Fruit Soups

Fruit soups are very popular in Poland especially in summer.

Many may think they seem rather strange, however once tasted, I hope, like me you will think that they are “nectar from the gods!”

Just like other soups they are served as a first course.

They are eaten – hot or warm, at room temperature or chilled. – This can vary with the time of the year and people’s preferences.

  • Many are served with a variety of soup accompaniments such as cooked pasta or croutons – either from white rolls or rye bread.  Sponge fingers or little biscuits are also often served with them.
  • They can be made from fresh (or frozen) fruit or bottled fruit and also from dried fruit.
  • Most recipes are for single single fruit versions but you can use mixed fruits depending on what is available but try to keep to just 2 or 3 fruits.
  • These soups should not be over sweet.
  • Potato flour is usually used as a thickening agent but you could substitute cornflour for this.
  • Some recipes had soured cream added, sometimes before serving.

I am going to look at 3 different summer fruit flavours in this post:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sour cherry
  • Strawberry

Later I will look at others including using dried fruits, which are more for the winter time and would usually be served warm or hot.

Rhubarb Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of potato flour
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 125 ml of soured cream

Method

  • Cut the rhubarb into small chunks.
  • Put the rhubarb and spices into a large saucepan.
  • Add the water, bring to the boil then simmer till the rhubarb is falling apart.
  • Sieve to remove the pulp.
  • Add the sugar to the liquid.
  • Mix the potato flour with the soured cream.
  • Add this to the soup.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring gently.
  • Serve hot or warm with rye bread croutons or cold cooked pasta.
  • or add a few fresh strawberries or alpine strawberries to each portion.

Sour Cherry Soup

I have never seen fresh soured cherries for sale in England, so my recipe is based on using bottled soured cherries, which works very well and can be made all year round.

Ingredients

  • 500 -600g of bottled cherries
  • Small cinnamon stick
  • 4- 6 cloves
  • Strips of peel from 1 lemon
  • Water to make the juice amount  up to 1.5 litres
  • 1½ tablespoons of potato flour
  • *
  • I did not add any extra sugar to the bottled cherries

Method

  • Depending on the jar of cherries – you may have to stone them.
  • Put the cherries, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel into a saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, with a lid on, until the cherries are very soft.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • Remove the spices and lemon peel.
  • Blend the cherries to a pulp.
  • Mix the potato flour and a little of the liquid in a small dish.
  • Add the potato flour mixture to the blended cherries.
  • Bring up to the boil gently, stirring often.
  • Simmer and stir until the soup thickens.
  • *
  • Serve hot or chilled with cold pasta.
  • *
  • I like this best hot – even on a warm day.

 

Strawberry Soup

  • This is best eaten chilled – the strawberries are not cooked.
  • If you prefer a tangier taste add the juice of a lemon at the end.

Ingredients

  • 450-500g  strawberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of potato flour
  • 1 litre of water
  • 250ml of soured cream

Method

  • Add the sugar to the water and bring this to the boil.
  • Mix the potato flour with a small amount of water.
  • Add this to the sugar water.
  • Heat and stir till it thickens.
  • Leave to chill.
  • Add the soured cream and mix together.
  • Remove any leaves and stalks from the strawberries.
  • Gently wash the strawberries.
  • Blend the strawberries to a pulp.
  • Stir the strawberry pulp into the chilled thickened sugar – cream mixture.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with sponge fingers or sponge drops*.

* Recipe will be posted soon.

Served in –

  • Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
  • Midwinter – Spanish Garden – 1966 – 1982

Leek Soup

This is a simple soup, which I make using vegetable stock although you can use chicken stock if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Leeks
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (I use Marigold powder)
  • 125ml soured cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Butter to fry leeks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *
  • To serve – chopped chives or a little grated Gouda style cheese.

Method

  • Chop the leeks into fine rounds.
  • Fry the leeks gently in butter to soften then.
  • Add them to the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and put a lid on the pan.
  • Simmer gently until the leeks are soft.
  • Take the pan off the heat for a few minutes.
  • Purée the soup – a stick blender is good for this.
  • Season to taste.
  • In a small bowl mix the soured cream and egg yolks.
  • Bring the soup back up to the boil and then take take of the heat.
  • Add the soured cream mix and whisk in.
  • *
  • Serve with some chopped chives or around a tablespoon of grated Gouda style cheese.

 

Served in Soup Dishes by Midwinter – Spanish Garden – 1966 – 1982.

Chłodnik – 3 – Beetroot & Cucumber

This chilled soup is a refreshing start to a meal in summer.

Beetroot concentrate is used in this easy version.

Ingredients

  • Half  a cucumber
  • Spring onion – green parts or chives
  • 500ml of yoghurt or 300ml soured cream & lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of beetroot concentrate
  • Handful of dill
  • Lemon juice and cold water
  • Salt & Pepper & Sugar to taste
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs to serve – ½ egg per person

Method

  • Part peel the cucumber length-ways to give stripes.
  • Chop the cucumber into small cubes.
  • Chop the spring onions or chives into small pieces.
  • Chop the dill into small pieces.
  • Mix the yoghurt or soured cream & lemon juice with the beetroot concentrate.
  • Thin this down with lemon juice and water to suit.
  • Mix with the chopped cucumber.
  • Add dill and spring onions or chives.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • *
  • Serve with quarters of hard boiled eggs and a sprinkle of chives.

 

 

Served in Tapestry  by Royal Doulton – 1966 – 1988

Chłodnik – 2 – Beetroot & Gherkin

Chłodnik means coolant and it is a refreshing start to a meal in summer.

This classic version is usually make with botwiny for which I cannot find a good translation into English.

Botwiny are young beetroots with the stalks and some leaves still attached. In Poland you can buy bunches of these for sale or you can pick them early from your garden or allotment.  Here in England I have not see them for sale so if you want them you will have to grow them for yourself.

If you do have some you use all the parts – the roots, stalks and the leaves otherwise you just use cooked beetroot.

The classic version uses soured milk but unless you have access to this then Greek style natural yoghurt or soured cream and lemon juice are good alternatives.

I use beetroot concentrate which is convenient and very tasty.

 

1 tablespoon of beetroot concentrate to 250ml of yoghurt is a good proportion.

Ingredients

  • 250g of cooked beetroots
  • 3-4 gherkins
  • Spring onion – green parts or chives
  • 500ml of yoghurt or 300ml soured cream
  • 2 tablespoons of beetroot concentrate
  • Handful of dill
  • Lemon juice and gherkin liquor and cold water
  • Salt & Pepper & Sugar to taste
  • *
  • Hard boiled eggs to serve – ½ egg per person

Method

  • Chop the beetroot into small cubes.
  • Chop the gherkins into small cubes.
  • Chop the spring onions or chives into small pieces.
  • Chop the dill into small pieces.
  • Mix the yoghurt or soured cream & lemon juice with the beetroot concentrate.
  • Thin this down with lemon juice, gherkin liquor & water to suit.
  • Add the chopped beetroots, gherkins, dill and spring onions or chives.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge for several hours.
  • *
  • Serve with quarters of hard boiled eggs and a sprinkle of chives or dill.

 

Served in Carnation by Royal Doulton – 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

Cauliflower Soup

I have given two versions of this soup – the only difference is the way it is finished at the end – the start is the same for both.

Note

If you are not using your cauliflower immediately then it is better to store it in a cool place, not in the fridge, with the leaves still on.

Ingredients with Polish style thickening

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from Marigold Powder
  • 2 tablespoons of potato or corn flour
  •  250ml of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

Method

  • Remove all the green leaves from the cauliflower.
  • Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
  • Using a large saucepan, add the cauliflower to the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down, put on the lid and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes – checking earlier.
  • Do not let the cauliflower cook too much – you do not want a “mush”!
  • In a small bowl mix the potato/cornflour with 125ml of the milk.
  • In another small bowl mix the egg yolks and the other 125ml of the milk.
  • Add the flour/milk mixture to the soup, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
  • Add the yolk/milk mixture to the soup and stir gently until it thickens even more.
  • Season to taste.

Ingredients with soured cream

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from Marigold Powder
  • 200ml of soured cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  • Remove all the green leaves from the cauliflower.
  • Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
  • Using a large saucepan, add the cauliflower to the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down, put on the lid and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes – checking earlier.
  • Do not let the cauliflower cook too much – you do not want a “mush”!
  • Remove from the heat and gently stir in the soured cream.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Optional

  • Serve with some chopped chives, dill or flat leaved parsley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 – 1988

Carrot Variation

Coarse grate a large carrot in with the cauliflower.

This is a variation my mother often did to give an addition to the colour, as my father did not really like just white looking soups or sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served in Royal Doulton – Burgundy – 1959 – 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom sauce must be my favourite sauce.

  • I looked through my Polish cookbooks and many of the mushroom sauces are made with only dried mushrooms.  These are delicious and have a strong flavour however it works out very expensive and are not available everywhere.
  • I am going to  give instructions for a sauce using fresh mushroom and just a small amount of dried mushroom and
  • Another versions of this mushroom sauce using a mushroom stock cube.
  • The best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik or prawdzik, in Italy porcini.
  • I recently got some other dried mushroom which are also good.

Podgrzybki Xerocomus badius

 

 

 

 

  • In Poland there are now mushroom stock cubes which are very useful especially for making sauces.
  • Years ago I brought loads back to England – now you can find these in the many Polish food shops.
  • The ones I use are made by Knorr and contain a small amount of dried mushroom extract.

 

Mushroom sauce 1 – using dried mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut
  • 5g of  dried mushroom (around 3 slices)
  • 500ml hot boiling water
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 large tablespoons of soured cream.
  • Butter to cook the mushrooms in
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • You need to start this sauce the night before or in the morning for use in the evening.
  • Cover the dried mushrooms with 500ml of boiling water and leave to soak.
  • The following day take out the reconstituted mushrooms and using a knife you can chop then up into tiny pieces or if the are soft enough you can  spread out the pulp on a chopping board.
  • Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.
  • Add the dried mushroom pulp and the liquor in which they were seeped.
  • Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.
  • Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix well in.

Note

None of these amounts are exact – they are a rough guide depending on what you have – you can use more water, milk or soured cream and so on.

Mushroom sauce 2 – using a mushroom stock cube

Ingredients

  • 150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut
  • 500ml hot boiling water
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 large tablespoons of soured cream.
  • Butter to cook the mushrooms in.

Note

I rarely have to add any more salt or pepper as the stock cube has enough seasoning in it.

Method 

  • Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water.
  • Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.
  • Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.
  • Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix.

Super served with boiled or creamy mashed potatoes – sprinkle chopped dill or parsley over them before serving.

 

Served on Carnation (1982 – 1998)  by Royal Doulton.

 

Vegetable Soup – Creamed

This soup is described as przecierana  which mean rubbed through a sieve. Nowadays a stick blender is more likely to be used to puree the cooked vegetables.

This is more like an English soup with all the ingredients blended together.

The method at the beginning is the same as in an earlier post – Vegetable soup. 

The ingredients for this soup can change with the seasons but if using some frozen or tinned vegetable the ingredients can be very similar all the year round. Though I still find this soup will be slightly different whenever I make it.

Root vegetables are the most prominent and I never use tomatoes or cabbage in this soup.

You will need around 600g of mixed vegetables to 2 litres of water – though I do not weight them out!  It is best to have a variety.

Ingredients

  • Carrots
  • Celeriac or Celery
  • Garden peas
  • Green Beans
  • Kohlrabi or White Turnip
  • Leeks or Onions
  • Parsnips or Parsley root
  • Potatoes
  • 40g butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 125 – 200 ml of soured cream or Greek style yoghurt
  • To garnish
  • Dill and or flat-leaved parsley

Method

  • Peel, were needed, then slice, cube or grate the vegetables.
  • Gently fry the leeks or onions in the butter.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables and around 2 litres of hot water.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat to simmer and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes or more (depends on the size of the vegetables).
  • Remove from the heat.
  • **
  • You can do up to this point, leave to cool for serving later.
  • **
  • Blend the soup, I use a stick blender to get a thick uniform liquid.
  • Season to taste.
  • Bring back to just before the boil.
  • Add the soured cream or the yoghurt* and mix well together.
  • Serve with chopped dill or flat-leaved parsley.

 

* Traditionally this would have been made with soured cream  – I have found that the yoghurt gives a tangy, sour, lemony zing to the soup – most  refreshing in summer.

Served in Royal Stafford – Blossom Time – 1950s

Alternative Topping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version 2

  • As above but use chicken stock as well as some of the water or cook with chicken wings.
  • Remove the chicken wings before serving.

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 – 1988.

 

 

Kapuśniak made with Fresh Cabbage

In the first year of writing this blog,  I wrote a post – Poles love to eat cabbage and now that I am writing about soups I am going to look at  a Polish classic – kapuśniak cabbage soup.

There are two types – ones made with fresh cabbage and ones made with sauerkraut.

Here I am going to write about ones made with fresh cabbage.

Kapuśniak – Version 1

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh white  or sweetheart cabbage (a small head)
  • 100g smoked bacon
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 or 5 peppercorns
  • 2-3 medium sized potatoes.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste
  • Flat-leafed parsley to garnish

Method

  • With a sharp knife, shred the cabbage and then chop across to get little pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Chop the bacon into small squares.
  • Put the vegetable stock into a large pan.
  • Add the cabbage, onion, bacon, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer, with a lid on, until the cabbage is nearly tender.
  • Peel and chop the potatoes into medium sized chunks.
  • Add the potatoes to the soup and gently simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
  • Check for seasoning.
  • Stir in a handful of chopped flat leaved parsley.
  • Serve with a little chopped flat leaved parsley on top.

Served here in Royal Doulton – Tapestry – 1966 to 1988

Note – If you want to start this in advance, make it up to adding the potatoes.

Kapuśniak – Version 2

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh white cabbage
  • A few pork ribs
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (can be from powder or cubes)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Flat -leaved parsley to garnish

Method

  • Into a large pan put the pork ribs, peppercorns and the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer gently with the lid on until the meat is tender.
  • With a sharp knife, shred the cabbage and then chop across to get small pieces.
  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Add the cabbage and onion to the pan and simmer till the cabbage is tender.
  • You might have top up with a little hot water.
  • Remove the pork ribs – these can be eaten later or as a snack for the cook!
  • Stir in the tomato puree.
  • Check for seasoning.
  • Serve with a little chopped flat leaved parsley on top.

Served here in Royal Doulton  – Burgundy – 1959 to 1981

Kapuśniak – Version 3

This is made as Version 2, after adding the tomato puree, stir in around 100ml of soured cream and mix well in.

Garnish with flat-leaved parsley.

 

Served here in Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982  to 1998

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