NAME AND PRONUNCIATION: naleśniki z serem [nah-lesh-nicky z sir-em] DESCRIPTION: crêpes with cottage cheese TYPE OF CUISINE: Eastern European
This humble meal was always the most delicious treat for us as children. Now, they may not look like much, but they are absolutely delicious! Even though they are sweet, they are not seen as dessert, but as quick lunch or supper.
8-10 servings (depending of the size of your pan) • Preparation time: about 30 minutes (up to 60 minutes with the resting time)
01 To make your crêpes even more special, you can add raisins and cinnamon to the cheese filling.
02 The cheese filling is delicious as it is, but since it contains egg, you need to fry the crêpes before serving them.
03 If you want to make them in advance, feel free. You can even freeze them! Simply prepare your crêpes, fold them with the cheese filling and refrigerate or freeze them. Take out ready to fry!
04 Serve with Polish for local sour cream. If you cannot get it, you can replace it with Greek yoghurt.
Crêpes: ✽ 1 cup of all-purpose flour ✽ 1 cup of milk ✽ ¾ cup of water (sparkling will make the pancakes a little fluffier) ✽ 2 eggs ✽ 3 tablespoons of oil (try to choose a taste-neutral oil, so olive oil is not the best here) ✽ pinch of salt
Cheese filling: ✽ about 500 g of Polish cottage cheese ✽ 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar ✽ 1 tablespoon sugar (you may add more you you like) ✽ ½ egg (crack an egg in a glass, mix it thoroughly and only add a half to your cheese)
NAME AND PRONUNCIATION: chałka [how-kah] DESCRIPTION: challah—sweet brioche type of bread TYPE OF CUISINE: Eastern European—Jewish
This is one of the most important types of bread of my childhood, so it took me ages to this recipe perfectly right. My prefect challah is delicate, but not too puffy, never ever dry and with shiny, dark golden crust.
2 challahs • Preparation time: about 35 minutes • Resting time: 1 hours plus 30 minutes • Baking time: about 20 minutes
01 Challah can be made sweeter if you want it as a dessert or a sweet snack, or less sweet if you would like to use it for an open, savoury sandwich. Adjust sugar accordingly – use 5 or even 6 tablespoons of sugar, if you like your bread a little sweeter, and reduce it down to 2 tablespoons, if you prefer your bread less sweet.
02 If you decide to make your challah less sweet, you can also top is with poppyseeds or sesame seeds, instead the sweet crumble.
01 Lay out all the strands to make it look like a 6-arm octopus and number them in your head them from 1 to 6 left to right. Now, it is time to weave! Take the strand 1 and place it all the way to the right, behind the strand 6.
02 Now take the strand 6 and place it all the way to the left. Your strands will now run 6, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, with strands 1 and 6 running on top of other strands. Strand 1 is first across and strand 6 is just below.
03 Now notice the middle of your challah, which is in between strands 3 and 4.
04 Take strand 1, move it over strand 6 and to the middle of your challah, so between strands 3 and 4. Your order now is 6, 2, 3, 1, 4 and 5.
05 Now take strand 2 and place it all the way to the right making it 6, 3, 1, 4, 5 and 2. The middle is now between strands 1 and 4. Take strand 6 and put it down over strand 2 into the middle.
06 In short, the general rule of weaving is this: you need two strands across your challah, one on top, one below. You place the one on top over the one on the bottom and in the middle of your challah. Then add another across strand coin in the opposite direction to the one you have left. Having two strands across again, always bring the top one across the bottom one in the middle of your challah. Repeat until you finish braiding all the strands.
07 At the end, pinch all strands together and fold underneath.
Challah: ✽ 550 g all-purpose flour ✽ ½ cup warm milk ✽ ½ cup warm water ✽ 30 g butter ✽ 1 egg ✽ 5 tablespoons sugar ✽ 1 tablespoon instant yeast
01 Melt butter in a small pot and set aside to cool.
02 Sift the flour, add all ingredients, including cooled, melted butter and knead for at least 20 minutes, until the dough is silky smooth.
03 Place it a bowl, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place for it to rise for about 1 hour. Use these tips on raising a perfect dough.
04 After the dough has doubled its size, take it out on a worktop and knead for few seconds. Split it in two, cover one half with a tea towel and spilt the other one into six equal parts. Roll out each part to form 6 equal strands.
05 Lay the six strands side-by-side, then pinch all 6 tops together so they are connected at the top. Fold the pinched bit underneath, so the strands do not fall apart. Braid your challah slowly, closely following the directions above.
06 When you finish braiding both challahs, proof them in a warm place and covered with tea towels for about 30 minutes.
07 While you are proofing your challahs, make the sweet crumble. Simply combine all ingredients, form a neat ball and place in a fridge.
08 Once your challahs are proofed, cover them with egg white or egg wash, sprinkle with sweet crumble (the best way is to grate chilled crumble on a cheese grater and sprinkle on your loaves) and bake in 180ºC for about 20-25 minutes.
Name and pronunciation:pączki z różą [punch-key z roo-Jean; “Jean” prononuced in a French way] Description: doughnuts with rose filling
I love Polish doughnuts! They are absolutely delicious, not too sweet and much less dense than many other types of doughnuts. Also, they are always in a shape of balls and most often with lovely filling inside. They resemble berliners, but are more delicate inside. The most traditional type of Polish doughnuts is one with a rose jam filling and topped with thick glaze and candied orange peel.
10 doughnuts • Preparation time: about 45 minutes • Resting time: 1 hours plus 30 minutes • Frying time: about a minute for each doughnut
01 Make sure you use enough flour for dusting your doughnuts before proofing. They will be very delicate and you do not want them to stick.
02 When placing your risen doughnut in the oil, handle them very gently. They need to stay perfectly round and fluffy.
03 While I absolutely love my doughnuts with a filling, my family prefer plain doughnuts, only glazed. It is perfectly fine, they will be lovely either way!
04 Every rose is edible, but you should never ever consume commercial roses from flower shops. They are treated with many chemicals and are never safe to eat. You can get dry rose buds in Asian shops or health stores, in a tea section. Simply remove the green parts and add the rest to the fruit.
05 You can mix the glaze with a spoon, but I like using a blender to make it super smooth.
Doughnuts: ✽ 2 cups all-purpose flour ✽ ½ cup warm milk ✽ 2 yolks ✽ 1 egg ✽ 35 g butter ✽ 4 tablespoons vanilla sugar ✽ 7 g dry yeast ✽ ⅓ teaspoon salt
Filling: ✽ 4 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen) ✽ 4 tablespoons sugar ✽ 10 rose petals ✽ dash rosewater (can be replaced with plain water)
Lemon glaze: ✽ 2 cups powder sugar ✽ lemon juice
01 Melt butter in a small pot and set aside to cool.
02 Meanwhile, beat the yolks with the egg with vanilla sugar until they are very fluffy and almost white.
03 Sift flour with salt into a mixing bowl. Add milk, yeast and eggs beaten with sugar, and gently mix.
05 Knead for about 15 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but dusting the worktop with some flour will do the trick.
06 After 15 minutes, add melted, cooled butter and keep kneading. It seems like there is too much moisture at first, but keep kneading. Soon you will end up with a perfect, smooth dough. Keep going for another 15 minutes.
07 Cover and place in a warm place to raise for about an hour.
08 Use this time to make a filling. Making the filling is super easy. In a small saucepan, place strawberries, add a dash of rosewater, rose petals and sugar. Start with about 4 tablespoons of sugar and add more if you need to. Simmer on low heat and keep stirring every so often, so it doesn’t burn. Stop when the filling is nicely thick. Cool.
09 After an hour, you dough should be twice the size. Knead a little bit to let the air out and roll out on a worktop. Cut about 10 circles with a cake cutter or roll into 10 equal balls. You can weigh the dough portions to make sure they are the same. Dust with flour generously, cover with a tea towel and place on a flat surface to proof. Keep them quite far from each other, they will raise significantly.
10 Now, it is time to deep-fry them. I like using a wok for it. Heat up enough oil to cover a half of your doughnuts. The oil should be hot enough to sizzle when you place your doughnuts, but they should not brown too fast or they will burn. Gently place about 3 doughnuts in the oil and fry. When the bottom side is nicely browned, flip them using a straining spoon. Continue with the rest.
11 When brown on both sides, it is time to remove them from oil and place on a cooling rack.
12 If you choose to add filling, you need to do it when your doughnuts are just cool enough to handle, or the filling will not have enough space inside. You can either use a piping bag with a special, long tip, or simply get a syringe (the largest size). Pierce each doughnut on a side (the light ring is the softest part) and inject a portion of the filling to the middle of your doughnuts.
13 When cooled completely, cover with lemon glaze. To make glaze, simply add lemon juice to the sugar few drops at the time and mix energetically. Powder sugar mixes with the smallest amount of liquid and you need your glaze very thick, so be careful not to add too much juice at once. Dip doughnuts in gaze and sprinkle with finely grated lemon peel before the glaze sets.
I am very adamant about cakes that are too dry or too hard, so I absolute adore this recipe. The cupcakes are feather light, delicate and very moist inside. They also come out with flat tops, which makes them perfect for decorating. As it happens, no one in my family likes buttercream, so I always glaze them, or dust them and I love such neat, elegant finish.
Approximately 12 servings • Preparation time: about 30 minutes • Baking time: 20 minutes
01 The better you cream your ingredients, the more delicate the result. Butter and eggs need to beaten as well as possible, so take your time until they are smooth, visibly fluffy and almost white in colour.
02 Be very careful when you glaze your cupcakes. Sugar gets extremely hot and sticks to your fingers, so any encounter with skin is highly unpleasant.
03 Do not worry that if cupcakes change their height quite a lot during baking. It is perfectly normal. They will rise significantly at first, but then reduce to flat tops at the end.
Cupcakes: ✽ 185 g unsalted butter (room temperature or softened but not melted in oven or microwave) ✽ 235 g sugar ✽ 185 g all-purpose flour ✽ 125 ml milk ✽ 100 g baking chocolate ✽ 2 medium to large eggs ✽ 1 tablespoon cacao ✽ 2 teaspoons baking powder ✽ powder sugar (optional, to decorate) ✽ dry rose petals (optional, to decorate) ✽ crushed nuts of your choice (optional, to decorate)
Lemon glaze: ✽ ½ lemon (squeezed) ✽ 1 cup powder sugar
01 Melt the chocolate using this tip. Set aside to cool down.
02 Meanwhile, beat the butter with sugar as well as you can. It needs to be very fluffy and white.
03 Separately, beat the eggs. Again, make sure they are fluffy and almost white. It is important for lightness of you cupcakes later.
04 Now, come back to the creamed butter. Add melted, cooled chocolate and blend together with a mixer using slower speed. After that, add the beaten eggs and gently blend as well.
05 Sift the flour, cacao and baking powder into the batter. Gently mix with a blender on a slow setting.
06 At the end, add milk and blend gently on a slow setting.
07 Use silicone moulds or a cupcake tray prepared with paper liners. Fill out the forms at about ¾, leaving a bit of space for the cupcakes to rise. Bake at 180ºC for about 20 minutes. Cool down thoroughly before decorating.
08 In a small saucer, mix the lemon juice and powder sugar, and heat up continuously mixing. Take off the heat and mix for a while longer.
09 When your glaze starts cooling down and thickening, take your cold cupcakes, turn upside and gently dip in the glaze until the top is completely covered. Be careful not to hold the cupcake in hot glaze too long. You do not want the cupcake top to stick to the glaze too much and tear off the cupcake. Finish dipping with a little twist and lift. Add your dry toppings to the hot glaze and set aside to cool thoroughly.
Name and pronunciation:pierogi [pee-yeh-ro-ghi] – there is no need for the “s” at the end so often used in English. “Pierogi” is already a plural form. Description: dumplings Type of cuisine:Polish
I absolutely love pierogi with green lentils. They are flavourful and have a great texture, actually resembling meat, so even the most dedicated carnivores are guaranteed to enjoy them. I add fresh coriander, so it is not strictly traditional Polish filling, but it is a real staple in our house and we eat tonnes of them!
Approximately 40 servings • Preparation time: about 60 minutes • Resting time: 30 minutes (optional) • Cooking time: 1-2 minutes
01 With fresh pierogi, you have a choice between serving them just cooked, or frying them. After cooling or freezing, you should fry them.
02 Both fresh and fried pierogi are perfect when served with fried onions orsour cream.
03 Because you need to add two layers of dough to each bite, make sure that the filling is slightly saltier and a little bit spicer than you need it. This way it will be perfectly balanced when cooked.
02 Cook the lentils until soft all the way through, but not mushy. The filling is much better when it retains the natural texture of perfectly cooked lentils. You will need about twice as much water as you are using lentils.
03 Chop the onion and fry it until brown, but not crispy.
04 Drain cooked lentils. It is best to give them good few minutes to make sure all water is drained well and the filling is not too runny.
05 Mix cooked lentils, fried onion and chopped coriander while gently breaking the lentils with a fork, to achieve a consistency resembling cooked minced meat. Season with salt and pepper.
NAME AND PRONUNCIATION: babka [bah-b-kah] DESCRIPTION: marble cake TYPE OF CUISINE: Eastern European
In Poland, we usually bake babka for Easter, but it is so quick, easy to prepare and everyone loves it, so it is great for any party or just as a weekend’s treat. There are many different recipes for babka, but I really like this one, since the cake is nice and moist inside, and stays fresh for good few days.
Depending on your form, about 12-16 servings • Preparation time: about 90 minutes • Baking time: about 60 minutes
02 Sift both flours together with the baking powder to make sure they are thoroughly mixed.
03 In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are shiny, silky smooth, and almost white.
04 Once the eggs are ready, add the oil and butter. It is best to keep mixing while slowly trickling the butter in. This way the butter will get mixed into the eggs immediately and not sink to the bottom of your bowl.
05 Split the eggs into two equal parts to make them into two different flavours. You will also need to split the flour. Now, add vanilla powder and a half of the flour to one of the bowls with beaten. Blend until all ingredients are perfectly mixed. This is will be your vanilla batter.
06 Then, take out two tablespoons from the other half of the flour and replace them with two tablespoons of cocoa. Mix the cocoa into the flour with a whisk, before adding them to the second bowl with beaten eggs. Blend until perfectly combined. This way your chocolate batter is ready as well.
07 Grease the form with oil and get the oven hot to about 180ºC. Pour both flavours of batter into the form in patches alternating the flavours. After you have finished, take something thin and long, such as a chopstick or a kitting needle, and gently drag it around the form. Do not mix the batters, just stir them a little for a nice marble effect.
08 The way of baking a babka is very important. It needs to raise equally on all sides and not burn. Start from about 180ºC for about 30 minutes, then bake for another half an hours at about 160ºC. Check on your cake from time to time during baking (through the glass, opening the oven will lower the temperature) and if you notice it is rising more on one of the sides, you can turn the form and reduce the temperature a little. It may crack a bit, do not worry about it. Getting it absolutely perfect may take one or two goes, since it differs from one oven to another.
09 Babka needs to have a nice, golden crust. When you see it, take it out and check the inside. In order to do that, use a thin, metal probe, such as a knitting needle, and pierce the cake all the way through. Any liquid batter will stick to the needle and make it dirty. It is a sign your babka is not ready yet. Bake it until the probe is perfectly clean.
10 When ready, take it out of the oven and cool before flipping onto a plate and gently removing the form. Dust with powder sugar, or finish with caramel or lemon glaze.
Name and pronunciation:البرياني [biryani] Description: our favourite vegetarian version of Iraqi biryani Type of cuisine:Arabic
Iraqi biryani is the first dish my husband cooked for me and it is sill one of my favourite tastes. It differs from the original, Indian version. It has much more rich and complex flavours and textures. There are many different ways to make biryani and we make it vegetarian, but you can opt to add some meat as well.
Approximately 4-6 people • Cooking time: about 60 minutes
01 All ingredients are quick and easy, but need to be prepared separately, so it is better to be organised and have everything ready in advance
02 Feel free to use the same oil to fry all the ingredients. You will need a little more oil than usually. It is not exactly deep-frying, but you need about ½ good quality olive oil. Use a draining spoon to remove one type of ingredient, before adding another one.
✽ medium potato ✽ 1-2 medium carrots ✽ 1 medium onion ✽ ½ cauliflower ✽ 2 cups rice (best to use basmati variety) ✽ cup vermicelli ✽ 2 cups frozen green peas ✽ 1-2 handfuls raisins ✽ 1-2 handfuls almonds or other nuts ✽ 2 tablespoons cinnamon ✽ 1½ tablespoons cardamom ✽ 1½ tablespoons sumac ✽ 1 tablespoon salt (to taste) ✽ 1 teaspoon black pepper
01 Cut the cauliflower into very small pieces and cook until a little soft. Drain and set aside.
02 Peel and chop the potato, carrot and onions into cubes. Heat up the oil and fry them separately until slightly brown and delicately crispy on the outside. Drain excessive oil using kitchen paper and set aside in one dish.
03 Now, it is time to toast the nuts and raisins. Nuts only need a minute until they are golden and very aromatic. Raisins may need a little longer, but be careful not to fry them for too long as they become hard. When first raisins get pumped and start looking like grapes again, it is time to stop. Drain and set aside.
04 Thew the green peas with boiling water. You do not have to cook it, it is enough to let it sit in hot water for about 10 minutes and drain.
05 Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat up a generous portion of good olive oil, add dry vermicelli and all the spices. Fry until the pasta turns slightly golden, for approximately a minute or two. Add dry rice, and fry everything together for another 5 minutes.
06 Bring about 5 cups of water to boil in a kettle and pour over fried vermicelli and rice. Cover it (not completely) and simmer until the rice is soft and almost all water is gone. It should take about 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, cover completely and let sit for about 5 more minutes, until the rice is perfect.
07 Stir the rice with vermicelli and add all vegetables, raisins and nuts. Stir everything thoroughly and serve with thick natural yogurt.
This is by far my son’s favourite cake. He asks me to make it for him for his birthday every single year, without a fail. It has a rich chocolatey taste, but it is not too sweet and has a very soft, brownie-like consistency and texture. It is also so easy to make!
Preparation time: about 30 minutes • Baking time: 35-40 minutes
✽ 1 cup flour ✽ ¾ cup sugar ✽ ½ cup milk ✽ 100 g baking chocolate ✽ 80 g butter ✽ 2 eggs ✽ 1 baking powder ✽ pinch of salt ✽ topping of fresh fruit and/or orange, lemon or lime zest (optional)
✽ 100 g dark chocolate ✽ 100 g butter (could be a little less)
Lime whipped cream:
✽ 250 g mascarpone ✽ 250 ml crème fraîche ✽ 1 lime
Method: 01 In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Be careful not to burn it, so as soon as it has melted take it off heat and add the chocolate. Keep stirring and hot butter will melt the chocolate safely and turn it into a silky, shiny ganache.
02 Add milk and mix thoroughly.
03 Beat eggs with sugar until they are fluffy, shiny and almost white.
04 Sift the flour with baking powder, add wet ingredients and gently fold in the two together, but only until they are combined.
05 Line a round baking form with parchment paper and bake in 175ºC for around 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven. The best way to check wether it is done is to pierce it in the middle with a metal skewer (my mum always used a metal knitting needle). Raw cake sticks onto the metal. It needs to be perfectly clear.
06 Cool down and once the cake is cold, make chocolate ganache. Heat up the butter and once melted, but not browned, take off the heat and add chocolate. Keep stirring, until perfectly combined, shiny and silky. Cool down a little to thicken your ganache, then gently pour over the cake. Use a spatula or a cake scraper to delicately smooth out if needed. Decorate with fruit while the ganache is still soft, but not too hot.
07 I like serving it with lime whipped cream. First whip crème fraîche, then add mascarpone and keep whipping until it thickens. Finish by adding fresh lime juice. After plating, sprinkle with freshly grated lime peel for added citrusy depth.
Name and pronunciation:pierogi z serem [pee-yeh-ro-ghi z seh-rem] – there is no need for the “s” at the end so often used in English. “Pierogi” is already a plural form. Description: dumplings with dry cottage cheese Type of cuisine:Polish
This is a true taste of my childhood. My late maternal grandmother made the bestpierogi with cheese. This recipe is based on how she made them.
Approximately 40 pieces • Preparation time: about 60 minutes • Resting time: 30 minutes (optional) • Cooking time: 1-2 minutes
01 With fresh pierogi, you have a choice between serving them just cooked, or frying them. After cooling or freezing, you should fry them.
02 Both fresh and fried pierogi with cottage cheese are perfect when served with fried onions or sour cream.
My family loves these simple cookies. They are chocolatey, but not too sweet. You need to plan them a little in advance, since the dough has to harden in a fridge for at least few hours.
Approximately 30 cookies • Preparation time: about 30 minutes • Cooling time: at least 2 hours, could be overnight • Baking time: 12 minutes
01 If you can prepare the dough the day before, do. It can be chilled in a fridge overnight, no problem. If the dough is not cold enough, icing sugar will melt into the cookie and you will lose the nice crackle effect.
02 If cannot chill them for more than 2 hours, do not worry. It should be enough, just split the dough in few pieces, this way it will chill more quickly.
✽ 225 g baking chocolate ✽ 110 g butter ✽ 1⅔ cups flour ✽ ⅔ cup sugar ✽ 3 eggs ✽ 2 teaspoons vanilla ✽ ½ teaspoon baking powder ✽ pinch of salt ✽ powdered sugar for rolling
01 Melt the butter and chocolate in a small pot. Use mytipto melt them easily and safely. Leave the pot to cool in a fridge.
02 Take the eggs and separate whites and yolks. First beat the whites until perfectly stiff and then add sugar (in 4 parts with few seconds of blending in between adding each part), and then yolks (one by one) and vanilla.
03 Now mix both the beaten eggs and the chocolate. You can keep gently blending, or you can do it by hand. If you prefer to mix by hand, make sure you are using a wide, wooden spoon and fold the chocolate in with the eggs.
04 Mix flour with salt and baking powder thoroughly, then mix them in with the wet ingredients. Form a ball from the dough, wrap to prevent from drying (I use beeswax covers, not to use plastic cling film) and chill until cold and hard.
05 After few hours (or a night), prepare the oven to baking (165ºC, line the tray with baking paper) and use a tablespoon to portion the dough. I use a measuring tablespoon, it has sharper edges and makes the process easier. From each portion make a small ball, roll it in icing sugar evenly and place on the tray to bake. No need to keep spaces too big, the cookies will get larger, but will keep their shape.
06 Bake for about 12 minutes (I love watching them crack) and cool.