Archive | March, 2011

Lamb plov

28 Mar

Listed as an Eastern European dish in our cookbook (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0754819760/ref=oss_product) though it also states that a similar dish with a similar name can also be found in Turkey and the Middle East (as Pilaf etc). Due to forgetting, once again, to get the right ingredients out of the freezer to defrost, again I had to stray a little, but only a little, from the recipe.

Raisins and prunes were soaked in warm water while onion and then garlic and lamb mince were fried off. At the same time, some brown rice bubbled away, before all this was mixed together with some stock and simmered for another 20 minutes until the rice was – finally – soft enough to eat.

Pretty tasty and very simple, though rather sweet due to all the dried fruits. Also another outing for the bargain lamb and mutton mince which has more flavour than the lean lamb mince. 7.5 out of 10. This may well reappear later in the year with different spices!

Mr M

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Meat loaf

25 Mar

Listed in our cookbook as a Serbian, rather than Polish, recipe – we still felt that this was in the spirit of the month. Several types of meat and plenty of it, this would surely be popular in Poland, or there would be a similar dish there too.

This was dinner last night, tonight and possibly tomorrow – there was a lot of it!

I lined a loaf tin with tin foil and then bacon whilst frying onions and more bacon. At the same time, breadcrumbs soaked up some milk and were combined with two eggs, some herbs and black pepper and pork and beef mince. All this was combined together and crammed into the loaf tin, with some more slices of bacon on top to finish. After 1 and 3/4 hours in a hot oven it was done.

Served the first night with some pickles, steamed greens and boiled carrots. Tonight I cut off a few slices and fried those whilst boiling up a mash of swede, potatoes and carrots. Served, of course, with some more pickled beetroot.

It took a long time to cook to begin with, but given that I’ll be eating it for a while, that has balanced out. I was looking forward to some meatloaf and this didn’t disappoint. I’ve eaten meatloaf before without pork and with some red chillies in it which I liked a lot and will have to squeeze onto the menu at some point (but who knows which month!)

Scoring 8.5 out of 10, this was tasty and filling.

Mr M

Polish hotdogs!

23 Mar

Due to a lack of planning and slight laziness, I went for an inspired and (to be honest) entirely made-up effort. As I hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer, the options for all the planned forthcoming meals, such as meat loaf, sour pork and sausage soup, etc, were all looking a little bit icy!

Inspired by the smell of frying Polish sausage from the bigos that was prepared on Sunday and eaten on Tuesday, I decided to use some of the remaining sausage, slice it in half and fry it off in the pan to release some extra smells and flavours. A few slices of bread, a couple of tomatoes and a selection of pickles quickly rounded it off. A quick and easy effort. Normal service will resume tomorrow, but this was quite tasty 🙂 I’d give it 7 out of 10.

Mr M

A not exactly Polish weekend

21 Mar

So Mr M and I have had a bit of time of the Polish cooking track.  In my defense its because we’ve had free food. The chaps who rented our house left a luxury chicken ready meals in the fridge,  so we had that rather than waste it.  Not great.

Sunday was better,  roast pork as Ma and Pa Magpie had brought us a joint. Tasty.

Mr M has attempted to redeem us by making Bigos Poland’s national dish for us to eat on Tuesday. It’s meant to be heated and cooked several times before eating to allow the flavours to infuse. The smell of the meat frying was delicious looking forward to eating it already.

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Chicken with dill cream sauce

17 Mar

Another interpretation tonight instead of slavish recipe following. 

Chicken breasts were seasoned and pan fried.  The pan juices were then mixed with cream, dill and a dash of wine. Served with new potatoes, fried onions and bacon.  For a wee bit of healthiness I added some carrots and broccoli.  Mr M voted 7.5 out of 10. Best get back to the cook book when I get home.

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Chicken with wild mushrooms

16 Mar

Another cookbook recipe loosely followed today, omitting the wildness of the mushrooms and the roasting of the chicken.

We had purchased a whole chicken as this was only a few pence more than a couple of breasts. I separated off the breasts and kept them for tomorrow, whilst also removing every last scrap of meat for tonight.

The chicken bits were fried with a little salt and pepper and a chopped small onion. On top of this, some garlic, the mushrooms, the juice of a lemon and a good sized splash of white wine cooked for a while as i prepared the rest of the dish. Carrots, swede and a Parsnips made for the colourful accompanying root vegetable mash. When this was done, the chicken went back on the heat and the cream was added.

With some sauerkraut to serve, this was pretty easy and super tasty. It scored 8 out of 10.

Mr M

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Pork two ways: with mushroom sauce and with sauerkraut

15 Mar

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Two pork dishes over two nights.  One from the recipe book (The Illustrated Food and Cooking of Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe) largely accurately and the other more loosely based on a recipe.

The first, yesterday, was pork schnitzel. Pork steaks were battered with a rolling pin and coated with plain flour with some black pepper. They were then fried for 4 minutes per side.

Alongside, mashed potatoes boiled away and a sauce was prepared. Bacon, onions and mushrooms were fried and accompanied by soured cream, mushrooms, mustard and a splash of white wine.

Thrown together with some spinach and tomato, this was really good. The sauce was delicious and the pork was just right.  The first mash potatoes for a long time also helped add up to 9.5 out of 10!

Today the pork (on buy one get one free) made a comeback. This time served with boiled potatoes tossed with butter and dill. Chopped pork pieces were fried and accompanied by more mushrooms and some sauerkraut. Simple, tasty and authentic: 7.5 out of 10.

Pierogi and weekend catch up

14 Mar

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We treated Ma and Pa Magpie to Polish takeaway for the first night of their stay (Pierogi, schnitzel, mushroom dumplings).
So with the in-laws up we decided to tackle a Polish classic, Pierogi.  I opted for the fried version with a minced beef
stuffing lightly flavoured with nutmeg.

I hadn’t realised that the outside of the Pierogi was dough based I had always thought it was pastry.  So after Mr M fried the mince is made the dough (flour, yeast, salt, sugar,  butter and warm milk).  Ten minutes of kneading. An hour of proving and it was ready to roll.

Rolling proved harder than I thought, the dough was quite springy and kept pinging back.  This meant that the first few rounds that I cut were slightly mis-shapen.  Mr M and I got to filling them with the mince and soon they were topped with egg wash and ready for baking.  10 minutes in the oven and they were good to eat.  They were very good to eat 9 out of 10.

Golubsky

10 Mar

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A traditional Polish dish tonight and one that Mr M had eaten before in Poland.  The name means little pigeons.  The dish is pigeon free but tasty nonetheless.  I think the name is meant to reflect the way the cabbage leaves wrapped around the meat stuffing are a similar size and shape to a pigeon breast.

The dish is essentially a cabbage leaf with a minced meat stuffing baked in a sour cream and tomato sauce.  Sauce aside its a similar concept to the Greek Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) which are also delicious.

I blanched big savoy cabbage leaves for a few minutes and then set them aside.  I cooked rice whilst frying the pork with onions.  The pork was flavoured with coriander (fresh and ground), stock and seasoning.  Pork and rice were combined to make the stuffing.  A couple of heaped spoonfuls of mix went onto each leaf,  which I then carefully rolled up and placed in a baking dish.  Cream,  lemon, a bay leaf and tomato puree were then heated in a pan, and then poured over the pigeons.

35 minutes of baking later and dinner was served.  I really enjoyed the cabbage, tender meat and tangy sauce.  Mr M thought it was very authentic and gave it 9 out of 10. Good times.  We have guests tomorrow so Polish take away shall be had,  but Saturday will see us attempt homemade Pierogi and possibly a pudding…

Phone seems to have eaten pictures, which is a shame as it was a cool meal visually,  lots of colours, textural contrast and now there is no way to show how they looked like pigeons.

Braised fish and vegetables

9 Mar

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Another virtuous meal, or at least it might have been with a bit less butter!

The recipe called for carp or some sort of river fish, reflecting the greater proportion of freshwater fish in Polish cooking compared with the UK. A logical difference based on geography, as the Polish coastline is proportionally very small compared to that of our island. We, however, had some salmon and so that was what we used.

Into a good sized pan went a large amount of butter and a chopped onion. After this had softened for a short while, it was accompanied by celery, carrot and button mushrooms. On top of this we placed the skinned and sliced fillets of fish and some salt and pepper. As I hate fishbones, I had spent a good few minutes picking the all out by hand. Rather fiddly but definitely worth it.

The recipe dictated a simmer / braise of 25 to 30 minutes, but this would probably have been too much. In the end we gave it just under 20 an served with hunks of bread.

Simple but tasty, it worked well with the salmon and it was nice to have a few more mushrooms (not sure if I’ll feel the same after another couple of weeks though!) 8.5 out of 10.

Mr M