Happy Easter

Bronisława Rychter-Janowska, Traditional Easter table in Polish home.

We have an Easter wish for you
that is quite sincere
We wish for you contentment
at this special time of year

The Easter season comes to us
with rebirth, joy and hope
It's ours for the taking
given to help us cope

We can claim the promise
God has all things planned
We may have some trials
but he will hold our hand

Easter symbolizes
dying away of ones old ways
Renewing self awareness
making better all our days

On this special Sunday
celebrating as you do
We wish for you and all you love
that all your dreams come true! 

Written By:© Marlys


The Greek influence on the Polish cuisine - Greek Salad

The influence Greek cuisine on Polish cuisine is poor. Greeks have been known in Poland since the Middle Ages but Greek population in Poland has been very small.
After 1949, more Greeks came to Poland. During the Greek Civil War 14,000 refugees who supported communist guerrillas arrived in Poland. The Polish government organized a field hospital on the island of Wolin for them. Some of them came back to Greece but about 9,000 people moved on the South of Poland where they still live. The Greek minority has a strong influence on the development of Polish culture. Greeks have a lot of influence primarily on the creation of popular music in Poland. The most famous Greek musician with a Polish passport is a singer Eleni.

Thanks to this last emigration, the Greek cuisine is famous in Poland.
The most famous dish is the Greek salad ( choriatiki). Poles also copied the feta cheese. Polish Feta has little in common with the original cheese, but it is often used as a substitute of the feta cheese. Greeks who live in Zgorzelec made Zgorzelec cheese. It recalls traditional Greek feta, but in Polish conditions,  in addition to milk from goats and sheep, they also used cow milk. It isn't widely known in Poland, however it is considered one of the regional products.
Currently in Poland  traditional Greek cuisine is making a big comeback. There are  many restaurants with Greek menu and  shops where Poles can buy  original Greek food.
Some celebrated chefs who come from Greece popularize Greek food in Poland. Poles like the Greek cuisine because it is an alternative to Italian cuisine and it has introduced light and healthy dishes to the Polish cuisine.

Bellow recipe on classical Greek salad  

1 head crunchy lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut in half and sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup olives
1  feta cheese, crumbled

olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Pour enough olive oil over the salad to just coat it. Add the lemon juice and oregano. Season well with salt and pepper and toss the salad. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste and toss again.
Add the crumbled feta cheese and the olives to the top of the salad before serving. 



The Ukrainian influence on the Polish cuisine - Ukrainian borscht

For me one of the best cuisine  is the Ukrainian one. I love  Ukrainian soups and pierogi. Ukrainian cuisine has had a big impact on Polish cuisine. Some dishes which come from  Ukraine are known in Poland very well, and nobody usually wonders about where they come from. I mean dishes such as slips wrapped , Ukrainian borscht, boiled pierogi, stuffed cabbage, and kutia which Poles commonly think of as theirs.
The fertile Ukrainian soil yielded plenty of cereals and oilseeds, vegetables and fruit as well as honey. The chancellor Duchy Ruthenian Yuri Nemyrych confirmed the agricultural richness of Ukraine in the Polish Parliament during the approval of the Treaty of Hadiach.

In Ukraine  the production of cereals was relatively easy and it meant that the diet was based on farinaceous of dishes. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century there  was enough grain, not only for the Ukrainian and Polish population but the Ukrainian people were the most nourished population of Western Europe.  Ukraine was the granary of Europe, and Gdansk was the gate to this granary. This city was a centre of handling and transport of cereals.
The Ukrainian wheat flour was highly valued by Polish cooks.  Very popular in Poland “pierogi ruskie” (Ruthenian dumpling) originate from Ukraine.
In Poland  dumplings are often served with greaves from bacon - this way  comes from the Eastern neighbours of Poland.
One of thecharacteristics of Ukrainian cuisine is the use of animal fat not only to bake and fry, but they were also used to garnish dishes. Lard also is added to borscht, cabbage soup and broth. Greaves of  bacon are very tasty gravy for some meals, hałuszek and dumplings. In many Eastern regions of Ukraine  lard was eaten with bread, cucumbers and garlic for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Stewing dishes is another characteristic thing from Ukrainian cuisine which has had a big impact on Polish cuisine.  In Ukraine, since time immemorial the oven has had multiple functions. It was used to heat cook, bace, stew. Stewing is a method of preparing meals in the stove and it allows to preserve the natural taste and smell and it is much healthierthan frying or roasting on an open fire.

Currently the Ukrainian cuisine is known in Poland but only with the influence of Polish cuisine. The main soup of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian borscht,  is prepared very often in Poland.  In my country there are just a few restaurants where truly Ukrainian meals are served.  One of them is in Krakow.

How to make the Ukrainian borscht? Below you'll find a recipe. 

    0,5 kg  of beef with bone
    0.5 cup dry beans
    3 medium beet root
    0.5 medium cabbage
    5 medium potatoes
    3 medium carrots
    2 medium onions
    2 medium parsley roots
    2-3 bay leaves
    2-3 tbsp tomato paste
    1  garlic clove
   1tsp vinegar
    2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp fresh ceram
     salt, black pepper
   You will need a 5-6 liter cooking pot in order to contain your borscht.

   1. Soak dry beans for 2-3 hours.
   2. Cut the meat into pieces and place them in a pot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off any fat on the surface. In 30 minutes add the soaked beans, cover and cook for about 1 hour.
   3. While the meat is cooking, chop the beet as thin as you can. Place the beet slices into a frying pan with sunflower or vegetable oil and fry until soft (but be careful not to make it too soft!). You can add 1 tea spoon of vinegar to save beet color if you'd like.
   4. Chop the cabbage (also trying to make the slices thin), peel and chop the potatoes.
   5. Chop 3 carrots, 2 onions and 2 parsley roots. Fry them until the onion is becoming golden.
   6. When the meat is ready add some salt, your 2-3 bay leaves, peppercorns and potatoes.
   7. In 5-10 minutes add your fried carrots, onions, parsley roots and beets. Also add the chopped cabbage. Now slow cook for about 10 minutes.
   8. Add 2-3 table spoons of tomato paste, wait until it boils.Add a little bit of sugar if it is too sour for you. Add fresh cream and stir soup and cook 3 minutes.  Serve hot.



The Tatar influence on the Polish cuisine - Tatar sauce

Tatars are one of the very exotic ethnic groups in Poland. In the thirteenth century during the Tatar invasions of Poland, the Polish met Tatars for the first time. Those invasions were deeply rooted in social consciousness which manifested itself in legends about Lajkonik
or the Krakow bugle call. In the fifteenth century, Tartars became allies of Poland and began to settle in Poland and Lithuania.

Polish Kings gave them many privileges. As a result during the wars they fought on the side of Poland. Tatars were good soldiers and they were rewarded by Kings. Polish Kings allowed them to create their own autonomous social group.
This ethnic group is the most different from other groups in Poland but its influence on Polish culture and cuisine is significant. Typical Tatar dishes are spicy, high-calorie and easy to prepare. Dairy products, vegetables and meat (especially sheep) play a major role in this cuisine. Dumplings (pierogi) are the most popular dish of flour. Tatars taught Poles to marinate meat, “tatar's lamb” was very popular. Its influence can be seen today in Polish cuisine, especially in the very popular Tartar sauce. The most famous dish with Tatar roots on Polish tables is " Tatar steak " or simply "the Tatar" - made from minced beef, eggs and spices, served raw. Some restaurants in Poland still serve this dish, but you have to be careful because this dish made from raw meat is dangerous for health.
I have two variations of the Tatar. Instead of raw meat I use chopped smoked salmon or chopped fresh tomatoes. I serve both dishes with olive oil, salt and black pepper.

What I like most are true Tatar dishes such as czebureki, dolma, Tatar skewers, płow. My favourite Tatar dessert is kołacz. It is a yeast cake filled with cottage cheese. If you want to try typical Tatar meals I invite you to Sokółka, Bohoniki, Bobrowniki. There still live Polish Tatars.
Below one oft the best cold sauce

Tatar sauce

50 dag mayonnaise

15 ml fresh cream
200 g. gherkin
150 g.marinated mushrooms
1 tbsp. mustard

In bowl mix together mayonnaise, fresh cream, mustard, pepper, salt and sugar. Cut on small pieces gherkin and mushrooms and add they to bowl with sauce. Mix well sauce. Serve with hot meats like beef or pork or serve with smoked meats and bread. This sauce is very good to barbecue meats.



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