Nearly a Dandelion!

Mlecz was the name my mother used for dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – this name refers to the milky fluid found in its stems. (mleko is Polish for milk)

Looking through one of my Polish recipe books I came across a salad using  the leaves of  mniszek lekarski – (lekarski means medicinal).  On looking this up I found this was another name for dandelion!

The photo below is  from a website called  me.me and on a leaflet from the East Village Farm in New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The likelihood of having me having young dandelion leaves for this salad is low so I decided to use rocket (arugula) leaves – rukola in Polish –  Eruca vesicaria or sativa which are more readily available and have a similar bitter/peppery taste from what I can gather.

Rocket has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times.

Ingredients

  • Bunch of radishes
  • Around 70g of rocket
  • 60ml of soured cream
  •  Around a tablespoon of either fresh thyme, lemon balm, flat-leaved parsley or dill
  • Extra parsley to garnish

Method

  • Chop the rocket into small pieces
  • Top & tail the radishes and the finely slice them
  • Mix the two together
  • Finely chop the herb you are using
  • Mix the herb with the soured cream
  • Mix the salad with the soured cream mixture
  • Season to taste
  • Garnish with flat-leaved parsley to serve

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Salads – Radish & Cucumber

The inspiration for these salads are from recipes in a new book I bought recently in Poland and from one my Polish friend  in Leeds bought for me.

 

 

History of the Radish

Radish, in Polish –  rzodkiew,  Latin name  –  Raphanus sativus,    is a root vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family and is thought to have originated in South East Asia.  It is mentioned in Greece in the 3rd century BC and in Europe in pre-Roman times.

It was one of the first European crops to be taken to the Americas.

Some of the recipes used czarna rzodkiew – which translates as black radish.  Now I had never heard of this, so looked it up and found it is called Black Spanish radish and sometimes called winter radish. It is mentioned in Europe in the 16th century and in England in the 19th century.

It has white flesh and a black skin and  can be round or long and it  is much larger  than the radishes I have seen.  So when the recipes used one or two black Spanish radishes, I used 1 or 2 bunches of radishes.

Cucumber & Radish Salad – Version 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 or 2 bunches of radishes
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • Chopped dill & flat leafed parsley

Method

  • Peel the cucumber or part peel lengthwise in stripes.
  • Cut the cucumber into thin slices  – you can cut these into halves.
  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the oil and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Garnish with dill and flat leafed parsley.

 

 

 

Sweet Honey Dressing

A lovely sweet dressing made with honey is used on the following four salads.

Ingredients

  • 125ml soured cream
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

Use a little whisk to combine the ingredients.

Cucumber & Radish Salad – Version 2

As version 1 with sweet honey dressing

Radish & Red Onion Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 bunches of radishes
  • 1 red onion
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Slice and chop the onion into small squares.
  • Mix the radishes and onion together.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

 

 

Radish & Raisin Salad

Ingredients

  • 1-2 bunches of radishes
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Put the raisins into a small bowl and boiling water over them to cover.
  • Leave them until they are cold.
  • Use a sieve to drain away the water.
  • Use kitchen roll or a clean tea cloth to dry the raisins.
  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Mix the radishes and raisins.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

Optional

Serve this on top of a bed of shredded lettuce.

 

 

 

Served here with liver & rice

Cucumber & Raisin Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Put the raisins into a small bowl and boiling water over them to cover.
  • Leave them until they are cold.
  • Use a sieve to drain away the water.
  • Use kitchen roll or a clean tea cloth to dry the raisins.
  • Peel the cucumber or part peel lengthwise in stripes.
  • Cut the cucumber into thin slices  – you can cut these into halves.
  • Mix the cucumber and raisins.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served here with liver & mushrooms and rice.

 

Radish & Apple Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 1 large apple – Braeburn is good
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 pinches of salt

Method

  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Cut larger slices into two
  • Put them into a bowl with the sugar and salt and leave these for around 10 minutes
  • Core the apple and cut into rough cubes
  • Place the apple into a bowl and our the lemon juice over them.
  • Mix the radishes and apple together
  • Mix in the yoghurt.

 

 

 

 

Smetana – Soured Cream – A Classic Polish Salad Dressing

Smetana – 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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