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.

Friday 20 May 2011

Orange Almond Caramel Upside Down Cake – Cake Slice Bakers May 2011

The cake
It’s cake Slice Baker time again! It has been a very fast month, and has just flown by, I only managed to bake this yesterday, which is a bit last minute for my liking, but I made it in time just!

The toffee drizzled with honey and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds.
Our cake this month comes from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman published by The Taunton Press 2009. The cake this month is an Orange-Almond-Caramel Upside-Down Cake, from the Round Cakes chapter.

Ready to go.
The bottom layer is an orange and vanilla flavoured cake, tender due to a little sour cream in the batter. Topped off with a sticky, gorgeous, honey toffee flaked almond topping. Yum yum! We liked this one, I’d have been really surprised if we had not – caramel, orange, honey and almonds all go down well here. Teensy bit of whipped cream and dessert is served.

Now, I’m off to see how my fellow Cake Slice Bakers got on with it. Here is the link for the blogroll if you would like to as well.

Next Review Up: Rose Petal Jam Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland.

Monday 9 May 2011

One More Slice by Leila Lindholm, Review

Waffles with raspberries and maple syrup.

Leila Lindholm is back with a follow up to her previous baking book “A Piece of Cake”. This second volume “One More Slice” published by New Holland Publishers (UK) in 2011 is an expansion on the first covering new (mainly) baked goods.

The style is similar to the first with beautiful yet rustic photography – scenery, food, shops and Leila herself plus friends too. Chapters are: Pizza Amore * Say Cheesecake* Pancakes and Waffles * Ciao Tortano * Brownies and Blondies * I Scream for Ice Cream * Boulangerie * American Pie and * Pasta Pronto.

Many of the chapters have a master recipe and variations from it (like the previous book, which I must get round to reviewing…). For example nine variations of brownies or New York Cheesecake seven ways. There are also others like the American Pie chapter, that are all individually done. Plenty of pictures to inspire you too.

I can’t eat yeast, but if you can I think the “Nine Kinds of Baguette” would have you in the kitchen baking bread as fast as you can don your apron! One kind has beetroot and feta cheese in it; I wish I can tell you! There is also a beautiful pink spiky Ice Cream Bombe with Raspberry Meringue. Some more tasters of the recipes are : Moist Coconut Slice with Lime * Tortano with Goats Cheese and Salami* American Pancakes * Belgian Waffles * Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake * Calzone * Stars and Stripes Pie* and American Caramel Pie.

A few years ago now I bought an electric waffle maker, convincing myself that I really needed it. It’s not something I use every day by any means, but when I do use it everyone loves a hot waffle. My favourite chapter in this book is “Pancakes and Waffles”. We loved the classic waffles and I’m looking forward to trying others like “World’s Tastiest Crispy Waffles”. At the moment I’ve got some ricotta in my fridge to try Leila’s ricotta pancakes, the question is do I do them plain, with mixed berries or with pecans and chocolate? Decisions decisions!

Brownies with After Eights

These were good, strong and a bit minty. They didn’t quite pip Dorie’s (Greenspan) ones, but they were nice with ice cream. My only niggle really is that the brownie recipe doesn’t give a tin size – I guessed at 13 x 9 inches.


These were lovely, light sweet and a bit crispy.

Waffles Recipe

My adaptation of Leila Lindholm’s recipe from “One More Slice” published by New Holland Publishers (UK) 2011. I’ve halved the recipe and added some sugar too. You’ll need a waffle maker.

Makes 8 to 10 waffles, depending on the size of your waffle maker.

175g plain flour

Good pinch salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup caster sugar

400ml milk

40g butter

2 large eggs

Cooking oil spray for the waffle maker

(1) Mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a batter jug if you have one (or bowl), whisk in the milk to make a smooth batter.

(2) Melt the butter and add to the batter beating well, then beat in the two eggs.

(3) Leave the batter to sit for 30 minutes.

(4) Warm up your waffle iron and spray with oil for each batch and cook until golden and lovely.

Next Review up: Rose Petal Jam, Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland.