> Lemon and Strawberries: September 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cebularze - Polish onion & poppy seed pies

When I was a kid, you couldn't buy cebularz in my small hometown bakeries, so it was one of these "special" treats we were getting while visiting Wrocław once in a while. I remember mouth-watering smell of bread and baked onion in our family car, when we were going home from our trips to big city. These memories made me connect cebularze with excitement of a little girl going for an adventure!
It's very simple to make, but there is something magical in its simplicity. Golden crust, baked semi-sweet onion and poppy seeds together create an unique experience for your taste-buds!

Historically speaking, cebularz came to Poland from Near East countries along with a big Jewish community that Polish king Kazimierz Wielki brought to his homeland. We're talking about Middle Ages here, so as you can see this round pie has a pretty long tradition in Poland!
At first it was made only by Jewish bakers, but slowly cebularz  became very popular. First mentions about its recepture appeared in XIX century. Noone can tell when exactly other bakers started to make cebularze, but we know that right after WWI it was one of the most known and loved snacks in Lubelszczyzna region.
Now you can buy cebularze in most of the bakeries in Poland and I recommend trying them if you happen to visit my country. Until then - here's the recipe!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Prasorizo (leeks with rice) - Greek traditional dish

Leeks. One of the rather underrated vegetables. We use it to add broth a little more taste, we put it in the salads or as extra-something in our stews and soups, but it's very rare to make leeks a star of a dish! Leeks were appreciated by the ancient Greeks and Romans - they believed eating leeks may improve voice strength and make it more clear.
Did you know that leek is one of the national emblems of Wales? There is a legend saying that King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd has ordered his army to identify themselves by wearing leeks on their helmets in a battle against Saxons. Shakespeare mentions this custom in Henry V play. Leek was even present on the coronation gown of Elizabeth II! Who would have thought?
Today, we know that leeks are great for our cardiovascular system, thanks to antioxidants, vitamin B folate and flavonoid kaempferol they contain.
So let's give leek some of the love it needs by making prasorizo!
Prasorizo is traditional Greek dish - very simple - only few ingredients are needed. Yet it's surprisingly rich in taste and simply delicious!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ptysie (Puffs) with lemon cream

This is a dessert of my childhood! We used to buy them in pastry shops on special occasions or as a Sunday treat. Whenever I was passing by the store as a kid I had to stop and stare at them - they just look so delicious and fluffy!
Ptysie ("ptyś" in singular) are made with special puff pastry, then cut in half and made into a sandwich-like with a lot of lemon cream.
I've heard that originally they were filled with whipped cream. Due to the shortage of heavy cream in communistic times in Poland, bakers invented egg whites based lemon cream and this is the one I remember from my happy childhood' days.
Now there are versions with other fillings - pudding, whipped cream and many others, but the lemon cream is my favourite and in my mind real ptysie must have it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pastitsio with béchamel sauce - Greek pasta casserole

Another culinary discovery from Greece! I'd say pastitsio is a Greek housewives' response to Italian lasagne. This dish is made of layers of pasta, meat sauce with spices and topped with béchamel sauce.
Delicious, rich and very filling comfort food from amazing Greece. It smells and tastes heavenly good!
In my recipe I'm using a pastitsio pasta which can be found in local stores, but you can substitute it with other type.

I'm also using kefalotyri cheese to mix with pasta and eggs. If you can't find it, you may skip it or use parmesan.