Category Archives: Recipes

Pickled Courgettes or Zucchini

pickled courgettes zucchinis

Jars of freshly pickled home-made dill pickles. Here pickled courgettes or zucchini using surplus vegetables.

One of the best ways of storing surplus vegetables is to pickle them. Pickling preserves fruit and vegetables and has long been a tradition in many families here in Poland.

Here is the recipe we use to make pickled courgettes (zucchini).

Ingredients needed:

- 1 kg courgette (zucchini), sliced
- 1 or 2 medium sized carrots
- 1 medium sized bell pepper (paprika)
- 6 garlic cloves, halved
- 10 fresh dill sprigs
- 2 or 3 tablespoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dill seeds
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 10 bay leaves

Ingredients needed to make marinade:

- 1 litre boiling hot water
- 200 ml apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

- *Sterilise jars.
- In the bottom of each jar, add 2 halved cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 bay leaves, 2 or 3 juniper berries, 2 or 3 peppercorns, a few mustard seeds.
- Slice courgettes (zucchini) and carrots into chunky rings. Place courgette slices into jars and layer tightly, adding a spring or two of dill, a few pieces of carrot and bell pepper (paprika), a bay leaf, and one or two pieces of garlic to each jar.
- Combine the marinade ingredients and stir until salt is dissolved. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the layered courgettes.
- Cover tightly with lid, turn upside down, and let the jar cool to room temperature.

pickled courgettes

* To sterilise jars: wash the jars and lids in warm, soapy water, rinse well, then dry them with kitchen towel. Put them in a oven at 180°C for five minutes.

Polish Dried Mushrooms

polish stringed mushrooms

Two freshly-dried and packaged strings of delicious Polish Podgrzybek mushrooms.

Over the last few weeks the whole family have been busy wandering the forests around our home in beautiful Lubuskie, in the west of Poland. We have been searching for and picking wild mushrooms for consumption by us on special occasions such as Christmas Eve and Easter and indeed throughout the year in dishes like Bigos and Mushroom Soup.

Here are a couple photographs of the two youngest members of our family with some of our freshly dried Borowik and Podgrzybek mushrooms.

polish dried mushrooms

Dried Borowik and Podgrzybek mushrooms, packaged and ready for mailing out to anywhere in the world!

This year we have been fortunate in finding and drying many more of these delicious mushrooms than we can possibly eat, so, do please get in contact if you would like to buy some. The Borowik mushrooms have been sliced and dried using a traditional drying method. While the Podgrzybek mushroom caps have been dried on strings in our kitchen.

We store our own dried mushrooms in large airtight ‘Kilner’ style jars and they will safely keep for more than a year in this way. To re-hydrate dried mushrooms simply soak them in boiling water for about 30 minutes and add to whatever dish you are cooking.

There really is nothing quite like the taste of wild mushrooms from Poland and these are truly a Polish product. We can post them from here in Poland to anywhere in the world. Payment can be made via the secure online Paypal system and mushrooms packaged and mailed by tracked airmail in any quantity. Stocks are limited though. We have only selling what we can’t possibly eat ourselves over the next one year. Get in touch and buy some today!

polish dried borowik mushrooms

Sliced and dried Polish Borowik mushrooms on our kitchen table in Lubuskie. All the mushrooms were picked within 25 kms of our house in western Poland. Most within 2 kms and by four members of our family!

Related content on Polish Poland:
- More about Polish Wild Mushrooms.

Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese

Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese

A plate of delicious Oscypek smoked cheese about to be eaten at our home here in Lubuskie, western Poland.

Oscypek is Polish smoked cheese produced in the Tatra Mountains in the far south of Poland. It is traditionally made using unpasteurized salted sheep’s milk. To sample this unique cheese you could travel to the Oscypek Festival organized each summer in Zakopane or alternatively visit any good store anywhere in Poland and buy them to enjoy at home. Since we’re a long way from the Polish highlands we usually buy ours at our local Intermarche supermarket! A similar cheese known as Gołka is made using the milk of cows rather than sheep.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- Polish Smoked Cheese Braids.

Cabbage, Potato, Sausage and Beer!

Here’s a recipe we cook every week or two. It includes some of my father’s favourite ingredients, Cabbage, Potato, Sausage and Beer!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams of smoked sausages
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion, diced
100 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cabbage, sliced
6 potatoes, cut into chunks
A can of Polish beer
salt and black pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

- Cut the smoked sausage into rough chunks. Add to a large pan and gently fry the sausage, garlic and onions for 5 minutes, or until browned.
- Add the stock, cabbage and potatoes to the pan. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Stirring now and again.
- Add the beer and salt and pepper. Cook for around 20 minutes more or until the potatoes are soft.

This is a quick and easy Polish recipe and a dish that all I’ve cooked it for have enjoyed.

Note: I substitute the fresh cabbage for sauerkraut now and again. This works equally well. Just be sure to rinse the sauerkraut in water before using.

Related content: Our recipe for Sauerkraut and Sausage Stew.

Polish Smoked Cheese

One of the most popular foods found in lunch boxes and at picnics throughout Poland has to be Serowe warkoczyki wędzone (Braided Smoked Cheese). It’s a traditional smoked and salted cheese made from steamed cow’s milk formed into spaghetti-like strings and braided together by hand. Both our children love the salty, smokey taste of this most Polish of cheeses.

polish smoked cheese braids

A plate of Polish smoked cheese braids. This type of cheese is made using traditional methods and is a most tasty snack.

This type of Polish smoked cheese does not contain preservatives and are made using only the finest natural ingredients. Our family’s favourite brand of stringed cheese is made by ‘Milkeffekt’ based in the town of Cieszyn.

See also: Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese.

Polish Poppy Seed Cake

Later this afternoon I plan to make one of our family’s favourite cakes – Polish Poppy Seed Cake. Here’s our recipe should you want to try making it yourself. This recipe can equally be used to make muffins or cupcakes.

Ingredients needed for Polish Poppy Seed Cake.

200 grams butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200 grams golden caster sugar
200 grams self-raising flour
3 lemons, zested
3 eggs
2 tbsp poppy seeds
150g natural yoghurt

Directions

- Heat oven to 170 / 180 centigrade. Grease and line the base of a deep cake tin
- Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix again. Spoon al the ingredients into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a cup or two of Lipton black tea!

The poppy seeds we use are from our own garden. The eggs from our chickens. The lemons and other ingredients from a nearby Tesco store!

Polish Chickens!

chickens hens

Some of our free-ranging hens pecking around searching for bugs and worms near our currant bushes.

Regular visitors will know that we live in a rural setting. Here’s a photograph of three of our hens in front of one of two henhouses. We currently have nine chickens, which keep us (and some of our extended family) in tasty free-range eggs. The chickens are free to wander anywhere on our core three hectare plot and each hen generally lays one egg each and every day. Dropping in winter to perhaps one every egg two or three days. Many Poles in our rural part of Poland keep a few chickens and some friends even keep a pig or two to fatten up and eat!

polish chickens

Two of our ‘Polish chickens’. These hens are around two years old and spend most of their time with each other. Best friends!

On the subject of eggs. Here is our recipe for Polish Egg Salad.

Polish Egg Salad

Ingredients
10 hard-boiled eggs
5 pickled dill gherkins
2 tomatoes
1 onion
mayonnaise
plain yogurt
chives
salt
pepper

Directions for Polish Egg Salad
Simply cut up the ingredients in to small pieces. Mix. Cool in a fridge and serve with fresh bread.

Related content: our family recipe for Polish Scrambled Eggs with Sausage.

Come back soon to read and see more of life in Poland, and most especially the Polish countryside.

Dried Mushrooms

Dried Mushrooms from Poland

The first of this year’s pick of wild mushrooms have now dried and are about to be put in store. Dried mushrooms, kept in a sealed container, will happily keep for up to a year, so will be used over the coming winter and beyond.

dried wild mushrooms

Here are a couple pictures of some of our dried Porcini (borowiki) and Bay Bolete (podgrzybek) mushrooms. All have been picked over the last week or two by our family in the forests of the province of Lubuskie in the far west of Poland.

polish dried mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are re-hydrated by soaking in boiling water for about 30 minutes and used in Polish dishes such as Bigos (Hunter’s Stew) and Polish Wild Mushroom Soup.

Zurek / Sour Rye Soup

Zurek (żur, żurek) or Sour Rye Soup is traditionally made of sour rye flour, pork sausage, and hard-boiled eggs. Some families substitute the sausage for wild mushrooms, such as Borowik (Porcini) or Podgrzybek (Bay Bolete). Other households also add potatoes or even turnip. Chopped parsley or marjoram is almost always added as a garnish.

Zurek is eaten throughout the year in most Polish households but is an essential part of a Polish Easter. In some Polish restaurants this soup is now served in an edible bowl made of bread, although, I’ve yet to see any normal family here in Poland serve zurek in this way.

zurek soup

Here is our own family’s recipe for Zurek soup. This is the one we use at Easter.

Ingredients
• 100 grams Sourdough
• 50 grams of sausage
• 3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs
• a handful of dried wild mushrooms
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/2 cup cream
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 or 4 allspice seeds
• 2 tsp marjoram
• 1.5 litres of water
• salt
• pepper

polish zurek soups

A selection of shop bought Zurek (sour rye) soups taken from our store cupboard and on display in our garden!

Many shops now sell very good ready-made soups, sold in cartons or as a powder in packets. Popular brands include: Knorr, Winiary, Rolnik, and Krakus. We do when in more of a hurry make use one of these as a base. Adding our own sausage or wild mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs, to make more of a hearty meal.

Zurek is similar to another Polish soup – barszcz biały (white borscht), which is made from white wheat flour rather than rye.

Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup

Polish Mushroom Soup

This is our own recipe for mushroom soup. This delicious recipe originates from the Poznan region of western Poland. Although in this particular recipe we are using white field mushrooms the equally tasty wild mushrooms commonly found in Polish forests could also be used.

Mushroom Soup Directions

Heat some oil in a pan and cook the onion for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock and parsley. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs and seasoning and cook for two more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the soured cream. Reheat over a low heat but do not allow to boil.

Mushroom Soup Ingredients

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
1 large chopped onion
250 grams chopped white field mushrooms
1 litre vegetable stock
50 ml of chopped parsley
150 grams fresh breadcrumbs
40 ml soured cream

If you were feeling adventurous you could also add the grated rind of a lemon to give the soup an extra flavour twist!

Related content on Polish Poland: Another wild mushroom soup recipe.