Chłodnik- 5- with Gherkins

Here is another classic, chilled starter for a summer’s day.  It will be the last for this summer –  I will be looking out for more for next year!

Ingredients

  • 3 -4 gherkins
  • Spring onion – green parts or chives
  • 500ml of yoghurt
  • Handful of dill
  • Gherkin liquor and cold water
  • Salt & Pepper & Sugar to taste
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs to serve

Method

  • Chop the gherkins into small pieces.
  • Chop the spring onions or chives into small pieces.
  • Chop the dill into small pieces.
  • Thin down the yoghurt with gherkin liquor and water to suit.
  • Mix with the chopped gherkins.
  • Add dill and spring onions or chives.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • *
  • Sprinkle with chopped hard boiled eggs to serve.

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

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

Green Early Summer Soup

In olden days, and even in Communist times in Poland, the only vegetables available in winter were root vegetables or preserved or bottled ones.

When sorrel leaves started to grow this marked the end of winter – a herald of spring and the start of fresh greens.

I grow sorrel in pots in my garden.

I posted a recipe for Polish sorrel soup nearly a year ago.  The following recipe does not require as much sorrel, though should you not have any sorrel at all, then use more spinach and another lemon.

Ingredients

  • 100g sorrel leaves
  • 100g of fresh spinach leaves (or use frozen)
  • ½ a head of a large lettuce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 125ml soured cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt & Pepper if needed
  • *
  • Chopped hard boiled eggs – around 1 egg  per serving.

Method

  • Have the vegetable stock ready and hot in a saucepan.
  • Remove any thick stalks from the sorrel and spinach.
  • Chop the lettuce, sorrel and spinach.
  • Add them to the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for around 5 minutes.
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool a little (for safety).
  • Blend the soup until you have a thick purée.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Bring back to the boil.
  • In a small dish mix the soured cream with the egg yolks.
  • Take the pan off the boil and add the lemon juice
  • Stir in the soured cream mixture and then use a balloon whisk to mix it in.
  • Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • *
  • Serve with chopped hard boiled eggs.

 

Soup plate – Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959-1981

Early Summer Soup

In the original recipe this was called spring soup.  I thought it a bit strange as not all the ingredients are out in spring – so I have re-named it to early summer soup.

Otherwise you could call it green leaves soup!

It is a really super soup – very tangy  with the sourness loved by Poles.

If you have the vegetable stock and some hard boiled eggs ready – then this is a very quick soup to make.

Some of the ingredients – growing in pots in my garden

It is hard to give exact amounts needed – around 500ml in volume of different leaves.

Ingredients

  • Large handfuls of sorrel
  • Large handfuls of spinach – or use frozen leaf spinach
  • Several sprigs of flat-leaved parsley
  • A stem of lovage or some celery leaves
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or concentrate.
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoon of milk
  • 250ml soured cream
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs – 1 per serving

Method

  • Have the vegetable stock ready and hot in a saucepan.
  • Remove all the leaves from the stalks.
  • Chop the leaves.
  • Add the leaves to the stock.
  • Mix the flour with the milk.
  • Add the flour mixture to the soup.
  • Mix well and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the boil and stir in the soured cream.
  • Serve with a hard boiled egg chopped in half per serving.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation  1982- 1998

Dutch Cold Dish & Other Salads

I recently returned from a trip to The Netherlands to visit my friend again.

I always have a great time visiting different parts of the country and enjoying the wonderful hospitality.

One dish I have had many times is Koudeschotel – this translates as Cold Dish.

I think it is a sort of  “posh cousin” to  several Polish cooked salads such as Potato Salad and Mixed Vegetable Salad.

It is often made in large quantities as the centrepiece in a buffet meal.

There is a central mound made with boiled potatoes mashed with mayonnaise, onions, peas, carrots and cooked meat like chicken, pork or beef.

This is then decorated with items such as hard boiled eggs, gherkins, silver-skin onions, prawns or shrimps, asparagus, tomatoes, cooked or smoked meats and dusted with a little sweet paprika.

 

The koudeschotel on my arrival from England this year.

If the central mound is made without meat it is sometimes called Huzarensalade – Huzar’s Salad.

Ingredients – for the central mound

The original recipe  was for a large amount suitable for a big party – I have scaled it down.

  • 1 Kg of cold boiled potatoes
  • Around 200ml of mayonnaise – real full fat is best
  • 100g of cooked peas
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 2 boiled carrots – diced
  • 200g of cooked chicken, pork or beef – shredded (meat used to make soup or stock is good)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Notes

Many supermarkets and delicatessens in The Netherlands sell this mixture ready made.

Method

  • Mash the potatoes with the mayonnaise.
  • Add the peas, carrots, onion and meat and mix well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Arrange the mixture in the centre of a serving plate.

Decorate with a selection of the following:

  • Hard boiled eggs – sliced or quartered
  • Gherkins – small or large ones sliced
  • Silver-skin onions
  • Cooked prawns or shrimps,
  • Cooked asparagus spears or slices
  • Tomatoes – quartered
  • Cooked or smoked meats – chopped or in little slices
  • Dusted with a little sweet paprika.

Now is the time to be a little creative with the decoration – I tend to do rows of the different ingredients and dust with sweet paprika at the end.

(For smaller gatherings sometimes the mixture is placed in a bowl and the eggs and gherkins etc are just placed on top)

Other Salads

One day we went to a neighbour’s house for a BBQ and koudeschotel was one of the dishes served with the grilled meats.

We were also served the following two lovely salads –

Cabbage & Pineapple Salad

Ingredients

  • Small white cabbage
  • 8 rings of fresh or tinned in juice pineapple
  • 50 – 80g of raisins

Method

  • Soak the raisins in pineapple juice for at least 30 minutes
  • Shred and chop the cabbage
  • Chop the pineapple rings into small pieces
  • Mix the cabbage, pineapple and the raisins in juice together

Salad with Smoked Salmon & Capers

Ingredients

  • Crunchy lettuce such as Cos or  Little Gem – I used a Red Little Gem
  • 100g Smoked Salmon
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery – finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 100g of cooked small sized pasta
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Method

  • Hand tear the lettuce into medium sized pieces.
  • Chop the smoked salmon into small pieces.
  • Mix the smoked salmon, capers and pasta together and
  • Mix this with the lettuce.
  • Pour the lemon juice over this and mix.
  • Season with black pepper.
  • Extra salt should not be needed because of the capers & smoked salmon.

 

You could serve this as a starter using a few lettuce leaves as a bed on each plate with the smoked salmon mixture in the centre.

Szczawowa – Sorrel Soup

One of my earliest food memories is walking from our street in a little town in Lancashire to the fields beyond and picking fresh sorrel with my mum to make this soup.

At that time my English was limited and my mum was much amused when one of our English neighbours came to inquire about the “grass” that I had told her we had picked that morning to make into soup.

One of my sisters, much younger than me, came to visit a few weeks ago and out of the blue she suddenly asked if  I remembered picking sorrel.  She did not know I had just been writing about it.

Yesterday I had lunch with a new Polish friend who was born in Lincolnshire and whilst talking about food our mothers cooked, she too remembered  going down to the fields with her mother and her friends to pick basket-fulls of sorrel, much to the bewilderment of their English neighbours.

Rumex acetosa is sorrel – szczaw in Polish.

The word sorrel comes from the Old French  – sorele –  meaning – sour.

Sorrel belongs to the Polygonaceae family and it is related to the dock – Rumex obtusifolius and to buckwheat.

It has a pointed broad leaf which has a sharp taste due to oxalic acid in the leaves.

At the moment I am growing this in pots in the garden, when I do a sort out in the garden I am going to move some to a patch in the ground.

I tried growing Rumex sanguineus – red veined sorrel once but I found it tasteless.

Szczawowa is such a typical Polish soup made from fresh picked ingredients and has the sourness so loved by the Poles.  It is usually served with lots of chopped hard boiled eggs on top.

Note

Because of the oxalic acid in the sorrel do not use cast iron or aluminium pans.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 chicken wings
  • Lots of chopped sorrel leaves – around 500ml if possible.
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 1 coarse grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder or vegetable stock cube
  • 3-4 peppercorns
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person

Method

  • Place 4-5 chicken wings in a pan of water and bring to boil and simmer for about half hour.
  • And the chopped onion, grated carrot  and peppercorns and bring them to a boil and simmer for another half hour.
  • Add the vegetable powder or cube.
  • Add chopped sorrel leaves – lots, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken wings (they are not served with the soup).
  • Add salt and more ground pepper if liked – it should be sour! (lemony but more so).
  • You can do this and then leave for it later – just bring to boil and then simmer when ready to use.
  • Add the soured cream and stir this in.
  • Have prepared some hard boiled eggs  – chopped finely.
  • Pour soup into soup plates and sprinkle the chopped eggs over the top to serve.

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation 1982  – 1998.

 

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

 

Żurek – Sour Rye Soup

Sour is a word to describe a lot of Polish food – it is a taste well-loved by Poles!

Often this sour comes from lactic acid which is made during fermentation by Lactobacillus bacteria to produce such foods as: gherkins, sauerkraut, sourdough, soured cream, soured milk and yoghurt.

Żurek is a soup made with sour rye (zakwas) as a base.

Water is added to rye flour or rye bread and it is allowed to ferment for a few day.  In olden times this soup was often made on the same day as rye bread was being made.

Nowadays you can buy  żurek starter or zakwas in the Polish supermarkets and this is what I use, (one day I will make my own) and it tastes very good.

My mother never made this soup and in fact I had not heard of it until my Polish cousin’s daughters worked in a Polish restaurant in London in the 1990s and I had some there.

It is often cooked with smoked bacon and Polish sausage – kiełbasa – and then served with quartered or chopped hard boiled eggs.

Some people serve this at the Easter breakfast using the sausage and hard-boiled eggs which have been blessed on Easter Saturday.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Żurek concentrate
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium boiled potatoes (waxy type can be better but not essestial)
  • 2 medium boiled carrots.
  • 50 – 100g of smoked bacon
  • 100-150g of Polish sausage*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns & 3-4 allspice grains
  • 4-5 tablespoons of soured cream(optional – but worth it)
  • Season as necessary but the bacon and sausage usually provide enough salt.

****

Hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person

*I used Torunska but you can use any sort  – even hot dog type sausages – a sausage called biały (white)(one that is boiled normally) is often used and this gives another name to the soup – biały barszcz – white barszcz (red barszcz being beetroot soup)

Method

  • Peel the carrots and parboil them whole.
  • Parboil the potatoes.
  • Once cooled, chop the carrots and potatoes.
  • Chop the onion roughtly.
  • Chop the bacon into little squares.
  • Chop the sausage into small pieces.
  • Use a large pan and add all the ingredients
  • Add water to cover the vegetables & half to three quarters fill the pan.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for a couple of hours.

Chop the hard boiled eggs into long quarters or roughly chop them.

Pour the soup into dishes and place the quarters on top or scatter the chopped egg on top.

Żurek with just vegetables

In olden times when fasting & abstinence in Lent was much more strict, many people did not eat meat or eggs in Lent.

Many lived on a very meagre diet of meatless żurek with hardy any vegetables and there was often a ceremony of burying the żurek at the end of Lent.

This recipe is not as meagre as that, it is made with lots of vegetables and served with hard-boiled eggs or rye bread croutons.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of Żurek concentrate
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 leeks
  • 3 medium potatoes (waxy type can be better but not essential)
  • 2-3 medium carrots
  • 2 kohlrabi*
  • 1/2 a celeriac*
  • 1 white turnip*
  • 2 parsnips*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns & 3-4 allspice grains
  • 125 – 250ml of soured cream
  • Flat-leaved parsley -small bunch chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon – optional

*Depends on what is available – try and have at least 2 of these root vegetables & adjust the amounts to suit what you can get.

I think the sweetness in the root vegetables counteracts some of the sourness of the sour rye, so I add lots of soured cream & sometimes some lemon juice.

Hard boiled eggs to serve – at least one per person or rye bread croutons.

Method

  • For all the root vegetables, peel as necessary – you can parboil or steam them if that makes them easier to prepare.
  • Chop the root vegetables into rough cubes.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Add all the vegetables & onion to a large pan or stockpot of water.
  • Add the żurek concentrate.
  • Add the bay leaf, allspice and peppercorns.
  • Add some of the parsley
  • Add water to cover the vegetables & half to three quarters fill the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for around two hours until the vegetables are soft or place in a low oven for several hours.
  • Gently stir in the soured cream – whisk a little if it starts to go into lumps.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add some lemon juice to the required sourness!
  • Sprinkle in the rest of the parsley.

To serve – add the quartered or chopped hard-boiled eggs on top,  or the rye bread croutons.

 

Served in soup plates  – Glenwood by Crown Devon Fielding, Made in England.

These are the only 3 left from my Mama.

I think she must have had 8 or even 12, they are there in memories of my childhood with lots of people sitting around the table.

I have read that they were produced from 1939 -how my Mama aquired these I do not know!

Pea Salad

In earlier times this would have been made with bottled or tinned garden peas – nowadays I make this with cooked frozen peas.

The peas and Gouda cheese make this salad sweet and creamy.

Ingredients

Around 400ml of frozen peas -cooked and cooled

4 hardboiled eggs – chopped

3 large gherkins – chopped into little cubes

200g of Gouda(or similar) cheese – chopped into cubes

1 small onion – chopped fine

2 tablespoons of Mayonaise (full fat is best)

1 tablespoon of Greek style yoghurt

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Method

In a bowl mix all the vegetables and the cheese together.

Add the mayonnaise and yoghurt and mix well.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with hot or cold roast meats or smoked Polish sausage.

 

Variation

I think the addition of 2 or 3 strips of chopped herrings as in my herring salads would be good.

Will try this later and let you know!