food and drink
Here’s one of my favourite recipes – a hearty sour soup from Poland. No it does not have a sour taste, but it contains fermented rye flour which gives it a unique taste.
There are two parts to the recipe – making the zakwas – the base, and then the actual zurek.
The base for zurek
- about 1/2 cup of rye flour
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 2-3 cups of warm water
- bread crust (the best would be rye bread)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
Mix the flour with the boiling water until there are no lumps. Then set it aside to cool. Add bread crust (it should sink completely), garlic, and remaining water. Put the mixture in a jar or clay pot covered with gauze or a delicate piece of cloth. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 days at room temperature (each day mix the ingredients a little). As the flour ferments, there will be some lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast, and you will smell the sour rye-bread smell. You can use it immediately or put it in the fridge (it can be stored for about 2 weeks).
- Zakwas (zurek base) – about 0,5 l (use as much of the top clear part as possible and a little of the thick floury part to thicken the soup with)
- Soup vegetables (potato, carrots, turnips etc)
- 1 onion
- Sausage (chopped thinly (kielbasa if you can get them – otherwise any good German, Polish or Russian sausage will do)
- Smoked bacon, or ham hock, or kassler pork neck etc
- Dried mushrooms – I used about 1/2 punnet of fresh mushrooms
- Garlic (3-4 cloves)
- 2 bay leaves
- Some herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Stock if you want it more meaty
- Fry the onion, garlic and bacon.
- Chop the veggies and add to the pot.
- Bring them to boil with about 3-4 cups of water, add the sausage, and simmer until cooked.
- Add “zakwas” to the stock (about 2 cups from the clear part at the top and 2-3 spoons of the thick flour from the bottom).
- Bring to a boil, add spices, salt & pepper to taste
- Serve with quartered hard-cooked egg in each serving and rye bread on the side.
Original source: http://blog.polishorigins.com/2013/06/26/zurek-traditional-polish-sour-soup/
Bigos is one of my favorite Polish dishes, and it is ridiculously easy to make.
- Shred some cabbage (about 1/2 a cabbage)
- Fry it slowly with some meat (bacon, kielbasa, sausage or whatever)
- Add salt, pepper & some stock (maybe a little white wine if you want)
- Slowly simmer until thick and soft
This Bigos was from a restaurant in Old Town, Warsaw, so it arrived in the bread bowl, but I usually serve it as a side dish to whatever I am eating.
I saw this lovely display of fresh pumpkin & squash outside a restaurant in Krakow. It looked so great and colourful. All I can think about when I look at them is a hot and tasty vegetable curry.
When we arrived in Athens it was market-day in our street, so as soon as we dropped off our bags at our apartment we went straight downstairs to do some shopping for the week. The European fresh-produce markets are really fantastic. The quality is great and you can stock up on almost any produce for the week, and they are truly markets for the people.They are nothing like the markets in Cape Town which sell (to be fair excellent quality) expensive “artisan” produce catering for the upper-end consumer.
If I had a market like this near my house I would happily shop there every week.
If you want the best Fish and Chips in Cape Town there is only one place to consider, and that is Kalky’s inside Kalk Bay Harbour. The fish and chips are brilliant, inexpensive, and unpretentious.
I hardly ever seem to get there, but when my colleague Arijit from India wanted fish and chips I had to take him to Kalky’s.
Hake and chips at Kalky’s
Arijit get’s ready to eat his Snoek. He didn’t listen when I warned him about the mountains of bones in Snoek. There are loads of bones, you have been warned!
Kalky’s – simple and unpretentious