TIP: Cleaning Dough Off Hands

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To clean wet dough off your hands, use cold water and a bit of body scrub or salt. It always keep some by the kitchen sink to make things quick and easy.

TIP: Choosing Coconut Milk

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Choose your coconut milk carefully. Many have additives and I do not recommend buying these. Yes, they are super smooth and creamy, but I always go for a natural one. You can blend it a bit, if you would like to make it smoother. Also, add some water, if it is too thick. It needs to be either similar to normal milk, or a little thicker, but not much.

Traditional Polish Apple Pie

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Name and pronunciation: szarlotka [shar-lot-kah]
Description: apple pie

Type of cuisine: Eastern European

This traditional apple pie is utterly delicious, so easy to make and you probably have everything you need for it! A perfect dessert with minimal effort.

8 servings • Preparation time: about 2 hours • Baking time: 50-60 minutes

Tips:

01
If your oven tends to underperform at the bottom (like mine), pre-bake the bottom crust for about 10-15 minutes.

02
Feel free to mix other fruit with your apples. Try to add some pears or peaches for enhanced flavour.

03
Add some cocoa to the pastry to make a chocolate version of your apple pie! Simply add some unsweetened cocoa powder to the pastry. You can either add it to all of it or to a smaller part for a mix of flavours and colours.

04
When you start, make sure butter is cold and very hard.

Ingredients:

Pastry:
300 g all-purpose flour
250 g butter
1 medium to large egg
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
 1½ teaspoons baking powder
powder sugar (or a mix of sugar and cinnamon) to dust

Apple filling:
1 kg apples
2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon or more cinnamon (or more to taste)

Method:

01 
Cut butter into small cubes and combine with flour. There are two methods to do it. You can either chop the butter and flour mixture with a large knife until it is super fine and completely worked into the flour, or you can squeeze the butter cubes with your fingers covering it with the flour at the same time, until it all disappears into the mix. With the second method, use you finger tips and not palms, since they are cooler and they will split the butter into smaller pieces without melting it with your body heat.

02
Once butter and flour are combined into what resembles crumbles, add one egg, baking powder, 3 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla sugar. Knead it gently for a few minutes until the butter softens and forms a thick and silky pastry.

02
Form a neat ball from the pastry, flatten is (it will be easier to roll it out later), wrap it in parchment paper or put it in an air-tight container, and place it in a fridge, while you prepare the apples. If you have beeswax wraps. in you kitchen, they are perfect for resting the pastry, too.

02
Once butter and flour are combined into what resembles crumbles, add one egg, baking powder, 3 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla sugar. Knead it gently for a few minutes until the butter softens and forms a thick and silky pastry.

04
Wash and peel the apples, cut them into cubes or grate them (I prefer cubes), add the sugar and simmer until you get nice, thick mousse. I like to leave a bit of texture to the pieces, since they will continue to soften later in the oven. If your mousse is a little watery, simply keep simmering until it reduces.

05
Add cinnamon and leave to cool.

06
Take your baking form (you will need one approximately 24 cm diameter) and line it with baking paper. You can use the same paper you used for wrapping the pastry. Butter the sides of the form and sprinkle with ground almond or other nuts, coconut shavings or flour.

07
Take your pastry out of the fridge and spilt it in half. Use the first half to neatly line the bottom of your form, evenly cover it with apple mousse and finish with the rest of the pastry.

08
In order to give your apple pie a nice finish, you can roll the pastry flat, tear little pieces and place them next to each other to construct a rustic-looking layer or simply grate it and sprinkle to cover the apples.

09
Bake it in 180°C for about 50-60 minutes, until beautiful and golden. Cool it and serve lightly dusted with powder sugar.

Our Eastern Kitchen - Traditional Polish Apple Pie - Recipe - Food Photography
Our Eastern Kitchen - Traditional Polish Apple Pie - Recipe - Food Photography
Our Eastern Kitchen - Traditional Polish Apple Pie - Recipe - Food Photography
Our Eastern Kitchen - Traditional Polish Apple Pie - Recipe - Food Photography

Enjoy!

Welcome to Our Kitchen

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THE INCREDIBLE MAGIC OF FOOD


House is just a house until you can smell freshly baked bread, spiced rice or delicious pie in the air. It becomes a home in a blink of an eye thanks to care, time and patience you put into the food you make for your loved ones. Food has an incredible power to bring back memories from the deepest corners of your childhood, make you appreciate the moment and at the same time look at your family and think of their future. It brings different people and cultures together. For generations, people laughed, cried, fought and made up over a table full of amazing scents, flavours and colours. Even with the busiest of schedules, families still try to make time to eat together and mark every major holiday with special dishes, ingredients and aromas.

Food is life and, in time, it became my passion. I am fascinated by that power of food that speaks louder and more clearly than words and breaks many a barrier between people throughout cultures and generations.

SIMPLE BEGINNINGS


I grew up in a culture where food is the definition love. My both grandmothers and my mum cooked for our family, friends and guests to express their love and care, and they have always opened their homes and kitchens to others, instead of taking them out, as it is a habit nowadays. For years, I have watched women in my family cook everything from a scratch to make sure we ate the most delicious and the healthiest food possible. My mum made her own cakes, cottage cheese, jams and preserves. My maternal grandmother made the most delicious pierogi I have ever tasted and my parental one made amazing home-made noodles and poppyseed cakes. 

Even in the tiniest of kitchens (a painful standard in Polish high-rise architecture) our family-life still centred around the dining table and really great food was made on daily basis. In our first home only two people could sit comfortably at a microscopic table, so my sister and I sat on a window sill or worktops and assisted during the evening cooking with a chat. The kitchen was minuscule, but it continuously pulsated with closeness and love we had for one another. Things look very differently now in many households with busy schedules, take-aways and pre-made food, but I want to go back to the joy of knowing exactly what goes into the food I make for my family and friends, and give them happy moments and delicious dishes I was lucky to experience and at the same time to learn about my husband’s childhood memories and his favourite dishes.

OUR KITCHEN


Our kitchen is a little bigger than the one from my youth, but not by much. Just like my mum back then, I too dream of a big kitchen full of light, with a big table, countless cupboards and all the equipment and gadgets permanently out on worktops, but I have decided that neither lack of space nor restricted budget will stop me from enjoying cooking, learning new dishes and exploring how my eastern European culture interlinks with my husband’s Arabic heritage.

I am lucky, I have two mums to teach me all that is best about Polish and Iraqi food. One in Lublin, about 1400 km away from us and the other one even further than this, all the way in Baghdad. But love knows no distance nor boundaries, so using whatever technology we share, we talk and cook together. Three women, three countries, one family. Our Eastern Kitchen.

JOIN US!


Read, share, comment and, most of all, try the recipes. Share you own journey with our Facebook page and Facebook community. It is the place to ask about anything regarding food, exchange ideas, cookery books and items. Home-cooking is all about family, passion and community.

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Sourdough Starter

Tips:

01
Sourdough is nothing more than wild yeast that is all around us. You need to give it time and nutrients to start, and then feed it regularly by adding the same amount of flour and water every week or two. Opt for 50 g of flour on 50 ml of water, or 100 g of flour on 50 ml of water, depends on how much starter you use and need to replenish.

02
Storing your starter is easy. Just keep it in a fridge, take a portion you need for your bread and leave the rest chilled. Every 7-10 days add another equal amount of flour and water (50 g + 50 ml or 100 g + 100 ml), mix thoroughly and put back to the fridge. It will be happy for another week or so.

03
I keep my starter in a bail jar. I cover the lid, but without closing the clasp. This way it receives enough air to live, but at the same time it is protected from drying out.

04
Healthy starter should smell acidic, somewhere between lemony and beery. When you are not sure if your starter is good just by looking or smelling it (although you really should be), taste a small drop. It should taste acidic, but not bitter. If there is any trace of mould on top of it, discard it and start again.

05
If there is a dry layer on the surface and the starter seems fresh underneath, it is all right to just get rid of the dry part and keep the rest.

Ingredients:

100 g of all-purpose flour
 100 ml of water

Method:

01
It is enough to mix the same quantity of flour and water and leave out on a kitchen counter lightly covered with a tea towel or a paper napkin. It is good for 14 hours, then it is time to feed it.

02
Feed your new yeast by adding 100 g of flour and 100 ml of water every day for seven days.

03
On day 2 or 3, you should be able to observe first bubbles and the mixture will start smelling sour. It will become a little more liquid, but should not change its colour. When you mix in fresh flour and water, the bubbles will disappear, but they should re-appear about an hour after each feeding. Sometimes clear liquid will separate on the surface, it is completely normal. Either mix it in or discard it, as you wish.

04
After seven days your starter should be ready, but it can still be a little weak. You can give it one week (the first week without feeding) to get stronger and then start baking your delicious bread.

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Enjoy!