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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barszcz – Beetroot Soup

 Barszcz  is the classic Polish beetroot soup.

Now this may just my imagination but beetroots in Poland just taste so much better and sweeter than the ones I have had in England, maybe it is the variety that is grown there or the soil.   I think you have to use home-grown or organic beetroot to get as good a taste.

I like the clear, meat-free, Lenten barszcz made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve and have tried over the years many recipes using fresh beetroots, which I have boiled or roasted and also used ready cooked vacuum packed beetroot and adjusted the taste with lemon juice or a little sugar.

 

 

I have never been truly happy with the results which did not seem to have the sweetness and flavour or the soups I have had made for me.

Nowadays the way I make  barszcz is my biggest cheat!

Many years ago I started to make my barszcz with beetroot concentrate as the base, with the addition of  vegetable stock and some grated beetroot to make it look authentic and this proved very popular.

 

A few years ago I was recommended to try barszcz from a carton – and would you believe it – everyone said this was the best barszcz they had ever had!

I have used this ever since.

Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton 1982 – 1998

Uszka (mushroom filled Polish pasta) are often served in barszcz or a dollop of soured cream is added on serving.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Buckwheat Pancakes – New Ideas 2

I have recently returned from a super, short holiday in Gdańsk and in one restaurant I saw on the menu pierogi (Polish filled pasta) which had leeks, peas and soured cream as a filling –  I liked the idea of the sweetness of garden peas with leeks and thought  I could adapt this and use it as a filling with buckwheat pancakes.

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

  • 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).

IMG_20150705_172532980

 

  • 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 greaseproof paper in between them. You can do this and leave then for later use.

Filling

  • 3 leeks – chopped
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Using a deep large frying pan with a lid (a glass one is best), melt the butter and gently cook the leeks to soften them but not brown.
  • Add the frozen peas and cover with the lid and cook for a few minutes.
  • Stir the mixture and add the soured cream.
  • Place some of the mixture on a 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.

Other Ways to use the Filling

The leek & pea mixture goes really well as a vegetable to serve with roast chicken.

Or heat some cooked chicken breast pieces with the leeks & peas.

I think some pasta would also be good with this, though have not yet tried this yet.

Turnips – 3 Ways!

White turnip – rzepa in Polish – is Brassica rapa, a root vegetable of the cabbage family.

 

3 Ways

  1. Raw & grated –  in a salad – surówka
  2. Cooked  & cold  – in a salad – sałatka
  3. Cooked & hot   – as a vegetable, side-dish with a meal

Raw & cooked, white turnip can be used instead of  celeriac or kohlrabi as in all of my posts:

Celeriac salads & More Celeriac salad recipes

Kohlrabi salads.

Various dressing can be used: lemon juice, soured cream, mayonnaise and yoghurt on their own or in various combinations.

Turnip, Carrot & Apple salad

Ingredients

2 Turnips

2 carrots

2  red skinned apples such as Braeburn or Pink Lady

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

Peel and coarse grate the turnips and carrots.

Core the apples and chop into small pieces.

Mix them all together wth the lemon juice.

 

Cooked Turnip Salad – 1

Ingredients

2 turnips

2 carrots

Around 100g of cooked frozen peas

2 -3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (full fat is best for cooked vegetables)

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Peel the turnips & carrots and steam them.

Chop them into rough cubes.

Mix them with the cooked peas and the mayonnaise

 

 

 

Cooked Turnip Salad – 2

As above with the addition of  3 to 4 chopped gherkins

 

Cooked Turnip – served hot

Peel and steam the turnip – not too much you do not want a watery pulp.

Rough mash the cooked turnip.

Serve hot with a variety of toppings.

Skwarki  – crispy smoked bacon bits

Chopped bacon is heated in a fryng pan until all the fat is released and the bacon pieces are crispy.

 

 

Slightly charred onion bits

Chopped onions are gently cooked in a little butter and then slowly heated until they are slightly charred.

 

 

Buttered breadcrumbs – à la polonaise.

 

 

More Hot Beets!

Beetroot must be one of Poland’s favourite vegetables and I have written recipes about them previously  – many of these are for salads.

Here is another recipes which I came across recently – raisins, apple, horseradish and a little soured cream is added to make a hot dish to serve with roast meats.

The original recipe used grated fresh horseradish – I have adapted it by using prepared horseradish sauce which I have in all the time.

Cooked beetroots are needed and these can be prepared in your favourite way – boiling, steaming or roasting.

 

 

Ingredients

700g of cooked beetroots

2 Bramley cooking apples

50g of raisins

1 tablespoon of butter

80mls of soured cream

2 – 3 tablespoons of horseradish sauce

Juice of 1 – 2 lemons

Salt & pepper

Method

Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them and leave them to stand for about 30 minutes.

Coarse grate the cooked beetroots or use a blender.

Peel and core the apples and coarse grate them and pour some lemon juice on them.

In a deep frying pan gently melt the butter.

Add the grated apples and heat gently until they start to soften.

Add the grated beetroot, the raisins and water and continue to heat them together, stirring occasionally.

Add the horseradish sauce and the soured cream and mix well in, continue to heat for a couple of minutes.

Add more lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

 

Note

You can put them in an oven proof dish in a low oven whilst you wait for other items to cook.

20190208_185106

Served here with kotlety – breaded pork and boiled new potatoes.

Note

If you have any left – they taste good cold as well!