31 January 2007

a reason to get off the slope

Last sunday I've done my first snowboarding this year and it was awesome! No matter how big problems appear in your life, how many things you miss every day, how much miserable or worried you feel... having the board under your feet and "flying like an angel to the sun" truly makes the difference.

But when I come home, all wet, exhausted and exhilarated, I really need something to keep me alive. So you can just imagine me opening the door and smelling the most gorgeous aroma of hot yeast pie...

That's my mother's secret weapon to keep her children coming home ;) She doesn't use a recipe, she weighs every ingredient in her hand, she meticulously works out the dough and shouts if you just approach the huge bowl of raw mixture...

What finally comes out of the oven is sometimes a cheese strudel, sometimes a plain pie or crescents with cherries...

Eaten still hot, with a glass of cold milk or cup of strong black tea, it is a simple delicacy that compensates fully the disstress of leaving the slope.

21 January 2007

Round perfection

There is one dish that accompanies and comforts me all my life - for better or for worse, in sickness and in health... my dear pancakes!

I had them from my grandma when I was little- with cottage cheese, folded in triangles and butter-fried
I begged my mum for them coming back from school on Fridays - with unbelievable homemade plum jam
I even didn'r refuse to eat them filled with meat in the school cantine

with mince meat

I had gorgeous huge ones with whipped cream and fruits during my studies - especially when heartbroken
I had charming crepes suzettes in my lovely Paris
I had smelly 4 Kase Pankuchen (with 4 cheeses) when feeling homesick in Berlin
I had them on my longest holiday ever, in Canada - small and fluffy with blueberries hand-picked by a very caring friend :) and golden maple syrop
I often have them with spinach and garlicky cheese sauce at my favorite "Cafe Sanatorium" in Sopot.

But above all, I love to fry them, flip them, experiment with stuffings, flavors and textures...

with cheese and tomatoe

with strawberry icecream

Recently, I have been encharmed by and almost loyal to whole grain flour version that tastes slightly nutty and crisps more... perfect with yoghurt, mandarines and cashew nuts

These loyalty fails sometimes when I see oat rolls and decide to make a good use of them...

Thicker, richer and more filling... they're winter wonders!

oats version with broccoli

And after such a horrible week like this one, I'm going to go and seek my consolation in the kitchen...

08 January 2007

sweets for my sweet ones

If somebody gets to know you're good with the hardware stuff you have all your friends bringing you their PC's and making your room look like a garage. That's what happens with my brother. And if you offer yourself just once to make a fancy dessert for the party then you are always welcome... with something sweet. That's what happened with me.

I would be so happy to make some sort of creative aromatic pasta or fish lasagne one day but I'm stuck in whipped cream, mascarpone, jellies, chocolate and ice cream. But then when you see all your friends happy and licking the spoons... oh, there's nothing better than that!

Last weekend I had a farewell party for a friend going to Iceland for hard work. Cured shark - that's the local delicacy there. I strongly felt I needed to make him this honey-walnuts-peaches panna cotta with rum.

I never use recepies cause they kill all my enthusiasm and creativity so I guess I won't be able to reproduce it but I hope he'll still be motivated enough to come back.

And for another friend who helped me get my snowboard gear complete I made this mighty sweet brownie layered with pineapple and refreshingly acid chantilly foam. He will be my instructor - if the snow appears finally - so I'd better start making a list of new dessert inventions...

03 January 2007

Heavy tradition

I am deeply in love with culinary traditions even though I would be glad to explore some unknown ones instead of sticking unchangeably to our national pot heritage. Especially that there are some points on the menu which do not stimulate my ethusiasm to eating.

One of such immortal dishes - traditionally served on the New Year's Day - is bigos, supposedly brought to Poland by king Władysław Jagiełło (coming from great Lithuanian dynasty) in 15th century. I wonder how a nation can eat bigos for more than 500 years and still be alive...

The main ingredient is sauerkraut usually combined with fresh cabbage and simmered for ages with different kinds of greasy meats and sausages as well as dried mushrooms and plums, onion and other condiments. There are options of adding wine, tomato sauce, honey, smoked plums or even plum jam as well.

The longer the proccess lasts, the better the outcome is supposed to be. So you have it re-heated every day and then left overnight, and again, and then you eat it for several days as nobody would put so much effort into a small pot. Bigos best companions are bread and vodka.

Men that I know would go at any length to have it cooked for them even if many of them pays the price of feeling sick after these heavy marathons.

Personally, I strongly dislike the smell and do not care about the flavor, too. I'd rather have my endive baked with camembert and garlic under sighs of true disbelief about his unforgivable rebellion against tradition.