Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Spring Greens with bacon aka Polish-style

I know, I know it's Summer now, but Spring Greens are still in season in June and I don't want you to miss out on this recipe. In Poland, we make this with young, leafy cabbage in the springtime, which gives it a sweeter flavour, whereas the Spring greens make it sharper, more grown up. And this is no bad thing

Spring Greens (as above), chopped
Vegetable oil – 4 tablespoons
2 large onions, chopped
Aprox 200g. Streaky bacon, cut into bits
2 bunches Dill
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

I don't know why being grown up has such boring connotations now. When I was little, all I wanted was to be an adult, it seemed like they had all the fun. Yet I couldn't last 10min in the smoke-filled room (everyone smoked in Poland in those days) and couldn't properly join in the fun conversations. And now here I am, being grown up, in a good way. Fry the bacon until crispy and add the onion. Add the Spring Greens, some water and continue cooking under a lid for about 10min. Add the lemon juice, dill and season. Continue frying for another 10min. Add more dill at the end

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Sea spinach

Have you ever tried sea spinach?
It's sharper than normal spinach and makes a great salad. You can also braise it and eat it with butter. Buy it from your fishmonger

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Food in Belgrade

Ah, Belgrade. If you're not aware as yet, I have totally fallen in love with the place. It's beautiful, interesting and romantic, what else do you need? Actually, there's also chemistry, and Belgrade definitely has that in spades - an energy that can't really be explained. It's like when you fall in love I guess - you can tell people that the object of your affection is good looking, intelligent and talented, but it's never really that, it's just how you feel. And so it follows that you could go to Belgrade and think it's no big deal. Everyone has their own special cities and spots. Apart from London and Warsaw, which are like family to me, I also keep going back to Athens, Paris and Barcelona. Perhaps Basque Country and Belgrade will also become my special spots, I'd like that, but only time will tell...
Belgrade has many culinary influences, especially Turkish since it was ruled by Turkey for something like 500 years. The "?" restaurant is the oldest in town, and that's where we ate the vine leaves and corn bread that you see up there. The vine leaves were the best I'd ever eaten, completely melt in your mouth delicious. Here, they are eaten with sour cream, which was something new to me
Belgrade as a town reminds me of Eastern Europe, Greece and South-east Asia all mixed up together. You may think the last bit is my imagination working overtime, but just look at that photo with me in it. Can you see all the houses on the water? Very South-east Asian. The photos with the beautiful views were taken in the Austro-Hungarian district, Zemun. I got shown around Zemun by my mate Maja's best buddy, Zozo. Yes, it was Zuza and Zozo in Zemun

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The new detox rules

If you are looking for a detox where an Absinthe cocktail on the second day is allowed and you don't need to spend two weeks miserably brewing herbal infusions while your friends go out and have fun, then you've come to the right blog. My detoxes having been getting more and more relaxed over the years until finally we've come to this - Absinthe on the second day. I simply refuse to give up my life just because I want to get myself back on the healthy wagon, it's too short. So these are the new detox rules

Eat oats with fruit, yoghurt and honey for breakfast
Have 2 Nakd bars as snacks throughout the day
Eat various vegetables and grains for lunch
Eat Fish/Turkey and vegetables for dinner
Enjoy 1 alcoholic drink every 2-3 days
Drink 1 small coffee a day 
Drink as much Japanese roasted twig tea and green tea as you can
Avoid all processed sugar and foods
Snack on fruit, nuts and vegetables
Eat goat's cheese only 
Drink a glass of pomegranate juice daily
Take selenium (100 micrograms)
Meditate and Stretch every day
Walk in the fresh air
Bathe with tree tree oil and sea salt
De-clutter your living space
Do your paperwork

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Butter beans with majoram and tomato aka "Brittany-style beans"

I have just returned from a short stay in Belgrade, which I will tell you all about as soon as I've had a moment to digest it all. It's one of those places that stays with you, and despite the short amount of time I spent there, I feel like I have brought a bit of it back with me. I feel more romantic, more emotionally honest and more chilled out about time. But before Belgrade, I had to take my baby, Coco (that's my cat to those of you who don't know us personally), to her grandparents house, and this is where we made butter beans beans "Brittany-style". They are, of course, Polish-style, for as you know the Poles have strange ways of naming things, which are sometimes relevant to where the dish came from and sometimes not relevant at all. I'm afraid that I don't know which one of the above the "Brittany-style beans" are... They are, nevertheless, one of mine and my dad's favourite dishes. What's in a name when something tastes this sweet

Butter beans (2 tins)
Chopped tomatoes (1 tin)

Fry the the chopped onion and bacon bits for a few minutes. Add plenty of majoram - don't be shy - and some paprika, perhaps a teaspoon. Once they're all glossy, add the tin of chopped tomatoes and the drained butter beans. Cook for a further 20-30min all together. You can eat this with warm crusty bread, or with your dinner as we did. You can see it up there with some mashed potatoes, beetroot and a duck's bottom. I've just realized that I'm probably being weird again - by duck's bottom I mean not the actual bum, just the sort-of-tail-bit at the end of the body, attached, of course by it's very nature, to the bum. Am I the only one?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Polish-style pancakes with sweet cheese

My parents have decided to sell the house in Eastbourne. We knew it was coming, as they've been talking about it for a long time. When our Dreszcz was alive (that's our beautiful boxer dog), they said they were keeping it for his sake and they'd sell as soon as he was gone. But he's been gone for a long time now, at least three years... It makes sense to sell, as this house is way too big for two people, with 5 bedrooms, a massive, uphill garden that backs on to the South Downs, and a living room the size of my whole flat in London in the shape of an upside-down ship. As you might have guessed from my description, it's also a completely unique and perhaps slightly weird house, which suits our unique and slightly weird family. It's difficult to say goodbye to the feeling of space and freedom you get here. The seaviews aren't spectacular but they are there, and as we're on a hill you see so much of the sky here you sometimes feel like you're flying. Well, I do anyway. For me, this has been a place of healing. I came here after that traumatising breakup two years ago, and it helped me to want something better for myself, a lighter and healthier kind of life. What I didn't know then was that it wasn't just the breakup I was healing from, it was the relationship itself
Of course, it's not just the bricks and mortar. When I come here, my mum cooks all my favourite food and we drink wine together, eat and chat. This is punctuated by walks on the Downs, films, and time on the massage chair and the jacuzzi bath. This weekend I brought my cat, Coco, here. After an epic four-hour journey (that should have taken half that time) I expected her to be thoroughly pissed off with me. But she fell in love with the place immediately. Today, my mum and I (mainly my mum) made Polish-style sweet cheese pancakes, just like I used to eat when I was little. You take some fresh cheese, the one we use is Polish "twarozek", and mixed it with some yoghurt, but I believe that something like ricotta would also work well -you would not need to mix ricotta with anything as it already has the right consistency. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon, an egg yolk, lots of raisins, and sugar to taste. Once you've made the pancakes (add extra salt to the pancake mix for that Polish sweet-salty flavour), put some of the filling on one side of the circle, in a fat line, and fold the side it's closest to. Next fold in the two sides and roll, like a tortilla. For ultimate crispy indulgence, fry the pancakes again, as a whole, before eating