Zurek Soup and the Malopolska region

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Today I wrote more about the trip to Lapanow in the hilly region of Malopolska and click on the Mediterranean News link here if you wish to read more.

I also included a recipe for Zurek Soup. It is the one i will be making this week using our local sausages.

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Food and more glorious Polish food from the lovely hospitality lecturers in Malopolska! Thank you ladies !

Haluski from Poland and I love its simplicity …

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Visiting the heart of Poland made me curious about the cuisine.. my previous trip happened many years ago, another very brief trip, to Warsaw at that time. However the difference this time is that i loved the cuisine of the Malopolska region. It is fresh, no-nonense food, using local and seasonal ingredients with a taste of what you would expect all home cooking to be.

You will need :

200g bacon, sliced finely
1 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced, today i have used 6 spring onions instead
1 garlic cloves, grated
8 cups cabbage, shredded
500 g italian noodle egg pasta
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

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Cook egg noodles according to package directions, and while it is cooking, prepare the rest of ingredients.

While the noodles are cooking, melt butter in large deep pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, bacon, garlic and cabbage. Saute stirring occasionally until softened and just beginning to turn golden.

Stir in caraway seeds if using, then cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Drain the noodles in a collander.
Add the cooked noodles to the other ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and stir well until noodles are heated though. Place in a serving bowl and spoon some sour cream on top of it. Garnish with chives or flat leaf parsley. I also added some more shredded uncooked cabbage on top, gives the overall dish a great texture.

Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve hot.

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Polish Rosol

I have just returned from Lapanow in Poland where the Festival of Broth takes place every year.

Rosol is a traditional clear Polish broth served with fine noodles or dumplings that are preferably home made.

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I had the opportunity to taste many versions made from old family recipes or those that are typically used in villages. Although very similar and using more or less the same ingredients, each soup had its own identity in appearance and flavor.

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Thr Polish are proud of their Broth. It is served at weddings, Christmas dinners, special occasions and also fed to someone who is ill and the healing properties must also come from the care and attention that has gone into the preparation of this broth.

I was given several similar recipes and you will need:

1 whole chicken
2 carrots, peel and cut into small cubes
Some chopped garlic
Flat leaf parsley
1 celery, cut into large pieces
½ leek, cut into large pieces
1 whole onion, delicately charred on a skillet
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
cooked angel hair noodles, to serve
fresh parsley, to serve
salt and pepper

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Place the chicken in a large soup pot and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Bring the water to boil, skim very well, then lower the heat and simmer for another hour.

Add the carrot, parsley, celery, leek and onion to the soup, with some salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Simmer over low heat for an additional hour.

Remove meat and vegetables, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the soup.
Remove some of the fat floatimg at the top.
Serve with cooked angel hair pasta, chopped carrots and fresh parsley.

With thanks to the local action group of Dolina Raby

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Today’s paper

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Three traditional Mediterranean Soups

In today’s paper we started our series of features on French food and culture in collaboration with the Embassy of France
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And for my visit to Poland this weekend, here are recipes for traditonal soups made with local fresh vegetables. These are common everyday meals in most homes here.
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Widow’s Soup [Soppa tal Armla]

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
1 cup broad beans
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 cup peas
½ or a small cauliflower cut into bite size pieces
½ cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
GbejMaltese cheese), allow one per person
Stock – enough to cover vegetables (chicken or vegetable)
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel, rinse and chop the onions
Dice the cauliflower tomatoes and potatoes into bite-sized florets and cubes respectively
Sauté the chopped onions and after a couple of minutes add the cauliflower, potatoes, peas & beans. Fry until golden in colour
Add the vegetable stock (half the pot) and simmer for approximately 45 minutes
Add more water if needed to cover the vegetables together with the diced tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes more. Into the simmering soup, gently poach the eggs and add the fresh cheeses. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, season and serve with 2 thick slices of fresh sourdough bread

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Kawlata Soup with Ham Hock

250g (or 8.81 oz) pumpkin
1 kohl rabi
4 carrots
Half a cabbage
Half a cauiflower
Celery
4 small potatoes
2 onions
2 pieces ham hock [xikel] or pork sausage

Soak the hock overnight. If you’re using sausages, these should be fresh pork sausages.
Cover the gammon or sausages with water and bring to the boil. Remove any scum. Add the vegetables. Simmer gently until the meat is done.

If you wish, you can remove the meat/sausages after it has cooked. (You can have this meat with some bread and fresh vegetables as a sandwich). Some people also like to add some small macaroni beads (or barley) in the soup, then they cook for some 15 minutes more. This will make the soup even more tasty.

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Minestra

84g cauliflower
84g carrots
84g pumpkin
56g white onions
28g celery stick
21g tomato paste
56g small pasta
50g split peas
One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1250ml water

Slice and wash all the vegetables.
Fry the onions, till tender.
Add all vegetables except the pasta.
Add the water, bring to the boil, and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
Add the Pasta. The soup should be very thick.

And for my recipe of the day for fresh local fish go to Mediterranean News

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A royal visit this weekend

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The island has been preparing for a visit from the Duchess of Cambridge.

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But yesterday changes were announced and this weekend Prince William is due to visit a tiny island in the heart of the Mediterranean to celebrate Independence Day

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And as there is no better Ambassador for British Cooking than Delia Smith, here is one of my favourites for the occasion.

The old fashioned roll is quick and easy to make.

You will need :
110g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
50g soft butter
2 eggs
110g caster sugar, plus a little extra
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling and topping:
3-4 tablespoons jam, I use my own strawberry jam
Icing sugar to dust when finished

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Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6

Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl

Add the butter, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract, and use an electric whisk mix to a smooth creamy consistency for about one minute.

Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tin with the back of a spoon

Bake it near the centre of the oven for 14–15 minutes or until it feels springy in the centre.

Prepare a damp tea towel spread out on a flat surface then on top of the tea towel you place a sheet of baking parchment that’s about 2.5cm larger than the tin.

Sprinkle caster sugar all over the paper.

As soon as the Swiss roll is cooked, lift it out holding the sides of the liner and turn it onto the paper immediately.

Gently strip off the liner, take a sharp knife and trim 3mm from all round the cake. This will make it much neater and help to prevent it from cracking.

Cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave for a couple of minutes, then remove the damp cloth and spread the cake with jam.

With one of the shorter edges of the cake nearest to you, make a small incision about 2.5cm from the edge, cutting right across the cake, not too deeply; this will help you when you start to roll.

Start to roll this 2.5cm piece over and away from you and continue to roll, holding the sugared paper behind the cake as you roll the whole thing up. When it’s completely rolled up, hold the paper around the cake for a few moments to help it ‘set’ in position, then transfer the cake to a wire cooling tray.

Dust with a little more caster sugar before serving.

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Her Majesty spent happy times on the island.

Prickly pears, the season nearly over …

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Prickly pear cactus plants this week are still heavy with fruit and it must be the most under-utilized fruit here. I am also guilty of not having made the most of them and i keep promising myself to try the paddles as an ingredient. The simpliest way to use them is by peeling them to extract their delicious sweet juice and if passed though a mouli you will get no bitterness from crushed seeds.

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On this month’s airline magazine, I featured more summer fruit.

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And if you have prickly pears in your garden, remember they are the last of the season, just for another week or so. Simply wear gloves and it is an effortless job. You will find recipes using prickly pears on this blog.

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(Prickly Pear Photo Emmanuel Croset)

Making the most of a buoyant harvest …. watermelon and mint

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Watermelon, mint and basil are all at their peak this month and Nina and Renny Desira who cultivate all sorts of varieties of unusual and common herbs in Zejtun shared many of their methods with me of mint and basil preservation for the winter when they are no longer so abundant. Nina picks fresh mint early in the morning and removes any damaged leaves and tough stems. She rinses the leaves well and pats them dry with a kitchen towel. She then chops them up and places two teaspoons in each compartment of an ice cube tray, tops it off with water and freezes it. When the ice cubes solidify, she stores them in an air tight freezer bag in the freezer and then adds cubes to soups, teas and dressings in the winter.

For the watermelon and feta starter you will need:

Half a watermelon cut up into even slices, deseeded and peeled
300g feta cheese
A handful of mint leaves, a spoonful chopped
Olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

A round cutter

Mash up the feta cheese, add some pepper and a spoon of chopped fresh mint. Mix until consistent.

Place in a flat dish and spread to a thickness of 2cm

Use a cutter to cut a round of water melon. Without removing the watermelon disc from the cutter, use the cutter again to cut through a layer of feta cheese. push the watermelon dish out of the cutter gently so that you have two layers, the bottom feta layer topped with a disc of watermelon. Use a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil as a dressing and garnish the plate with some fancy lettuce leaves.

And i learnt something new during my trip, that these delicate white flowers that we have in our garden are edible garlic chives or Chinese chives [Allium tuberosum, gau choy Chinese 韭菜; Japanese nira]. I will have to find a suitable recipe to try them out!

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