Fresh Pea Summer Soup

  • Dried peas were part of a staple diet in the Middle Ages in Europe.
  • Eating fresh and immature green peas was a more modern delicacy.
  • This soup could have only been made summer and the peas would have had to be shelled.
  • The invention of fast freezing by Clarence Birdseye, an American, in the 1920s revolutionised the way we eat foods out of season, most notably green peas.
  • In the past the vegetables would have had to be pressed several times through clothes or sieves – nowadays we have stick blenders and similar electrical cooking tools to make this easier.

Ingredients

  • 100 -150g shelled or frozen peas
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • ½ a large lettuce
  • 50g butter
  • 1-2 lovage or celery leaves
  • 1½ litres of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or powder
  • 125ml of soured cream
  • Chopped chives or flat-leafed parsley to garnish

Method

  • Chop white and green parts of the spring onions in small rings.
  • Gently fry in butter to soften but not to brown them.
  • Cut the lettuce into thin strands.
  • Add the lettuce and the peas to the spring onions and mix.
  • Add the lovage or celery leaves and the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for up to 10 minutes until the peas are cooked.
  • 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.
  • Stir in the soured cream and serve.
  • Add a dollop of soured cream to each serving.
  • Garnish each dish with chopped chives, flat-leafed parsley to garnish.

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 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

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

 

Śmietana – Soured Cream – A Classic Polish Salad Dressing

Śmietana – Soured Cream – must be one of the most used salad dressings in Poland.

Soured cream is used  just on its own and sometimes if it is thick or because they like it that way people will add lemon juice to make it more runny.

I am going to write about the three classic salads which will have soured cream on them.

Mizeria

Legend has it that this salad was beloved by Queen Bona, the Italian princess, who married King Zygmunt 1 in the early part of the 16th Century.

She is famous for bringing her chefs and a variety of vegetables to Poland  and many vegetables names in Polish have Italian roots.

The word mizeria comes from the Latin meaning misery.  It is said that this salad made the Queen homesick for Italy.  I can understand the cucumber – not sure about the soured cream – but that is the story.

It certainly is a delicious cooling salad for a hot day.

I was talking with one of my Polish friends earlier last week and I said that I was going to write about mizeria and she said “Oh there were 20 people for dinner yesterday and I made a huge bowl of mizeria – it was delicious and it  was all eaten!”

It is the salad that everyone loves to make in the summer and it is so easy.

Ingredients

Just – Cucumber, Soured Cream and a little salt.

Option extras

Lemon juice added to the soured cream.

Some people add little bit of icing sugar.

Dill or chives as a garnish.

Take a cucumber and peel off the skin. If the skin is thin then sometimes I do not peel it all off,  just stripes so that you have a nice pattern later of dark and pale green.

Cut the cucumber into thin slices and put them into a bowl

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Lightly salt the cucumber.

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Add several spoonfuls of soured cream to the cucumber and mix them together, you want to coat most of the slices.

Sprinkle with a garnish of chopped dill or chives if desired and serve.

This is delicious with Polish style smoked meats and sausage and also with  hot roast meats as a lovely contrast.

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Mizeria Garnished with Dill
Dill
Dill

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Mizeria Garnished with Chives

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note

This is best made with  young fresh cucumbers in summer.  However now that you can get greenhouse grown cucumbers all year round I sometimes find that they are a bit old and woody,  if this is the case I would remove the seed area – this is best done by cutting the cucumber lengthwise in two and removing the seeds by pulling a teaspoon down the seedy middle. Then you can slice the cucumber as before.

Some cooks salt the sliced cucumber and leave this for about half an hour and then discard the liquid before adding the soured cream.   I do not usually do this unless I am making it for serving at a much later time.

Radish Salad

Ingredients

  • Radish and Soured Cream.
  • Chives or Spring onions to garnish.
  • Prepare the radishes by removing the hairy roots and stalks.
  • Thinly slice the radishes.

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  • Put the radish slices in a bowl and add several tablespoons of soured cream (thinned with lemon juice it desired).
  • Garnish with chives or the green part of spring onions, finely chopped.

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I love the way the radish skin colour seeps into the soured cream after a while and makes it pale pink.

Lettuce Salad

This is the most simple salad you can make – just use lettuce leaves pulled off from the head of lettuce, wash and dry them using a tea towel or a salad spinner  and add several tablespoons of soured cream (thinned with lemon juice it desired) and mix them together.

Garnish with a few chives if you have them and serve.

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