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Ćwikła

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
Tarte buraki z chrzanem
Grated beetroots with horseradish

Ćwikła isn’t quite easy to pronounce so I’ve always just called it buraki, because that’s what is is. Buraki simpy means beetroots and this is a typical Polish condiment, served with roast or any kind of smoked meat or sausage. It is a must on the holiday table, regardless if it’s Christmas or Easter. Ćwikła basically consists of grated beetroots and horseradish. I prefer it with as much horseradish as possible, really hot and nice. Make a try next time you’ll make a Sunday roast!

    Dagmar’s buraki
    (makes 1 jar)

    800 gr beetroots
    20 gr (or even more) horseradish
    5 tbsp lemon juice
    0.5- 1 tbsp Maldon Sea Salt

    Clean the beetroots but don’t peel them. Boil them in water for about 1 hour, until they’re soft. Let the beetroots cool and them peel them. Grate the beetroots as finely as you can, myself I use my parmesan microplain. Just be careful not to get any nasty stains! Grate the horseradish aswell and mix it with the beetroots. Add the lemon juice and the salt. Taste. Add more horseradish if needed, this dish is supposed to be stingy. Fill up a hot sterilized jar with the mixture and keep in the fridge.

Grate the beetroots carefully

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

Swienconka

Happy Easter!! I’m on my way to church now, with a small basket. Every year, on Holy Saturday we go to church to bless our Easter food. We prepare a Swienconka (Easter Basket), which contains samples of the Easter food. Each family decorate the basket in their own way and the most common contents of the basket are salt, pepper, bread, horseradish and boiled and painted eggs. But there are many variations. I love this tradition which is only common among Eastern European Roman-Catholics. When I was I child I put a lot of effort in painting the eggs for the basket. This year I tried to be effective and put food colour in the boiling water, but all the eggs remained white :-) For more information about possible contents in the basket, read my post from last year.

For the first time in my life I’m not celebrating with my family in Gothenburg, but one good thing is that I and Fredrik will visit his old Grandmother and we will bring Easter food, Västerbotten pie and Rhubarb cake with us. She’s really looking forward to us coming and I’m sure we’ll have a nice time. But now I have to run to the oven so that the cake won’t get burned and then we’re off to church. Happy Easter!

My Polish Wigilia

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Fresh fruit and other goodies
Fresh fruit and sweets at my mother’s.

(Click on the photos to enlarge).

Fredrik and I never eat Christmas Eve Dinner together. Why, you may ask. Well, Fredrik prefers Swedish Christmas food with his family and I prefer Polish Christmas food with my family :-) In the morning we eat breakfast together (te and gingerbread cookies) while we open our Christmas presents. Then we separate go to our families to celebrate with them. This year (or actually last year as it’s already January), thanks to our rather new mobile phones, we had video calls during the day in which we were able to see each other and our families. Fredrik’s grandmother who’s over 90 years old was thrilled over the video calls and had a lot of fun.

In Poland the Christmas Eve dinner, Wigilia, begins when the first star – Gwiazdka - appears on the sky. Normally this occur around 3-4 P.M. The dinner table has always an extra place set for an unexpected guest, which I think is a lovely custom. The table is set with a white tablecloth and under it there should be a thin layer of hay in memory of the Godchild in the manger. However in my family we have always omitted the hay for an unknown reason. Before the dinner starts we pray by the table and then we share Opłatek with each other. Opłatek is a Christmas wafer, very similiar to the altar bread in the Roman Catholic Church. The Opłatek that we share is stamped with beautiful ornaments and it is always sent from my dear aunt in Poland. Everybody takes a piece of the Opłatek and then breaks it with each person present while wishing each other health, love, happiness and other more personal wishes. I always have a hard time during this moment as I get very emotional.

Uszki
Uszki, the beetroot soup Barszcz will be poured over them in just a while.

The dinner then continues with the first dish, which is the beetroot soup Barszcz. On Christmas it is served clear without any pieces or vegetables. The soup is very hot and normally my brother Sebastian always does the very last seasoning before it is served. This year he celebrated Christmas with his parents-in-law, which means that we had to put the last touch ourselves but we managed well :-) The Barszcz is served with Uszki which means small ears. I guess that you can say that it’s a kind of small stuffed tortellini with mushrooms that my mother makes. This year, when I started eating the Barszcz and the uszka I just couldn’t stop smiling and my mother laughed at me. But it was so divine and I was really happy to eat it as we only eat it once a year.

Barszcz z uszkami
Barszcz z uszkami (Beetroot soup).

Before I continue with describing the food I just want to mention that the Wigilia is a meatless dinner. Long time ago the Roman Catholic Church decided that meat on Christmas Eve was forbidden and that a strict fast should be observed. Nowadays the Church laws have been revised and permit meat on Wigilia but most of the families continue with the meatless dinner, my family would never dream of changing this old tradition.

Ruskie Pierogi Pierogi z kapustą kiszoną i grzybami
Ruskie Pierogi and Pierogi z kapustą kiszoną i grzybami.

After the Barszcz we continue with the Pierogi, my favourite dish. Pierogi is a kind of Ravioli or dumplings, stuffed with goodies. There are a lot of differents variants, but my favourite is the one with quark cheese and potatoes called Ruskie Pierogi (Russian Pierogi. Don’t ask me why they are called like that. I suspect that they don’t have anything to do with Russia at all). Luckily for me, the ones we eat for Christmas are always Ruskie Pierogi and also Pierogi z kapustą kiszoną i grzybami (Pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms). So know you know my favourites, Barszcz and Ruskie Pierogi, but there are other dishes as well. So let us continue.

Śledzie w śmietanie
Śledzie w śmietanie, pickled herring with Crème Fraiche.

Śledzie , pickled herring, is another great dish. This year we only had one kind of herring, Śledzie w śmietanie, which is pickled herring in cream or actually Crème Fraiche and onion. Earlier years we’ve had pickled herring in a kind of oil as well, but each year we tend to eat less food and it’s no use waisting it so nowadays we only prepare our absolute favourites. The Polish pickled herring differs from the Swedish one; there’s no sugar and the taste is much better even if I can appreciate the Swedish one as well.

Chrzan Buraki
Chrzan and Ćwikła.

Another typical Polish dish is Ćwikła, very finely grated beetroots with horseradish. Delicious and hot, perfect as accompaniment to other dishes. Then there’s also Chrzan, finely grated horseradish that we always get ready from Poland in some way. It’s really hot and perfect as a strong accompaniment just as the Ćwikła.

Vegetable salad Crayfish tail salad
Vegetable salad and Crayfish tail salad.

Another dish on the Christmas table is vegetable salad with potatoes, green peas, carrots, onion and mayonnaise. There’s also a salad with crayfish tails and eggs, among other things. And there’s also smoked salmon and fried fish. I didn’t take any photos of the “non-typical” Polish dishes as I wanted to place emphasis on the traditional Polish food.

As I wrote earlier, we don’t make as much food for Christmas as we used to do as we ended up with too much left-overs. When I was a young girl we, among other dishes, always had Carp - the traditional Polish Christmas fish. The Carp was bought alive (!) at Saluhallen by my mother and then we had it in the bath tub for a few days before the poor fish was killed by my father. Understandable, I wasn’t at home at the terrible points of time. And most important, I never ate the Carp. Never. This doesn’t mean that my parents were cold-murdered Carp killers. Buying an alive Carp and having it in your bath tub is a typical Polish tradition and everyone does it, or at least did it earlier. Luckily Carps are not allowed to be sold alive in Sweden anymore. The whole Polish Carp tradition is a big issue that has attracted attention among many, so read more about Polish people and their Christmas Carps here.

Tort Jagodywy Tort Czekoladowy
Blueberry Cake and Chocolate Cake.

After dinner, it’s time for the Christmas presents. Just as last year I was announced Santa and had to wear a Santa cap while handing out all Christmas presents from under my mother’s white (!) Christmas tree. We had a great time and after a while we were enough hungry to start with the cakes and the coffee. Traditionally Polish people eat Sernik (Polish baked Cheesecake) and Makowiec (Poppy Seed cake) on special occasions, but otherwise also. This year my mother made a delicious Blueberry Cake while I did a Chocolate Cake and the Chocolate Oblivion Cake that I’ve blogged about earlier, originally from 101 Cookbooks. I also made an extra Chocolate Oblivion Cake for Fredrik’s family which they appreciated very much as their dessert had strangely disappeared. Actually the main ingredient for their dessert, Ris à la Malta ( a delicious kind of creamy rice pudding that you eat in Sweden as Christmas dessert), had disappeared so they were extra happy for the lovely Chocolade Cake which they ate instead.

I hope that you also had a wonderful Christmas with your dear ones. I had a lovely time and this year, after moving to Stockholm, the Wigilia will mean even more to me as I won’t be able to see my parents as often as today.

(Click on the photos to enlarge).

Chłodnik – Cold Polish Beetroot Soup

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Chłodnik

Chłodnik is a typical Polish soup eaten in summer. I can’t remember if we’ve ever had it at home when I grew up, but I definately ate it when visiting relatives in Poland. The soup is served cold on hot summer days and today was a perfect day to make this soup. This recipe is my own, inspired by several other ones that I’ve seen on the internet. The result is a delicous and refreshing pink soup. But be careful and don’t spill, beetroot stains are not fun…

    Chłodnik

    300 gr peeled beetroots
    500 ml water
    1 vegetable stock cube
    5 radishes
    2 red spring onions
    2 tbsp chives
    1 tbsp parsley
    juice from 0.5 lemon
    350 ml Kefir (or natural yoghurt)
    50 ml sourcream
    salt
    pepper

    Grate the beetroots and cook them in 5 deciliters of water, a stock cube and pepper. Cook until the beets are soft. Put aside the beets and the water, let cool, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely.
    Chop the radishes, chives, onions and parsley. When the beetroots together with the beetroot water are cold, add the vegetables, lemon juice, sourcream and kefir. Salt and pepper the soup. Put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Serve the cold soup with boiled eggs.


The main ingredients for Chłodnik.

Let the beetroots cool before mixing all ingredients together.

Easter Dinner

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005
I totally forgot to make a post about Easter Dinner so here it comes. We went to my parents and as usual we had a lot of food. The latest years my mother has calmed down and doesn’t cook as much as when we were kids, but she still makes a lot of food. So we ended up with an enormous amount of food to take home :-) But it’s one of the best things with holidays, when you get home and then fill the fridge with all delicous leftowers that you got from “home”.

Here is everything that we ate this Easter Dinner. Earlier years we had even more, but we don’t eat as much nowadays :-)

Starters:


Jajko Swiecone
(First we shared one of the blessed eggs and wished each other good health and other nice things, see previous post)


Eggs with mayonnaise and roe


Salatka z rakami
(Shrimp salad)


Salatka kartoflana
(Salad with potatoes, carrots, peas, mayonnaise etc)


Sledzie w smietanie
(Herring pickled in Créme Fraiche and onion)


Smoked Salmon


Kielbasa
(Polish sausage)


Kurczak w galaretce
(Chicken in jelly)

Main courses:


Fillet of Pork with mushroom sauce


Fish burgers


Fish in sauce

Desserts:


Makowiec z serem & Sernik
(Poppy Seed cake & Polish baked cheesecake)


Tort czekoladowy
(Chocolate cake)


Sernik na zimno
(Cheesecake)

Traditional blessing of the food

Saturday, March 26th, 2005


Easter Basket, Swienconka

As a Catholic and with a Polish origin, Holy Saturday is a day when we go to church for the traditional blessing of Easter food. We bring baskets containing samples of the Easter food, Swienconka, decorated in various ways. The blessing of the Easter food is an old and lovely tradition that I’m raised with. I don’t think that the tradition is common for all Catholics, only for Eastern European Catholics. People put great effort in decorating the baskets and it’s nice to look at the beautiful baskets at church.

The content of the Easter basket varies from family to family, and here are the most important contents and their meanings:

Pisanki: Coloured boiled eggs symbolize life and rebirth, and especially Christ’s Resurrection from the Tomb.
A peeled boiled egg: The same meaning as above, the egg is shared with the family on Easter Dinner.
Kielbasa: A spicy sausage of pork products, indicates God’s favor and generosity. In the old days, all types of pork were forbidden until the coming of Christ when it became acceptable.
Baranek Wielkanocny: A sugar lamb, representing Christ Resurrected. It’s a typical Polish Easter symbol.
Pepper and Horseradish: Symbolize the bitter herbs of the Passover and the Exodus.
Bread: Symbolizes Christ, “the Bread of Life”.
Salt: “You are the salt of the earth.”
Vinegar: Symbolizes the gall given to Christ at the crucifixion.
Wine: Symbolizes the blood of sacrifice spilt by Christ at the crucifixion.

In my family we don’t bless neither vinegar nor wine, and as I didn’t have any Polish sausage nor Horeseradish at home, I had to go to church without them. Tomorrow on Easter Day we will have an Easter Dinner and before the dinner begins, the whole family will share the peeled boiled egg and exchange best wishes to each other.

I wish you all a Happy Easter!

Delicious Polish pancakes

Monday, January 10th, 2005

Nalesniki z serem

Yesterday I visited my mother and she made me some delicious sweet Polish pancakes with quark-curd, Nalesniki z serem. The equivalent French name is much fancier, Crêpes au fromage blanc. But it really doesn’t matter as it tastes delicous anyway :-) It’s one of my favourite dishes and it reminds me of my childhood.

Quark-curd

Quark-curd is frequently used in the Polish kitchen and my boyfriend thinks that it’s the main ingredient in all Polish dishes :-) But of course that isn’t true, it just happens to be the main ingredient in my family’s favourite dishes: Sernik (cheesecake), Nalesniki z serem (pancakes with quark) and Ruskie pierogi (dough wrap filled with quark-curd and potatoes, see the photo below).

Ruskie Pierogi

I don’t have any exact recipe for the pancakes as I do them by heart. If someone wants an exact recipe please write me and I’ll do one batch of pancakes and make sure to write down the exact amount of all ingredients :-)

    Nalesniki z serem
    pancakes:
    1 egg
    1 decilitre of flour
    2 decilitres of milk
    butter
    a pinch of sugar

    quark-curd filling:
    250 quark-curd (Swedes can use a package of “Kesella Gourmet”)
    1 egg yolk
    sugar
    vanilla sugar
    raisins (my mother always marinate them in rum for a couple of hours)

    Make the filling by blending all ingredients. Make the pancake dough, fry the pancakes and set aside. Divide the filling between the pancakes, then fold every pancake in the middle and then fold them in the middle again. Sprinkle icing sugar over the pancakes and serve. Yummy!