Sunday, 5 March 2017

Greek Style Chicken Kebabs

“I never eat breakfast on an empty stomach”
W.C. Fields

With the days getting warmer, hot and heavy meals no longer taste as good as in winter, so we are about to look for some light seasonal recipes for spring and summer. Today’s recipe is one of such light inspirations: kebabs, which are quick and easy to make, may be a good basis for the main course or can be served cold or hot as a snack or a side dish. Similar to Greek souvlaki, they definitely remind me of a Greek culinary style and food I had a chance to see and taste during my trip to Kos. The chickens are very aromatic; the longer you marinate them, the more crispy they get. This dish is perfect with cool dip made of mayonnaise, yoghurt and brine-pickled cucumbers.

500 g chicken breasts

1 tablespoon kebab spice mix
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon herbal pepper mix
2 tablespoons olive oil

Dipping sauce:

4-5 tablespoons thick yoghurt
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
half an onion, finely chopped
2-3 brine-pickled cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the chicken breasts, remove skin or bones if necessary, and cut them into strips. Place them into a bowl. Mix up the ingredients to make the marinade and then coat the chickens well in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. After marinating, push skewers into each chicken breast, sticking the meat at the top and the bottom to make an accordion fold shape. Place the chickens evenly on the skewers (you can put two slices on one skewer if they are small). Cook the kebabs under the grill or on the barbecue until they are golden and the centre is done.

Dipping sauce: Combine yoghurt and mayonnaise together. Add chopped onion and chives. Grate the cucumbers on large holes. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well until fully combined. Serve the dip in serving bowls.
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Kokosanki (coconut cakes), officially known as Lamingtons

“Desserts are the fairy tales of the kitchen — a happily-ever-after to supper”
Terri Guillemets

A traditional Australian treat, lamingtons are made from squares of sponge cake coated in an outer layer of chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut. These cakes have always been called kokosanki among my family and are always in my mind when I hear the word. They are easy to prepare and really make you want to eat more. They will please the taste of many, not only fans of coconut. I found the recipe for cocoa icing among some old culinary jottings and recipes in my house. It gives smooth coating to the cakes, creating a cocoa-sugar surface. What you have to bear in mind is that the cocoa mass cannot be boiled – if you happen to do this, fat which is inside will separate and the mass will be too thin and runny.

Makes: about 20-24 cakes
For the sponge cake:

4 eggs
8 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Separate the egg whites from the yolks, add a pinch of salt and beat the egg whites until stiff. Still beating, little by little add first the sugar and then the yolks, one at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a baking tin (lined with baking paper) and bake at 180°C until golden. Allow the cake to cool, then cut it into squares or rectangles, as you please.

For the icing:
250 g butter or margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
3-4 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
5 tablespoons water
2 packs of desiccated coconut (200 g)

Melt the sugar and margarine or butter over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and heat for a while (do not make the mixture boil!), until smooth and combined.

Dip pieces of cake into the icing, gently shaking off excess. Then roll the cocoa-coated sponge in the desiccated coconut.
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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Polish Angel Wings Cookies

Food is an important part of a balanced diet
 Franz Lebowitz

It’s the Carnival season. To be sure, it isn’t celebrated as pompously as in Rio or Venice, but we do have our own traditions and customs. One of them is making angel wings cookies and doughnuts. I think this is one of the most pleasant things you can do during Carnival here in Poland. Of course, each of the treats has its devoted fans. I like them both: following my heart - or to be more precise - my stomach, I would go for doughnuts. But if we take into account the preparation time, the angel wings should be called the winners. Some more advantages? They are light, delicate and crispy. The best when still warm. For those who count calories they are the lesser of two evils. The recipe comes from a Polish cookbook published by Reader's Digest and is very simple. You just have to remember to roll the dough as thin as possible. The angel wings will be then more crispy and fresh for a longer time. 

300 g plain flour
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
5 tablespoons sour cream (I used 18 %)
1 tablespoon rectified spirit (if you don’t have, use 1 tablespoon of 10 % vinegar or vodka)
pinch of salt

Mix the flour with the sour cream. Add the remaining ingredients (don’t pour the spirit directly on egg yolks, nor crack the eggs directly onto the spirit, otherwise they will curdle). Knead the dough until smooth. Roll the dough as thin as possible and cut into 3 x 10 cm sections. Cut along a slit in the middle of each strip and pull one end trough the slit. Deep fry in oil until they turn golden. Dry on paper towels and sprinkle with icing sugar.

While frying the cookies, it is good to put into oil a piece of sliced potato and keep changing the pieces every now and again. This trick prevents from heating the oil over its smoke point.

Here is a short video on how to form the cookies.

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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Jam Filled Crescents

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” 

 Linda Grayson

This recipe comes from one of many loosely scattered paper sheets with recipes stored in my house. I don’t even remember its origin, it has been there for ages. The cookies belong to simple ones. You do not have to wait until the dough rises, nor make the leaven (although the yeast is used). They disappear from a plate so quickly. Not too sweet because there is no sugar among the ingredients, their sweet flavour is enhanced by dusting with icing sugar. I used jam for filling. However, you can always use something else, such as dulce de leche, chocolate, Nutella, cheese or pudding – each version is good. It doesn’t take much time to make the cookies and they work well as a sweet afternoon snack. Perfect when accompanied by coffee, hot chocolate or cocoa. 

Ingredients: (about 30 cookies)
500 g plain flour
1 egg
250 g butter or margarine
½ cup sour cream 18%
30-40 g fresh yeast

Combine all the ingredients on a board - first chop with a knife and then knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll each one into a round shape and cut out triangular slices, beginning from the centre of the circle (the legs of a triangle should be longer than the base). Put ½ teaspoon of jam on the thicker end of each slice and then roll the dough from the thicker to the thinner part. When the crescents are ready place them onto a greased baking tray. Beat the egg, add two tablespoons of milk and brush over each crescent. Bake at 180°C (356°F) for about 20 minutes until they turn golden. Take out, transfer from the tray and leave to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

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Whole Wheat Rolls with Pumpkin Seeds

“You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life” 

Julia Child

Whenever I pass by old book markets I always stop for a while to look for some interesting cookbooks. You can often find real gems in such places. In this way I came into possession of three wonderful books, one of them being Kuchnia Polska (Polish Cuisine) from 1997. And this is where I found a recipe for whole wheat rolls. I am very fond of wholemeal bread, and when I discovered this recipe, I couldn’t resist it. The rolls are soft, compact and a bit moist at the same time. Somewhat sweet because of the addition of honey, they taste good with sweet as well as salty toppings. Obviously, I most willingly eat them while they are still warm and brushed only with butter (very addictive in this version), but they taste equally good with other toppings, too. They are easy to make, and believe me, the very preparation of rolls is going to give you great pleasure. 

Ingredients: (10-12 rolls)
220 g plain flour
220 g wholemeal rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
60 g fresh yeast
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 handful chopped pumpkin seeds and several whole seeds for the toppin

In a bowl, whisk together flours and salt. Make a well in the centre, crumb the yeast and add 1 ½ teaspoons of honey and ¾ cup of warm water. Gently stir with a fork until the yeast is dissolved. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set in a warm place for 15 minutes. After that, add the remaining portion of honey, chopped pumpkin seeds and another ¾ cup of warm water. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky (if it is too wet add more flour as necessary – both types in 1:1 proportion). It should be compact, smooth and only slightly tacky. Again, cover the dough with the tea towel and leave in a warm place for half an hour. Punch the dough with a fist to remove air and place the dough on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal pieces and roll into balls. With a knife, make a cross on the top of each roll and place them on a flour-dusted backing tray. Cover with a cloth and rest them for 15 minutes. Then, brush the rolls with warm water and sprinkle on top with pumpkin seeds. Put the tray with rolls into the oven preheated to 200°C (392°F)  (lower and upper heater). Put another tray filled with cold water on a lower rack in the oven. Bake for approximately half an hour, until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

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"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” 

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


This is a blog about food.

Surely, you must have come across a number of such blogs on the Internet. Some with recipes or other simply associated with food. I think this blog is similar to many others, but I hope that if you drop by you will find here something appealing to you. For food is not just something we all need to live. It is, above all, the pleasure you take in preparing and tasting dishes. Each dish is different, each is somehow unique in itself. Every cook has his or her own idea for a dish and will add a little of their own style. You will find a lot of recipes here. Some were created by myself, some were found in various cookbooks and magazines or were overheard and jotted down on a piece of paper. I am going to provide their source every time. I also want to write about interesting places where you can eat good food; about culinary travels and general ideas about cooking and baking. This blog is an English version of my main Polish-written blog

I hope you have fun here.

Enjoy :)
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