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.

Buckwheat Pancakes – New Ideas 1

I have two posts already about buckwheat as a grain and buckwheat flour used in a variety of pancakes.

I have recently returned from a super, short holiday in Gdańsk and 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 !).

One of the breakfasts was buckwheat pancakes with a filling of chopped cucumber and smoked bacon, topped with a soft cooked egg and chives.

On my return I had to recreate this lovely dish.

Ingredients

  • Cooked buckwheat pancakes
  • Chopped cucumber and smoked bacon filling
  • Soft cooked egg – poached or lightly fried
  • Chopped chives or the green parts of spring onions.

The hardest part is getting getting all the parts cooked and warm at the same time.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 75g buckwheat flour
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml of milk (full or semi-skimmed)
  • 125ml of water
  • 25g of  melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • Some extra milk might be needed.

Method

Make these in the same way as standard pancakes adding the melted butter after the batter has been standing for about an hour.

  • Beat the eggs and add then them first to the sifted flour.
  • Add the milk mixture to the egg and flour mix until you have a batter the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Mix the milk with the water
  • Add the milk mixture to the egg and flour mix until you have a batter the consistency of pouring cream.
  • Leave the batter to stand for at least 1 hour in which time it will thicken, then add a little more liquid.
  • Use a special thin pan which you use just for pancakes, mine has a base diameter of 20 cm and is made of steel, once seasoned, just wipe it clean between uses with kitchen roll – never scour it or use detergent.
  • Work out how much batter you need for a pancake and find a measure which will then give you a consistent amount – I use a small ladle which holds 45ml.
  • Have a dish of melted butter or margarine and sunflower oil for frying so you can add just enough and tip some back if needed.
  • Heat the pan – you want a high heat but not too much to burn the pancakes – you will find you have to keep adjusting the heat. (As I cook using gas this is easy to do).

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  • Using the ladle pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Tilt the pan so that the mixture covers the surface completely and evenly.
  • Cook the pancakes on one side and turn then over – you can make them up one by one or stack then up with a piece of grease-proof paper in between them. You can do this and leave then for later use.

Filling

  • Cucumber
  • Smoked Bacon
  • Peel the cucumber and chop it into little cubes.
  • Cut the bacon into small squares and cook these in a frying pan – aiming for cooked but maybe not that crispy.
  • Whilst the bacon is still warm, mix it with the cucumber.

 

 

  • Place some of the mixture on the cooked pancake  in the centre and out to the sides – but not quite to the edge.
  • Fold in two of the opposite sides and then roll up the pancake from the long end to make a long parcel.
  • Top the pancake with a soft cooked egg – poached or lightly fried.
  • Sprinkle with chopped chives or the green parts of spring onions.

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 to 1988.

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!

Polish Pea Soup

Grochówka – Pea Soup – just reminds me of when I was young – the smell and taste just bring back so many memories.

The yellow split pea type are the ones used in all the traditional recipes and the soup should not be very thick.

 

 

You can make this soup in a stockpot on the stove top or put it in the oven and leave it to simmer gently for many hours. I have found that making this in my slow cooker is much easier; you can leave it without worrying about it sticking or burning.

Any type of Polish smoked sausage can be used – here I used  Toruńska.

I have given recipes for two slightly different versions

Version 1

Ingredients

350 – 400g yellow split peas

2 large carrots

2 onions

2 litres of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or powder

300g of Kielbasa Polish smoked sausage.

1 bay leaf

8 peppercorns

2-3 grains of allspice

Chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish when serving.

Method – version 1

Peel the carrots and cut them into rounds – cut the larger ones into halves.

Dice the onions.

Chop the sausage into rounds and then cut these into halves or quarters – depending on the size of the sausage.

Place everything except the garnish into the slow cooker and switch it on to high.

Leave the soup mixture to cook for around 4 hours, giving it an occasional stir.

Cook until the peas “fall apart”.

This soup should not be a “thick mush!”  – add some boiling water to thin it down if necessary.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley or chives on the top of each serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served in Royal  Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

Version 2

Ingredients

300g yellow split peas

2 large carrots

2 onions

2 litres of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or powder

200g of Kielbasa – Polish smoked sausage.

1 bay leaf

8 peppercorns

2-3 grains of allspice

Garnish

4 slices of smoked bacon

1 onion

Method – version 2

Peel the carrots and cut them into rounds – cut the larger ones into halves.

Dice the onions.

Chop the sausage into rounds and then cut these into halves or quarters – depending on the size of the sausage.

Place everything except the garnish into the slow cooker and switch it on to high.

Leave the soup mixture to cook for around 4 hours, giving it an occasional stir.

Cook until the peas “fall apart”.

This soup should not be a “thick mush!”  – add some boiling water to thin it down if necessary.

Garnish

Chop the bacon into small squares and fry gently till very crispy – these are called skwarki in Polish.

Dice the onion and fry in a little oil until the pieces are lightly charred.

Mix the bacon and onions together.

You either use these straight away or you make them in advance and leave them to go cold.

Use some kitchen roll to mop up any excess fat.

 

 

When you serve the soup, place a largish tablespoon of the garnish on top of each portion.

 

Served in Royal  Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

 

Pea Soup with Dutch Connections

I have written about Polish pea soup which is usually made with yellow split peas.

My mother could not always get yellow split peas and sometimes used Marrow fat peas.

My Dutch friend in The Netherlands often talks about Dutch pea soup which is made using Marrow fat peas or green split peas.

The Dutch soup tends to be made as a much thicker soup and pork, such as a chop or pigs’ trotters, is often used and also as smoked bacon or ham; potatoes are often added as well.

I have made my soup more on the Polish thinner side and used a chunk of smoked  Polish bacon. – You can use smoked gammon or smoked bacon – use it in large pieces – cut it up after it has been cooked in the soup.

Version 1 – Using Marrow Fat Peas

 

 

 

Ingredients

250g Marrow fat peas

2 large onions chopped

400g piece of smoked Polish bacon (boczek in Polish, which means side)

8 peppercorns

2-3 allspice grains

1 Bay leaf

2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from a cube or powder – I often use Marigold powder).

 

 

 

Method

Put the marrow fat peas into a large bowl with around 800ml of boiling water poured over them  and leave overnight.

Some instructions say to add bicarbonate of soda to the peas – I prefer not to.

The following morning, drain and rinse the rehydrated peas.

I have started using my large slow cooker to make soups – you can also use a large stock pot and once brought to the boil, leave it to simmer on the stove or in a low oven.

Place all the ingredients into the pot and switch on and leave to cook for 4 – 5 hours until the peas have cooked to a soft pulp.

You might want to add some boiling water and stir the soup if it has become too thick.

Remove the piece of bacon and chop or shred the meat, then put it all back into the soup, stir and heat for a few minutes before serving.

You can use the cooked meat on for example in sandwiches and only put part of it back into the soup.

 

 

 

 

Served here with scalded rye bread on tea plates by Taylor and Kent of Longton.

 

Version 2 – Using Green Split Peas

As version 1, but use 300-350g of green split peas.

The split peas do not have to be soaked overnight, just use then as they are.

So this is much quicker to make as there is no overnight soaking.

 

 

You can add some chopped chives or the green part of spring onions before serving.

 

 

Variations

  • Add one or more  root vegetables such as:
  • 1 or 2 carrots – chopped,
  • around a quarter of a celeriac,
  • 1 or 2 parsnips – chopped
  • 1 large potato – peeled and chopped
  • Use smoked gammon, ham or smoked bacon
  • Add a pork chop
  • Use pigs’ trotters

Note

I have found that these soups freeze very well – portionned up into tubs for future use.

 

 

Lentils – Polish Style

The lentil  is Lens culinaris,  an edible legume –  which means its seeds grow in pods.

The seeds are lens-shaped from whence it gets its name –  meaning  little lens.

The Polish is soczewica and is also from a word meaning a small lens.

It belongs to the bean family and these seeds are classed as pulses – dry seeds for consumption.

Lentils originated in the Near East and Central Asia and are the oldest  pulses and among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World.

The first evidence of pulses comes from 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East which was home to some of the earliest human civilizations.

They are mentioned in the Bible –  Genesis 25:29-34 – when Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage.

” …let me eat the red soup … then Jacob gave him bread and lentil soup

Figures for 2016 show the top four countries for lentil production as:

    • Canada
    • India
    • Turkey
    • United States of America

I bought a packet of whole allspice (ziele angielskie) and this recipe was on the back.

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I think it is related to Breton beans – a popular Polish recipe.

Ingredients

200g – 250g dried lentils

100g smoked bacon – chopped into small squares.

200g Polish sausage (I used Toruńska) – sliced

2 onions – chopped

3 cloves of garlic – sliced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

200 ml of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate)

5 grains of allspice

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika (not smoked)

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Ground black pepper

(salt might not be needed because of the bacon and sausage)

Yoghurt and chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C

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Cook the lentils in water until they are soft.

Use a sieve to remove some of the excess water – if any.

Fry up the bacon and the onions and garlic.

In a jug or bowl mix the stock, paprika, herbs and pepper.

Get an oven proof dish with a lid and add the lentils, fried bacon, onions and garlic.

Add the tomatoes and the stock mixture.

Add the sliced sausage, the bay leaves and allspice and mix all together thouroughly.

 

Put the lid on the dish and place into the oven.

Cook for 45 -60 minutes.

 

 

Serve garnished with flat – leafed parsley or this and a dollop of plain yoghurt or soured cream as well.

Here served in Royal Doulton – Carnation (1982 – 1998) dishes.