Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Rose Petal Jam, Review and Interview

I had this book on my wishlist, even before I was asked if I would like to review it, so I was very pleased to do so! I know very little about Polish food, or Poland itself for that matter; and the time has come to redress this.

Rose Petal Jam Recipes and Stories from a Summer In Poland by Beata Zatorska and Simon Target published by Tabula Books 2011. With thanks you to the publishers for my review copy.

It was with facination that I read Beata's writing about her home-land. Poland is and intersting, cutlural, musical, beautiful land. The book is a memoir with recipes, really well done and is fully illustrated throughout. Beata is a lady from Poland who by twists of fate is now a Doctor in Australia. Simon, her husband took the many pictures of Poland for the book. Between them both - Beata's words and Simon's picutres it is east to see and 'be there'. Well as much as is possible through a book!
Cool and perfect for Summer, cucumber salad

The pictures are wonderful, beautifully composed but in a way that you actually see what is there. This book would sit happily on a coffee table to be picked up and read at will, but it is also a cookbook - and you know me - I love a spot of cookery travel to serve at my own table at home. Beata's writing is so evocative I can imagine clearly being her as a child in her beloved Grandmother Jozefa's kitchen.

Poland has had much sorrow, but much to celebrate too. Here in the UK we know that Spring is here and Summer is on the way when our beautiful swallows return, in Poland they eagerly await the return of their storks. I found that really facinating, just a subtle little difference between countires. A beautiful book all round.

Chapters and Rose Petal Jam, Return of the Stork and Summer in Poland. I have tried a couple of recipes and liked them both, and I'm looking forward to trying (amongst lots of others) Beef Goulash and the Kissel that Beata mentions in the interview below. I have the potato flour needed - just waiting for some gorgeous Summer berries to be ripe now.
Potato pancakes with sour cream (and smoked salmon), a gluten free delicious morsel.

Here is my interview with beata Zatorska.

KJ: I’ve really had my eyes opened to Poland as a beautiful country, when you are in Australia and think of Poland what do you remember first.

Beata: I remember the sound of the wind in the linden tree outside my grandmother's house. Sometimes the tall gum trees outside our house in Sydney make a similar noise, and suddenly I am back in Poland. I also remember fireflies lighting up the garden on a warm June night. (In Oz the evening begins with the tropical roaring of cicadas - but no fireflies.

KJ: Which dish do you cook that takes you back in time?

Beata: Pierogi ruskie (Russian pierogi - a giant ravioli like pasta filled with cheese and potato) is something our kids love and that takes me back to my childhood as soon as I start rolling out the pastry (as I did for my grandmother when I was only 5). In our family today in Australia there is often a competition to see who can eat most. The record stands somewhere around 40 (they are teenage boys after all). I am not sure why these are called 'Russian' but they are known as such at every cafe and restaurant in Poland. You can also make pierogi filled with meat, cabbage even fresh seasonal berries.

KJ: What would you like to tell readers about Polish food?

Beata: The food I describe in this book is traditional Polish food, sometimes for special occasions, but often for ordinary meals during the week. It is simple and delicious and hopefully won't be re-invented as 'modern Polish' (just one pierogi on a bed of pesto etc) too soon!

KJ: Do you have a favourite savoury and sweet recipe from the book?

Beata: I love the herring in sour cream recipe on fresh rye bread with or without cold vodka (preferably with). My favourite sweet recipe is kisiel - a sort of jelly made with fresh fruit - its fruity fragrance and deliciously gooey consistency reminds me of long summer days in my grandmother's house.

Thank you very much Beata.

Next Review Up: Olives Et Al.


At Anna's kitchen table said...

Sounds like a book I'd love KJ!

Brownieville Girl said...

Sounds like an excellent book - all the supermarkets here have a Polish section so it would be easy to source all the ingredients too!

Maggie said...

Beautiful book title and the cover looks pretty too.

Maria♥ said...

Kelly, you always review such lovely books!


online pharmacy said...

This book contain some of the most strange recipes I've ever seen in my whole life