Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rene Redzepi and Other Famous Chefs Search for the Distinctive Spirit in Poland.

I am publishing a short post tonight and I am definitely inviting you to watch a short, 15 minute movie which is linked below. It was shot during the Cook It Raw (Poland). Cook It Raw is a renowned culinary event which took place this year in the eastern Poland at the end of August 2012. Since its creation in Copenhagen, Cook it Raw has grown to become a combination of the greatest contemporary artists  in the world of gastronomy. The film which is linked below was  shown during the  Food Film Festival which, has just finished in Warszawa (it also took place in Gdańsk and Poznań – unfortunately not in Kraków).  Cook It Raw Poland was the fifth edition of Cook It Raw event in three years.”…. This year's edition took place in a remote area of eastern Poland with thirteen chefs, for example René Redzepi from Noma , important French chef Pascal Barbot, Mauro Colagreco, , Daniel Patterson, Ben Shewry, and  Iñaki Aizpitarte.

Find out more about Suwałki Region! I read today in some articles summarizing Cook It Raw Poland that it is “…an ethnic mosaic of many peoples and faiths inhabits a landscape of exceptional purity. The Region provided therefore the perfect setting within which to explore the concept of culture as a constant flow of influence..Many influential and innovative chefs from all over the World visited Suwalszczyzna Region. They met local farmers, cooks, artists, hunters etc. Together, they shared customs and trade ideas. The result has been a lasting cultural bridge, one uniting the past and future of Polish cuisine”.

If you would like to find  out more about Cook It Raw Poland, you can also read articles linked below, written in English:

Stay tuned !

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some Strange Culinary Habits of Ours, We the Polish People

(pierogi z serem)

One of my discoveries when I moved to France was that French never eat sweet meals, neither for lunch nor for dinner. On the contrary, some of us, the Polish people, eat such meals in the summer time, or on Fridays. I believe that this is not very appealing to foreigners. I admit that it probably is a strange culinary habit, but no stranger than to eat andouille.

I do not like those sweet meals as main courses (as I don't appreciate sweets in general), but on the other hand it is still a part of our culinary heritage, and I remember from my childhood such awkward obiads like, for example, rice (usually overcooked) with apples with cinnamon topped with heavy cream; noodles with curd cheese served with sugar, or a sweet version of little hooves (kopytka) served with breadcrumbs fried in butter and topped with sugar of course; sweet pancakes (naleśniki) with fruits, jam and quark. That was the reality of the eighties.

There are three Polish sweet dishes which I like to eat (however only as a dessert nowadays). The first one is a fruit soup (for example, raspberry or bilberry) made from seasonal summer forest fruits. The second one is sweet dumplings (pierogi). The third one, which is really more international, are pancakes. You will find below links to my older posts about savory dumplings, which, of course, I favor.

Sometimes I like to eat sweet dumplings. I “upgraded” a classical recipe with the addition of some classical French or English sauces as an accompaniment to this simple and peasant food. The fact is that kids do like this type of food, so sometimes I make a batch of those dumplings for my daughter. I freeze them and I just boil them whenever she wants some.

For this type of dumplings you can use typical Polish quark cheese (to find out how to make such a cheese, please check out my older post). If you are too lazy to prepare quark cheese at home you can use Italian ricotta or mascarpone, but then, adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste. In place of raisins in the filling you can add any type of dried fruits, like dates, figs, apricots, as well as chopped walnuts.

Those dumplings are easy to find in every Polish “milk bar” (as described in this post) or in every student cantina, cheaper restaurants serving traditional Polish food. Usually they are just topped with some powdered sugar, but if you make a bit of an effort and you decide to make a little sweet sauce as an accompaniment, this simple food may turn into a nice… dessert, because I do not force anybody to eat sweet meals as a main course. So, here in this post I propose to make a simple orange sauce, but you can also make a lemon curd, crème anglaise, a basic chocolate ganache or even a raspberry or a strawberry coulis.

Serves 4


220 g pierogi dough (make half the basic dough recipe page according to this or, by applying clarified butter as described in this post
440 g quark cheese
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
35 g raisins
The rind of 1 organic orange, thinly sliced + orange juice
1-2 tablespoon cane sugar
100 ml heavy cream (crème fleurette)

1. Soak raisins in warm water for around 30 minutes. Strain and put aside.
2. In a metal bowl, combine egg yolks, powdered sugar and vanilla seeds.
3. Blanch the orange rind in boiling water, strain and put aside. 
4. Crumble cheese in a bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture, raisins and 1/3 of the orange rind. Combine thoroughly.
5. Prepare the sauce: in a small saucepan, mix orange juice with cane sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens. Slowly add the cream and 7. remove from heat.
6. Prepare and cook pierogi as described in the basic recipe.
7. Serve immediately after cooking with warm orange sauce.

You can experiment with other sauces, like, for example, lemon curd, raspberry coulis or chocolate ganache.

Bon appétit !

My other posts about pierogi:

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