A Polish Feast
prepare a Polish teatime feast for a large number of guests.
Report on a Polish feast for 100 guests prepared by Andy
Bereza in London.
A few weeks back I
prepared a Podwieczorek (in London) for about 100 people and decided to
reduce classic Polish cuisine to finger food proportions. Perhaps
invented with some element of surprise? It worked brilliantly ... so I
thought I’d share the ideas. Back to Polish
of a barszcz popsicle!
There's Kir and there's Bellini. As a nation, we Poles deserve a
national champagne cocktail. I'm passionate about our country's ability
to harvest the rose . . . simply as petals or jam. (Blikle use
nothing else in their paczki). The French make a syrup too ... so I
hijacked the manufacturer's suggestion to add 10ml to a glass of Prosecco (works well with any naturally fizzy dry wine). The nose
is amazing. What could be more romantic to start an evening than
Champagne and Roses?
An intense childhood memory. My mother invited guests to her nameday
party and we would wait patiently in our bedroom eavesdropping on the
chatter and anticipating plates of leftovers to arrive. Demi tomatoes
studded with dots of mayo atop peeled eggs are the strongest memory.
Fifty years later, half a sweet cherry tomato skewered to a hard boiled
quail's egg brings it all back. Awkward to serve? We baked a round of
shortcrust pastry perforated with small holes and stood our 'poison'
I'm sure the alliterative naming arrived before the recipe. We diced
'wiejska' into cubes (about 5mm), speared half a dozen onto 10cm bamboo
skewers, then grilled gently over a smoky barbeque. At serving time,
these were re-heated in a microwave and accompanied by a complementary
skewer of similarly sliced dill cucumbers.
How do you serve Polands's favourite soup on sticks? Freezing seemed a
better idea than making a jelly. Solid purple ice crystals are probably
too intense for a party. So a soft centre . . sour cream . . . with an
intense barszcz coating feels a little more refined. (In fact, on the
premise that familiar breeds content, fruit ice lollies with vanilla ice
cream centres are a good reference point). So, to create the 'filling' I
'whipped' sour cream in a nitrous oxide powered cream whipper. Squirted
the result into silicone rubber trays and inserted lollipop sticks. Half
an hour later I was able to dip the lollies in cold barszcz concentrate
(from a bottle) and refreeze. It was the hit of the party.
My dad, in his nineties, talked about baked pierogi with kasza gryczana
(buckwheat groats) inside. His sister came over from Poland
subsequently and made them - it shattered his childhood food pleasure
memory. Over the years, in our family kitchen, we've boosted the flavour
of kasza with fried Borowiki
wild mushrooms -
or you could use mushroom stock
cubes. Using miniature mince pie baking trays and supermarket shortcrust
pastry a new savoury pie was born.
Sushi became a family favourite with my wife's first pregnancy 25 years
ago, when I was working for the a Japanese company. Safe to say, a kilo
of raw salmon now disappears within a few hours in our household. The
vinegared fish experience is so akin to the taste of sledz, that it only
took a few tries to create a delicious maki roll - strips of sledz and
its pickled partner, ogorki, rolled in sushi rice, then sheathed in
seaweed paper, sliced, and served alongside a dipping bowl of brewed,
Dziczyzna w Bulce
This immediately conjures up visions of mini-hamburgers for me. We split
fresh, ready made venison burgers into tiny portions and barbecued these
over smokey charcoal in preparation. Bite sized bulki were a bigger
challenge, but a packet of instant bread mix solved that problem quickly.
For garnish, as it's nearly Xmas, cranberry=zurawiny sauce, dispensed
from a squeezy bottle to garnish each serving before final pinning with
a bamboo skewer.
Kabanos w Koszulce
This recipe invented itself. The British party mainstay is sausage rolls.
So we rolled moist kabanos in sheets of puff pastry, then cut into
slices under 1cm thick and roasted till risen and crisp. They looked
like alien spaceships.
I admit it. This idea failed . . but I know reminding myself will help
find a solution next time around. Apple pie with cheddar cheese is a
British classic - we ate hot apple pie with parmesan ice cream at a
local restaurant some time last year. Wonderful - and so easy to do.
Then last Christmas as a parody of Port and Stilton as a savoury course,
I came across Stilton Foam (Espuma style . . made in a cream
whipper) served with a port reduction sauce . . . and biscuits. Equally
surprising and delightful. It seemed natural to transform Poland's most
famous cheese the same way. So I baked the profiteroles a few days ahead.
The night before I boiled the double cream and added a whole, grated
Oscypek. Trouble was, it wouldn't melt adequately, and I was left with
an un-smooth mixture. (Must be smooth or clogs the cream-whiper). I
sieved it through a cheesecloth but this left the flavour behind. Anyway,
a few insipid profiteroles and a great base for spaghetti carbonara (next
day's lunch) were the result.
Traditional, full size golabki are 10cm across and 4cm in diameter. So
think small at one fifth that size! Filling was no problem, but there
was no way to contain such small dimensions in cabbage leaves. We
substituted spinach. Much thinner and much greener. We had a panic
making these up . . wrapping them like cigars, but unable to fold the
ends down wihout severe cracking and tearing! No worries. As soon as we
began to poach them in stock, the spinach wilted and magically
self-closed the parcels! Finally served on cocktail sticks with a
splattering of rich, red, tomato sauce.
What inspired these? Chinese Spring Rolls? MacDonalds Apple Pie? The
traditional boil then fry technique didn't appeal . . apart from which I
didn't fancy making them up from scratch. So I experimented with various
deep frozen varieties (Russian Pelemeni worked out best) which I dropped
straight into a Tefal deep fat fryer. Five minutes later they emerged
crisp and separate - ready to serve
Bigos w Koszyku
I figured bigos was a must - my mum cooks the best in the world - so all
I needed was a finger friendly delivery system. Crunchy vol au vents (we
get them buffet size - as deep frozen ready cut pastry sheets) proved
perfect - with a teaspoon of the hot, savoury, ambrosia slurped in just
Still on the back burner, maybe for a summer re-run, recipes for zurek
ice cream, mizeria sorbet, ice cube size ryba w galarecie and pasztet
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