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!

A Little Caper!

Capparis spinosa is the caper bush.  The plant is best known for the edible, unripened  flower buds – capers – kapary (in Polish)  which are often used as a seasoning and are usually  pickled in brine, vinegar or wine.

These perennial plants are native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back to around 2,000 BC  where they are mentioned as a food in Sumerian literature.

The caper buds are picked by hand which can make the cost of a small jar expensive.

Pickled nasturtium (Tropaeolum maius) (nasturcja in Polish)  seeds – often called poor man’s capers are a good substitute.

Cooking With Capers

Capers have long been used in the Mediterranean region especially  in Italian cooking.

Capers are usually  added to the dish toward the end of the cooking process, to keep their shape and flavour.

Sos kaparowy – Caper sauce

This is very popular in Poland and is made with chopped capers and mayonnaise  and is served with hard-boiled eggs.

Potato Salad with Capers

This is my variation of the classic Polish potato salad with caper  sauce.

Ingredients

200g  waxy potatoes

100g whole green beans

100g peas

2-3 spring onions – green part

2 tablespoons of capers – drained

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise – home-made or a good full fat bought variety

1 tablespoon of made up mustard

Salt & pepper

2 – 3  hard-boiled eggs

Method

The potatoes, green beans and the peas all need to be boiled or steamed, drained and then dried as much as possible using a clean tea towel.

I usually use starchy potatoes for potato salad but have found that waxy ones are better for this one.

Chop the beans into small pieces.

Chop the green parts of the onion into fine pieces.

In a bowl mix the cooked and dried vegetables, the capers and the spring onions.

 

 

 

 

Mix together the mayonnaise and the mustard.

I have found that the lighter sort of mayonnaise soon makes this salad have a watery dressing after a very short time. It is better to use home-made mayonaise or a good bought one – I use Hellmann’s.

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables with the dressing and add salt & pepper to taste.

Chop the hard-boiled eggs and scatter these on the top of the salad to serve.

 

 

 

Served here in a bowl by Meakin  –  Cadiz  – 1964  – 1970

 

Pasta Salads

The general word for pasta in Polish is makaron .. from the Italian macaroni or maccheroni which is thought to originate from the Greek makariafood made from barley.

You need some cooked pasta – small shapes are the best – I often use Fiorelli – little tubes with lacy edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I am cooking some pasta for a meal,  I often do a bit more so I have some left to make a salad the next day.

Try not to over cook the pasta.

The weight of dry pasta will result in around double the weight of cooked pasta  eg 250g of dry pasta will result in around 500g of cooked pasta.

I find that mayonnaise or mayonnaise based dressing  are best with these salads.

Cooked vegetables work well with these salads and also tinned or bottled vegetables and so it is a good store cupboard dish.

Below are several ideas – but you can do many variations – I always use a few different colours to make it look attractive.

Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled peppers.

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper

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Method

In a large bowl mix the pasta and sweetcorn together.

If using fresh peppers then remove the stalk and the seeds and chop the flesh into small pieces.

Blanch the peppers by putting them in a dish with boiling water and letting them stand for about 10 minutes then drain and pat dry.

 

 

 

If using bottled peppers then drain them from the liquid and cut into small pieces.

Add the peppers to the salad mixture.

Mix in the mayonnaise.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

 

Pasta, Peas, Peppers  & Sweetcorn Salad

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper.

Method

Make the salad as above then add the cooked peas and mix well

 

 

Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Tuna

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled peppers.

1  x  145g tin of tuna chunks in oil or brine – drained

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (variation –  add half a teaspoon of tomato puree or even hot pepper sauce)

Salt & pepper to taste – you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine.

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad up to the addition of the mayonnaise.

Break up the tuna into smaller pieces and add this to the salad and mix it in.

Add the mayonnaise.

Salt & pepper to taste – (you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine).

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Variations

Add some chopped chillies to the mixture – I use  green ones to differentiate them from the red peppers.

Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Tuna

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

1  x  145g tin of tuna chunks in oil or brine – drained

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper.

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peas, Peppers,  & Sweetcorn Salad

Break up the tuna into smaller pieces and add this to the salad. and mix it in

Salt & pepper to taste – (you will need less salt if you are using the tuna in brine).

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Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad with Polish Smoked Sausage.

Ingredients

400 – 500g cold cooked pasta.

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2  fresh red peppers or 2-3 pieces of  bottled pepper

150g of cooked frozen peas

200g of Polish smoked sausage or ham

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Salt & ground back pepper

Method

Make the salad as in Pasta, Peas, Peppers & Sweetcorn Salad.

Slice the sausage into thin slices and then chop these into halves and quarters.

Add this is to the salad and mix in

Salt & pepper to taste.

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Hard Boiled Egg Garnish

1 or 2 hard boiled eggs can be chopped and used to garnish the tuna or smoked sausage salads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rice Salads

For these salads you will need some cold cooked rice – I use long grained or Basmati rice  – but it can be whatever you like to use.

I rarely cook the rice specially – I am more likely to use what is left from a previous meal.

However for these I cooked some rice to see how much was needed.

I find the best dressing for these salads is one based on lemon juice with the addition of some runny honey if you want a little sweetness.

Rice, Peas & Sweetcorn Salad

 

 

 

 

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Ingredients

400g cold boiled rice

100g of cooked garden peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & ground back pepper

1 tablespoon of honey if desired

Method

In a large bowl mix the rice, peas and sweetcorn together.

Pour over the juice of the lemon and mix well.

If you are adding honey then warm about 1 tablespoon gently and mix that in.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rice, Peas,Sweetcorn & Peppers Salad

Ingredients

400g cold boiled rice

100g of cooked garden peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 or 2 fresh red peppers or bottled ones

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & ground back pepper

1 tablespoon of honey if desired

 

Method

In a large bowl mix the rice, peas and sweetcorn together.

If using fresh peppers then remove the stalk and the seeds and chop the flesh into small pieces.

I often blanch the peppers by putting them in a dish with boiling water and letting them stand for about 10 minutes the drain and pat dry.

 

 

If using bottled peppers then drain them from the liquid and cut into small pieces.

Add the peppers to the salad mixture.

Pour over the juice of the lemon and mix well.

If you are adding honey then warm about 1 tablespoon gently and mix that in.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Inspired in Castor – Rice Salad with Leeks

Not long ago I spent a stitching week in Castor, Cambridgeshire, with a  group of super ladies.  I was responsible for some of the catering.  One evening there was a large amount of leftover cooked rice, peas & sweetcorn, so I decided to make this into a salad with other ingredients we had in the kitchen.

This turned out to be a delicious salad and it got a lot of approval & I will certainly be making this again.

Ingredients

400g cold cooked rice

100g Cooked peas

1 small tin of sweetcorn – drained (or frozen loose sweetcorn – cooked)

1 -2 Grated carrots

1 grated eating apple

1 -2 leeks

Green part of spring onions – chopped fine

Flat Leaf parsley – chopped fine

Salt & ground back pepper

Juice of 1 – 2 lemons.

Method

Chop the leeks as fine as you can into circles and then cut these into half and put them into a large dish.

Cover the leeks with boiling water and leave them to stand until the water is cool.

Strain the leeks, leave them to cool down completely and then dry them with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

 

 

Mix the rice, apple & vegetables together in a large dish.

Pour the lemon juice over the salad.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

This was served with a beef in beer gulasz (casserole) & the salad provided a good balance against the richness of the casserole.

 

 

 

 

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Pea Fritters

A few notes about peas

Pisum sativum is groch in Polish and pea in English.

The pea belongs to the legume family, the plant family with pods as fruit and from the botanical point of view the pea pod is a fruit, the round peas, the seeds, however from the  culinary point of view it is classed as a vegetable.

Peas are recorded in the Middle East over 4,000 years BC.

Dried peas were the stables of Mediaeval cooking in Europe.

The eating of the fresh green peas is a fairly modern idea – it started for the rich in the 17th & 18th centuries.

Mangetout (eat all in French) is a pea variety with an edible pod  The idea of eating the immature pea pods was known in the 17th century in France.  They only became popular in the UK in 1970s.

Marrow fat peas are a variety of Pisum sativum called medullare. They are sold with their skins still on and are often cooked with bi-carbonate of soda which helps break down this hard to digest skin.

Split peas  come as yellow & green – these are dried peas with the hard to digest skin removed and then the  pea splits naturally  into its 2 cotyledons(parts). This process came into use in the late 19th century.

 

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My original recipe for pea fritters was exactly the same the same as my bean fritters recipe but using  dried split peas  – so I have added the instructions for doing this.

This variation is now the one I use the most.

Reconstituting the Spit Peas

Most packets of split peas give a variety of  method for reconstituting the split peas.

I do not usually bother to soak them over night.  I cover them with water and let them boil gently, this will take at least half an hour.  I keep checking on them giving them an occasional stir so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan & adding water if needed if it looks like it is going to run dry.

 

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I cook them until  they are soft and all the water has been absorbed.

If you have added too much water then you will need to strain the excess off.

Using a masher, mash the peas until you have a thick smooth thick purée.

 

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Split Pea Fritters

Ingredients

250g of yellow or green split peas (reconstituted as above & mashed to a smooth purée)

1 carrot – chopped into small pieces

1 onion – chopped into small pieces

1 clove of garlic – chopped

1 red pepper – chopped into small pieces

Some butter for frying the onions, garlic, carrot & pepper

1 teaspoon Italian mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

1 egg – beaten

Dried Breadcrumbs

Salt & pepper

optional – 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

Method

Reconstitute the split peas, mash them and leave them to cool completely.

Melt some butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots and the pepper until they are soft, then leave them to cool.

 

 

Mix the mashed pea mixture and the cooked vegetables together,

 

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Add the Italian mixed herbs, paprika and salt & pepper(& chilli flakes if using) and mix well.

Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly – if the mixture appears to wet add a spoonful of breadcrumbs.

Put some breadcrumbs on a plate or board, make small balls and flatten them and coat all the sides with the breadcrumbs.

Shallow fry the fritters in hot sunflower oil till they are golden on both sides.

 

 

These fritters go well with a crisp salad, salsa or a sauce such as tomato or mushroom.  They also go well with meat dishes in a sauce  such as gulasz, pulpety or chicken casserole.

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Polish Mixed Vegetable Salad

Before the days of shops that sell fresh and frozen produce all year round from all over the world, this salad could be made in the autumn and winter using bottled or tinned vegetables.

This salad is made using mainly cooked chopped vegetables and the aim is to make it colourful and to balance the colours and size of the ingredients.

The main three colours are white, green and orange.

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Salad in a Royal Doulton Dish – Carnation – 1982 to 1998

White

The white is achieved from: potatoes, celeriac or  white beans such as haricot or cannellini  or even tinned baked beans with the sauce rinsed off.

Green

The green is achieved from peas , whole green beans or gherkins. I use frozen peas or whole green beans.

Orange

The orange is achieved from carrots or bottled paprika.

The following salad was made from potatoes, carrots and whole green beans which were cooked before assembling.

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Steam the Potatoes and Carrots

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Boil or steam the whole green beans.

Once the vegetables have cooled then chop them into small pieces.

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Mix the vegetables together with several tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise – original or light – just enough to lightly coat the vegetables.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Variation 1

Add 2 hard boiled eggs which have been chopped to the salad.

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Mixed Vegetable Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs

Variation 2

Use Celeriac instead of potato.

Peel the celeriac then cut it up into large pieces and steam these – chop the cooked celeriac into smaller pieces when it has cooked and cooled.

Polish Potato Salads

Potato salad is very popular in Poland especially as it can be made nearly all year round.

This can be served with cold meats and Polish style sausages as well as with hot dishes such as roast pork or chicken.

I like to make potato salad using starchy potatoes as I love the soft fluffy texture.

My favourite starchy potatoes are King Edward and Maris Piper.

The King Edward variety was introduced in the  United Kingdom in 1902 and was named after King Edward VII as this was his coronation year.

The Maris Piper variety was released in 1966  and was named after  Maris Lane in Trumpington on the outskirts of  Cambridge which at that time was the home of the Plant Breeding Institute.

Classic Potato Salad

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Ingredients

Starchy Potatoes – from 3 large potatoes upwards

1/2 – 1 onion – chopped fine

Mayonnaise – I like to use Hellmans – original or light

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Peel the potatoes and cut any large potatoes into quarters and then boil or steam them to cook them.

Strain the cooked potatoes in a colander and leave them to cool slightly.

Rough chop the cooked potatoes using a knife or a spoon – you do not want the pieces to be too uniform in size.

Add the chopped onion to the potatoes and then several tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise and mix together.

I like to use potatoes that are still slightly warm as I find the mayonnaise coats them better.

However you can use cold potatoes – maybe some you have left from another meal – the salad will still be good.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Leave to cool completely before serving.

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Simple Classic Potato Salad

Variations on the Classic Salad

Potato Salad with Gherkins

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Chop 2 or 3 gherkins and add these to the Potato Salad.

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Chopped Gherkins

 

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Potato Salad with Gherkins

Potato Salad with Gherkins and Boiled Eggs

Chop 1 or 2 hard boiled eggs and add these to the potato salad with the gherkins.

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Chopped Hard Boiled Eggs
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Potato Salad with Gherkins and Hard Boiled Eggs

Potato Salad with Peas

Cook some frozen peas and add these to the classic potato salad

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Cooked Peas
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Potato Salad with Peas