Encyclopedia of Polish cuisine (book review)...

"Encyclopaedia of Polish cuisine"
by Hanna Szymanderska

Hardback (1148 pages)

As I'm Polish you would presume that Polish cuisine has no mysteries and question marks for me... but it's completely different. The reason is that Polish cuisine is complex, with a rich history, influences from Eastern Europe as well as France, Germany and, on top of that, every region of Poland has their own recipes and traditions. Me and my Hubby got this book as a wedding present and I returned to it only recently as it was our 2nd Wedding anniversary on 24t April :)

The Encyclopedia of Polish Cuisine is a source of information about Polish cooking years ago and today, it covers both haute, official cuisine and recipes from various parts of Poland. The twenty(!) chapters of the book include recipes for flavoured butters, dips, soups, flour-based dishes, egg and cheese dishes, kashas and rice, potatoes, side dishes, sauces, fish, meat, poultry, game, mushrooms, vegetables, desserts, cold and hot drinks, cakes, liqueurs and preserves. The author Hanna Szymanderska presents such well-known dishes as chicken broth or pork chops, you will also find here some long-forgotten recipes for crayfish, stewed hazel grouse, quail nests or coot in cranberry sauce but...

The book is written in an easy and understanding language but unfortunately the author uses very patronising tone - unless you're very good cook you won't achieve anything worth eating. I found mistakes in some of the recipes. As mentioned earlier the book covers lots of recipes, techniques and I think that quantity took more important role than quality. It seems that recipes were included without checking them/cooking from them at all...
Overall the book is a good summary of the Polish culinary traditions but because of mistakes in recipes I wouldn't really recommend it to someone who doesn't have any idea about Polish cooking/baking and haven't cooked anything Polish before. It's more of a 'tale' about traditions, roots of Polish cuisine rather than a good and useful compendium of recipes.

The Daring Bakers #13 British Pudding ...

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I didn't have an access to the suet so I choose to make butter based pudding. If you want to get a recipe for the one with the suet and see how my fellow DB did their challenge this month please pop in to The Daring Kitchen.

The result of this month's challenge was fantastic! I didn't want plain pudding though, so I added cinnamon, sultanas and made it with some fresh apples.
I was slightly worried that it won't be a success but... my and my Hubby loved the result!!! It was amazingly light and soft (maybe as a result of slowly steaming it rather thank baking?) We will definitely try it again - next time we're thinking of placing some rich jam/marmalade at the bottom of the pudding basin...

How to make it...

The Daring Cooks #8 Brunswick Stew...

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

There were two ways of doing this month's challenge. First one long and time consuming (none of which I had this month...) and second one. If you want the full recipe of the first long version, and also see how my DC fellows done this month's challenge please pop in to The Daring Kitchen.

How to make it...

Happy Easter to all of you!...

Today very short post - just to wish you Happy Easter and enjoy all those chocolate eggs!!! I know I will ;) This morning was very traditional at my home. Festive breakfast and now a day of laziness with some good coffee and a cake I baked yesterday :) If you want to know more about Polish Easter traditions pop in here to my last year's post about it.

Five brown eggs in a nest of hay,
One yellow chick popped out to play.
Four brown eggs in a nest of hay,
Another yellow chick cheep-cheeped Good day.
Three brown eggs in a nest of hay,
Crack went another one, Hip hooray.
Two brown eggs in a nest of hay,
One more chick pecked his shell away.
One brown egg in a nest of hay,
The last yellow chick popped out to say,
Happy Easter!