Friday, July 24, 2009


Hunters Stew
is said to be one of Poland's national dishes, and also is a great favorite of many friends of mine. When preparing this tasty dish, one has to remember that there is a variety in ingredients, some recipes have mushrooms and juniper berries, while others contain apples, plum, venison, lamb or beef. It is best made one to three days in advance and reheated on low heat before serving. This definitely enhances the flavour.

My Grandma always says that the best time for eating Bigos is after it's been waiting for you for two days. It's a great winter dish (warms you up really good!). Traditionally, Bigos was a hunters dish, eaten after a long day in the forest, so it really works as a great belly-filling meal after a day of hard work.

50g butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 jar sauerkraut
1 can tomatoes, peeled
1 small white cabbage
300 ml strong beef stock
250g smoked sausage
5 to 6 pork ribs
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan and fry the onions until golden. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water, drain thoroughly and mix with the onions. Add the tomatoes. Chop the cabbage finely and mix in. Add the stock, stirring well, and then the pork ribs. Slice the sausage and add into the stew. Allow to simmer on low heat for one hour. Season to taste. Remove from heat and leave covered for 24 hours. Refrigerate and reheat before serving. Serves 8.

Note: If you prefer the dish to be more sour, add more sauerkraut.

Serving idea: traditional Polish Bigos served in a loaf of white bread.
(Photo made in a restaurant in Kraków)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the Cookbooks - a Polish-English glossary

There are a lot of websites, which would give you a description of Polish dishes, often misspelled or not correct at all, or just... too dificult to read and use right from the start for every person who is not used to Polish language. How can one know, stumbling upon a recipe which says "Kapuśniak", what it is? Maybe it's a cake, pasta recipe or fish dish? What one should expect? Well, I've decided to give you a list of the most common Polish dishes along with their explanations. I hope you'll find it informational enough. If you find any other Polish names you find too tiring to translate or to understand - just ask.

Chłodnik litewski: cold yoghurt-and-beetroot soup served with a hard boiled egg, originally from Lithuania.
Barszcz biały: sour thick wheat starch soup with marjoram, potatoes, sometimes with cream. Similar to Żurek in taste.
Barszcz czerwony: refreshing beetroot soup with vegetables and sour cream or served clear with dumplings.
Żurek: sour rye soup with potato, sausage or an egg, sometimes served in a bread loaf.
Krupnik: thick barley soup with a smattering of vegetables and smoked meat.
Kapuśniak: sour cabbage soup.
Zupa ogórkowa: hot sour cucumber soup, usually served with potatoes and/or rice.
Zupa koperkowa: dill soup.
Rosół z kurczaka: golden chicken consommé with noodles.
Zupa pomidorowa: tomato soup, often with rice or noodles.
Grochówka: thick pea soup.
Zupa grzybowa: mushroom soup with cream.
Flaki wołowe: beef tripe soup.

Smalec: partially double fried lard with onion, marjoram and sometimes with apple or prune. It is spread over bread and served together with pickled cucumbers as an appetizer before the main meal.
Śledzie w śmietanie: herring in sour cream, usually with onion.
Boczek ze śliwką: bacon stuffed with prunes.
Tatar: steak tartar; raw minced beef with chopped onion and raw yolk.

Eskalopki z cielęciny: veal in a blanket.
Polędwiczki wołowe: beef sirloin, often with rare mushroom sauce.
Ozór wołowy: soft steamed beef tongues.
Sztuka mięsa w sosie chrzanowym: boiled chunk of beef in horseradish sauce.
Zrazy zawijane: beef rolls stuffed with bacon, gherkin and onion or red pepper, in a spicy sauce.

Golonka w piwie: fat, but tasty pork knuckle, sometimes in beer sauce, always with horseradish; very traditional, originally from Bavaria.
Karkówka: tenderloin, usually roasted
Kotlet schabowy: traditional breaded pork cutlet (a tasty choice).
Kiełbasa: Polish sausages - white sausages are especially very tasty. They go well with pickled cucumbers (gherkins) in combination with beer or vodka and fresh air.
Żeberka w miodzie: spare pork ribs in honey.

Kaczka z jabłkami: roast duck with apples.
Kurczak de volaille: chicken steaks spread with butter, filled with mushrooms and bread crumbed, originally French.
Wątróbki drobiowe: chicken liver.

Baranina: roasted or even grilled lamb – great, especially popular in the mountain region.
Klopsiki: meatloaf, often with tomato sauce.
Bigos: appetizing, seasoned "hunters' stew" made from sauerkraut with chunks of various meats and sausages, extremely traditional.
Dziczyzna: game.
Fasolka po bretońsku: bean and sausage stew.
Gołąbki: cabbage parcels originally from Lithuania, they are stuffed with meat or meat and rice.
Kaszanka: grilled or baked solid pieces of buckwheat blended with pork blood and shaped as sausages.
Szaszłyk: originally Caucasian dish; chunks of meat grilled on a spit.

Karp po żydowsku: carp in aspic with raisins, originally Jewish recipe adapted by Polish cuisine (eaten mostly during Christmas time).
Łosoś: salmon, often baked or boiled in a dill sauce.
Pstrąg: trout, sometimes flambé.
Sandacz: pike perch.

Pierogi: very traditional small white dumplings, larger than ravioli, filled with sauerkraut with mushrooms, cheese and potatoes or with fruit. They can be also with meat (z mięsem).
Naleśniki: omelettes stuffed with jam, fruit, cottage cheese etc. and very similar to crepes.
Knedle: potato dumplings stuffed with fruit, usually plums or strawberries.

Frytki: chips, french fries.
Kopytka: hoof-shaped dumplings.
Kluski śląskie: Silesian dumplings, made from boiled potatoes.
Kasza gryczana: buckwheat groats.
Placki ziemniaczane: potato pancakes.

Faworki or chrust: pastry twisters.
Galaretka: sweet fruit jellies.
Makowiec: sweet poppy seed cake.
Pączki: doughnuts, traditionally with jam filling.
Sernik: delicious cheesecake, made from special kind of cheese and other traditional ingredients.
Szarlotka: apple cake, sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

All those teaspoons, grams, pounds, cups and litres...

Browsing through the Internet, I often find lots of yummy and interesting recipes. When I want to try it out, the biggest problem seems to be the correct measurements, volume, weight, etc. - especially when it comes to accurate amount of ingredients for a cookie dough, confronting the Imperial vs. Metric Measuring systems.

I'm sure all of us had this problem at least once, being confused with the correct proportions. Lots of websites provide us with strange measurements and charts, but I found it often very misleading (I still remember my dream-come-true banana&chocolate chip cookies ending up as Stone Pancakes... *sob*). Anyway, I've found something which, I'm certain, will help us all in future.


Food Measurements
ImperialMetric (UK)Metric (AU)
1/4 tsp.1 ml.1 ml.
1/2 tsp.2 ml.2 ml.
1 tsp.5 ml.5 ml.
1 tbsp.15 ml.20 ml.
1/4 cup50 ml.50 ml.
1/3 cup75 ml.75 ml.
1/2 cup125 ml.125 ml.
2/3 cup150 ml.150 ml.
3/4 cup175 ml.175 ml.
1 cup250 ml.250 ml.
1 pint500 ml.625 ml.
1 quart1 liter1 liter

Canada / New Zealand / U.K. / U.S.
1-1/2 tsp.1/2 tbsp.1/4 oz.7 grams
3 tsp.1 tbsp.1/2 oz.14 grams
2 tbsp.1/8 cup1 oz.28 grams
4 tbsp.1/4 cup2 oz.55 grams
8 tbsp.1/2 cup4 oz.115 grams
16 tbsp.1 cup8 oz.225 grams

2 tsp.1 dessertspoon1/3 oz.9 grams
2 tsp.1/2 tbsp.1/3 oz.9 grams
4 tsp.1 tbsp.2/3 oz.18 grams
1-1/2 tbsp.1/8 cup1 oz.28 grams
3 tbsp.1/4 cup2 oz.55 grams
6 tbsp.1/2 cup4 oz.115 grams
12 tbsp.1 cup8 oz.225 grams

Liquid Measurements
1/2 fl. oz.15 ml.1 tbsp.
1 fl. oz.30 ml.1/8 cup
2 fl. oz.60 ml.1/4 cup
4 fl. oz.120 ml.1/2 cup
8 fl. oz.240 ml.1 cup
16 fl. oz.480 ml.1 pint

Liquid Equivalents
2 cups1 pint
1/2 quart
4 cups2 pints
1 quart
4 pints2 quarts1/2 gallon
8 pints4 quarts1 gallon

1 ounce28 grams
2 ounces55 grams
3 ounces85 grams
4 ounces115 grams
8 ounces225 grams
16 ounces455 grams

Source: Foodgeeks Conversion Charts

Friday, February 6, 2009

Polish Cuisine Traditions

If you want to try traditional Polish cuisine, there is one basic rule to it:
stop counting your calories
! :)

Typical meals are very hearty and often contain a lot of meat. Just sampling them is enough to discover that they are really delicious and worth putting on a few ounces. The most famous and certainly recommendable dishes are: bigos, kotlet schabowy, pierogi and gołąbki (all of those dishes descriptions and recipes you will find at my blog here - just click the links). Polish people like to say that their two basic and most famous products are: delicious Polish bread and a variety of spiced sausages ("kiełbasa"). In fact, in many cities of the world you can find Polish shops specializing in kiełbasa sausages or Polish bakeries famous for the tasty bread made only using natural ingredients and methods.

The most typical ingredients used in Polish cuisine are sauerkraut, beetroot, cucumbers (especially pickled cucumbers; gherkins), sour cream, kohlrabi, mushrooms, sausages and smoked sausage. A meal owes it taste to the herbs and spices used; such as marjoram, dill, caraway seeds, parsley, or pepper. The most popular desserts are cakes and pastries. A shot of vodka is an appropriate addition to festive meals... and it certainly helps you to digest all of this delicious and tasty food.

Poland's culture has always integrated elements from its neighbours, and there are also many recipes of Jewish origin. The tastes and preperation of meals often differ from county to county (or voivodship - that's how they are called in Poland) so depends in which part of the country you are, you may encounter various recipes and dishes. Nowadays the Polish menu is still changing, being influenced by various, sometimes exotic tastes. Apart from traditional restaurants specialising in traditional local cuisine, you can find restaurants serving e.g. Italian, French and Asian foods, as well as vegetarian bars everywhere in Poland.

If there are any Polish recipes or traditions you'd like to read about here - you're most welcome to write a comment or a suggestion. I'll really appreciate all of the feedback! :)

Oh, and by the way - if you feel lost when browsing for some Polish recipes - check out this short Polish Cuisine Glossary.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Welcome to my newly created blog about cooking & cuisine.
One of my favorite recipes come from Poland (the place of my birth) and that's why I decided to share the best recipes there are. All those meals are tasty, quite easy to prepare, and most importantly - YUMMY! :)

From time to time, I also plan to blog about different kinds of foods and recipes, not only Polish or Eastern European, but the ones, which got my attention - from all over the world.

So - get your kitchen utensils ready - and enjoy!