Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Baileys Pound Cake

1 cup caster sugar (I use golden)
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Baileys
1 cup sunflower oil
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cocoa
icing sugar, for dusting

Using an electric hand mixer mix the eggs together with the sugar until white and milk shake like. Add the oil and Baileys mixing all the time, then add the flour mixed with the baking powder but not all at once.

Place about 3/4 of mixture in a buttered 25cm round baking tube pan, and mix the remaining mixture with cocoa. Then place it over a previous one in the pan.

Bake in preheated oven (fan 170C) for about 60 minutes. Leave it to cool down, remove from a pan and dust with icing sugar.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Onion pie

Inspired by Nigella Lawson "How to be a Domestic Goddess"

Serves 6

For topping:

750g red onions (you can mix white and red, but red look better), peeled and quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of sugar
3-4 springs of thyme, de-stalked plus some extra do garnish
50g sharp Cheddar cheese or Gruyere, grated

Heat the oil and butter in the pan, then add the onions and cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 20 minutes. If possible use ovenproof pan, if not you can transfer the onions to a ovenproof dish just before baking. Add sugar, thyme salt and pepper.

For the dough:

250g wholemeal flour (you can use white)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
100g sharp Cheddar cheese or Gruyere, grated
3 tbsp melted butter
100ml milk
1 tsp English or Dijon mustard

Meanwhile prepare the dough. Put the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl with the 100g of cheese. Pour the milk into a cup, add the melted butter, mustard and egg, mix well and then pour onto the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix to a dough using a fork, a wooden spoon, or your hands; it should be quite sticky, but pretty easy to roll. Then tip it out onto a work surface and ff it is too sticky use some more flour to roll it into a circle about the size of the pie dish.

Sprinkle 50g of cheese over the onions, then cover it with a dough, pressing it to seal the edges.

Bake in preheated oven (220C) for 15 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 180C and bake for further 10 minutes. The top should golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes, then cover with a large plate or chopping board and turn upside-down.

Cut and serve garnished with fresh thyme springs.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sour oats soup

This is so Polish! It is rustic, it is traditional and making your own sour starter is actually a fun. Traditionally I make rye sour starter, but I have tried this one and I feel like this is more delicate, the flavour is not too strong. Perhaps it is better for somebody who wants to start an adventure with Polish cusine.

For sour starter

6-7 tbsp oats
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
bay leaf
2-3 whole allspice
2-3 whole black peppercorns
approx. 800ml warm water
clean jar or bottle

Put oats in a food processor or mini chopper and process until you have a coarse flour. You can use a pestle and mortar if you do not have a food processor.

Mix oat flour with water, until smooth - make sure you do not have any lumps. Add garlic, bay leaf, allspice, pepper and mix well. Pour into a jar or bottle, cover with clean cloth and place in warm place. The best temperature for fermentation process is around 22 C.

Make sure you shake or stir you starter every day. Fermantation should take around 5 days. Starter is ready when it smells sour, bit yeasty, perhaps little bit like sour apple.

There are two ways of using sour starter. Some people, i.e. me use the whole lot together with flour - the soup is more thick and floury. Some use the sour water only, making sure, that all flour remains on the bottom of the jar. To do it, do not shake the starter for last 12 hours - all flour should be on the bottom of the jar by the time you have to use the starter.

Sour oats soup (vegetarian, vegan and sausage version)

makes 6

whole sour starter
handfull of dried porcini mushrooms
piece of good quality Polish sausage (such as śląska) - skip for veggie version
3-4 potatoes, peleed and cubed
onion, peleed and diced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
800ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp marjoram (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

In a big pan boil whole sausage and porcini mushrooms in the stock. For veggie version skip the sausage. After about 15 minutes remove the sausage and add potatoes. Simmer until soft. Make sure the potatoes are properly cooked before adding the sour sarter, bacause potatoes will not cook in the sour environment.

Meanwhile slice the sausage and fry the onion in sunflower oil until soft and lightly browned. Add the sour starter to the pan. For a thick soup add the whole lot, if you prefer more watery soups add just the sour water form a starter.

Stir, add sausage, marjoram, and season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for few more minutes.

You can serve vegetarian version with quartered hard boiled egg, but you can also add the egg to sausage version. For vegan soup skip the egg and the sausage. You can also add some horseradish to the bowl when serving this soup.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Roasted tomatoes quinoa with pine nuts and feta cheese

Makes 2

250g quinoa
handful pine nuts
handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
10-12 cherry tomatoes
125g feta cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
2 wedges of lime (optional)

Put quinoa into a sieve and wash under a running cold water. Place quinoa and cold water (I always put one part of quinoa to two parts of water) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed - about 15 minutes. The quinoa is done when all the grains have turned transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated.

Bake the tomatoes under a hot grill, until skin becomes a bit loose, toast the pine nuts in dry pan until nuts are slightly brown, shaking the pan all the time.

When quinoa is cooked, season with a salt and pepper, mix with toasted pine nuts, chopped mint and arrange on the plate. Place roasted tomatoes around it and add crumbled feta cheese on the top. Garnish with some fresh mint and serve with lime wedges.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Simple chocolate brownies

Inspired by BBC "Good Food" magazine.

Makes 12-16

185g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I use 70% cocoa solids)
185g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 eggs
200g golden caster sugar
85g plain flour, sieved
40g cocoa powder, sieved
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped (you can use milk chocolate or mix both)

Place the butter and dark chocolate in a bowl, and place it over a pan with simmering water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally. Leave it to cool down.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and tip in the sugar. Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until they look thick, creamy, and milky.

Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the mixed eggs and gently fold together with a spatula in a figure of eight, moving the bowl round after each folding so you can get at it from all sides. Do not be tempted to use a mixer – the idea of putting them together gently and slowly is to not knock out the air from the mixture.

Next in the same way add flour and cocoa powder. It is better to sieve them evenly on the top of the chocolate mixture and then mix in a figure of eight until it looks fudgy.

Add chopped white chocolate into your mixture and stir gently. Pour the mixture into a square 20x20cm tin lined with a baking paper and bake in preheated oven (fan 160C) for about 25 minutes.

The top of your brownie should look like a paper, and middle should not be too wobbly. Turn off the heat, open the oven and leave it to cool down in it. Brownie will continue to cook for few minutes, so it is important to not overcook it in the oven – 25 minutes is enough.

Leave it to cool completely, cut into squares and serve. It tastes better next day.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Beetroot soup with chunky vegetables and butter beans

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp of neutral vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
approx. 400g beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks (try to cut them into a similar size chunks as carrots – it will allow them to cook in the same time)
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
approx. 200g white cabbage, sliced
approx. 1.5l vegetable stock
approx. 200g butter beans, cooked (for shortcut use tinned ones)
bay leaf
2-3 whole allspice
2-3 whole peppercorns
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice

In a big pan heat the oil and fry the onion over a low heat until softened but not coloured. Add garlic and fry for further minute before adding tomato puree and fry for one more minute.

Next add to the pan: carrots, potatoes, cabbage and beetroots, cover and cook for 5 minutes, before adding stock, allspice, bay leaf, whole peppercorns. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for further 20 minutes.

When vegetables are nearly cooked, season with salt, pepper and sugar and add butter beans. Cook for 5 minutes, add lemon juice and stir thoroughly.

You can serve this soup with some sour cream on the top, quartered hard boiled egg or garnished with some fresh thyme.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Peas & mint gnocchi with parmesan

Serves 3-4

3 large potatoes, unpeeled and cooked (preferably waxy ones)
approx. 250ml frozen garden peas
handful of fresh mint
plain flour
1 tbsp of potato flour (starch)
freshly ground black pepper
parmesan shavings and some melted butter to serve

Peel cooked potatoes while they still warm and mash using a potato ricer until nice and smooth. You can use masher but you have to make sure that potatoes are mashed thoroughly to as smooth texture as possible.

Boil the peas in salted water until tender, drain and place in bowl with freezing cold water – it will stop peas from further cooking and it will keep the nice colour. Drain after few minutes, place in food processor together with the mint and smooth into a paste.

Mix the peas paste with mashed potatoes with your hands in big bowl, and then just push it a little bit until it is in an even layer. Next using your finger draw a cross on potatoes with peas and take one quarter out (put it somewhere on the top of the remaining potatoes). Fill this empty quarter of the bowl with a plain flour. Add the potato starch, egg, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. Place on a floured surface.

Form firm potato dough into about 2cm thick roll (looking like big sausage) and cut off piece by piece, about 1.5cm long. Place on the chopping board sprinkled with some flour and boil the water with some salt in a big pan.

When water is bubbling add 10-12 gnocchi, wait until they rise to the surface, cook further for 2-3 minutes and drain with a slotted spoon.

Serve with some melted butter, fresh mint and parmesan shavings.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil

Serves 2-4

2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 onion or shallot, peeled and finely chopped
handful of dried wild mushrooms (such as Italian porcini), soaked in a cup of warm water – keep the water and add it into your stock; you can also boil the mushrooms in the stock
approx. 1 litre vegetable stock
200g risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
150ml dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese and some extra shavings
truffle oil (optional)

Keep the stock hot all the time. In a separate pan heat the olive oil and half of the butter, add the onion and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring until softened. Then add the mushrooms (I keep them in quite big bits, you can chop them if you wish), fry for another minute, and add rice and turn up the heat.

Fry the rice, stirring all the time. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring for minute, until alcohol will evaporate. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of hot stock and turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring – you will notice a creamy starch from the rice. This is why you have to allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter and parmesan. Stir well and allow to rest for 2 minutes – this will make risotto really creamy and oozy. Serve immediately (as risotto cannot be reheated!) drizzled with some truffle oil and parmesan shavings on the top.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

No-knead bread

From "The New York Times". To see how easy is to make this bread watch this short film.

Makes 1 loaf, about 0.7kg

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting (I use 2 cups of white and 1 of wholemeal bread flour)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
oat bran (or any bran) and mixed seeds (optional)

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until blended - using your hands or wooden spoon - dough will be sticky. Cover bowl with cling film. Leave it to rest at least 12 hours or longer (up to 18 hours) at room temperature.

Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it, sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice like folding into an envelope. Next shape into a ball and place on dough seam side down on tea towel dusted with more flour, bran and seeds. Place in prooving basket or clean bowl and leave it to rise for about 2 hours or until it doubled in size.

At least a half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven as much as you can (I heat the oven to 250 C). Put a heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.

When dough is ready, remove hot pot from the oven, slide your hands under towel, remove it gently from a basket or bowl and turn it over into pot. You can cscore the top across few times with sharp knife or razor blade. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is browned. Remove from the pot and cool on a rack.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Chicken with oranges and black olives

My version of dish also known as "Spanish Chicken". From "Healthy One-Pots" by BBC "Good Food" magazine.

Serves 4

4 skinless chicken legs (often I use thigh or breast fillets, as it is much quicker to cook boneless meat)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
handful of black olives (I prefer with stone and not from a brine, you can use any you like)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried mixed herbs (I think basil, thyme, sage and oregano go well with this dish - combination of two of them will do)
1 orange, unpeeled, washed and cut into eight segments
freshly ground black pepper

Fry the chicken in heavy based pan in olive oil over a high heat until brown. Remove from a pan and set aside, then fry the onions, garlic, peppers. After 5 minutes add chicken, tomatoes, spices and herbs, season, cover and simmer gently for about 40 minutes if using chicken with bones; fillets need about 10 minutes only. If using fillets add oranges to the pan straight away, otherwise add them after about 20 minutes of simmering.

Next you need to add olives - they need to be cooked for about 5 minutes. Season if necessary and serve i.e. with cuscus. You can garnish with some fresh herbs.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Poached eggs on onion tartlets

From "Eggs" by Michael Roux.

Serves 4

2 large onions, about 500g, peeled and sliced
100g butter
150ml double cream
350g ready-made rolled puff pastry (you can make your own if you wish, see Roux's "Pastry", if you have a block of pastry you have to roll it to about 3mm thickness)
4 small eggs
few thyme leaves and 4 sprigs to garnish
freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Pour in the cream and let simmer for few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme leaves, and set aside to cool down little bit.

Cut 4 puff pastry disks and place them on a baking sheet. Prick each pastry disk few times with a fork. Spread the onions evenly on top of the disks, then bake in preheated oven (170 C) for 25 to 30 minutes until gloden and crisp.

Serve with poached egg* and thyme spring.

* To poach an egg, boil the water in the pan, about 10-20 cm deep together with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Break the egg into a small bowl, ramekin or coffee cup and slip the egg gently into the pan when the water is bubbling. Poach for 2 minutes and drain using a slotted spoon. Dry on the paper kitchen towel and serve immidiately. It is better to poach eggs that are very fresh - try use those, that have not exceeded 14 days before use by date.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Spiced sweet potato chips

Serves 1

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in chunky chips
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Pre-boil the chips in boiling water for approx. 3 minutes. Drain and leave it to dry.

Mix the olive oil with the spices and toss chips in until totally covered in oil.

Bake in the roasting tray for about 15 minutes in preheated oven (250 C), turning them half way through.

Serve with Greek yoghurt and sweet chilli sauce.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Pasta with bacon, peas and mint

Inspired by "Jamie's Ministry of Food".

Serves 2

200g pasta (I use farfalle to go with becon and wholewheat penne in vegetarian version of this dish)
4 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
approx. 150g frozen garden peas or petit pois
4 rashes of smoked bacon, chopped (you can use unsmoked, or pancetta, sliced or cubed - it is up to you)
freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Fry the onions and bacon until onions softened and bacon lightly browned. For vegetarian option skip the bacon. Add garlic, and fry for another minute. Mix the crème fraîche into the pan, add 3-4 tbsp of pasta water and most of the chopped mint.

One minute before pasta is cooked increase the heat, add peas to the pan and cook together with the pasta. Drain the pasta in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water in case your sauce is too thick. Add pasta with peas to the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and mix until pasta is covered in sauce.

Divide between serving bowls and sprinkle with parmesan and some fresh mint.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Parsnip & maple syrup cake

From BBC "Good Food" magazine.

Serves 8

175g unsalted butter
250g demerara sugar
100ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
250g selfraising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
50g pecans, roughly chopped (if you can get hold of them use walnuts)
zest and juice 1 small orange
icing sugar, to serve (optional - I spread the filling on the top)

The filling:

250g tub mascarpone
3-4 tbsp maple syrup

Heat oven to 180 C. If you want to have a round sandwich cake with the filling you have to use two 20cm round tins and line them with baking paper. I used rectangular 32x19x2cm baking tray lined with paper.

Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Then add grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice.

Divide between the tins, then bake for 25-30 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. If you use rectangular tray, transfer all mixture into it and bake for approx. 30 minutes. I use wooden toothpick and stick it into a centre of the cake - if it come out dry and clean it means that cake is ready.

Cool the cake slightly in the tin before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving. Rather than making a sandwich cake I spread the mixture over cooled cake.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Roasted sausages & potato wedges

Makes 2

4 pork sausages (choose your favourite ones)
4 large potatoes, quartered lengthways
2 onions, peeled and quartered
few unpeeled cloves of garlic
few tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sunflower oil (or other vegetable)
few springs of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage preferably)
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Arrange potatoes wedges, herbs (I save some for later) onions and garlic in ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes.

Fry the sausages (using sunflower oil) in the pan until browned. Transfer them into your potatoes and roast for further 5-10 minutes.

Sometimes I mix some wholegrain mustard with runny honey and spread the mixture over the sausages for last 3 minutes of roasting under a hot grill.

Scatter some fresh herbs on the top and serve.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Slow roasted shoulder of lamb

Makes 4-6

Approx. 2kg lamb shoulder, excess of fat trimmed
whole bulb of garlic, divided into cloves, unpeeled
few springs of fresh rosemary
few springs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
large glass of dry red wine
freshly ground black pepper

Rub olive oil over the lamb shoulder, season with salt and pepper and fry in the pan for few minutes over a high heat until browned.

Place lamb shoulder in ovenproof dish, with end of the knife make few holes in the meat and put some fresh rosemary inside them. Arrange remaining rosemary and thyme over the shoulder, put garlic cloves in the dish, add wine, cover and roast for about 3 hours in 150 C.

I served it with some roast cherry tomatoes, boiled brussels sprouts sprinkled with roasted almond flakes and potatoes wages roasted with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt. Lamb goes very well with creamy mashed potatoes, mashed butter beans and boiled or roasted vegetables like carrots, green beans, swede.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Rainbow trout baked with almonds, cherry tomatoes and mint

Makes 2

2 rainbow trout fillets (you can use other fish like salmon, halibut, haddock – I used skinless and boneless fish)
4-6 slices of lemon
2-3 tbsp almond flakes
4 tbsp dry white wine
handful of fresh mint
few cherry tomatoes (on the vine, or others)
freshly ground black pepper

Place trout fillets in ovenproof dish, lined with baking paper. If you do not have baking paper you have to lightly oil the dish. Drizzle white wine over the fish.

On the top of the fish place some lemon, almond flakes, fresh mint and arrange the tomatoes in the dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bake for approx. 15 minutes in preheated oven (200 C).

Serve on its own, but if you require bigger meal this fish goes very well with potatoes wages baked in olive oil and sprinkled with flaked sea salt.

Baked chocolate mousse with candied fennel root

From James Martin "Desserts".

Serves 6-8

1/2 fennel bulb, finely sliced
300g dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa fat (I used 70%)
150g unsalted butter
6 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar ( I used golden)
150ml whipped double cream, to serve (optional - we tried this with real vanilla ice - cream and it tasted good, but you can also skip cream)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a metal or glass bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk the egg yolks together with 2 tbsp of the sugar for 30 seconds and stir in the melted chocolate. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very stiff, then quickly fold one-third of the whites into the chocolate mix. Gently fold in the remainder and pour the mix into a 20cm loose bottom cake tin lined with baking paper and sliced fennel.

Place in the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C), bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. It must be eaten in room temperature, as it firms up too much when in the fridge.

For candied fennel

1 fennel bulb
100g caster sugar (again I used golden)
100ml water

Slice the fennel bulb and add to a pan with the sugar and water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Beef stew with red wine

Serves 4

4 tbsp vegetable oil (of a quite neutral taste - like sunflower oil)
1kg stewing beef, cut into inch cubes (of course the best one comes from Yorkshire!)
3-4 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 gloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a handful of dried wild mushrooms (like Italian porcini) soaked in a cup of warm water (you will use this water later, so save it!)
approx. 200ml dry red wine (beef stews go very well with Guinness or ales, so you can use it instead of wine, or you can use vegetable or beef stock if you do not want to use alcohol at all. Obviously I recommend Yorshire beers i.e. Black Sheep or Old Peculier from local brewery.)
handful of fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary (you can use dried, but thy don not taste the same)


Heat vegetable oil in large heavy based pan and brown beef in few batches. Remove beef and fry onion, garlic and carrots for few minutes, stir in browned beef, mushrooms with water, wine, tin of tomatoes and approx. 3/4 tin of water (use empty tomatoes tin). Also I have added fresh herbs bundled together with a white cotton string (you can use you own bouquet garni or buy ready one) - they will infuse a stew with a flavour and can be easily removed before serving. Add some salt, pepper, cover and simmer over a low heat for approx. 2 hours.

You can also prepare this dish in a ovenproof casserole, in low temperature (around 150C) in oven for about 3-4 hours, or use a slowcooker, accordingly to producer's instructions.

Serve garnished with some fresh herbs. It goes very well with freshly baked homemade bread, fluffy mashed potatoes or polenta.

Onion buns from Lublin

Makes 8

350g strong bread flour
150g strong wholemeal bread flour (you can use 500g white flour only, but in my opinion adding wholemeal flour gives buns a nice texture)
7g instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp melted butter
approx. 300ml lukewarm water

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the butter and water and knead for few minutes with hands (or use stand mixer), or put them in a bread machine and use “dough” program. Dough should be firm and quite flexible. If using mixer or hand put the dough in slightly oiled bowl and cover with clean cloth. Leave it to rise in warm, draft – free place until it has doubled in size. If you are using bread machine, you don’t have to do anything until “dough” program ends.

Prepare the filling:

4 large onions, peeled and roughly diced
3 tbsp black poppy seeds
approx. 30 g butter
caraway or fennel seeds (optional)

Fry the onions in butter over a low heat, until tender. Mix with poppy seeds and some fennel or caraway seeds, accordingly to your taste. Leave it to cool slightly.

Place the risen dough on to a lightly floured, flat surface and knead for five minutes to release the air from it. Divide into 8 equal balls and using your hands flatten each one into a circle. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, add some onion filling in the middle of each one, cover with clean cloth and leave to rise at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven (190C) for approx. 15-20 minutes, until golden and sound hollow on the base when tapped.

They taste better when still warm. You can spread some salted butter on them before eating.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tomato soup with cheddar dumplings

Serves 4

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
approx. 1l of vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
fresh herbs (basil, oregano or thyme)

For dumplings

150g cheddar cheese, finely grated (or other you prefer, like gouda, jarlsberg)
egg, beaten with a fork
2 tbsp flour (you can use plain or corn flour)
freshly ground pepper
fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used thyme, you can use dried herbs)


In a deep pan fry the onion over a low heat until soften. Next add garlic and fry for another minute, stirring frequently. You don't want to brown the garlic, as it will taste bitter. Stir in tomatoes, cover and boil for few minutes. Next stir in stock, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.

In a meantime mix all dumplings ingredients in a bowl.

Take the soup out of the heat, liquidise using hand blender and add some sugar, salt and pepper - accordingly to your taste.

Put it back on low heat and using two teaspoons form cheese dumplings and add them into a simmering soup. Turn off the heat after 3 minutes. Serve in the bowls, garnished with some fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper.

Under construction

Following my recent conversations with my non-Polish friends I have decided to share my pictures with them and probably more importantly – English versions of recipes from my Polish blog.

All I am asking for is a little patience.

Thank you!