Date Slices

Mama often made these.  She used to buy dried dates in a block which was just the right amount and a lot cheaper than whole dates.  However  I have not seen these for sale for ages.

Ingredients

  • Filling
  • 225g stoned dates
  • Juice & rind of 1 lemon
  • Water – to add to juice to make 250ml
  • *
  • Crumble Mixture
  • 110g plain flour
  • 110g semolina
  • 110g butter
  • 80g granulated sugar

Method

  • Chop the dates.
  • Add water to the lemon juice to make up to 250ml of liquid.
  • In a small saucepan gently heat the dates and the rind with the lemon liquid.
  • Stir and heat until you have a soft pulp and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Leave to go completely cold before using.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C.
  • Grease a 21 x 26cm shallow baking tin.
  • Use a piece of grease-proof paper to line the two long sides and base  of the tin.
  • Mix the flour and the semolina.
  • Rub the butter into the flour mixture until you get breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Put half of the crumble mixture into base of the tin.
  • Pat down with a spoon.
  • Place spoonfuls of the date pulp evenly across the crumble mixture.
  • Spread the rest of the crumble mixture over the top.
  • Pat this down with a spoon.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares or fingers to serve.

Johnson Brothers Ironstone Snowflake – Green Pear – 1960 – 1979

Note

Do not store these in an airtight box or they will go soggy.  Use a mesh cover or a cotton or linen tea towel.

Kefirowe with Fruit

This cake made with kefir is lovely to make in summer or early autumn with a variety of fresh fruits such as raspberries or whinberries.  Equally you can use frozen fruits later in the year.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 175g of granulated sugar
  • 2eggs
  • 400ml of kefir
  • 125ml of sunflower oil
  • Grated rind of 1 large orange
  • or grated rind of 2 small lemons
  • or ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • *
  • Around 300g of fruit such as raspberries, blackberries or whinberries etc
  • Larger fruit such as plums should be stoned and chopped into small pieces
  • Frozen fruit should be part defrosted first
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Grease and line with one piece of greaseproof a 32x22cm baking tray.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl mix the eggs, oil, kefir and rind or essence together.
  • Pour the kefir mixture into the dry mixture.
  • With a wooden spoon mix well together until you have an even thick batter.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin.
  • Scatter the fruit over the top
  • Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire cake rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Jug by Buchan – Portobello near Edinburgh – 1960 – 1979.

Tea plates Las Palmas by Aynsley from the 1960s.

What if you cannot get kefir?

  • Should you not be able to get any kefir you can use 3 parts yoghurt to 1 part milk instead.
  • So in this recipe use 300ml of yoghurt mixed with 100ml of milk.

Tea plates by Colclough from the 1960s

Not Quite a Cheesecake – version 2

I posted Not Quite a Cheesecake in July of 2018.

I have made it several times since as a larger version when I have had lots of my own yoghurt cheese. For this version I used Morello cherries from a jar.

You can  use twaróg, curd cheese, cream cheese or yoghurt cheese, it is a bit different from my usual Polish baked cheesecake. as it does not have a cake/biscuit type base. Because of this you do need a one piece cake liner for your loose bottomed tin.

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3 tablespoons of potato flour or cornflour
  • 150g Ground almonds
  • 400 – 450g Twaróg , Curd cheese or Yoghurt Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Morello cherries from a 460g net weight jar
  • Optional Topping
  • Juice from the cherries
  • 1 tablespoon of potato or cornflour to thicken the juice.

Method

  • Line a 22cm diameter loose bottomed cake tin with a bought paper cake liner.

 

 

 

 

  • Preheat the oven to GM5 190°C
  • Drain the cherries from the juice – keep the juice for the topping.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until they are soft and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks one by one until you have a smooth mixture.
  • Add the vanilla essence and the salt and mix in.
  • Add the cornflour, ground almonds and the yoghurt cheese and mix together thoroughly.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
  • Put the cake mixture into the lined tin.
  • Place around half the cherries on top of the mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to GM2 – 150°C and bake for around another 30 minutes.
  • Switch off the oven but leave the cake in there until it is cool.
  • Keep the cake in the refrigerator but bring to room temperature for serving.
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • ***
  • Make a runny sauce from the juice heated with a tablespoon of potato flour.
  • Serve portions with a few cherries on the side and some of the sauce poured on or next to it.

     

    Served here on tea plates from a coffee service by Midwinter – Queensbury from the 1970s.

Keks -With Fruit Mincemeat – 2

Keks is the word for a light fruit cake which is baked in a loaf tin or more often in a long narrow rectangular tin.

I am not sure how or when the word keks came into the Polish language but I am certain it comes from the English word “cakes” –  however the word keks is singular in Polish and means cake, and the plural is  keksy which is cakes.

Keks are make with bakalie, which is usually translated as dried fruits – however it has more varied fruits than the English version of dried grapes (raisins, sultanas, currants) and  mixed peel and can include: apricots, dates, figs, prunes and nuts.

Keks – using fruit mincemeat

At Christmas time I make English fruit mincemeat using the recipe from Delia Smith but without the chopped nuts.

If I have any mincemeat left over after the Christmas period I make a fruit loaf which which is very much a keks.

This is my second version of a keks with mincemeat.

 

Ingredients

  • 150 butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • Grated zest of an orange
  • Grated zest of a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 450g jar of mincemeat (exact amount is not critical)
  • 175g  mixture of sultanas, raisins, currants & mixed peel
  • 50g of chopped walnuts
  • 225g  spelt flour
  • 3 level teaspoons of baking powder

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM3 – 160ºC
  • Prepare the long loaf tin by greasing it and lining the long sides using one piece of greaseproof paper.
  • Lightly cream the butter and sugar.
  • Add the grated zest of the lemon and the orange.
  • Beat in the eggs, one by one.
  • Stir in the mincemeat, the dried fruits and walnuts until it is an even consistency – a wooden spoon is good for this.
  • Mix the spelt flour with the baking powder.
  • Stir in the flour mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top.
  • Bake for around 60 minutes – check after 50 minutes and cover the top if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.

 

Served here on hand painted Paragon octagonal tea plates.

 

Kawa – Coffee

Kawa is the Polish for coffee & the word comes from the Turkish kahveh and earlier the Arabic qahwah.

The Coffea plant grows as a bush with fragrant white flowers and the fruits are red berries (related to cherries and plums) – the botanical name for these are drupes  – fruits contain a single seed known often as a stone – so they are not beans in the botanical sense at all.

Short History of Coffee

Legend has it that in the 9th century a goat-herder  noticed that his goats were more lively after eating the leaves and berries of the Coffea bush

Coffee was known in Ethiopia in the 11th century and then it was the leaves that were boiled and drunk  and they were thought to have medicinal powers.

Coffee is recorded in the Yemen in the mid -14th century.

By 1555 coffee is known in Istanbul and it is now the beans which are roasted and ground and heated with water – hence Turkish coffee.

Coffee came to Europe first through Venice with the first recorded coffee shop being in 1645.

In 1683 after the victory by the Polish King Jan Sobieski III(1629 – 1696) against the Turks in Vienna, many sacks of coffee were left behind. One of his Polish officers,  Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki,  received these sacks of coffee beans.   He opened one of the first coffee houses in Vienna serving small cups of Turkish coffee.

Coffee arrived in America not long after this in the late 17th century.

Coffee became popular in Poland in the 18th Century.  The first coffee café (kawiarnia) was opened in Warsaw in 1724.

Coffee in Poland

Coffee in Poland is served as strong black coffee – coffee without milk or cream.

It is known as Kawa parzona  which means coffee scalded!

The tradition way is to make coffee in a tall glass with a large tablespoon of ground coffee put in the bottom of the glass and hot boiled water poured onto this and this is left for about 3-4 minutes and then the top is stirred.

When you drink the coffee you do not drink down to the bottom, the sediment – the grounds or  the lees  & in Polish – fusy – are left.

I often make myself a coffee this way – it is quick and you only need 1 tablespoonful.

Note

I collect the used coffee ground from this and other methods and use them as top dressing around my strawberry plants & Hostas- many think this is a deterrent to snails.

 

 

 

I have an uncle in Białystok who loves coffee and when I was there he showed me various different ways of making coffee; as he used to work in the Middle East we made Turkish coffee several times.

There are many methods of making coffee often with electrical equipment.

The method I use the most is with a  Cafetière or French Press. I think it is the nearest to the old Polish method but the grounds are separated from the coffee in an easy way.

Note

Both the French & the Italians lay claim to inventing the Cafetière.  A method of making coffee using a plunger was known in France from the 1850s but a patent was issued in the 1920s to an Italian from Milan.

 

Coffee making equipment

Including: a coffee grinder (a present from my friend in The Netherlands), a Hornsea pottery coffee container, an old and a new  cezve or ibrik (Turkish coffee maker) and a pyroflam coffee maker jug from The Netherlands.

 

Assorted Coffee makers including stove top espresso makers

Coffee Pots

An assortment of coffee pots including:

  • Royal Doulton  – Regalia – 1988 – 1997
  • Royal Tuscan – Samoa – 1960 – 1967
  • Myott – China Lyke – Majorca
  • Studio Meakin – Topic – 1967
  • Empire Porcelain Minou
  • Rörstrand (Sweden) – Amanda by Christina Campbell 1968 – 1977

and some coffee cups – Royal Adderley – Masquerade – 1960s  & Portmeirion – Tivoli designed by Susan Williams Ellis

Coffee Cups & Saucers

Elizabethan – Greensleeves  &

Royal Doulton –  Sonnet – 1971 – 1998

 

 

Greenway Hostess – Design by John Russell – 1960 – 1979  &

Elizabethan – Lace – 1960 – 1979

 

Wedgwood – Susie Cooper design – 1950s – Flower motif series B  &

Elizabethan – Carnaby 1970s

 

 

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Placek

Placek is a low flat cake and can be  round or rectangular in shape.

I made two using  each of the recipes in  ciasto półkruche  – a type of shortcrust pastry – with jam fillings and both turned out well.

Placek with jam

Grease and line a 32 x 22 tin

Pre-heat the oven  GM5 – 190°C

Use half the dough and roll it out to fit the tin.

Spread the dough with jam – you will need around a jar.

Cover the top with the rest of the dough rolled out.

Bake for around 30 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar as soon as you take it out of the oven and leave to cool.

Placek with Blackcurrant Jam

 

Served on – Colclough – Enchantment-  1950 – 1960s

Placek with Sour Cherry Jam

 

Served on – Duchess – Bramble Rose – 1960s

 

 

 

Courgettes – 3 Ways

Courgettes in Polish are cukini – so here is another vegetable that owes its name in Polish to Italian  – zucchini.

Courgettes belong to the cucurbitaceae family as do cucumbers which are very well loved in Poland

I have read that courgettes did not become popular in Poland until the 1970s although the larger marrow and pumpkins were often cooked and many recipes for these can be adapted for courgettes.

 

Here are 3 ways of cooking courgettes  – they all go well with grilled or roast meats such as pork or chicken.

Floured Courgettes

This is a very simple Polish way of cooking courgettes.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil & Butter for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Put the plain flour in a dish and toss the slices of courgettes in the flour.

 

 

Fry them gently  on both sides in a mixture of sunflower oil and butter.

Place the cooked ones on some kitchen roll in a warm oven whilst you do the next batch.

 

Breaded Courgettes

Sliced rounds of courgette are coated with dried breadcrumbs – this recipe reminds me of vegetables served à la Polonaise.

Ingredients

2 Courgettes

2 beaten eggs

Plain flour

Dried Breadcrumbs

Salt & Pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

Slice the courgettes and place them in a colander and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and leave them for 15 minutes.

 

 

Dry the courgettes with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

 

 

Toss the courgettes in flour.

Dip them into the beaten egg.

Coat them with dried breadcrumbs.

 

 

Fry the slices, on both sides,  in hot sunflower oil.

 

Note

If you have any left, they are good with dips such as mayonnaise or salsa.

Buttery & Lemony Courgettes

I cannot remember where I got this recipe from but it is a method I have used for years.

Ingredients

2 courgettes – sliced

1 lemon – fine grated rind & juice

2- 3 tablespoons of butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Use a small saucepan or high sided frying pan

Put the lemon rind and juice into the pan.

Sprinkle salt & pepper on the courgette slices.

Add the courgette slices and heat gently for a few minutes and use the lid to keep in the liquid.

Add the butter and continue cooking gently.

 

 

 

Continue cooking until the slices are tender throughout and the lemon juice and butter have reduced to a buttery lemon coating.

 

Served in a dish by Alfred Meakin – Jayne – from the 1950s.

Mazurek – Using Yeast Dough

I came across this recipe for  a yeast dough mazurek in this little recipe book and was very intrigued by the method which is quite different from the usual yeast doughs and thought I would give it a go!

It turned out very well.

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Ingredients

450g plain flour

100g granulated sugar

200g butter or block margarine

50g fresh yeast or 25g of dried yeast

190 ml of milk

3 eggs

200g of bakalie (dried fruits including currants, raisins, peel, figs, dates, prunes etc)

Method

Warm the milk to hand heat and mix in the yeast.

Melt the butter on a gently heat.

In a bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until they are light and fluffy.

Add the melted butter.

Add the milk and yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.

Leave in a warm place for 8 hours!

Grease and line a large baking tray 33cm x 24cm

Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C

Mix the bakalie(dried fruits) with the flour.

Mix the flour and fruits with the yeast mixture.

 

Place the dough into the tin – spreading it out evenly.

Place the dough onto the tray and put in the oven.

Bake for around 25 – 30 minutes.

Prick the surface of the cake with a fork in several places.

Leave it to cool in the tin for a while and then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

Pour the hot chocolate topping over the top.

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Topping Ingredients

50g butter

30g of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of cocoa

2 – 3 tablespoons of water

Note

You could double this amount if you want to it to cover all over and be a bit thicker.

Method

In a small saucepan gently melt the butter and sugar .

Add the cocoa and water and mix it till it is all blended together.

 

Note

You can decorate the top with dried fruit and nuts – you would really need to do double the topping ingredients for this,

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Counterpoint  – 1973 – 1987

Mazurek – With Kajmak

Mazurek is the name of a Polish cake which often uses a type of pastry similar to shortcrust  or shortcake.  It is usually made in a square or rectangular shape.

Bake a mazurek base using one of the ciasto kruche  –  pastry recipes and allow it to cool.

Fill the hollow with kajmak.

Mazurek with kajmak

You can decorate the top with nuts and / or dried fruit – this gives you an opportunity to be creative with the decorations.

 

Alleluja is often written on top at Easter time.

Here served on tea plates by Colclough – Stardust 1950s – 1960s

 

Mazurek with kajmak and jam

As a contrast to the sweetness of the kajmak you can use a tart jam such blackcurrant or sour cherry jam.

Bake a mazurek base and allow it to cool.

Cover the hollow created with a thin layer of jam.

 

 

 

 

Blackcurrant jam was used here.

Cover the jam with a layer of kajmak.

Decorate the top of the mazurek with nuts or dried fruits.

 

Mazurek

Most people know that a mazurek (mazurka in English)  is a Polish folk dance. It is also the word for someone or something from Mazur (the region known as Mazowsze in Polish) in North Central Poland.

A tasty meaning of mazurek, is a flat Polish cake made with different bases and toppings. The varieties are seemingly endless and vary from region to region and family to family. They can be made with yeast doughs, crumbly shortbread-like doughs  (ciasto kruche) or flaky, puff-pastry-like doughs.

The mazurek is usually baked in a rectangular or square shape.

The topping varieties include: almond paste, dried fruits, fresh fruits, nuts, meringues, kajmak, jam or poppy seed paste.

There is often an icing of some sort poured over the topping.

A mazurek is  rarely over 2.5 cm (1 inch) in height.

It is thought  that  the mazurek, was inspired by sweet Turkish desserts that came to Poland via the spice trade routes from Turkey in the early 17th century .

Mazurek  is traditionally served at Easter when it is considered an Easter treat after 40 days of fasting for Lent and this is maybe why this cake is so sweet.

Another reason is that Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, is a busy one in a Polish household as the interior and exterior of the house is cleaned from top to bottom so any baking  that could be prepared well in advance of Easter Sunday without getting stale was good and the mazurek, often made with an over-abundance of dried fruits to keep it moist  is well suited to this.

When the top of an Easter mazurek is  iced , it typically is emblazoned with the words “Alleluja” or “Wesołego Alleluja (Happy  Alleluja or Happy Easter).

 

 

 

Mazurek made with jam topping

I used ciasto kruche for these, using the versions in pastry-ciasto kruche

I liked the one using hard boiled eggs the best.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C

I used a Mermaid shallow tin, 31cm x 21cm, which I greased and lined – to make it easier to get the mazurek out of the tin.

Using around 1/2 to 2/3rds of the pastry dough, roll out a rectangle for the bottom of the tin – if it is too crumbly you might have to piece and press this in.

Using the rest of the dough make stripes about a finger thickness and place these around the edge of the tin.

Use a sharp knife to make a cut pattern in these strips.

 

 

Bake for 25 -30 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Leave to cool completely.

Fill the mazurek hollow with jam.

You will need around a whole jar of jar and you can heat the jam slightly to make it easier to spread.

Make some icing with beaten egg white, lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle this over the jam.

Mazurek with blackcurrant jam

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and  Las Palmas tea plates by Aynsley from the 1960s

Mazurek with raspberry jam

 

 

 

Served here on a bamboo board and tea plates with a violet design by Colclough from the 1930s.