Monday, 1 April 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, poppets. But, oh, so tired! I feel like I spent the last five days doing nothing but going to the gym, shopping, cooking, shopping, baking, laundering, washing dishes, washing counters and going to church for very long stretches of time.

We had Polish guests for Easter, so we had Polish Easter food as well as British Easter food, and everything turned out, even my hot cross buns which, ironically, were the most difficult thing to make. 

I also went along to the traditional Polish Holy Saturday blessing service with my guests to have their/our Easter basket (full of food for Easter Sunday) blessed. The Cathedral was absolutely packed, and I have not seen so many babies, children and perambulators in one place for a long time.

"You should be pushing a perambulator," said an irrepressible friend who has not quite worked out the relationship of age to fertility, and I heartily agreed. But meanwhile I had quite enough to do with guests and complicated recipes. To expand your culinary horizons (or flatter them if you happen to be Polish), here is how I made my lovely traditional Easter breakfast żurek (Polish sour) soup:

Seraphic's Easter Żurek 

500 mL bottle of kwas (also known as żur) from your local Polish shop. It is made of fermented rye flour and water. It keeps for a long time but have a look at the expiry date just in case. 

1.5 L of very good vegetable broth (I use Kallo cubes.)
4 white kielbasa sausages (actually pinkish)
bay leaf
1 Tbsp of marjoram
2 allspice grains
4 peppercorns
2 crushed cloves of garlic

1. Make up your lovely vegetable broth and throw in the herbs and spices. Bring to boil.
2. Boil the sausages for 15-20 minutes in the broth. Then fish them out and cut them up.
3. Continue to simmer the broth and lightly fry the sausage.
4. Pour in the kwas. Unless you know you love fermented soup, taste as you go.
5. Throw the  fried sausage into the broth-kwas mix and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
5. Squish two cloves of garlic until they are extremely squished and throw them in the simmering broth.
5. Taste to see if you want to add salt.
6. Hard-boil two or three eggs.
7. Put half an egg into each bowl and ladle the żurek over it.  

You can make this dish a day ahead and put it in the fridge, but don't add the eggs until you are about to serve it. It will feed 4-6 people as a breakfast (if they compute soup for breakfast) or first course, served with proper rye bread and not white American/British supermarket bread, the horror. 

I am told every Polish family has its own way of making żurek. My way made both our guests and Benedict Ambrose happy, so it works for me. The amusing thing is that it started out as a recipe I found online but got changed quite a bit, for one of the guests kept making suggestions, some of which I took, and others I rejected. Also, the original recipe wanted juniper berries. Well, who in Edinburgh has got juniper berries anywhere but in their gin, I'd like to know!

The first time I ever had żurek it was made for me by a friend living with her granny in her granny's Warsaw flat. My friend is now a postulant in an enclosed Benedictine order. Goodness knows when I will see her again, but meanwhile żurek reminds me of her.


Kate P said...

Happy Easter, Seraphic! I love that you made a recipe that both called on creativity (yours and your guest's) and reminded you of a friend. It sounded delicious.

Katerina said...

Happy Easter Auntie S! :)