar.

Making Waffles

I bought an electric waffle maker, which makes thick waffles. It is by Salter and I am very pleased with it.

Baking Powder Waffles

This recipe is based on the one in the recipe book that comes with waffle maker.

I used whole milk and found this worked very well.

Other recipes I looked at used buttermilk, so I tried this with a yoghurt & milk mixture – they tasted okay but the mixture escaped out of the maker quite a bit – so there was a lot to clean up.

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg
  • 90g of butter
  • 350ml of whole milk

Method

This amount made eight waffles in my maker.

It is best to make all the waffles at once and either keep them warm in a low oven or you can pop then in a toaster later.

  • Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Beat the eggs until they are fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and then the milk to the flour mixture and mix well.
  • Add the melted butter to the mixture and mix well.
  • I made the waffles as per the instructions of the waffle maker.
  • Pre-heat the maker for around 5 minutes.
  • Brush some oil or butter onto the plates for the first batch.
  • Use a ladle to pour on the mixture – filling the plate till around 3/4 full.
  • Cook for around 5 minutes – all steam should have finished being given off by now.

Yeast Waffles

The batter is left to rise overnight.

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 400ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Method

This amount made around eight waffles in my maker.

You can make all the waffles at once and either keep them warm in a low oven or you can pop then in a toaster – with this yeast batter you can stagger the timing a little if you do not want to make them all at once.

  • In a saucepan melt the butter.
  • Add the milk and heat up the mixture.
  • Leave to cool to hand heat.
  • In a bowl mix the flour, sugar (or honey), yeast and salt.
  • Whisk the eggs till frothy.
  • Add the eggs to flour mixture.
  • Add the cooled butter/milk mixture.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
  • As above, I made the waffles as per the instructions of the waffle maker.
  • Pre-heat the maker for around 5 minutes.
  • Brush some oil or butter onto the plates for the first batch.
  • Use a ladle to pour on the mixture – filling the plate till around 3/4 full.
  • Cook for around 5 minutes – all steam should have finished being given off by now.

 

Toppings for the Waffles

 

Bacon & Eggs

  • Grill or pan fry, without oil,  some smoked bacon rashers.
  • Soft fry or poach eggs.
  • Pour some maple syrup on the waffles
  • Place some rashers of bacon on the waffles
  • Top with the egg.

 

Fried onions, red peppers, spinach & egg

Ingredients

  • Onion – around 1/2 per waffle
  • Red pepper – around 1/2 per waffle
  • Fresh spinach – a large handful per waffle
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter – depending on how much you are making.
  • Salt & ground black pepper to serve.

Method

  • Slice the peppers into long strips
  • Blanch the peppers with boiling water and leave for at least 15 minutes.
  • Use a deep frying pan with a lid (a glass one is best).
  • Melt the butter in the pan on a gently heat.
  • Slice the onions into strips and fry gently in the butter till soft and golden.
  • Dry the peppers and add these to the onions and cook gently with the lid on for some of the time.
  • Put the spinach on top, put on the lid and allow it to cook in the steam.
  • Take off the lid, stir and cook off  excess liquid.
  • Place some onions, peppers and spinach a waffle.
  • Season with salt & ground black pepper
  • Top with a soft fried or poached egg.

Courgette Fritters

The first post on this blog was on 4 July 2015 – just over 2 years ago.

Now this will be my 100th post!

Although courgette fritters are not from an old Polish recipe they do have some similarity  to Polish potato pancakes and to carrot pancakes.

Courgette in Polish is cukini – so another vegetable that owes its name to Italian  – zucchini.

Courgettes belong to cucurbitaceae family as do cucumbers which are very well loved in Poland – so I am sure this recipe would be very popular there too.

I have read that courgettes did not become popular in Poland until the 1970s although the larger marrow and pumpkins were often cooked and many recipes for these can be used for courgettes.

The amounts in the ingredients are all approximate.

Ingredients

2 to 3 courgettes

1 egg

2 tablespoons of soured cream, double cream, crème fraise or yoghurt cheese

2 tablespoons of plain flour

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Salt

Sunflower oil for frying.

Method

Grate the courgettes using a coarse grater.

Sprinkle the courgettes with salt.

Place the salted courgettes onto a clean tea towel and place this in a colander for around 30 minutes.

Wrap the tea towel up and squeeze out the liquid from the courgettes.

Note

The green stains on the tea towel will come out in a hot wash but  do not use fabric softener for tea towels used for this and similar purposes.

 

 

 

Place the dried grated courgettes in a bowl and add the grated lemon rind.

 

 

 

Add the beaten egg and the soured cream (double cream, crème fraise or yoghurt cheese) 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 until they are golden brown.

 

Keep them on a heat proof plate  in a low heat oven whilst you make the rest.

 

 

You can place a sheet of kitchen roll on top of the first layer to stop them sticking.

Serve them with grilled meats and salad.

Option

A chopped red chilli or two and also a chopped garlic clove can be added to the mixture.

 

 

 

Carrot Pancakes

Daucus carota – the carrot – was cultivated from wild carrots in the countries we now know as Afghanistan & Iran and are mentioned there in the 10th century and by the 12th century they were mentioned in Europe.

These tap roots were originally white, yellow or purple in colour.

The orange colour that we recognise today was breed by growers in Europe in the 17th century especially in the Netherlands.  It is thought that this was in honour of Prince William of Orange-Nassau (Willem van Oranje) who had an orange stripe on his flag. Nowadays orange is thought of as the national colour for the Netherlands.

These pancakes made with carrots in Polish are called racuszki z marchwi.

They are small round pancakes like American pancakes or dropped scones and are served with sugar or sweetened soured cream.

Ingredients

450g carrots, peeled and finely grated

140g twaróg/cream cheese or yoghurt cheese

2 eggs separated

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1/2  teaspoon of baking powder

Sunflower oil for frying

To Serve

Caster sugar or soured cream sweetened with icing sugar.

Method

Whisk the whites until they are stiff.

In a small dish mix the baking powder with the flour.

In a large bowl mix together well the finely grated carrots, the cream (or yoghurt) cheese and the egg yolks.

Add the flour mixture.

Fold in the stiff egg whites.

Heat some sunflower oil in a cast iron frying pan or griddle.

Use 2 tablespoonfuls of the mixture for each pancake, cook on one side and then turn them over and cook on the other side.

Sprinkle with caster sugar or with a dollop of sweetened soured cream.

 

 

Served here on Wedgwood – Hathaway Rose – 1959 -1987.

Note

I have also tried them with maple syrup poured on them & these were also delicious.

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Racuszki – A Kind of Pancake

A racuch – according  to my dictionary is  a kind of pancake.

Racuszki or racuchy are plural words for them- used much more as you never have just one!  They are small thick pancakes similar to dropped scones, Scotch pancakes or American style pancakes.

In my old Polish recipe book, the recipe uses soured milk, but as I do not have this, I use my own thick yoghurt instead.

Racuszki

1 egg

250ml yoghurt

200g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

large pinch salt.

Method

In a large bowl mix the flour, pinch of salt, the egg and some of the yoghurt, mix it with a wooden spoon. I found my new one with a hole in it which I bought in The Netherlands very good for this.

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Keep adding the yoghurt (and some water if needed) and mix till you get a batter which is thick and then beat it more till it is smooth and glossy.

Then add the bicarbonate of soda and give this a final mix.

Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

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They are traditionally served warm with jam or thick fruit syrup – caster sugar also goes well.

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With Sour Cherry Jam

Yoghurt Cheese Pancakes

I have recently been to The Netherlands to stay with my friend and was looking at the local newspaper and saw a recipe for pancakes using qwark  (I can manage enough Dutch words to  figure out some recipes – especially if there is  a photograph!)

I thought they sounded very much like racuszki, so I jotted the recipe down and when I came home I adapted it slightly by using self raising flour, adding a little vanilla essence and used my own yoghurt cheese instead of qwark.

In the original recipe they served them warm with yoghurt & honey, I also tried them with melted butter & sugar, and with maple syrup – from the large bottle I got from my friend who lives in Canada.

 

 

They were super and ones I had left could be easily reheated and were still soft and not rubbery – I will be using this recipe lots from now on.

Ingredients

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons sugar

250g yoghurt cheese

200ml milk (you might not need it all)

125g self raising flour

Pinch salt

2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff – I tend to do this first so you can use the beaters for the rest of the recipe – without having to wash them to remove the grease.

In a large bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar, yoghurt cheese, flour, pinch of salt, vanilla essence and around half the milk.

Keep adding more milk and mix well until you have a thick batter – like double cream.

With a metal spoon fold in the stiff egg whites.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place tablespoonfuls of the batter on the frying pan and cook until the base is set and golden then turn them over and cook the other side.

 

Ciocia* Pola’s Apple Racuszki 

*Aunty

Many years ago I went to stay with my one of mother’s sisters (Apolonia) who lived in the area called mazury – the Masurian Lake District in North East Poland.

With apples from the garden she made  racuszki – using a thick yeast risen batter and roughly chopped apples – a cross between a pancake and a fritter. They were delicious.

I have made them here many times using her recipe. Whilst researching and checking other  variations I saw that several recipes used grated apples – these came out stodgy  with little taste of the apple – you need to keep the pieces fairly large.

Ingredients

125 ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)

25g caster sugar and 1 teaspoon

10g  fresh yeast or 5g  dried yeast

25g  butter

1 egg

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

2 Bramley apples

Icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon  sugar to dust.

Method

Warm half the milk and add a teaspoon of caster sugar and the yeast and mix it all together and leave it to froth up.

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Melt the butter and leave it to cool.

Whisk the egg with the sugar until it is thick and creamy.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Use a wooden spoon (one with a hole works really well) and beat in the yeast mixture, the egg & sugar mixture and then the melted butter.

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Slowly add the rest of the milk, mixing until the mixture has the consistency of double cream.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave this to rise.

Peel, core and quarter the apples and cut them into small chunks or slices cut in half.

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Add the apples to the risen batter and mix them well in to coat them.

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Use a griddle or thick cast iron frying pan and use oil to grease it lightly and heat it up.

You need to try and keep a low to medium heat so as not to burn the pancakes.

Place large tablespoons of apple and batter onto the pan and cook them so that they are golden brown on both sides.

 

Remove them from the pan and dust them with icing sugar, caster sugar or cinnamon sugar.

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Eat them whilst they are hot & as they say in Poland – Smacznego! (may they be delicious!)

Pisanki – Polish Easter Eggs

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the spring equinox, which is the 21st of March. So the earliest date for Easter is the 22nd of March and the latest date is the 25th of April.

In English the word Easter comes from the name of the pagan goddess of dawn or spring – Eastre or Eostre and her festival was in spring time and hence this old word has stuck.

In Polish the name is Wielkanoc – which translates as Great Night – as it is the night of The Resurrection.

Eggs at Easter were originally a pagan tradition as symbols of fertility, rebirth and the revival of nature and heralded in the start of spring.

The tradition was absorbed by Christianity and the egg is now the symbol of the tomb and as the chick hatches from the egg with life so it symbolises the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pisanki are the decorated eggs you find in Poland. The word comes from the Polish verb pisać which nowadays means to write,  however in old Polish it also meant to paint.

There are many different ways of decorating eggs and each of these has its own specific name  –  one method uses beeswax and dyes are used to give wax resist patterns – another scratches away the dye to revel the original shell colour.

In Kraków there is the Museum of Ethnography, founded in 1902, which has  superb displays of intricate and beautiful pisanki through the ages – well worth a visit.

Below are photographs of an egg which was decorated using the beeswax and dye method – onion skins in this case.  It belongs to the Director of  the Leeds Polish Saturday School and was one of many made two years ago with instructions from a visiting tutor at a workshop session for the teachers and pupils at the school.

 

 

I make very simple coloured eggs by hard boiling eggs with onion skins.

Boiling eggs with brown onion skins dyes the egg shells a rich brown colour.

 

Boiling eggs with red onion skins dyes the egg shells a dark red-brown colour.

 

 

You can buy sheets of coloured paper dyes which give a range of colours   – safe edible dyes of course – I have tried these in the past but now just use onions as they are always in my vegetable basket.

Tip

When hard boiling eggs use eggs that are at least three days old as very fresh eggs are hard to peel.

These hard boiled eggs form part of the basket of food which is taken to church on the Saturday before Easter to be blessed see Palm Sunday & Holy Saturday.

The blessed eggs are peeled and cut into quarters to be shared at the Easter Breakfast with all the people present.

 

 

Other non- blessed hard boiled eggs are used in a game of tapping  eggs together to see which one cracks first.

A wooden imitation of these lovely decorated eggs is now a very popular item for sale throughout the year in Poland.  It is a something that many tourists buy to take home.

 

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Pisanki for sale in Kraków

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My Wooden Pisanki

 

 

Wooden Eggs belonging to my friend in Leeds

 

In these the wooden eggs have been painted and carved to expose the pale wood imitating the method of scratching with a fine tool the paint or dye and exposing the egg shell colour of real eggs

Easter Greetings

The photographs are taken from recent Easter cards from Poland.

Wesołych Świąt

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Happy Holy (Holiday) Day

 

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Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych

Happy Holy (Holiday) Day at Easter

Wesołego Alleluja

Happy Alleluia

 

Because of the egg theme you may also hear

Smacznego jajka 

May the eggs be delicious.

 

 

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PS

After posting the above I received an Easter card from Poland with the following stamp.

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Palm Sunday & Holy Saturday

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Palms are blessed in church on this day to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Of course palm trees do not grow in Poland and so other plants are substituted. Often pussy willow  is used as the catkins are usually out around this time. My mother always called pussy willow – palma – the Polish for palm.

 

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Twigs For Sale in the Old Square in Kraków

 

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Palms are also made from  dried grasses and corn which are often dyed to make them colourful or from coloured paper which is rolled and the edges cut to make a fringe.

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In many villages the farmers would make huge palms for the procession completing with each other to see who had the biggest and best.

The Main Square in  Kraków – Decorated with Large Palms

 

 

It is still Lent in Holy Week so the food eaten is simple and often meat, butter and egg free. Most baking and cooking done now is to make food to eat at Easter.

As well as going to church services it is a time for houses to undergo a massive clean-up especially inside.

Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent – the day before Easter.

This is the only day in the Catholic year on which Mass is not celebrated.

In Poland there is the tradition on this day to have the food for Easter blessed.

This has its roots in the early medieval church in the 12th Century and the food would have originally  been just bread and eggs.

In times past in villages the priest would have gone around to people’s houses and blessed the food there. Nowadays people bring a basket of food to the church and the food is blessed with Holy Water and is then taken home and not eaten till the Easter Sunday Breakfast.

Once blessed this basket is called święconka meaning  that which has been blessed

The basket is lined with a cloth – often white linen and sometimes embroidered.  A white linen cloth is used to cover the basket. These cloths represent the white shroud in which Jesus was wrapped.

What goes into the basket depends on several factors but hard boiled eggs and bread are usually present. Everything in the basket has a symbolic meaning.

Eggs –  Christ’s Resurrection – a symbol of life.

Bread – Christ as the Bread of Heaven.

Salt –  Preservation & Purification & Zest for Life

Horseradish – The Harsh & Bitter sacrifice of Christ.

Cooked Meat & Sausage – Joy & Abundance of God’s mercy.

Babka – The risen  dough  – this represents the Risen Christ.

Shaped Lamb (butter/cake/bread) – Christ – The Lamb of God -(see Lamb Bread)

Cheese – Moderation.

Butter – End of Lent.

Getting a basket ready to take to Church

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See Babka

 

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People coming & going to church in Kraków with baskets of food.

 

 

 

Food for sale for Easter in Kraków.

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The special meal at Easter in Poland is the Easter Breakfast –  although it is a lot later than a normal breakfast being usually around 11am

This meal is a cold buffet and includes the food that was blessed in church on Easter Saturday.

The hard boiled eggs are cut up into quarters or eighths and they are shared between everyone present  at the start of the meal.

POSTSCRIPT

Since posting I received the following photographs from my friend in Leeds who is The Director of the Polish Saturday School.

Sugar Lambs to go in the basket for blessing.

 

Salt Dough Lambs – made for the Easter Fair