Pasta Salad with Skwarki

There was a heat wave this summer (2018) in England and Europe and during my recent trip to The Netherlands, I had lunch in the sunny garden of my friend’s older sister.

 

One of the dishes was a pasta salad  and included an ingredient which you would find as a garnish in many Polish dishes – skwarki – small, crispy, fried, bacon pieces.

This was a wonderful addition and I think would go well in other salads too.

I recreated this dish when I got home – the exact amounts are not so important.

Ingredients

400g  of cooked Penne or Macaroni

1 small tin of sweetcorn – drained

3 celery stalks

125g of smoked bacon

3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise (I used full fat – which I prefer for cooked salads)

Ground black pepper

Method

Chop the bacon into small squares and place on a heavy frying pan on a medium heat until all the fat comes out and you are left with small, crispy squares.

 

Drain the bacon pieces from the fat and place them on some kitchen roll and leave them until they are cold.

Chop the celery into fine pieces.

You can cut the pasta into smaller pieces if you wish.

 

 

In a large bowl, mix the pasta, sweetcorn, celery and the skwarki together.

 

Add the mayonnaise and the ground black pepper and mix well together.

Note

You are unlikely to need to add any salt as this is provided by the bacon.

This salad will go well with cold meats and barbecued meats.

 

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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Salad With Leeks

The recipe for this salad with leeks  was given to me by one of my cousins in Białystok, Poland.

This salad goes well with cold meats & smoked Polish sausages, but with all its ingredients it can even be a little meal on its own.

Vegetable names in Polish

Leek in Polish is por & in Italian it is porro

Many vegetable names in Polish have origins in Italian, this is because when, the Italian Princess, who became Queen Bona of Poland on her marriage to King Zygmunt the Old, came to Poland in the 16th Century with her chefs she introduced many vegetables into the Polish diet – the most notable being the tomato . Because of this many of the Italian names or slight variations of them have become the names used in Polish.

There is also Włoszczyzna – which means Italian  stuff  – is it used in Polish cookery all the time – it translates as soup vegetables  and is mixture of: carrots, celeriac or celery leaves, leek or onion, parsnip or parsley root & parsley leaves & sometimes savoy cabbage which is used as the base for many soups and casseroles.  When written in a recipe every Polish cook will know what it is though some may have different versions of the mixture.

Although this is not an old Polish recipe it is certainly in the traditional Polish style with cooked vegetables and hard boiled eggs.

The chopped hard boiled eggs  to garnish is very much in the tradition of à la polonaise.

Cheese is used in this recipe and is the type that is called  ser zółty yellow cheese and is of the semi-hard type such as Edam, Gouda or Massdam from the Netherlands  which you can buy in England.

Gouda – The Last Thursday In August – 2013

The last Thursday in August is always the  last cheese market of the year in Gouda.

Red kidney beans and sweetcorn are also used in this recipe. Now my father would never eat sweetcorn – he considered it fit only for animal fodder – as this was what it would have been used for in his youth!

Ingredients

You can vary the quantities to what you have available – the ones below are for guidance.

2 leeks  – the white part finely chopped

1 tin of red kidney beans – drained

I small tin or half a large tin of sweetcorn – drained

“Yellow” cheese such as Edam, Gouda or Maasdam – chopped into small cubes

2 hard boiled eggs – very finely chopped or grated.

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of ketchup or tomato purée

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

In a large bowl mix together the leeks, red kidney beans, sweetcorn & cheese.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and ketchup or tomato purée.

 

Mix the  dressing with the vegetables combining it all well.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Place the salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped or grated hard boiled eggs  over the top.

The serving dish is Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982-1998.